You still lack one thing. (Luke 18:22)

DOES BEING RELIGIOUS GUARANTEE that we will inherit eternal life? Are the morally upright better than others in God’s eyes? Can good works get us to heaven? Reading today’s Scripture, we find that the answer to all of these questions is no. There is nothing we can do to inherit eternal life.

On the outside, the rich ruler seemed to live an exemplary life. On the inside, although he faithfully kept the commandments and attained financial success, he was unsure of his eternal destiny. That may be why he asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18). He thought it was all about actions.

Jesus, in response, told him something was missing. While the man may have been on the right track, he never cried out to God for mercy and forgiveness, as the tax collector did (v. 13), and therefore was never justified before God.

Later, the apostle Paul, similarly obedient to all the commandments, had an encounter with Jesus. He testified on behalf of all believers that “when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:4–5).

Maybe you are doing all the right things but are unsure if you have eternal life. If so, something is missing. Seek God’s mercy and forgiveness today.

Accept salvation by grace today.

Kathern Nemec and her husband served in Argentina for twenty-seven years as missionaries. Now residing in Ohio, both are active in their local church.