Chapter CONTEXT from MHCC: In this chapter we have, I. The parable of the importunate widow, designed to teach us fervency in prayer (v. 1-8). II. The parable of the Pharisee and publican, designed to teach us humility, and humiliation for sin, in prayer (v. 9-14). III. Christ’s favour to little children that were brought to him (v. 15-17). IV. The trial of a rich man that had a mind to follow Christ, whether he loved better Christ or his riches; his coming short upon that trial; and Christ’s discourse with his disciples upon that occasion (v. 18-30). V. Christ’s foretelling his own death and sufferings (v. 31-34). VI. His restoring sight to a blind man (v. 35-43). And these four passages we had before in Matthew and Mark.
This section of dialog between Jesus and the rich young ruler v.18-27 has some very interesting theological implications. Let me try and sort them out:
v.19 Jesus asks, ‘Why do you call me good only God is good.‘ Some have suggested that this confirms Jesus is not God yet a clear understanding of the Greek text implies this could easily be rendered as ‘In calling me good, knowing only God is such are you declaring me God.’
v.20-21 Jesus lists the commandments and the ruler says he has obeyed them all. First, we know as fallen sinners this can not be 100% accurate. Try as we may we sin daily and this young ruler was no different. He was, one can only assume making the point he did his best to obey them all.
v.22-25 Then comes the true question when Jesus tells him, …Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. Can it really be all that easy could Elon Musk sell all his earthly treasure and say I got my ticket to paradise. Of course not, eternal life can not be bought and Jesus is not suggesting that here. What Jesus is doing telling the rich young ruler that there is a cost for eternal life, one that many (like him apparently) are not willing to pay.
Note here that neither Jesus nor the Bible in general proclaims that those of wealth can not obtain eternal life. What it does command all believers is to lay up treasures in heaven and not be high and mighty about what God has given us here 1 Timothy 6:17-19.
v.27 In this verse, which in my humble opinion is often overlooked in Apologetics, Jesus makes a definitive statement about Eternal Life/Salvation. Remember the young ruler had asked Jesus what he could do to obtain eternal life. Jesus here says it loud and proud NOTHING!!!!
Note that Jesus says, But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” Only God can do that which will grant you access to the Kingdom of Heaven. Romans 3:20, Ephesians 2:8–9, Revelation 1:5. This verse is often misapplied to say that God can empower people to do all kinds of things. Yet as I stress over and over CONTEXT demands we limit it to eternal life/salvation.
For further study, the statement in Ephesians 2:8-9 has three parts— salvation, grace, and faith—and they are equally important. The three together constitute a basic tenet of Christianity.