Matthew 19 records an exchange between the Lord Jesus and a young ruler concerning good deeds and eternal life. The young ruler asked, “What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” (v. 16). The Lord responded, “Why do you ask Me concerning what is good? There is only One who is good” (v. 17). A note on the word One in Holy Bible Recovery Version (published by Living Stream Ministry) says, “This One is God. Only God is good. This indicates not only that the young man asking the question was not good but also that the Lord Jesus is God, who is good. If He were not God, He too would not be good.” This note matches Paul’s speaking in Romans 3:12, which says, “there is none who does good; there is not so much as one.” It also fits the overall tone of the New Testament. Only God is good (Psa. 119:68).
Since man ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Genesis 3:6, he has been distracted by good and evil. Anything “good” that is not God Himself is of the tree of knowledge and issues in death (2:17). The young ruler in Matthew 19 had the right aspiration—eternal life—but no way of achieving it; he thought that he only needed to do something good. However, since the young ruler did not have God as the unique good, he had no way of doing anything good in order to have eternal life.
We need to realize that the only genuine goodness that we can have before God must be God Himself. We need to see also that it is God’s good pleasure to transmit Himself as the unique Good into us. For this reason Psalm 16:2 says, “You are my Lord; / No good have I beyond You,” and Psalm 68:19 says, “Blessed be the Lord, who day by day loads us with good; / God is our salvation.” Today, let us come forward to God, the One who is good, so He may load us with Himself as good, and bring us into the enjoyment of the eternal life with all its blessings.
Witness Lee, Christ and the Church Revealed and Typified in the Psalms, Chapter 10 (Print).
(Most references in the Further Reading can also be viewed on www.ministrybooks.org.)