Matthew 19:21 - The Rich Young Man: Which Law Did He Break? - part 1.

Mat.19:21; The Rich Young Man: Which Law Did He Break? - part 1.

Mat 19:21 (NLT)  Jesus told him, "If you want to be perfect, go 
and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will 
have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 

Perfect or Complete: i.e., genuinely pleasing to God. [Ryrie SB]

"Do not covet." This was the rich man's main problem and was 
preventing him from entering life. [NIV SB] 

The man was being asked to prove his claim to have kept the 
commandments, especially the one that says "You shall love your neighbor as 
yourself". [Ryrie SB] 

If the young man loved his neighbor to the extent required by 
the Law of Moses, he would have had no difficulty in giving away his 
wealth to needy people. [Nelson SB] 

In response to the young man's question about how to have 
eternal life, Jesus told him to keep God's Ten Commandments. Jesus then 
listed six of them, all referring to relationships with others. When 
the young man replied that he had kept the commandments, Jesus told 
him that he must do something more--sell everything and give the 
money to the poor. Jesus' statement exposed the man's weakness. In 
reality, his wealth was his god, his idol, and he would not give it up. 
Thus he violated the first and greatest commandment... We cannot love 
God with all our heart and yet keep our money to ourselves. Loving 
him totally means using our money in ways that please him. [Life 
Application SB] 

Jesus mentioned several commandments from the second table of 
the Decalogue, then summed them all up in the precept, "Thou shalt 
love thy neighbour as thyself." The young man answered without 
hesitation, "All these things have I kept from my youth up; what lack I 
yet?" His conception of the law was external and superficial. Judged 
by a human standard, he had preserved an unblemished character. To 
a great degree his outward life had been free from guilt; he 
verily thought that his obedience had been without a flaw. Yet he had a 
secret fear that all was not right between his soul and God.... The lover 
of self is a transgressor of the law. This Jesus desired to reveal 
to the young man, and He gave him a test that would make manifest 
the selfishness of his heart. He showed him the plague spot in his 
character.... He had cherished an idol in the soul; the world was his god. He 
professed to have kept the commandments, but he was destitute of the 
principle which is the very spirit and life of them all. He did not 
possess true love for God or man. COL390-2 

The rich young man represents another approach people have taken 
in an effort to achieve spiritual greatness. When questioned, the 
young man showed that unlike many in his day he had consistently tried 
to do what is right in every human relationship. 
But each of the commands quoted by Jesus came from the "second 
tablet" of the Ten Commandments. That tablet sets standards for man's 
relationship with other men. What about the "first tablet," and those 
commands which deal with man's personal relationship with the LORD? 
Jesus' answer, "Go sell your possessions and give to the poor 
then come follow Me", was designed to show the young man that his 
wealth came before God. This individual "went away sad," for he was 
wealthy. In a choice between God and money this young man chose money. 
The first commandment of the Ten is, "You shall love the LORD 
your God." No matter how benevolent or just a person may be in his 
relationships with others, unless he or she loves God supremely, there can be 
no spiritual growth or achievement. 
Let's remember this when the humanist praises good works, and 
assumes all that counts is being or doing good. The best person in the 
world who does not love God has broken the first and greatest 
commandment, for our supreme obligation is to love the LORD. [The 365-Day 
Devotional Commentary mod] 

If someone obeys all of God's laws except one, that person is 
guilty of breaking all of them. James 2:10 (GWT)   

This ruler had a high estimate of his own righteousness. He did 
not really suppose that he was defective in anything, yet he was not 
altogether satisfied. He felt the want of something that he did not 
possess.... One thing he lacked, but that was a vital principle. He needed 
the love of God in the soul. This lack, unless supplied, would prove 
fatal to him; his whole nature would become corrupted. By indulgence, 
selfishness would strengthen. That he might receive the love of God, his 
supreme love of self must be surrendered.... He must take up the cross, 
and follow the Saviour in the path of self-denial.... His exalted 
position and his possessions were exerting a subtle influence for evil 
upon his character. If cherished, they would supplant God in his 
affections.... His claim that he had kept the law of God was a deception. He 
showed that riches were his idol. He could not keep the commandments of 
God while the world was first in his affections. He loved the gifts 
of God more than he loved the Giver. Christ had offered the young 
man fellowship with Himself. "Follow Me,".... DA518-523 

He had to sell his many possessions, give the proceeds to the 
poor, and by way of the cross, enter in to new life with Jesus. This 
requirement is not possible apart from the miraculous intervention of the 
Holy Spirit into the life.  Wise are the words of the martyr Jim 
Elliot who said, "He is no fool, who gives what he cannot keep, to gain 
what he cannot lose."  What is the Lord requiring of you?  Do you 
need to heed His words from this passage?  For this man, there didn't 
seem to be a middle ground, no compromise.  The Lord still permits no 
compromises today. Anything more precious to you than God must be given away 
immediately. If you will it, God will give you the strength to do it, and 
come into a right relationship with Him! [In His Time; Walk With