Summary: Does the Bible guarantee wealth? This study looks at the topics of the Jesus and the apostles wealth and how money fits into the Christian life.
Biblical Teaching on Wealth
In recent years there has been a growing misunderstanding about what the Bible teaches about wealth. It is now commonly taught that wealth is a God-given guarantee. It is supposedly guaranteed because of God’s covenant with Abraham. It is argued that we are under that same covenant. All we need to do is look at the covenant God made with Abraham and we will see that wealth and health is not even mentioned. God made a two-fold covenant with Abraham. Look at these passages:
18 On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: "To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates --
2 "And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly."
3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying:
4 "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.
5 "No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.
6 "I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.
7 "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.
8 "Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."
Even the casual reader can see the promises of this covenant: your descendents will inherit the land and I will make you a great nation. God renamed him from Abram, which means ‘exalted father’ to Abraham, which means ‘father of a multitude’. When God called Abraham at the beginning, God did give him a command and promised that obedience would produce blessing. However, we can’t mistake the covenant as being God’s promise of blessing because of obedience. God’s word is filled with promises of blessing to those who obey and warnings for those who disobey God. God’s blessings are not obtained by claiming it with words alone. Every blessing has a command and every command is a blessing. God deals with individuals. Because God promised to make Abraham’s name great and produce a great nation does not mean that each of us will have that same promise.
Many Christians are led to believe that giving is an investment. If you give a thousand dollars, you will get five thousand in return. Some have even taken Jesus’ parable of the sower and claim that God will take our giving and return it to us a hundredfold. The parable identifies the seed as the Word of God, not money given to ministries. The parable about the sower is about sowing the word of God. The parable found in Matthew 13 also tells us that some fall on stony ground and were scorched; some fell by the wayside and was snatched away; and some fell among thorns and were choked. We sow the word of God knowing that not everyone will receive. We also know that of those who do receive it, not all will follow it. Many will be offended or will choose the cares of this world. However, we should be encouraged to persevere knowing that those who grow will reproduce the labor. Some will multiply a little and some will be dynamic and passionate and accomplish much. The very premise that we give to God in order to become financially wealthy is the opposite of what scripture teaches. Look at Luke 6:
34 "And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.
35 "But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
If you lend hoping to receive back, the Bible says that this is not credit to you. God blesses those who give out of a desire to love, not out of a desire to gain. Of course the true church understands that Christianity is not a quest for money, but in the world’s eyes, those who turn Christianity into a money making opportunity are viewed as the same as Biblical Christianity. Let’s take a moment to consider the purpose of money.
Is Money Evil?
Money is not good nor is it evil. Money is completely neutral. It is a tool in our hand and becomes good or evil depending on the heart of the person possessing or seeking it. Look at 1 Timothy 6: