Luke 18:18-30 (Continued)
The question that the rich ruler asks is curious, but the answer that Jesus gives is strange when taken without faith and amazing when taken in faith. Jesus asks the man why he would call Him “good” when only God is good. The misinformed or faithless position would be to assume that Jesus was scolding the man for daring to call Him a good and thereby making Him out to be God. A Bible-believing position would be to assume that He could read the man’s thoughts and was making a comment from the man’s point of view. I want to show you that not only was Jesus not denying His divinity, but that He actually communicated the exact opposite.
If you have been reading my writing for a while, you have seen the many times that Jesus has referred to Himself as God. Because of this, we know that Jesus is not intending to spread a lie about Himself by saying He isn’t God. I believe that a good paraphrase of this part of the answer would go something like this: “How can you call me good when I know you think I am just a man? Don’t you know that only God can be good?”
As we briefly looked at yesterday, this man had a problem with wanting to be good enough to “inherit eternal life.” Right away Jesus tells Him, “no one is good.” If the man would have stopped right there and believed, he would have started seeking outside help rather than trying to figure out how to perform the impossible task of gaining eternal life by merit. One would have to assume He either ignored the answer, or was so proud that He thought He had exceeded the capabilities of everyone who had ever lived. This is a basic part of Christianity. To become a Christian, we must believe that no man is good, including ourselves, and that we all need to come to Jesus in order to be saved. We clearly don’t understand the Gospel if we assume that mankind is able to solve his own problems. This is why Socialism doesn’t fit with Christianity or Judaism. Jesus and the prophets clearly state that the salvation of man comes from a place outside of mankind.
Thus says Yahweh: Cursed is the man who trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from Yahweh.
To follow the way of Socialism, is to follow the way of a curse.
In order for us to have any hope of getting eternal life, someone good had to take action on our behalf. Jesus says here that the only one who is good is God himself. That leads us to what Jesus actually said. Because He told the man to follow Him, and told him that no man is good but God, He logically told the man He was God. Would Jesus tell people to be saved by following and believing in a bad person? We know that if the man would have followed Him at this point, He would have been lead to the cross. He isn’t saying that we should try to be as good as Jesus to be saved, we know that He is actually on His way to Jerusalem where He was about to make a sacrifice for the sin of the world.
To be continued…