Money has nothing (and everything) to do with salvation

Yesterday I preached on the Christian’s relationship with money. Specifically, I compared hoarding and generosity and the relative wisdom of each. The rich fool who hoards on earth is met with judgment while the generous store up for themselves treasures in heaven. (See Luke 12:13-21; 22-34 and 1 Timothy 6:9-10; 18-19)

Some could unfortunately and incorrectly interpret these passages to mean that our salvation depends on what we do with our money. So I want to clearly state salvation has nothing to do with money. We’re saved by grace through faith in Jesus alone. You can’t “give” your way into heaven. Generosity does not atone for sin. The poor have no advantage of the rich or the rich over the poor.

But, if I’m going to take Jesus’ teaching seriously on the matter I must admit that salvation has everything to do with moneyThis was certainly true for the rich fool (Luke 18:18-19), Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10), the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-30), and the early Christians (Acts 2:42-47). I don’t mean that salvation depends on what we do with our money but that what we do with our money clearly reveals the location of our hearts.

When we’re saved we switch allegiances. We turn from serving a plethora of false gods to serving the one true God and Him alone. God is a jealous God who demands our complete allegiance. He won’t share his throne in our lives. Money is one of those potential gods we set up in God’s place. This is why Jesus says  “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Luke 16:13)

Salvation has everything to do with money because salvation reshapes our attitude toward money. We move from the position of ownership (it’s mine, I do what I want), to stewardship (it’s God’s, he uses as he wants). We move from serving money to serving God. we change from people who pursue their own temporary kingdom to those who seek first the eternal kingdom of God.

Most importantly, we begin to develop the mind of Christ who was willing to become poor (literally) so that we might become rich in spiritual blessings (2 Corinthians 8:9). The atonement of Christ and his example empowers us to hold loosely our material possessions so that we might lay hold of life that is truly life (1 Timothy 6:19).