Is it True that “With God All Things Are Possible”? What Does that Verse Really Mean?

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible,” Jesus said in Matthew 19:26. Throughout the Bible, God’s people accomplish unfathomable tasks. At first, one might credit the main characters with victory, but the power comes from the Father. God is most glorified by bringing an event to pass which seems impossible.
Candice Lucey
Is it True that “With God All Things Are Possible”? What Does that Verse Really Mean?

“With God all things are possible” Verse in Scripture

The Story

Matthew 19 recounts how a rich man asked “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Jesus told him to keep the commandments. (vs.16,17). The rich man claimed he had kept these, but wondered what more he needed to do. Jesus answered “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (v.21).

Jesus’ standard of perfection was startling, even for his disciples who overheard this conversation. When they asked about it, he said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible,” (Matthew 19:26).

Perfection is impossible for anyone but Christ “for none is righteous; no, not one” (Romans 3:10). Riding a camel through the eye of a needle would be easier (v.24) than pursuing a blameless life.

What was the rich man supposed to do, then? No one would get into heaven on these terms. Only the Son of Man is sinless, blameless, and perfect, yet He apparently contradicts Himself by asserting that “all things are possible with God?” (Matthew 19:26). What did He mean?

The Meaning

Health and wealth are pointless without an eternal relationship with God. The rich man’s material treasures were a barrier between him and salvation: hence, Christ’s invitation to follow Him (Matthew 19:21). Our own path will not lead us to Heaven; only the path that Christ made for us will.

“The rich young ruler did everything he could to earn eternal life, but it wasn’t good enough. It is only through God’s grace that one can receive eternal life,” Aaron Berry said in his Crosswalk article.

Salvation for eternity with the Father is the best gift; yet, there are other good gifts too.

7 Impossible Things God Accomplished in the Bible

Throughout the Bible, God’s people accomplish unfathomable tasks.

1. Moses drew water from a stone (Exodus 17:6).

2. Barren women conceived (Sarah and Elizabeth).

3. Esther saved her Jewish kin from slaughter (Esther 3-9).

4. A virgin, Mary, gave birth to the Son of God (Luke 1:26 – 2:7).

Moses, Esther, Sarah, Elizabeth, and Mary understood that nothing is beyond the power of God.

5. In Judges 4, God delivered Jabin and the Canaanite army into the hands of Israel, although the enemy army was mightier than Israel’s.

6. In 2 Samuel 5, David asked God if he should attack the Philistines. The Lord promised David to “give the Philistines into your hand,” a promise He fulfilled. (vv.19,20)

God will defeat our physical enemies, but also conquers the ones we cannot see, as John Piper said:

“There is no disease, no addiction, no demon, no bad habit, no fault, no vice, no weakness, no temper, no moodiness, no pride, no self-pity, no strife, no jealousy, no perversion, no greed, no laziness that Christ will not overcome as the enemy of his honor.”

7. Job was a man of God who lost everything, but the Almighty “was able to do in Job’s life what was impossible by human effort,” according to this commentary.

Only God can accomplish anything worth accomplishing. That’s when God shows His power most formidably.

3 Things to Remember about “With God All Things Are Possible”

1. Power to accomplish the impossible comes from God.

At first, one might credit the main characters in the stories above with victory, but the power comes from the Father.

“God never calls us to any kingdom responsibility we are capable of pulling off on our own,” Jon Bloom said in his Desiring God article.

2. The impossible is accomplished for God’s glory.

The Lord is particular about how and where He demonstrates that power. None of these feats was gratuitous. God brought forth life-giving water, saved lives, and created life. All things are possible, but only some things are profitable in God’s economy.

God is most glorified by bringing an event to pass which seems impossible, demonstrating that only His power is sufficient.

“Nothing teaches us prayerful dependence like the desperation that comes from being assigned to do what you can’t do without God,” Bloom said.

3. The impossible is accomplished for our good.

Jesus wants followers to experience more than mere survival or material wealth as ends in themselves. He came to give life in abundance (John 10:10); God “will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever,” (Psalm 16:11).

When We Pray the “Impossible”

All God asks is for us to invite Him into our messes so He can demonstrate His power. When a problem becomes worse and praying for resolution seems pointless, Jesus says “continue to ask, and God will give to you. Continue to search, and you will find. Continue to knock, and the door will open for you,” (Luke 11:9).

Remember all the times He brought the dead back to life – the synagogue leader’s daughter (Mark 5), the widow’s son (Luke 7), Lazarus (John 11), and His own Son (Mark 16). He can turn any defeat into triumph: addiction to any drug or behavior; a marriage about to end; or a wayward child who seems too far from home to ever return.  

Erik Raymond wrote at The Gospel Coalition, “prayer is a blood-bought privilege for those who trust and treasure Jesus.”

Christians are invited into prayer, which is not the same as being given the assurance of God’s “yes” to every prayer. We can pray, ask, and beg Him to bring seemingly reasonable and godly desires to fruition, but there is no guarantee He will do what we ask. His purposes cannot be fathomed, nor his will manipulated, “for who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” (Romans 11:34, ESV), but every good thing comes from Him (James 1:17).

Our warm and close relationship with God is a gift. The ability to speak directly to the Father was once impossible, but as Jesus said: All things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26).

Candice Lucey lives with her husband and daughters in (mostly) tranquil Salmon Arm, BC, Canada. Here, she enjoys digging into God’s word when not working or taking part in ministry activities. Her prose and poetry has previously appeared in such publications as Purpose and Creation Illustrated, and her short plays were performed at Christmas by Sunday School students for several years. Catch up with Candice’s scriptural studies at her blog Wordwell.ca.

Photo Credit: Getty/AaronAmat


Originally published June 26, 2019.