Matthew 19:16-22, “16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” 17 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.”
It’s an interesting conversation going on between Jesus and the rich young ruler and I love the manner in which Jesus asks questions. He answered him with a question, “Why do you call me good?” I believe Jesus wanted to challenge this man to see far beyond the natural Man, to a supernatural God. He was no ordinary Man and could not be in the same level with this man to be called good. If he called Him good, was he refereeing to Jesus as God? Jesus response, “there is none good but God” and Jesus was God therefore He was good.
Now watch what Jesus does with his potential convert, he does not tell him to repeat sinners prayer to be saved, or even tell him about Himself of how He was going to die on the cross for his sins, no He goes about to establish was is considered “good” and how to have eternal life. He says, vs. 17, “…but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments”. It’s my humble opinion that Jesus was trying to strip this man of his self-righteousness ultimately that he will see his need for a Savior. The first thing He told him, keep the commandments to have eternal life. Upon hearing this, this man should have said, I’m unable to keep the commandments that are summed up in loving the Lord with all your heart and soul, and loving your neighbors as much as you love yourself. But as I mentioned before, he came with his bag of good things if asked, he was ready to produce. Jesus told him to keep the commandments and he asked, which ones. Brilliant Jesus first gave him 5 horizontal commandments, commandments in relation to men, loving his neighbor as much as himself, shall not murder, commit adultery, steal, lie, honor etc. Out of his bag of good things, he said in vs. 20, “…all these things I have kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?”. If this is what it took to have eternal life, he had just passed the test, but to keep the commandments, you had to keep all of them. James tells us “Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend it in one point, he is guilty of all”, James 2:10. if you have a new flower vase, it’s perfect. If you drop it and has even a little crack, you’ve shattered it’s perfection. Psalm 19:7, “the law of the Lord is perfect…” To break one commandment is to break them all for you’ve shattered it’s perfection. And those who want to enter heaven by being “good” have to be perfect. And here is something to chew on, if I have six good eggs to make an omelet for my guests and I have one bad egg, one bad egg is enough to ruin the other six correct?
Jesus sees that this man is determined to have eternal life through the commandments, he has passed the first test (but not according to the sermon on the mount) so he asks, “what else do I lack“, then Vs. 21, “Jesus said to him, if you will be perfect, go and sell what you have, and give money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me” Here is where the rubber meets the road, He told of him of perfection. He took him to the basis of the first 4 commandments (he had his riches as his god, his riches were his idol, took the name of the Lord in vain (failed to Honor Him as God), he had no time kept a side to worship God. What he trusted in was not good enough to save him. He had his five good eggs (commandments kept) and four bad eggs (commandments broken). One bad egg was enough to contaminate the rest, he had 4. This should have been enough for him to abandon all he trusted in and look to Jesus the perfect Lamb to save him.
What are you trusting on to save you on judgment day? the bible says “It’s appointed unto men once to die and after this, but after this judgment”, Hebrews 9:27. Therefore, what you and I need is not to keep the laws to be saved unless we keep it perfectly, we need a perfect law giver who has kept it all to be a substitute for us.
What God commands in the LAW (commandments) is perfection He has provided in the Gospel, GRACE. Christ satisfied the demands of the Law for us that we might become the righteousness of God. The Law giver was the Law keeper and the Law satisfier for the Law breakers.
The right use of the law like Jesus did prepares men for grace, it reveals the righteousness of God to convince men that God is good and they are bad. This leads to conviction that leads to repentance that leads to salvation (faith). Conviction is when a sinner takes sides with God against himself. He truly sees himself as a law breaker, deserving God’s wrath. He sees that he deserves hell because of God’s justice and with one voice he cries out, “what must I do then to be saved”, John 16:8.
Conviction leads to repentance. Repentance is when a sinner takes all his so called assets (good things) from his asset column and sets them on liability column and forsakes them. This is a change of heart and direction, declaring bankrupt, done with self so as to be filled with Him, Matthew 19:23-26.
Repentance leads to justification (salvation), Justification is what God does FOR us, Sanctification is what God does IN us. Justification means saved from the PENALTY of sin, from the demands of the law (God’s wrath), in other words declared not guilty when one repents. Romans 3:24-26, “ being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be JUST and the JUSTIFIER of the one who has faith in Jesus”
It’s impossible for a patient to accept heart transplant unless he is fully convinced of his need for it. Therefore the law is the scalpel a surgeon’s assistant (believers) put in the hands of the surgeon (Holy Spirit) to perform a heart surgery in order to take away the heart of stone (rebellion) and give him a heart of flesh (repentance and obedience) and then the gospel (God’s pill), good news comes to heal him (salvation). Blessings Ev