So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
The rich young man had asked Jesus Christ, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” (verse 16). Jesus asked why the man called Him good. Was he using the term lightly or did the young man really realize the implication that calling Jesus good meant that Jesus is God? Most likely the young man was using the term lightly.
But Jesus went on to answer the question. As He had done in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:17-19), He again highlighted the importance of obeying God’s commandments. Here He identified which set of commandments He meant by naming five of the 10 Commandments as well as the summary great commandment about loving our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39-40).
Obviously, no one except Jesus Christ has ever kept God’s law perfectly. All have sinned, including the young man, though it seems he did not realize it. By his love of his riches and by not being willing to give more to the poor, he identified his area of weakness (Matthew 19:21-22).
Since all have sinned, the only way to be forgiven and reconciled to God is by repenting and asking God to apply Jesus Christ’s sacrifice as payment for our sins (Romans 3:23; 5:8-10; Acts 2:38). Repentance includes turning from sin to obeying God’s laws. Obeying God’s perfect and beneficial laws is a key to living like God wants us to live—the way His children will live for eternity.