The Review and Herald

1359/1902

January 12, 1905

The Condition of Gaining Eternal Life

EGW

All the instruction that any one needs in order to gain eternal life is found in the Word of God. This Word is a revelation of the divine will, given to us that by a daily study of it, our characters, showing daily improvement, may become transformed to the likeness of the character of the great Medical Missionary. RH January 12, 1905, par. 1

The Word of God is definite and specific, pointing out plainly the path to heaven. Those who heed the teachings of this Word will not turn their feet into false paths. Not only is the right way pointed out, but man is commanded to walk in that way, lest by setting a wrong example, he shall lead others in the path that ends in ruin. RH January 12, 1905, par. 2

“And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” RH January 12, 1905, par. 3

The young man who asked this question was a ruler. He had great possessions, and occupied a position of responsibility. Not long before he asked Christ this question, the mothers had brought their children to the Saviour to receive his blessing. The disciples would have kept these mothers away from their Master, but Jesus rebuked them, saying, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” RH January 12, 1905, par. 4

The ruler saw the love that Christ revealed for these children; he saw how tenderly he received them; and his heart kindled with love for the Saviour. He felt a desire to be his disciple. He was so deeply moved that as Christ was going on his way, he ran after him, and kneeling at his feet, asked with sincerity and earnestness the question so important to his soul and to the soul of every human being: “Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” RH January 12, 1905, par. 5

“Why callest thou me good?” Christ said; “there is none good but one, that is, God.” Jesus desired to test the ruler's sincerity, and to draw from him the way in which he regarded him as good. Did he realize that the One to whom he was speaking was the Son of God? What was the true sentiment of his heart? RH January 12, 1905, par. 6

“If thou wilt enter into life,” Christ continued, “keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which?” In response Jesus quoted several of the commandments: “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.” RH January 12, 1905, par. 7

The ruler's answer to this was positive: “All these things have I kept from my youth up. What lack I yet?” RH January 12, 1905, par. 8

“One thing thou lackest,” Jesus said. “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, take up the cross, and follow me.” Christ read the ruler's heart. He laid his hand upon his idol,—his earthly possessions,—which he must renounce before he could be found wanting in nothing. The possessions that he called his own were the Lord's, entrusted to him to be used for the very purpose that Christ has pointed out,—for the help of the poor and needy, for the relief of suffering humanity, to clothe the naked and feed the hungry. RH January 12, 1905, par. 9

Had the ruler been willing to obey Christ, great would have been the good that he might have done in following the Saviour's example. But he was not willing. The cost of eternal life seemed too great, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions. The Saviour was not so much to him as his own name among men, or his possessions. To give up his earthly treasure, which was seen, for the heavenly treasure, which was unseen, was too great a risk. He refused the offer of eternal life, and ever after the world was to receive his worship. RH January 12, 1905, par. 10

Christ came to this world to give men and women an example of how to do true missionary work. He came to bring to human beings physical and spiritual healing. Laying aside his royal robe and kingly crown, he stepped down from his high command in the heavenly courts, and, clothing his divinity with humanity, came to this world to help human beings to rid themselves of selfish practises, and to give themselves to the service of God in helping others. RH January 12, 1905, par. 11

The healing of diseased souls and diseased bodies,—this was Christ's work in our world, and it is our work also. His words to the rich young ruler, “Sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven,” are spoken to all who possess this world's goods. If they will follow Christ's example, using their entrusted possessions to relieve the physical and spiritual necessities of those less fortunate than themselves, they will secure the enduring riches of eternal life. RH January 12, 1905, par. 12

To those who, like the young ruler, are in high positions of truth, and have great possessions, it may seem too great a sacrifice to give up all in order to follow Christ. But this is the rule of conduct for all who would become his disciples. Nothing short of it can be accepted. Self-surrender is the keynote of the teachings of Christ. Often it is presented and enjoined in language that seems authoritative, because God sees that there is no other way to save man than to cut away from his life that which, if entertained, would demoralize the whole being. RH January 12, 1905, par. 13

The work of evangelizing the world has been greatly hindered by personal selfishness. Some, even among professed Christians, are shortsighted, unable to see that the work of the gospel is to be supported by the goods that Christ has entrusted to them. Are we obeying the Saviour's instructions? Are we following his example? If we are truly converted, we shall regard ourselves as God's almoners, and will dispense for the advancement of his work the means that he has placed in our hands. Money is needed in order that the work waiting to be done all over our world may be carried forward. If Christ's words were obeyed, there would be thousands where there are hundreds willing to carry out his directions to the ruler. The Lord has entrusted to men and women an abundance of means for the carrying forward of his plan of mercy and benevolence. He bids his stewards of means to invest their money in the work of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and preaching the gospel to the poor. Perfection of character can not possibly be attained without self-sacrifice. RH January 12, 1905, par. 14

When Christ's followers give back to the Lord his own, they are accumulating treasure which will be theirs when they hear the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, ... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” “Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The joy of seeing souls redeemed, souls eternally saved, is the reward of all who follow in the steps of him who said, “Follow me.” RH January 12, 1905, par. 15

There are many in our world who are longing to hear the words of life. But how can they hear without a preacher? And how can those sent to teach them live without support? God would have the lives of his followers carefully sustained. They are his property, and he is dishonored when they are compelled to labor in a way that injures their health. He is dishonored, also, when, for lack of means, workers can not be sent to destitute fields. RH January 12, 1905, par. 16

We are at this time making special efforts to set in operation certain lines of work in different places. These lines of work must have support. My brethren and sisters, read carefully the following scripture, and ask God to help you to do justice to the needs of his work: RH January 12, 1905, par. 17

“He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work, ... being enriched in everything to all bountifulness.” RH January 12, 1905, par. 18