For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. James 2:10
And, behold, one (rich young ruler) came and said unto him (Jesus), Good Master, what good thing (righteous deed) shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he (Jesus) said unto him, why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God:
(Two things from Christ: Are you calling me God? Are you calling yourself a sinner?)
Jesus continues, but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He (the rich young ruler) saith unto him, which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
(As we learned in an earlier article, the Law is God’s standard to show us that we fall short, that we are all, at best, sinners alienated from God by our sin.)
The young man saith unto him, all these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? (The young ruler was not being honest with himself or with the Lord).
Jesus said unto him, if thou wilt be perfect (the Law demands perfection, so if you are going to achieve eternal life by your righteous deeds, do this…), go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Matthew 19:16-22 and Luke 18:9-14
Jesus was looking for a humble admission from the rich young ruler that he could not keep the law and therefore needed God’s mercy. but the rich young ruler held fast to his own merit.
And he (Jesus) spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others.
Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I (Jesus) tell you, this man (the publican) went down to his house justified (acquitted) rather than the other: Luke 18:9-14a
Note: The Pharisees believed in the resurrection, but they elevated tradition and ceremony to a level which overshadowed the Scripture, and promoted their self-righteousness. Jesus challenged them at every opportunity and condemned them for their hypocrisy.
The publican was a hated and despised tax collector who worked for the Roman government and was considered a traitor by his fellow countrymen.
…let the word of Christ dwell (take up its life) in you richly…