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Communion Meditations (2018)


String of Pearls

Phillipians 3:7-9

Originally scheduled for August 26

A goodly part of the study of economics concerns itself with the difference between the price of something and the value of that same thing. We are generally familiar with two cases:

·         There are items of great value, which carry a great price. One might think of a sports car that can take you from 70 years old to 18 in 2.4 seconds.

·         There are things which are of great value to someone, but very low price. Think of a child receiving a balloon animal. The latex balloon is very inexpensive, but the glow on the child’s face is priceless.

Oscar Wilde once said the cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. An honest man knows both price and value.

One of the marvelous examples of this is given by St. Paul in this passage:

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,

(Philippians 3:7-9)


To understand this, consider the value of the Law of Moses. In particular, think of the Ten Commandments. The Mosaic law greatly surpassed the other ancient codes of law and order, and much of it is still found in our legal system today. It is a superb example to us. Paul had increased the value of the Law to himself by becoming a Pharisee. He studied the law all of his life; it was his life’s work. It is as if you studied to become a brain surgeon and were suddenly told you need to be an auto mechanic. That’s how much Paul gave up for Christ. It might be said that he exchanged a string of pearls (the Law) for the Pearl of Great Price.

But that is not how you received the Lord. Consider the price you paid for the privilege of taking communion this morning. You received salvation from our Lord Jesus Christ at no cost to you. You didn’t make a down payment; nothing was required of you financially. It was given to you by grace. You got it free. But that is not the value of salvation; just the price.

The value of salvation can easily be seen by what it cost God to do it — the life of his son. Christ became a human being like us, lived and taught, and then died a horrible death so that we might have that free grace. It is the great example of God’s character:

·         It shows his goodness, his desire to increase righteousness by justifying us.

·         It shows his mercy, the product of his love for the work of his hands.

So as you partake this morning, stopped to remember the value you have received and the price you did not have to pay.


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