The Gospel of
Luke chapter
eighteen (verse 27).


And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.

 

Luke 18:27 is a not so famous follow up to an extremely famous camel through the eye of a needle saying. There are several readings of this verse but I'm only going to share one right now.

In this section of the scriptures a young man asks Jesus how he might be saved, calling Christ good in the process. Many people unfamiliar with Jesus don't know He often acts in a facetious way, making light of things we see  as untouchable. Jesus cleverly replied to this man “Why do you call me good, nobody is good but God.” (v. 19) Yet we know Jesus says elsewhere “Who among you convincts  me of sin?” (Jn 8:46) So Jesus is goading this man to think about the things he's saying. Christ goes on to teach him to obey the commandments, but he's done all of these things, Christ replies there's one thing he lacks, and that he should sell all of his worldly possessions and follow Him. The young man leaves very sad, because he had many possessions. Jesus then teaches how hard it is to for a rich man to enter into God's kingdom.

The commonsense understanding of this teaching is that worldly goods often help a person to corrupt their character, and that's borne out by the social sciences today. Faith in the population consistently plummets at a certain earning benchmark (ref: God's Undertaker Lennox), I think it's around the 70k mark. Wealthy people are self-reliant, unconstraint so far as indulging every whim they might have, be that sinful or otherwise.

That's maybe due to a bad bend in people's character. For example, in the Republic (ref: Republic Plato) there's a story told by Glaucon (Plato's brother) about a ring that grants the wearer invisibility. The storyteller insists men are only good due to fear of repercussions, but if we were free from the fear of being caught we'd indulge to our heart's content:

 

no man can be imagined to be of such an iron nature that he would stand fast in justice. No man would keep his hands off what was not his own when he could safely take what he liked out of the market, or go into houses and lie with any one at his pleasure, or kill or release from prison whom he would, and in all respects be like a god among men.

 

Glaucon also imagined that other men would mock a man who didn't use an invisibility ring to his own advantage:

 

For all men believe in their hearts that injustice is far more profitable to the individual than justice, and he who argues as I have been supposing, will say that they are right. If you could imagine any one obtaining this power of becoming invisible, and never doing any wrong or touching what was another's, he would be thought by the lookers-on to be a most wretched idiot, although they would praise him to one another's faces, and keep up appearances with one another from a fear that they too might suffer injustice.

 

Jesus was teaching this first century audience to leave behind their material gains and follow Him while they yet had time, the classic “take up your cross daily and follow me” teaching (Lk 9:23). Christians afterwards owned homes and even Mary, the mother of Jesus, lived in John the beloved disciples home after Christ's death and resurrection (Jn 19:27). So this section about giving up material gains can't mean a person MUST be in poverty to be saved, not only did holy men like the disciples own homes, but even Jesus taught a man can be saved while owning possessions (here's where verse 18:27 comes into focus).

 

Rich men find it doubly hard to draw themselves away from their goods, they're attached to this life, while people without wealth, be they Christian or not, could more easily think on escaping life in order to go somewhere better. Rich people find seeking God harder than poor ones, but with God working in us, even men with the riches of Solomon can be saved.

― Ty