Monday Minutes With Pastor Chris McCool (May 23, 2022)

Last week, we began looking at the rich young ruler of Matthew 19. We have been looking at instances in the Scripture involving the two different types of salvation taught in the Bible: “eternal” salvation versus “time” salvation. Time salvation involves deliverance from dangers and troubles here and now, and is dependent in large part upon our own efforts (although the grace of God is ALWAYS necessary in our daily lives!). Eternal salvation is solely in the hands of God, as we are about to see clearly in this encounter between Jesus and the rich young ruler.

When we left off last week, we had seen that the rich young ruler was someone that Jesus loved (Mark 10:21). Thus, there is no doubt that he is a child of God who will eventually wind up in heaven! But here, we see that the young man did not do what Jesus said that he ought to do, by selling his goods and taking up the cross and following Jesus. So how could he possibly be eternally saved?

Jesus goes on to answer this question, as clearly and succinctly as is found anywhere in Scripture. First, He declares that a rich man can “hardly enter the kingdom of heaven.” Mat. 19:23. He compares it to a camel going through the eye of a needle, and even states that it is easier for that to happen than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God! Mat. 19:24. Based on this, the disciples were amazed, and asked the logical follow-up question, “Who then can be saved?” Mat. 19:25. And here in Jesus ‘ answer, we find the ultimate answer about how eternal salvation occurs.

Before we look at Jesus’ answer, remember that it is indeed eternal salvation that is under consideration. You may recall from last week that the rich young ruler came running to Jesus, and asked the question, “what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Mat. 19:16. There is no doubt that the “saved” under discussion by the disciples in verse 25 is eternal salvation, NOT time salvation! So what is Jesus answer about how eternal salvation comes about?

In verse 26, Jesus makes the simple but profound statement, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Mat. 19:26. So here it is, my friends: eternal salvation is NOT POSSIBLE with men, but ONLY with God!

Isn’t this consistent with every other passage of Scripture that deals with eternal salvation? In Mat. 1:21, we are told that Jesus “shall save His people from their sins.” Hebrews 1:3 tells us, “when he had by himself purged our sins, [He] sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” In Hebrews 9:26, we read that “now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” In Romans 9:16, Paul tells us “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”

I could go on and on about eternal salvation being solely and wholly of God, but let me just conclude by sharing what a dear old deacon in my brother’s church once told me. He shared with me his “secret” to discerning between eternal and time salvation in the Scripture: “If it’s got an ‘if’ in it, it’s not eternal!”

I have found that old deacon’s advice to be very helpful in my studies. If you see the word “saved” or “salvation”, and want to know whether it’s dealing with “eternal” or “time” salvation, just look to see if there’s an “if” – i.e., if it is conditional. If it is, then it’s not eternal!

May the Lord bless you is my prayer.

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor