September 27 I Thursday
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’” —Luke 10:25
The Good Samaritan is one of the best-known parables of Jesus, but separated from its context, it becomes just an ethical exhortation to help those in need. While this is a valid exhortation, we must remember this story is part of a conversation between Jesus and an expert in the law. Several Jewish leaders and lawyers tested Jesus with questions designed to find errors in His preaching that would discredit Him, but they were never successful because everything Jesus said was rooted in the truths of Scripture and the words of His Father.
On this occasion, the expert in the law asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” This question contains a contradiction. To inherit property, titles or possessions is to receive them after the death of the previous holder, usually a family member. “Inherit” can also mean to “derive a quality or characteristic genetically from one’s ancestors.” The lawyer’s question was built on a false premise because receiving an inheritance depends not on what we do but who we are.
Many people are under the misguided belief that they can somehow earn salvation. They think if they are only good enough or obedient enough, this will tip the scales in their favour, but this is not true of Scripture. Salvation has nothing to do with our merit but is entirely based on God’s grace as a gift to be received.
The expert in the law was right to call eternal life an inheritance, but in our natural, sinful state, we are neither God’s children nor His heirs. Paul writes, “I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable” (1 Corinthians 15:50). Because of sin, we are born out of relationship with God, but when we come into relationship with Him, we become inheritors of eternal life. As Peter writes, “In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Peter 1:3-4).
Every man and woman, boy and girl can be born again of the Spirit of God into this perfect and lasting inheritance. All we need do is acknowledge our sin with open hand and ask Christ to forgive us, cleanse us and impart to us His life. When Christ becomes our Saviour, God becomes our Father and as His children, we become inheritors of all that He is and has for us, including a relationship with Him now and the certainty of heaven for the future.
Prayer: Gracious God, thank You that salvation is not dependent on what I do but who I am in relationship to You. Thank You for making me Your child and for the incredible inheritance this lets me receive.