The young man said to him, ‘All these I have kept. What do I still lack?’” (Matthew 19:20). Shedd continues to draw truths out of this little verse; well, there’s a lot to be drawn out! Shedd observes, “The deep and fundamental sin of the young ruler . . . lay in what he lacked. When our Lord tested him, he proved to be utterly destitute of love to God.” Of course, this charge is made against every unregenerate person. In his (and our) natural state, this young man was “not possessed of that pure and perfect character which his Maker gave him in the beginning” and, so, he was naturally lacking love toward his Creator.
The answer to the question “What do I still lack?” is: “You (all of us) lack original righteousness, the holiness with which God created humans, that perfection of character coming fresh from the hand of God in the person of Adam.” On our own, we are unable to repossess this character but there is hope. Shedd closes this sermon: “Hear [Jesus’] words of calm confidence and power: ‘Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
Not what my hands have done
can save my guilty soul,
not what my toiling flesh has borne
can make my spirit whole.
Not what I feel or do
can give me peace with God,
not all my prayers and sighs and tears
can bear my awful load.
Thy work alone, O Christ,
can ease this weight of sin,
thy blood alone, O Lamb of God,
can give me peace within.
Thy love to me, O God,
not mine, O Lord, to thee,
can rid me of this dark unrest
and set my spirit free. -- Horatius Bonar (1864)