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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW - Chapter 19 - Verse 17

Verse 17. Why callest thou me good? Why do you give to me a title that belongs only to God? You suppose me to be only a man. Yet you give me an appellation that belongs only to God. It is improper to use titles in this manner. As you Jews use them, they are unmeaning. And though the title may apply to me, yet you did not intend to use it in the sense in which it is proper, as denoting infinite perfection, or Divinity; but you intended to use it as a complimentary or a flattering title, applied to me as if I were a mere man—a title which belongs only to God. The intention, the habit of using mere titles, and applying as compliment terms belonging only to God, is wrong, Christ did not intend here to disclaim Divinity, or to say anything about his own character; but simply to reprove the intention and habit of the young man—a most severe reproof of a foolish habit of compliment and flattery, and seeking pompous title.

Keep the commandments. That is, do what God has commanded. He, in the next verses, informs him what he meant by the commandments. Jesus said this, doubtless, to try him, and to convince him that he had by no means kept the commandments; and that in supposing he had, he was altogether deceived. The young man thought he had kept them, and was relying on them for salvation. It was of great importance, therefore, to convince him that he was, after all, a sinner. Christ did not mean to say that any mail would be saved by the works of the law, for the Bible teaches plainly that such will not be the case, Ro 3:20,28; 4:6; Gal 2:16; Eph 2:9; 2 Ti 1:9.

At the same time, however, [it is true that if a man perfectly complied with the requirements of the law, he would be saved...EDITOR'S NOTE; the preceding is utter nonsense, please refer to Ga 2:16] for there would be no reason why he should be condemned. Jesus, therefore, since he saw he was depending on his works, told him that if he would enter life he must keep the commandments; if he was depending on them, he must keep them perfectly; and if this was done, [he would be saved...EDITOR'S NOTE this is utter nonsense, I again refer the reader to Ga 2:16] The reasons why Christ gave him this direction were, probably,

1st. Because it was his duty to keep them.

2nd. Because the young man depended on them, and he ought to understand what was required if he did—that they should be kept perfectly, or that they were not kept at all.

3rd. Because he wanted to test him, to show him that he did not keep them, and thus to show him his need of a Saviour.

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