"Who then can be saved?" (Luke 18:26)Which came in response to Jesus telling his students:
"Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." (Luke 18:25)
Being rich is relative.
One person might feel rich with $100 while another person might only feel rich with more than $10,000 saved up. And still another person may feel rich with more than $100,000. So being rich is relative.
What Jesus is speaking of - as discussed with Luke 18:25 - is attachment: Becoming attached to material wealth - and the material things that are obtained with that wealth.
Not becoming attached to wealth material possessions within the physical world is extremely difficult. Why is it so difficult?
Because we identify with these temporary physical bodies. We think that we are the flesh and bones - even though those atoms and molecules of the flesh and bones are constantly migrating. Science has determined that some 98 percent of the atoms in our body this year will be exchanged with new atoms within a year.
This means we cannot possibly be this physical body. Since we were around a year ago, and we are still the same person now, despite this massive atomic change over the past year - along with the massive turnover of the body's cells. Thus, there is no way we can logically claim to be these physical bodies.
Yet we do. We look at the mirror each day and say to ourselves - "That's me in the mirror: This body is me."
Even scientists who understand the constant turnover of atoms within our bodies will consider their body to be themselves. So while logic tells us we cannot possibly be the gross physical body, we will still act on the basis that we are.
Every body dies
Furthermore, even though every body dies, and every body is dying all around us. We live as though our bodies won't die. We think we'll be here forever, even though our body could die at any moment.
This is called illusion. The physical world has been designed by the Supreme Being to cover us with illusion. Why? Because we wanted to get away from Him. We wanted to exercise our freedom. We rejected our innate relationship with God.
So He designed a place that we could hide out: A universe where we could take on a new (false) identity and forget Him.
But how can someone forget someone they are intimately related to - as we are with the Supreme Being? After all, the Supreme Being is Our Best Friend - Our Creator - Our Protector. How could we forget Him?
Through this powerful illusory energy created by God. This illusory nature of the physical world acts directly upon our consciousness. It allows us to forget our relationship with God. And it forces us to identify ourselves as these temporary physical bodies.
In the Scriptures, we find this illusory energy being described repeatedly: As "Satan" or "the Devil" or "Beelzebub" or "the opposer" or "the adversary."
Do you really think that the Supreme Being - who created everything and controls everything - would really be threatened by an adversary? Could there really be some "Satan" guy out there running around out of God's control, and messing things up for Him?
Don't be ridiculous. God has no out-of-control adversary. He is always in control, and never loses control. To lose control would contradict the position of God.
Freedom to love means the freedom to reject
But God does give those whom He created the freedom to love Him or reject Him. And He gives those who reject Him the ability to exercise their freedom - by creating the physical world and the illusory energy to hide Himself from us.
Still - it is also correct that the illusory energy can be - for those who have decided they want to return to their relationship with God - an adversary or opposer. But what the illusory energy is doing is opposing our ability to return to our relationship with God.
The illusory energy is, in fact, testing each of us - to see if we are serious enough to return to our relationship with God.
The reality of the "opposer" or "adversary" or "satan" or "the devil" testing us is clear within the scriptures. For example, when Jesus went to the desert, he was clearly "tested" by the "devil."
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4:1)Most will remember the remaining part of this story, how the devil shows Jesus riches and offers him the opportunity to be the ruler of the earth and so on. And how Jesus rejects all of those temptations.
But in this verse and throughout the description of the devil's temptations, the word "tempted" is translated from πειράζω (peirazō), which means, "to test: for the purpose of ascertaining his quality."
This is what temptation is: Being tested.
Those who attempt to make progress towards our lost relationship with the Supreme Being are tempted or tested in order to assess our determination: Just how determined are we to reach our relationship with God?
But it isn't as though the Supreme Being really has to test us to know how serious we are. He already can see our seriousness within. So why are we tested by the illusory energy if God already knows how serious (or not) we are?
Because these tests allow us to know just how far we still have to go in order to be serious enough to return to the spiritual realm. They provide us with a litmus test of sorts - to see what is more important to us.
And these tests (temptations) also allow those who aren't serious the out - to continue our forgetfulness of our loving-service relationship with God.
Jesus might have passed the tests of the 'devil' (translated from the Greek word διάβολος (diabolos), which also means "opposer" according to Thayer's lexicon) - but most of us would probably not pass those tests that Jesus was tested with. Many who might be offered to be ruler of the whole world would probably take it.
And certainly, striving to be the world champion in some sport, or the head of a government, or a CEO of a big company is akin to the "ruler of the world" title.
In other words, unlike Jesus - who was perfect in his love for the Supreme Being - we are prone to failing such tests. We are prone to identify with these physical bodies and think that we will be happy if we can just get to the top. If we can just win this next contest and win the championship of something and have lots of adoring fans, we'll be happy.
This is illusion.
We can see this clearly by observing that these titles do not bring lasting happiness to those who gain those positions - even with all the adoring fans. Yet most of us who occupy physical bodies in the physical world will still seek adoring fans.
So how do we get out?
Jesus is clarifying this: "What is impossible with man is possible with God."
In other words, the Supreme Being - who is always in complete control - has the power and authority to clear our consciousness of illusion. When we are ready.
Thus, what Jesus is teaching here for those who want to return to our relationship with God: To stay determined and focused as best we can, but to always know that we are dependent upon His mercy.
This is Jesus' message in Luke 18:27: If we trust the Supreme Being, and we become dependent upon Him, He will be there for us. Even if we might fail some of the tests of the illusory energy - if we focus our consciousness upon Him, and depend upon His mercy, He will guide us back to our loving relationship with Him.
This is one of the reasons for the importance of incanting God's Holy Names - as Jesus taught and the Prophets taught throughout the Scriptures. Through the incantation of His Holy Names, we can refocus our consciousness upon God, and reconnect with the Supreme Being, and thus become gradually purified of our attachments within the material world by rekindling our innate love for God.