Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | September 25, 2018

“With people it (salvation) is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”

Today’s devotion comes from Mark 10:17-27.

“As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good?  No one is good except God alone.  You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’”  And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.”  Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack:  go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven;  and come, follow Me.”  But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

And Jesus, looking around, *said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!”  The disciples were amazed at His words.  But Jesus *answered again and *said to them, “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.”  They were even more astonished and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?”  Looking at them, Jesus *said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God;  for all things are possible with God.”  Mark 10:17-27.

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It would be dangerous and an incorrect understanding of Scripture to think that it is only difficult for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of God.

And, it would also be dangerous and an incorrect understanding of Scripture to think that we only need to sell all we possess and give to the poor in order to be saved.

Although Jesus first addresses the wealthy, He later addresses everyone:  “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!” and “With people it is impossible, but not with God;  for all things are possible with God.”

And, even if it is only difficult (or more difficult) for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of God, it would be foolish for us to rest on the thought that we are not wealthy and thus it is easy for us to enter the kingdom of God.  Most of us are wealthy in the United States compared to people in the rest of the world and compared to people in Jesus’ time.

In any event, Scripture repeatedly teaches that is is difficult (and even impossible with people) for anyone (rich or poor) to be saved.  “AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER?”  1 Peter 4:18.

“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  Matthew 7:14.

“10 as it is written,

“THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,
THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS;
THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD,
THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”  Romans 3:10-11.

“… by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight …”  Romans 3:20.

And yet, other doctrine places its hope for salvation on man, teaching that man can contribute something to salvation to prove he is worthy of it.

If ever there was a “poster child” for other doctrine’s hope for salvation for man, it would be this man who claimed that he kept all the commandments from his youth up.  But, Jesus pointed out what he was missing, not teaching that all we need to do is just provide what is missing, but rather to teach that “With people it (salvation) is impossible, but not with God;  for all things are possible with God.”

Reformed Doctrine, consistent with today’s Scripture that “With people it is impossible” and other Scripture’s teaching of “Total Depravity” of man, only places its hope for salvation on God to provide all that is needed for salvation.

There is hope!  But, that hope does not come within man as other doctrine teaches.  That hope does not come from the alleged goodness of man, nor alleged wisdom of man, nor alleged free-will of man.

That hope comes from God Who provides all that we need for salvation from beginning to end:  from the beginning of “Unconditional Election” through “Limited Atonement” through “Irresistible Grace” to the end of “Preservation of the Saints”, the “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.    This true doctrine of salvation is more fully taught in the Reformed Confession called Canons of Dordt.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith;  and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  Ephesians 2:4-9.


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