The Bible Edge
Everyone needs an Edge, Believers can have the Bible Edge
But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
It has been claimed, unsubstantially claimed, that Juan Ponce de Leon discovered the “Fountain of Youth” sometime around 1513 AD in the place that we commonly call St. Augustine, Florida. Actually, the myth about waters that could restore youth is much older than that. The “Fountain of Youth” allegedly restores youth to anybody that drinks or bathes in its waters. For thousands of years, as early as the 3rd century, rumors of this mythical promise have circulated around the globe. From the middle east, to India, to Bimini, then to St. Augustine claims of restorative waters have been entertained.
Interestingly three different archaeological digs have found a number of burial sites around the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine. So much for the regenerative nature of the magical waters. No doubt minerals in water, such as salt, magnesium, calcium and others, do have certain restorative properties. But to find burial grounds around the Fountain of Youth screams of its limitations. No substance on the face of the earth, natural or clinically created can offer any person eternal life. This is impossible.
But with God, all things are possible. That is one of the unconditional promises of God’s Holy Word. In Matthew 19:16 a rich young man came to Jesus asking this question: Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? This is a perfectly good question asked from a sincere heart and asked of the right person. If anyone could tell this man how to live forever it would be Christ, right? Expertly, Jesus answered in such a way as to bring this man face to face with his sin, or the very reason that he could not live eternally. Jesus told him to keep the commandments by listing six of the ten great commands of God. These six commands deal with our relationships with others.
Amazingly the man said that he had kept all of those commands from his youth up and then asked …what lack I yet? The Lord responded to this rich man in kind. He told the man to sell everything he had, give it to the poor, and come and follow me. When the man heard this, he left Jesus in a sorrowful state for he had great possessions. Jesus seemed to infer something here; since the man believed he was so good in his relationships with others Jesus put his love to the test. Would he love others enough to become poor that they may become rich (this is the extent that Jesus loved). The answer was no. He claimed to love others, but he frankly loved himself more. Hey, he is in good company, we are all like this to a degree. This man’s problem though was that he did not recognize himself as a sinner needing to be saved from sin, because on his own testimony he had never sinned.
Jesus used this interchange to teach His followers a great truth: it is impossible to obtain eternal life on our own merits even if we are rich enough to buy anything. For salvation cannot be purchased, it is given. Given to sinners who need to be saved from the wages of their sin. With man this is impossible, but thanks be to God in Heaven with whom nothing is impossible. He has a plan to give us eternal life through the gospel of His Son. The promise of salvation is conditional upon receiving it, putting faith in it, accepting it, etc. But the promise that God can do the impossible, that is an unconditional promise. One that reaches all the way from eternal salvation to answering your everyday prayers over the small and great things of life and the living of it.
William T. Howe, Ph.D.