Friends: This is the second chapter of a short book I wrote a couple of years ago. Comments welcome! Subsequent chapters to follow!
Saved! Chapter Two: LOVED!
“Nobody loves me but my mamma — and she might be jivin’ me too!” (B.B. King)
There are many passages of Scripture that tell us that God loves us. The best-known verse in all the Bible is “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
Whenever I have seen preachers preach on this great verse, they have inevitably stretched out their arms as widely as they could when they repeated the words “God SOOOO loved the world.” God’s love for the world is, indeed, great and is described as such in many passages. Ephesians 3 records Paul’s prayer that the believers might deepen their understanding of that love, “that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Eph. 3 KJV).
Titus 3 reminds us that “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit . . .”
We read in Ephesians 2 that God is “rich in mercy” and we learn of “His great love wherewith He loved us.” (verse 4 KJV). I John 3 reminds us to “see what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” (verse 1).
This greatness of God’s love is a constant theme in the book of Romans where we read that “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (5:5), that “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (5:8). The Apostle Paul asks “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (8:35) Paul answers his own question four verses later where he assures us that “neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (8:39) We also learn in Romans that we are loved not just by the Father and the Son, but also by the Spirit. Paul writes, “I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.” (15:30).
Scripture indicates that God was under no obligation to save any of us, but of His own mercy and love He provided His Son as the ransom for our sins (Mk. 10:45), as the rescue from our lostness (I Thes. 1:10; Col. 1:13), as the redemption from our slavery (I Pe. 1:18; Gal. 3:13; 4:3; Heb. 2:15).
One of the great privileges in my life is that of occasionally teaching New Testament Greek. Don’t you wish you could study Greek with me? My students labor over a new alphabet, completely strange words, constructions that will drive one close to insanity, and a teacher who insists that studying Greek is a blessing of God! One of the first points I make with my students concerns our verse, John 3:16 which says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
We’re pretty sure we understand that best-known of all Bible verses. What is fascinating is that the little word “so” (“God so loved the world . . .”) doesn’t actually teach the greatness of God’s love, but rather the manner of His love. The verse could be translated, “God loved the world in such a way that He gave His only Son . . .”
My suggestion is that when preachers preach on that famous text, they would be more faithful to what the verse is actually saying if they were to hold their arms out to the side in a parallel fashion, indicating manner, rather than stretching them out trying to indicate greatness. “This is how God loved the world — He gave His one and only Son!”
One story that we want to examine more closely concerning the love of God occurs in each of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). We will find that the question that is raised there is the most profound question one could ask, that the answer Jesus gives is the most shocking possible, and that the
truths about salvation taught there are quite surprising. We will also see that it is a strange context to speak of God’s love.
Mark 10 tells us about a young man who had a critical conversation with Jesus:
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 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.”
26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Let’s analyze this important section of Scripture. This is obviously someone who desperately wants an answer to his question. He runs up to Jesus. Middle Eastern men normally do not run, especially those who are wealthy. He detains Jesus who was preparing to go somewhere else, prostrates himself before this rabbi, and asks his question. He physically shows his intense desire for an answer to his question by dropping to his knees. But what was his question?
An Urgent Question
If you had the opportunity to literally and personally ask Jesus a question, what would that question be? Some might ask Him, “Why am I going through this trial right now? Why me?” Others might ask, “How can I
achieve maximum happiness in this life?” Others might not ask a question at all, but might point an accusing finger at Jesus and declare, “How can you allow such evil in Your world?”
This young man’s question (we are told that he is a young ruler in the parallel accounts, Mt. 19 and Lk. 18) was urgent! He “ran up to [Jesus] and fell on his knees before him . . .” He obviously thought his question extremely important. He cast aside all customs of dignity for Eastern royalty to ask his question of Jesus. Eastern rulers did not normally run — for anything. His falling on his knees indicated respect and honor as he fell before Rabbi Jesus.
The very way we sometimes word questions says much about our assumptions — and ourselves. This man’s question was: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” What a great question! The parallel account in Matthew 19 has him asking, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” (v. 16). This man was really into goodness, wasn’t he?
There is, of course, a difference between asking how might I inherit eternal life and what good thing must I do to get eternal life. I believe that there are ultimately no real contradictions between the gospels, so it may be that Mark picks up on the inheriting part of his question while Matthew focuses on the doing part of his query.
