Luke 18:18-23 Orthodoxy And Orthopraxy.
Normally it is not what a person does to gain an inheritance. It is more a question of whether one is included in another’s will. It makes one wonder if this is how the young ruler became rich. It usually takes a life of labour to acquire some wealth. In any case, he asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life (v. 18 Cf. Mt. 19:16-29; Mk. 10:17-30). He calls Jesus “Good Teacher,” and Jesus has to inform him that only God is good (v. 19 Cf. Pss. 86:5; 119:68). This raises a couple of points. Firstly it would seem to suggest that the young man did not know that Jesus was God. Secondly, it would also seem to suggest that he didn’t understand that no man was good enough to inherit eternal life by their works. Jesus recites those commands pertaining to one’s neighbour, which the young man claims to have kept (vv. 20-21 Cf. Ex. 20:12-16; Dt. 5:16-20; Rom. 13:8-10).
However, Jesus did not mention those pertaining directly to God, and from Jesus response, it seems as though he may not have really understood those commands. Furthermore Jesus left out the tenth commandment and instead asked him to sell all he had and distribute to the poor, then he would have treasure in heaven (Cf. Mt. 6:19-21; I Tim. 6:19). But he also adds, that the young man would need to follow Him (v. 22). Later the apostle Paul would confess that he thought he was a full keeper of all the ten commandments, until he reflected on the tenth and realized that he was guilty of covetousness (Rom. 7:7 Cf. Phil. 3:6). We read that the young man was sorrowful, but there is no indication that he repented (v. 23). The young man serves as a warning to those whose theology is wrong, and who have not counted the cost of being Christ’s disciple.