In today’s passage, we find a rich young ruler who had everything going for him: wealth, power, morality, and intelligence. There was only one thing he was lacking—the assurance of eternal life. To his dismay, he balked when Jesus demanded he give up his riches in exchange for the promise of salvation and everlasting life. The rich young ruler’s problem was that he thought he could have it all by keeping his riches and position of power without fully surrendering his life over to following Christ.
While many read this story and believe they too must sell all their material possessions in order to truly follow Christ, that actually isn’t the point of the story. The real question is, “Where do you place your dependence?” Do you put your trust in temporary gains, such as money, fame, job titles, and material possessions? Or do you put your trust in Jesus? As the rich young ruler found out, our salvation doesn’t even come down to following all the right rules or commandments, but rather on whether we have fully trusted in Christ and surrendered our lives over to Him. Salvation is not about right morality, but rather about trust and dependence upon God.
Only God can save us. Our money won’t save us. Our power won’t save us. Our good deeds and external righteousness won’t save us. We confess our dependence upon Christ alone when we declare, “I can’t save myself, but what is impossible for me is possible for you.”