Confront, Not Compliment
August 23, 2021
Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments (Matthew 19:17).
In answering the man’s question , “. . . what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”, Jesus took him to the Mosaic Law. In essence Jesus said, “You want to believe yourself to be the model of a righteous life, then let’s see what the Bible says.” There is no one, absolutely no one, the Old Testament testifies as keeping the Mosaic Law perfectly - not even Moses himself!
In Romans 3:10-18 the Apostle Paul quoted Old Testament texts and strung them as pearls on a necklace when he wrote, As it is written, “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes (see Psalm 14:1-3; 4:9; 140:3; 10:7; Isaiah 59:7; Psalm 35:1).
What we see in this young man is what we see in most people today who come to the church or to religious leaders - they are looking for answers to their ‘felt needs’. They are not seeking an answer for their sinful depravity. They are not seeking how to have a right relationship with God. They are not seeking soul salvation. They are seeking salvation from a crisis, a circumstance, a problem at home, at work, at school, or with themselves.
Jesus did not seek to appease this young man’s itchy conscience. He did not compliment the man for his religious piety. He confronted him with Scripture. Like many of us who look at ourselves in our spiritual mirror, we see what we want to see, not what we need to see. We go to church. We read the Bible. We pray. We are good to our families and our neighbors. We are model citizens. What we don’t see is ourselves in light of the image of Jesus Christ. We don’t see ourselves in light of His Word.
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find . . . O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 7:14-18, 24)
“Lord Jesus, take me back to Your Word again and again and show me who I am in the flesh, in the world, in my own mind. Then break my spirit and set me free from myself that You might live through me. To my salvation and to Your glory I ask, Amen.”