We read in Acts that Paul's gospel was that "that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." A pearl only comes from patiently dealing with trouble. A piece of grit gets up under a clam's neck and troubles it, and the way the clam deals with the trouble produces something of lasting beauty and value. In order to get into that city, to see Christ, it will take perseverance. In fact, in we read that God, "will give eternal life to those who persist in doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves..." Jesus said, "The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to (eternal) life, and those who find it are few." So those that see those gates of pearl will be the ones that know what the pearl is all about.
At about this point, some will be asking if we're talking about our own hard work saving us, or impressing God so much he'll just have to let us in. Short answer- not even a little bit. Come back for the next installment to see what kind of road we've got for the journey!