“…and come, take up the cross, and follow Me. But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”
In this one-on-one encounter with the young man in the Bible known as “the rich young ruler,” Jesus peeled back the layers to reveal the wickedness at his heart’s core. Little did he dream what was there. That's why Jesus began talking about keeping the commandments.
Two things become abundantly clear:
Jesus shows him just the opposite. That's why He brought it up: so the young man could see he was trusting in his own self-righteousness.
Salvation isn’t a reward for the righteous; it's a gift for the guilty. It rests not upon the goodness of man but the grace of God. There's none good but God. You cannot be saved by commandment-keeping. “By the works of the law no flesh will be justified” in God's sight (Galatians 2:16)
The law serves as a teacher to bring us to Christ. It condemns us so we will come to the Gospel and be saved. Do you think you’re fine just as you are? There’s only one thing wrong with you—you’re dead. “And you, being dead in your trespasses…He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us…. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14). What are you depending on for your salvation?