Working solely from the word of Christ, it seems that almost all but poor Christians would fail the test Jesus put to the rich young man.
"Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?"
"If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."
Christ challenges the rich young man to follow the two greatest commandments (love his neighbor as himself) and love God maximally (devote himself to following Christ).
The young man proves unable to do so. (Matthew 19:16-22)
I don't know any Christian with accumulated wealth (myself included!) who could meet Christ's test.
I've heard every excuse. I'll address some here.
- Jesus was addressing that man in particular. It doesn't apply to everyone. By itself, this suggests we can ignore all the epistles (addressed to particular groups) and, arguably anything that wasn't addressed to a general audience.
- It only applies to the young rich man because wealth was a problem for him. One: that scope-restriction is not clear from the text. Two: distributing resources to your neighbor without special bias to yourself is upholding the second great commandment, which applies to everyone. Three: If it's not a problem, those appealing to this claim should be able to meet Christ's challenge, but almost none do. (Now, perhaps they could, but because it's not a problem for them, they don't feel the need to do so. But it seems too convenient that this would be true for almost every Christian who has anything.)
- But then there would be no room for blessings I haven't read anything that Christ said about leaving room for material blessings beyond what's required for our day to day needs.
- Christ finishes his eye-of-the-needle analogy by remarking that it's possible for rich people to be saved That it's possible for a person to be saved, does not mean that it's likely. Fitting a camel through an eye of a needle is impossible (the claim that the 'eye of the needle' is a short gate has been conclusively refuted). The 'but he says it's possible' reply has always reminded me of the line from the movie Dumb and Dumber: "so you're saying there's a chance." It ignores the powerful analogy that's meant to convey that it's all but impossible.
Given that just about everyone who has more than a little to give up would not pass the test of the young rich man, it seems that very few people are saved.
That said, to distribute resources among you and your neighbors with no special bias for yourself as the one with sole say on distribution is often seen as supererogatory. I assume there's a reason why that has become the dominant view.
- Are there many with excess resources who are saved (by excess, I mean more than sufficient to meet basic needs)
- Why is distributing resources without a self-serving bias considered supererogatory despite the second great commandment?
Any answer well-reasoned from the words of Christ would suffice (regardless of denomination).