But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26
What is the most “impossible” difficulty that man has to face? We have accomplished a lot of “impossible” things with inventions and technology, and there appears no end in sight to that kind of advance. On a more personal level, we continue to struggle with “impossible” economic situations (like getting the good job we really want), relationships (having a “perfect” marriage), or self-improvement goals (running that 5K as fast as I would like). Although our chances in some such areas might be remote, they are not impossible. I like the line in the film “Dumb and Dumber,” when the beautiful young woman tells Lloyd that his chances with her are something like a million to one. He brightens up and says “So you’re telling me there’s a chance YEAH!” So yes, when you tell that youngster “You can be president of the United States!” you are correct. The chances may be worse than a million to one, but it is not actually “impossible.”
The Lord Jesus told his disciples in the verse above about something that was completely impossible for man. A rich man had come to Christ asking about gaining eternal life, but left unconverted when the Lord confronted him with his sin of greed. He went on to compare the chances of a rich man getting saved as worse than the chances of a camel passing through the eye of a needle. The incredulous disciples asked “Who then can be saved?” The Lord replied “With man this [the saving of a soul] is impossible.” Not only rich people, but every one of us has a sin and pride problem that makes it impossible for us to turn to the true and living God. We prefer to make up a god who will fit our inclinations, rather than be changed to fit His holy will.
We can be thankful that Christ did not end there. He went on, “but with God all things [especially, in this context, the saving of a soul] are possible.” There is no sinner who is beyond Christ’s redemption. There is no sin so deep-seated or depraved that the death of Christ on the cross was not sufficient to atone for it. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved!” (Romans 10:13)
You and I may be inclined to write off someone (even oneself) as an “impossible” case. In a sense, we are correct. With man, the saving of that person is impossible. But not with God. When it comes to forgiving and transforming sinners, he is the God of the impossible.
The Rev. Richard C. Klueg is the pastor of The Baptist Church of Northville.