“For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26 – emphasis mine)
“By this, all people will know you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world” (1 Timothy 6:6-7).
How about a very brief, but very deep verse? Exodus 20:3, “You shall have no other gods before me.”
I remember a saying from a number of years ago that said, “Whoever has the most “toys” when he dies, wins.” Truth is, there are many people today who are putting their faith and hope into the “things” of this world. Guess what?! That’s a major favorite ploy of Satan, to get people away from Jesus and keep them focused on the “toys” of this world.
Go back just for a moment to 1 Timothy 6:6-7, where it tells what we brought into this world, and what we can take out of it. The main descriptive word is “nothing.” Where true believers are going, we won’t need any material things from this earth.
In the movie Ghost starring Patrick Swayze, he makes a statement at the end about taking “Love” with him to paradise after he died. Realizing the movie was totally a secular fictional work, this statement is nevertheless on the mark.
As Christians, we are commanded to love one another as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit has loved us. Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians is designated as the “love verses.” Paul tells of all he could have, such as speaking tongues, prophetic powers, faith – but without love he would be nothing. Verse 7 states, “Love bears all things, believes all things, endures all things.” Finally, verse 13 sums it all up, “So now, Faith, Hope and Love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is Love.”
Jesus spoke many times about “rich” people, and Matthew 19:23-24 are the go-to verses on this. “And Jesus said to His disciples, Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Again, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God.”
Jesus isn’t saying that being rich makes it so difficult, but rather, how the people with wealth look at their worldly possessions instead of being concerned with the condition of their eternal souls. It’s sad, but we have even witnessed a number of “so-called” Christian ministers turn away from the Lord in pursuit of the lure of the riches of this earth. Jesus made it plain that if anyone seeks riches here rather than serving the Lord, their treasures are all on this earth. These people may have started out thinking they had all the right motives, but when money became involved, 1 Timothy 6:10 came into play, “For the love of money is the root of all evil…” When these people leave this earth in death, they will have a very miserable forever. Another old saying is, “You don’t see u-haul trailers at a funeral.”
You can take a person of absolutely no wealth, but if they have received the gift of Salvation, and have Jesus in their hearts, they are guaranteed a home forever with the Savior. In fact, Jesus Himself said he would “prepare a place” for us as given in John 14:1-3. As long as we are on this earth, we can’t even begin to imagine how wonderful our eternal paradise will be. It’s beyond any comprehension right now, but we will have all eternity to enjoy our lives in Heaven. The “things” of this earth won’t even enter our thoughts.
Just imagine a world totally without pain, no imperfections, not having to say good-bye to loved ones because of death. It will be an atmosphere of pure love and true fellowship with everyone. No jealousies, no vain pride, no sin of any kind. Our biggest desire will be to serve our Savior for giving us this totally perfect life. Our only “cost” is to accept Him as our Savior, and ask His forgiveness for our sins. No one who truly receives this gift will be turned away (Romans 10:9-13).
Jesus demonstrated how difficult it is for the rich to be saved in His encounter with the rich young ruler in Matthew 19, Mark 10 and Luke 18. He was asked by the young man what had to be done for him to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him to follow the commandments, to which the young ruler stated he had done so all his life. Jesus then told him he needed to sell everything he had and give it to the poor. This would give him treasures in Heaven. The rich young ruler walked away in sadness because he had “many possessions.” He was not willing to part with earthly things to receive a Heavenly reward. His entire being was based on what this earthly life had to offer.
If you were to take a serious look at the world today, what people can see, feel and possess is most important to them. The idea of living for an unseen Savior, son of an unseen God and part of the unseen Holy Trinity including the Holy Spirit, is foolishness to them (1 Corinthians 1:18).
Satan has been active on this earth from the creation through today, and will be an influence all the way to the end of the millennium. He will be bound for the last 1,000 years, but human nature will still be sin-influenced until the last judgments of this earth are completed. Satan knows what is written in God’s word about his fate, but he’s just arrogant enough to believe he can somehow overcome it. Only after receiving our eternal immortal bodies with the same mind-set as the Savior will we be totally free from the sin-nature that started at the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).
God made it very plain by repeating a specific promise three times as to who can be saved. Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13 all say that everyone – all – who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. Joel was before Jesus’ time, but the message was the same. Whoever lived for God before Calvary, and for Jesus from Calvary forward would be given eternal life in Heaven. Those who turned away and accepted the “things” of this earth would be separated from the Father forever.
Revelation 19:20 gives the fate of the final antichrist and false prophet, followed a thousand years later by Satan himself in Revelation 20:10. In Revelation 20:11-15, the fate of all the ones that will be separated forever is given with the White Throne Judgment, ultimately to be tormented forever in the Lake of Fire that was created specifically for Satan and his demons (Matthew 25:41).
One thing to understand: there are some really devout people of wealth that realize it was the Father that allowed them to have everything they possess. They live lives of being generous to others, and not “worshiping” the things they own, but instead worship the Savior. Yes, it’s difficult, but it can be done. It’s a “heart-condition” that brings them close to Jesus. What Jesus was referring to, in a lot of cases, is the wealth takes over the heart, and it becomes “hardened” against Spiritual things.
The main point of all of this is to have Jesus in your heart as your Savior, no matter what your lot in life is. The day is coming soon when all true believers will be called up to meet Jesus in the air (1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17), and we will leave this earth exactly as we entered it – with no earthly possessions including clothing!
We are grateful for what the Father has given us to help make our lives easier. The point to remember is, we own nothing. It belongs to God, and is His to do with as He pleases. On a personal note, my prayer is that when we are called, someone will be “given” our things and see that it was a Christian that had been here. With all the evidence that will be left behind, it might just be what is needed to bring more souls to Jesus. As of the things of this earth, I give you a quote from the late Dr. Martin Luther King, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are Free at Last!”
This could very likely be our “Victory Cry” as we rise up to meet our precious Savior face-to-face for the very first time. “I Can Only Imagine” what wonders await us. No matter whether through death or the Rapture, our living will have just begun. Eternity is a very long time, and to turn it down for the material things of this earth is a tragedy that cannot even be imagined. There is no third option; Jesus or Hell – it’s entirely up to you. Choose wisely!
Come Lord Jesus! (Maranatha!)