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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899) - Contents
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    Ms 162, 1899

    “This Do, and Thou Shalt Live.”


    December 17, 1899 [typed]

    Previously unpublished. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

    “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” [Luke 10:25.]14LtMs, Ms 162, 1899, par. 1

    This is a question of the greatest importance to us all. It concerns our eternal interests. We cannot afford to remain in ignorance on this subject, for it relates to the salvation of the soul. To every heart is this question to come home, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” [Verse 25.] Not, What shall my neighbor do? or, What shall the community round me do? but, What shall I do? Your eternal welfare depends on the answer; therefore be sure to heed it and carry it in your heart.14LtMs, Ms 162, 1899, par. 2

    The Pharisees had prompted the lawyer to ask this question. With murder in their hearts they followed Christ where He went, hoping to hear Him say something by which they might accuse Him. Jesus understood their purpose. He knew that whatever answer He might make to the lawyer would be misconstrued and presented to the people as meaning something else. He let the lawyer answer his own question, disappointing the priests, who were listening for some word whereby they might accuse Him. Turning to the lawyer, Christ asked, “What is written in the law? how readest thou?” [Verse 26.]14LtMs, Ms 162, 1899, par. 3

    The lawyer answered, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” [Verse 27.] This includes the whole man. Obedience to God means entire self-surrender, entire devotion to God’s service. To love God supremely and his neighbor as himself comprises the whole duty of man. Those who in their lives carry out these two great principles will not reveal the attributes of Satan, and God will judge them worthy to inherit eternal life.14LtMs, Ms 162, 1899, par. 4

    To the lawyer’s reply Christ said, “Thou hast answered right; this do, and thou shalt live.” [Verse 28.] In these words there are no ifs or ands, no twisting or turning of the Scriptures. We may ask the question, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life,” to our profit, if we will heed the answer. The terms laid down cannot be evaded. If we desire to win heaven, to gain a life that measures with the life of God, we must obey the conditions. “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. ... This do, and thou shalt live.” [Verses 25, 27, 28.]14LtMs, Ms 162, 1899, par. 5

    Christ stated plainly that the Jewish teachers made void the law of God by their traditions. They taught for doctrine the commandments of men. They mingled human sayings with the precepts of heaven, presenting them to the people as divine truth. The sayings of the rabbis were handed down from century to century, and were given to the people as a “Thus saith the Lord,” when they were really the invention of human minds, the fruit of the tree of evil.14LtMs, Ms 162, 1899, par. 6

    Christ’s lessons were impressive and straightforward, direct and positive. He spoke without any uncertainty, and His hearers never wearied of listening to Him. His teaching was as great a contrast to their teaching as His practical obedience was to their daily transgression.14LtMs, Ms 162, 1899, par. 7

    The scribes and Pharisees cherished in their hearts murderous feelings against Christ, because He did not extol them as competent to teach the Word of God. His pure, spotless life, His obedience to His Father’s commands, roused their passions and prejudices, and they determined at all hazards to put Him to death.14LtMs, Ms 162, 1899, par. 8

    By bringing in their own traditions the Jewish teachers made the Word of God of none effect. This the religious teachers of the world are doing today. Ministers teach for doctrine theories invented by men. By their assertions and misrepresentations they mislead the people. They advance false doctrines, enforcing them upon the people. But they cannot bring forward one syllable from the Bible to sustain their theories. Shall we follow their example? Shall we in our experience travel over the same road? Shall we lay aside the plain Word of God?14LtMs, Ms 162, 1899, par. 9

    Christ showed no respect for human traditions and maxims, and neither should we. We cannot afford to. Bible truth is the only safe platform upon which to stand. “The words that I speak unto you,” Christ said, “they are spirit and they are life.” [John 6:63.]14LtMs, Ms 162, 1899, par. 10

    “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” [Luke 10:25.] No man with his suppositions and assertions is able to answer this question for you or for me. Eternal life means everything to us. Shall we by believing human theories lose the life which Jesus died to purchase for us? Can we afford to run so great a risk? God’s Word is true. In Him is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. He commands, and His children must obey His voice. Only thus can they escape the moral pollution that is in our world.14LtMs, Ms 162, 1899, par. 11

    Sin originated with Satan, the prince of evil, who in the heavenly courts became an apostate. Why he did this, God does not say, neither does Christ. Had there been any reasonable cause for his rebellion, transgression would not be transgression. But his conduct is an unexplainable problem.14LtMs, Ms 162, 1899, par. 12

    Adam and Eve listened to the flattery of Satan, and allowed him to persuade them to do the very thing God told them not to do. Satan tempted Eve by misrepresenting God’s character. This work he is still doing. He can only lead the religious world captive by striving to tear down God’s holy law, the standard of righteousness. He has lost none of his tact or experience during the thousands of years he has been tempting the human race. By throwing his hellish shadow between man and God, he strives to eclipse the rich loveliness of a character untainted by the curse of transgression. He has taken the world captive. He has chained men and women in bondage. They are the salves of his will. Through those who obey his suggestions, he wins others to his side.14LtMs, Ms 162, 1899, par. 13

    The forces of evil are leagued against the law of God. Satan is trampling God’s commands under his feet, and he is helped by every man, woman, and child who knowingly transgresses the law. Evil angels with their leader are engaged in the warfare against good. They conspire with wicked men to destroy souls. On whose side are we?14LtMs, Ms 162, 1899, par. 14

    As soon as man sinned, Christ took up the work of redemption. This He did to save the human race from eternal ruin. He took man’s guilt upon Himself. He became our substitute and surety, giving us another trial, another probation. In this probation we are now living. Every son and daughter of Adam is being tested and tried. Thus God will prove whether men and women will return to their allegiance to Him.14LtMs, Ms 162, 1899, par. 15

    Christ declared, “I have kept my Father’s commandments.” [John 15:10.] “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” [Matthew 5:17, 18.]14LtMs, Ms 162, 1899, par. 16

    “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins, and in him is no sin.” [1 John 3:4, 5.] Christ never violated the smallest precept of the law; therefore in Him there is no sin. For this reason He could become the Sin-bearer of the race. He was not overcome by the temptations of the enemy. He discerned the true character of Satan and stripped from him his disguise of an angel of light. He denounced every abominable practice in the land. It was this that awakened against Him the hatred of the whole synagogue of Satan.14LtMs, Ms 162, 1899, par. 17

    Satan had asserted that human beings could not keep the law of God. Christ’s untainted purity and perfect obedience proved this assertion to be a lie. He showed that it was possible for every son and daughter of Adam who will accept Him as their Saviour and become partakers of the divine nature to keep the law. He bore the penalty of sin, bringing in everlasting righteousness, and giving man another opportunity to leave the black banner of rebellion for the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel. But God never forces men to obey. They are left to choose for themselves.14LtMs, Ms 162, 1899, par. 18

    We are God’s property, by creation and by redemption. Those who believe in Christ as a personal Saviour will take up the cross and follow Him. Christ’s whole life on earth was a doing of the law of God. In humanity, before the heavenly universe and the fallen world, He testified that those who will lay hold upon the strength of Him who is mighty, and then engage in conflict with the foe, will be victorious. Christ has conquered the enemy on every point. He is able to take away the sins of all who believe and repent. He can impute to them His own righteousness. Through the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour, who proclaimed over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, “I am the resurrection and the life” [John 11:25], every man and woman may keep the law of God. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name, which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” [John 1:12, 13.]14LtMs, Ms 162, 1899, par. 19

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