What the most
important question in all the world? In
Matthew 19:16 we read, "And behold, one came and
said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I
may have eternal life?
I don’t know of any
more important question than that do you? What can I do to be
saved? How can I be sure of eternal life?
No friends, I don’t
know of any more important question than that, do you? "What can I do to be
saved? How can I be sure of eternal life?
That rich young man is
very earnest, he is anxious to know the answer. It is a matter
of life and death.
The Law of God
And right from the
Saviour's lips there came the wonderful reply.
Verse 17 says, "if
thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments."
Did you get that
clearly? St Paul in
Hebrews 5:9, puts it in much the same way. "And being made
perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all
them that obey Him."
Yes it is faith and
obedience. That is why God loved
Abraham. He had the faith to obey Him in everything. God loves people like
that. The rich young man was
quite taken back. He was quite surprised. "Keep the
commandments," why, he had been doing that since he was a boy.
So he asked Jesus
"which". In other words, "Where have I been slipping Lord?"
Jesus answered in
verses 18,19, "Thou shalt not commit
adultery. Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and
thy mother… Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
put His finger on the trouble. The young man had been letting
down in his relationship to his fellow man.
You see the law of God
is divided into two parts. The first half tells us what God
requires of us. The second, how we are
to treat our fellowmen.
Matthew 22:37 says,
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with
all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” God says, Give Me your
heart, your soul, your mind.
John 14:15 He
says, "If ye love He, keep my commandments."
God asks us to love
Him with our heart, soul and mind. And when we do this we
will keep His commandments to show our love.
Love Thy Neighbour as Thyself
Matthew 22:39 Jesus
said, "...Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
This where that young
man fell down. He had been following
the letter of the law. That is made plain by the way he
Matthew 19:20 latter
half, "...All these things have 1 kept from my youth up: what
lack I yet?"
"Why Lord I have been
putting God first in my life; I have not bowed down to idols,
or worshipped them; I have been very careful how I have used
your Name; The Sabbath I have kept in a very careful manner; I have honoured my
mother and father. Yes Lord, "All these
things have I kept from my youth up; what lack I yet?"
Give What You Have to the Poor
And now Jesus puts
forward the acid test.
Matthew 19:21 says,
"…If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and
give to the poor.”
Jesus touched him on a
very sensitive point. He was avaricious. He was trying to get
everything he could out of life at the expense of his
fellowmen. He began to flush for
Jesus was touching a very sensitive spot indeed.
But I want to tell you
that the question of disposing his property to benefit the
poor was not the main thing. Some people stop right
here. I have heard quite a
number of preachers making quite a point of the fact "Go and
sell that thou hast, and give to the poor."
I think that it is a
very good thing to give to the poor; we certainly should
help those who are needy. But although it is a good lesson and
one we need to give heed to, it is not the main thing that
Jesus wanted to convey in this wonderful statement to the rich
young man. I think that what follows is the primary lesson.
Let Nothing Come Between Us and God
Matthew 19:21 says,
“Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell
that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have
treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”
That is the most
important thing. Whatever it is that
stands between you and following Jesus, that is the thing that
He says to get rid of. If it is riches, get rid of it. That is, if it is
standing between you and following Jesus. If it is your social
standing, for your soul’s sake, forget it all. If it is the clubs
that you belong to; all the activities that stand between you
and a closer personal walk with your Saviour then away with
it. Let absolutely nothing
stand between you and your Saviour.
There are a lot of
individuals who are allowing this or that to hold them back; a loved one, or a
friend, or opposition, the pleasures of this world.
Obedience and Faith
This matter of
salvation can easily be summed up. It is very simple.
1. "If thou wilt
enter into life, keep the Commandments,
2. "Come and
It is a matter of
two principles standing side by side: obedience and faith. They are just like
two oars to a boat. You need both to keep you on a steady
You know it is
rather unfortunate that there are many individuals,
especially Christians who have the mistaken idea that
salvation through Christ on Calvary applies only to those on
this side of the Cross
Through Jesus Christ
They seem to forget
that there are two arms to the Cross; one reaching toward
the Old Testament and one reaching toward the New Testament.
The arms of the
Cross extend to the whole wide world. Christ, my friend,
is the Saviour of the whole world. Jesus Christ is not
just the Saviour of the Christians: He is the Saviour of
the Jews; He is the Saviour of the Gentiles; He is the one
Lord of all, for the Bible says very plainly that "there is
none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we
must be saved."
Jesus Christ is the
one and only Saviour of this entire world. And we must never
forget that. They did not have another Saviour in the Old
Testament times. Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone is the way to eternal life.
Revelation 13:8 He
is called "...the Lamb slain from the foundation of the
world." Jesus Christ was
actually offered, His blood was given as a sacrifice. His life
was given as a guarantee way back in the very beginning of the
history of this world of ours.
