Dear saints, I trust that the Lord has been protecting and blessing you. It’s indeed good to be back with you, and please know that I’m always in prayer for all of you. I’d be delighted to see all of you in heaven. We know that our Heavenly Father is omnipotent (Jeremiah 32: 27), but we may be offending Him by restricting the unleashing of His power in our lives (Colossians 1:29). It’s one thing to know that God is all powerful but to actually believe Him to let His power work in our lives, and that too by faith (1 Peter 1:5) is something altogether different.
I’d like for us to turn to the parable of the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-27). All of us are familiar with this narrative, but today I’d like to put a different spin on this parable. The Lord Jesus instructed the rich young man to sell everything he had and to become His disciple. We also know that the young ruler was unwilling to part with his wealth and left dejected. The Lord Jesus then commented as to how difficult it was for the rich to enter God’s kingdom. But suppose the young man had indeed abandoned everything he had to follow the Lord, would that have guaranteed his salvation? Does giving up our worldly wealth insure God’s love in our hearts? I doubt that because the Apostle Paul clearly mentioned that sacrifice isn’t an indicator of “agape love” (1 Corinthians 13:3).
What’s more interesting is that disciples understood this to mean if rich people couldn’t be saved, then no one would be saved. They seem to have unknowingly insulted God (the way we do sometimes) by interpreting salvation as something that needed to be earned. We need to understand that salvation is God’s idea and the gift of repentance also comes from God (2 Corinthians 7:10). Often when we say “sorry” we may not actually feel that remorse in our spirits. That’s one of the reasons why the Lord Jesus had to rebuke the Apostle Peter three times (John 21:15-17). It was only at the third rebuke that Peter was “hurt”. Peter was sorry the first two times, but he was penitent or “hurt” at the third rebuke.
The disciples’ ignorance was further displayed when they exclaimed “who then can be saved?” What they didn’t realize was that God recreates or regenerates our hearts by His Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 36:26) during salvation. So it’s not just the rich that are impossible to be saved, every single of us needs a new heart from the Holy Spirit. That’s what the Lord indicated when he said, “What’s impossible with man is possible with God?”
Let’s look at another example in the Bible where some of the Lord’s beloved disciples insulted Him by assuming that things had progressed even beyond His reach. Let’s turn to John 11 which is the story of the Lord raising Lazarus from the dead. Mary had faith when she remarked that her brother wouldn’t have died had the Lord been with them (John 11:32). But she couldn’t visualize God’s grand scheme of demonstrating His power over death (John 11:41-44) by allowing Lazarus to die (as a by note, Lazarus had to later die of old age in the natural scheme of things). On the contrary, Martha displayed a total lack of faith (John 11:40) when the Lord commanded that the stone guarding the tomb’s entrance be rolled away (John 11:38). The Lord Jesus had to again remind her that nothing is beyond God’s control when He rebuked her (John 11:40).
A similar encounter is narrated in the Bible when the father of a boy seized by evil spirits approached the Lord Jesus for healing his son (Mark 9:14-27). In Mark 9:21 the boy’s father was reverent, but doubted the Lord’s ability when he remarked “if you can do anything…”. The Lord had to rebuke him for his lack of faith (Mark 9:23). The father’s confession that followed is one of my favorite verses in the Bible “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). We can’t enhance our faith (Luke 17:5). Only the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:9) can impart to us the same faith that the Lord Jesus had in God the Father. Our job’s to walk in that faith without wavering (James 1:6-8).
To summarize friends, we may have been insulting God by limiting the working of His power in our lives. Often it’s easy for us to believe for the big things like healing or a job, but it’s the little things like going over to the next pew in the church to introduce ourselves to a stranger that paralyze us with fear (I’m quoting this from my own experience saints). Let’s unshackle the Holy Spirit in us that He may be truly free to work God’s will and purpose for us and through us. Amen.
Dear friends, I’m quite certain that all of you are sanctified, Holy Ghost baptized saints. Should there be any among you that don’t know the Lord yet, I pray that the Lord of the Universe will set you free from sin and disobedience into His glorious light and freedom. Amen.