Before we read further in our passage, how might you or I respond to both parts of that question, if we were Jesus? To the inheriting part, we might say, “Well, someone has to die for you to inherit eternal life — and that’s why I came — to die for sinners.” That answer, of course, would be true, but it isn’t how Jesus responds. To the doing part of his question, we might say, “There is nothing that you can do to get
eternal life! You can’t earn it. You can’t buy it! It is given as a gift!” And that would be a true, biblical answer as well. Jesus’ answer to this man’s question begins, surprisingly, with a rebuke.
Jesus’ Response to Compliments
The man addresses Jesus as “Good teacher.” Whenever we see people in the Bible approach Jesus with a compliment, He seems to either ignore their compliment or to see through their nice-sounding words to the heart of the matter. For example. when Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night and says, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” (Jn. 3:2), Jesus does not acknowledge Nicodemus’ compliment by saying, “Thank you!” or “Yes, God is really giving me power to do these miracles.” No, Jesus’ response is “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” (Jn. 3:3).
On one occasion, the Jewish leaders sent their disciples to Jesus along with the Herodians and asked Him, “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?” But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me?” (Mt. 22:16-18). Jesus saw through their flattery and challenged their motives.
Jesus did not care for compliments, especially if they were engineered to manipulate or trap Him. The young man in our text (Mk. 10) may have had neither of these intentions, but his greeting of Jesus as “Good Teacher” certainly provoked an interesting response from Jesus.
Perhaps the last response this young man expected from Jesus was what he received. “Why do you call me good? No one is good — except God alone.” (v. 18).
What was wrong with calling Jesus “Good Teacher”? Could it be that the young man had a wrong understanding of goodness and a wrong understanding of who Jesus actually was?
“No One Is Good”
This man may well have been the poster child of all those who think they can earn their way into heaven. “What must I do?” is a great question! What if the answer is, “There is NOTHING that YOU can DO!”?
Perhaps Jesus‘ rather curt response to the young man’s greeting of “Good Teacher” was intentional, was meant to say something about Himself that the one asking the question did not understand. Jesus appears to be saying, “Because there is only one who is good, if you call me good, you are calling me God.”
At the very least, Jesus is establishing the truth that goodness — the kind of goodness that guarantees eternal life — is unattainable by mortal man: “No one is good — except God alone.” This is a lethal blow to man’s pride if he wishes to have a hand in his own
salvation. We can bring nothing good to God for helping Him save us. We have nothing to bring.
Isaiah had it right when he said, “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Is. 64:6). I understand the Hebrew word for “filthy rags” is menstrual cloths, evidence of no new life.
We have nothing to bring, nothing to commend us to God, nothing to contribute to our salvation. Because we are not good, because we are sinners, all we have are our transgressions, our iniquities, our failed efforts to measure up to God’s standard of holiness and perfection.
A Shocking Response
Jesus allows the young man to set the agenda for the conversation, and the agenda is goodness. “Let’s start at the most logical place,” Jesus seems to be saying when he declares, “You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” Jesus begins with the commandments of the Decalogue (the Ten Commandments) which pertain to how we relate to other human beings. The first half of the Decalogue has the commandments:
1. You shall have no other gods before me.
2. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything (no graven images/idols).
3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord.
4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
The second half of the Ten Commandments pertain to men. 5. Honor your father and mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. (Exodus 20)
So, what commandments has Jesus listed for this young man? He has listed commandments #6-#9 and #5. I’m not sure why He has brought in the fifth commandment to honor one’s parents last, but these are the commandments He lists. Notice that Jesus has left out the first four commandments — the ones that command how we are to relate to God Himself. He has also left out the tenth commandment: do not covet.
How does this young man respond? He says to Jesus, “Teacher, all these I have kept since I was a boy.” [It is interesting that the man does not address Jesus again as “Good” Teacher.] I wonder how he said those words. Were they said in pride? Were they said quietly, and, what might seem to us impossible, in humility? The passage doesn’t tell us. All we can do
is notice how Jesus responds to this man’s declaration of goodness.
