Luke 18:18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. 20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. 21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. 22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. 23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. 24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? 27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. 28 Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. 29 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, 30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.
This man had position. – Luke 18:18 states that he was a “ruler.” Which is the same word “magistrate” in Luke 12:59.
This man had youth. – “the young man” -Matthew 19:20,22.
This man had religious training. – “All these have I kept from my youth up.” – Luke 18:21.
This man had wealth. – “for he was very rich.” Luke 18:23.
Yet this man still felt an inner lack of peace and fulfillment. For as has been well established throughout the ages, “Money can’t buy happiness.” Mark 10:17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? The urgency of his felt need caused him to come running to the Lord and fall to his knees on the ground before him. Some would say, “Most undignified for a man of wealth and position.”
But as we see in verse twenty two of our scripture listed above, what he had prevented him from obtaining what he needed. His physical wealth made him spiritually poor! To him, his wealth defined his person. And salvation is dying to one’s self identity, and coming to know the identity of the Lord Jesus as Lord and only Savior! 1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
For loving money hinders faith! 1Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
To love the world and its treasures is a sure proof that one is devoid of the love of God within his heart. 1John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Religionists in our day are no different from this young man. They are acquainted with religion and can speak of it to those within the walls of the church. But their heart is void of joy and peace, as they try to balance their love of money with their ‘profession’ of salvation. But such hypocrisy renders their attempt to worship to be in vain! Matthew 15:6 Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Our land is full of “Bigger Barns” professors! But God knows the heart and shall not be fooled, like those around them who esteem men according to their wealth! Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
Man was made for the glory of God. So when he seeks to glorify himself, he becomes an offense to God and reduces himself to the lowest level of being. He then loses his own soul!
Asaph, the cymbal playing Levite, had a struggle with this until he came to God’s sanctuary and learned the truth. Listen to his inner turmoils: Psalm 73:1 Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. 2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. 3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 16 When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. 18 Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. 19 How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. 20 As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.
Dear One, it is not being rich that is a problem. It is having one’s heart set upon riches, rather than upon God, that is the problem. The Apostle Paul instructed Pastor Timothy to give the following message to those who were rich, but yet were professed believers in the church. 1 Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
This young man also had a wrong concept of Moses’ law. Remember his question to the Lord? Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He only concerned himself with the legality of the law, and not the spirituality of the law! Romans 7:12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And his love of wealth displaced any concept of the required love of God with all one’s heart!
But where did he obtain such an attitude? – from the scriptures without the Spirit! THAT is where all legalism comes from! 1 Timothy 1:8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; There were those regenerate Gentiles, who were never brought up under the Jewish system of Moses’ law, had the law of Christ in their hearts! Romans 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
Here is a verse the young man possibly referred to: Leviticus 18:5 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.
But God never said, “Keep the law, and your works will save you!” But he did say that salvation is “Not of works, but by grace!” (Eph. 2:8-10). Now consider the Apostle Paul’s assessment of the problem: Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
That is, the purpose of the law, for the obtaining of righteousness, is fulfilled only in Christ! Not one single individual was ever, nor shall ever be saved by the law! Not Abraham! Not David! Not Moses himself! Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. What then is the law’s purpose? Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Now let us consider the young man’s title of address to the Lord, and the Lord’s reply thereunto.
The term, Good Master was an unheard of greeting in that day, and is found nowhere else in the scriptures except in the three gospels which record this event. No one went up to a Rabbi and called him, “Good Rabbi,” or “Good Master.” But what this term implied was that the Lord Jesus was just a “good” Rabbi among all the other Teachers and Rabbis. And this was what the Lord was responding to, in order to correct the young ruler’s thinking from the beginning. For if he had truly known who he was speaking to, his problems would have been solved. For knowing Jesus Christ as God, the Supreme Good, is salvation. John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 1 John 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
The Lord was not saying that we are to call no one “good,” except God. For the Lord spoke of the good man bringing good things out of his heart. (Matt. 12:35). And Barnabas was termed “a good man” in Acts 11:24. But what he was implying to the ruler was that God is not just one good among many. But that God was the supreme Good! And the one saying that was that very God! John 14:7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
His name is above every name! Ephesians 1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
Therefore if the young ruler had known in his heart that Jesus was very God, he would have been ready to disperse all his wealth in order to have the greatest treasure ever! Matthew 13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Then lastly, we want to look at Mark 10:21 and consider that Jesus “loved him.” And the following truth landed this author in “The Hall of Shame,” section of the website of a little hard-hearted, hyper-Calvinist, who cannot find anyone but himself whom he thinks God loves. He has invented him a God made like unto himself! (Psalm 50:21).
But whatever the stones that may be thrown, it does not alter the truth in any degree that God has a benevolent kindness for all his creatures! And this love was a human compassion that the Lord Jesus had, being made like unto his brethren, (Heb. 2:17), in order that he could be a high priest capable of being “touched with the feeling of our infirm-ities.” (Heb 4:15).
Here is God’s word concerning his “feelings” about his wrath even coming upon the wicked. Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
And listen to his words as he wept over Jerusalem, even though he was not going to prevent its destruction. Luke 19:41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
Pastor Gene Breed