THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE
Anita Clark – Pastor, Grace Chapel, 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. A careful study of Philippians 3:7-14, 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; where all is “counted loss” to win Christ.
No where in the Bible does it teach that we win salvation by any good works. In fact the opposite is taught. Titus 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He has saved.” Eph. 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 Phil. 3:11, Paul says, “Not as though I have already attained” (GK. “To seize or attain).” The word “apprehend” (V. 13) means almost the same thing, “to seize, attain, apprehend.” Paul sums up his desire in V. 14, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
In other portions Paul speaks of the race course likening it to our spiritual day by day journey to achieve this place as the winner - I Cor. 9:24-27. The wonderful place we desire, to be yielded completely so that the Holy Spirit prepares us to be the Bride of Christ. Paul speaks specifically about this in II Cor. 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, 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 Rev. 19:1-10 we see a beautiful scene in heaven, when all the church is gathered unto the Lord. Not all who are there are the Bride. In V. 7 we see a “great multitude” introducing the Bride, who had “made herself ready.” There are guests and servants at the wedding, Vs. 5 & 9.
Matt. 13:45-46, Jesus spoke of “The Goodly Pearl.” 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.” The word “goodly” in the Gk. is “beautiful, good, literally or morally virtuous.” The Lord Jesus came to seek a Virtuous Bride. Jesus came 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.
V. 46 “He went…and “He bought it.” The Lord is “seeking goodly pearls.” This speaks to us that provision is made for every believer to be that beautiful pearl that Jesus is looking for in this Age of Grace. “Who, when He had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that He had, and bought it.” II Cor. 5:21 “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 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 came to that place, “made Himself of no reputation and took upon Himself the form of a servant (slave)” in order to rescue us. Heb. 12:2, “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.”
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” Phil. 2:13. The pearl realizes an irritant bothering her. God gave a defense mechanism, a fluid to coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of the coating, 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 to the Holy Spirit constantly at work to make us into that beautiful pearl. This work is an inward, often unseen by others.
The longer a pearl is grown, 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. God does this work in us as we yield to Him. The Master Workman has promised to finish the work He has begun. The only thing that hinders this is our will.
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 Cor. 8:9. “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7). Our job is to yield to His working in us.
Matt. 13:46, “When he had found one pearl of great price, the “virtuous one,” the only one of her mother” S. of Solomon 6:9, also mentioned in Prov. 31:10, whose “price is far above rubies.” May we choose now and let the Lord work, so we will be ready for this exalted place.