Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Corinthians 11, Psalm 139, Job 5-6
25 And a [a]lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? [b]How does it read to you?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” 29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Why is it that we are always looking for a loophole?
We want the easy way, the quick way, the way that causes the least amount of effort on our part. We know this is true as a society because if you are ever watching tv late at night there are so many infomercials that showcase the many ways to solve our never ending first world problems.
Today's passage shows a lawyer searching for the easy way. He had the directions, he knew the way, but he wanted to know if their was an easy way out. Don't we all?
MacArthur's thoughts on this short passage are explored in these 3 messages (Part 1) and (Part 2) and (Part 3)
He begins his thoughts on these verses by suggesting:
The lawyer asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" and Jesus answered his question with a question. I think sometimes when we ask a question, we might already know the answer we just want to hear it to see if there is possibly a different answer.
This might be a stretch but it made me think about the process we've been going through in our renovation. We've been working on our basement for the last 20 months. Over that time, we have had to move and organize all of our basement possessions. I asked myself the question, "what must I do to have an uncluttered basement?" I looked on pinterest for organization ideas and I've searched up storage solutions. I asked the question but really...I already knew the answer and it was a tough one...I needed to get rid of my stuff. You can't organize clutter. I needed to get rid of the old university texts I will never use again, the clothes that didn't fit, accept the fact that it was time to donate the toys that are no longer being played with, and the desk we didn't need. It was tough to realize but the solution was clear. When the lawyer asked "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" he already knew what he had to do, just like I did.
MacArthur explains the problem with today's culture and the very belief in eternal life:
MacArthur says there is a need to explain this reality:
There is a hell and your sin is going to send you there. And there is a heaven, but you can't qualify on your own because you are under a curse for violating the Law of God. You say, "Well maybe I never killed anybody or etc., etc., etc." Oh, but you didn't love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength all the time and your neighbor as yourself all the time, did you? That's it, you're cursed because, "Cursed is everyone who doesn't abide by all things written in the book of the Law, and all things written in the book of the Law are summed up in the great first and second commandment."
We can't do it on our own. We can try but we will fail. Even with my clutter busting motivation in our basement, I can't get rid of everything. I can't. My house will never look picture perfect in every area. The storage room will look like a disaster and somethings will just be too hard to let go of right now. My motivation for eternal life in Heaven is there too but I can't get rid of all the sin in my life. I can't. My life will never be picture perfect in every area. My heart will be in a constant state of disaster without God's grace and mercy and with His help, I can let go of the things He wants me to.
MacArthur concludes part 3 with this:
You know what's startling to me is that he jumped across the loving God part completely, he just leapfrogged that. Did his little inventory, well, got nothing to talk about loving God, since that's clear. I certainly do that. That was sort of easy for him to escape because that's something he couldn't see, but how you treat other people is visible. He just does not admit that he doesn't love God perfectly.
What keeps people from being saved? I've said this so many times in so many passages, what keeps people from being saved when they understand the gospel is the issue of whether or not they will admit their wretchedness. Please, folks, it's not about whether people want a better marriage, a better life, a better this, a better that, happier things here, da-da-da. What it's about is eternal life and it is about accepting the indictment of Scripture that you are headed for eternal hell because you do not love God and love others perfectly, which demonstrates that you are a sinner and that violates the perfect Law of God. You can't keep it, you better cry for mercy. And if you're going to try to sustain your own sense of self-righteousness, you cut yourself off from salvation...that's the issue.
We want it easy. We want faster. We want something that won't disrupt our lives. When Jesus asked the lawyer what the law said and the lawyer responded, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” he wasn't happy when Jesus told him that his answer was correct. He wanted it to be easier, faster, less disruptive to his life. He asked “And who is my neighbor?” because he wanted it to be easier. We want it to be easier. We know better but we still want it to be easier.
Unfortunately, it's not easy but totally and completely worth it.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 10: 30-37