Manuscript Releases, vol. 3 [Nos. 162-209]


“If Thou Wilt Enter Into Life”

Text: “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.” Matthew 19:16-22. 3MR 66.2

Here in this text we have our duty defined. In answer to the young man's question, “What ... shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Christ directed him to the commandments. If they were obeyed strictly to the letter then he would receive the precious boon desired—eternal life. The young man had supposed that he was a commandment keeper, being deceived in himself. Christ knew just where the young man failed, and He touched the plague spot of his life—his great possessions. These stood in the way of his loving God with his whole heart. He was not ready to follow his Master in self-denial, and in this he showed his weakness. He was not a true lover of God. There are many like the young man. When their duty is pointed out to them in keeping the Sabbath, they will be sorrowful because they are not willing to lift the cross. 3MR 67.1

Matthew 22:34-40. Here we have another case to the point. The lawyer asked Christ, “Which is the great commandment?” The answer was, that he should love God with all his heart, and his neighbor as himself. “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Now it is impossible for us to love God with all our heart while breaking the fourth commandment, for this precept stands in the center of the decalogue. We should be as a family of obedient children, having the fear of God before us—not slavish fear, but filial fear. There is promised a reward for the obedient and also punishment to the disobedient. Should we decree that God's law is not worthy to be kept, are we not enemies of the Lord? Would He not regard us as such? We are God's children. He has placed sacred things in our trust, and if we say we love Him and do not obey, then we have not the love of God perfected in us. But should we have our duty pointed out to us, then we should walk in the light as obedient children. Probation is given us to test us. God will not compel us to be obedient but we must see our duty, and then as dutiful children walk in harmony with His requirements. 3MR 67.2

We should also keep in mind that we have a wily foe to contend with, one that is constantly seeking to draw us away from God, but we should be determined that we will be the Lord's. We must not be discouraged and give up, but repent, and thus be represented as the good seed that fell upon good ground. We cannot expect instantaneous sanctification, but we must grow like the grain, as represented by Christ—first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain—and thus perfect a Christian character. We must become intelligent and earnest to know what our duty is and then walk in obedience to God's holy will. 3MR 68.1

Our natural heart has to be subdued and we will find that it is an everyday work. The promise is to the overcomer, and as we gain an experience on one point it will strengthen us for the duties that follow, and as we thus draw nigh to God, angels will draw nigh to us to strengthen us for our duty. If temptations come they will prove beneficial if resisted, because we shall learn to fly to Christ for help, and then we shall gain an experience that will fit us for eternal life. 3MR 68.2

As God looks upon the wicked cities He is grieved to see the masses turning a deaf ear to His requirements, but when men do walk in harmony with His will, then He will open new beauties and thus educate the mind how best to serve its Creator. We must keep our eye upon Jesus, the perfect Pattern, and if we do so we shall not be spiritual dwarfs. We must obtain knowledge of ourselves and depart from everything that is not like the perfect Pattern. This can be accomplished by a constant effort and by having our conversation in heaven. 3MR 68.3

And if we are channels of light we can be helps to those who desire to walk in the light. If we have the true light we cannot keep it to ourselves, but will be ever seeking out others to whom to impart it. We must search the Scriptures in order to be enabled to discharge our duty aright. It is our duty to perfect a Christian character, and when such character is formed then our example will tell on the Lord's side. As children of God we should wait and learn what the Lord says to us, and thus we shall receive the needed blessing to enable us to do our duty. And thus we shall lay up treasures in heaven. 3MR 69.1

The young man spoken of in our text represents a large class. When duty is brought to bear upon them they see a cross to be lifted. It is earthly treasures that hold the people and that is the reason that so few obey God. Those who are the true followers of Christ are entrusted with sacred truths to present to the world. We have been entrusted with talents, and when the Master comes to reckon with His servants, it will be seen if we have been faithful. We must not put our light under a bushel, but on a candlestick that all may see that we have been with Christ and learned of Him. In this way eternal life can be secured. 3MR 69.2

God has something for everyone to do. You may think your efforts will be fruitless, but if faithful, by and by your light will shine to all parts from North to South. One will kindle his taper from another and shine. Many lights will shine, and thus God's name will be magnified, and thus we shall be co-workers with Christ. 3MR 69.3

When Christ comes from heaven in the clouds He will then give eternal life to those who have been found faithful to their trust. Oh, what joy it will be to those that are worthy! They can then say with the apostle Paul, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2 Corinthians 4:17. Shall we not work for the Master? We must put our best intellect to work for the Master. We must confess Christ to the world in His matchless charms. Christ will soon come. Have we done our work? Can we say like the apostle, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith”? 2 Timothy 4:7. 3MR 69.4

Now is the time to fight the good fight of faith. Satan's power is great, but if we are walking in obedience the angels will assist us in our work. Let us follow Christ and love our neighbor as ourselves.—Manuscript 39, 1886, 1-4. (“If Thou Wilt Enter Into Life,” Sermon at Nimes, France, October 16, 1886.) 3MR 70.1