What good thing must you do to inherit eternal life?

What good thing must you do to inherit eternal life?

Matthew 19:17

And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.

None Is Good but One

A man came up to Jesus asking Him what he must do to inherit eternal life (Matt 19:16). That was his first mistake. It’s not what we can do, but what Jesus has done. Jesus set the standard of doing good by living a sinless life, but this man’s mind was set on “doing something,” so Jesus told him if he wants eternal life, to keep the commandments (Matt 19:17). For some reason the man asked Jesus which commandments, and then Jesus listed some of them (Matt 9:18). This man apparently felt that he was a good person, contrary to what the Bible teaches, that none are good, not even one (Rom 3:10-11), and even falsely believed that he had kept all of these (Matt 19:20) but probably, like the rest of us, had broken every one of them. Jesus as God is good, but he wanted to let the man know that no one is really good but God. The man still believed that he was a good man, but, like all of us, he couldn’t have been more mistaken.

Breaking the Commandment by Worshipping His Money

Jesus challenged this man by saying, “If you think you’ve kept all the commandments, then give your possessions to the poor and follow Me” (Matt 19:21). That is when the man realized that he couldn’t part with his one true god, and that was his money. Too bad he didn’t know that you can’t serve both money and God (Matt 6:24), but that’s exactly what he was trying to do. It’s like having two kings.  You can be loyal to only one, not to both because they are both ruling different kingdoms. That’s when the man finally realized the cost of following Jesus was far too much (Matt 19:22), and the young man went away sad because he couldn’t stop worshipping the god of money.

Impossible with Man

When Jesus told the disciples that it is next to impossible for the rich to enter the kingdom (Matt 19:23), the disciples were astonished, asking then how in the world can anyone be saved (Matt 19:25). Jesus tells them how. It is only by God that anyone can enter the kingdom, either rich or poor, and it’s impossible with men, but with God it is possible (Matt 19:26). Even a rich person can enter the kingdom because the Spirit of God changes the human heart (Prov 21:1) along with the desires. That is the power of God, which changes our affections from the worldly things to the things of God, impossible by mankind’s power but possible by God’s Spirit.

A Closing Prayer

Oh Holy Father God, thank You for changing my heart to pursue what is good and not what is evil, for I could never do this in my own strength. I still have tendencies to worship money and things in the world, so please help me to yield to Your Spirit, and in Jesus’ name I pray.


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