Money and greed are talked about throughout the entire Bible. In fact, Jesus talked about this issue more than any other, except for the Kingdom of God. As humans, we start life as newborns in the state of rebellion. We are born into sin and it only until Christ changes us that we become new. Greed cannot be a part your life if you are a believer. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Let’s dive into scripture and see what the Bible says about greed.
1 Corinthians 6:10 – “nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
This is pretty straightforward. You will not be received into Heaven if you practice greed daily. This verse is talking to those who make these sins a lifestyle. You and I make greedy choices from time to time and are forgiven when we ask for it, but for those who are out only for themselves and use greed to establish their life will not inherit eternal life.
Proverbs 15:27 – “Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household, but he who hates bribes will live.”
“Unjust” is defined as “characterized by injustice: unfair”. (Merriam-Webster dictionary) This verse is speaking to those who acquire wealth and success through unfair means. This can occur through many facets: sex, stealing, slandering, and any other means to get to the top. Here is an example. If you borrow money from a drug dealer and don’t pay him back, you most certainly will not live much longer. This is a very extreme example, but it gets the point across. The Bible says, “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.” (Proverbs 13:11)
Psalm 37:21 – “The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives.”
This verse refers to the man above with the drug dealer. He is not going to pay the money back and he is a wicked man because of it. Wickedness is a very powerful seed that can grow into a thicket of thorns around your heart. It will squeeze out life, love and generosity if you let it grow.
Titus 1:7 – “For an overseer (Elder of the church), as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain.”
This is a “gut-check” for all who are in leadership in a congregation. If you are involved in any of these sins as a life-style, you need to step down as an elder. The Bible is clear on this. God wants only those who are “above reproach” to be in these positions and for good reason. The wicked heart cannot lead a faithful congregation.
Ephesians 4:18-19 – “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.”
Not only is greed sinful, but it leads to other problems. The men and women in these verses have become “darkened in their understanding.” They no longer comprehend real truth. They have become “alienated from the life of God”. That, my friends, is literally hell. They have become “ignorant”. They have become literally dumb. Their hearts have become hardened. Greed is a launchpad of disaster!
Matthew 23:25 – “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside are full of greed and self-indulgence.”
Many people look great on the outside. They play the “game” well. They dress up for church to look good. They give to charity to look good. They do good deeds to look good. They serve to look good. Do you understand where you are with the Lord? Are you learning the Bible to clean you up from the inside out? Are you doing things for the Kingdom or for your own fulfillment? Any thing you do that is not for the glory of God is for your own glory and greed.
James 5:1, 4 – “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.”
If you have ever been cheated by someone because of greed, you can be sure that your cries and pleas to the Lord are heard. God will avenge you, if not on earth then in the end. God is with you through all things. So, don’t be like the greedy, but live in the Spirit of humility, generosity and love.
2 Peter 2:2-3 – “And many will follow their (false prophets and teachers) sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction will not sleep.”
My friends, without mentioning names, as I don’t intend to bring a debate from this article or to bash other humans, there are some big-time “preachers” and “teachers” leading people astray today, just as back in the days when this verse was written. They promote huge events in poor countries in places like Africa to “help” people become better. Then they leave filling their pockets with money and doing nothing good for the people. They speak lies saying that God wants you to have an abundant life of wealth and happiness now. If that were true, that most certainly would have happened to Jesus when He lived here. He is the only One deserving of this because He was sinless. What did he get? He got berated, beaten, bruised, whipped, scorned, and crucified because of His faith in God and to wash us clean of our sin! The gospel does not promise happiness and abundance. It promises hard times, persecution and a life of giving up of yourself and taking up your cross daily to follow Jesus. Make no mistake in who you follow. Test what people say to you by looking at scripture for yourself. You cannot ride the coattails of someone else into Heaven.
Greed is found in many places in the Bible and the evidence is clear. Greed is a sin and Heaven will not have room for those who make greed a lifestyle. Do a gut check today. Are there things that you may be stingy with that need to be taken care of? God bless you as you continue to live a life worthy of the calling!
Related Reading: Christian Stewardship Advice: 7 Tips for Handling Money
Resource – “Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”