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In Luke 18:18, a man asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus told him to keep the commandments. Does this not teach that we must keep them to be saved?

The record we have in three gospels of Jesus ministry was to the nation of Israel. John's record is different. Jesus ministered to people who were under a covenant relationship with God. They were to offer blood sacrifices for their sins until Jesus came too died for them and they were to obey the Commandments.

Their blood sacrifices would not save them. Without blood there was no remission of sins (Hebrews 9:22). The blood of animals could cover their sins, but could not take them away. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Hebrews 10:4 When Jesus died it was for their sins so that they would be saved.  And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. Hebrews 9:15. This was their salvation.

What the ruler asked of Luke 18:18 was not how to have eternal life, but what he needed to do to INHERIT it. The gift of eternal life and the inheritance of it are not the same things. The gift is free, the inheritance is rewards we earn by faithful service after we are saved. The disciples on this occasion, in Luke 18, said they had left all to follow Him, and they were told that they would INHERIT eternal life. (Verses 28-30) They were to sit on twelve thrones and ruler in Israel in the kingdom to come. (Matthew 19:28)

Salvation is a the gift of God. For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23. It is by grace alone.

Rewards are earned by faithful service. This is the inheritance a believer will receive at the Judgment seat of Christ. This is by works

Have you receive the gift? Have you repented of your sins and trusted Christ as you Saviour? If not the only rewards you will get is the wages of sin which is eternal separation from God in hell. That is what you will get, but it that what you want?

All comments and questions to: Harold Smith

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Updated March 13th, 2014 by Sandra Felix