A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”Luke 18:18
Asking the wrong questions get the wrong answers.
“What shall I do?” is the wrong question. Eternal life is a gift (Romans 6:23).
Jesus responds to this question with a partial list of the ten commandments: do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false witness, and honor your father and mother.
It’s interesting that he leaves off the first four commands (dealing with one’s relationship to God) and focuses in on the commands concerning one’s neighbor.
The tenth command is left off, and we see why in the next part of the story:
“One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
Why does Jesus say this?
Is this a command for everyone to sell all they have?
Is this the final step to salvation?
Again, when you ask the wrong questions, you get the wrong answers. This man was rich because he had earned it. He worked, he made wise decisions, and he kept his money to himself.
So, his question was based upon the same philosophy: which of those 613 commands do I need to focus on in order to inherit enteral life? What can I do to earn this?
The thing that was keeping him from seeing that eternal life is a gift was his riches. He had earned a living, so he assumed he would have to earn an eternal sort of living.
This story about the rich young ruler actually proves a point about the Law: “the Law came in so that the transgression would increase” (Romans 5:20).
This lie, that you have to earn God’s favor, began in Genesis 3 when Eve was tricked into thinking that she needed to do something (reach out and grab the fruit). She was already made in the image of God. What else did she need?
The Law exposes this lie.
Because, after all, who can keep 613 commands or even remember them all?
Yet, what do we do? We don’t have 613 commands we follow today, but we create lists of commands, requirements, and actions that are designed to earn God’s favor, but these lists and patterns aren’t found anywhere in the Bible. They are complied from passages stripped from their context.
When we ask the wrong questions, we get the wrong answers.
Salvation is a gift (Romans 6:23). All we have to do is accept it.