Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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The Salvation of the Rich Young Ruler

Rev. Angus Stewart


Matthew, Mark and Luke all record the touching scene in which a wealthy, religious leader in his twenties or early thirties, usually referred to as the rich young ruler, comes to Christ and, kneeling before Him, asks about inheriting eternal life.

The good news is that the Lord Jesus "loved" the rich young ruler (Mark 10:21)! This young man is in fine company, along with John, the beloved disciple; Lazarus, Mary and Martha (John 11:5); the believing leper (Mark 1:41); and all God's people in all ages and lands. "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it" (Song 8:7); how much more the deep, unchangeable, powerful love of God in Christ Jesus from which nothing in the present or future, nothing in life or death, nothing in the universe, not even Satan or sin, is "able to separate us" (Rom. 8:38-39)! All whom Jesus loves, He loves "unto the end" (John 13:1), for He is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Heb. 13:8)!

Christ loved the rich young ruler, even though he was self-righteous and loved money (Mark 10:20, 22). Jesus loved him from before the foundation of the world, when He died for his sins on the cross (John 10:15; 15:13), when He renewed his heart and into eternity. In His amazing grace, the Son of God loved the rich young ruler (and all His people) "with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness" He drew him (Jer. 31:3).

Out of love for the rich young ruler, Christ spoke to him of his sinful love of money, calling him to repentance. The young man went away, as Jesus commanded him, to count the cost (Mark 10:21-22). His grief and sadness was not a worldly sorrow but a "godly sorrow [that] worketh repentance to salvation" (II Cor. 7:10).

As Jesus explained, it is "hard," even "impossible" with men, for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, because we are so prone to "trust in riches," but "with God all things are possible" (Mark 10:23-27)! Our God, the God of the impossible, gave a son to Sarah, a barren ninety-year-old, and her hundred-year-old husband, Abraham (Gen. 18:14); brought Israel back from the Babylonian captivity (Jer. 32:17); and caused the virgin Mary to conceive and bear the incarnate Son of God (Luke 1:37)! He can and did the impossible in converting the rich young ruler, as He has done for many like him, both before and since!

That look of love that the Saviour cast upon the rich young ruler two thousand years ago (Mark 10:21; Ps. 4:6), he continually beholds in heaven from the face of the glorified Christ who loved him and gave Himself for him (Gal. 2:20). What amazing grace and what an amazing salvation for all who forsake their sins and trust in Christ alone and not their own good works or riches!