One word that has been consistently jumping out at me recently is “surrender”. It’s something that we tend to desire and discuss without actually doing. Despite our nonchalance on the issue, it is anything but trivial. We don’t inherit eternal life without it.
According to our acceptance of easy believism and cheap grace, there are times in Scripture when Jesus simply gets out of line. He goes too far. A perfect example of this is when the rich, young ruler approaches Him wanting to know what to do to inherit eternal life. “Just believe in me, and you’re good to go!” is what Jesus should have said. Instead, He exposes this man’s idol—his wealth—and tells him he has to surrender it before doing anything else.
We all know this story (found in Mark 10: 17-22), but you may have overlooked a tiny little portion like I had. Before Jesus told him that his obedience to the commands wasn’t good enough and that he had to go home, sell all his stuff, and give to the poor, there is a little portion that changed this whole story and gave it new life for me.
“Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him….” (v. 21)—“loved him”! He wasn’t condemning this man or shaming him. He wanted to reveal to this man what was hindering him from truly inheriting eternal life. Eternal life isn’t just Heaven—it’s knowing Jesus! This is evidenced in John 17:3: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
That is the big idea. Knowing God and knowing the truth requires surrender. There’s no way around it, and without it, we will be restless, unsatisfied, and unfulfilled in our existence.
“Truth is God himself who cannot be known apart from love and cannot be loved apart from surrender to his will.” Thomas Merton