Saturday, April 16, 2011

Humility Eludes The Lost

Question received:
Thank you for your quick response. I did read the information you provided me on your page about the rich young ruler. I guess the gist of my question was: why did the rich young ruler have to give up his wealth after he was already convinced that he was a sinner? Thanks!

My Answer:

The ruler, who through tradition Christians have called the "Rich Young Ruler" was not convicted of sin. Jesus lovingly challenged him. When Jesus asked the ruler "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone." This what is called a Socratic question. A question is answered with a question so the inquirer will answer his own question correctly. The right answer, of course is Jesus is good because He is God in the flesh. I imagine, from reading all of Luke 18 that the ruler was a young man of influence. He must have had wealth, reputation and power. He was the best of the best of people of that community. The ruler was not good enough to receive eternal life with out the Savior One thing the ruler did not have was the understanding that he was a sinner. Jesus asked the ruler if he had kept the commandments concerning adultery, murder, theft, bearing false witness and honoring our parents. The fine "Rich Young Ruler", the best man I feel that society had to offer, lied to Jesus. The ruler did not understand, as Jesus taught in the Sermon On The Mount, that if you broke these commandments in your mind and heart, then you are as guilty of violating this commandments if as one who has physically carried out their sin. The ruler did not think he was a sinner. He wanted eternal life. The ruler never mentioned he wanted to repent of his sins. The historic doctrine of original sin says we are all sinners and were bore sinners. The doctrine of original sin does not say we all sinned as much as we could or as much as others. We were born into sin and need a Savior.
Luke 18:18-23 [ESV]18 And a ruler asked him, "Good Teacher, what must 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 I have kept from my youth." 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.

Jesus actually had asked the ruler the commandments concerning people relating to people. When Jesus Christ asked the ruler to sell all and give to the poor, he was not giving all a command to chuck all material wealth. Jesus asked the ruler to distribute his wealth to the poor to show the ruler he was breaking even the first two commandments dealing with placing other gods before the Lord, and that the rulers wealth and position was his idol. The rulers wealth and position was his idol and center of worship. Jesus was showing the ruler, and us, that we have all broken all the commandments. Galatians 3:24 tells us the commandments are a tutor or school master to lead us to Christ. We can only receive eternal life because of the atoning work of jesus Christ on the cross when he atoned for our sin.

The First Two of The Ten Commandments Exodus 20:1-6 [ESV]

1 And God spoke all these words, saying, 2 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 "You shall have no other gods before me. 4 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

In Luke 18 the ruler does come into the kingdom of Jesus Christ. The ruler does not confess or repent of his sin. This rich man does not receive the priceless yet free grace of Jesus Christ. Jesus did not run him down or beg him to "sign up". I heard an old revivalist said the modern church would have welcomed the ruler and made him a trustee or head deacon. Would churches today take this man in looking to a big tithe, rather than evidence of a changed life.

The Apostles were even amazed by this. Jesus said it was difficult to be saved, especially the rich. This is where, Luke 18:23, Jesus said it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into the kingdom. It is not hard, it is impossible for any of us sinners to get saved by any other way but by the grace of Jesus Christ. We humble ourselves in repentance and accept the free gift, rich and poor alike. The ruler would have to humble himself before the Lord as all subjects of His kingdom must do.

Luke 18 [ESV] 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, "How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." 26 Those who heard it said, "Then who can be saved?" 27 But he said, "What is impossible with men is possible with God." 28 And Peter said, "See, we have left our 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 more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life."

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