The Bible tells the story of a rich young ruler who asks Jesus the question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
His use of the word inherit is interesting—and a bit confounding.
His question implies that salvation is inherited. Is this a misconception of the man posing the question? Surely we cannot inherit a right relationship with God from our parents or relatives. This is not a condition that is passed on to us, but one we need to seek and receive on our own.
The man’s use of the word inherit, however, does imply that eternal life is a gift given after the death of a benefactor and it can’t be earned. These conclusions are both true.
We do not earn our future life in heaven; it is given to us.
And, yes, someone had to die before we could receive this inheritance, but it’s not a relative; it’s Jesus.
Jesus died so we could have life. Thank you, Jesus!
Read more about other people in the New Testament in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.