Submission and Obedience


When the rich young ruler came to Jesus seeking what he needed to do to inherit eternal life, Jesus set out to prove the chap was an adulterer. Yes, he was. A true adulterer.

Does that claim seem preposterous? The man iterated the commandments and claimed he had kept all of them, including "Thou shalt not commit adultery." Yet, Jesus caught him in the act!

How could that be? He stood before Jesus fully clothed in his sumptuous garments, the picture of wealth and health. Undoubtedly, he believed he HAD kept all the commandments. He was careful about observing them religiously. Nothing tarnished his reputation. That is, not until he asked the fatal question and Jesus gave him one more commandment that exposed this man's heart and motives.

"Go, sell all you own and give that money to the poor; then come and follow Me," Jesus directed. And the Word says the young man want away sorrowful, because he was an adulterer!

True, the Bible doesn't call the man an adulterer, but it implies it.

You see, the first of the Ten Commandments says, "I am the Lord your God...you shall have no other gods before Me."

The young man observed that commandment religiously. He gave alms to the poor. He attended the synagogue every week. He kept the special feasts of the Lord and wore phylacteries during his times of prayer. He was a law-abiding citizen. What more could he do?

Perhaps the young man's adultery is better illustrated by learning about Jewish weddings of yesteryear. Very often marriages were arranged by the parents of the bride and groom without the couple's direct intervention, though sometimes the couple knew each other and had fallen in love.

In any instance, when the families agreed that the wedding was a 'go,' the couple became formally engaged. They were pledged to each other and each other alone! Then the groom departed and returned to his parents' house, where he would add on rooms or whatever was necessary to accommodate his new wife. Jesus said He was going to His Father's house to prepare a place for us.

In the meantime, the bride busied herself preparing her trousseau. She may have used a loom to weave fine fabrics, if that was her skill. Or, she went to the marketplace to purchase cloth from which she fashioned beautiful garments that would thrill her new husband. She expanded her skill sets, so she could cook, bake, clean, entertain guests and all the other demands and customs of her culture. She would prove herself to be a delightful homemaker when she set up housekeeping for her husband.

All that preparation took about a year for him and for her. During that year, the bride kept herself pure and virginal for her husband. By Jewish law and custom, their engagement was as binding as the wedding ceremony to come. She was as good as married and his wife, though the marriage had yet to be consummated.

That is why when Mary became pregnant with Jesus, Joseph was so upset. They were married in his eyes, yet his beloved had had an affair with another man...or so he thought. He could have had her stoned to death, because she was an adulteress! No, not in her case. She was pregnant by the Holy Spirit and the baby developing within her was the Son of God!

Welcome to the Church age, the age of the Holy Spirit! If you have been born again by faith and confession of Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you became His promised bride! You pledged yourself to Him and Him alone. This is an engagement period while you wait for His return to get you and bring you to His Father's house! As you wait, you are putting on new and fresh garments made white in the blood of the Lamb! You are keeping busy sharing about God's plan of salvation and winning souls to Jesus. And you are feeding on Jesus' love letters to your heart, the Bible, because you love and miss Him so much.

However, if that doesn't describe you, perhaps you, too, are like the rich young ruler. Obscure to him, but plainly seen in the words of Exodus, is the next of the Ten Instructions given by God to Israel on Mount Sinai. "You shall not make for yourself an idol or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God...showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments."

Perhaps you have allowed things---stuff---possessions and pride to captivate your heart and attention. You no longer love God with all your heart, soul and mind. You have let other things become your top priority. Friend, that is adultery. You promised yourself to Jesus first and above all other things in life, but your attention is no longer fixated on Jesus; you flirt with the world or worse. That is adultery!

Which is why the rich young ruler went away sad. He was an adulterer. His money, his reputation, his possessions owned him. His heart didn't really belong to God. He went through the motions, but when push came to shove, he wasn't ready to give up everything he owned in obedience to Jesus to follow Him.

So, the question remains: are YOU an adulterer or adulteress? Consider your answer carefully. Your destiny hinges on it. "You cannot serve two masters!"

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Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE ®
© Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission.
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