The Rich Young Ruler

Q. Thank you so much for your labor in answering the questions that come your way. Your website is my daily friend and teacher. Here’s my question….in the story of the rich young ruler why does Jesus’ answer to the question “What must I do to be saved?” seem to be works-based and not belief-based as in JOHN 6:21? There seems to be a conflict here that is hard to understand.

A. Requiring the rich young ruler to keep the commandments as well as follow Him is a direct contradiction to numerous other teachings in the New Testament including some given by the Lord himself (John 3:16, 6:28-29, etc.). Our salvation is based solely on our belief that Jesus died for our sins

The point of the rich young ruler’s story is not about keeping commandments. Notice the commandments Jesus mentioned. The first four, the ones that have to do with loving God, are missing, so they are not the issue here. The ones Jesus mentioned all have to do with loving one another. If the young man was really keeping those commandments, He would have already been sharing his wealth with the poor and would not have been discouraged at being told to do so. This was the one thing he lacked. His love for his wealth was an obstacle preventing him from following Jesus and inheriting eternal life.

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