In Gospel of Luke 18:18-30 we read about the young rich ruler who asked Jesus a question “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life ? Jesus response would have settled the question of “Does God have a select few who will receive eternal life.” He could have laid out a theological discourse on election that would have simplified this age old misunderstanding that not even the Rabbi’s understood. Instead, Jesus gave an answer that no one liked, not even His disciples.  Jesus explanation flew in the face of what the Jewish scholars had taught on what God meant and wise men misunderstood.

“18 A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life ?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good ? No one is good except God alone. 20 “You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’ ” 21 And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack ; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven ; and come, follow Me.” 23 But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 And Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God ! 25 “For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 They who heard it said, “Then who can be saved ?” 27 But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” 28 Peter said, “Behold, we have left our own homes and followed You.” 29 And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.” 31 Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished.”

Jesus could have responded to the young rich ruler, “God has already pre-chosen who will have eternal life.” Or “God has predestined who will have eternal life and you are not one of those.” No instead Jesus makes no mention of being one of the elect. Instead, Jesus instructs the man to go and sell all he owns, give it to the poor and follow Jesus.

Jesus then tells His disciples that it is difficult or even impossible for a rich man to enter into heaven. His statement nullified the rabbinical teaching that the wealthy were automatically right with God. Instead, Jesus said, Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.”

The point Jesus made is not that we must give all our possessions away. It is about our focus to work to acquire all we can own. It is more about believing in and trusting in Jesus Christ. It is about your commitment to Jesus and doing His will. Jesus was communicating that we are to believe in Him to the point we are committed to follow and serve Him and proclaim the gospel.

“How can someone be saved?” You must believe in, trust in, and receive Jesus Christ as God’s Son. Jesus is God’s payment for our sin. He is the only way to God. Faith in Jesus is how you can have eternal life. That is how you can be saved. 

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