‘Do this and live’
Every gospel preacher, wanting to emphasise that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, will have contrasted this gospel with the attempt to gain salvation by works. It is worth reflecting, therefore, on the fact that when the Lord Jesus Christ is asked by a lawyer ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ he answers, ‘What is written in the Law? How do you read it?’ When the lawyer repeats the two great commandments, concerning loving God and loving your neighbour, Jesus says, ‘You have answered correctly; do this and you will live’ (Luke 10: 25-28). When a rich young man asks him virtually the same question, Jesus tells him ‘If you would enter life, keep the commandments’ (Matt 19:17). He then, in the one case by a personal challenge and in the other by a parable, quickly reveals the spiritual bankruptcy of both men. However valid the principle, they cannot fulfil it.
Why does Jesus start here?