Matthew 19:16-17 –DOES KEEPING THE 10 COMMANDMENTS GUARANTEE ME A PLACE IN HEAVEN? – Part 3

Posted: December 13, 2017 in Matthew, Matthew 19
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2016-09-11 13.50.55-3.pngEternity © by Ross Cochrane

Matthew 19:16-17 –DOES KEEPING THE 10 COMMANDMENTS GUARANTEE ME A PLACE IN HEAVEN? – Part 3

She was not at all concerned that she was in a crowded open ward with some men who were speaking loudly. June wanted to know “How can I know for certain if I am going to heaven? Have I done enough?” I was able to get the men to quieten down and they were apologetic when I told them that I was her Chaplain. They listened to our conversation.

Her questions proved to be important since she died the next day. I am reminded that her questions have been asked before in Matthew 19.

Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”

“Why ask Me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments”

“Which ones?” the man asked. And Jesus replied: “‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely.  Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 19:16-19 NLT).

Why did Jesus choose only these commandments? Why did He give them out of order?

WHAT CAN I LEARN ABOUT HAVING ETERNAL LIFE?

  1. DO MY GOOD DEEDS OUTWEIGH MY BAD DEEDS?

June was unsure whether she had done enough to have entrance to heaven. She wondered whether her good deeds outweighed her bad ones. I was able to dispel her misunderstanding.

June would have loved the conversation Jesus had with the rich young ruler. She responded to Jesus very differently to this young man.

A lot has been made about the specific commandments Jesus chose and the order in which Jesus quoted the commandments, but it seems to me that Jesus quotes a number of them deliberately.

This young man wants to find out the one good deed that above all others should be obeyed to guarantee that he has eternal life. If I do one really good thing, can it outweigh all other things I may have done which stand in the way of my having eternal life? Jesus doesn’t give him or us what we request. The rich young ruler is obviously off track

Instead of asking which is the one good deed he must keep to have eternal life, perhaps the rich young ruler should realize that breaking even one leaves us in need of God’s grace. James 2:10 (NLT) says “For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.”

Is any one good deed better than the others? Obviously not.

Jesus chooses only those commandments that are to do with the well-being and love of our neighbors (good deeds generally). Keep all these and you’ll get what you want, He says. You’ll have eternal life.

James 2:8 (NLT) says, “Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself”(see Leviticus 19:18).

“I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replies. “What else must I do?” (Matthew 19:20 NLT).

Has he really obeyed all these commandments? Now comes the crunch.

  1. WILL OBEDIENCE EARN YOU ETERNAL LIFE?

The rich young man knows he hasn’t murdered anyone, or committed adultery, or stolen from anyone, or testified falsely in a court of law against his neighbor, and according to the law, he has honored his mother and father. Still, he doesn’t fully interpret the true meaning of keeping these laws summed up by Jesus as, “Love your neighbor as yourself”(Matthew 19:19 NLT) and he intuitively understands that eternal life has eluded him.

His ideas on obedience in keeping the commandments seem very different to those of Jesus (read Matthew 5), but Jesus doesn’t point this out.

June, like this young man, certainly knew, as she lay in her hospital bed, that despite her good life, something was missing. And she was right.

WHAT ELSE IS NEEDED? (Find out in Part 4). The answer might surprise you.

Pastor Ross

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