Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Important Relationship Between Money and Salvation

By S. Michael Durham

Jesus was not afraid to say things that He knew would not be understood or be misinterpreted. Nor was He afraid to link things that most religious people would not link. Here in the text He links money with being saved.

Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

The importance of money is highlighted in the Bible in two people. One is Zacchaeus and the other is the young rich ruler. Both were wealthy men. Their attitude toward their wealth played a significant role in their eternities. For Zacchaeus he was joyfully willing to not just make restitution to all the people he had cheated, but he wanted to give them four times the amount he had swindled. Jesus’ response was, “Today salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:9).

The young rich ruler had the very opposite attitude about his wealth. Jesus said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Luke 18:22). But in this case it does not end as well as Zacchaeus’. The Bible says the young man walked away sorrowfully because he had great wealth.

Jesus summarized the sorrow of the young man saying, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:24-25).

Jesus’ point was not being rich keeps you from knowing God and out of heaven. Zacchaeus was wealthy and he was converted. The issue is your satisfaction in money. If money satisfies you more than Christ, then it becomes a salvation issue. That’s the problem with materialism. Materialism is the philosophy of valuing the material over the spiritual. Seeking the material is not forbidden in the Bible. Seeking the material over the spiritual is.

What is your true attitude about the material? The Bible tells us that we have a natural inclination to love money, possessions and things. Being converted changes my heart and its desires, but it does not change my flesh. The root of the love of money still lies within in me. On top of this, is the chameleon-like tendency of the love of money or things. It can convince you that you don’t really love money more than Jesus. Therefore, it’s hard to detect sinful attitudes. Wrong actions can’t be ignored, wrong attitudes can. For your eternities sake you must learn to detect the spirit of materialism.

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