“Nothing is impossible with God”. This is something I’ve said and heard more times than I can count. I’ll bet anything that you’ve heard it too. The scriptures that we use for saying this are:
Matthew 19:26 (NKJV) But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
Mark 10:27 (NKJV) But Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible."
Luke 1:37 (NKJV) For with God nothing will be impossible."
Luke 18:27 (NKJV) But He said, "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God."
While it is true that absolutely nothing is impossible for or with God, the Creator of everything, with the exception of Luke 1:37 scripture which is what the angel told Mary about the Holy Spirit’s ability to impregnate a virgin, the other statements, all of which were made by Jesus refers to God’s ability to save mankind and provide a way for them to enter the kingdom of Heaven. Let’s look at the statement in the context in which Jesus made it.
Matthew 19:16-26 (NLT)16 Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”17 “Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.”18 “Which ones?” the man asked. And Jesus replied: “‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely.19 Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.’”20 “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?”21 Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”22 But when the young man heard this, he went away very sad, for he had many possessions.23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.24 I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”25 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”
Mark 10:17-27 (NLT)17 As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good.19 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’”20 “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”22 At this the man’s face fell, and he went away very sad, for he had many possessions.23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!”24 This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God.25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”26 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.27 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”
Luke 18:18-27 (NLT)18 Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good.20 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.’”21 The man replied, “I’ve carefully obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”22 When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”23 But when the man heard this he became sad, for he was very rich.24 When Jesus saw this, he said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”26 Those who heard this said, “Then who in the world can be saved?”27 He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”
It’s obvious in each instance that Jesus was attempting to change the perspective that what man considers valuable has no value when it comes to salvation. Salvation is determined by God and Him alone and only under the circumstances that He dictates. Throughout His time on earth Jesus announced God’s terms.
John 14:6 (NLT) Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. He also said that there were no other prerequisites. Matthew 11:28 (NLT) Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.John 3:14-17 (NLT)14 And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. 16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
Editor’s Notes: Full scriptures inserted by me.
Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”-- Mark 9:23
The word impossible occurs nine times in the New King James Version of the Bible, and most of the references tell us that this word doesn’t appear in God’s regular vocabulary.
- Matthew 17:20: “Nothing will be impossible.”
He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
- Matthew 19:26: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
- Mark 10:27: “With men it is impossible, but not with God.”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
- Luke 1:37: “With God nothing will be impossible.”
For nothing will be impossible with God.”
- Luke 18:27: “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”
But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
Hebrews 6:18 tells us it is impossible for God to lie,
Hebrews 6:18 (ESV) so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.
And Hebrews 11:6 adds that without faith it is impossible for us to please Him.
Hebrews 11:6 (ESV)6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
It demonstrates how important it is to cast our impossibilities in God’s hands. Just as He parted the sea for Israel,
Exodus 14:21-22 (ESV)21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.22 And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
Reversed the events in Esther,
Esther 5:1-3 (ESV)1 On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace, in front of the king’s quarters, while the king was sitting on his royal throne inside the throne room opposite the entrance to the palace.2 And when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won favor in his sight, and he held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.3 And the king said to her, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even to the half of my kingdom.”
Raised Jesus from the dead,
Romans 8:11 (ESV)11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
And converted Saul of Tarsus,
Acts 9:13-16 (ESV)13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem.14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.”15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
God is capable of reversing our irreversible problems.
What Is Possible?There is a part of the body of Christ that has adopted a slogan from the secular self-help movement: “If you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it!” If you can conceive of yourself as an astronaut or a star player in the NBA, and believe it with all your heart, are you likely to achieve such a goal? The answer for most adults is no.
What’s good about the “name it and claim it” school is that it encourages us not to limit ourselves or God. What’s wrong with this approach is that it misapplies the words of Jesus. For example, a corollary of Jesus’ words in
Mark 9:23 (ESV)23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”
Words Jesus spoke on the night of His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Mark 14:36 (ESV)36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
Jesus believed it was possible for Him not to go to the Cross, and He also believed it was possible for God to keep Him from that suffering. Yet He went to the Cross anyway.
Our beliefs and possibilities have to be in line with the will of God. That’s how Jesus lived His life and how He taught His disciples to live.
John 5:30 (ESV)30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.
When our lives are lived in obedience to God’s will, nothing is impossible. Dream big — but dream biblically!
Excerpted with permission from Ever Faithful by Dr. David Jeremiah, copyright David Jeremiah.