THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE
Anita Clark – Pastor, Carbondale, Kansas
The ultimate purpose of this Church Age is to prepare a group of redeemed human beings to be a Bride for Jesus Christ. The work of the Holy Spirit is going on today in the lives of believers who are yielding to the divine working of God. Apostle Paul speaks of this in Philippians 3:7-14. A careful study shows that Paul was not speaking of gaining salvation, when he writes, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and do count them but dung that I may win Christ.” He is speaking of a work that will change him into a completely yielded child of God with a close place with the Lord Jesus. This brings the believer to a place of complete yieldedness to the Lord, where all is counted loss for Christ.
Let us consider the phrase, “...that I may win Christ.” No where in the Bible does it teach that we win salvation by any good works. In fact the opposite is taught i.e Titus 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He has saved.” Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved by faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; Not of works lest any man should boast.” Also in Philippians 3:11, Paul says, “Not as though I have already attained.” This word means in the GK. “To seize or attain.” No where does the Scripture say we must strive to gain salvation to become a child of God. The word used in verse 13 “apprehend” means almost the same thing, “to seize, attain, apprehend.” Paul sums up his desire in verse 14, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
In other portions of Paul’s writings he speaks of the race course, likening it to our spiritual day by day journey to achieve this place as the winner. ( I Corinthians 9:24-27). The wonderful place we desire - is to be yielded to Christ completely so that He can work in us by the Holy Spirit to prepare us to be the Bride of Christ. Paul speaks specifically about this in II Corinthians 11:1-3, “Would to God you would bear with me in my folly, and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
God has made provision that every believer in Christ could be in that company of believers who will make up the Bride of the Lord Jesus Christ. The sad thing is that not all will avail themselves of that glorious place. Satan deceives believers and lulls many to sleep. (I Thess. 4:13-5:8). The Lord warned that we are to watch and be ready for His soon appearing. In Revelation 19:1-10 we see a beautiful scene in heaven, when all the church is gathered unto the Lord. Not all who there are the Bride. Read this passage. In verse 7 we see the “great multitude” introducing the Bride, who had “made herself ready.” There are other groups in heaven also who are not the Bride.
The purpose of this introduction about the Bridal company is to talk further about a parable that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 13:45-46 - “ The Goodly Pearl.” In verse 45 “the Merchant man” speaks of Christ who came to the world “seeking goodly pearls.” God has made provision for each believer to be His “pearl of great price.” Sadly, all will not let Him do His work in them. The word “goodly” in the Gk. means “beautiful, good, literally or morally virtuous.” The Lord Jesus came to earth to seek a Virtuous Bride. Proverbs 31:10 says, “Who can find a virtuous woman, for her price is far above rubies.” The word “virtuous” in the Hebrew language means “strength, valor, and moral character.” Jesus came down to call a people who would yield to Him completely and love Him supremely. He gave up all He had with the Father to find this Pearl.
Verse 46 shows what Jesus Christ did: “He went,” He sold all that He had,” and “He bought it.” The text says He was “seeking goodly pearls.” This speaks to us that provision is made for every believer to be that beautiful pearl that Jesus is looking for right now in this Age of Grace. Here we find, “Who, when He had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that He had, and bought it.” II Corinthians 5:21 tells us “For He hath made Him sin, who knew no sin, for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” He condescended and gave up all that He had with the Father and became a human being in order to die and save us. That’s how greatly He esteemed the “Pearl of great price.” This pearl represents the Bride of Jesus Christ.
And oyster is an ugly thing, and represents us in our Old Adamic state. It is rough, rock hard, and almost impossible to open. We were found in the dark depths of the Ocean of Sin in a very corrupt state. Oysters grow in water that is often smelly and has a bad flavor. This is so typical of all the human race, when Jesus found us. We were hopeless! He saw the worth of what the Oyster would produce though she was in a deep dark place. He came to that place and “made Himself of no reputation and took upon Himself the form of a servant (slave)” in order to rescue us. Hebrews 12:2 states, “ Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
What causes the pearl to grow in the ugly old oyster? The Lord works a work from the inside out. As we yield He does His work in us. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” Philippians 2:13. The pearl in the natural depth realizes an irritant bothering her. It is usually a parasite as an intruder, and not a grain of sand. This intruder into Gods’ plan is “sin.” If the parasite stays in the oyster it will destroy the oyster. God gave the Oyster a defense mechanism, a fluid to coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of the coating, called “nacre” is applied until a lustrous pearl is formed. This speaks to us that God is working a little at a time to change us into His image and make us ready to be that pearl of great price. We might liken the fluid (nacre) to the Holy Spirit who is constantly at work to make us into that beautiful pearl. This work is an inward, often unseen by others, work.
Pearls are formed sometimes by a bead of shell being implanted in the Oyster, but the non-nucleated pearl is much more valuable. The longer a pearl is grown in the mollusk the larger the pearl and its value increases. A natural pearl of value is found in less than one in every 10,000 wild oysters. Natural pearls created without human intervention are very rare. A string of natural South Sea pearls can cost more than 75,000 pounds. God does this work in us as we yield to Him. Our will must be surrendered to Him or this work cannot be finished. Others may not see the work, (as hidden away in the oyster) but the Lord, the Master Workman does, and has promised to finish the work He has begun. The only thing that hinders this is our will.
He did not look at the ugly shell, or the depths in which we dwelled or the worm or parasite of the old nature. He saw the beauty of what we would be when He molded us and His Spirit coated us with the beautiful righteousness of Christ. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through His poverty might be rich” II Corinthians 8:9. Revelation 19:7, says, “ Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.” Our job is to yield to His working in us.
Matthew 13:46 says, “Who, when he had found one pearl of great price” Jesus is looking and finding the “virtuous one” the only one of her mother-(Song of Solomon 6:9)” mentioned in Proverbs 31:10, whose “price is far above rubies.” This one captured His attention is “far above rubies.” Choose now to let the Lord work in you to be ready for this exalted place.