What Must I Do?

Luke 18:17-18

“‘Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’ And a ruler asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?'”

Receive the kingdom of God

Receiving the kingdom of God is a matter of faith. In the same way a child unreservedly, without prejudice, without pride, ambition, and vanity (John Gill) receives what is promised to him, so ought those who desire eternity receive the kingdom. Jesus promised, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom;” Luke 12:32. As a child resting in the secure care of his parents are those who receive the promise of God’s kingdom.

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is the absolute assurance of an expectation, the conviction concerning something unseen. Faith is the response of one who receives a promise and believes it, trusting in the character of the one who made he promise. Like a child unreservedly trusting in her parents, we receive God’s kingdom.

  • 1 Peter 1:8-9 “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
  • 2 Corinthians 4:18 “We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. For we know [have assurance] that if the tent, which is our earthly home, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

What must I do

I doubt it is a coincidence that the ruler’s question is so closely recorded after Jesus’ words about child-like faith. Jesus just finished saying, “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” The ruler subsequently asks, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” It’s just like us adults to be thick-headed and clueless.

Jesus said in the negative tense, Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” So, we can obviously accurately assume the positive form is true: “Whoever does receive the kingdom of God like a child shall enter it.”

What must I do to inherit eternal life? What must I do to live forever in God’s kingdom? You must receive Him–the King–in the same simplistic dependency as a child.

By receiving Jesus Christ, you receive life and are made to be fit for heaven.

  • John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
  • John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
  • John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
  • John 6:40 “This is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
There’s nothing you can do but believe

The ruler addressed Jesus as good when he inquired about the kingdom. Jesus responded, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” He then proceeded to tell him that the way to inherit eternal life was through absolute perfection. But no one is good. No one but God. So, in essence, what Jesus was saying was, “There is nothing you can do; only God can.”

Luke 18:27; “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”

It is impossible for man to maintain the required perfection to enter heaven. “Then who can be saved?” (18:26). Anyone who believes in the Lord–anyone who receives Christ and His kingdom through faith.

  • Galatians 2:16 “We know that a person is not justified by works of the law [by maintaining a self attained righteousness] but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”
  • Romans 3:21-25 “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.”

No one but God is good. If you receive Him, you will be given His righteousness and made fit for the kingdom and an heir of eternal life.

What must you do? Believe.


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