Now, I'm not going to condemn these folks as that's not my job. God will judge each of us and decide whether we were true believers or members of that group Jesus mentioned when He said, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of Heaven." Personally, though, I consider it my responsibility to point out what my study of the Bible reveals to me as false doctrine.
Today in my study of 1 Timothy, this passage stood out to me as an absolute contradiction of the Prosperity Doctrine, preached by more and more evangelists as time goes on. In a nutshell, they teach that the more money you give to God, the more money God will give to you. If you want a more detailed discussion of the Prosperity doctrine, In Defence of the Gospel has a really good post on it.
" 3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. ~ 1 Timothy 6:3-10" ~ 1 Timothy 5:24-25
Paul's instruction to Timothy seems to absolutely refute the idea that God will certainly reward us financially, calling those who teach otherwise "conceited" and says the "understand nothing." They "have been robbed of the truth" and "think that godliness is a means to financial gain."
Paul goes on to explain that believers should be content with whatever God blesses us with. If we have only "food and clothing," we're to be content with that. In his letter to the Philippians, recall that Paul found himself in "in need" and with "plenty," but was content regardless the situation in which he found himself.
You can take a few verses out of context from Jesus and Paul, piece them together, and present a defense of this doctrine that sounds plausible to many, and especially pleasing to the ear. But if you look closely and read those verses in context, you'll see that Jesus doesn't promise us he'll supply us with a home in Beverly Hills, or a Lexus to drive, or caviar for every meal. Each and every one of those verses deals explicitly with needs, yet we tend to translate their meaning to our wants.
Psalm 37:4 says to trust God and He will give you the "desires of your heart." But I saw someone post the true meaning of this on Facebook the other day, and it's different than so many interpret it. The fact is, when we truly trust God, the desires of our heart change from what pleases us to what honors Him. When we're truly devoted to loving and serving Jesus Christ, our heart seeks that which will glorify Him instead of that which will exalt us in the eyes of our peers.
Now, all that said, I don't believe that every rich person is unsaved. You can have money and still serve God. Jesus said it's hard for a rich man to go to Heaven, but He didn't say it was impossible. God may choose to bless you with millions, if doing so is His will and will bring Him glory. But, by the same token, every material thing I have could be taken away today if that's God's will and it's the best way to honor Him.
The simple fact is that when we trust Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we've already been given the greatest gift we can ever receive -- salvation and the promise to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. No amount of money, no pricey car, no material thing can ever top that gift. So not one earthly thing really matters once we've accepted that ultimate gift of salvation.
So hang your hat on that promise of salvation and know that whatever else God blesses you with, whether you're awash in riches or with barely enough to subsist, you are BLESSED!
If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.