What Is Impossible with Man…
“When Jesus heard this, he said to [the rich young ruler], ‘You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’” (Luke 18:22 NIV)
Christ had said to the rich young ruler, “Sell all you have… and come, follow me.” The young man went away sorrowful. Christ then turned to the disciples, and said: “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples, we read, were greatly astonished, and answered: “Who, then, can be saved?” And Christ gave this blessed answer: “What is impossible with man is possible with God” (Luke 18:22-27).
The text contains two thoughts—that, in the question of salvation and of following Christ by a holy life, it is impossible for man to do it. And then alongside that is the thought—What is impossible with man is possible with God.
These two thoughts mark the two great lessons that man has to learn in the Christian life. It often takes a long time to learn the first lesson—that in the Christian life man can do nothing, that salvation is impossible to man. And often a man learns that, and yet he does not learn the second lesson—what has been impossible to him is possible with God. Blessed is the man who learns both lessons! The learning of them marks stages in the Christian’s life.
-Andrew Murray (excerpted and adapted from Absolute Surrender)
The enemy of our souls tries to keep us from salvation by suggesting to us that it’s impossible (and dull!) to walk the strait and narrow path; and then when the Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin so that we accept Jesus as our Savior, Satan tries to spring the other trap—that of trying to get us to merit that salvation, so that we live the rest of our lives trying and failing, living defeated lives, and rendered ineffective in our Christian walk. It’s only when we come into God’s presence and ask him to open our spiritual eyes, that we can understand the meaning of what Jesus said: “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5, emphasis added). We can then ask the Lord to help us live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit that lives in every Christian, so that we are able to live in the freedom that Christ purchased for us with his own precious blood.
Read Luke 18:18-30 for more of the story of the Rich Young Ruler.