Pearl of Great Price

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, [even] the salvation of [your] souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace [that should come] unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:1-11; underlining mine).  

“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing [this,] that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:1-4).

“Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:1-5)

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates” (2 Corinthians 13:5-6).

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only [so,] but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us” (Romans 5:1-5).

True regenerate Christians know that they love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and incorruptibility “because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto [them].” Nevertheless God in His wisdom has chosen to prove, test, and refine His blood-bought saints in the furnace of affliction and persecution in order that praise, honour, and glory might redound to Jesus Christ at His appearing (1 Peter 1:6-7).

The following quote might be adapted or modified to the Scriptures quoted above. This is by the English lexicographer and essayist Samuel Johnson (1709-1784).

“Prosperity, as is truly asserted by Seneca, very much obstructs the knowledge of ourselves. No man can form a just estimate of his own powers by unactive speculation. That fortitude which has encountered no dangers, that prudence which has surmounted no difficulties, that integrity which has been attacked by no temptations, can at best be considered but as gold not yet brought to the test, of which therefore the true value cannot be assigned. He that traverses the lists without an adversary, may receive, says the philosopher, the reward of victory, but he has no pretensions to the honour. If it be the highest happiness of man to contemplate himself with satisfaction, and to receive the gratulations [sic] of his own conscience; he whose courage has made way amidst the turbulence of opposition, and whose vigour has broken through the snares of distress, has many advantages over those that have slept in the shades of indolence, and whose retrospect of time can entertain them with nothing but day rising upon day, and year gliding after year” (Samuel Johnson, The Works of Samuel Johnson; underlining mine).

For the true Christian, afflictions and persecutions confirm over and over and over again the preciousness and true value of the Pearl of Great Price, who is Jesus Christ.

“Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it” (Matthew 13:46).

The universal atonement heretic John Calvin correctly comments on Matthew 13:46.

“By the word ‘buy’ Christ does not mean, that men bring any price, with which they may purchase for themselves the heavenly life; for we know on what condition the Lord invites believers in the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 55:1), ‘Come and buy wine and milk without money and without price.’ But though the heavenly life, and every thing that belongs to it, is the free gift of God, yet we are said to buy it, when we cheerfully relinquish the desires of the flesh, that nothing may prevent us from obtaining it; as Paul says, that he reckoned all things to be loss and dung, that he might gain Christ (Philippians 3:8).  

Another instance would be John the Baptist “purchasing” this Precious Pearl by, among other things, not fearing the face of men. John the Baptist, born of God, overcame the world: and the victory that overcometh the world, even his faith. And OUR faith — and faith HAS AN OBJECT: Jesus Christ the Lord, the Son of the True and Living God.