Matthew 19, Mark 10
The rich young man wanted to be sure he was going to heaven. So he asked Jesus to tell him how. Jesus answered:
Don’t murder anyone. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal or lie. Don’t defraud anyone, and honor your parents.
Check. Check. And check.
“Got that covered,” the young man said. “Anything else?”
I love how Mark 10:21 puts it. Jesus felt a love for this guy. He didn’t condemn him or correct his view of himself, even though Jesus could see right into this young man’s heart and see his sin. Jesus threw out the ultimate test for him: sell everything you have, give it to the poor, and follow Me.
Some might look at Jesus’ response as being in support of a works-based salvation. Please don’t base your faith on one passage of Scripture.
The other day, as I read Luke 14 about the cost of being a disciple of Jesus, it became plain to me that following Jesus costs everything. And, being that Jesus Himself said He is the only way to the Father, going to heaven involves going through Him, which means surrounding everything to Him.
I believe when Jesus gave the young man that checklist of requirements for gaining heaven, He wanted the young man to see that he had already forfeited his ticket. He may have not murdered anyone. But can anyone honestly say they have NEVER lied, or that they ALWAYS honor their parents? (Come on. I was a teenager once, and so were you). I believe Jesus wanted the young man to see his need of the Savior.
But he didn’t. Instead, he felt pretty self-righteous. Jesus said it’s hard for people like that, those who are rich in the things of this world, those who are self-sufficient, to enter heaven, because either they don’t see the need to ask forgiveness, or they hold out on God. They don’t surrender themselves completely to Him.
And that’s what He requires. Don’t mistake this passage for a honey-do list. There is no way to earn your salvation which will result in eternal life with the Father in heaven. You are a sinner. You need the Savior.
Jesus has already paid the price of admission for you. He went to the cross so that He could forgive you when you ask Him to. He is ready and eager to hand you the ticket to heaven that He bought for you. Because, as He said:
All things are possible with God.
Even saving the likes of you and me.