Do wealthy people have a chance for salvation? Is it true that wealthy people won’t make it to heaven because their wealth is their god?
The answer is yes, it is possible for a rich man to be saved by grace, just as all men may be saved. The Scripture includes numerous accounts of men who had wealth and yet who also followed the Lord faithfully.
Perhaps the best example of a believer who was wealthy is Abraham (e.g., Genesis 12). The Bible testifies he had many sheep, oxen, donkeys, camels, and servants, and yet he was called the father of faith.
Wealth in and of itself is not evil. The Bible says the love of money is the problem. In 1 Timothy 6:10, Paul says this:
1 Timothy 6:10 (NKJV)
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
As for some wealthy people, their wealth is their god. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:24:
Matthew 6:24 (NKJV)
You Cannot Serve God and Riches
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 (riches).
A person who makes wealth his god clearly is not devoted to the true God. Probably the best example of this is when Jesus gives the gospel to the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16-26:
Matthew 19:16-26 (NKJV)
Jesus Counsels the Rich Young Ruler
16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”
17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”
Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
With God All Things Are Possible
23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.24 And again I say to you, 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.”
25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”
26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
While it may be difficult for one who is devoted to their wealth to set it aside, if necessary, and come to faith in Jesus Christ, the same barrier exists for all men in one way or another. This is why the Apostles asked the question above and why Jesus responded by saying that the impossible is possible for God. The truth is no one can be saved in his own power to live righteously and choose God over our earthly desires. Salvation comes by faith alone, and faith is the free gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). That is why Jesus says it is impossible for men, and possible only with God.
Ephesians 2 (NKJV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Note that the reverse of Matthew 6:24 is also true. If a person loves and is devoted to God, he will despise wealth. That is to say, he will not put his confidence in his wealth or rest in it. We see this with Abraham as well, as Scripture tells us he never saw this earth as his home. Hebrews 11:9-10 puts it this way:
Hebrews 11:9-10 (NKJV)
9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Abraham was never devoted to his wealth. He always looked forward to heaven, where his true home was.
So, in summary, Scripture does not tell us that a wealthy person cannot go to heaven. Rather, God says that a person who devotes himself to wealth and seeking to gain more of it cannot be a servant of God, because such a person is giving evidence that money is their master, and he cannot serve two masters. People who serve wealth (or make it their god) clearly do not seek to serve God because they do they know Him truly. In all likelihood, these people will not go to heaven, unless and until they come to know the one true God in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”
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