Text: Matthew 19:16-26
Our text tells us that “With God all things are possible” (:26), but we have to accept that there are certain things that are impossible for Him to do. It is “impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18). “He cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). Though the Sovereign Lord can literally do anything, He cannot do that which would conflict with His word, nature and character. “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).
“If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23). Does this mean that everything is possible just because we believe it to be without any limitations? This study will seek to show that just as there are certain impossibilities with God, so we might be believing for that which is not possible.
Maturity without foundation
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). Many believers think that they can grow in maturity in Christ without ever reading or studying the word of God. They believe they are accepted by Him even though they daily neglect the Scriptures, “Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee” (Hosea 4:6). Paul cautions us to “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Unless we do this we cannot be free from bondage to the world. “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free … If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:32, 36). Without this knowledge we cannot grow into maturity. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).
Spiritual maturity has nothing to do with our age in the flesh or how many years we have been Christians. Spiritual maturity is proven by how we live our lives according to the standards of God’s word. If we think that we have maturity without the foundation laid by God, then we are deceiving ourselves.
Discipleship without sacrifice
The greatest blessing, which is salvation, was bought for us through both the personal sacrifice of the Father and of the Son. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). If we are to be true followers of Christ then we must be willing to sacrifice too. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
This idea will seem foreign to those who claim to be Christians but have no real commitment to Christ, yet it is the very thing required of disciples. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2). Such sacrifice may include persecution and suffering for the cause of Christ. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). Our sacrifice is too cheap if it costs us anything less than everything. “Neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing” (2 Samuel 24:24). It is impossible to be a follower of Christ if we are unwilling to lay down our lives for Him.
Blessing without holiness
God has a perfect plan for our lives. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Psalm 1:1-3). How many think they have this blessing but leave God out of their daily lives! “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps” (Proverbs 16:9) … “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way” (Psalm 37:23).
Where holiness and sanctification are mocked as being heretical doctrines it can be shown that worldiness is in the hearts of the mocker. Such people do not know the Lord and will never inherit the blessings of eternal life. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrew 12:14).
Salvation without faith
“But without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrews 11:6). If true Scriptural faith is not in the heart then there can be no salvation regardless what may be believed to the contrary. “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). Objectors might say that salvation is a free “gift of God” (Romans 6:23), but that does not negate man’s responsibility to believe. “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:30-31).
The vast majority think they are destined for Heaven because they go to church or are good people, but being made right with God comes only by personal faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). This means that they must repent and believe in Christ before they can receive the gift of God. The lack of repentance hinders the work of God in the soul. “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). Without repentance people perish. “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). It is impossible to be saved without faith in Christ.
Yes, all things are possible with God, but how could He be the true God if He acted contrary to His word, nature and character? Do we honestly think we can be true Christians if we do not line ourselves up with His word and do things His way? Though this list of impossibilities is short, there are in actual fact many more, we at least see that it is not possible to be mature followers of Christ without submitting our all to Him. Are we believing for the impossible? Are we hoping for that which God cannot give?