::R1265 : page 7::
NONE WORTHY OF EVERLASTING LIFE
No, none; because none are perfect, and under God’s law no imperfect being is fit to have the boon of lasting life. Our only hope of lasting life, then, is to be made perfect. When made perfect all will depend on our worthiness; that is, when perfect we will be on the same footing as father Adam—permitted to live so long as we remain in harmony with our Creator’s wise and good laws and regulations.
But now we are not only imperfect, and hence unworthy of life everlasting, but still worse, we have no hope of ever being able to make ourselves perfect and worthy; for our tendency is in the opposite direction—toward greater imperfection of mind and body. We find ourselves under a sentence of death and subject to a weakness which started in our father Adam. What must men do to be saved—from this degradation and weakness and death which is upon us? We can do nothing except to look to God and trust that his mercy and love can find a way to help us.
Looking, we find that our just Creator, who sentenced us, is pitiful toward us—disposed to help us—that while he could not justly ignore and pass over and forgive the violation of his law under which we were sentenced, he could do and has done what amounts to the same so far as we are concerned—he has paid our penalty for us, through his Son, our Lord Jesus, who gladly carried out the gracious plan and has himself been highly exalted as a reward for that obedience and loving sacrifice, which was our ransom-price.
What remains for us to do is to accept the gracious offer of forgiveness through our Redeemer, and to put ourselves heartily into his hands for repairs—for restitution back to the original condition lost through Adam. This is necessary; for while it was necessary that the original sin should be canceled first, its cancellation would still leave us weak, imperfect and unworthy of life everlasting. Hence God’s gracious plan not only includes the death of Christ as the ransom, or corresponding price, or substitute, for Adam and his race, to relieve us from the sentence of death against Adam and all who were in his loins, but it does more: it has made a provision for restoring the race through the same one who paid the ransom price. And as our Lord’s death is an assurance that our ransom price is paid, so his resurrection is God’s pledge that the opportunity for restitution will be extended to all, even as the ransom was for all.
All this is done for men while wholly unworthy—it is a free gift of God. Their part is simply to accept the forgiveness through Christ by faith, and to show their appreciation of the opportunity for restitution which it affords by obedient conformity, so far as they are able, to the laws and arrangements of the Lord through the Mediator, designed for their perfecting.
After this perfecting shall be accomplished (or when upon full knowledge it is refused) the individual must thereafter stand in his own merit—in his own righteousness presented to him through Christ’s work for and in him, or must fall under condemnation into the second death because of his lack of worthiness of lasting life; and his worthiness of lasting life or of lasting death will be then decided by his obedience or disobedience.
— November, 1890 —