A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” But Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not give false testimony, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said, “All these things I have kept since my youth.” Now when Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely wealthy. And Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! For 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!” Those who heard Him said, “And so who can be saved?” But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.”
Peter said, “Behold, we have left our own homes and followed You.” And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house, or wife, or brothers, or parents, or children for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time, and in the age to come, eternal life.”

Luke 18:18-30

“Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.”

When Jesus countered this ruler by stating “no one is good except God”, he was really putting this man on the spot, knowing his heart and his intentions. Wanting to be justified, this rich man was seeking some rules he could easily follow to become good himself, and be absolved of the requirement to do good for others by giving up his riches.

That is the real distinction. We know that we must act on our faith, or else it is dead (James 2) and that Jesus blessed those who were in hard times and situations in this world because it led to spiritual blessings (Matthew 5). No matter the difficulty of our circumstances, Jesus let his followers know that they were on the right track for eternal rewards.

In order to grab onto goodness or righteousness, we have to do those things that good and righteous people would do, knowing that righteousness and goodness actually comes from God.

“No one is good except God alone” but God’s people do good all together.

Ethan Kirl

Originally Published February 9, 2021