Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Matthew 19:16 niv
Last time we considered that to be born again, the process of leaving behind the old life of sin and a heart that chooses to follow Jesus, begins with a miracle and Jesus tells us that to receive this miracle we need to believe.
Belief is a strange concept because it has many facets to it depending on who we are and how we were raised. The dictionary states that belief is trust, faith and confidence but it also states that faith is complete trust and confidence and a strongly held belief.
So these two words are intertwined in our society but often with little thought of how this works out in our everyday life.
As we considered last time we were created to worship and love God but in our rebellion, we worship and love ourselves.
To be born again is to receive and accept the promise of eternal life that Jesus has provided for us on the cross. This is the mark of a changed heart and heart that desires now to worship and love God, this is the outworking of belief.
However, is eternal life something you have considered as something you want? For many of us we are content to live in the here and now. Our society is currently built on living life by getting out of it as much as we can while we can. We try our best not to consider what is to come at the end of these days as it is too depressing or we try to prove that this is it and there’s nothing beyond our few years on this planet.
In the New Testament there was a young man who approached Jesus asking him what he needed to do to get eternal life, at face value this man was asking the right question it seemed that he wanted to genuinely know how to receive eternal life. Once again, Jesus focuses in on the heart attitude of the person asking the question. Jesus replies ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” Matt 19:17 niv
Jesus knows that this young man’s issue isn’t anything to do with gaining eternal life as the young man’s heart attitude is one of someone who thinks he has already done enough to warrant access to eternal life. He thinks he has earned his way to heaven already! And as a young man it is pure arrogance to assume that at that stage of your life you believe that you have done enough and have nothing left to learn.
The two issues here were the young man thought:
- You could earn your way to heaven
- He had already done enough to merit access to eternal life
Often this story of the rich young man in scripture focuses in on the ‘rich’ aspect of the story. After all Jesus brings up the subject in verse 23 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
Once again Jesus gets to the heart of the problem. Jesus doesn’t have a downer on rich people, he’s not saying that if your rich then you will never receive eternal life Jesus is saying that whatever you love the most, will hold your love and gain your worship.
Jesus goes onto explain to the disciples that to believe in Jesus is to give up everything else that holds your love and worship. What a big ask, how is it possible in these corrupt, sinful hearts to even begin to be willing to give up everything that we have held dear and worthy. Just as the young man resolved he became sad and went away. The young man was unwilling to love Jesus more than he loved his wealth, his standing in society, his everything.
Treasures in heaven
In our lives we have a glimpse of the goodness of God, of all that he has provided for his created people however Jesus came and showed us that the true treasures are found in heaven; are found beyond the small glimpse we have now.
There is nothing worth having now that stops us from gaining the treasures that are to come.
And the greatest treasure for each of us is the treasure that our souls are crying out for…..
Every time we pursue a dream to be better and greater than someone else – our souls are crying out for God’s greatness.
Every time we demand something to quench the compulsions to eat, drink and be merry – our souls are crying out for God’s provision, or comfort or peace.
Everything in us and everything we need is purely met in the character and personhood of God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
This is belief. This is faith. This is what being born again looks like. And in the words of Jesus
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matt 19: 26 niv.