When Adam and Eve
sinned, they were doomed to die. Now that is the very
next point I want to come to, for it is very important. In
Romans 5:12, we
read, "Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the
world, and death by sin; so death hath passed upon all men,
for all have sinned."
Now with that text I
want to read this the
18th verse, "Therefore as by the offense
of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by
the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto
justification of life.
We are told that the
wages of sin is death. Now what was it that we inherited
through Adam? Yes, what was it life or death? Death, it came upon
all men. Through the sin of one, it says death came upon all
men, for that all have sinned and come short of the glory of
God. And that is just
exactly what the Bible says.
But thank God, that
while sin came upon all men through Adam it says that eternal
life and justification also came through the other man Jesus
We are all doomed to
die. Adam and Eve marred the picture. God placed them in
that beautiful and sinless world. He told them "This is
your home." God intended that they
should be sinless in a sinless world. He warned them about
Satan. He told them to beware of Satan’s deceptions. He
cautioned them about the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. But Satan slipped in
with his most insidious suggestions that God is not particular
about little things.
Over and again that
dangerous attitude has been passed on from generation to
generation that a God of Love will not destroy men and women
when they break just a “little commandment.”
Adam and Eve were
deceived on that point by the adversary right back there in
the Garden of Eden, that God is not particular about little
things; and as they took of the forbidden tree; and they ate
of it the death sentence was passed upon them.
“In the day thou
eatest thereof thou shalt Die.”
Genesis 2:17 Satan expected that
Adam and Eve would be killed that very day. He considered that
he had succeeded. Now Adam and Eve must
die. Now he would be the ruler of this world. It would be his
home forever. He had gained it from
Adam by his deception and now he would be the prince of this
world. So Satan thought. Adam was doomed to
Jesus Willing to
Die for Adam
Before nightfall that
evening, before the setting of the sun, we see the tragic
picture in heaven as Jesus the Son of God, steps before the
Father. He pleads, “My Father, let Me bear the curse. Let Me
die in Adam’s stand.”
Jesus loved Adam
dearly for He had created him. You will remember that Adam had
been made in the likeness of Jesus Christ. Yes, Jesus loved
with an everlasting love. He would rather die
Himself, even in eternal death, if Adam could live eternally. Now that is real love,
Love that is willing
to die in another’s stead and suffer the curse of eternal
death if need be.
He risked just that in
giving His life. He stepped before the Father and said,
"Father, put the curse of sin upon Me, I shall bear the
sentence of death for Adam, and I will die in his stead."
Yes friends, that is
why they call Him the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the
I will give you
another text like that,
2 Timothy 1:9 "Who hath saved us, and
called us with an holy calling, not according to our works,
but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us
in Christ Jesus before the world
Adam was Saved
And bow I want to ask
you a very important question. When was grace given
to us through Christ? Before the world began. Then Adam was the very
first human to be saved by grace. But though he was
saved by grace was he free from the law? No! By breaking the
law he came under the law and the sentence of death rested on
He was driven from the
Garden of Eden because of his disobedience. Eventually he died the
first death from which there is no reprieve.
"The wages of sin is
death, but the gift of God is eternal life." Yes, he died the first
death but through the grace of God after the 1st Resurrection
he has life eternal. Yes, grace then came
through Jesus Christ in Old Testament
times, right back there in Eden. Jesus offered His life
and the Father accepted of that sacrifice.
Do you think that the
Father gave up His Son without a struggle? I tell you that
there must have been a terrific struggle when the Father
weighed it in the balance? "Shall I give My Son to die?"
My Son bear the ridicule, the reproach of Satan? "Can I let My
Son go down to the world and take the abuse of Satan and man?"
Yes friend, God went
through a titanic struggle. And after a while the decision was
made; "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not
perish, but have everlasting life."
And 4,000 years later
He was to make good. Exactly what He
promised Adam in the cool of the day. On that fateful day
Jesus bade His Father goodbye, and came down to this world
enshrouded in a dark cloud of sin.
He came walking in the
garden as He did so often to visit with ADAM. He called "Adam, Adam,
where are you?" Adam was hiding in the
shadows, he was filled with terror. He thought the death
hour had come; For God had told him "In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." He Thought "now I will
die." He thought that Jesus
had come to kill him.
But what a wonderful
Saviour; Jesus had
come to save him. When Jesus saw Adam
standing there, He called to an
animal. The animal came, obeyed His call. 1 can imagine the
surprise and horror of Adam as he watches that awful sight, as
the sacrifice is made, as the innocent blood is shed. Then the skin is taken
from the animal that had done no wrong, and with it clothes
are fashioned to cover his own lack.
Then it begins to dawn
upon Adam how terrible, how fearful, how deadly are the
results of sin. The wages of sin is
death. In order that Adam may
live, that very day someone else must give his life.
Pointing to the Cross
"Behold the Lamb of
God that taketh away the sins of the world."
