“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
This question was posed to Jesus by a young man who has been traditionally labeled as the “Rich Young Ruler.” (See Luke 18:18). Jesus went on to question the man about how well the man had obeyed the ten commandments.
He responded that he had kept all the commandments that Jesus listed out. Jesus gave one more step. He told the man to go sell everything he had and give it to the poor. The man went away sad because he was a wealthy man. (See Luke 18:18-25.)
In a matter of one request, Jesus pointed out two ways that this man who thought he was obeying the law was not totally obeying everything God said. First, since the man was unwilling to let go of his wealth to help the poor, he showed that he loved his wealth more than he loved God. His wealth was more important than God.
The things of his life had become his god above the one true God. He broke the commandment:
Second, since the man was unwilling to put others ahead of himself by selling his material possessions and giving the proceeds to the poor, he was not living out:
love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18).
In one response to Jesus’ question, the rich young ruler broke two of God’s mandates. He was unable to keep the law. So are we. If we are not able to keep the law of God, how can we inherit eternal life? How can we experience life that Jesus says He is offering?
What must I do to inherit eternal life? Believe.
The first step to inheriting eternal life is to believe. That is, to place your faith in Jesus Christ as the only way to experience the forgiveness of sin and to reconciled back to God.
Everyone has a problem that the Bible identifies as sin. Whenever you disobey God and choose to do things your own way, it is sin. For that sin, you deserve death (see Romans 6:23).
The way that occurs in your life is to believe that Jesus is who He said He is and that Jesus accomplished on the cross what you could never accomplish for yourself. This belief is what the Bible calls faith.
The Bible says:
We cannot be justified, that is declared right before God, by what we do or by keeping the rules. The only way to be right with God is through faith.
Jesus also described it this way. When asked, what must be done to do what God requires, Jesus said:
What must you do to inherit eternal life? Believe in who God sent to be the Savior of the world. Place your faith in Jesus Christ.
The second step to inheriting eternal life is to respond.
The Bible says:
Once you embrace Christ through faith, you display that faith by declaring and living that Jesus is Lord.
If Jesus is your Lord, that means that you will live your life doing what He wants you to do rather than what you want to do. He is the One who gets to dictate how your life will go. He is Lord of you.
Responding to your faith by acknowledging and living that Jesus is Lord shows that your faith is genuine and life-changing.
Inheriting eternal life is not accomplished by keeping the rules. Instead, to gain it, you must believe by placing your faith in Christ and respond to Jesus as Lord of your life.
“How can I inherit eternal life?” Believe and respond.