Let’s give this man the benefit of the doubt and assume that he is telling the truth about his own life, as best he can determine. To his knowledge, he certainly had never murdered anyone or committed adultery with anybody. He had led an exemplary life of honesty, not stealing from anyone or giving false witness about anyone concerning anything. He had a morally flawless track record, at least in his own mind. And when it came to his relationship with his parents, his name would be on the honor roll of those who respected his parents. His righteousness scorecard was looking pretty good, at least in his own mind.
One wonders if this young man was surprised that Jesus’ listing of the commandments started in the middle of the Decalogue, with commandment #6 (“You shall not murder”), not beginning with the commandments about how we are to relate to God, and also leaving out the last commandment about coveting. The young man obviously knew the Decalogue by heart. He had to suspect that Jesus was up to something in the very way He responded with the commandments.
But he was honest — and he had led a nearly flawless life. It is fascinating that Jesus does not correct him when he says, “All these I have kept since I was a boy.” Based on Jesus’ expansion of the Law in the Sermon on the Mount earlier in the gospel of Matthew (Matthew 5-7), Jesus could have said to him, “If you have ever hated someone in your heart, you are guilty of murder. If you have ever lusted after a woman, you
are guilty of adultery. If you have even once taken the credit due to someone else, you have acted as a thief. And your parents — if we were to interview them — would they say that you have honored them twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, since you were a child? I don’t think so!”
Jesus does not challenge this man’s claim. However, the very next statement that Jesus would make to him would shatter his world, would turn his understanding of goodness on its head, would cause this young man to walk away from the God-man Jesus.
“One Thing You Lack”
The young ruler had come to Jesus with a question. That question was essentially, “What do I need to do, what in my life is keeping me from inheriting or earning eternal life?”
Jesus now answers that question. Of the three gospel accounts which include this story (Mt. 19, Mk. 10, and Lk. 18), only Matthew’s account has the young man ask, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” (verse 30).
But before Jesus tells this young man what he lacks, Mark’s gospel alone includes an interesting statement. There we read, “Jesus looked at him and loved him.” We know that God loves the whole world. Why are we told here that “Jesus looked at him and loved him”?
It seems reasonable that because Jesus knew how this young man would respond to His next words, Jesus looks
at him with love. Jesus knew that what He would say to this young man would push him away from eternal life, would shatter his self-righteousness, would cause him to walk away with his possessions but without Jesus.
Jesus then says to him, “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (v. 21).
On the surface this sounds like salvation by one’s works. Nowhere in the Bible are we told that salvation comes by divesting oneself of all worldly goods, donating those possessions to the poor, and then following after Jesus. Trying to buy one’s way into heaven is a mockery of the very idea of why Jesus came — to give His life a ransom for sinners, as we learn in this very chapter of the gospel of Mark (10:45).
Jesus says to this five-out-of-ten-commandment-keeping young man: “One thing you lack. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (verse 21).
Perhaps this young man expected Jesus to compliment him on his law-keeping, model behavior toward other people. He apparently was taken by surprise by Jesus’ “one thing you lack.” How awful that must be to be told by the Son of God, “One thing you lack.”
Matthew’s account adds, “If you want to be perfect . . .” It appears that Jesus is saying, “You’re into humanly-achieved perfection? Then let me give you the key. The only requirement you need to
meet is to sell everything you’ve got, give the proceeds to the poor, and come follow me.”
But let’s not move too quickly past these words: “one thing you lack.” The young ruler knew something was missing when he first approached Jesus with his question: “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He knew that there must be something for him to do, that he was not yet a recipient of eternal life. When faced with some of the Ten Commandments, he testifies of his relative goodness, perhaps thinking that Jesus will say, “My, you have been good! And that’s what heaven requires: goodness! You’re ‘good’ to go!” But what he gets instead are the words, “one thing you lack.” And that thing was not something peripheral, something on the edge of something else. It was the main point. Jesus doesn’t say, “Well, there are a lot of things that you’re missing. Here’s one . . .” No! He says, “One thing you lack.”
How would he make up for this lack? Jesus‘ instructions are unambiguous: They really involve four steps: (1) go; (2) sell all you have; (3) give the proceeds to the poor; and (4) come, follow me.
