But He said, "The things that are impossible with people are possible with God."Luke 18:27(NASB)
Jesus told His disciples: "The things that are impossible with men are possible with God." He told them this just after He had been approached by a rich young ruler who asked the Lord Jesus this important question: "Good teacher, what must I DO to inherit the kingdom of God?" The young man knew the Scriptures and recognised that Jesus was a good man.
This young Jewish man evidently considered that his own life was equally exemplary because he proudly confessed that he had kept the commandments from a young age. But Jesus (Who is the perfect Son of God and sinless Son of Man) pointed out there are none that are good except God: "Why do you call me good?" Jesus asked him! Even in this, the Lord was pointing this man to Himself as the promised Messiah sent from God, Who came to seek the lost and to save His people from their sinfulness.
In his own eyes, and no doubt in the eyes of religious people and the pious Pharisees, this young ruler considered he was perfect. This was a young man who knew, according to the righteousness that is of the Law, that he was blameless, but there seems to have been a little doubt in his heart that he had done enough and was good enough to inherit eternal life. He wanted reassurance - or perhaps he expected Jesus to confirm him blameless in front of the people that were present and so he asked the question: "What must I DO to inherit the kingdom of God?"
The young man may have kept the letter of the Law but he certainly could not keep the spirit of the Law for all men are sinners, all people have a sin nature, and all fall short of the glory, the perfection, the goodness, and the holiness of God. And every one that falls short of God's glory is not qualified to inherit the kingdom of God or even to glimpse God's perfect kingdom. It is impossible for any fallen being to DO something that would gain access into the kingdom of God. Jesus actually answered his question of what must I DO, because the only way to enter the kingdom is to live a perfect, sinless, holy life. In other words, God alone is good enough to enter the kingdom of God, for there is no one that is good enough to attain to God's perfect standard.
The rich young ruler thought he could DO some good work himself, which would merit his entry into the kingdom. He was willing to DO anything to qualify, but no amount of good works, kind-heartedness, law-keeping, generous giving, or academic learning can make an imperfect sinner, perfect in God's eyes. We are not sinners simply because we sin. We are all sinners because we are all born sinners with a fallen nature - a sin nature that can never, ever please God.
Naturally, this rich young man was distressed by Christ's reply, because Jewish mindset of his day believed that wealth denoted favour with God, and yet the Lord Jesus could see into his proud heart and saw that love for his possessions was greater than love for God: "Go and sell all you have and give it all to the poor," was Christ's answer, because this young man had great earthly possessions that meant more to him than his relationship with God.
Jesus came to earth to offer the kingdom to Israel. He was their King and Messiah but, like this young man, their focus was on earthly things rather than heavenly things. They wanted to defeat the Romans and set up the earthly kingdom promised to Abraham, but first Israel had to turn away from their apostasy and back to the God of their fathers. They also had to understand that Jesus was the Messiah, promised of old, Who would redeem them by grace through faith in Him: "You believe in God," He challenged them, "believe also in Me," for Jesus alone has the words of eternal life.
Israel in general and the rich young man in particular, thought that God would reward them for keeping the Law, but they had not learned that the Law was a schoolmaster to point them to Christ. God's perfect Law was impossible to keep, and was designed to show them that they needed a Saviour if they were ever to become righteous in God's eyes.
Being declared righteous in God's eyes is indeed an impossibility, for all men are sinners and the wages of sin is death. But what is impossible with man is possible with God, for He sent His only begotten Son to be the sacrificial offering for our sin. He paid the price of death for us so that all who believe on Him would not be condemned, but become inheritors of the kingdom of God. He swept away the impossible obstacles that separated fallen man from a holy God. All these things, though impossible for fallen man to DO, were all DONE by Christ.
Praise God that we gain salvation, union with God, and fellowship with our Heavenly Father, not by what we do, but faith in what Christ has DONE.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of salvation that You have offered us through faith in Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ. I am humbled by Your love and grace, and cannot comprehend how You could love me so much that You sent Your only begotten Son to die in my place. I am forever grateful for His sacrifice and thank You for the impossible being made possible. Help me to never take for granted the gift of salvation and to remember the great cost it took for fallen man to be made righteous in Your eyes. Increase my faith, and fill me with a longing to share the good news with others, that they too may be saved. Thank You for the privilege of being able to approach Your throne and to call You Father. I am ever grateful for all that You have done. In Jesus' name, AMEN.
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