Can Eternal Life Be Earned?


Read | Mark 10:17-22

Sometimes teenagers decide on a course of action first and ask for input later. And then, if the response is one they don’t want to hear, they often react negatively. Believers can act the same way toward God.

One day a wealthy man came to Jesus and asked, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17). Having spent his days keeping the commandments, he wanted to know what else needed to be done to secure his position in heaven. The man erroneously believed that eternal life could be earned.

Satan, the great deceiver, promotes the false idea that man can make himself acceptable in God’s eyes. Many of us have fallen victim to the Devil’s lies and approach God on the basis of our conduct or performance. Just like the rich man, we may have thought, God will accept me because I am doing the right things. Or perhaps we have assumed that our good deeds outweigh any wrong we have done.

In thinking this way, we have established our own standard of acceptability and ignored God’s. He says we all have a flesh nature bent away from Him, and nothing we do will pay for our sin debt. Only faith in Jesus, who died in our place, makes us acceptable to God. Through the Savior, we are forgiven of our sins and receive life everlasting. Apart from Christ, we face eternal punishment.

The rich young man chose to walk away from Jesus. How do you respond when the truth of Scripture conflicts with what you believe? Do you embrace God’s standard or turn away to follow your own desires?