What precisely is Jesus asking this man to do? First, to go away from the immediate presence of Jesus. The rich young ruler had something he needed to do before he could join Jesus. He had to leave or depart from Jesus. Second, he had to divest himself of all that he had. This would involve inventorying his possessions, finding buyers for them, and letting them go. Third, he was to donate the proceeds of his massive garage
sale to the poor. He would have had to literally hand over the monies received from the sale of all of his possessions to those who had nothing to give him in return (“the poor”). This man himself would be a giver of grace to those who had nothing to give back, who only had empty hands and hungry stomachs to welcome his generosity. Perhaps this was to help him see his own poverty. Then this young ruler could come, totally penniless, and dedicate himself to Jesus and join his traveling entourage.
We dare not skip over the promise of Jesus regarding the third step in this man’s quest to make up for what he lacked. Jesus says concerning his giving his monies to the poor: “and you will have treasure in heaven.” Well, that is exactly what the man wanted! He wanted an inheritance in heaven. He wanted to inherit eternal life. And Jesus guarantees him precisely what he had asked Jesus for.
Wait a minute!, some might say. Jesus is telling this young man how he can earn eternal life? This isn’t the message of salvation by grace that we read about in the rest of the Bible! What is going on — and how in the world do we defend Jesus here?
Nowhere in the Bible do we get any hint that man can be good enough to earn God’s grace. So Jesus is giving this man a process by which he will learn that he is not good, that he is spiritually poor in himself, that he is in need of one thing: grace.
“How hard it is for the rich . . .”
How did this young man respond to that “one thing he lacked”? Matthew’s gospel says, “When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.” Luke’s gospel says, “When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.” Our passage, Mark, reads, “At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.”
What was so devastating about Jesus’ statement that would cause this young man’s face to fall, for his conversation with Jesus to abruptly end, and for him to walk away from the one Person in the universe who could tell him how to receive eternal life?
The Bible does not leave us in doubt here. We do not need to speculate as to why this response by Jesus was so terminal, why what He said caused this young man to abandon the conversation and turn his back on the Savior. The passage tells us he left “because he had great wealth.”
In His brilliant response to the young man’s question, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”, Jesus had put His divine finger on exactly what kept him from the kingdom — his wealth. Wealth is never characterized in the Bible as evil, but the holding onto wealth can anesthetize one’s heart to having treasures in heaven. Jesus had gone right to this man’s heart, for He had said to him, “Sell all you have, give it to the poor, come and follow me, and you’ll have treasure in heaven.” The man’s question had been about inheritance — “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus’ answer had been the key
(for this man) of how to inherit eternal life. The key to getting treasure in heaven is to make sure our treasures on earth haven’t hijacked our hearts.
Jesus was obviously not telling this young man how he could buy his way into heaven. Nothing in the Bible indicates that we can bribe God, or pay off God, or achieve eternal life by any kind of installment plan. This man’s secret sin was precisely that which the tenth commandment prohibited: coveting. And it seems obvious that he did not covet his neighbor’s house or his neighbor’s wife, or his neighbor’s male or female servant, or his neighbor’s ox or donkey, or anything that belonged to his neighbor (Ex. 20:17). It appears that he coveted his own possessions. His possessions possessed him. And they caused him to walk away.
Let’s review the strategy of Jesus in this conversation:
1. He is open to this man’s question which is asked in an urgent fashion.
2.He responds to this man’s greeting with a profound theological statement: “Why are you calling me good. No one is good but God alone!”
3. Jesus’ profound theological statement is followed by a selective listing of some of the Ten Commandments (commandments #6-9 and #5).
4. The young man responds by saying, “Teacher, all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus provides the opportunity for him to claim a certain righteousness. And Jesus does not correct or rebuke
him. He lets him dwell in his own “righteousness.” He does not directly confront him with his sin.
5. The next step is that “Jesus looked at him and loved him.” In our efforts to help people recognize their need of Christ, do we really love them? Does our love involve the recognition that some will find the words of the gospel too hard, too demanding, to be followed? Will they feel loved as they walk away?
6. Jesus then directly says to him, “One thing you lack.” Do we point out what people “lack”? It seems arrogant on the surface that we would dare point out anyone else’s “lack.” But if we have recognized our own need, and find that need had been thoroughly met by Christ, how dare we not share that satisfaction with others? But what if they feel that they are already fulfilled, satisfied, complete? We then want to use God’s Word to show them their self-deception. This young man thought he was set, that he had done the best he could, that there might have been something small that he was missing. But that something small was actually something very large in his eyes: all his possessions had to be gotten rid of! And that was too much for him.
