Matthew 19:16, What good thing. Yeshua’s answer to the rich young ruler when he asks him what he must do to have eternal life might, in a cursory reading, appear that Yeshua is promoting a works based salvation. However this is not the case. Yeshua cleverly shows the young man that he is incapable of obtaining eternal life through good works, for man isn’t capable of perfectly following the Torah. In the case of the young man, he thought himself to be perfectly righteous, when in reality, Yeshua showed him that he was covetous, and therefore still an unrighteous sinner thus disqualifying himself from reward of eternal life. Yeshua, on the contrary, instead of promoting a works-based salvation model, instructs the young man to deal with his sin by selling his possessions and giving the proceeds to the poor, and then becoming a follower of him. The lesson here is that salvation and eternal life can come only as we turn from our sin and become a follower of Yeshua.
What Yeshua is really saying when he answers the young man’s question in verse 21 is this: “If you want to be perfect [Gr. teleios meaning “brought to its end, finished; wanting nothing necessary to completeness”],” turn from sin by obeying the Torah more completely, but also follow the Messiah by becoming his disciple. Remember, to hear and to obey (Heb. shema) the Messiah was a command of the Torah as well (Deut 18:15), and to not believe in him is sin (John 16:9 cp. 3:18). So according to the Bible, to be spiritually perfect or complete one must, as Yeshua said, love him by keeping his (Torah) commandments (John 14:15). It is the Torah that shows us how to love Elohim (and our fellow man as well).
Yeshua makes a similar point in his exchange with a scribe in Mark 12:28–34. While extolling the virtues of Torah-obedience, and commending the scribe for his understanding of the deeper heart issues of Torah-obedience, Yeshua makes an interesting concluding statement. He tells the scribe, “You are not far from the kingdom of Elohim (v. 34) as if to tell him, “You’re on the right spiritual track with regard to your Torah-obedience, and you’re heading for the kingdom, but that alone won’t get you into the kingdom. You must also become a disciple of Yeshua.
Genesis 3:23, To till/work [Heb. abad] the ground [Heb. adamah] from which he was taken. Adam means “man, mankind, ground, land, and is a cognate to adom meaning “red,” and relates to the ruddiness of man’s complexion. According to The TWOT, this word has to do with the man as being created in Elohim’s image, the crown of his creation.
In this verse, Elohim commissioned Adam to work or to serve the earth/adamah.
In a homiletic sense, this command of YHVH could be construed to mean that Adam/man who is spiritually rough and ruddy, yet who is created in the image of Elohim, has been commissioned to work on himself to work on and to conquer his [base] sin nature and to bring himself into conformity with the image of YHVH.
Another facet of this idea could be that through the experiences and struggles of hard work, man will learn to overcome his fallen sin nature and rise to the higher calling of becoming like Elohim in nature. In a sense, hard work is part of man’s redemption process.
In a most fundamental sense, YHVH created man to serve or take care of the earth. Therefore, agriculture and horticulture are the professions that are the closest to YHVH’s original purpose for man.
Genesis 3:9–13, Where are you? Elohim asks Adam and Eve direct and specific questions, but instead of taking personal responsibility and answering the questions, they defend themselves, make excuses, justify themselves, blame shift, and accuse others including blaming Elohim. When confronted with their sin, humans have been doing this ever since—defending self and ego at all expenses. This is the result of the taint of sin and this behavior has been passed on from one generation to the next. The Spirit-led person must counter this proclivity of the soul to justify, excuse and obfuscate one’s sin.
Furthermore, when YHVH asked the first humans where they were after they had sinned, he wasn’t asking them where they were physically. Being omniscient, he knew this already. Instead, he was asking them them, “Where are you spiritually in your relationship with me in regards to obedience to the instructions in righteousness I gave you to obey?” This is the same questions the Creator is still asking men to this day.