Every one of those
sacrifices in the Old Testament times, every one of those
meat offerings, and the drink offerings, those yearly Sabbath
days, every one of those rituals; pointed forward unerringly
to Jesus Christ. Every part of the Old Testament service, was
a symbol of the coming Redeemer. They lived in the
shadow of the cross, but they were saved by the cross.
Don’t forget that
every time they brought a lamb, or they brought a turtle dove
for the poor -- and by the way the poor could even bring flour
for that matter, that is if they could not afford anything
Yes, God even provided
that the very poorest could be saved---every time they brought
a sacrifice they brought it as a symbol of the coming Redeemer who would come and die
in their stead. 4,000 years after that first sacrifice of that
first animal that was slain; Jesus gave His life upon Calvary.
That is what He meant
when He cried out, "It is finished." He had paid the price;
He had cancelled the debt of all those of the Old Testament
times. He had paid the price!
He had consummated the sacrifice for all time.
the Grace of Christ
Remember this. The
cross points two ways: To those in the past and to those in
the future who should live in faith believing in the blood of
They looked forward to
the cross. We look back to the Cross; that is the only
difference. It is the one cross.
We are all saved
through the grace of Jesus Christ, for "there is none other
name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved."
I think of the way
that the Apostle Paul puts it in
Romans 4:3, "Abraham believed God,
and it was counted unto him for righteousness." Abraham was saved by
righteousness, not his own but that given him by God.
Every soul that has
ever been saved was saved through the grace of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 5 the
redeemed are pictured as standing before the throne of God.
Those of the Old Testament and those of the New, and this is
the song they sing, "For by thy blood thou hast redeemed us
from every language, from every kindred and from every tongue,
and every people."
There is No
Other Way to Be Saved
They are all redeemed
by the blood of the Lamb.
There is another
thought over in
Revelation 15. It pictures the
Redeemed in that great crowning service, the coronation
service of Jesus Christ before the throne of God. It pictures the
redeemed of all the ages, The Old Testament and the New
Testament, they are all gathered before the throne of God and
they sing, first of all The Song Of Moses and the second half,
The Song of The Lamb.
Justice and Mercy meet
in the Cross of Jesus Christ. The Law and the
Gospel; Obedience and Grace. They meet in one in
the person of Jesus Christ, and Him sacrificed
upon Calvary's hillside.
They all unite in that
one anthem. There is no other way of Salvation.
Can We Hide
Behind the Grace of God?
But how often I have
heard Christians boast, "But I don’t care about the Law of
God. They hide behind
Romans 6:14, "For sin shall not have
dominion over you: for ye are not under the Law, but under
Yes, I have seen a
great many Christians hiding behind that text and saying, "See
there, that means that since I am saved by grace since I am
saved through the atoning blood of Christ, I have nothing to
worry about, I don’t have to keep God's commandments at all."
Now I ask you does it
say that? You need to read just
a little further
verse 15, "What then? shall we sin, because
we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.”
There it is. Sin is
the breaking of God's Commandments; the transgression of His
And St Paul says,
just because you have been saved by the blood does not allow
you to trample on God's commandments. In the
14th verse we
have this, "Sin shall not have dominion over us."
is not to be our ruler. We are not to be under sin. We are
not under the condemnation of the Law when we obey God.
You see when an
individual is saved by grace he is under greater obligation
than ever before to keep the law of God because Paul says,
"What then? shall we sin because we are not under the law
but under grace? God forbid."
And he adds this
Romans 3:31, "Do we then make
void the law through faith? God forbid: Yea, we establish
the law." Yes he says "We
establish the Law." The Law is firmer
than ever in our lives.
I ask you “what is
under the law here in this town? Why those who have broken
it. They are the ones who are under the law. The law has
The man who keeps
the Law is the man who is free today. The Law breaker is
under the condemnation of the law.
Because we are saved
by Grace doesn’t give us a license to sin.
A man has been
condemned - condemned to die. He is under the
sentence of death. But his friends intervene. They present
some new evidence, some special factors involved in
this case. As the case is reinvestigated and the new evidence
considered it is felt that this man deserves clemency. And so a pardon is
issued and the condemned man is saved from the gallows. Now
that man has been saved by grace. He is not saved by works or
by his goodness. He is doomed to die and being good, being
ever so good in that death cell would never save him. That is very obvious.
In other words, after
an individual has broken the commandments of God he cannot be
good enough to save himself. That is quite clear. The wages of
sin is death. We have all sinned and
come short of the glory of God, so we are all under the
sentence of death. And there is only one
way of salvation through Jesus.
Now the condemned man
is pardoned. Yes pardoned, saved, free. He goes out a free
Obligation to Keep the Law
Now when he gets out
he immediately breaks the laws of the land. Do you think that he
would remain outside the goal for very long? Of course not! The
individual that has been pardoned would be under greater
obligation to keep the law than ever.
Even so we too. You
and I come under greater obligation to keep the law of God
because we are saved by grace.
Friends if you wish to
enter into eternal life do what Jesus told that rich young
man; keep the commandments and follow me.