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Mathew 19 : 16 - 24

16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

This bible passage has really got me confused. Does this mean that Jesus condemns wealth and it is not good to be rich?.

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You need to give more guidance on whose interpretation of this passage you'd like, what doctrinal concepts you accept and what you reject. You can't simply ask a group of strangers to interpret a passage and expect to get a right answer. –  wax eagle Jan 16 at 14:46
    
@waxeagle what if the doctrine is nondenominational? –  deleteMe Jan 16 at 14:51
    
@AaronKorn there are still doctrinal concepts that can and should be identified. No denomination does not mean no doctrine. –  wax eagle Jan 16 at 14:53
    
Welcome to the site! Getting the knack of asking questions that fit the guidelines is a bit tricky for newcomers. I'd like to recommend Tips for editing a question to make it suitable for re-opening for help with this question, and How we are different than other sites? just because it's a good intro for newcomers to avoid misunderstandings about the sites' purpose. –  David Stratton Jan 16 at 16:49
    
@DavidStratton Thanks for the link. I will take note the next time I ask a question –  Tijesunimi Jan 16 at 19:27
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5 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

No, it does not mean that at all. We cannot assume that everything Jesus ever said to anyone applies to all people in all times. Jesus gave this specific commandment to this specific person at that time.

Other places in Scripture, Jesus acknowledges that there are wealthy people and gives instructions to them--not condemnations.

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17-18 ESV

The Old Testament acknowledge that God does bless with material things at times, though this is not His greatest blessings.

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; 10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. Proverbs 3:9-10 ESV

So, no, this is not a condemnation of wealth or capitalism or anything like that. It is a specific command to a specific person who perhaps had made an idol out of his wealth which needed to be removed.

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Mod Notice: Comments are not the place to carry on a theological debate. If this answer can be improved note how, if it is wrong for this question dowvote and provide a correct one, but save the debate for another venue. –  Caleb Jan 16 at 15:21
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Thanks for this answer. It really clarified my confused mind. –  Tijesunimi Jan 16 at 19:29
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Jesus did not condemn wealth in that passage. What He does condemn is what wealth can do to a person. Wealth can make a person turn away from God toward self-sufficiency, which fools him into thinking that creature comforts are enough take care of his important needs, and neglects the formation of character and faith that God wishes to form.

There are sins that are particular to the wealthy, including sleepless nights because of worries about theft, and so on. Be careful, though, because all the issues the wealthy have can occur to those with little wealth, but who trust in their goods more than in God.

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No, Jesus doesn't condemn wealth, but He does warn against having too much of it. An abundance of anything can be a strong temptation to sin, and that includes not only money, but also sex and intimacy, food and drink, work, recognition, and so much more. Wealth may be particularly seductive because it makes you feel self reliant and sufficient so that you don't think you need to depend on God for your forgiveness of sins.

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it's not just this Mt 19, it's also Mt 6 (and their counterparts in Mark and Luke) and in the 2nd chapter of Acts.

the fact is, despite the heresy of the "Prosperity gospel" most evidently displayed in the U.S., but also some other places in the west, that Jesus, while on earth, held no wealth, save for the clothes on his body. the fact is that Jesus taught consistently to reject amassing treasure on earth in favor of the Kingdom of God. this is not the same as rejecting people of wealth or of poverty.

material wealth is important. without sufficient material, people starve. or freeze. or die of disease.

Clarence Jordon says it better than me (please forgive the sexist language from 6 decades ago):

When God first made man, he made provision for all of man's needs. This has been true ever since. God has already "added all these things". There is enough in the world today to meet all of man's needs. The problem is not in supply, but is in distribution, not with God but with man. Poverty and riches are the result of man's rebellion against the will of God. When his kingdom comes, when his will is done on earth, both both poverty and riches will go! -- Sermon on the Mount, © 1952, Judson Press.

that said, let no one self-righteously deem themselves as better than their sibling of better means. but those with means must, if they want to be a faithful Christian and citizen of the Kingdom of God, understand their responsibility to share.

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"No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." (NLT, Luke 16:13)

If you are fully devoted, then you face one direction or the other. If not, you face portions of both.

Test yourself. Which is it that captures your attention,....."Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous." or "Lifestyles of the Poor and Unknown.".

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