In Christ Are Hidden All the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge. (Colossians 2:3)
Jesus is Wiser Than Solomon
In Old Testament times, King Solomon had God-given encyclopedic insight on many topics. People from all nations came to learn from him.1 But Jesus the God-man, 100% divine and 100% human in one person is wiser still. The Spirit of the LORD rested on Christ uniquely, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.2 And Jesus, our Mediator, is the great treasure-house where His followers find all that we need in this world and in the world to come.
Christ is the King of the kingdom of heaven. He is the treasure and the pearl of great value in Matthew 13:44-46. God the Father gives Jesus freely to whoever repents of their sins and trusts in Christ. So we do not need to renounce possessions to gain life with God. But after we come to Him, Jesus calls us to make God’s kingdom our highest priority and to forsake lesser things.3 Christ calls us away from inferior aims, ambitions, actions, and accomplishments to love and serve Him. It’s not really a sacrifice to follow Christ, it’s a bargain. Missionary martyr Jim Elliot (1927-1956) said, “We are not fools who give what we cannot keep, to gain that which we cannot lose.” We give our bodies and souls back to God as a living and holy sacrifice because of all He has done for us. We are not to copy the behavior and customs of this world, but rather let God transform us into new people, changing the way we think, feel, and behave.4
Texas Tom and the Vault
Imagine yourself back in the early 1900s during the Texas oil boom. Imagine a character named Texas Tom, worth billions in today’s dollars. Tom is easily depressed, but when he’s down, he doesn’t go to his pastor or a counselor. He goes to his banker and complains: “Nothing’s any good.” And the banker knows exactly what to do. He brings a security guard and takes his customer into the bank vault. He shows Tom bags of silver dollars on the floor and stacks of bills on the shelves. He lets Tom touch it, count it, and smell it for as long as he wants. Then the banker reminds Tom that his accounts contain more than the total amount in the vault that day!
Then Texas Tom’s frown turns upside down, his eyes gleam, and he says: “Everything’s fine now!” He doesn’t need to take any money with him. He’s cheered by simply remembering his resources. His change of perspective brings him comfort, joy, and peace of mind.
Whatever our need or situation, God the Holy Spirit plays “banker” with the Bible. He shows us Christ’s treasures throughout the Scriptures that make all of Jesus’ followers spiritually wealthy. No matter how much or how little we have in material prosperity, the Spirit says: Look in the vault. Look at the whole Bible and see what you have in Christ and rejoice in Him, despite what’s going wrong for you.
The Package Deal of Christian Salvation
I often remind Christians of the “Package Deal” we have in Christ. When God saves us, He gives us all this:
- Jesus, our new Lord and Master
- The Holy Spirit, our new Indweller, Comforter, Counselor, Guide, Sanctifier, and Intercessor
- Regeneration (new birth), a new heart, mind, and life
- Justification, a new record with God (pardon and acceptance)
- Adoption, a new family with God the Holy Trinity and Christ’s followers (His Church)
- Sanctification, a new God-serving way of life and power to live it
- Faith and repentance, new ways of dealing with God as our Father
- Good works, a new way of loving, grateful, obedient living
- Preservation, a new guarantee that God will finish what He starts in us
- Assurance, new confidence in God through Jesus
- Glorification, a new forever home and destiny with Christ in paradise
This is just one way to look at all the riches we have in Jesus. The Holy Spirit takes the whole Bible, over 31,000 verses to tell us of Christ’s infinite, eternal, and unchangeable value. And we need frequent and repeated trips into the vault of God’s Scripture to see what we have in Christ, because things often go wrong for Christians, as we see it. Jesus’ followers really experience troubles. The Bible is very honest about that.
Christ’s Value Encourages us in Hard Times
Elisabeth Elliot said: “Suffering is having what we don’t want or wanting what we don’t have. I think that covers everything.”5 We want a job, a spouse, a child, a friend, good health and we don’t have it. Or we have an unhappy family, a bad job, poor health, loneliness and we don’t want that. Christian believers are disappointed when our plans fall through, just like unbelievers. Little mishaps upset us unduly. We can’t count on material wealth, like Texas Tom did, because even if we’re wealthy, we will lose our earthly fortunes one day. We can’t count on good health or loved ones to stay with us forever. Job said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”6
We can’t count on anything in this world to last. This world and its desires will pass away.7 When Christ comes again, the earth and everything in it will be destroyed by fire.8 So we must learn to hope in the Lord Jesus and be happy in Him and cast all our anxiety on Him because He cares for us.9
I am reminded of the song “Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart,” written in 1978 by Henry Smith. This was his only published worship song out of 300 compositions. Smith wrote the song after graduating from college, but still having trouble finding work. I thought of this song recently with many in our city and country out of work because of COVID-19. Those numbers will increase. How will people cope? Henry Smith also suffered from a degenerative condition that eventually left him legally blind. The song became famous in 1986, but publishers first cited it as “author unknown.” Later on, Smith got credit for the song. The lyrics are simple and go like this:
Give thanks with a grateful heart. Give thanks to the Holy One.
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son.
And now let the weak say: I am strong. Let the poor say, I am rich,
Because of what the Lord has done for us. Give thanks.
COVID-19 reminds me of C. S. Lewis’ statement, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”10 So let’s be like Texas Tom and go into the vault of Scripture. Let’s take stock of the treasure we have in Jesus, and do it often, every day, several times each day. Let’s encourage ourselves and others with all that we have in Christ, until He returns for us as He has promised. We can count on Him!
Notes (various translations): 1 1 Kings 3:28, 4:34. 2 Isaiah 11:2. 3 Matthew 6:33. 4 Rom 12:1-2. 5 Suffering Is Never for Nothing, p. 9. All of Chapter 1 is helpful on this point. 6 Job 1:21. 7 1 John 2:17. 8 2 Peter 3:1-18. 9 1 Peter 5:7. 10 C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, Samizdat edition, p. 57-58.