For three years, the Lord Jesus presented Himself to the lost sheep of the house of Israel as their promised Messiah. He was the Saviour Whom prophets foretold would save His people from their sins, and long after Jesus explained to Nicodemus that a man must be born again to receive eternal life, we discover a lawyer who was an expert in the Law of Moses, who also came to the Lord Jesus to a seek an alternative way of salvation by asking the question, “Teacher, what must I DO to INHERIT eternal life?”
This young man was an expert in the Law of Moses. He had strictly obeyed the letter of the Law and was self-righteous in his own eyes. It appears that this question was designed to demonstrate his own perfect righteousness before the admiring crowd, for we read that he asked this question to test the Lord Jesus rather than humbly recognising his sinful state, his lost status, and his desperate need for salvation.
This learned lawyer had developed the legalist view that keeping the Law was the route to eternal life. This legalistic scholar had developed a perspective which meant that he had to DO something in order to obtain eternal life. This student of the Mosaic Law approached Jesus under the assumption that eternal life is gained by carrying out works of the Law – and that getting into heaven requires a person to DO something in order to obtain everlasting life – but Scripture clearly teaches: A man is NOT justified, reckoned righteous, or in right standing with God by works of the Law. We are justified only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation… trusting in Him by grace through faith, for He alone has saved us from our sin.
The question that this young man asked was the WRONG question and was based on his own self-righteousness and not his sinful state. He missed a truth from Moses in Deuteronomy 6, which says: “It is not for thine own righteousness, nor for the uprightness of thine own heart, art thou going in to possess their land.” And as Paul rightly judged in Romans 10: “Because they (Israel) disregarded the righteousness from God and attempted to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted to God’s righteousness.”
All the good works and self-righteous acts produced by man are filthy rags in the eyes the Lord, for only in Christ can true righteousness be found, and all who trust in Him for salvation are clothed in HIS righteousness. We are accepted in Christ, and those who are found in Him, cannot boast of having our own righteousness, for we have been clothed in HIS perfect righteousness. Godly righteousness comes through faith in Christ – the righteousness which is from God by faith.
Many today are seeking to enter heaven through their own righteousness simply because they are asking the wrong question (What must I do to INHERIT eternal life?) which demonstrates a legalist mind-set and a trust that one’s own works are sufficient to earn eternal life. And this question will always receive the same answer: “You shall love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, and with ALL your soul, and with ALL your strength, and with ALL your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.” And this is an impossible task in our own strength.
How important to ask the correct question, which is: “What must I do to be SAVED?” which is answered with the words: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” When the Philippian jailer asked this question, it demonstrated a man who recognised that he was lost and needed a Saviour. His question was not what must I do to INHERIT eternal life, but what must I do to be SAVED… and the answer which was give to Nicodemus many years before was once again repeated: “BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus died for my sins so that by faith in Him I will not perish, but have everlasting life. Keep me from legalistic thinking that I am able to do something to add to Christ’s finished work on the Cross. Thank You that by faith in Him, I have been forgiven of my sins and received eternal life as a free gift of grace, not of works of Law (lest I should start to boast in my own righteousness), but only by grace through faith in Christ Jesus my Saviour. Praise His holy name, AMEN.
25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
6 Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it:
2 That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.
3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:
5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
10 And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,
11 And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;
12 Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
13 Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.
14 Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;
15 (For the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.
16 Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.
17 Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.
18 And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers.
19 To cast out all thine enemies from before thee, as the Lord hath spoken.
20 And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord our God hath commanded you?
21 Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand:
22 And the Lord shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes:
23 And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers.
24 And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.
25 And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.
10 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.
5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.
20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.
21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.