2 Samuel 21-22 Luke 18:24-43
“When the people heard this, they asked, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Jesus answered, ‘The things impossible for people are possible for God.’” (Luke 18: 26-27 NCV)
Jesus’s reaction to the rich young ruler startled the people. Sure, it was hyperbole, but saying that it was hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God? Wealth was a sign of God’s blessings. People thought that if someone had wealth, it was because God had blessed them in their righteousness. If it was hard for a wealthy person to enter into the Kingdom of God, then who could be saved? Whom would God bless with salvation? The message of Jesus is clear: salvation is impossible by human efforts and is only possible because God arranged it.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of judging a person’s salvation by the criteria we meet. If we’re wealthy, we see it as a sign of God’s blessings and other people who are wealthy are blessed, and saved, by God. Not being wealthy becomes a sin. If we’re poor, we can believe that God loves us and other people in poverty because we haven’t succumbed to the god of wealth. Neither poverty nor wealth is a sign of God’s blessing. Jesus makes it clear that the blessing that brings salvation comes from our relationship with God. Nothing we have or don’t have, nothing we do or don’t do, matters until we enter into a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Once we do, that changes our whole outlook. If we’re wealthy, we understand that the blessings of wealth God has given us are meant to be used to bless others. If we’re living in poverty, no longer do we live in poverty, we live in the riches of God’s grace and we share those riches with others. All those things people depend on to believe for themselves that they’re saved are vanity, like dust in the wind. The only possible way to be saved is to depend on God by seeking Him through Jesus Christ. If your answer to how you know whether or not you’re saved is anything but “I’m saved by the grace of God because Jesus died on the cross to forgive our sins,” then you need to look at your relationship with God again.
Lord, the line from the song says it all: “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling.” Keep me from hoping in anything or anyone but You. Never let me be swayed by anything but Your love.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.