I’d like to share some very important truths from Christ’s encounter with the rich young ruler narrated in my previous blog post.
This historic meeting, described in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 19:16–30; Mark 10:17–31; Luke 18:18–30) shines a revelatory light on Salvation, Redemption and the critical relationship between the Law of God and the Grace of God.
Point of Fact: No one is INHERENTLY GOOD but God alone.
God creates good things and good people; yet these things and people are good BECAUSE GOD EXPRESSED HIS GOODNESS IN THEM. A good tree bears good fruit. GOD, the Fountainhead of all goodness can only create what is good. And the goodness that exists in the things and beings He creates glorify HIS Goodness, not theirs.
I may sound like I’m playing a semantics word game, but what I am attempting to communicate is absolutely, fundamentally and philosophically CRITICAL to a proper understanding of the relationship between God and what God creates.
“If God can only create what is good, how then does evil exist?”
It is unfortunate that there is not enough room in this blog entry to fully explore that question. What I will say is this: because God cannot bestow ALL of His understanding to a created being, that create being will always possess ignorance (darkness); therefore that created being will ALWAYS have to depend on God for guidance and direction for all Eternity. If for some reason that created being decides to explore existence OUTSIDE of the purpose for which it was created (Lucifer / the Devil / Satan), it has done “evil.”
Point of Fact: TO DO EVIL IS TO BE EVIL.
Point of Fact: Obedience ALWAYS leads to Eternal Life…AS LONG AS THAT OBEDIENCE IS NEVER BROKEN!
This is the insight that sinners–both good and evil–fail to grasp because sin is such a deeply-seated component of their reality. Adam and Eve were perfectly obedient from the day they were created UNTIL THEY DISOBEYED. Having tasted Disobedience (SPIRITUAL DEATH), simply going back to being Obedient would simply not do.
Once a person physically dies, it is impossible to interact with them as if they were alive. It’s only a matter of time before they decompose into dust.
In the same way once a person is SPIRITUALLY DEAD (and we were all born that way), though they may still function intellectually, emotionally and physically, that doesn’t atone for the fact that they are DEAD TO GOD and therefore must be disposed of…THEY ARE OF NO MORE USE TO GOD, THEMSELVES OR ANYONE ELSE.
Feel free to stop reading and STEW on this truth for a while.
Your species was created to FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD, but can no longer do so. Short of a MIRACLE (Salvation/Redemption through Jesus Christ), there is no good reason (as far as God is concerned) why you should continue to exist.
There is a place deep inside our spirit where we know this…the symptoms are constantly manifesting themselves: anxiety, depression, meaninglessness, fear, boredom, hedonism, existentialism, strife, envy, covetousness, homicidal and suicidal tendencies, psychopathology, sociopathology, etc.
Point of Fact: Good works are no substitute for True Spiritual Life, which ONLY comes from the One True God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Everybody loves good works–especially when they are on the receiving end. We have built an endless string of monuments and statues to those who throughout history have devoted themselves to good works: Ashoka, Buddha, Zarathustra, Rumi, Gandhi, MLK, Mother Teresa, etc.
The truth remains, however, that good works WITHOUT SPIRITUAL LIFE, are dead works performed by spiritually dead people. This is why I have stated over and over in my blog that THE ONLY RIGHTEOUSNESS GOD CAN ACCEPT IS THAT OF HIS ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON JESUS CHRIST.
Jesus Christ is the FIRST HUMAN SINCE ADAM who was BORN SPIRITUALLY ALIVE because He was born of the HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD.
By submitting myself to the Authority and Lordship of Jesus Christ I CAN CLAIM CHRIST’S RIGHTEOUSNESS AS MY OWN AND BE ACCEPTED BY GOD JUST AS CHRIST IS ACCEPTED (and Christ has mucho carte blanc with God…His relationship with The Father is UNCONDITIONALLY PERFECT).
This is not only good news, it’s MIND-BLOWING.
Point of Fact: Salvation is itself no less a miracle than physically raising the dead!
People mistakenly liken the church to a hospital: Biblically this metaphor falls short. The church is more like…a CHURCH; surrounded by a huge planet of zombies. In this scenario, however, YOU CANNOT VISUALLY DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THOSE WHO ARE ZOMBIES AND THOSE WHO ARE SPIRITUALLY ALIVE. Everyone at first glance LOOKS alive and you will no doubt find both in the institutional church(es).
To be “Saved” is to have your spirit RECONNECTED to the Holy Spirit of God by Faith in His Only-Begotten Son Jesus Christ, Who is the Only Human to possess in His Being ALL THE FULLNESS OF THE ENTIRE GODHEAD.
At the end of Christ’s encounter with the rich young ruler His exasperated disciples ask what may be the most important question in existence:
“WHO CAN BE SAVED?”
Jesus’ reply says it all:
“With men it is impossible…but with God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!”
Dear Reader, come to Christ and taste for yourself the Impossible…rest assured: you will lose your appetite for anything less!