Riches and the Four Gospels #6

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

“And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:24,25 KJV).

Understandably, “health-and-wealth” preachers and teachers never quote Jesus’ words in today’s Scripture!

While some teach that Jesus did not literally mean “sell that ye have, and give alms” (Luke 12:33), that His language was figurative (“sell out for Me”), His audience took Him literally. They actually sold their possessions and had all things common in Acts 2:44-47 and Acts 4:32-37. Peter declared to the lame beggar, “Silver and gold have I none!” (Acts 3:6; cf. Matthew 10:9). The Jerusalem saints pooled all their wealth together and lived for each other’s benefit, just as Jesus instructed, while those Jews who did not have their heart in heaven simply ignored Jesus. Ananias and his wife Sapphira lied to the Holy Ghost and did not relinquish all of their wealth—it was so serious that God actually struck them dead (Acts 5:1-11)!

Later, when a great famine troubled the whole then-known world (Acts 11:28), and because there was no interest associated with the common account, the Jerusalem Messianic Jews grew poorer. Moreover, their kingdom program and their kingdom prosperity were delayed (since God had just instated our Dispensation of Grace). Thus, Paul’s Gentile converts repeatedly sent financial relief to these poor Jerusalem saints (Acts 11:28-30; Romans 15:25-28; 1 Corinthians 16:1-3; Galatians 2:10).

Therefore, dispensational Bible study is important. God’s Word to us—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon—never instructs us to sell all our possessions and share one bank account. We are expected to work in order to eat (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; cf. Ephesians 4:28). Still, Paul also warned about loving and worshipping material goods, for “the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:3-19). While it is not a sin to be materially rich or poor in this the Dispensation of Grace, let us remember that we in Christ are—and always will be—spiritually rich in Christ (Romans 8:32; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Ephesians 1:3; Philippians 4:19). 🙂