“What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
What a good question! What must WE do to receive eternal life? …
(This post is based on Mark 10:17-22)
We are bombarded with how to get a happy life now by all the TV ads etc.
But who should we ask about heavenly, eternal things?
Well, there was no better person to ask than Jesus Christ.
He spoke of God as being His Father in heaven and He came from heaven to teach us about these things.
No one was more qualified to speak about eternal issues.
So, this young man goes up to Jesus and addresses Him as ‘good’:
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
I wonder why he said that?
I reckon the young man saw himself as being good.
He also saw Jesus as being good.
But there was just something about the things Jesus said that unnerved him.
Could he rely on his own ‘goodness’ to get to heaven?
Can WE rely on our ‘goodness,’ to get us to heaven?
It is very worthwhile to live our lives doing good to other people.
To think of others and to offer help, is being unselfish, but will it be enough to get us to heaven?
The young man was thinking along these similar lines, and then Jesus answered him:
“Why do you call Me good? No-one is good except God alone.”
What a strange answer!
But in that, is hidden a subtle clue.
Jesus was saying that no-one is really good.
No-one is perfect, no-one is guiltless.
Only God is good and perfect.
But Jesus didn’t say that He Himself wasn’t good.
Because Jesus is the Son of God, He could RIGHTLY be called good and perfect.
Only perfect people are allowed into heaven and none of us are that!
Now, this young man had a problem – he saw himself as being perfect.
He said: ‘All these laws I have kept since I was a boy.’
He was saying in effect:
‘I live a good, decent life. I’m not a murderer, I’m not a thief, so God ought to let me into heaven. But my conscience is not totally at peace in that thought.’
Do you know why he got no peace in that?
It was because the voice of God was speaking through his conscience, and it is the same for us.
The biggest HINDRANCE to us receiving eternal life is that we think:
‘I’m not SO bad, there are worse people than me, it will all work out in the end.’
But it won’t, because we aren’t perfect.
Our lives are splattered and stained with anger, greed, gossips, jealously, etc.
Whereas Jesus Christ’s life is pure and spotless, and that’s how our life should be.
Jesus looked at the young man with compassion, and basically said:
‘You’ve got money, and wealth here on earth, but NOTHING in heaven. Give all your money to the poor people, and follow Me, and then you will receive eternal life.’
Jesus didn’t say: ‘Give your money to Me.’
Jesus wasn’t after his money, no, give it to the poor.
Notice that God offers us eternal life, but it is ONLY on His terms.
And His terms are that the Lord Jesus Christ has to become boss of our life.
It is a matter of surrender to Him.
In doing this we don’t surrender to a tyrant, but to a wonderfully generous God.
If that young man had obeyed Jesus, then later when he went to heaven, he wouldn’t have said:
‘What was the point in following Jesus!’
No he would have said:
‘Is that all I gave up for You, Lord? All this, I don’t deserve any of it. You’re so generous and wonderful Lord!”
But money held this young man, he lived to get more money.
He lived to spend it.
In effect he was a slave to his passion for money.
He had to turn away from his desire for money and turn to Jesus Christ his new master.
So that is why Jesus told him to give away his money and follow Him.
But the young man went away sad.
He would rather hang onto his pathetic money, than receive eternal life and happiness with God!
For us it may be something different that we hang onto.
But if we want to follow Jesus, He will show us what to do.
It does COST us to follow and obey Jesus and to have faith in God, but the REWARD is great.
I’ll finish with this verse:
“Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him, must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Hebrews: 11:6
This is the Bible passage that relates to this story:
“As Jesus started on His way a man ran up to Him and fell on his knees before Him.
‘Good teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’
‘Why do you call Me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No-one is good except God alone. You know the commandments:
Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honour your father and mother.’
‘Teacher,’ he declared, ‘all these I have kept since I was a boy.’
Jesus looked at him and loved him.
‘One thing you lack,’ He said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and then you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.’
At this the man’s face fell.
He went away sad, because he had great wealth.” Mark 10:17-22
Jairus image: thanks to ‘The Pictorial Dictionary’
published by The Educational Book Company, London