The Question Of Salvation (Part 4)
The Rich Young Ruler
'Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?'
So He said to him, 'Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.'
He said to Him, 'Which ones?'
Jesus said, 'You shall not murder,' 'You shall not commit adultery,' 'You shall not steal,' 'You shall not bear false witness,' 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
The young man said to Him, 'All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?'
Jesus said to him, 'If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven; and come, follow Me.'
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Matthew 19:16-22 (NKJV)
A direct question was asked. A direct answer was given. This teaching is so important that God places it in three Gospels: Matthew 19:16-30, Mark 10:17-31, and Luke 18:18-30. That's a total of 43 verses--equal in length only to the Parable of the Sower.
The stories of The Rich Young Ruler and The Parable of the Sower address the same subject: salvation. Therefore, I believe these lessons are urgent communications from God to us. 'My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge' (Hosea 4:6), so let's learn.
In this story, the rich young ruler was intrigued by Jesus. He respected Him. Possibly, he believed in Him. Apparently, he lived what his church might consider a righteous life--keeping the commandments and helping others. He had lots of money, but we conclude from his obedience to God's law that he tithed and gave to the poor.
Important Question #1: Shouldn't that be enough? Aren't many of our church leaders doing the same thing? But remember: 'For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required' (Luke 12:48). The chains of riches are seldom discarded and hardly broken.
Important Question #2: Why wasn't faith mentioned by Jesus as a requirement for eternal life? He spoke only of works to this rich, generous, and law-abiding young Jew... except for His final three words: 'Come, follow Me.'
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Question of Salvation series.