A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, 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: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
Luke 18:18-27 (NIV)
Talk about a loaded question… “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” I imagine every human being within earshot perked up when they heard that one. I mean, who wouldn’t want to know the answer to that question? Just think about the quest behind that question. This “certain ruler” is looking for confidence. Confidence which knows—without a doubt—that heaven is his.
That kind of confidence is something anyone would want. The only question is how do you find it? This “certain ruler” was hoping it would be found in a simple task—a set of instructions—“Heaven for Dummies.” But Jesus’ answer makes it pretty clear that this kind of confidence not only isn’t found in a task—it can’t be.
“Why do you call me good? No one is good—except God alone.” In order for a person to get into heaven on their own, they have to be truly good—like God is good. That means they need to be perfect like God is perfect. And since we received the stain of sin from our parents the moment we were conceived (see Psalm 51:5), we never even had a chance to be good—perfection was never within our grasp. That means there is nothing we can do to inherit eternal life—never was—never will be. “No one is good—except God alone.”
Sounds kind of hopeless, doesn’t it? But that couldn’t be farther than from the truth! In his infinite goodness, your God decided to take on flesh. He lived under the same conditions we do, and yet he never made one mistake. He never sinned. Yes, he was a man, but he didn’t cease to be God. And as God, he could only be GOOD! His gruesome death on a Roman cross wiped away every sin you’ve ever committed. And then to prove that the forgiveness he won for you is not only valid, but will have lasting benefits, he rose from the dead. He put his power over death on display for all to see! Should you die before Jesus returns, he will use his power over death to raise you back to life! Why? So he can give you the inheritance he has won for you—an eternity of bliss in heaven!
Looking for confidence that eternal life in heaven is yours? “What must I do?” isn’t the question. It’s “What has Jesus done!?”
Have a great rest of your week!