Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. (1 Timothy 6:9)
Covetousness can destroy the soul in hell forever.
The reason I am sure that this destruction is not some temporary financial fiasco, but final destruction in hell, is what Paul says three verses later in 1 Timothy 6:12. He says that covetousness is to be resisted with the fight of faith. Then he adds, “Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession.” What’s at stake in fleeing covetousness and fighting for contentment by faith in future grace is eternal life.
So, when Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:9 that the desire to be rich plunges people into ruin, he isn’t saying that greed can mess up your marriage or your business (which it certainly can!). He is saying that covetousness can mess up your eternity. Or, as 1 Timothy 6:10 says at the end, “It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (literally: “impaled themselves on many pains”).
God has gone the extra mile in the Bible to warn us mercifully that the idolatry of covetousness is a no-win situation. It’s a dead-end street in the worst sense of the word. It’s a trick and a deadly trap.
So, my word to you is the word of 1 Timothy 6:11: “Flee these things.” When you see it coming (in a television ad or a Christmas catalog or an Internet pop-up or a neighbor’s purchase), run from it the way you would run from a roaring, starving lion escaped from the zoo. “Take hold of the eternal life.”