The Rich Young Ruler

As the people in the world saw him, the young man had everything a person could want. He had a lot of money. He was still young. He was a leader. And he was what people would call a good man. But there was still something that worried him; he was not sure that he was going to live forever with God.

So one day as Jesus was about to leave on a trip, the young man ran up to him and knelt down before him and asked, "Good teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?" and Jesus said to him, "why do you call me good? No person is good; only one (that is, God) is good. But if you want to enter into that life, you must obey the commandments." "Which ones" he asked. Jesus answered, "you know the commandments: Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steel, do not give false testimony, Do not cheat, Honor your father and mother, and You must love your neighbor like you love yourself." Then the young man said, "I have done all these things since I was a boy; what else do I need to do?" and Jesus looked at him with love and said, "you still need to do one thing: go and sell what you have and give the money to poor people. Then you will have riches in heaven. And come follow me." When the young man heard this, he became very sad and went away. You see, he owned a lot of things and was not willing to give them up.

When Jesus saw him leave, he turned to his disciples and said, "how heard it is for those who are rich to enter God's Kingdom! It is easier for a camel to go through the hole in a sewing needle than for a rich man to enter God's Kingdom." The disciples were surprised and asked, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus answered, "People cannot do it, but God can. God can do everything."

Then Peter said to Jesus, "Look, we have left everything and followed you." Jesus told his disciples, "Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for my sake will receive a hundred times as much in this life, and in the future world eternal life."

So many people are like that young man. They feel that they can be good enough to get to live with God. They think that if they do enough good deeds, then God will have to welcome them into heaven. They see themselves as good people. They are shocked to learn that Jesus said, "No person is good." They are upset that the apostle Paul wrote, "No person lives right; no, not one" (Romans 3:10). Oh, they may do a few bad things; but they do not think that this makes them bad people. After all, they do so much good!

But Jesus knows what it takes to go to heaven to live forever with God. And He says "People cannot do it." Only God can save a person. It is not enough to live a "good" life; we must leave everything else and follow Jesus. Then His blood will wash away our sins (1 John 1:7). In that way, and only in that way, can we be good enough to live forever with God.

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