So even though he had faith in Jesus, it was not enough?
When Jesus told him to give all he had to the poor and follow him and great would be his reward in heaven, he was not saying those who do this are saved in that action of giving to the poor, but that those who follow him AND do these good works will have a great reward in heaven. Remember when he said anyone who gave up houses or lands or mother or father, etc., for Christ's sake would receive a hundred fold in this life and in the one to come.
So faith is not enough? There must be works? This is a strong Catholic admission from you, dear bb. Don't worry, I won't tell the harpies...
No, the guy did NOT have faith in Jesus, hence, that is why he went on his way. The very thought of giving up what was the most important thing to him - his wealth - was unthinkable. Why else would he have refused to follow Jesus? Anyone who values anything in this life over eternity with the Lord is not thinking by faith. So, no, faith IS what is required of us. The kind of faith that trusts Christ so much that all else is loss without him. The kind that rests completely in his sacrifice for us as the only way to God. The kind that sees our own merit as nothing but dirty rags compared to what he did for us.
What I firmly believe has been lost in certain people's idea of salvation is that we are utterly powerless to save ourselves and that if Christ had not come to save us we would all be rightfully condemned to an eternity apart from God. No amount of human effort, work, giving, striving and merit can earn what can only be granted by a sacrifice of blood/life of a perfect, sinless man and that was Christ Jesus. He was obviously more than a mere man, he was God himself in human form, eyeball-to-eyeball, heart-to-heart, mano-y-mano to bring us into fellowship with him. All our good deeds can only be as evidence of our gratitude for his mercy and grace and as expressions of our love for him because he first loved us. When we, by faith, accept his unspeakable gift we are placing our trust in him alone to save us and that is how God intended it to be - we have no right to boast.
He had more faith in his money.