image 16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

Matthew 19:16-30 (ESV)

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  1. “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

    It’s amazing how people who call themselves Christians tend to ignore this most simple of all Christ’s lessons. Sure, on a complex theological level it’s about the rich man making his money into an idol. That’s the nature of all sin. But the common practice these days is to ignore this uncomfortable lesson with the blithe rationalization that “Jesus was talking about this guy’s wealth being and idol. I’m ok because I don’t make *my* wealth an idol.”

    Jesus didn’t say it’s as hard for *idolator* to enter the kingdom of heaven as a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. He said a *rich man,* specifically. Because that’s the nature of money, it always becomes an idol. Jesus also said, “Give up everything you own and follow me.” He didn’t say, “Keep your IRA and a diversified portfolio and follow me.” You want salvation, don’t be rich, it’s as simple as that. Wealth forecloses salvation.

    This is the most grossly, willfully misunderstood passage in the entirety of scripture. It’s as absurd as it is insidious. And the devil is laughing all the way to the bank.

    1. Umm… nope. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

      1. Jesus is addressing an individual. Jesus being God who is omniscient sees what is at the rich young ruler’s heart. He has not been generous. He has been storing up wealth. It is an idol. He was trying to justify himself, and Jesus points out to him and those around this young man that it is impossible.

      2. His point about the wealthy… he said it was with difficulty, it’s quite impossible for humans, but all things are possible for God, (v.26). This difficulty lies in dependence, when you are wealthy you do tend to be self-reliant, you tend to be independent, you think that things are ok. People are typically open to surrender to God when they hit rock bottom.

      3. You base salvation on human activity which is contrary to scripture. Again his disciples asked, “‘Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” With God all things are possible. Without God’s activity it would be impossible for any to be saved.

      4. In 1 Timothy 6:10 it says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” The love of money, not money itself. Money is a tool. Before you bash wealth consider where we would be if nobody had wealth. Jobs anybody???

      5. Paul instructs Timothy in dealing with those who are wealthy in his church – “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life,” (1 Timothy 6:17-19, ESV).

      6. What do you consider wealthy? What line would somebody cross for you? Who is rich, by the world’s standards that would be everybody in America. If you have food stored up beyond today you are rich compared to many worldwide. If your family has two cars – you are living like a king!

      No, trying to justify yourself through poverty is another attempt at self-righteousness which does not achieve salvation. Just as being wealthy doesn’t disqualify one from salvation. Instead it based on what Christ has done, as “he who knew no sin became sin so that we might become the righteousness of God,” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

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