Faith in Christ alone
Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” Luke 18:16-18
The dominant teaching of Chapter 18 of the Gospel of Luke was about having faith in Christ. From the text, The Lord Jesus Christ commanded His disciples to let the children come to Him. Then He used the occasion to tell the crowd that in order for a person to enter the Kingdom of God, one must possess a childlike faith. Childlike faith is a necessary condition of salvation; without it one cannot be saved. Childlike faith is having a trust and dependence. Children trust their parents to provide their need. This is what God wants from people that desire to enter the Kingdom of God. It is contrary to what others are doing when they trust their own ability in order to be saved. This is what happened to the religious leader that came to Christ and ask the question, “What should I do to inherit eternal life?” He was described as religious because of his knowledge of the Old Testament. He tried to live a good life by obeying the commandments. But like many people, he missed out in understanding the purpose of the commands. They were not given just to affect external behaviors but to show the fruit of what happens to a heart that was transformed by God because faith was placed in Him. This is what Christ knew that was in the heart of this man when He gave Him a command. The man went away sad when he cannot obey God’s command to sell all his possessions (Luke 18:22-23). He thought that by being sincere in what he was doing such as obeying the commandments, he will earn God’s favor and let him enter His Kingdom. It is not by what you do no matter how sincere you are that will bring you to a relationship with God which will provide you a privilege to enter His Kingdom. This is also what God was conveying when Peter went to Cornelius to share to him and his family the message of salvation. Cornelius was a Roman soldier and Luke described him as a person that was trying to be sincere and do his best so he could enter the Kingdom of God. “He was a devout, God-fearing man, as was everyone in his household. He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly to God” (Acts 10:2). But it was not his sincerity in doing religious activities that will bring about salvation. So when Peter came to his house, he told Cornelius and his household about the gospel (see Acts 10:39-42). Then he closed his message by challenging Cornelius to place his faith in Christ. “Everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name” (v. 43). Cornelius and his family believed the message of salvation and placed their trust in Christ. “Soon the news reached the apostles and other believers in Judea that the Gentiles had received the word of God” (Acts 11:1). The religious leader came home sad because he was not willing to place his faith in Christ while Cornelius was willing to place his trust on what Christ has done for him on the cross. The Lord Jesus Christ wants you to follow Him on His terms and place your faith in Him alone.