This week my thoughts brought me to Luke 18. The portion of this chapter that caught my attention comes from a very familiar account, the account of the rich young ruler. In this portion of chapter 18, verses 24 to 27 made me pause for a moment and think. The passage reads as follows, “And Jesus looked at him and said, ‘How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! For 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 who heard it said, ‘Then who can be saved?’ But He said, ‘The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.’” (Luke 18:24-27 NASB)
This section is probably very familiar to you, and if you are like me, you have read it many times. What really struck me as I read this was the question those listening asked, and Jesus’ answer to the question. Through this section I always focused on verses 24 and 25, and how hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God. It’s easy to do, because Jesus paints this dramatic picture of a camel trying to fit through the eye of a needle, something that is impossible. The people realize this and then ask, not how then can a rich man be saved, but rather, how than can anyone be saved. Jesus’ answer is not, the poor and the destitute, or those who truly seek me. He instead responds, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” What this is then saying is something I have known and believed for a long time, that God is completely in control of salvation and that he alone saves us through grace, but I did not necessarily pick up on it in this passage, instead I wrongly focused on what Jesus said about the rich being like a camel. Salvation is unattainable through our efforts and striving, and it is only by God’s work of grace and mercy that we can be saved.
Let us not forget that it is impossible for us to save ourselves, and that salvation is a glorious gift from God given to those whom He has adopted as His sons and daughters. (Ephesians 1:5)
Thanks for reading and thinking with me,