God’s physical blessing of health and wealth in this life is often coined as the “prosperity gospel.” This ‘health and wealth’ doctrine claims that God wants what’s best for you…in this life. Good health and wealth beyond your imagination! It sounds good and it’s certainly alive and well today representing the core teaching of some of the best-known, so-called “pastors” today. Names such as Joel Osteen, TD Jakes, Pat Robertson, and Benny Hinn — all of whom make the “Top 10 List” of highest paid preachers.

How Scripture answers "Are health and wealth of the prosperity gospel a sign of God’s blessing?"

Jesus actually taught the opposite of “health and wealth” in this life1,2,6. In fact, what Scripture teaches for the Christian in this life is tribulation/persecution2. We are warned of the real danger when one becomes “too comfortable” in this life2,4,6. The wisest man to live understood the folly in this thought, writing a thesis on the question3. Job assumed his plight was God’s providential judgment on his behavior5; he was told by God that he was wrong. The disciples too, based on their “astonishment” at Jesus’ response to the rich young ruler, apparently believed that riches were a sign of God’s blessing…and they were corrected by Jesus2.

Answer built on scripture-blocks below

And he said to them, Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.

Jesus commanded them to be careful and on guard against all forms of material possessions since that is not what this life is about [for believers].

Jesus is in the midst of His public ministry, teaching the people while gaining notoriety.  After being asked by someone to intervene in an inheritance dispute (vs 13), Jesus makes this statement and then proceeds to tell the parable of the wealthy man building larger storehouses for his growing possessions (vss 16-19). He concludes with the point that one’s soul is what should be the concern (vs 20).
Scripture-block application to this question

Jesus’ teaching is clear – our physical life is not about material possessions.

Jesus said, Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.
Jesus said that there was no one that left behind their familial relationships or earthly possessions for the sake of Him and the gospel message that wouldn’t receive a hundredfold back in persecutions in this time, but eternal life in the age to come.
Jesus is in the midst of His public ministry. Jesus has just had an exchange with the “rich young man” that refused to sell all that he had (at Jesus’ request) and follow Him (vss 17-23).  His disciples were astonished at the teaching that the rich would have difficulty entering heaven (vss 22-26).

The account is also given by Matthew (19:16-30) and Luke (18:18-30).

Scripture-block application to this question

Jesus teaches that His followers must sacrifice in this life – even facing persecution – while looking forward to a reward in heaven.

!! scripture-block context extra important here !!

Jesus’ teaching on the difficulties with the rich entering heaven begins in verse 17 and leads to the disciples being challenged on their assumption that the rich would certainly gain heaven.

Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.

Consider God’s work!  Who can straighten what He has made crooked? Therefore, in good times be joyful and in bad times remember – God had made both, so that man may not know the future.

Throughout the book, the writer is documenting the vanity of life “under the sun.”

Scripture-block application to this question

A Christian is a Christian in a “good time” or a “bad time” — either circumstance is possible and “God’s blessing” isn’t connected.

!! scripture-block context extra important here !!

The entire book of Ecclesiastes is an exploration into maximizing all that this world can offer and the assessment is that “all is vanity” and the only thing that matters is to “fear God and keep his commandments” (12:13).

Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.

There is great gain in godliness coupled with contentment, for we come into this world with nothing and we will take nothing out.  Rather, we should be content with food and clothing.

Paul’s instructions to Timothy, a young preacher. Here he is giving instruction against false teachers and being content in all things, going on to say that desire to be rich leads to temptation, ruin, and destruction (vs 9) resulting in losing one’s salvation (vs 10).

Scripture-block application to this question

Paul councils for contentment in regards to material possessions. Food and clothing is all.

!! scripture-block context extra important here !!

Paul goes on to warn of the direct connection between wealth and temptation/evil.

He has stripped from me my glory and taken the crown from my head. He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone, and my hope has he pulled up like a tree. He has kindled his wrath against me and counts me as his adversary.
God has taken my glory and the crown from my head.  He tears me down from every side and I am nothing.  He has pulled my hope up like a tree and turned His wrath toward me as He would an adversary.

Job is trying to reconcile his recent tragedies and misfortunes to himself while also defending charges of disobedience and “punishment from God” from his friends.

Scripture-block application to this question

Job laments an apparently popular thought or philosophy of his day – that his physical despair (loss of health and wealth) was because of God deserting him. Of course, this was not true and God later rebukes him for it.

!! scripture-block context extra important here !!

The entire book of Job is a lesson on man’s proper perspective regarding God’s providential care, specifically, that any material blessings God may grant to an individual cannot necessarily be attributed to one’s faithfulness. God may be blessing, or He may be testing.

Then Jesus told his disciples, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
Jesus told His disciples that if anyone should follow Him, he must first deny himself and bear the persecution [as He would soon literally do].  For whoever values this life more will lose it eternally, and whoever loses his life now for My sake will live eternally. For what value is there if one gains the whole world and loses his soul? There is no amount of riches that’s worth one’s soul.
Near the end of Jesus’ public ministry and six days before (17:1) the transfiguration of Jesus before Peter, James, and John. Jesus is preparing them for His coming death.  He has just told His disciples that He would be going to Jerusalem to suffer and on the third day be raised (vs 21).
Scripture-block application to this question

Jesus emphasizes one’s soul as everything and his life and wellbeing in this life as nothing.

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