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This post is part of the series His Encouragement
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Welcome! Welcome, dearest friends, to His Encouragement: Biblical Inspiration for Your Thursday. Every Thursday, a few blogging friends and I will each bring you a Bible passage and a little hope-filled discussion. We pray that these Thursday posts help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
This verse is familiar to many of us. We doodle it in our journals, we hang it as word art on our walls, we share it on Instagram and Pinterest, we may even stitch it into needlepoint. We share it to loved ones and friends who may be going through a hard time or a life challenge. Like other Biblical passages, this verse is in great danger of becoming a platitude. So let us pause a moment today and contemplate the meaning of what Jesus was saying here.
Jesus spoke these words… this powerful promise… to His disciples at the end of a fascinating interaction with a wealthy young man. In verse 17, the young man approaches Jesus, but let’s take a moment to see how he goes about doing it. “…a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him [Jesus]”.
Running up and throwing oneself at another person’s feet is not the way to start a casual conversation or initiate a theological discourse. His question was consuming his thoughts to the point that he was willing to risk public humiliation in order to ask it.
What was the young man’s burning question? “Good teacher … what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus looked at the young man at His feet and immediately knew why this question was causing him such internal turmoil. With compassion, He started to recite the commandments from Exodus 20. “You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.” (vs 19)
And the young man answered: “Teacher … all these I have kept since I was a boy.” (vs 20)
At this point, Jesus shares with the young man the source of his angst and mental unrest: the secret sin that this man could not let go of.
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
The young man’s problem was not that he was lacking in knowledge. He grew up learning the statutes and commandments of God and he even strived to honor God. However, like many of us, he struggled with a habit or a sin that he was not willing to give completely to the Lord. His problem was covetousness. Yours and mine might be something different.
Jesus sadly told His disciples: “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” (vs 23) His disciples were completely dumbfounded. Here was a man who seemed, by their society, to have it all: he was born Jewish, he was a man, he was healthy, and he had great wealth. All of these things were considered blessings from the Lord and yet Jesus was turning this idea completely upside down. Everything they thought they knew about the Lord and salvation was wrong. If this young man who had everything might not be saved, what hope did any of them — did anyone — have? So they ask: “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” (vs 27)
Just like the wealthy young man could not earn his salvation through keeping nine of the ten commandments, we too cannot receive salvation on our own merits. In Romans 3:20, the apostle Paul explains it this way: “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.”
We are flawed, sinful people. We just cannot do it on our own no matter how hard we try. This is the whole reason why Jesus came! He lived the perfect, sinless life that we cannot and He paid the ultimate penalty of sin so we would not. (2 Corinthians 5:21) It is through His sacrifice that we are saved. Ephesians 2:8-9 says: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
So while salvation may be impossible with fallen humanity, we can take hold of Jesus’s promise. “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
Don’t be like the wealthy young man. Don’t try to do it all by yourself. If you are struggling with a bad habit or a secret sin, take it to the Lord in prayer. Lay whatever your burden is down at His feet. Let go of the need to control and trust the Lord to handle it. Have faith!
Be sure to also visit my fellow bloggers and read their encouragement for your Thursday as well:
- Trisha of Joy of Reading
- Nicole of The Christian Fiction Girl
- Jessica of A Baker’s Perspective
- Becca of The Becca Files
- Gina of Stories by Gina
- Rev. Rebecca Writes
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Continue reading this series:
His Encouragement: Remain steadfast under trial