A good man asks Jesus a good question: “What should I do to get eternal life?”
Pose that same question to many Christians — even pastors — today; what answer would you get? Anything remotely resembling Jesus’ answer?
“Sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Jesus connects salvation to two topics too rarely mentioned in church: doing justice and costly discipleship. Jesus was fearless when it came to telling rich, self-righteous people the truth.
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”
Tell seekers that getting eternal life is simply a matter of confessing their sin and accepting Jesus as Savior, and you can fill your barn — with goats. But Jesus warns us to count the cost of following him before we make the commitment. God requires his people to do justice. Jesus requires us to lay down our lives and serve others.
Tell seekers that getting eternal life is simply a matter of confessing their sin and accepting Jesus as Savior, and you know what they will hear from Jesus on Judgment Day?
I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me anything to drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me no clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.
God’s salvation is about freedom from our bondage and healing for our brokenness, about walking in God’s path and bringing his justice to the captive and the cripple, the prostitute and the felon, the welfare mother and the soccer mom, the drug dealer and the stock trader.
When people ask you what they should do to get eternal life, tell them the whole truth. Don’t just talk about confessing their sin and accepting Jesus. Tell them about doing justice and costly discipleship.
And while you’re at it, tell the others too — the ones who mistakenly believe they are going to heaven because no one was fearless enough to tell them the whole truth.