"If thou wilt be perfect"

"Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?" (Matt. 19:16.) This startling question put to Jesus by a young man received a considered answer.

In the brief record of the talk that followed, the reader becomes aware that Jesus is probing the questioner, directing his thought to the fundamental cause, to the nature of God, or good. "If thou wilt enter into life," he tells him, "keep the commandments." Eagerly the assurance of such observance is given—observance dating from the questioner's early youth. Then follows the Master's challenge, "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."

The young ruler, wealthy by inheritance, trained in the traditional Jewish religion, a member of the Sanhedrin, was instinctively conscious that he whom he addressed as "good Master" had an insight into the rule of life to which he and his instructors had not discovered the key. He intuitively discerned that his early religious training did not secure to him the entrance into eternal life which he eagerly sought. Something other than a promise of future salvation, namely, security for both the present and the future, continuity of good as he understood it—this was his quest. His immediate present was assured. He longed to know his future was equally safe. And so his question was addressed to him who could answer it and give irrefutable proof of life eternal and point out the steps leading to its achievement.

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The Seal of Apostleship
December 14, 1946

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