That’s an important question; one that definitely deserves to be looked at carefully.  Let’s being by reading Mark 10:17-18, “And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.”  This account is also given to us in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.  In Matthew 19:22 we learn that this man was, “young” and “…had great possessions.”  In Luke 18:18 we learn that this man was, “…a certain ruler…”  From this, most refer to this man as the ‘rich young ruler.’

From our portion in Mark 10, we see that this man RAN to meet the Lord.  When he came into His presence, he kneeled before the Lord and said these words, “Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”  I think most of us realize you cannot DO anything to gain an inheritance.  An inheritance comes to us when our benefactor dies and leaves us certain possessions.  The rich young ruler addresses the Lord as ‘Good Master.’  What does that indicate to us?  The word ‘master’ simply means ‘teacher’.  By addressing the Lord as a teacher, it seems to show to us that this man did not know or acknowledge as Jesus as Lord.  He simply acknowledged Him as a good teacher.  This will explain the Lord’s reply, when He said, “Why callest thou me good?  There is none good but one, that is, God.”

This rich young ruler did not see that Jesus was the Lord, he only saw him as a very good teacher.  When he addresses the Lord as ‘good’ the Lord took that opportunity to teach him about the nature of man.  The Apostle Paul later wrote concerning the nature of man in Romans 3:10-12, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

Let’s notice how this rich young ruler came running to the Lord and knelt before Him.  That seems to be a good thing, but let’s look at his words to the Lord.  He calls the Lord Jesus, “Good Master.”  Let’s compare this with what the Lord said to His disciples in John 13:13, “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.”  The rich young ruler and the disciples addressed the Lord as Master.  Only the true disciples, however, addressed the Lord as ‘Lord’.  This man only acknowledged Christ as a Good Master.  It is obvious that he did not recognize the Lord as being truly the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Lord Jesus, who knows men’s heart, knew that this man was not a believer.  It is true that this man had a true desire to get to Heaven, but nothing indicates that he had any desire to know and follow the Lord Jesus.

Since this man only recognized Christ as a man, then he needed to be shown that all men are sinful and that there are no ‘good’ men.  Thus, we have the words of the Lord Jesus in Mark 10:18, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.”  No man, regardless of how smart, compassionate, or benevolent the may me, is not good.  These words should have spoken to the heart of this young man, but he continued to try to convince the Lord that he was good and had kept the commandments from his youth up.  How about you, dear friend?  Are you still defending yourself in the face of a perfect God?  Are you still relying on your works to make you right with God?  Are you still working hard to ‘inherit eternal life’?  GIVE UP.  It is useless to try to gain your salvation through your own works or efforts.  Titus 3:5 tells us, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us.”  My friend there is none good, except God.  His goodness led him to die for the sins of all, so that all might be saved through faith in Him.  Have you accepted Christ as your savior?  (194.6)