What should I do to inherit Eternal Life? This is a question that we all encounter at times during our spiritual journey on earth. Sometimes an unbeliever throws this question at us or it can even be from a normal believer in Christ. But how do you answer this question?
Even Lord Jesus encountered this question at times and what we see in the verses below is one such occasion.
16And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17And 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.
18He 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, 19Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.( Matthew 19, 16-19)
As you see, one of the young rulers; an Israelite, approached Jesus and asked Him this question. Of course, Lord Jesus is the right person to answer this question since He is the author of Eternal life; in fact, Jesus is Eternal Life in flesh; so, His answer should certainly be the most accurate one.
20We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5, 20)
So, what was the answer that Lord Jesus gave this young man? Well, the answer might surprise many of you.
Yes, if you want to enter into Eternal Life – keep the Commandments; yes; this was the perfect answer that Christ gave this rich young Ruler.
Saints; this answer might sound a bit unusual for most of you; because this may not be the answer that you will normally hear from the preachers who belong to the mainstream Protestant churches.
According to many of these Preachers – you need only one thing to Enter into Eternal Life – That is Faith in Christ. They say Salvation is by Grace alone and Faith Alone; The “obedience” part they deliberately leave out.
They teach – no matter how you live, no matter how carnal you are; you will still go to heaven as long as you have faith in Christ; but is it true? Is this what the Word of God says?
See, according to the Word of God – we are saved by Grace through Faith in order to live in obedience to God’s Commandments. Christ gives eternal life only to those who live in obedience to His Word. Those who are rebellious and unholy will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Read the verse below.
Yes, Christ is the source of Eternal Salvation for all who obey Him; not for all who disobey Him. Therefore, obedience to God’s Commandments is an integral part of our walk with Christ. Unfortunately, this is not what the mainstream Protestant Christianity teaches.
According to the mainstream Protestant Preachers – keeping the Commandments to gain Eternal Life constitutes to gaining salvation through works and this is prohibited in the mainstream Protestant Christianity.
But, Lord Jesus, the Author and finisher of our faith, says just the opposite of what these Protestant Preachers preach. He says – Keep the Commandments if you want to enter into life.
So, here, the next question that we need to answer is: Why did Lord Jesus link Eternal Life with keeping the Ten Commandments?
It is because obedience is the bridge that connects man and God. Wilfully disobeying God’s Commandments turn man into an unholy being. In other words; through disobedience he becomes a sinner who cannot enter the presence of God Almighty.
According to the Word of God; sin is nothing but the transgression of the Law or the Ten Commandments.
Yes, sin is the transgression of the Law or the Ten Commandments. As you know; man lost his eternal holiness and glory through disobedience; through sinning. Therefore, if you walk in wilful disobedience to God’s Commandments; you will not be allowed into heaven.
Here; you might wonder why the Ten Commandments are so important:
yes, they are important because they are the core or the most vital part of both the Covenants (Old and New) that God Almighty made with the Israelites.
In fact; another name for Ten Commandments is – “The Covenant.”
We entered into a covenant with God Almighty by professing our faith in Christ. By Confessing our faith in Christ, we have promised God that we will live in obedience to His Commandments and in return God has promised that – He will be our God as long as we walk in obedience to His Commandments.
So; the Ten Commandments are at the core of our relationship with God. Living in disobedience will definitely nullify the Covenant that was made between man and God.
Here; another important point that we need to bear in mind is – both the Old and the New Covenants were only between God Almighty and the Israelites.
Here, you might ask; then, how did the gentiles were brought under the New Covenant?
The gentiles were brought under the New Covenant through their faith in Christ. In other words; the gentile believers are added into God’s Israel when they profess their faith in Christ; or when they accept Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
11Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)—
12remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2, 11 – 13)
Again, in Romans Apostle Paul says: Gentiles, the wild Olive branches, – have been grafted into the good Olive tree which is the nation of Israel.
17If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. (Romans 11, 17-18)
So, as I mentioned earlier the Ten Commandments are at the heart of both the Covenants and when we profess our faith in Christ, we are entering into a covenant with God Almighty through the Blood of Christ and we declare that – We will obey the terms of the Covenant – The Ten Commandments.
