The rich young ruler had to decide between riches and Jesus. He chose his riches and walked sadly away.

 

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” Mark 10: 23 [NIV]

 

and Jesus repeated himself to make the point:

 

“Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 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.” Mark 10: 24, 25.

The man’s wealth was a stumbling block. Because it was so central to his life, it precluded his entry into the kingdom. But Jesus’ disciples were astonished and said to each other “Who then can be saved?” verse 26

 

In the culture of the times, it was easy for the rich to get whatever they wanted. Indeed, being rich was commonly seen as evidence of God’s blessing; hence the amazement of the disciples. If a rich man could not enter the kingdom, what chance was there for an ordinary person?

 

The truth is that it is impossible for anyone to be saved by themselves – not the rich man with all his wealth or the disciples with all their failings. Jesus’ response contains a divine paradox:

 

“With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”Verse 27

 

There is nothing we can doto save ourselves. Salvation is totally the work of God. Neither riches, nor good works, nor regular Sunday attendance can bring about our salvation. On the other hand, there is nothing we have to do to be saved. Salvation is a free gift to all who believe.

 

John Stott writes,

 

Salvation is a rescue operation, undertaken for people whose plight is so desperate that they cannot save themselves.

 

Lord Jesus, thank you that you died for me. Help me to live for your greater glory.

 

David Long
m2o Church Rugby - St. Matthew & St. Oswald

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