Can a Rich Man Go to Heaven?
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.” – [Mar 10:24-27 NASB]
This is part two of another blog post: Heaven is for Real? I recommend that you read that post before you read this one. I think that Scripture above has been quite troublesome to many of the Lord’s children. Indeed, some have used Jesus’ words to trouble us. Today, I want to lift the burden off of you and clear up some things in these verses. The first misconception is that the Kingdom of God is where we go when we die. No, Jesus was not talking about some place called “heaven”. Jesus is often misquoted as saying:
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter
the kingdom of Godheaven.
The Kingdom of God is where God reigns in Jesus Christ. The heavenly places are indeed part of God’s Kingdom, but Jesus is not referring to the heavenly places. We are the Ekklesia of God and the Kingdom of God is within us and among us! Likewise, as we are the Kingdom of God now, there is a coming Kingdom of God, which we may inherit. Does that mean that there are two Kingdoms of God? No, there is only one. The difference is that we do not yet experience the fullness of the Kingdom of God. But, our Father is bringing us to that fullness, by His Spirit, for His Son. Since, the Kingdom of God is now within us, what was Jesus saying? Jesus was saying that our physical wealth, prevents us from living by the Spirit. It is in our Spirit, that the Kingdom of God is now. That Kingdom is spreading to your soul, or mind, will, and emotions. Someday, we will enjoy the fullness of the Kingdom, when we shed off these bodies of death and we receive our new bodies like Jesus Christ.
So do we have to get rid of all our money? Do we have to sell everything that we own? We can, but Jesus is not giving a command that everyone do so. He is using this wealthy person as an example for us. In Luke 16, our Lord gives us a parable to show that we should be prudent in the use of the unrighteous wealth. He ends that parable by saying this:
“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? “And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” – [Luk 16:10-13 NASB]
Brothers and sisters, don’t be slaves to wealth. Don’t love money and things. If you have wealth, don’t waste it, but use it to help others, especially those around you.
Wealth can be a major hindrance to walking by the Spirit. Through wealth, all kinds of distractions and anxieties come. The more you accumulate, the more distractions and anxieties you will have. But, if you do have the wealth of the world, we have this confidence from our Lord Himself:
“With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – [Hbr 12:1-2 NASB]