Proper 24 · Mark 10:23-31 · October 18, 2009
By Robert W Weise
From the Impossible to the Possible of God’s Grace
We live in a world that continues to place personal wealth and individualism over and against the word of God and a life a dependent on Christ. Satan tempts us to believe that you can serve two masters: worldly wealth and God’s word. Jesus says: “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.” The current financial tough times remind us that God’s grace takes all of us, our material concerns, and the seemingly impossible situations that many of us find ourselves in, and moves us to God, with whom all things are possible. He saves the rich and the poor alike by His grace.
I. The impossibility of man seeking salvation.
A. Rich man and the camel: a journey in priorities (w. 23-24)
Persons of the world who continue to believe that placing the wealth of the world over and against the word of God will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Their trust is a false trust. They forget that God creator preserves them and gives them all that they need for body and soul. There is no supplemental diet for entering God’s kingdom of grace. There is no exception ‘to the rule’.
B. Priorities of earthly living: a journey that ends in a hellish prison (v. 31)
Persons who continue to believe that they can somehow reap a heavenly reward by sowing wealth, rather than living life in Christ and accepting by faith all the blessings that God gives, both physical and spiritual, will not be first when the ‘heavenly gates’ are open. They will be last, that is, outside of the kingdom of God. This is warning that shouldn’t be ignored in a post-modern world that believes that there are many ways to enter the ‘pearly gates’. Remember the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican: get the picture?
II. The possibility of God’s grace
A. With God, all things are possible (v. 27)
We have no ‘natural powers’ to save ourselves. Our hope is not in ‘self for ‘self is god. Our hope is in the one True God, Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith. Healing comes new every morning as we arise and see the sun shining. Healing begins with forgiveness of sins. For all things are possible with God. You cannot ask for any greater assurance and hope. As the writer of Hebrews states: “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”
B. With God, the gospel never fails to keep its promise (v. 29-31)
The Gospel of Jesus Christ gives forgiveness of sins, and where there is forgiveness of sins, there is salvation and eternal life. The glory of heaven will be fully and completely received in Christ by all Christians, past, present, and future. The riches of the world pale into insignificance to the riches of living the life of Christ and the eternal life that is ours now, but not yet. The persecutions that we suffer on behalf of Christ, in a world that seeks to suffocate Christ in our witness, give us renewed perseverance and hope, and hope in Christ does not disappoint us.
Our sinful flesh continues to seek the material things of this world, setting the priorities of the flesh over the priorities of faith which receives all blessings, both material and spiritual. As we continue to find ourselves tempted by Satan to rest our lives on the wealth of the world, God’s grace is able by its power to remind us that we cannot save ourselves. But by God’s grace all things are possible. He who left the riches of heaven came to seek and to save the lost. We were lost in our trespasses and sin, living in the illusion that we can somehow have ‘our cake and eat it too.’ Not so. A Christian cannot serve two masters. As we live the life of Christ in this world, we know, by God’s grace through faith alone, that with God, all things are possible. Amen.