The subject of salvation, one’s personal salvation from sin, is the most important subject with which anyone will ever have to deal. Its proper study, and the obedient and application of it, involves one’s eternal destiny.
The New Testament teaches that the purpose of Jesus’ leaving heaven and coming to earth as Man was to make the way for man to be saved from his sins and ultimately live eternally in heaven with Him. What must man do to accomplish this? Let us notice a few lessons to be learned from the “Rich Young Ruler” (Mark 10:17 ff.).
A Biblical Question & Answer
The young man came to Jesus with this question: “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17) As we listen to the answer that Jesus gave this young man we must remember that He had not yet died on the cross. Jesus lived and died while the Law of Moses was still in effect. Thus, He told the young man to keep the law under which he was living. Jesus even enumerated some of those Ten Commandments given to Moses by God.
In answer to Jesus’ statement the young man stated that he had kept these things from his youth. O’ that all young men and women could truthfully make this statement today! Jesus did not dispute the answer given Him. Rather, He said to him, “One thing you lack” (Mark 10:21). What was that one thing?
Is Obedience Necessary?
Another question: Would it be absolutely necessary for this young man to do what Jesus told him to do? If we answer this question correctly, that is, according to the Scriptures, it will remove some obstacles in answering the question about salvation, and how it is obtained.
What did Jesus tell him, and what was his response? The scripture records, “Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me. But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Mark 10:21-22).
Notice must be taken that this good man, this young man, this rich man, this man with some authority, walked away from the One to whom he had run earlier. What lessons are there to be learned from this section of Holy Scripture?
It is possible and acceptable for one to want to be saved and to inherit eternal life. It is not selfish for one to so desire. To have the desire for salvation one must realize that he or she must come to the Author of it (Hebrews 5:8-9). Even though one may be a good moral person, and has obeyed some laws of God, this one is not yet saved.
Lacking one thing in obedience to the Lord can keep one from having the salvation he or she desires and seeks.
Jesus loves those who are sinners. He came to “take away the sin of the world” by giving His life on the cross. Those that refuse to obey, actually or symbolically, turn their backs to the Lord. The last picture the Scriptures give us of this young man was of his sorrowfully walking away with his back to the One who loved him.