And behold, one came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” (Matthew 19:16-17; emphasis added)
There are a couple things worth noticing here. First, the rich young man clearly thought he must do something in order to have eternal life. What’s interesting is that Jesus does not give the Protestant sola fide answer. Instead, He tells him exactly what to do: keep the commandments.
He said to him, “Which?” And Jesus said, “You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have observed; what do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions. (Matthew 19:18-22)
As an aside, please note: the Lord Jesus did not call him a liar when he told Him that he had kept the Law. This flies in the face of the Reformed doctrine of “total depravity,” according to which such a thing is impossible.
But I digress.
What did Jesus answer him? He told him some things to do: sell his stuff, give to the poor, and he would have treasure in heaven. The key thing here is that at at no point in their conversation does the Lord tell him anything like “You do not have to do anything. Just have faith in Me.” No. That is not what Christ said. Rather, He told the young man to go and do something. So once again we find yet another passage of the Bible—indeed, Christ’s own words—that clearly contradict the Protestant idea of sola fide.