From a human point of view, the young man’s answer was reasonable – but once the righteousness of God sheds light on the human condition, human righteousness is seen to be no more than a thin cover-up for mankind’s basic hostility toward God.
Jesus speaks lovingly to the man’s heart. The young man has replaced direct trust in God and it’s reward (treasure in heaven) with earthly riches – failing the 1st commandment. YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME. This does not mean that every disciple of Christ must all that he has; rather, the heart must be focused on God, and every possession yielded to God, with the result that possessions will be handled as a form of stewardship (responsible planning and management of possessions.) Although the man’s true state was laid bare he does not repent but walks away sorrowfully.
This young man was young and rich and had a good life, not needing anything and people probably looked up to him.
In spite of everything he was unsatisfied and his money left him feeling unfulfilled. Not even his clean living was able to satisfy the deepest longing of his soul, what he wanted the most – peace with God, a relationship with God. With all his wealth and power he did not know the answer to the greatest questions, he did not know the way to Heaven! He came to Jesus with thoughts of Heaven on his mind...
This young man, like people today, think that salvation is a reward for doing good things and living a clean life. They believe if they do good they will be saved ie get baptized, join a church, stop sinning, do good to others... Salvation is not a reward for faithful service-it is a free gift of God’s grace! Salvation through Jesus is not about “do” it is about “DONE”
TITUS 3:4-7 “ But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Soirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Salvation is only received through accepting through faith that Jesus died on the cross for us and rose again. It is not about what we can do but what He did.
No matter how we look at this, hell is a terrifying thought. Hell is a place where there is eternal torment, unbearable pain, in unquenchable flames. Hell is a place of eternal separation from everything that is beautiful that resides in this world, a separation from loved ones, music and love. Hell is a place of eternal separation from the presence of God. Hell is a place prepared for the devil and his angels (demons) and all those who reject Jesus as their Saviour will also go there for eternity. Hell would be the most terrifying and nightmarish place to spend for eternity.
Maybe there is one thing that could be close to hell.... and that would be going to hell with Heaven on your mind. You may think this cannot happen – yet the Bible gives us several examples of this. Consider the following people and their rejection of the Saviour:
Judas Iscariot: He kissed the gates of Heaven and went to hell Matt 26:47-50 Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus with a kiss
Acts 1:24-25 “And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, know the hearts of all,show which one of these two You have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place”
Felix: He looked into salvation, but he wanted to wait for a more convenient time. Acts 24:25 “And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgement, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.” (Here Paul proclaimed the gospel to him clearly and boldly.)
Herod Agrippa: He stepped up to the very door of Heaven and turned away Acts 26:28 “And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” Here Agrippa knew that Paul was pushing for a Christian commitment, but put him off saying it was too short a time to make such a decision.
Festus: He heard the claims of the gospel and called them the ravings of a mad man. Acts 26:24 “ And as he was saying these things in his defence, Festus said with a loud voice,”Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.”
Maybe every one of these men mentioned went to hell with Heaven on their minds....they had the opportunity of making the right decision.
Not many people will think about eternity. They are too busy living their lives, having fun, getting drunk, making money, living in sin that they have no time for thoughts of God, heaven or hell or what will happen when they die. Others think they will have eternal life because they do good to others, live a good life, go to church – but are you prepared if you should die unexpectedly?
The jailer had the same question for Paul and Silas in Acts 16. “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they answered him “ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
You have everything that makes your life complete, but do you have a spiritual peace with God? Everything may look good on the outside, but on the inside you are messed up. This is a terrible way to live , but an even more terrible way to die. Mark 8:36 “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”
The sad fact is that people don’t really seem to care. Should you care? DO you care?
Fact is, death is coming. Will you go to heaven or hell? Wherever you go will be determined by what you do with Jesus while you are still alive. Hebrews 9:27-28 “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgement, so Christ having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”
Jesus is inviting us to die within ourselves and to accept Him as our Saviour. To leave behind the things and sinful ways of this world and to have a relationship with Him. Are you willing to let go of worldly possessions and to have a relationship with God? Jesus is calling us to make a life time commitment and follow Him in Faith – are you willing to do that?
The rich young man came with Heaven on his mind, but chose to make an earthly decision. His money meant more to him than Jesus. Do your earthly ways of drunkenness, sinful behavior mean more to you than Jesus? Remember – Jesus will give the same choice as He did this young man. It may be alcohol, sexual pleasures, money, bad friends – these things are what you made gods of before putting your Heavenly Father first – are these things really worth more than your soul? Are you willing to walk away from the only hope you have – Jesus Christ?
Romans 5:8-9 “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God.”
Jesus will never turn us away, no matter how bad you think you are: John 6:37 “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to Me I will never cast out.
Are you willing right now to lay everything down before Him, what you own, your ways, your life? God may not expect you to sell everything, but He does expect you to give Him ownership of your life and possessions.
You may think you have everything that life has to offer – but if you don’t have Christ you are doomed for hell.
Are you satisfied to just think of eternal matters? Don’t go to hell with Heaven on your mind.
What do you plan to do with Jesus while you are alive? If Jesus stood here in person right now and asked you what your decision was – what would your answer be? “maybe tomorrow Lord, I don’t really have time right now,” “ my friends are waiting” or “Yes Lord I give you my all”