Jesus Beholding Him Loved Him (For Keeping The Law)

1 year, 2 months ago

“19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” – Mark 10:19-21

I woke up thinking about this post from Sunday night and its implications in today’s churches. In this section of Scripture, the rich young ruler tells Jesus that he has kept the law from his youth. Only Mark, of the three synoptic Gospels, records more closely the physical interaction between that man and Jesus. Perhaps Mark, who many consider to be an eyewitness to much of Christ’s time in public life, was in a position to see his Master, where Matthew was not, and Luke, we reckon, was not there.

Only Mark records, “Then Jesus beholding him loved him.” We’ve heard some speculation about this in preaching and teaching. Some say the love Christ showed was actually pity for the man because he must have lied about keeping the law. And yet others have attempted to reduce the significance of the moment and the non-verbal response of our Lord.

During travels this last summer, I attended a Wednesday night meeting at a small church. In becoming acquainted with the Pastor before the service, he revealed that we would discuss the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the law of God until the temple(s) was built, where the law was then held in the holiest of holies. The Pastor asked me and a few others from his church in the pre-meeting discussion where the ark is now. Well, I said it was in heaven, always has been in heaven; the ark and the temple were merely types or a picture of the throne room of God. Fortunately, only a few people heard me because I gave away the conclusion to his lesson. The Pastor offered for me to stay in his RV while passing through. Good folks, down to earth. A discussion with a very recent convert was especially fruitful and enjoyable. It’s always a delight to meet newer believers. That night’s lesson did not mention the section of Mark above, but you’ll see the point momentarily.

Back to the rich young ruler and Jesus. Why wouldn’t Jesus have looked upon a man with love who had kept His law? The law was given by God, and Christ is God, Himself being the law in the flesh; “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” Could that look of love have been God’s approval as He called the rich young ruler to follow Him to his own cross of martyrdom? The ruler kept the law but loved his stuff; this we all get. Having observed the ordinances, he was called to abandon the things of this life, going wheresoever the will of God would take him (Joshua 1:9).

There were attempts to downplay the law’s importance in those poor lessons about this passage. All failed to show that Jesus is God and that the law is The Word of God! “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John 1:1.

It’s bothersome having never heard a preacher state simply that God loved him for keeping His law. Why is this so hard to say? Because it hurts, all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. God loved the man for keeping His law. The only way around this is to press incredulity losing the straightforward meaning of the interaction between Jesus and the ruler. We’re not saying that the man never sinned; only Jesus has done that. But he did, apparently, keep the Commandments Jesus cited.

The keeping of the law can never save a man’s soul, this we know, but where is the error in righteous living unto a holy God? Surely the churches are not advocating theft, dishonor of parents, deceiving, cheating, or killing, are they? Why can’t a man who believes, and is sure of his eternal station, keep the law? Is it so offensive to believers today?!?!

Some said the law was for the Jews, which is true, but if you search the Scripture, only the law of sacrifice (and the rules of Pharisees) has been done away with. We still live with sin today. The law remains and convicts the sinner unto repentance which is its purpose (1 Timothy 1:9). The implication is that some seem to claim that we can now, living under grace, pretend to be Christians while acting much like those headed to the devil’s lake of fire, which is a perilous new doctrine. But as the linked post from Sunday night shows, it may not be so new after all.

Wickedness remains; the law and God’s judgments are in the New Testament and are used by the Holy Spirit of God to bring conviction of sin in the heart of the lost man and believer alike. Yes, Jesus loves us and is the Saviour offering the gift of eternal life, but He is no less Lord (Romans 6:23).

When we witness to lost sinners, we use the simple example of a lie to prove their sin. Is this wrong to cite one of the Ten Commandments today? No, all men have lied. It’s a simple way to prove sin while not getting sidetracked into various debaucheries and sinful living. Slightly off-topic, but while we’re here: people under conviction might confess felonies. For many reasons, some obvious and some not, don’t let detailed discussion of sinful behaviors happen when talking to the lost; keep it simple; use the lie as a single primary example. Looking them right in the eye, you can tell them they’ve lied and done much worse. This drives the point home while sticking to the subject of salvation by the grace of God’s forgiveness of sin.

The law is in heaven; it’s always been with our holy God. The law is there in the throneroom with the four living creatures, all the holy angels, and the four and twenty elders on their faces saying, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.” Amen.

The law is still there, right where it’s always been. The point is, if you’re in one of those churches that downplay righteous living for the Lord, get out and find a church that’s at least serious about all that God commands, teaching His whole counsel. People now verbally dancing around the law of God expect to stand in its very presence one day soon. God have mercy on them.

“11 For there is no respect of persons with God. 12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; 13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. 14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” Romans 2:11-16

We won’t go through this thoroughly now. I tell people to read these verses first as one reading. Then read what is not in parenthesis and then read, thirdly, what is between. This will significantly help with comprehension. The section outside parenthesis cannot save you by the law, nor will the part inside save you without the law; salvation is by Christ alone.

Assuming you never attempted the foolhardy life of trying to keep the law absent the Holy Spirit, when you sinned, you sinned without the law and were headed to perish in hell, but you had broken the law nonetheless. When God saved you by faith in Christ’s atoning death, burial, and resurrection, He forgave you forever. When you sin in the law, even today, having heard His word but being already saved, you have even less excuse not to live according to God! Is the law of Mighty God written on your heart, yes or no? We’re not telling you to stand before God depending on the law, but verse 15 indicates that God shows the work of the law written on our heart, our conscience also bearing witness.

The Church is trying to thread the needle between saying we have no obligation to the law and demanding righteous living; it’s not working. Everything is falling apart, and it started with the churches long before the government, family, and society went to the dogs. One reason a Reconstructionist approach attracts is that clearly, what the Church is doing isn’t working. And blaming our failures on escatology is a lousy excuse to accept rampant heathenism and an even worse excuse for believers to live like heathens themselves!

What is a Christian that spends his day as a liar, cheating, stealing, abusing family, etc.? Well, he’s not Christian; we know that. Those saved by Christ no longer live like that; that’s part of the miracle of salvation. We are being recreated in the image of God’s own Son and trying to live a life spent as the image of Christ to those around us. When Christ looks upon you, will He love you?


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This article is filed under the category(s) Religion and was published March 20th, 2023 by PGF.

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