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And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?”

And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good?  There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

Then he said to Him, “Which ones?”

And Jesus said, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER; YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; YOU SHALL NOT STEAL; YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS; HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”

The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?”

Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.  (Matthew 19:16-22, NASB)  (See Mark 10:17-22 and Luke 18:18-23)

Someone came to Him.  Those who come to the Christ come with a need, and rightly so for He desires to take our cares upon Himself.  This man who by the world’s standard should not have a care yet he comes to Jesus.  What was his stated need?  He seeks to learn about life eternal.   From this discussion the Master sees the rich young ruler’s greater need, and that is discipleship.  The focus should never be on salvation only; that is not the way of the Christ, for He desires so much more of the believer.  Discipleship, not salvation is the true need of man, for that would restore man to his pre-fall relationship with God.  To humbly walk with the character of being poor in spirit is God’s plan for each and every one of us.  The true need is discipleship.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.  (1 Peter 5:6-7, NASB)

If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.  Because Jesus knows the root to the real issue in the rich young ruler’s life He leads the rich man to where He wants to instruct.  Keep the commandments – simple obedience is requested in order to find the way to eternal life.

I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have given me life.  (Psalm 119:93, NKJV)

My life is continually in my hand, yet I do not forget Your law.  The wicked have laid a snare for me, yet I have not gone astray from Your precepts.  I have inherited Your testimonies forever, for they are the joy of my heart.  I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes forever, even to the end.  (Psalm 119:109-112, NASB)

Which ones?  Is this a serious question?  Do we get to pick and choose what commandments to obey and which ones we don’t?  Of course not!  The Christ once again knows where He needs to take the rich young ruler.  Jesus lists six of the Ten Commandments that He knew the rich young ruler followed.  The rich young ruler was so close to the kingdom of heaven and the Lord wanted to show him that it was a matter of complete obedience.  Discipleship is not half-hearted; it is all or nothing.  That is the choice we make when we come to Jesus and consider discipleship: it is all or nothing.  Obedience matters.  He is Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all.

And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.  (Hebrews 5:9, NASB, emphasis added) 

Make the commitment today to accept the all or nothing requirement of discipleship.

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