The ruler had asked what he must do to inherit eternal life, and Jesus had said, “If thou wilt be perfect.” Only perfect obedience under the Law would give life, let alone consecration and following Jesus in the Gospel Age. The rich, young ruler went away sorrowfully, “for he had great possessions” (verse 22). The discussion terminated at that point, for a sensitive area had been touched.
Not many noble, wise, mighty, or rich are called (1 Cor. 1:26). The ruler’s neighbors probably considered him exemplary, but God does the calling. Usually He purposely calls those who are not so well esteemed in order to put to foolishness the wisdom of men. God can make something out of nothing, and He can make something into nothing. He calls the humble to put to nothingness that which men admire profoundly. As a result, no flesh will be able to glory in its own presence. Paul’s reasoning is like a sequel to this incident with the rich ruler. Those who know they are “sick” need a physician; those who feel whole are less likely to seek help.