What Shall I Do to Inherit Eternal Life?

Luke tells us of a lawyer who put Jesus to the test saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25).  

Jesus replied, “What is written in the Law?  How do you read it?” (v26).  

The lawyer correctly responded, “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” (v27).  

Then, Jesus said, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live” (v28).

Some will point to this passage and say, “See?  We aren’t saved by grace alone through faith alone.  We must love God with everything in order to be saved.”  The problem with this is, “Who does that?”  Who loves God with all his heart, soul, strength, and mind?  Who loves his neighbor as himself?  “Well,” they might reply.  “Jesus is talking about trying to live that way.  He knows our hearts, and if He sees us doing everything we can do, He’ll do the rest.”  Is that what Jesus is saying here?  It seems pretty cut-and-dry: if you want to inherit eternal life, you have to love God with absolutely every ounce of your being and you have to love your neighbor as yourself.

This is a problem for you and me.   Jesus was putting this man to the test, who was trying to put Him to the test, and the lawyer came up short.  But he’s not alone in that.  If that is the standard for eternal life, every single one of us falls short.

Praise God that there is someone who loved the Lord His God with all His heart, soul, strength, and mind–none other than Jesus Himself.  And because He deserved eternal life by virtue of His perfect life, He was a worthy sacrifice.  Because of His faithfulness, the Father could justly transfer our sins onto Him and His righteousness onto all who would believe in Him.

You need Him.  If you haven’t yet trusted in Jesus, realize that you fall extremely short of God’s standard, and you are worthy of His wrath.  But because of His great love, the perfect Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for sinners like you and me.  Repent of your sins and believe in Him, and you will be saved.

If you are a Christian already, then, sheep, by His grace, let us continually strive to love the Lord our God with all our hearts and with all our souls and with all our strength and with all our minds, and to love our neighbors as ourselves–not to inherit eternal life, but because we are inheritors of eternal life and joy in Christ.

Today’s readings:

  • Psalm 16
  • Genesis 17
  • 1 Chronicles 17
  • Luke 10:25-42
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