Mark 10:23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
If election is unconditional and men are chosen not based on anything they do or become within this life, and all the elect are irresistibly drawn to faith and salvation, then why does Jesus draw the distinction regarding the difficulty of those with wealth to be saved?
Could it be that wealth causes one to depend upon his own resources? Could it be that wealth can lead to materialistic distractions? Could it be that wealthy feel they must give up ‘too much’ in order to be a disciple? Could it be that wealth affects man’s will?
Why would any of these factors even matter if God chose the elect or passed over the reprobate without anything about them being a condition, including their wealth? And would any of these be a real hindrance to an irresistible working of the Holy Spirit? How can it be any more difficult for one person over any than another to enter the kingdom if the Calvinistic system is correct?
Here are the answers I’ve received over the years from Calvinistic believers:
- “Just as God ordains the means of grace, there are means that keep people in bondage.”
Let’s discuss the purpose of both the “means of grace” and the “means that keep people in bondage:”
- What purpose does the means of wealth serve that is not already accomplished by their natural born condition of “total inability?” And for what purpose would it be mentioned if this particular condition makes no real difference?
- Does this suggest that because a person is NOT elect that God may make them wealthy so as to hinder them from coming? If so, why? Isn’t their natural condition enough of a hindrance? We know from Calvinistic teaching that they were not chosen or passed over because of their wealth, but this suggests that their wealth is a condition of their being non-elect.
- What does the means of “provoking to envy” or “signs and wonders” accomplish that the irresistible calling doesn’t accomplish? I understand that the gospel is meant to inform the elect in the monergistic system, but what purpose is there in “provoking the will?”
It appears the means God uses in the Calvinistic worldview do not actually make a difference. They appear to be included for effect or for show given that the means will not accomplish anything more or less that what is accomplished by either the inborn nature (for the reprobate) or the irresistible work of regeneration (for the elect).
- “All you need to do is read on a couple of verses further: ‘With men it is impossible, but not for God; for with God all things are possible’ (Mark 10:27). If it were up to man, no rich person would ever be saved.”
Neither would a poor man. We all agree that without God salvation would be impossible, but this does not address why this distinction was drawn.
Let us reason this out. Suppose there is a poor elect man and a rich elect man. Both hear the gospel and reject for a period of time until they are effectually called at God’s appointed time. So, what is the distinction between the rich man and the poor man? Both are just as totally depraved from birth, right? Both MUST be regenerated in order to come to faith, right? So, why the distinction regarding how much money one individual has over the other?
- You just do not understand. It is multi-dimensional not flat. It is more like a diamond and you’re trying to flatten it out.
This is the fail proof rebuttal for any argument where there is no answer except an appeal to mystery. Accuse your opponent of not being intelligent enough to understand the complexities of your system.