The Word of God is rich in insights, and single passages can reveal a thousand and one meanings. There's never just one meaning for one verse or phrase. Thus, I see that the rich, young, ruler passage in Matthew 19 has a vital end times principle to teach us.
When Peter asked the Master what was there for them since they have left everything to follow Jesus, My Jesus told them that at the "renewal" of things, when the Son of Man sits on His throne, the 12 would judge all Israel, and those who have left (this is where we come in) fields, homes, families, etc., for Jesus' sake would get 100 times what was given up, plus eternal life as a major bonus. See? Definitely, this talks about last days scenarios.
The church generation in the end times would have these qualities--most church people would be rich, young, ruler-hungry or mad, spiritual, biblical, and hungering for Jesus--not because they love him but because they need him to protect their investments. Never in the history of mankind has people (and the church) been more rich, young, ruler-mad, and fond of Jesus than in this generation--in these last days. This is an amusing last days scenarios.
Never in history has the church been richer than today--in material possessions, I mean. Even the entire generation. And never has greed been worse than today. It's hopeless even in churches. The rich, young, ruler (RYR) in the bible wanted God because he saw that none could protect his riches except God. So he wanted eternal life--a long, long life to enjoy his riches with.
Today's church generation is the same. Churches grab lands and properties in the name of church planting and compete with each other grabbing people to up church membership. Why? Because the name of the game is that the more members, the more church income. You wonder why the prosperity gospel is more popular today than in previous generations?
I know western "missionaries" who live in posh mansions, stay in air-conditioned offices, and have never tried real mission work where persecution and the cross is the daily reality. They stay in comfy seminaries to teach, get paid handsomely, and cling on to that lifestyle. And pastors who envy them (and have the same greed) either protest or become willing subjects.
People today lie about their ages more than people did generations ago. And they want to stay young--the number one industry today is wellness. The church generation, on the other hand, is often manned by young people who want to do just anything in church---mostly, they want to imitate their favorite rock bands and be their Christian version in church.
And most churches like it that way--they let young people take over because they feel good having a young-people church image. They want their churches to look young. Nothing wrong about this, but the thing is, they do this out of a spirit of competition--they just want to attract more people to up membership and finances. It's all greed.
Young people must take a serious role in church, especially in its growth, but they should be well grounded in genuine godly Word doctrine--they must be fathered--not just do anything in church to make it more lively,making church worship like a rock concert "for Jesus."
Oh! Most church people today are mad about power. This is the generation where politics--even church politics--is at its worst. Church politics is even much worse than mundane politics. Just watch how people in church behave during conventions and assemblies where there is an election. You see cheating, vote buying, dirty campaigning, under-the-table negotiations, church cartels, and even the "missionary" handling the affairs involved in them. This is not to mention church splits--which is power wielding and display, somebody power-mad throwing his or her weight around. And then they "pray" for all these to make things look spiritual.
There are even pastors today who want to run for public office, or willingly be used by politicians as "spiritual advisers" because they get included in the pay roll or get special favors. And there they compromise left and right. But they hang on because the pay and power is good.
Just like the rich, young, ruler, the church generation today seeks God and come to Jesus--not because they love Him and seek to do His will. They want God to bless and protect what they are doing and what they have gained for themselves and their denominations--their empires.
Losing Their Sense of Eternal Life
Once you stick to that level of spiritual life--just wanting God for protection of earthly possessions, like your denominational church, you begin to be like the rich, young ruler--you begin to lose your sense of having eternal life. These RYR type of church people are so biblical--they put a lot of bible verses in their denominational doctrines and manuals. But this is merely to make people believe that they are Christian, and they want to use God to have him protect their interests. It's like a bribe--"God, we use your Word, so you must protect our interests."
As they keep on doing this, God puts a spirit on them so that they lose their sense of assurance--they begin to doubt their spiritual lives so that they have revival services at least two times a year. They plan to die in their spiritual lives at least twice a year. They feel they lack something but are at a loss what it is. That's what happens when you belong to this generation. Thus, the RYR went to Jesus to ask how he could get eternal life--though he had already entered life.
Oh yes, he had entered life! Jesus said, to enter life, he had to "obey the commandments." (Today, we say it is by receiving Jesus by faith. That's correct, but that's not all. We should listen to what Jesus says in this passage. That's why so many Christians still feel they lack something even after entering life). The RYR said he had been doing that since he was a kid. So that means, he had entered life--and yet he lost his sense of salvation. Many Christians are like this today. I've met them.
In the end times, the issue won't be assurance of salvation anymore. The salvation issue ought to be the concern of non-believers alone. In the end times, if this is still your issue, you probably are a non-believer still. If your church still has this as a problem among its members, you are left way, way behind. The issue now is---perfection. And perfection is not perfect church attendance or perfect church programs or activities or having read the bible many times or able to memorize verses. Perfection is giving up EVERYTHING.
Jesus asked the RYR--"if you wanna be perfect, give up everything, give to the poor, and follow me." The end times issue is, have you given up everything? If you still hold on to some things, no matter how small--like your denomination--you will never have perfection in your spiritual life. Jesus should own you 100 percent.