Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another look at Rich Young Ruler

I've been struggling to understand God's will for my family regarding the poor. Some previous posts on this struggle are here in this label category. I'm slowly working through "He Loves Me" by Wayne Jacobsen, and in chapter 8 he takes a look at the Rich Young Ruler. Here is the story again:

The Rich Ruler (Luke 18:18-29 NIV)
A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'"
"All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said.
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Those who heard this asked, "Who then can be saved?"
Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God."
Peter said to him, "We have left all we had to follow you!"
"I tell you the truth," Jesus said to them, "no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life."
Wayne Jacobsen's has given me a different viewpoint on it.

Maybe Jesus wasn't saying "go sell all your possessions and I'll give you eternal life".

Maybe Jesus was trying to prove a point that the rich young ruler was asking for eternal life the wrong way.

"What must I do?" - is that the wrong question to ask?

If that's the wrong question, then here's the impossible answer: "Keep the law"

Since the rich young ruler thinks he is has righteously kept the law, Jesus adds an unrealistic request: "Sell all you have".

And the rich young ruler learns that he is not capable of earning God's favor.

Was that the point of this story?

The rich may have a greater tenancy to try to earn God's favor. Our pride and feelings of being self-sufficient. The poor may be more willing to accept Father's love the way a child accepts it. Not because we deserve it, just because He chooses to love us.

I like this view of this story.

But I'm not certain if that was the point Jesus was making here. Was Jesus making the point that we need give all to follow Him? Or that it's impossible to give enough to earn His favor? Luke 14:33, luke 12:22-34 (note verse 33) are similar commands to consider.

What do you think? Is it an offer of salvation regardless of our sacrifices?

Or is sacrifice necessary?

I guess this is similar to the faith vs works issue. Faith comes first, but both are required.

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