Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Are we Too Rich to be Saved?


Mark 10:25-27 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, "Who then can be saved?" But Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible."


The Rich Young Ruler

There was a rich young ruler who thought he could get into the Kingdom of God by keeping the commandments, particularly the ones having to do with loving his neighbor.  But there was one problem, he was rich materially and didn’t understand how poor he was spiritually.   Now being rich is not a problem unless your riches are more important than your love for the Lord and your love for your neighbor.  Joseph of Arimathea was rich but he was obviously saved.  By telling the young rich ruler that he needed to sell his possessions and give them to the poor, He tested the young ruler’s love for his neighbor.  The rich young ruler failed the test.  He didn’t love his neighbor the way he said he did.  He was just a sinner in need of a Savior but he was not willing to acknowledge that. 


The Riches of the US

My wife and I have recently been to Belize, and it has become painfully obvious to us that in this country those who claim to be Christians are for the most part rich.  Some of us are richer than others, but we all have abundantly more than the average person in Belize.  Even those on welfare have more riches than most of the poor in Belize.  Our riches are important to us in this country as seen by our voting patterns.  The man who can promise us the most wealth usually gets our vote.


Riches Are a Test of Reality

I am so glad that the Lord tested the young man’s understanding of the law and his ability to live up to its demands.  He was able to show him and us how far short our own efforts and motives fall when it came to the gold standard of the law.  The Lord was going to be willing to sacrifice his life for sinners, but the young ruler was not willing to sacrifice his riches out of love for the poor.  Since he didn’t understand his need of a Savior, He never found the Lord to be anything other than a good man.  He never found  that that the Lord was good because He was God and as God, He was able and willing to die for our sins.  The rich young ruler went away from the Lord, the Lord did not go away from Him. 


God has made the Impossible Possible

So if having riches is a hindrance to believing the Gospel, how can anyone be saved?  With God all things are possible and He made salvation possible through the death of His Son.  If being asked to sell our goods and give the proceeds to the poor was really the way to heaven rather than the means of opening our eyes to our own covetousness, I certainly would not be saved.  I have never shared with the poor as much as I could have.  But I am glad that the Lord, has provided for sinners.  The impossibility of being saved by doing something and being worthy of salvation has been replaced with the possibility of being saved by receiving the gift of God instead of the wages of sin. Romans 6:23 tells us emphatically that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Fortunately, the rest of the Bible tells us that we don’t have to get good to get saved, we have to get saved to get good.


All things are possible with God and yet there are a lot of things that God will not do, even though He could.  He will not save by what we do, He saves by what He has done for us.  But He will not save those who see themselves righteous and good.  He will not and cannot save those who depend on riches rather than on Him.  He brings truth and events into each of our lives to help us see and understand our sinnership and our spiritual poverty.  He wants to show us how much we need Him and His way of salvation. 


Many people want to know why the Lord has allowed evil in this world since as God, He could have restrained it.  They have other objections to believing in God as well.  I would suggest that those who want their questions answered come to the Lord in simple trusting faith so that when they get to heaven, they can ask Him.  All things are possible with God but that doesn’t mean that He does everything that is possible.  I am glad that he has had mercy on those of us that most of the world would see as rich by making salvation a free gift.  God has provided for everyone who is willing to depend on His Son rather than on their own efforts or their own riches.


If getting to heaven by selling our goods was the way to go, I would not make it.  Salvation would be impossible for most of us.  But thank God, salvation is a free gift.  God has made the impossible, possible through the ultimate gift of the death of His Son.  But maybe, just maybe, we who are saved should start praying about how much is enough and whether we should be sharing what we have with the poor.


Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of March 6, 2015

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