And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master…
I. THE OPINION OF GAINING ETERNAL LIFE BY THE OUTWARD OBSERVANCE OF THE LAW, WILL APPEAR VERY UNSATISFACTORY TO AN INQUISITIVE CONSCIENCE. This young man had not any full satisfaction in his own conscience, etc. He comes to Christ to receive instructions for the piecing up whatever was defective. Whosoever will consider the nature of God, and the relation of a creature cannot with reason think that eternal life was of itself due from God as a recompense to Adam, had he continued in a state of innocence. Who can think so great a reward due for having performed that which a creature in that relation was obliged to do? And if it were not to be expected in the integrity of nature, but only from the goodness of God, how can it be expected since the revolt of man, and the universal deluge of natural corruption? God owes nothing to the holiest creature; what He gives is a present from His bounty, not the reward of the creature's merit (Romans 11:35).
II. IT IS THE DISEASE OF HUMAN NATURE, SINCE ITS CORRUPTION, TO HOPE FOR ETERNAL LIFE BY THE TENOR OF THE COVENANT OF WORKS (ver. 17). Cain thought to be accepted for the sake of his sacrifice. All men set too high a value upon their own services (Luke 19:12; Philippians 3:7). The whole nation of the Jews affected it, compassing sea and land to make out a righteousness of their own, as the Pharisees did to make proselytes. Man foolishly thinks he hath enough to set up himself after he hath proved bankrupt, and lost all his estate.
III. HOW INSUFFICIENT ARE SOME ASSENTS TO DIVINE TRUTH, AND SOME EXPRESSIONS OF AFFECTION TO CHRIST, WITHOUT THE PRACTICE OF CHRISTIAN PRECEPTS.
IV. WE SHOULD NEVER ADMIT ANYTHING TO BE ASCRIBED TO YE, WHICH IS PROPER TO GOD. If you do not acknowledge Me God, ascribe not to Me the title of good, etc. God is jealous of His own honour; He will not have the creature share with Him in His royal titles.
(S. Charnocke, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?