And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Luke 18:18 ESV.
This question came from a rich ruler who sought the answer from Jesus. Jesus in His usually manner went right to the ruler’s heart. He started by stating five of the Ten Commandments which relate to human relationship. The ruler replied that he has kept these from his youth. Then Jesus threw the zinger at him. Jesus knew that the one major area of the ruler’s life that came between God and him was his wealth. Therefore, Jesus told him there was one thing he lacked. Too sell his possessions and follow him.
Many Bible teachers emphasize the first part of Jesus’ reply rather than the last part. The emphasis they place is on the wealth rather than on Jesus. Many Christians even today struggle with the answer. What Jesus stated and repeated later is that man doesn’t have the capacity within himself apart of God to do anything that earns him eternal life.
Jesus recognized the idol of wealth in the rich ruler’s heart. He offered him the opportunity to join him right then and there. Yet the decision to sell everything was more than he could do. Like many of us, we come to the place where we realize we can’t do what only God can do. We do not have the sole capacity to do anything to earn eternal life.
Only the Triune God can change a person’s heart. When the Holy Spirit resides and moves within a person’s life, transformation occurs. Only God can replace a stony, hard heart with a soft, pliable one. That is why Jesus stated shortly thereafter that what is impossible for man is possible with God.
We all have idols in our lives. Typically idols are good things in life. However, we make them the ultimate thing. And when they become the ultimate thing, they replace God’s position in our life. That is what makes an idol. Wealth, family, career, education, and food are all good things. However, when they become the most important treasure of our heart, then God is being replaced by a forgery. God knows that we are wired and operate fully human when He is the center of our life. When something else takes that place, we suffer and never experience the rich relationship with Him and others. This is what Jesus saw in the rich ruler.
Jesus gave the rich ruler the opportunity to follow Him. Whether the rich ruler eventually came to follow Jesus or not, we are not told. However, Scripture does reveal to us today that eternal life is God’s gift to us for those who believe in Jesus Christ (1 John 5:11).
So if you haven’t done business with your Maker, maybe today is a good time to look into the life of Jesus and learn what He has to say about your life now and for all eternity.
Rooting For You in Christ!
Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married
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