Mark 10:17-19 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments:”

Whenever I have the opportunity to share the gospel, one of the first things I will ask the unbeliever, is this: “If you were to stand before God and if He were to ask you why should I let you into my heaven, what would you say?” Inadvertently, he will say, “Because I have been a good person, I have done a lot of good things for people, I try to live a good life”. These are some of the responses. The word good has been so misused that it has no value and so when we ask someone “How are things with your life?” his answer, “Good” doesn’t really tell us a lot.

Let us look at this rich young ruler. Obviously he is very wealthy and probably had lots of inheritance or may even be a hard working person who has accumulated all these wealth to earn this title of a rich young ruler. He had power, respect and wealth but there was one thing that escaped him and for that, he came forward to ask for the right way into heaven. He was very sincere in wanting to know how to have the assurance of salvation. He even knelt down before Jesus to find the truth. So when Jesus recited to him that he must not commit adultery, murder, steal, tell lies and honor his parents, the rich young ruler, in his own definition of “goodness” boasted that he had been doing all these things even as a youth.

This rich young ruler (like some who are super religious) thought he had followed the Ten Commandments to the fullest already and was good enough, perhaps hoping to hear Jesus say that he had qualified to get into heaven. He had even approached our Lord Jesus Christ with an overestimation of his own righteousness and underestimation of what Jesus considers good. Doesn’t this sound familiar? It is not uncommon to find self-righteous people who think that they are so good that only they will be good enough to enter heaven. This is why Jesus said there is no one who is good but God.

In spite of his misconception of goodness, Jesus still loved the young rich ruler and challenged him saying, “One thing you lack: Go your way sell whatever you have and give to the poor and you will have treasures in heaven; and come, take up the cross and follow Me.” But he was sad at this word and went away sorrowful for he had great possessions.” Mark 10:21-22. The young ruler’s unwillingness to part with his possessions and wealth only goes to show the god that he was worshipping, was his wealth and possessions and he was not willing to give it up. He worshipped the god of Mammon and not the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob! This was a violation of the first commandment which say that “You shall have no other gods before Me” Ex 20:3.

Jesus showed that the rich young ruler could not keep all the commandments all the time and that there was a serious disobedience issue in his heart to worship Mammon instead of God, which is really what he needed, to enter heaven. That was why he left the scene in such a sorrowful state.

People in the world would think about doing good so that they can earn enough brownie points to book a place in heaven or at least they will have sufficient credit to offset their debit. Doing good with an ulterior motive will not impress God. We must acknowledge that when we truly start to compare the life we live with what the Ten Commandments expects from us, we can straightaway conclude that we are not living a good life because we cannot measure up to God’s demands in the Ten Commandments. That is why we need the grace of God.