The Bible tells the story of a rich young ruler who asks Jesus the question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
His use of the word inherit is interesting — and a bit confounding.
His question implies that salvation is inherited. Is this a misconception of the man posing the question? Surely we cannot inherit a right relationship with God from our parents or relatives. This is not a condition that is passed on to us, but one we need to seek and receive on our own.
The man’s use of the word inherit, however, does imply that eternal life is a gift given after the death of a benefactor and it can’t be earned. These conclusions are both true.
We do not earn eternal life; it is given to us.
And, yes, someone had to die before we could receive this inheritance, but it’s not a relative; it’s Jesus.
Jesus died so we could inherit eternal life. Thank you, Jesus!
A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.