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rich, but cannot be saved


“With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).  Isn’t it amazing?  Jesus could have said this in connection with any of his miracles.  But he only said it about saving a rich man.

Jesus had performed many miracles – impossible events:  Changed water into wine, healed the blind, fed the 5,000, then later the 4,000, raised the dead, walked on water, and healed the sick,

But why did Jesus choose this situation to declare that all things are possible to him even though they seem impossible to man?  The rich young ruler in the story had asked, “What good thing shall I do that I May have eternal life?”  Jesus said, “Keep my commandments.”  He said, “Which ones?”.  Jesus then listed six of the Ten Commandments, and the young man said, “I’ve done all these from my youth.”

Then Jesus exploded a bombshell on him.  “Go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me” (Matthew 19:21).

In his previous list of Commandments, Jesus had omitted his most crucial summary of the first four commandments.  “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”  Matthew 22:37-38.  Now, he was testing the young man concerning the first four.

Did he genuinely want eternal life?  Did he sincerely want to follow Jesus?  Then, “go, sell, and give.  Then you will have treasure in heaven.  After that, come and follow me.”

The Scripture says the young man left sorrowful at that point, for he had great possessions.  His possessions were more important to him than knowing Jesus.

Was Jesus adding a step to the plan of salvation?  Give away everything you have.  No, No, NO!

After he left, Jesus commented on how difficult it was for a  rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a  needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”  The disciples then asked, “Who then can be saved?’  Jesus answered, “With men, it is impossible, but with God  all things  are possible.”

Other than the resurrection of Jesus and the future resurrection of all believers, the greatest miracle is not physical healing, feeding thousands, changing water into wine, walking on the water, or any of the long list of miracles Jesus performed.

The greatest miracle of all has been performed countless times through the centuries.  It is the miracle of being raised from spiritual death to spiritual life, from a life of sin to a  life of victory over sin, from loving the world to loving Jesus, from loving money and success to loving  Jesus.

The rich young ruler could not be saved because he wanted to know what good thing he could do to inherit eternal life.   He thought he was capable of doing it himself.  Salvation is not earned by what we can do but by what Jesus has already done on the cross.

It is the temptation of the rich to think they can do it themselves.  It is the assumption of the young and healthy that they can do it all themselves.  It is the persuasion of the religious to think that they can earn salvation by their good works.  The error of the rich, the young, the religious, the healthy athlete, and the positive thinkers is that they can do it themselves.  In truth, it is impossible for anyone to be saved  – –

Unless –  – –

They realize they can never be rich enough, give enough, be good enough, work enough, be religious enough, or be sufficient enough to merit eternal life.

Mark 10:14-15: “But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.  Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.”  What does a little child have to offer God?  Riches?  Talent?  Skill?  Superior mind?  He has nothing but himself.  And that’s all we have. We have nothing that could cause God to forgive us our sins and give us eternal life.

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy (not giving us the judgment we deserve) he saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”  Titus 3:5

For by grace (God giving us something good that we don’t deserve) are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.  Not of works lest any man should boast.  Ephesians 2:;8,9.

Jesus is the ONLY way, and he offers salvation to us.  (John 14:6)

To be saved, we need to know and acknowledge:

The MIRACLE:  Jesus comes in, and you have a new life.  You now want to please the  Lord with your life.  If your conversion is genuine, you change from your life of sin to a new life in Christ.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Have you let Jesus perform this IMPOSSIBLE MIRACLE in your life?

About Dale B

I am a born-again Christian who loves to write and share the Good News about Jesus. Raised on a small Wisconsin farm and saved at age 12, I have been active in Christian service since that time. My many years as a pastor, accountant, and lay worker in the church have equipped me to help those in need. In retirement now in Texas, the Lord has led me to writing as a means of winning people to Christ and helping Christians grow in the Lord. By God’s grace I hope to be a blessing and encouragement to you.

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  1. Amen!!!

    Dale, this was fabulous!

    I could see a congregation in attendance as you give this sermon and a cacophony of applause followed with affirmations of Amen!

    Yes, Jesus is THE WAY. And I pray that those who are in the dark, who don’t know Jesus, will see the glimmer of light shining in their direction, and start a life that can only come from knowing Him.

    Thank you for this wonderful devotional and for your steadfast love of the LORD that’s reflected in all your articles.

    God Bless you Dale~

  2. Indeed. Only the words written in His book can bring us to Himself. It has to be by Him, through Him, and for Him. He writes the rules for He is the Ruler and Judge of the Universe.
    Oh if people take their eyes off themselves and look closely at the real picture and understand that He paid the full price for our sins so we can go free and be received into His family.
    His spoken word will not return void. It is alive and brings forth new life and meaning!
    Thank you for breaking forth the Living Bread that satisfies the most important issue we need to hear and receive. May many come out of darkness and into His light!
    Praying many will find rejoicing within their hearts through this message.

  3. Spot on Dale! Until we know we are impossibly lost, we will never come to Jesus alone for salvation. Thank you for your clear, accurate and heartfelt presentation of this most important eternal life & death truth. May God use this powerful truth to set many free from the enslavement of self-righteousness and sin. Blessings!

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