It has well been said that some people know the price of everything, but the value of nothing. Sadly, when it comes to faith in Christ, many are completely clueless about true value. We may talk about value judgments, but without knowing what true value is, or how to make sound judgments, we really only exercise personal preferences.
Marketeers work on the concept of perceived value. Sometimes we are pleasantly surprise when we receive something of real value, like the expensive watch we received some time ago for very little. But more often we soon realise that we have been sold a shoddy and valueless piece of junk. The only value in the transaction accrued to the unscrupulous marketeer, whose bank balance was greatly enhanced. Such experience, and particularly our failures, can lead us into a cynical state where we refuse to believe it is possible to know true value.
Twice this past week I’ve been faced with the concept of true value. On Sunday, R C Sproul preached on The Precious Blood of Christ, and on Thursday evening the opening hymn and Scripture reading at the prayer meeting and Bible study focused on the preciousness of Christ. A reprise of our earlier studies in Daniel reminded us that the major theme of chapters 1-5 is the question of value. Witness the bookends of references to the sacred Temple vessels, and the many references to precious metals in the various images. The culmination of God’s assessment of Belshazzar, the king with no scruples and no values, is all about value.
True value, ultimate value, is to be found in God himself. Christ is that “chosen and precious” cornerstone (1 Peter 2:6) whose “precious blood” (1 Peter 1:19) has ransomed his people whose faith, when it is tested for genuineness, proves more precious than gold (1 Peter 1:7). No wonder Christian believers consider God’s promises “precious and very great” (2 Peter 2:4), for it is through them that we may become partakers of the divine nature.
These are things of true value. But without God, they are simply empty words of promise and futile gestures if Christ was merely a deluded human being. And Christian believers are simply gullible if they suffer for a vain faith. Their value is not intrinsic, but extrinsic. It is their relationship to God, the fact that they derive from God’s character and being, that gives them value — real value, true value, eternal value.
The challenge of earthly life is to recognise that true value, and to let it have an abiding and persuasive influence on us. Viewed form the framework of earthly values we will reject God’s Living Stone, the Lord Jesus Christ, while in reality he is “in the sight of God chosen and precious” (1 Peter 2:4). Not to concur with God’s value judgment of his Son is to being dishonour and ultimately divine judgment on one’s head. But to concur with it wholeheartedly is to bring oneself honour, rather than shame.
Whatever we value in life, may our supreme value be God’s chosen and precious Cornerstone — the Lord Jesus Christ. He is of supreme value, and only a life supported by such value and strength will be truly worthwhile and of lasting value in God’s sight.