The terms are the same under both the Covenants. That is: Obey my Commandments and I will be your God and you will be my people.
Meanwhile there are a few differences between these two Covenants: The Old Covenant was executed through Moses and in the blood of the animals that were sacrificed at the time of execution; while the New Covenant was established through Christ in His Own Holy Blood.
Under the Old Covenant the Ten Commandments were written on Stone Tablets while Under the New Covenant the Ten Commandments are written in the hearts of the believers; that means no way to forget them.
As some claim they were not nailed to the cross – instead, from the two stone tablets they moved into the hearts of the New Covenant believers.
Under the Old Covenant a temporary forgiveness of sins was available through a system of animal sacrifices while under the New Covenant forgiveness of sins is available through the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross at Calvary.
So, these are some of the differences between the Two Covenants. But the terms of the Covenants stay the same; that is obeying the Ten Commandments.
Well, by now you might have clearly understood the important role that Ten Commandments play in our relationship with God Almighty and how disobeying them disqualify us from entering our heavenly home.
Saints; For Christ; he cares only about one thing that is – Obedience; nothing but unconditional obedience. That is why He says: Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.
Yes, the one who obeys the Commandments is the one who loves Christ. Here we see Lord Jesus is linking love to obedience. Loving Him means obeying His Commandments. In other words; our obedience to His Commandments manifests our love for Him.
Well, now you have a very clear understanding about the reason why Christ linked Eternal life to keeping the Commandments.
Next, let us look at a few more verses that talk about the importance of obedience.
Right; these are some of the verses that affirm the importance of obeying God’s Commandments and those who disobey them, in fact, neither love God nor know Him.
Many think their Sunday rituals will automatically give them a free entry into heaven. But Apostle John says: no one who continues to sin or wilfully keep breaking the commandments has either seen Him or Known Him.
Well, by now you might be wondering – if Keeping the Commandments is what takes us into Heaven; then, what is the significance of – “Salvation by Grace through Faith.”
How does it fit into this narrative of – “Keeping the Commandments to gain Eternal Life”?
Well, that is what we are going to discuss next.
All have Sinned and Fallen short of the Glory of God.
Yes, all have sinned, and fallen short of the Glory of God. No one is righteous; not even one – this is how the Word of God describes the state of mankind.
9What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;
The above verses very clearly depict the pathetic state of an unsaved sinner. Saints; we, believers in Christ, were in this state before receiving salvation through our faith in Christ.
From the birth itself we were sinners condemned to eternal damnation; there was no way for us to get back into that holy relationship with God which we had originally.
But by the grace of God, we were saved and brought back into the Kingdom of God. As the Word of God says: Salvation is a gift from God and we received it not because of our righteousness but because of God’s mercy.
24and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, i through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished ( Romans 3, 24-25)
Remember, it is our disobedience and rebellion that separated us from God and the obedience of Christ brought us back into God’s Kingdom. God provided us with a way, through the Blood of Christ shed on the cross, to receive mercy and forgiveness.
But once we are declared righteous; then, what is next?
Should we return to our old sinful lifestyle; our old life of disobedience?
Did not God call us to lead holy and righteous lives in Christ? How do we stay holy without keeping God’s Commandments?
How do we keep the Terms of the New Covenant without obeying God?
Does Salvation by Grace through Faith grant us the right to rebel against God’s Commandments?
Well, you might have clearly understood the key point that I am trying to put forward here. That is – God, through His only Begotten Son, saved us from our former life of disobedience in order to live in obedience to His Commandments. He called us into a life of obedience. Therefore; we are bound to keep all of His Ten Commandments.
The greatest commandment in the Law says:
But, how do you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind without obeying Him?
As born-again believers in Christ; we are not keeping the Commandments of God in order to get saved but rather we are keeping it because we have been saved and brought into the kingdom of God.
Once we are in the Kingdom of God; we do not have any right whatsoever to disobey God’s Commandments wilfully. In fact, those who choose to disobey will receive just punishment if they don’t repent and turn away from their disobedience.
