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The people who Jesus met when He walked the earth two centuries ago were very much like most folks in the 21st Century. They thought that they could buy their salvation. But, let me tell you something, if salvation were for sale, I would have bought it back when I was a rock singer who had more money than he could spend!
The people who Jesus met when He walked the earth two centuries ago were very much like most folks in the 21st Century. They thought that they could buy their salvation. But, let me tell you something, if salvation were for sale, I would have bought it back when I was a rock singer who had more money than he could spend!

I'd have paid the price for a first class ticket to Heaven, not only for myself, but for my family and friends too. No waiting, no standing in line, with the kind of money I had to shell out, I'd have bought straight access to the Throne!

That may sound funny to you, but a lot of people today think about Heaven sort of like that. Sure, most people know that they can't buy eternal life with money. But a whole lot of people think they can buy it with good deeds alone! They have no concept of actually forming a relationship with God. They figure that since their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds, when their dying day comes, they'll make it to Heaven.

Why do so many think this way? Because religion has preached it for centuries! Even though Jesus came to the earth for the express reason of dying for mankind's sins and making righteousness available through His shed blood, people still preach that it's good deeds that get you into Heaven.

This kind of mindset was exactly what a certain young man had when he approached Jesus about obtaining eternal life. As an Old Testament Jew, he had been schooled in the Law and was diligent in obeying God's commandments. What he didn't have a concept of was the heart issue. He didn't know what it meant to love God enough that you would give up everything you knew and everything you loved just to serve Him.

Now, let's read this familiar scripture and see just what Jesus had to say when this man questioned Him about eternal life:
And, behold, one came and said unto him, 'Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?' And he said unto him, 'Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.' He 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, Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.' The young man saith unto him, 'All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?' Jesus said unto him, 'If thou wilt be perfect, 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. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, 'Verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.'

When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, 'Who then can be saved?' But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, 'With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.' Then answered Peter and said unto him, 'Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?'

And Jesus said unto them, 'Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.' (Matthew19:16-30)
Understanding the Heart Issue
Notice that the young man asked Jesus, "What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?" When Jesus told him to keep the commandments, he basically said, "There are ten. I've done them. Now, what do I do?" He was pushing Jesus to give him something more; to tell him something that he could do to ensure that he would make Heaven his home.

So Jesus gave him something more; he challenged him with one serious deed. But it wasn't exactly what the rich young ruler wanted to hear. In fact, the deed Jesus told him to do was so hard that the young man didn't even answer. He didn't say a word! Instead, the Bible records that the man "went away sorrowful."

You see, he was fooling himself by pressing Jesus for more deeds to obey in order to earn access into Heaven. And Jesus called him on the carpet about it. What Jesus was saying was, "So, you want to go further with this thing? You want to do more? Well, if you want to know what you really have to do to enter Heaven, I'll tell you - you can check your heart out and find out where your treasure is. What is your source? Where is your security? Is it in your money? Or is it in God. You make the choice." That's my paraphrase, but I believe it's correct.

You see, the rich young ruler was willing to sacrifice and do a great many things for the sake of earning salvation. But, what he wasn't willing to do was the one thing that would ensure his place in Heaven - to give his whole heart to God. His love for his material possessions was greater than his love for God.

When Money Has You, God Doesn't
If you can't trust God with your possessions, how can you trust Him with your eternal soul? Nobody can buy eternal life. John 3:16 says it best, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Doing everything that the church or religious world says to do may make you feel good, and it may be good, but it won't assure you a place in Heaven.

The Bible says you have to believe with your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus rose from the dead, and you will be saved. In other words, what gets you into Heaven is your heart and your mouth. It matters more than all the good deeds in the world. Salvation is never tied to anything. It isn't tied to money. God wants you to be financially blessed but when money has you, God doesn't. It's that simple.

Jesus told His disciples that it was hard for a rich man to enter Heaven. Why? Because riches have a way of making people feel secure. The world conditions us to believe that having money is equal to having security and freedom. But God is our only real security and there is no real freedom without Jesus! Let me tell you something, money has wings on it! It can fly away as fast as it came. And how many people who have money actually feel free? Freedom can't be bought. And it's a lie that money equals security.

Don't Just Do Good, Be Good!
Doing good deeds alone won't get you to Heaven. But, after you receive salvation the only way it can be received - by faith - good deeds become an outward display of your faith. Salvation comes by faith. It's a heart issue. But faith without works is dead! In other words, after your heart is right you need to do something about it! The best way to get the light of the Gospel out to others is to allow it to shine through you. The presence of Jesus in your life changes your heart. So, instead of just doing good, you start being good! In other words, keep working on yourself!

Don't just get saved, start helping out the church and then forget about working on yourself. Read the Word. Spend time with God. Check your heart every day so that you can remain free! Remember, every day is another 24-hour opportunity to work things out! It is a lot better to do good deeds when your heart is in the right place than it is to go through the motions. You get more benefit and so does the person you're helping out.

Don't Reduce Your Life To A Transaction
Some people read the rich young ruler's story and think they have to give away all their money to be holy. Wait a minute! Did the Lord tell you to do it? Holiness does not come by way of poverty. It comes by way of Jesus' blood. If you give everything away in an effort to bargain your way into God's good graces, you're off track. If He didn't tell you to do it, don't worry about it.

There is nothing you can do to get inside God's good graces except accept His Son as your personal Lord and Savior. There is no need to reduce your life to a transaction. You don't have to earn salvation. It's free! Instead of just receiving what Jesus said, Peter tried to bargain. That reduced his life to a transaction. But the best con artist in the world can't put a con on God. It just won't work.

Someone said, "Boy, I just told God about my sin." "That's not when He found out about it," I said. "He knew about that sin before you ever thought of it. This is just the first time you've come clean with Him about it." The same thing is true about the motive of your heart. God knows your true motive, so there's no use pretending that the good deeds you're doing are for His glory.

Actually, the rich ruler was a Pharisee, who belonged to the class of, "Tell me something more, and I will do it." He was trying to earn his way to Heaven through works. If the Word of God had really been planted in his heart, giving would have been the fruit of his life. It's time we find out what it means to be a real Christian and recognize that eternal life is not for sale. God's love cannot be bought, bargained for or traded in.

Therefore, if you are willing to make getting to Heaven a heart issue and give Jesus your all, eternal life is free to those who will call upon His Son's name.

Jesse Duplantis Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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