Scripture: Luke 16:19-31
What would be the counterpart to this attitude in the church today? It would be professing Christians who read these parables and say, “I am an eternally secure child of God. I am justified by faith alone. Don”t tell me that the way I use my money could jeopardize my eternal destiny.”
The answer to this contemporary form of cheap grace is this: the faith which justifies PURIFIES—it purifies from the love of money. Or as Galatians 5.6" rel="nofollow">Galatians 5:6 says, when it comes to justification before God, “neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail but faith working through love.” The point of this parable is that the rich man is in hell because he delighted more in luxuries for himself than in love for Lazarus. It didn”t make any difference that he thought he had a secure standing as a son of Abraham.
And so in hell he looks up and pleads for some mercy from Abraham. Abraham responds in verse 25 by telling him why he is in hell and in verse 26 by telling him that there is absolutely no way out.
In verse 25 Abraham says, “Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.” In other words if during our time on earth we pursue after “things” instead of God—after luxury for ourselves instead of love for others—then earth will be the extent of our heaven and eternity will be our hell. But if during our time mobile.ae.org on the earth God is our treasure no matter how many bad things happen, then earth will be the extent of our hell and eternity will be our heaven.
Then verse 26 adds, “Besides all this [i.e., besides the fact that your own love for money and lovelessness toward Lazarus consigns you to hell], between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.” In other words any thought of a temporary purgatory is out of the question. Death is utterly final. The bed we make in this life we sleep in forever.
This does not mean that, by using your money for the good of others in the cause of Christ, you buy a spot in heaven or earn your way to paradise. Not at all! What it means is that the way you use your money shows whether your heart has been changed so that love for others and not luxury for yourselves is what you long for and delight in. And this is no more legalism or salvation by works than it is to say that to go to heaven you have to be the kind of person who prefers what is there—or better, who prefers Who is there.