Unfortunately; this truth is often ignored by the mainstream Protestant Preachers. They say – salvation is only by Grace through Faith – but often keep quiet about the next stage after being saved.
The truth is – They wilfully ignore the obedience part of Faith as they don’t want to burden their newly converted members with new demands. Consequently, we see people being saved but not changed. Many of them never relinquish anything that belong to their old sinful self.
Those who watch Hollywood movies, still continue to consume all that filth coming from Hollywood. Those who worship celebrities continue to worship celebrities; those who are greedy for money continue to be greedy for money. Those who dress sensually continue to dress sensually and those who are sexually immoral continue to be immoral, sadly nothing changes and still they are counted among the sheep.
Saints; if you think these preachers are correct about their teachings, then, I challenge you to live in disobedience to God’s Commandments and see whether you will enter into heaven or not.
As the Word of God says – once we are saved and brought into the Kingdom of God, we need to live in obedience to God’s Commandments. This is an eternal truth and Jesus unequivocally affirms this truth in his answer to the Rich, Young Ruler.
Yes, if you want to enter life; keep the Commandments. That’s it; nothing else.
Well, now you might be a bit confused and even thinking – if this is the case then, who could enter into Eternal Life by Keeping the Commandments? Because, we all break the Commandments periodically.
Yes, I do agree with your contention. We are all fallen human beings with a fallen nature wrestling within us to rule over our flesh. Therefore, definitely there is a very high propensity for us to fall into sin or break the Commandments.
But the good news is – Lord Jesus himself has provided us with a way out; a solution. That is – whenever we fall into sin intentionally or unintentionally; repent and turn away from it.
Ask Jesus to forgive us and He will freely pardon us, because His blood has the power to cleanse us from every act of unrighteousness.
Remember; when you were saved; all the sins that you committed until then, had been washed away by the Blood of Christ and He made you righteous in the eyes of His heavenly Father.
But, since, as I said earlier, you live in a fallen world occasionally you might do things that are not pleasing to God. However, because you are a child of God; you have the right to go before the Throne of Grace in Heaven and ask your Heavenly Father for forgiveness.
Also please remember, you have a mediator, Christ Jesus, sitting at the right hand of God Almighty who is interceding on behalf of you day and night.
Saints this is the beauty of the New Covenant. When you sin, you don’t need to go through any earthly mediators in order to get your sins atoned for. As a child of God, you have direct access to the Throne of Grace.
However, please be reminded – after you have been saved by Grace through faith, if you still continue to live in wilful disobedience; then, the story is different. This is the warning that Apostle Paul gives for such believers.
26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
29How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
30For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” d and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” e 31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. ( Hebrews 10, 26-31)
Saints; as I mentioned earlier; Salvation by Grace through Faith does not exempt you from living in disobedience to God’s Holy Laws. As you know; Abraham was justified by faith and he is also considered as the father of all who are being justified by faith.
However, even though Abraham received God’s righteousness through faith; it still did not exempt him from keeping God’s Commandments. After he was saved by faith; he still continued to keep all the Commandments of God Almighty. The following verses prove this point.
4I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring a all nations on earth will be blessed, b 5because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.” (Genesis 26, 4-5)
If Abraham, the father of faith, was not exempted from keeping God’s Commandments, then, how can we be exempted from keeping them?
Therefore, the attitude of mainstream Protestant Preachers ignoring the importance of Obedience while magnifying the importance of Salvation by Grace through Faith is utterly unbiblical and it will only lead people into a deliberate sinful lifestyle instead of keeping them away from sin.
As a matter of fact, this Hyper Grace teaching that we find among many of the mainstream liberal Evangelical Preachers have done a great deal of damage to the Kingdom of God.
Their teachings have created a kind of believers who love the world and God at the same time. These preachers never demand their sheep to be holy or obedient. Instead, they preach a feel-good Gospel that never convicts anybody of their sinful lifestyle but rather make them feel comfortable in their sins.
So, to sum up – we, as believers in Christ, are called to live a life that is Holy and blameless in God’s sight and ignoring the Commandments will not help us in any way to fulfil this calling.