But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. (Luke 6:24)
The use of the strong adversative conjunction (but) indicates that the woes pronounced on those who reject Jesus Christ are in direct contrast to the blessings granted to His true believers. The first woe was not pronounced on the materially rich. Being wealthy in and of itself is not sinful; Abraham, Job, Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea were rich, and according to Deuteronomy 8:18 God grants the power to obtain wealth. The rich in view here are those who imagine themselves to be rich in the spiritual realm, who think that their righteous deeds are sufficient to obtain salvation. A prime example is the Pharisee in the Lord’s story, who “was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get’” (Luke 18:11–12). The curse pronounced on them is that they are receiving their comfort in full in this life. What awaits them in eternity is the comfortless, ceaseless torment of hell (cf. Luke 16:25).
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