The criteria by which we will be judgedIn Matthew a rich young man asks Jesus what actions bring eternal life. First Jesus advises the man to obey the commandments. When the man responds that he...

The criteria by which we will be judged

In Matthew a rich young man asks Jesus what actions bring eternal life. First Jesus advises the man to obey the commandments. When the man responds that he already observes them, and asks what else he can do, Jesus adds: If you want to be perfect, go, sell all your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.

If God will judge people based on whether or not they have ''accpeted Jesus as their Lord and Savoir'' then why did Jesus tell the man otherwise when he inquired as to what he must do to inherit eternal life?

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stolperia's profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

#6 - that's exactly the point! The young man was more concerned with keeping "his goodies" than he was with doing what needed to be done to acquire the Kingdom of Heaven. He was unwilling to "sell your possessions and give to the poor" (Matt. 19:21).

The action that was/is required in order to become "obtain eternal life"  involves following the Law, the Ten Commandments - a belief and a life based on those belief. The action that was/is required in order to become perfect involves demonstrating those beliefs by acquiring "treasure in heaven" instead of treasure on earth. Whether or not the goods belonged specifically to the young man or to the man's neighbor is not the primary issue - the point is that the young man was placing material wealth ahead of spiritual wealth. When one is more concerned with earthly possessions than with gifts from God, that one is not perfect in God's eyes and is not worthy of eternal life.

durbanville's profile pic

durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Isn't the whole basis of Christianity about faith primarily and compassion and love for your fellow man, as reinforced by the "do unto others" philosophy.

By following the Commandments, the man was already doing what was required of him to obtain eternal life (as indicated at post #6). The man himself was not satisifed with that. As with life, true satisfaction comes from doing your best and , apparently the man knew he was not doing his best and could do more.  

In order to do more, however, the man was required to first of all show his faith by giving his belongings away, be compassionate by giving to the poor and show his love by following Jesus. These were the things Jesus asked him to do to be "perfect" not to receive eternal life.

I agree that, as Litteacher8 pointed out in post#4, interpretation is key and there are many things which are translated differently - even though some of those differences are subtle. Even within Christianity itself, there are subtle differences which, for centuries have divided people.

The concept of "good works" would be one such area of debate. Catholics maintain that good works are not required whereas, other sectors of Christianity maintain that it is a pre-requisite. Paul's letter to the Ephesians (2:8-9) states:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."

The problem here is the word"grace." It's ancient meaning also translated as "favor" as in "through the favor of others" so not your own doing but, it is also held that a Christian would always repay a favor. Hence the confusion!  

 I think that we often proclaim our Christianity but do litle to "show" it. Whether you attend church regularly, give your tenth to the church, make cakes or something for the bake sale, and are held in high esteem by your fellow parishioners, if you then dismiss the poor beggar or the starving child on the corner because you already fulfill all your Christian requirements, then you are not truly Christian.

I failed to attend church for quite a while when I moved house and I was treated with utmost disgust at the new church by the parish secretary and the priest to the point that my son was unable to be confirmed. They did not care that we lead good wholesome lives and give to our fellow man, are compassionate and caring, etc, etc, it we had not been to church we must be bad Christians. So how's that for being judgmental? Did Jesus himself not say to "bring the children unto me" ?

Anyway, suffice it to say that it's always about what you do never about what you say. Paying lip-service to anyone and judging others won't get anyone in to heaven. And being a good Christian is far more than "appearing" to be the good Christian.  

 

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stolperia's profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Both the gospel of Matthew (Matt. 19:16-39) and the gospel of Luke (Luke 18:18-30) record Jesus listing the same commandments in His first response to the young man's question. The gospel of Mark (Mark 10:17-31) includes the same five commandments plus a sixth one, "Do not defraud" that is not listed in Matthew and Luke. Whether "defraud" was considered representative of "covet" or not is not the point in this discussion.

Three of the gospels, written by different individuals in different locations at different points in time, included this incident, using largely the same vocabulary in all three tellings. For me, this is supportive of my conclusion that the writings are true, authoritative, accurately interpreted and translated, and worthy of belief.

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Do you think that part of this might be due to translation issues?  I often wonder if people got ahold of these stories and changed and added things as they saw fit, to make it match whatever they wanted.  Just a thought.

stolperia's profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Read the list of commandments Jesus gives in verses 18-19.

Jesus replied, "'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Matt. 19:18-19)

The first five of those commandments are five of the ten commandments recorded on the tablets God gave Moses, the Ten Commandments that Jesus and the young man were referring to in their discussion. Six of those ten commandments deal with how people should live in relationship with each other - the five Jesus mentioned plus one more: "Do not covet." (Ex. 20:17)

Jesus did not specifically mention that commandment at first because he wanted the young man, with all his good intentions, to seriously think about what he was asking and how he was living. The young man was not obeying the commandment against coveting possessions and wealth. Because he was unable to give up his material goods, the young man was not sin-free and able to inherit eternal life.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

That’s a very interesting question and I look forward to seeing other people’s answers.  I think one way to think of this is to say that this was Jesus’s way of showing the rich young ruler what he needed to do in order to show that he had accepted Jesus as his savior.  I do think that even if we cannot be saved by works, it may be that we need some works to show that we have faith.  Jesus might have wanted to tell the young man that being properly devoted to Jesus includes doing some things to show that commitment.  He might have started with that because he knew that the young man would easily accept the idea of taking Jesus as his savior without understanding that that entailed some sacrifice on his part. 

mountvernon's profile pic

mountvernon | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted on

Both the gospel of Matthew (Matt. 19:16-39) and the gospel of Luke (Luke 18:18-30) record Jesus listing the same commandments in His first response to the young man's question. The gospel of Mark (Mark 10:17-31) includes the same five commandments plus a sixth one, "Do not defraud" that is not listed in Matthew and Luke. Whether "defraud" was considered representative of "covet" or not is not the point in this discussion.

Three of the gospels, written by different individuals in different locations at different points in time, included this incident, using largely the same vocabulary in all three tellings. For me, this is supportive of my conclusion that the writings are true, authoritative, accurately interpreted and translated, and worthy of belief.

The young man did not covet his his neighbor's good! He had the goodies! His own goods! You are contorting the Gospel to fit your preconceived notions. Remember, anyone who adds a single word to the Gospels shall burn in eternal fire. Think about it!

There are two questions here, what do I need to obtain eternal life, and what do I need to do to become "perfect". Notice that the answers to both are actions, i.e, keeping the 10 commandments, and selling one's possessions and following Jesus. Not just some simple act of "belief".

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