As we go through Luke’s Gospel, we see Jesus teaching the crowds. In my last post, He talked about entering the kingdom of God as a child. Upon hearing that, someone in the group was prompted to ask a question.
A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good — except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'”
Luke 18:18-20 NIV
We have to remember that Jesus lived and ministered under the Old Covenant. This young man wanted to be sure of his salvation. He asked the Lord about it.
Jesus gave him the only way to eternal life at that time. In simple terms, He said to follow the Law of Moses. That was the road to life.
“All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
Luke 18:21 NIV
The young man was given what he asked for. According to the words of Jesus, this man already possessed eternal life. He was on his way to heaven.
However, Jesus could see by his response, that this man wanted more than just salvation. He wanted a fulfilled life. His desire was for more than simply life after death.
The Lord saw into his heart and answered the real question that was driving him. He wanted to know how to advance spiritually in his walk with God.
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Luke 18:22 NIV
Jesus was basically telling this man that possessing eternal life is not enough. It was time for him to start accruing eternal rewards. It was time for him to start following the plan of God for his life.
There are a couple of things that we need to realize about this passage. First, the Lord operated, back then, in the same role that the Holy Spirit has for us now. Also, these instructions were a specific Word of God for this man in particular. It’s not a rule for all believers.
Jesus was telling this man that the next step in his spiritual development was to sell all and become His disciple. That would start him down the road to a fulfilled life. His riches were holding him back.
That’s because he had more than just a lot of money. According to the words used in Scripture, he had a large estate. He probably spent all of his time tending to the issues of maintaining and increasing his holdings.
This is where God’s plan for him was leading. Would he take the next step in the journey?
When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, 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.”
Luke 18:23-25 NIV
Here’s where a lot of people get mixed up. You have to realize that the kingdom of God is not the same as salvation. The kingdom is the rule of God. It’s the place of blessing based upon obedience.
The truth is, you can be a citizen of a kingdom, yet be living someplace else. You lose out on the blessings of being at home in the kingdom.
You may not want to hear this, but not all believers are walking in the kingdom of God. They’re saved, but they’re missing out on the kingdom blessings. Paul talked about this to the believers in Antioch.
…strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.
Acts 14:22 NIV
These are hard words to accept. Paul told the believers to remain steadfast in hardships. That’s what it takes to enter the kingdom. I’ll talk more about this in my next post.
Question: What’s the next step God has for you in your spiritual walk?
© 2022 Nick Zaccardi