How Can I Have Eternal Life?
This is the most important question out of all questions to be answered. And if correctly understood, it would help whoever to find Jesus Christ as a personal Savior for himself or herself.
The rich man asked this question to Jesus Christ in Matthew 19:16 - And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
Jesus Christ answered in Matthew 19:17 - And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
Apparently, eternal life cannot be inherited without the keeping of the commandments. Obedience to God is the condition of eternal life.
Jesus Christ being God in the flesh knew that the rich man did not keep the Commandments out of faith. The rich man kept the commandments of God by his own strength as a means to be saved. This is salvation by works.
Evidently, the rich man reflected the false teaching of salvation by Judaism. They believe that one is saved by obedience, instead of by faith in Jesus Christ where one obeys Him.
LOVE - FAITH - OBEDIENCE AS A RESPONSE TO GOD'S LOVE THROUGH JESUS
Jesus Christ is our Savior, not the Commandments. When we truly love Jesus Christ and have faith in HIM because of HIS love toward us, we would then in return love HIM, have faith in HIM, and keep HIS Commandments. Our keeping of God's Commandments in here will not be a means of salvation, but as a response of love, faith and obedience toward God's love in sending Jesus Christ to die for us, and to save us from eternal death.
This is how we show our love for God who first loved us by keeping His Commandments - 1 John 2:3-5. God was the One that first loved us - 1 John 4:19; John 3:16. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" - Romans 5:8.
We do not obey God's Commandments as a means of salvation. We love God and we are happy to obey Him since He first loved us. Our love comes as a response toward God's love. So when God asks us to obey Him; obedience should not be a burdern if stemed out of love - 1 John 5:3. Without obedience, salvation is not going to be assured.
Let's have a look at the rich man that lost eternal life. In Matthew 19:21 Jesus said unto him, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. (v22) But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions."
The story revealed that the rich man did not really have love and faith in Jesus Christ. In fact, if he had love and faith in Jesus Christ, he would have gone and sold everything and returned to follow HIM. In other words, if he had love and faith in Jesus Christ, he would have obeyed HIM. His love and faith would have been shown by his obedience to sell his possessions and follow Jesus Christ. But, since he had no love and faith in Jesus Christ, his obedience was LACKING.
When faith is exercised strong enough to the point of obedience, eternal life will be assured.
One cannot have eternal life without the keeping of the Commandments. Love and faith is manifested by obedience. Obedience becomes the fruit of love and faith. Obedience is NOT the fruit of salvation.
A False Teaching:
Beware of the teaching that says, "One is saved by faith alone." This teaching is saying that one is saved by faith without obedience. Another way of saying it is this - "Obedience is the fruit of salvation, instead of obedience is the fruit of faith. .