In Matthew 19: 16-30, Luke 18: 18-30, what is the difference between eternal life and treasure in heaven? Did Jesus imply that keeping the commandments did not reach Eternal life?

  • Try to edit and clarify what you've posted, making it at most two questions. Thanks. Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 20:40

5 Answers 5


Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Eternal life is a gift.

Revelation 22:12 Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.

Reward is based on works. Treasure in heaven is a reward.

Matthew 6:20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Treasures in heaven are secure and eternal.

Do Jews attain eternal life by keeping the commandments?

Matthew 5:20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

The rich young man failed both by failing to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 19:23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 19:24 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.”

25When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

26Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

The lesson of this encounter is that we should focus on God and faith and not on the law.


I appreciate you asking about eternal life, not heaven.

The initial laws weren't given to show the Jews how to have everlasting life. They were given so that Israelites could be His people, to stand in God's presence. It is amazing to think that Adam and Eve were able to stand before God. But once judgement was pronounced in the garden and they were cast out, they could no longer stand before God almighty.

Paul tells us why the law was given in Romans 3:19-20(1),

19Now 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. 20Therefore 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.

If the law didn't give eternal life, what did?

According to scripture, God wanted us to love Him from our heart. He wants our hearts. 1 Samuel 16:7 reveals how we know this:

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

Also Proverbs 4:23,

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

And Deutoronomy 29:18-19,

18Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the LORD our God to go and worship the gods of those nations. Make sure there is no root among you that bears such poisonous and bitter fruit, 19because when such a person hears the words of this oath, he invokes a blessing on himself, saying, ‘I will have peace, even though I walk in the stubbornness of my own heart.’

God is looking at the orientation of the heart of a person, whether we love Him with all whole heart, soul, mind and strength, as declared by Moses in Deutoronomy 6:4-5,

4Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is One. 5And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Hear - Shema - Listening, in our culture, is a mental activity, and hearing just means that our ears pick up sounds. But in Hebrew, the word shema describes hearing and also its effects – taking heed, being obedient, doing what is asked. Any parent who yells at their children, “Were you listening?” when they ignore a command to pick up their rooms understands that listening should result in action. In fact, almost every place we see the word “obey” in the Bible, it is translated from the word shema.

He wants a people who loved Him with their hearts. That love caused them to have faith and be obedient.

Hebrews 11 has a hall of fame including Abraham, Noah, Rahab, Enoch, etc. Showing the acts they did in faith because they loved and believed in God.

The prophet declares in Habakkuk 2:4,

Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God.

Job is a man who was faithful and had a heart turned towards God, as recorded in Job 1:5,

When these celebrations ended, sometimes after several days, Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, “Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular practice.

Finally, Micah sums up what God wanted all along like this in Micah 6:6-8,

6With what do I come before Jehovah? Do I bow to God Most High? Do I come before Him with burnt-offerings? With calves -- sons of a year? 7 Is Jehovah pleased with thousands of rams? With myriads of streams of oil? Do I give my first-born [for] my transgression? The fruit of my body [for] the sin of my soul?

8 He hath declared to thee, O man, what [is] good; Yea, what is Jehovah requiring of thee, Except -- to do judgment, and love kindness, And lowly to walk with thy God?

Let's tie this all together.

For anyone to attain eternal life before Christ, God wants them to love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and love their neighbor as themselves. They would be obedient to His words out of love, not duty. This obedience was based on a love and faith that they could trust God for He first loved them.

Your next questions:

Did Jesus imply that keeping the commandments did not reach Eternal life?

Correct. You are saved by faith in his resurrection.

Jesus declares in Matthew 5:17-18,

17“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

And Paul says in Romans 10:9-10,

9because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

So we are saved by faith in the resurrection of Christ by God. We confess it with our mouth because we believe it in our heart.

Paul continues in Ephesians 2:8-9,

8For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

In Matthew 19: 16-30, Luke 18: 18-30, what is the difference between eternal life and treasure in heaven?

Here is an article on treasures in heaven.

Eternal life is about our life in eternity that we achieve through faith in Jesus Christ.

Treasure is about the rewards God gives through Christ for our life lived in faith to him. It is rewards after we become a new creation through Christ.

  1. All Scripture quotes from NLT
  • I have edited to add quote formatting and bible version. You can modify my edit, or roll back to your original if you prefer.
    – enegue
    Commented Jul 28, 2020 at 4:53
  • Thank you for the edit. It looks better
    – BPowell
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 3:36

You have at least 2 questions there. I’ll answer the one in the subject.

Do Jews attain eternal life by keeping the commandments? No, they do not. The law is not designed to give life. (Follow the link for a fuller treatment of this concept. https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/49119/36712)

Your question focuses specifically on the Jews, so let’s look at that in greater detail.

“But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God … you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭2:17, 21-23‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Paul directly addresses Jews who rely on keeping the law for favor with God. He points out that teaching others to obey is worthless if one does not obey himself.

“What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:23-24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Paul then makes abundantly clear that everyone, including Jews, are condemned by the law because all have sinned. It is not possible for anyone to be justified by the works of the law.

“For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:28-29‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Paul’s argument started as an explanation to the Jews that the works of the law cannot justify them. For Jews, justification is by faith. Then he adds that the Gentiles are justified in exactly the same way.

I’ll try to answer the question(s) in the body of your post in a separate reply, if time permits.


Matthew 19:24 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.”

25When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

The disciples were greatly astonished because they thought eternal life can be attained by keeping the law..

  • What Is the Kingdom of God? What is eternal life? they are the same?
    – Betho's
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 15:22

No, Jesus does not say that keeping Mosaic commandments is enough for "entering life", i.e. inheriting the Heavenly Kingdom.

Then, why does He say "keep [Mosaic] commandments" and then immediately apparently denies Himself saying that this keeping of Mosaic commandment is deficient, that is to say, not enough for entering life, for "one thing is still lacking" means exactly that, i.e. lacking for you with respect of inheriting the eternal life.

But this self-contradiction is only apparent. Jesus, in fact, seeing the thirst of the young man for a greater and a more intimate presence of the divine in his life than that provided by the keeping the Law, by His first statement helped the man to zoom upon, so to say, to emphasise in himself and to realise better the feeling of lack and deficiency, which led him to Jesus. When he did so, then Jesus tells him the essence of this deficiency and offers him the way to overcome it, to become perfect.

The gist of this new perspective Jesus gives to him is that he should not treat Him just as a human teacher, but as the one to whom the epithet "good" pertains properly, that is to say, as to God - for that is the reason for why He reprimanded the young man for calling Him "good" in human terms, while Jesus claims this epithet for Himself in the same terms as with respect of God-the Father.

That is why He, while in another place commands His followers to be "perfect as the Heavenly Father" (Matthew 5:48), here He says that He is as perfect as the Father, because it is He who provides perfection to His followers by saying "if you want to be perfect, sell everything and follow Me", for the one who provides perfection must necessarily be not only perfect Himself, but even the very Fountainhead of Perfection, i.e. God.

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