Imagine for a moment: You discover that you are dying and look everywhere for someone, anyone who can cure you. Finally, after finding the only person who knows the cure, you come running up to him and cry out “I’m dying, what can I do to be cured”!
After hearing the answer would you (a) do what ever the doctor said or (b) go away and choose death?
Most sane people would probably answer ‘a’, do what ever the doctor said. That’s how we like to think of ourselves anyway, as sane. Unfortunately the unredeemed are anything but sane. Someone came to Jesus once and said , “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17). What he was saying is ‘I know you have to be good to go to heaven, you’re good and are obviously going to heaven; what do I need to do to be good enough to go to heaven too?’
To this question, Jesus said, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” Think about that answer: If you have to be good to go to heaven and no one is good except God, no one is going to heaven. Game over. The end. Too often though, we have a very different opinion about ourselves. This is especially true when we compare our goodness with that of others. As hard as it is for us to understand, our goodness is not judged by God in relation to other people. His standard for goodness is Himself and that is the standard by which he will judge us.
A good doctor will not just tell a patient what they have to do to be healthy, but will also examine their patient. You may tell the doctor you do all the right things, but the doctor will know the truth based on his examination and then prescribe the cure based on your real need. In the same way, Jesus examined this person, “You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother”‘ (Mark 10:19). “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” was the response Jesus received. Now the prescription for the cure: “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor…and come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21).
The man’s response? If you guessed that he went and sold everything and then followed Jesus you would be wrong. Instead of embracing the cure, the man chose option ‘b’– death. As insane as that sounds, this is exactly what happens when we choose our favorite sin or sins instead of the cure offered by the Great Physician. No doubt, the man thought by worldly standards that he was alright, just a few more good deeds and he’ll be good enough. But he found out differently, with his true conditioned diagnosed this is what the Bible said he did: “Disheartened…he went away sorrowful” (Mark 10:22).
He found out what we have got to understand ourselves, there is no such thing as good enough, God’s standard is perfection…
…or we could repent and follow Jesus and receive the cure only Jesus can offer.