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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1029. What must I do to be saved? (8/4/24)

This week, as we continue in our Luke series, we will be reflecting on The Parable of the Good Samaritan. Today we see how this parable wants to teach us of our failure. To be healed, we must first be broken. 

‘On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘What is written in the Law?’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’ He answered, ‘ “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”; and, “Love your neighbour as yourself.”’ ‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘Do this and you will live.’ But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’’ (Luke 10:25-29)

Lesson: To be saved by Christ, we must first give up hope of saving ourselves. 

To listen to this devotional, go to:

I’m sure that we’ve all heard about people doing the seeming impossible. They run a marathon a day for a year. They do the Iron Man competition. They climb the highest mountain without oxygen… You can even read the book of world records and be astounded by human capabilities. However, you will never find a person in heaven who has worked his way there! And it’s this fallacy that’s revealed in the question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” 

I wonder how you would respond to this question, “what must I do to be saved?” One’s answer to this question reveals a lot. Like this man, many think that that God expects them to do things in order to be saved; they believe that God will accept them or reject them based upon their performance. 

This man, a religious expert, is able to answer his own question with a summary of God’s law:  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”; and, “Love your neighbour as yourself.”’ To which, Jesus responds, ‘“Do this and you will live”’. 

What does Jesus mean by this response? Is He teaching him, and us, that salvation is found in our perfect obedience? No! This interaction is designed to humble this man, and us, of all hopes of saving ourselves; any humble person will know that they’ve failed, and could never,  love God and people in such a perfect fashion. A sure mark that someone is not a Christian is how they respond to God’s Law. The Law is perfectly good because it’s God’s Law. However, it  reveals our sin and condemns us in order to lead us to Jesus. Paul writes:

‘Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.  Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.’ (Romans 3:19-20) 

I wonder what you would say are signs that the Holy Spirit is at work in someone or a church? However we may answer that question, conviction of sin is a very important feature when the Sprit is working. True revival often begins with a deep sense of sin. Jesus said of the Spirit’s ministry:

‘When he [the Spirit] comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me;  about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.’ (John 16:8-11)

As Jesus sought to lead this man away from self-righteousness, so the Spirit, leads us to give up hope of saving ourselves - of justifying ourselves - and leads us to put our faith entirely in Christ. The Spirit is jealous for the glory of Christ and He is grieved when we glorify ourselves by resting in any way upon ourselves. 


To be saved by Christ, we must first give up hope of saving ourselves. This is why Jesus said, 

‘Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”’ (Matthew 19:23-24) 

Jesus is not saying that poor people have less sin or that the rich are less worthy. He also not making a point about the virtues of being poor over being rich. Rather, Jesus is teaching that those who have grown rich are less likely to be ready to humble themselves and admit that they are sinners and need Jesus to save them - those who are full of themselves will find it very hard to embrace Christ! Michael Reeves writes:

‘A man strong in himself can very rarely proclaim a suffering Saviour. His strength means he can’t acknowledge the depth of Christ’s mercy to him. His brilliance gets in the way of Christ’s. The first work of grace in the sinner is a pulling down of the old man and a demolition of his vaunting and deluded self-confidence and self-love. All our natural avoidance of guilt—all the blame-shifting and excuses, all the “mistakes were made, but not by me”—is ended. We are driven out of ourselves that we might trust only in Christ and not on ourselves anymore.’ (Reeves. Authentic Ministry. P. 30)

When we read God’s Word and His Law do we know our failure but that we are justified by faith? Does God’s Word continue to condemn us or will we allow it to drive us to worship and celebrate God’s grace in Christ? 



1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Please ensure that the members of your group are aware and familiar with using the daily devotionals which is accessed in Church News, the Teaching button on the website and are now available on the major podcast platforms. 

2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? 

3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.

4. Study and pray together

Our message from our series in Luke on Sunday, based upon The Parable of the Good Samaritan was entitled, 'Go and do Likewise'. Jesus uses this parable to show us how Christians are to live in order to please God, serve Him and become effective in reaching this world with the gospel.  

Please read Luke 10:25-37, and discuss: 

  • Did God speak to you about anything specifically from Sunday’s message?

  • What does the man’s question, “What must I do to be saved?” and the phrase, ‘he wanted to justify himself’,  reveal about his approach to religion? 

  • How do we see Jesus and the gospel in this story? 

  • How is this parable designed to humble us before we seek to apply it? 

  • How are we to live in response to this parable? 

  • SIV - What does this parable teach about SIV (Serve, Invest and inVite)?

  • SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  • Let’s pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV; and pray for anything else that’s came out of our time in God’s Word.

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