And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Full context here.)
What must I DO to inherit eternal life?
This verse begins a recounting of a conversation in the life of Messiah. A conversation wherein Yeshua (Jesus) says what much of Christendom doesn’t want to hear. Let’s pay attention to the Rabbi.
Rabbi Yeshua replies,
“What is written in the Torah? How does it read to you?”
Recall what He said in Matthew 5:17-19…
Given the opportunity to say, ‘All ya gotta do is believe…’ and Yeshua does not. Rather, He points to the Torah! The lawyer replies, quoting Torah commands that sum up the whole of the Law,
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
Without hesitation, Yeshua answers,
“You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”
The lawyer asked, ‘What do I DO to inherit eternal life?
Paraphrasing, Yeshua answers, ‘DO the commandments and you will inherit eternal life.‘
[Yes, we are saved by grace through faith, but you better go read Ephesians 2:10 before quoting that as the knee-jerk ‘I don’t gotta do nothin’ verse. And, yes, Abraham believed in the Word of the Lord and it was credited to him as justification, but you better read Genesis 26:5 to see Abraham’s understanding of ‘faith.’ Now, back to the program…]
Yeshua says, ‘DO!’
Where the lawyer erred was in trying to justify himself resulting in the now famous ‘Good Samaritan Parable.’ Yeshua’s closing remark, related to mercy, is, “Go and DO the same.”
Now, some in Christendom seek to absolve themselves from Yehovah’s instructions on righteousness, so they focus on ‘mercy’ thinking they do not need to do the other requirements of the Torah (eat clean, celebrate the festivals, Sabbath, etc.). They quote the first half of a statement Yeshua makes elsewhere,
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. (Matthew 23:23)
They forget, or do not dig for the meaning of the bolded part of the verse.
Scripture is replete with references to actions speaking louder than words. From Genesis 3 and Chava’s (Eve’s) action reaching for the tree all the way to Revelation 22:14’s admonishment,
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Scripture’s testimony, encapsulated in this short exchange that Yeshua has with the lawyer, is that salvation may come by faith, but it is a working faith. A doing faith.
My father often quoted, ‘What you do speaks so loud I can hardly hear what you say.’
When you stand before the Judge, will your actions be testimony for or against your professed belief?
3 thoughts on “Jesus on ‘Works’ and ‘Eternal Life’”
Thank you Brother Pete. I love what YHWH is doing using you and others like you. “The path of the just is as ever increasing light.”
We are being prepared for the upcoming “worship battle”, by being “marked with His Name”.
A SWORD is against the Chaldeans…..
A SWORD is against the lairs…..
A SWORD is against Her mighty men…..
A SWORD is against their horses….
A SWORD is against Her treasures….
This addresses a critical discussion we had at Sukkot: what is salvation? The simple answer, as James and Paul and others tell us, is believe in Messiah Yeshua, and then do what He says. A “works-based” gospel leaves out the first part, or switches the order of those two components. A “hyper grace” gospel leaves out the second part. A confused and watered-down gospel tries to separate what Yeshua said from what His Father said through Moses.
So much for theological rhetoric. Let’s get to real human issues: what do we say to our church-going children, parents, relatives, and friends who see our Hebraic walk and say, “I was baptized and have been in church all my life. Are you saying I’m not saved because I eat shrimp and don’t keep Sabbath the way you do?”
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My response is generally, “What does Scripture say? It doesn’t matter what I say or think… Or what Calvin, Spurgeon, or ________ think. Let’s look at Scripture.”
Sadly, most don’t want to do that, but by their asking of the question they reveal that they know at least what the differences are and what they ought to be looking into!!
Isaiah 66: 15ff, in a passage of clear future prophecy, as you well know, address both of those issues. Pastor friends ignore that passage to their own peril.