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 through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Luke 16-18 and today’s post is on Luke 18:18.]
Read about more biblical characters 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.
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One reply on “Inherit Eternal Life”
Thanks to Jesus, the Rich Ruler did inherit Eternal Life. Colonial attitudes as well as sexist attitudes then and now keep many rich rulers from realizing this inheritance of Eternal Life.
I like Mark’s Gospel version better. After the Rich [Person] runs up to Jesus and says “Good Teacher” how may I inherit Eternal Life, Jesus says…why do you call me Good…NO ONE IS GOOD EXCEPT [the Triune] GOD alone. You know the commandments do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal…honour your Mother and your father! Teacher, SHE DECLARED all these I have kept since I was a [child].
Jesus looked at [her] and loved [her].
And then he told her to sell all that she possessed and come and follow him. She could not and so she went away her own person–a Lady of Sorrows!
The passage in Mark follows Jesus’ teaching on Divorce and the passage about how one needs to think like a little child in order to enter the kingdom of God.
Think about that. Little children honour their Mommy and Daddy and they want to grow up to honour them in all that they do. They suffer and go hungry when Daddy thinks like men instead of God and cannot get behind Mommy and love, honour and cherish her (Matthew 16:23).
Colonial attitudes keep the Mother, the Lady of the Gospel sorrowful and in tears. Christians insist Jesus was a feminist and was the saviour of women…yet for 2000 years, women, coloured people, and Indigenous people have been colonized, enslaved and relegated to church basements or underground movements–stripped of their rich robes, lands, and titles. Women and Indigenous people all over the world are waking up…Like Lazarus…they have had enough. They are tired of living in squalid, stinking conditions. They are tired of not being able to possess and control their own bodies and their own property. They want the freedom and the right to develop and buy or sell their own rich, fragrant land, abundant with oil, cedar and lime trees. They want to claim their inheritance and are choosing life.