7. The last step is that Jesus allows him to walk away. This may appear to have been an evangelistic failure on Jesus’ part, but nothing could be further from the truth. We are not told what happened to this young man after he left Jesus. Perhaps he thought about what Jesus had said, thought about his lack, thought about the 10th Commandment. Perhaps he gave away all his wealth and joined Jesus. We simply don’t know.
And it does not appear to be the Bible’s intention to end this story on a happy note. The conclusion of the conversation is extremely sad. The man “went away.” He went away “sad.” Jesus did not come to make everyone He met happy. Some need to be saddened on their way to salvation.
Perhaps as the man walked away, the disciples might not have noticed his negative reaction to the words of Jesus. Maybe they had assumed that he was going to do exactly what Jesus told him to do — to sell all his possessions, give to the poor, then come back and join them in following Jesus. But instead of saying, “He’s got a few things to do — He’ll be back,” Jesus makes an amazing statement to His disciples.
Jesus turns His gaze from the young ruler walking away to His disciples who are standing there. Jesus declares, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” (v. 23).
These words must have amazed Jesus‘ disciples, for they assumed that a wealthy Jew was a righteous Jew, already in a relationship with God. Apparently the idea had never struck them that one’s riches could keep one from the kingdom of God rather than guarantee entrance into it.
Jesus uses the man’s walking away as an object lesson. He also employs an absurd-sounding illustration. Jesus says 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. (v. 25).
Talk about cognitive dissonance! Perhaps the disciples were already calculating how this rich young ruler could financially help their cause. Jesus challenges the disciples’ assumption that the rich are already right with God.
Responding to their amazement, Jesus intensifies His statement: “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God.” (verse 24). He then resorts to an analogy to drive home the difficulty of getting into God’s kingdom. He refers to a common camel and a common sowing needle. “It is easier,” He says, “for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (verse 25).
Christian preachers have tried to argue that the eye- of-the-needle gate is a small gate entering Jerusalem and for a camel to go through it, the camel would need to kneel and crawl through. That isn’t what Jesus is saying. The word “camel” here is really the word for camel and the word “eye of a needle” refers to the opening at the top of a sewing needle. Jesus’ point is not the need to bow to drag oneself into the city, but the impossibility of getting into the kingdom by human effort.
Jesus challenges conventional wisdom that believed the rich had it made, not only in this life, but also in the life to come.3 Jesus says, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples responded with amazement, He added, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God.” (verse 24).
3 He does the same in His famous parable about the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16). 32
His analogy of the camel and the eye of a sewing needle causes the disciples to verbalize their astonishment and say, “Who then can be saved?” (verse 26). Their understanding of who was “good to go” had just been shattered by Jesus’ declaration. Now they were open to the truth about who gets into the kingdom of God. And Jesus’ point is that human effort amounts to exactly zero when it comes to securing one’s place in God’s kingdom.
We read that “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.’” (verse 27) Jesus declares with divine authority the truth that man cannot accomplish his own salvation, even when he has an abundance of material possessions at his disposal. In fact, it appears that having an abundance of material possessions at one’s disposal could very well keep one from the kingdom of God! There needs to be a poverty that only God can remedy, a lack that only He can meet.
Could it be that the entire point Jesus was making with the rich young ruler was exactly what we read in verse 27- “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God”? The rich young ruler wanted to do something to inherit eternal life, but an inheritance is received upon another’s death. There was no good thing that he could do to merit eternal life. As exemplary as his life might have been, it fell way short of loving God with all his heart, mind, soul, and strength. He was not willing to give up his worldly possessions to secure treasure for himself in heaven. The cost was too much. And he needed to learn
that salvation can’t be purchased by sinful man, no matter how much stuff he donates to the poor.
Only God can do the impossible — and He has provided salvation for those who trust in His Son and in His Son alone for their rescue. But Jesus will speak the truth in love to all who think they can earn their own way to heaven. To each of us, with love, Jesus says, “One thing you lack . . .”