Our greatest hope is eternal salvation after earthly death. So, what must I do to be saved and have this hope?
These are the same words of a Gentile unbelieving pagan Philippian jailer after experiencing the power of God, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.” Acts 16: 29-32. This man listened and learned the good news that it is Yeshua Jesus who saves and what HE did to save us….and he believed and was baptized….immersed in his new faith by public confession and display.
In Matthew 19, we find a rich young ruler came to Yeshua Jesus with that same question. His question was founded on the idea that his doing good could save him. So, Jesus first asked the young man, why do you call me “good” and stated that no one is good but God! Jesus was already pointing to God outside of what the man could do. Knowing the man’s intent, Jesus instructed Him to keep the commandments. Now, we all know that no one can be perfect in keeping all the commandments. Had that been possible, then Jesus would not have had to die for us. But, this young man seems to think he can pick and choose which commandments to obey and still be saved. He asks, “which ones”?
Obviously, this young man did not get the point concerning his relationship with God, so Jesus bypassed the first God relationship commandments of “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And have no other idols before Him. ” So, he names the commandments dealing with being good to other people. This young man actually thinks he has been keeping all those commandments since his youth! He is deceived and is not seeing clearly!
Yeshua Jesus saw that riches, religion, and pride ruled in this rich young ruler’s heart. Jesus tells him that if he wants to do a perfect good deed, he should sell all he has and give to the poor and follow Jesus. The young man cannot bear this requirement and turns away. Humanism goes way back….thinking I can do good deeds so I can save myself….and in this way help others while I succeed in gaining recognition and wealth for myself……and be seen as “good”.
This young man could not give all to follow Jesus and become a servant of God. H would have been willing to do good deeds. But it is not the doing of good deeds, rather the giving of our life and all we have to God that saves us. He wants love relationship, not sacrifices. Our works cannot save us. He is the Savior. Jesus always has given all of Himself to His Father and He gave Himself for us. He gave Himself that we might become One in Him with the Father. Now, any good works we do will be done with Him and be the fruit of our unity with Him. Doing good works is not going to earn our way to eternal heaven. When we are united with Yeshua Jesus, our eternal hope is secure, and our good works are the result of fruit of the Holy Spirit who now lives in us.
Ephesians 2: 8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”