Matthew 19:16-20

Mat 19:16 (KJB)
And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

Then Jesus was approached by a rich young ruler. (Luke 18:18 KJV) And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He then asked Jesus what “good” thing shall I do to inherit eternal life? Notice that the man asked what shall he do. This is the main theme of religion, that is, that good works are to play a part in your résumé for Heaven. It seems every religion which wants to circumvent the cross will use works which they qualify as good. The only good works that a person can do is after they are saved. (Eph 2:10 KJV) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. That is because God is the one who has created certain works for us to do. For those who think that works play a part in salvation, God calls that an abomination. (Prov 21:27 KJV) The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind? If you did one million good works per week, it will not net you the same result as one cross! He who has ears to hear!

Mat 19:17 (KJB)
And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

The first thing that Jesus responds to is the way that the ruler addressed Him. He called Him “Good Master.” Now that was a nice greeting and it is true that Jesus was a Good Master. The reason Jesus quickly responded to that was because the man was looking at Him as a person and not as the Son of God. What I mean by that is without seeing Jesus as the Son of God, you will only see Him as a man and the Bible speaks very clearly that there is no man that does not sin. (Rom 3:12 KJV) They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (1 Ki 8:46 KJV) If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near; Both Old and New Testaments declare that there is no one that does not sin.

Then Jesus goes on further to state that there is only good one and that is God. He wants to break him of the habit of seeing men as good. He tells the ruler if he is going to enter into eternal life, then he must keep all the commandments. They must be kept perfectly because to break one is to break them all. (James 2:10 KJV) For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. If one can keep the commandments perfectly, and that includes all 613 of them, then you are a perfect person and will have eternal life.

Mat 19:18 (KJB)
He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

Then the ruler asks Jesus which commandments need to be obeyed? He probably asked Jesus so he could concentrate on doing those commandments which would be required for eternal life. In this verse Jesus gives four of the ten commandments. When one looks at them individually, one can proudly say they have kept them. However, there is one thing about the ten commandments and that is they are summaries and not possessive of lone meanings. For example, let us look at Thou shalt do no murder. I think most of us can honestly say that we have never murdered anyone. Now let us take it down one tier and ask the questions, have I ever murdered someone’s reputation? Have I ever wished someone would die? Have I killed someone’s marriage? Have I killed someone’s chance to be promoted at work? There are many ways to commit murder without taking a person’s life and one thinks they can keep the ten commandments and gain eternal life, they better check the many other ways murder can be committed and then be sure that they never committed even one of those infractions because it means eternity in hell.

Mat 19:19 (KJB)
Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

If you notice the other two that Jesus added were the two that completes the portion of our relationships with each other. Jesus did not ask him about keeping the first four, which would be his relationship to God. Then of course Jesus asks him about his relationship with his parents and his relationship with others, not necessarily only his immediate neighbor. (Luke 10:36 KJV) Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? Jesus had told the story of the Good Samaritan and how he truly showed himself to be a true neighbor to the one who was injured. Would he be willing to show kindness to one who was considered an outcast by his people? Did he ever show a spark of prejudice toward any other race? Was he always obedient to his parents? Was there any time he spoke behind their backs, even as a child? When speaking about how good we are according to our works, we must bring into account every tenet, no matter how small it seems.

Mat 19:20 (KJB)
The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

The young ruler then responded that from his youth had kept all of these commandments. He may also be referring to the time when he was thirteen and was considered legally under the law. Now here is the reality, every sin he committed up to the age of 13 will also have to be paid for and unless he becomes saved through grace, he will be cast into hell. (Psa 58:3-4 KJV) The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. {4} Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; The wicked do not start sinning at age thirteen but start sinning as soon as they are born. He has really not considered the fact that he had many sins which had to be atoned for and yet he asks what else does he lack? He is almost making the statement that he is sinless by stating that he kept those six commandments. (Psa 53:3 KJV) Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.