“And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.’” (ESV – Read the chapter)
Consider the disciples’ reaction here. Jesus had just made His famous declaration that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle (almost certainly a real camel and a real needle rather than some gate) than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. They understood Jesus rightly to be saying that rich people can’t get to heaven. And now that I have you hung up just like they were, if for a different reason, let me explain.
Jesus was saying that rich people getting to heaven is functionally impossible. This blew the disciples’ minds because one of their basic cultural assumptions (as has been the case throughout most of human history) was that wealth was a clear sign of God’s favor. If someone was rich, then God was obviously happy with them, and if God was obviously happy with them, then of course they should get into heaven, right?
We get all hung up on this saying for a different reason. Our hang up comes because we don’t want to believe Jesus would actually say, much less mean something like this. We don’t want this not because we’re quite so hung up on wealth being a sign of God’s favor as they were (though we aren’t far behind), but more honestly because on the scope of the world, we’re rich and we don’t want to believe that could keep us from God.
And yet, Jesus said it. If you have a lot of stuff like me, you need to understand that you can’t get to Heaven on your own. No amount of effort on your part will get the job done. You can’t buy your way there. On your strength and the strength of your stuff alone it is impossible.
But with God, all things are possible. Through the power of Christ, anyone who longs to be free from the life-stealing power of sin and able to live freely the abundant life can. Anyone who desires can find themselves dwelling within the spacious boundaries of the kingdom of God and heirs to the eternal life of Jesus. With God it is possible.
Your stuff can’t save you and no amount of wishing will enable it to do so. If you’ve been around the church for very long you very likely know that truth in your head, but getting it from head to heart is tough. Know well that salvation is yours for the receiving, but only when you go through Jesus. Break free from your stuff and find the life that is truly life in Christ.