This is part of the series “What is the Gospel?”
Jesus tells the story of a young man that had many possessions. He is commonly called the Rich Young Ruler. This young man comes to Jesus and asks him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” [Mark 10:17] Jesus replies that he must keep all of the commandments. This young ruler confesses that he had done so since the time of his youth. Jesus then drops the bombshell. Jesus tells him that there is only one thing that is left wanting in the young man’s life. All of the possessions that the ruler has must be given away to the power and then he would have the eternal life he sought. This is the challenge of repentance.
Jesus does not call us to only charity, but sacrificial charity. Jesus does not command service at our convenience, but total submission to his will. Jesus is not asking us to modify our behavior; he is calling us to crucify our flesh. Repentance literally means to turn around or away from. But how can we turn away from sin if opportunities for sinning surround us on every side? The answer is that we must turn to Jesus. We must look to Him and no longer look to anyone or anything else. This young man was depending on his “great possessions” [Mark 10:22] to get him through when only God in and through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit could do it. The gospel tells us that this man went away “sorrowful”. God is calling us to accept His challenge to repent, to turn away from the entanglements of the world and totally rely upon Him [1 John 3:7]. The Gospel life that Jesus proclaimed is not easy, but it is worth the cost.