I’ve always believed that we are saved by grace not works, but Jesus’ instruction to the rich young ruler is confusing. The ruler asks, “What do I have to do to inherit eternal life.” Jesus says, “Then love your neighbor as yourself.” What does Jesus mean?
The Lord Jesus was not saying that keeping the commandments and loving your neighbor would save you, no matter what some people infer from Mathew 19. Actually most translators suggest that Jesus was asking two questions. First, Do you think by calling me good, that I am divine
? The young man’s response was no. Second, Jesus asked, Can you meet the requirements of being good
?, and man answered that he had kept all the commandments. Jesus told him that keeping the law includes loving others as well—and that was something this man had never demonstrated in his obedience to God. When Jesus challenged the rich young man to give away all that he had, he went away sad because he had a lot. But even if he could keep all the law and love others it would never be enough. Salvation and eternal life come only from belief in Jesus Christ the Son of God.