Friday, September 29, 2006

Literal interpretation of Scripture

While surfing a site that I frequent often,, I came across a post concerning the literal interpretation of Scripture.

Matthew 19 is the passage that was referenced, specifically the section where Christ states, " is easier for a camel to pass through an eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God..."

I was suprised at how many folks have been incorrectly taught that Christ is referencing "a gate" for camels to pass through. The false teaching refers to a small gate for camels to enter at night. This supposedly was in place so that the large gates would not have to be opened and the city be exposed to whatever evil may lay outside the gates. They were taught that the camel would have to offload whatever burdens it was carrying (the riches) and get on its knees (humility) and crawl through the gate to enter the city. While that may make for 'good preachin', it is terrible exegesis of the passage.

Context shows that Christ is pointing out to a specific young rich man that his wealth was keeping him from following Jesus. This young man ended going away grieving because he just couldnt pry his fingers off his wealth to follow Christ. The ironic thing is, and something that Jesus pointed out later in the dialogue, that by giving up everything to follow Him, you actually gain more than you could ever imagine.

The problem in today's society... and in our churches... is that we want to soften the teachings of Christ. Let me be clear - Jesus wasnt referring to a gate that made it kind of inconvenient for wealthy caravans to enter into the city. He said, referring to an actual needle's eye, that it would be easier for this large animal to squeeze through there than a rich man to enter into heaven.

Immediately the cry goes up: " you're saying that rich people can't get saved!!... your theology is all messed up!!..." Not so. I simply point out what Christ said, "...with men it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible..."

What are you holding onto that is keeping you from pursuing Christ passionately and wholeheartedly? Do you have a relationship with Christ? Are you serving Him?

We cannot get away from the fact that the gate to heaven is small and the pathway that gets us there is narrow... and few there be that find it. Jesus Himself said that many will cry out to Him in the day of judgment, "...Lord, Lord... did we not (serve You)?..." and He states clearly that to those people He will say, "...depart from Me, I never knew you..."

No comments: