With men it is impossible
And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. Mk. 10:26-27
The apostles were no doubt astonished that such a good prospect for the kingdom of God, such as the rich young ruler, should walk away grieved (22). But they were most astonished when our Lord claimed that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for rich men such as he to enter into the kingdom of heaven (23-25). Wasn't he saying that it was impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom?
Yes, he was. At least, it is impossible for men whose hearts are naturally given to the things of this world to give them up for Christ. But notice that this is not an absolute impossibility: "with men it is impossible." Although many folks today confidently claim that conversion to Christ - repentance from sin and faith in him as Lord and Savior - is firmly within our grasp and part of our native ability, our Lord forever precludes this possibility. No, with men it is impossible. You cannot save yourself.
But like the apostle Paul's evaluation of the human situation in Ephesians 2, our Lord does not stop there: "but not with God: for with God all things are possible." Just like Paul will say, after describing men as dead in sins: "but God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses and in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace are ye saved)" (Eph. 2:4-5).
In God's power, for whom all things are possible, let us therefore rejoice. This is especially important for us, because we are living in a day in which it seems like our culture is making it harder and harder for people to give two seconds to a consideration of God's word. Our culture is rapidly secularizing. It is becoming more and more hostile to the faith. Churches are shrinking and the foundations are being destroyed. What shall we do?
Well, let us not give up hope or give into despair. For God is still on the throne. What may look like an impossible situation is not so with him. We can trust him to build his church and to gather his people into his arms. So while so many religious folks wring their hands and out of desperation give the culture what it wants in order to fill their churches, let us remain faithful to Christ. For he raises the spiritually dead and opens blind eyes. Instead, in hope let us rely upon his power and his grace and his Spirit as we minister in his name.
And if you find yourself naming the name of Christ today, remember that it was not your cleverness or your goodness or your insightfulness that got you there. Of God we are in Christ (1 Cor. 1:30), and let us thank him for his irresistible and heart-changing grace. If we glory, let us glory in the Lord (1 Cor. 1:31).