With God

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ~ Matt. 19:26​

Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 5:18 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “His Tender Mercies.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Matthew 19:16-30 (NIV).

What Good Thing?

Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”

“Which ones?” he inquired.

Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Jesus Christ had not yet died on the cross for our sins. He had not yet been resurrected from the dead in conquering hell, death, Satan and sin. Human beings were still under the law, not under grace. And yet, even in those times, humankind was saved by faith in the promise, as was Abraham. Abraham was not considered righteous in God’s sight by keeping the law. He was considered righteous before God because of his faith, which was evidenced by his actions, by his obedience in following his Lord, and by believing in what God had promised. So, why did Jesus tell this man that he could gain eternal life by keeping the commandments? Was it because Jesus knew that no one can keep them perfectly? We have all sinned, and we all come up short of attaining the glory of God in our lives (Ro. 3:23).

The man must have realized, even if he was keeping these commandments with absolute perfection, that there was still something lacking; something missing. He didn’t yet have the assurance of eternal life with God in heaven. So, he asked Jesus, “What do I still lack?”

Jesus’ answer to him is not to be turned into a doctrine of salvation by poverty. Jesus knew this man’s heart. He knew this man’s wealth was his god, and that is what separated him from true faith in God. And, yet, there is a Biblical principle being taught here which Jesus and the apostles taught concerning our great salvation. Jesus said that if we want to come after him, we must deny (disavow; renounce) our self-life, die daily to sin and self, and follow him in obedience and surrender to his will for our lives. He said if we hold on to our old lives of living for self and sin we will lose them for eternity, but if we die to our old lives of sin and living for self, we will gain eternal life with him in glory (See Lu. 9:23-25; cf. Ac. 26:16-18; Ro. 6-8; 2 Co. 5:15; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; & 1 Jn. 1-5). All this is to be done in the power and working of the Spirit of God within us, and not of ourselves.

All Things Possible

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Jesus then went on to describe the difficulty of the wealthy to be saved, yet we don’t have to be wealthy for this Biblical principle to apply to our lives. The problem was this man’s wealth was his god, and he was not willing to part with his false god in order to follow Jesus Christ with his life. We can have many different kinds of false gods in this life that keep us from genuine faith in Jesus Christ, or that hinder our walks with our Lord, if we are not willing to part with them. Yet, coming to faith in Jesus Christ means forsaking it all. It means we die to sin and self by dying with Christ to what once enslaved us. It means he transforms us away from sin and to walks of faith in Christ, and it means we are now given new lives in Christ to be lived out in his righteousness and holiness, by his grace.

Yet, this is not something we can do in our own flesh. This is not works-based salvation. With humans, this is impossible! It is faith, though, and yet even the faith to believe is a gift from God and is empowered of the Spirit of God within us. In fact, his grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled and upright lives in this present age while we wait for his return (See Tit. 2:11-14). His grace is not a free license for continued and willful sin. If we continue in sinful lifestyles, and we do not do what Jesus says, then we do not know God, and his truth is not in us (See 1 Jn. 1-5). Jesus Christ died so that we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave himself up for us (See 2 Co. 5:15). With humans this salvation is impossible, but with God all things are possible! Amen! He gives us all we need to live godly and holy lives in this life.

The Rewards

Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

When Jesus called his disciples to follow him, many of them immediately left everything to follow Jesus – homes, careers, family, etc. (See Matt. 4:20, 22; 9:9; Mk 1:18). That is what he required of them (See Matt. 8:22; 10:38; 19:21; Lu. 9:57-62; 14:26-27; Jn. 10:27; 12:26). With Jesus, there were no half-hearted commitments. Coming to him means leaving our old lives of living for what we want behind us and following him wherever he leads us. Coming to Christ is not merely an escape from hell and a promise of heaven. His sheep listen to him, he knows them, and they follow him (See Jn. 10:27). He died so that we might be able to do this. This is true grace! This is his mercy to us to deliver us from our lives of sin, and to give us new lives in Christ to be lived in the power of HIS Spirit. Amen!

Following Jesus has great rewards, too, but not just in heaven one day, but in this life, as well. When we are following him, we are walking closely to him, listening to what he says, doing what he tells us, and we are growing in intimacy with him. We gain him as our very best friend. We know the comfort of his love. We experience his tender mercies to us. We know his healing power in our lives. We have peace in our hearts in knowing that he is absolutely in control of all things and that nothing can come into our lives but what he allows it for a purpose, and that he has it all handled. We can trust him. He is completely faithful in all he does and says.

We observe his miracles of grace in our lives regularly, and also in the lives of others. We experience his power in our lives in ministry, and we see how he uses us in the lives of others. And, we believe he is using us to make a difference in this world even when we can’t see what he is doing. Giving our lives completely to Jesus is not losing anything, but it is gaining everything! Amen! There is no other way to live!

His Tender Mercies / An Original Work / January 26, 2014

Fear not! I’m with you.
Be not dismayed!
God watches o’er you.
Trust Him today.
He’ll lead and guide you;
Give you His aid.
He’ll love and keep you
With Him always.

Walk in His footsteps.
He’ll lead the way.
Trust in His love;
Believe that He cares.
He will not leave you.
Faithful He’ll be.
His tender mercies
Now you will see.

Fellowship with Him
Throughout the day.
Tell Him your heartaches.
He’ll heal always.
Rest in His comfort.
He is your friend.
Your faith He’ll strengthen,
True to the end.

SueJLove, the Lord has reminded me of this one scripture in Jeremiah, which really hit home with me. It deals with things we might have or posses in our life that we might consider important, yet it really means nothing at all.

Jer 9:23 Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches,
Jer 9:24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me.....

Even Jesus said that the birds of the air have nests, and foxes have holes, but the Son of man has no place to lay his head.
Jesus knew the only important thing to have was his relationship with his Father as the only thing that matters.

Joh 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.