“Eternal life is the receiving of the living elements in the Scriptures, the doing of the will of God.”
“ ‘Search the Scriptures,’ Christ commanded; ‘for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.’ The Holy Spirit is beside every true searcher of God’s word, enabling him to discover the hidden gems of truth. Divine illumination comes to his mind, stamping the truth upon him with a new, fresh importance. He is filled with a joy never before felt. The peace of God rests upon him. The preciousness of truth is realized as never before. A heavenly light shines upon the Word, making it appear as though every letter were tinged with gold. God himself speaks to the heart, making His word spirit and life.
“Eternal life is the receiving of the living elements in the Scriptures, the doing of the will of God. This is what is meant by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God. It is the privilege of all to partake of the bread of heaven by studying the word, and thus gain spiritual sinew and muscle.
“Just before Christ’s crucifixion one of the disciples asked Him, ‘Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?” Jesus answered, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.’
“These words are not half comprehended by those through whom God wishes to communicate His truth. Let us believe the word. Let us practice the lessons given by Him who has bought us with His blood. He said, ‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.’ . . .
“Why do God’s people pass by the words of the Great Teacher? Why do they rely upon human beings for help and comfort, when they have the great and grand promise, ‘He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. . . . He that eateth of this bread shall live forever’? He may die; but the life of Christ is in him, and at the resurrection of the just he will rise to newness of life. ‘It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life.’ . . .
“In every plan we make, we must act with entire dependence upon God, else we shall be deceived by a semblance instead of the reality. As stewards of the grace of Christ, we are to inquire at every step, ‘Is this the way of the Lord?’ The word of God is a character-detector, a motive-tester. We are to read this word with heart and mind open to receive the impressions that God will give. We must not think that the reading of the word can accomplish that which only He whom the word reveals, who stands behind the word, can accomplish. Some are in danger of hastening to the conclusion that because they hold firmly to the doctrines of the truth, they are actually in possession of the blessings which these doctrines declare shall come to the receiver of truth. Many keep the truth in the outer court. Its sacred principles have not a controlling influence over the words, the thoughts, the actions. They do not possess the faith which works by love and purifies the soul. An assent to the truth may quiet the conscience, but let every believer inquire, ‘Does my faith make me a daily, hourly follower of Christ? Has it a sanctifying influence on my soul? Can I say, The gentleness of Christ has made me great?’ A faultless creed and a carnal life are too often found together in professed believers. To be a means to a saving end, the word of God must be intelligently and practically understood and obeyed.
“ ‘Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the World. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.’
“Here is the standard which all must reach who enter the heavenly city. The end of our faith is the perfection of human character, the sanctification of the entire being. The Lord knows what His people need, and through His chosen agents He manifests His benevolence to them. He is constantly working for the happiness of those who love and serve Him. He is pleased with harmonious service; and when He sees men and women obeying His commandments, He greatly blesses them.“By reason of the waste in the body, the blood must be constantly renewed by food. So with our spiritual life. The word must be daily received, believed, and acted upon. Christ must dwell in us, energizing the whole being, renewing the life-blood of the soul. His example is to be our guide. In our dealing with one another, we must reveal His sympathy. There must be a real working out of Christ’s grace in our hearts. Then we can say with the apostle, “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Christ’s life abiding in the soul is the cause of our joy and the pledge of our glory.”1
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“We can never graduate in the school of Christ, but we should make continual advancement. We should never be satisfied with our present position and attainments. Like the apostle, we should ‘press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,’ and day by day grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. Are we doing this? . . . What a change there would be in our religious experience, what a transformation in our characters, if day by day we carried out the principle that we are not our own, but that our time and talents belong to God, and every faculty should be used to do his will and advance his glory. If we spent all our spare moments in work for the Redeemer, in searching the Scriptures, and in pleading with God to be imbued with his Spirit, what precious victories we should gain for Jesus! . . .
“It is one thing to profess the truth, but it is a very different thing to live it out. Many who profess to be keeping the commandments of God are deceiving their own souls. They have no union with Christ, and do not make the truth practical. In their homes, selfishness is interwoven with their daily life. There is manifested a want of refinement, an uncourteous, unkind selfishness. The religion of Jesus should be carried into the home circle, the work-shop, and all the business transactions. The genuine Christian will show in his life the fruits of the Spirit. The love of Jesus will flow out naturally in words and deeds of kindness. Those who yield themselves to the heavenly power, which alone can quell tumultuous passion, will be as angels of peace and blessing in the home circle.“Has the truth sanctified the receiver? Is he purer, nobler, better, for believing it? The words and deeds are the fruit which testifies whether the mind of God dwells in us, and we are guided by his law. We shall surely deceive ourselves if we think that because we hold certain Bible doctrines firmly, we actually possess the blessings which these doctrines were designed to bestow. The intellect may accept truth in its noblest form; but if this truth exerts no influence on the life and character, it is of no practical value. On the contrary, it proves a delusion if it quiets the conscience while it does not sanctify the soul.”2
1. Review and Herald, October 1, 1901.
2. Signs of the Times, May 22, 1884.