Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Question (05/24/12)
TITLE: What shall I do that I may have eternal life?
By Garry Stopa
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The New Testament begins with four books we know as the Gospels. The Gospels reveal the life of Jesus and His death on the cross. Jesus taught us what true righteousness is and then provided the only means for us to obtain it.
The Gospels tell a story about a rich young ruler. In Matthew 19:16 this man asks Jesus, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" Jesus responds by saying obey the commandments; He then listed a few. The young man said to Him (V. 20), "All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?" It seems this young man missed the point---we all fall short.
Jesus started with the first command---you shall have no Gods before me. He simply expressed this command in a more meaningful way. Jesus said to him; "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor" Matthew 19:21 (NKJV). The man went away sad because he had great wealth. Jesus did not even get to the second commandment. The complete story is in Matthew 19:16-22. Jesus answered the young man’s question a few verses later. He said, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (v. 26).
Jesus taught that even our sinful thoughts would condemn us. God, knowing we could not achieve the right standing necessary, provided animal sacrifice as a means of covering sin with the innocence of a flawless animal. The animal would pay the penalty for sin and essentially take the sinners place of judgement. Even an innocent animal was less than perfect but it would temporarily open doors for the blessings of God to flow. Sacrifice had to be done regularly.
Jesus was God manifest as a man. He was the righteousness of God; the only true righteousness. When He was tortured and crucified, He received the penalty for all sin and gave us the gift of His righteousness. He was the righteousness of God---righteousness so pure and perfect---it was more than enough for all the sins of humankind.
I am grateful that I do not have to earn a place in heaven. It is a gift provided by the sacrifice of Jesus. What shall I do to have eternal life? Receive the gift of righteousness provided by the cross.
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