What must I do to inherit eternal life? This is a question much like that asked by so many people today. “What must I do to make it into heaven?” The rich man in the text told Jesus he had kept the commandments, yet Jesus finds him still lacking. The Lord tells him to sell all he has, give the proceeds to the poor and then follow him. There will be no need for personal wealth as he will have treasure in heaven. Sadly for this fellow, he can’t bear to part with his worldly possessions. The reality, it seems, is that his material goods possessed him.
So is that how we inherit eternal life? Does the act of passing on our wealth to the poor, filling our days doing good works, and keeping the commandments provide the final punch for our ticket to heaven? In a word, no! If we believe this we also will find ourselves lacking.
To inherit, one must be an heir, someone to whom the inheritance is passed down. Through Holy Baptism, God makes us his children; we are made inheritors through water and the Word. Joined to Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are made heirs. Go no longer finds us lacking, and so to us, the kingdom of God is passed down. What must we do? Simply believe, for Christ has done it for you.
Gracious God, thank you for making us your, and thus, heirs to your everlasting kingdom, through Christ our Lord. Amen.