Not so fast.

Mk 17 (GW) As Jesus was coming out to the road, a man came running to him and knelt in front of him. He asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
19 You know the commandments: Never murder. Never commit adultery. Never steal. Never give false testimony. Never cheat. Honor your father and mother.”
20 The man replied, “Teacher, I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. He told him, “You’re still missing one thing. Sell everything you have. Give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then follow me!”
22 When the man heard that, he looked unhappy and went away sad, because he owned a lot of property. Mark 10:17-22

Love ? I love love love you.

Love ? I love love love you. (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

The most important thing that jumped out at me with this passages are the words: Jesus looked at him and loved him.

If I have heard it once I have heard it a thousand times God is love and we must love others. So what is love and how does it relate to dealing with others? This passage is a perfect example of what love actually is and what love expects.

JESUS LOVED this man who came to him wanting to gain salvation. Liken this to the person who comes to church asking what they must do to gain eternal life. For the most part these people present themselves as law-abiding citizens and are living a decent and good life. To the average person this man who came to Jesus was an upstanding citizen, an accomplished man, a leader among his peers, successful by the worlds standards and most likely a person any organization would happily employ. This person is not living a visible sinful lifestyle. He would appear to the natural man that he had it all together.

And Jesus LOVED HIM. He loved him enough to tell him his shortcomings. He loved him enough to not let him continue living the life that he was living. He loved him enough to tell him the truth. As compared to what a GODLY life actually entailed this man had missed the mark completely. This man had put his trust in his personal accomplishments. He had acquired a great deal of success and prominence in this world, his resume was impressive, but failed to gain entrance into God’s kingdom.

Jesus loved him. And told him that he needed one thing. To sell everything he had and humble himself to take up the cross and follow Jesus. Interesting enough that is the same message Jesus gave to all his disciples. If any man wished to follow Christ and be his disciple he must take up his cross and follow him. Mt 16:24Mk 8:34Lk 9:23.

This is not a new concept and Jesus was not singling out this person and asking him to do anything less than what he had expected of all his disciples.

Why then is it that today’s church does not require the same of their disciples? Why is it that for the most part everyone who comes to the church is offered entrance without any requirements of self-sacrifice and cross bearing? Why do those who come to the church wish to be treated special? They do not wish to be required to give up anything in their life. They want to continue to live exactly like they have before coming to the church. They feel like this man did, they had achieved everything they needed to be acceptable in society and as such should be offered entrance into heaven simply because of their ‘good works‘ or ‘good living’.

God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God. It’s not the result of anything you’ve done, so no one can brag about it. Ephesians 2:8-9 (GW) 

You see then all those things that this man thought he had accomplished did not earn him entrance into God’s kingdom because they were done apart from the will of God. They were not done by God’s Spirit. You see to gain entrance into the kingdom of God we must trust in God to lead us there, we can not lead ourselves there nor earn our way in. Prior to coming to Christ all our accomplishments are not acceptable.

Sell all you have accomplished, give it away, give it to the poor, and take up your cross, deny yourself, and follow Jesus wherever it is he leads you. Then you shall gain entrance into the kingdom of God. Your plans and accomplishments are not what is important. Everything you thought you wanted to do does not matter. It is not YOUR way that is going to get it done. It is HIS way and only HIS way.

Jesus answered him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one goes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 (GW) 

No one who enters the kingdom of God will ever say they did it their way. And our way is not going to get us there either.

You see folks God is under absolutely no obligation to honor you for your accomplishments, nor is he obligated to honor you because of your ‘good living’. He is God and as such needs to be honored as God and only those who do his will are acceptable into his kingdom.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the person who does what my Father in heaven wants. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we force out demons and do many miracles by the power and authority of your name?’ Then I will tell them publicly, ‘I’ve never known you. Get away from me, you evil people.’ Matthew 7:21-23 (GW) 

Do not be deceived into believing that just because things have gone well for you, and you have accomplished great things in this world, that you have a guarantee entrance into God’s kingdom. There is only one way to get in and that is to deny thyself, and take up the cross and follow Jesus. You can not come to Christ and continue to live like He doesn’t matter.

Many of us like this rich man are imprisoned to our own wants, needs and desires, and as such we are not fit for God’s kingdom. Until we are willing to lay it all down and take up our cross to follow Jesus, we will never inherit the kingdom of God.

What is love then? Love dares to speak the truth. And the truth is NO ONE shall enter the kingdom of God without taking up their own personal cross. Regardless of their standing in the world.

This is hard for believers to handle because even Christ’s own disciples took exception to how Jesus handled the rich man. They were shocked that he turned the man away. Actually the man turned himself away because he refused to do what Jesus had asked him to do. Remember Jesus asked him to give all his money away because he LOVED HIM.

Mk 23 (GW) Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for rich people to enter the kingdom of God!”
24 The disciples were stunned by his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
25 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 This amazed his disciples more than ever. They asked each other, “Who, then, can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “It’s impossible for people {to save themselves}, but it’s not impossible for God to save them. Everything is possible for God.” Mark 10:23-27

You see guys and gals, it is impossible to save ourselves. It is impossible no matter how hard we try nor how well we live to enter into the kingdom of God apart from the cross. The cross is the entrance gate into God’s kingdom. That is how it works. There is no other way. You can not avoid the cross. You can not buy your way in. You can not earn entrance. It is a gift of God and as such can only be bestowed upon man by God through Jesus via the Holy Spirit.

In other words you must be born again. Jn 3:1 No flesh can inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Cor 15:50

eagle_feather_icon.gifThis is a view from the nest. What say you?

But those who are waiting for the Lord will have new strength; they will get wings like eagles: running, they will not be tired, and walking, they will have no weariness. Isaiah 40:31 (BBE)

 

Along for the journey

 tj201009292334-3.jpg

This has been A View from the Nest. The statements, comments, or opinions expressed are solely that of the author and do not represent the views or opinions of the host of this site or any affiliates thereof. Any questions or comments should be directed to myself and not to the host or hosts of this site.
Enhanced by Zemanta