"He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything."
Colossians 1:18

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

The New Precious

How pleasant it is to notice still more ways in which God differs from His creation!

The Koh-i-Noor diamond is a stunning piece of the history of India, an exceptionally large gem that was unearthed hundreds of years ago.  For a time, it reigned as the largest diamond in the world.  Generations of rulers and aristocrats have regarded it with calculating eyes, and as one might expect of an oversized diamond, it has passed rather forcibly through many hands and nations over the years, being carried away time and again in the aftermath of some conflict.  This gem currently resides in the Tower of London.

It is large, rare, and old, and so increasingly precious.  This axiomatic:  a thing is hard to come by, or it ages through the centuries, and so becomes precious.  Be it a Stradivarius, a first-edition Dumas, a Colt-Paterson 1836, or a photograph of a 19th century ancestor, scarcity generates "precious." 

So says the world, and so it often contents itself with this sort of "precious" - and to be honest, there is some truth here, of course.  The intent here is not to puncture our notion of preciousness, but rather to demonstrate how wonderfully precious God's character is, and in an entirely unique manner.  Think about this a moment - if you told me that there was something which was found throughout the world, and could be had freely, and would never wear out, and indeed more could always be had, I would conclude you were speaking in riddles, and perhaps the answer was "dirt."  "Precious" would not be the first adjective I would ascribe.

Of course we refer not to dirt in this description, by to the nature of our Lord!  If we can turn our thoughts from dirt and the like, and consider instead God's character, then things curiously transform.  Let us consult the authority and take a brief sampling:

  • God's ways are unsearchable.  (Rom. 11:33)
  • God's judgments are unfathomable.  (Rom. 11:33)
  • God's wisdom and knowledge are profoundly deep.  (Rom. 11:33)
  • God's love surpasses knowledge (Eph. 3:19) and extends to the heavens (Ps. 103:11)
  • God's peace surpasses comprehension (Phil. 4:7)
  • God's faithful love never ends (Lam. 3:22)
  • God's mercy is rich (Eph. 2:4)
  • God's grace is surpassingly rich (Eph. 2:7)
  • God's sovereignty encompasses all (Ps. 103:19)
Thus the things God is, and the things God does, are precious, but they are not rare; they are superabundant!  Were all believers, for instance, to devote themselves to standing on the nearest street corner and crying out continually of our Lord's abudant forgiveness and saving love, and were each of us seeing ten lost souls come to repentance in every hour, we would no more risk exhausting the extents of that love and forgiveness than I would risk blotting out the sun by standing atop the CN Tower.

The outpourings of God's character upon us are exquisite, but not fragile; valuable, but not rare; priceless, but not locked away; as old as time, but new every morning.  How then do we explain how wonderfully precious He and His character are to us?  It is simply as follows:  the preciousness of God's character does not stem from its scarcity, but from its perfection.  Who God is, and what He does, are so entirely and unfailingly perfect that He immeasurably distinguishes Himself from His own creation until even His holy seraphim, who have never tasted evil, cannot look upon Him, and and are pleased perpetually to cry out His utter holiness (Is. 6:2-3). 

This perfection, and the incontestable separation that it brokers, mean that God possesses what we cannot.  Here we perceive the scarcity of it - it is alien to our fallen sensibilities - and when by those very perfections our spiritual eyes are opened in salvation to the sheer wonder of God, He is made exceedingly precious to our hearts.  We are prostrated before the glorious grace He bestows, and then are pressed down again as we perceive the magnitude of grace yet promised but not dispensed, an infinity of unceasing glory which will serve through long and tireless epochs to increasingly demonstrate just how precious He has been all along.

Our Lord Jesus, grant that we should regard you with the value that is Your glorious and unique due, and may appropriate and genuine worship issue not only from our minds and our hearts, but from our hands in service to You alone!


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