The Society explains: "[Belief] involves taking in accurate knowledge of God's purposes and his way of salvation. Then faith has to be exercised in Jesus Christ as the Chief Agent of salvation. This places the Christian in a saved condition, but he must now persevere in doing God's will and continue to adhere to all of God's requirements for the rest of his life.Only then will he be saved to eternal life" (Watchtower, December 15, 1989, p. 30).
While they have a few alleged proof texts to support this, closer examination reveals they have IGNORED the heart of the gospel message. Some 125 plus times in the New Testament we are told that we are saved by FAITH, as the main requirement, and it is through GRACE -- an undeserved favor -- that it happens. Eph. 2:8-10 clarifies in the Greek verb tenses that we through faith HAVE BEEN AND NOW PERMANENTLY STAND AS SAVED. What they would make a process is actually, according to the Bible a "done deal". Let's look at a couple of their proof texts:
Philippians 2:13 says to work OUT one's salvation, not to work FOR it nor work to MAINTAIN it. One cannot work something OUT of you unless it is already IN you, and Philippians 1:6 indicates that the people written to were saved and that the work God started in them WOULD be continued to completion. And Philippians 2:14 says God was working IN them to do His will. I Peter 1:5 says we are kept by the power of God to the revealing of our ultimate salvation (deliverance from this imperfect body).
Another "proof text": James 2 reminds us that faith will RESULT in a changed life -- one of good works. But we neither gain nor maintain salvation ON THE BASIS OF A REQUIREMENT to do them. We are talking cause vs. effect. The context, when compared with Romans 4 shows us that James was talking about what we as humans SEE in others.... how PEOPLE can see if someone has genuine faith. We can't see the faith itself but see their works. So that is a way for humans to judge it. Phrases like "we see" and "ye see" appear in the passage 3 times. But what looks like a contradiction on the surface is cleared up by comparing this passage to Romans 4. It specifies that we are justified by God on the basis of our FAITH, and not the works. This is so because God can see (so to speak) our faith. Abraham believed God and the FAITH was imputed to him as righteousness. That faith later resulted in the good works which people could see.
The following is one of the biggest failures of this religion... Jehovah's Witnesses leave out the following teaching, substituting "our righteousness" as the requirement for salvation, when it is God's gift of imputed righteousness that will ultimately save us and give us the standing of righteous or justified before God. It is a perversion of the plan of salvation. The following study explains this missing teaching.
God’s requirements are impossibly high to be qualified for heaven – "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father in heaven is perfect." (Matt. 5:48
And James 2:10 clarifies that even one broken rule or command makes us as guilty as if we had broken them all. We cannot rely on a pattern of "break command/repent, break command/repent" and think we are meeting this requirement for heaven! No wonder Romans 3:10 says "there is none righteous, no not one." But the Bible DOES tell us how to meet this requirement. In Heb. 10:14 we read:
(Verse 10 here tells us that we are sanctified (set apart to God)
by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, so it is all the work of God.)
How can God say we imperfect people are "perfected for ever"?
It is because of the concept of IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS! That is the missing teaching!
We have to understand that the Bible talks about two kinds of righteousness. Paul said in Phil. 3:9 that he wanted to be found by God, NOT having his OWN righteousness, based on law-keeping, but a righteousness "which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." He was talking about imputed righteousness.
That other kind of righteousness is gained by faith. It is explained in Romans 4. There (King James Version, verse 3) it says Abraham was COUNTED as righteous . That’s not the same as acting righteously. It goes on to say that we get this gift by GRACE (an undeserved favor) and it is not tied to our WORKS (Rom 4:4-5 and 11:6). Rom. 4: 7-8 show that it involves the forgiveness of sins, and the end of God keeping record of our sins. They are not imputed or "written down" if you will. THAT means there is nothing on our record to keep us out of heaven! This is so because of the blood that Jesus Christ shed for us on the cross. When Christ said, "It is finished", it was an accounting term meaning "paid in full." This REALLY settles the sin issue for ever!
Romans 4: 16 makes reference to the CERTAINTY we have in this promise, and verses 22-25 indicate it’s for us who believe as well as Abraham. Because of this clean record we receive, we can say as it says in I John 5:13, that we KNOW we HAVE eternal life. Romans 8:1 also tells us there is no condemnation for us as believers who are "in Christ".
Picture a piece of paper with the words "My Record With God" written across the top. When I believe in Christ, all those sins listed are erased… I have a clean record with God. AND…. if I sin after I am thus saved, it says in II Cor. 5:19-21 (as it says in Romans 4:8) that God is no longer imputing or writing down those sins on my record. God instead promises "Their sins and iniquities I will remember no more" (Heb. 10:17) . And because of this gift we are invited to come BOLDLY to God’s throne of grace. (Heb. 10:19) Yes, God does discipline us on EARTH. When we sow sin – we will reap for it. But our ETERNAL LIFE is not affected (otherwise it would be temporary life). We pray you will receive the glorious gift of imputed righteousness (Rom. 5:17) offered by grace!
Romans 1:16-17 says this IS the heart of the gospel message, and that message is powerful enough to save all who believe it. The gift of imputed righteousness can build a firm foundation for your faith. Believe it! Rejoice in it! It will change your life.
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"But what about...?" Many feel the Bible teaches a less secure relationship than is presented here.
For a study of the many verses on eternal salvation as well as the verses that seem to teach otherwise, click here:
If I Could LoseMy Salvation
I would be happy to talk with Jehovah's Witnesses or others about these things.
E-mail me at Sainttalk@cableone.net