The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
When we consider the context of parable in Matthew 13:37-39, we see a different picture. Christ is depicted as the merchant seeking fine pearls and sells everything to purchase the pearls. We now see this parable in a way that is congruent with the rest of the bible.
Christ is the seeker, not us
As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
Romans 3:10-11 is crystal clear that we are not the seeker. There is nothing in the nature of the unrighteous that makes such a person seek God. Adam, in his sinful state did not actively seek God and instead he hid from God (Genesis 3:8-10). Instead, God in his nature is seeking union with us; even while Adam was in sin, He called out to Adam and asked “where are you?” Christ came to seek and save (Luke 19:10), not man. The nature of God is consistent in this parable.
Salvation is a gift, not a purchase
For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God;
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
To consider the gift of reconciliation with God and eternal life with Christ anything other than a gift is to be in direct opposition with what scriptures clearly say. Salvation cannot be purchased.
Christ finds us of great value
I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in his presence,
rejoicing in his whole world
and delighting in mankind.
Proverbs 8:30-21 (related to 1 Corinthians 1:24)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
God delights in us and when I say us, I mean all of mankind. Not just the saved, but the unsaved. And that is why Christ died for us, because He finds value in mankind. Mankind was worth the price of His son.
The world tells us that we are unique and valuable; that we should just be ourselves and love ourselves. There are heaps of songs like Katy Perry’s Firework (“You don’t have to feel like a waste of space; You’re original, cannot be replaced”), pumping out the message of self-value and self-worth into the hearts of people around the world. The problem is that while the world preaches this positive message, it will not validate our intrinsic value at any cost. The world wouldn’t sacrifice anything for us. The world’s value system is selfish, that’s a fact
The positive values are just a façade. The world functions like a hypocrite – all words without action. But Christ doesn’t put on any façade. He says that He values mankind and He backs His words by paying the costly price (1 Peter 1:18-19) for us to be reconciled to Him. The only place where we find ourselves truly valued is in Christ.
The fine pearls
When God sought for pearls, he didn’t just seek any pearl, but “fine” pearls. God already has other pearls, such as the angels and Old Testament saints (Hebrews 11:39-40). He wanted a certain quality of a certain kind. He wants different pearls with a distinctive and spectacular shine, shape and form. That quality comes from Christ Himself (John 17:22-24); He shares His own glory which us that we might reflect His qualities.
The congruency of this interpretation makes it clear that the “fine pearls” are God’s chosen saints – those whom He effectively died for, who share in His presence and glory. And this is our amazing God, who He seeks for us, sees value where there was none and yet pays the price to reconcile us to Him. That is undeserved grace.
It is so easy to forget this as a mature Christian. Preachers see no point in preaching to the already saved. But daily we need to be reminded of the beauty and majesty of the gospel. It is in this gospel that we see the grace and mercy of God. We need to constantly remind ourselves of the gospel by which we are saved.