By Mazino Abraham Egbuwoku
Certain things of note happened, when Jesus met with the rich man who greatly desired eternal life (Mark 4:17-27).
- The rich man knelt down before Jesus to plead for eternal life. HE WAS REALLY HUNGRY FOR ETERNAL LIFE and showed it by kneeling before the Master to declare his desire for salvation. Have you given your life to Christ by kneeling or praying the sinners’ prayer during an altar call? Well, coming to Jesus and verbally giving your life to Jesus is not enough for salvation because even if mercy finds you, grace can still slay you – (Rom 8:12-14). In today’s hyper-graced cravings, you may not have heard this often but just read on.
2) Jesus replied him by telling him to obey or fulfill the law (which he couldn’t yet because the Holy Spirit had not been given). Do you know that you have to fulfill the law? Again you may not have heard this in contemporary hyper-grace and anti-law doctrines of “another jesus” (2 Cor 11:2-4; Gal 1:6-9; Rom 8:3-4; Rom. 13:8-14; Gal 5:13-24)
Rather than ask for Christ’s help, the man arrogantly boasted, deceiving himself that he had fulfilled the law. (Note: fulfilling the law was required then (though they could not, and is required now, because we have the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit).
3) To show the rich man that he did not and could not yet fulfill the law, Jesus tested him with the very first two commandments: “Give all your wealth to God by giving it to the poor. Take up your cross (say goodbye to your selfish/fleshly/worldly desires) and follow me. Of course the man could not. Unfortunately, many think that grace means – throw away your cross and enjoy your fleshly desires, after all, God is love.
4) The man went away because he could not give his love of mammon, up for God. (Again, note that Jesus did not tell him “you have unmerited favor, you are kneeling before grace Himself, so, just come as you are and hold on to your love for mammon and self-gratification. Enjoy your mammon, adultery and sin, for grace is right here with you”.
This is sadly how many souls are being led astray today – with sweet enticing words which are emotionally colorful and appealing, yet unreflective of the essence of true mercy and grace.
5) Though the man walked away because he could not let go of his love for mammon, we are taught that JESUS LOOKED AT HIM, LOVED HIM, BUT STILL LET HIM GO ALL THE SAME. (The true love of Christ does not mean the permission of sin, neither does it cajole anyone to leave the evil way that they’ve chosen over Gods way of true holiness. The opportunity to choose Gods will and forsake the evil way is yours to SINCERELY AND APPROPRIATELY make. Like Abel, you MUST serve God acceptably (HEB 12:28; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 5:8-11, 1Pet 2:5).
Sadly, contrary to the false hyper grace being peddled out there, Jesus can love you even as you stroll majestically and supremely confident into the everlasting fires of hell, because its up to you to worship God by choosing Him and the power of His true grace, above sin, mammon, flesh, satan and the world (Mr 7:15-23).
6) Next, Jesus teaches us that RICH PEOPLE ARE AN ETERNALLY ENDANGERED SPECIES. I can imagine the shock of many as they read this. Well, it was exactly the same shock that the people around Jesus displayed, when He uttered those immutable words “Being rich could just be a first class boarding pass to hellfire forever”. To make matters worse, Jesus reiterated this truth which many covetous people want to bury, with an even greater alacrity and clarity that surprised everyone present – “Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into 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 into the kingdom of God”.
7) No wonder Apostles Paul and James stressed this truth over and again – RICH PEOPLE MUST BEWARE BECAUSE THEIR SOULS ARE IN GREATER PERIL OF ETERNAL DAMNATION OR THEY ARE POTENTIALLY PRONE TO GRAVE EVERLASTING DANGER (1 Timothy 6:3-11; James 5:1-8).
The rich MUST understand the perditious potential that money portends and seek true grace by which to calibrate their hearts and supremely esteem God.
8) Money can make people treat or worship it as a god (though few will ever admit even when they are mammon worshippers), and money can make people live as worldly gods (though mammon also knows how to blind its worshippers from discerning their idolatry).
Jesus said “..how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!”
How do men trust in riches? Simply when we do mammon’s bidding instead of God’s.
When God says don’t cheat, lie or steal to get money but mammon say cheat, lie and steal, then you can repent afterwards because you have grace. Who have you been obeying?
When God says do not let money make you love the world and the things of the world – its sinful, materialistic, vain, immodest, self-seeking, prideful lusts, but mammon says, “ignore all those boring voices and live large, dominate your world, enjoy all the goodies and pleasures of this world, there’s unmerited favor for you”. Who have you been obeying?
When YOUR LOVE FOR MONEY or things, have so gripped you that even if God says, “sell ALL of it and give it away for me; leave that adulterous even murderous relationship which you cherish so dearly, and take up your cross after me”. But you say “Oh no I cannot, after all there is unmerited favor for me”. You are no different from the rich man. You are not a true child of faith, like Abraham who gave Isaac up for God’s will.” Stop using hyper grace to pacify your fleshly desires. Stop abusing and maligning true grace, because true grace is Gods ability given to those who crave it, by which they may obey God’s word and fulfill the first two commandments of God. True grace is a warrior and trainer in righteousness (Tit. 2:11-15)
9) This was the problem of the rich man – mammon had given him such power that he couldn’t surrender all to God. What about you? Are you walking away from Jesus or have you embraced another jesus who deceitfully allures you saying “my unmerited favor is sufficient for you. I will still love you and your mammonism together. I will still love you and your adultery together. No need to sell all and follow me. Enjoy your sin and enjoy your life, for you have grace”.
10) Finally, the astonished disciples summoned the courage while yet in their bewilderment to ask the Lord, “who then can be saved”?
Therefore, it was clear to them that if they did not resolve this potential eternal danger which money posed, the only heaven that they ever will see or enjoy, shall be the one that money affords them on this earth – AS THEIR ETERNITY WILL BE CERTAINLY CALAMITY.
Has your pastor taught you about the dangers of money and how to flee the love of it? Has your pastor taught you not to love this world and to embrace contentment, meekness and modesty (1Tim 66-11)?
Well, Jesus gave them reprieve when He taught that the only way to conquer the eternal danger which money portends, is by the power of God. He said IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR RICH MEN TO CONQUER MAMMON, ONLY GOD CAN. THEREFORE WE MUST PROACTIVELY SEEK GODS ENABLEMENT TO REIGN OVER MAMNON AND ANYTHING WHICH SEEKS TO GAIN GREATER INFLUENCE OVER OUR HEARTS, THAN THE REIGN OF CHRIST AND GODS WORD.
If you walk with or get really intimate with and yielded to the Holy Spirit, you will fulfill the law of God which is good.
Do not let anyone deceive you that grace means that Christ overlooks your materialism, covetousness, adultery, fraud or murder. Mercy will, but grace (divine enablement) will slay you because you refuse to seek Gods will sincerely and therewith pay your debt of righteousness to God – the debt which His Spirit can help you pay.
LET THEY WITH EARS…HEAR!
(For further reading: Rom 13:8-14; Rom 8:3-14; Gal 5:13-26; Rom 6:12-19; Tit 2:11-15).
And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest:go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven:and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into 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 into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying amongst themselves, “who them can be saved”? And Jesus looked upon them saying “WITH MEN IT IS IMPOSSIBLE BUT NOT WITH GOD. FOR WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE…