And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said to him, You are not far from the kingdom of God…
If there are some so far away that they at times fall into a despair of ever reaching it, there are a greater number so near that they sink into an apathetic contentment with being almost Christians. Those who are far off may come to be nigh, when the children of the kingdom are cast out.
1. Though the distance may not seem great, there is momentous importance in it. A great deal depends on being a Christian, and to be a Christian needs something more than a decent arrangement of the natural life. The end of man's soul can only be found in looking to God, and learning to stand right with Him. Otherwise, it is to let a plant cling to the earth that was made to climb, and that can bring forth its best flowers and fruits only when it ascends; as if a palace were tenanted in its dungeons and lower rooms, while the higher apartments, commanding infinitely the best view, were left desolate; or as if a city had its streets crowded with traffic, and filled with the labour and din of busy life, while the temples, which tell of man's dignity by pointing him to God, remained in untrodden silence, and became the homes only of the dead. Can a man, who has a soul, feel that it is well with him in such a state? And yet thus he stands while he refuses to admit God to His rightful place.
2. The harmful effect of this position upon others. When there is a nature which has so much of the beautiful and attractive outside the proper Christian sphere, it is apt to give shallow-minded persons the idea that the gospel is not so necessary as the Bible declares.
3. The only security for permanence in what is naturally attractive in man, consists in connecting it with God. The brightest and most beautiful things of the heart lie all unshielded if God's shadow be not over them. The conflicts of life, the assaults of passion, the irritations of care and ill-success, and the resentments against man's injustice, will corrode and canker the finest heart if it be not constantly drawing the corrective from a Divine source. Even without these trials, whatever has not God in it is smitten with the inevitable law of decay.
(John Ker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.