Mark 10: 17-30 - What must I do to be saved?
As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother." He replied and said to him, "Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth." Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God." Peter began to say to him, "We have given up everything and followed you." Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come."
So be it, says Jesus. Here, Christ promises that when we give it up for the sake of the gospel, we will receive 100 times more in the present age. Talk about an investment! So many people these days are willing to sacrifice small things for that next bigger thing they have their eyes on, like giving up fast food to save up for that vacation, or giving up nights out so they can buy a car. Or even stocks, giving up the money now so we can see the payoff eventually.
This is the promise that Jesus makes us – He says that the reward for giving up our "comfortable lives" for His Gospel will actually bring us 100 times comfort, in THIS life. Essentially, we are investing in the Gospel, and the Lord of All promises a payoff.
Now, for the rich man. Is it a sin to be rich? No. Is it possible for a rich man to enter heaven, yes. Why is it possible?
Hint: It's in the Gospel
All things are possible with God, but it's His grace alone that gets us into the Kingdom of Heaven. We are not saved just by following the law. The rich man followed the law and Jesus pointed out the one thing he was lacking, and it was not an earthly thing, it was Him. Attachment to earthly possessions will not get us into heaven.
Again, it is not sinful to possess. It is a blessing for which thanks should be given. Rather than rely on our own means however, it is Jesus on who we need to rely, for all things are possible only through God. It is in giving up all our talents, egos, possessions, looks, all these things of who we are, and giving them up to God that we are given eternal life. He will not take away but make us richer than when we started.
Peace be with you and love,