Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. Matthew 7:1-5
Everyone seems to understand that this is exaggeration used for effect. In our own vernacular, we use hyperbole all the time, such as, "This book weighs a ton," or "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse."
Jesus' exaggeration in is easily explained. The camel was the largest animal regularly seen in Israel, and its contrast with the small size of a needle's eye shows the utter impossibility of the effort to squeeze the former through the latter.
Why do so many want to act as apologists for what Christ "really" meant in the above passage of scripture? Is it because we secretly, or even openly, desire wealth and do not want any biblical negativity slowing us down? Just in case we inherit big bucks from the uncle we forgot we had, we would not want any spiritual stigma attached to the money! To reiterate, the wealth itself is not the problem, but our attachment to it or what it can buy.
Jesus' disciples were horrified at His words. " Who then can be saved ?" they wondered. It is very simple. Christ is instructing them that, through his own efforts, no one can be saved. He does not mean just the wealthy cannot be saved, but no one can be saved through his money, his skills, his talents, his intellect, or anything else. We are not saved by what we do or are.but by who Jesus is and what HE did.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
During the time of Christ, the Jews believed that wealth and prosperity were a sign of God's blessing (some believe the same thing today), so the reaction of His disciples is sheer incredulity. Later, professing Christians fell into the opposite ditch by portraying riches as a hindrance to salvation. It is true that riches can be an impediment to salvation, but so can many other things.
What if we are considered to be poor by this world? Are we somehow better than those with more physical goods? It would be just as dangerous for an underprivileged person to think that he had it made because his poverty gave him some sort of piety, as it would for a rich man to trust in his wealth. We can be tempted from the path of righteousness by just about anything. Our downfall might be drink, food, television, or any number of things available to us in this world.
It is easy for us to look at the wealthy and judge them to be unfit for GOD's Kingdom, congratulating ourselves in the process for not having that particular distraction in our lives. While the rich young ruler walked away from Christ, extremely sad that he could not make that leap of faith, what in our own lives has the same hold on us? What is the anchor that keeps our spiritual ship from sailing?
Paul relates that a person named Demas had forsaken him and seemingly loved the world more than GOD.
For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. 2 Timothy 4:10
What caused Demas to leave Paul and Christ? Demas loved the world; the particulars are not divulged. Whatever it was is of less import than the simple, spiritual fact that a camel cannot g o through the eye of a needle. We are to first seek the kingdom GOD and avoid the world and its distractions.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1-2
Someone who loves the world, whether rich or poor, will not be in God's Kingdom.
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. James 4: 4
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. nd the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 John 2:15-17
To reiterate.the point is that we do not achieve salvation through our own efforts; it is from God alone, by His grace.
With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
We have our part to play and are rewarded for our efforts as seen below:
Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them, which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, and knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; and art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. Romans 2
When GOD Almighty takes us from this world, works with us, blesses us, and brings us into His Family, it is truly a miracle. We go through the eye of the needle and we to are saved.