Pearl of Great Value
HOLINESS AS THE PEARL OF GREAT VALUE
This website is a companion to Love The Truth. I hope you will visit that site, in which I have focused on the intellectual claims of Christ. On this site I will focus on Christ's claim on our heart, our whole heart. This is a site about HOLINESS. I believe that complete consecration to Christ is the only safe place for believers, and that complete surrender to the will of God is our only reasonable preparation for Christ's return.
In the parable of the Costly Pearl, Jesus does not specify what the "pearl of great price" is, though it is a prize eminently worth possessing. Since the merchant in the story had to sell "all that he had" in order to purchase the prized item, I believe The Pearl of Great Value cannot refer to justification or regeneration. For the one who comes to Christ for initial salvation has nothing to sell. He comes as a beggar, as a penniless supplicant.
But Sanctification is another matter. Sanctification is the blessing that comes from entire consecration to the will of God. After regeneration we still experience a partly divided will, which we must surrender to Christ entirely. Every believer finds in himself a nature that is not entirely renewed, that is afflicted with unholy appetites, unruly passions, and a bias towards sin which (despite all effort) leaves the soul with a sense of pollution, even when actual transgression is not present. This ongoing condition is described by Paul in Romans, chapter 7: "So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members."
The earnest Christian also finds upon close examination that those untamed remnants of his old life correspond with areas of his life that are not totally surrendered to God. Or if totally surrendered, he has not the faith to believe that God will cleanse him entirely of these things. In short, unruly flesh continues to war against the Spirit so that living for Christ is often a long, hard pull, rather than a joyful, victorious experience. It is the burden of this site to call all believers to sell all they have and buy the PEARL OF GREAT PRICE, which (I believe) is entire holiness of heart and life.
The following, from MY Testimony, gives E. Stanley Jones's unique slant on this precious experience:
"I came to Christ bankrupt. My capacity to blunder drove me to his feet, and to my astonishment he took me, forgave me, and sent my happy soul singing its way down the years. By grace was I saved, through faith, and that not of myself — it was the gift of God. I walked in the joy of that for months and then the clouds began to gather. There was something within me not redeemed, something else down in the cellar that seemed to be sullenly at war with this new life. I was at war with myself. I think I can see what happened. We live in two minds — the conscious and the subconscious.
The subconscious is the residing place of the driving instincts: self, sex, and the herd. These instincts have come down through a long racial history and they have bents toward evil. Into the conscious mind there is introduced at conversion a new life, a new loyalty, a new love. But the subconscious mind does not obey this new life. Its driving instincts drive for fulfillment apart
from any morality built up in the conscious mind. There ensues a clash between the new life in the conscious mind and the instincts of the subconscious. The house of man-soul becomes a house divided against itself. I wondered if this was the best that Christianity could do — to leave one in this divided condition? I found to my glad surprise the teaching concerning the Holy Spirit, and I found that the area of the work of the Holy Spirit is largely, if not entirely, in the subconscious. I found that if I would
surrender to the Holy Spirit this conscious mind — all I knew and all I did not know — He would cleanse at these depths I could not control. I surrendered and accepted the gift by faith. He did cleanse as a refining fire. In that cleansing there was a unifying. Conscious and subconscious minds were brought under a single control and redemption. That control was the Holy Spirit. I was no longer at war with myself. Life was on a permanently higher level. It was no longer up and down. The soul had caught its stride. I went on my way singing a new song. That song has continued. It is fresher today than then." - E. Stanley Jones
PREPARING FOR THE TRIBULATION
This site is also about the Return of Christ, and how Christians must prepare for His return. Too many believers have such a high view of grace that they justify a rather low view of the necessity of a holy life. But Scripture declares that "without holiness no one will see God" (Hebrews 12:14). This means that, whatever comes first for you and me--death, rapture, or tribulation--we have no scriptural grounds for confidence unless we are earnestly trying to obey all the commandments of God.
While I do not believe that the timing of Christ's return and our gathering unto Him are of paramount importance, I do see a possible danger to the
ever-popular Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine. If I prepare for the Great Tribulation, and the Rapture comes first (as many teach it will), I'll be prepared for the Rapture too, will I not? But those who expect to be taken out before "the Man of Lawlessness" appears may not recognize him when he appears, if their doctrine is wrong.
TO MY MIND THE PRE-TRIBULATION DOCTRINE IS THE MOST EGREGIOUS EXAMPLE OF WISHFUL THINKING IN THE HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY.
Two scriptures should settle the matter once and for all. First Matthew
23 "For THEN SHALL BE GREAT TRIBULATION , such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened [but the "elect," they tell us, are gone]. 23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect [but what has the tribulation to do with the elect? They have been raptured]. 25 Behold, I have told you before. 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. [there is only one "coming of the Son of man"; and that is in no manner "secret."] 28 For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered. 29 Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
If this is not the Rapture, it certainly sounds like the Rapture: we have the "sound of a trumpet," Christ visible to "every eye," disturbances in the heavens, angels gathering the elect living ("from the four winds") and the dead (from one end of heaven to the other")--all indications that the Second Coming and the Rapture are one event. AND IT IS AFTER THE TRIBULATION OF THOSE DAYS.
The second scripture that suggests that Christ's Return and the Rapture are one event is II Thessalonians 2:1-4:
"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus
Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, [this seems to be one event. When will it occur?] 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for THAT DAY shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God."
Clearly the Second Coming and Rapture occur only AFTER the falling away and the revealing of the "son of perdition."
Please contact me if you want to discuss anything or to receive prayer. I welcome all honest input. God bless you.