“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” Matthew 19:20 NIV
The rich, young ruler, whom we will discuss in our verse today, isn’t alone in his sentiment of salvation, is he? He concluded, like many of us, that all he had to do to be saved was keep the rules. But what makes this extremely difficult for humanity is that salvation requires perfection.
According to Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, perfection is keeping the letter AND the heart of the law. It’s not going to work if we simply avoid an extramarital affair (letter of the law), we are also required by Him to never look upon the opposite sex with lust in our hearts (heart of the law). In short, the requirement for salvation is a perfect obedience to every aspect of the Law, which realistically means that salvation isn’t possible for humans on our own.
While the young ruler’s reasoning was inaccurate, he did have one thing fully accurate, and that was his feelings. He intrinsically felt something grossly lacking in his life.
This awareness is always revealed when we try to earn God’s favor in our life. We will constantly feel lacking because earning salvation is not God’s plan for receiving His favor. Grace is given, it isn’t earned.
Try as we might, even if it’s with all of our might, we will always fall desperately short. But, why try to jump the Grand Canyon when there’s a helicopter ride for free?
If you feel as the rich young ruler felt, perhaps you have been trying to earn God’s favor rather than simply resting in His grace.
As believers, we must reside in faith believing that His righteousness has already been deposited into our accounts. Fortunately for us humans, this means that we are now automatically righteous because we are walking in His righteousness! Let’s stop religiously working to earn and start regularly resting in Him.