Jehovah’s Witnesses, with their absence of any personal relationship through Jesus to God, believe instead that to be acceptable to Him demands a life of continuous good works. This essentially would include doing their very best to live a moral life, accepting and acting upon whatever are the current truths and doctrines passed down from the Governing body, and carrying out all the instructions and works required of them by the Watchtower organisation.
Followers of the Watchtower therefore know nothing of the reality of coming into a relationship with Jesus (John 1:12) and as a result the forgiveness of sins and the benefits of God’s unmerited favour (Ephesians chapter 1).
In direct contrast to the Watchtower works teaching, the Scriptures make it very clear that those who have been reconciled to God are saved by the grace of God or God’s unmerited favour, through faith. Ephesians 2: 8&9 goes on to say that it is the gift of God and not of works.
Romans 5: 17 calls it the gift of righteousness.
Romans 4.4 speaks very plainly to those who believe that the sacrifice of God’s own Son was not sufficient to put them into a right standing before God and believe that they need to add works to it. To those who work (to try to obtain righteousness) the reward is not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But he who doesn’t work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
The Watchtower however quote James 2:20-24 which they say supports their works teaching – but if we take a closer look at the passage we see that James is making the point that if we do have a true life changing faith in Jesus then it will as a result be accompanied by action. If nothing else happens after we have made the claim that we believe, then that is clearly not saving faith, or is dead.
In the case that James illustrates, the genuineness of Abraham’s faith was shown by his action. That is to say that his action was in confirmation of something that had already happened – i.e. his faith in God.
So then for those who have entered into the new relationship with God, the works they do are the natural outcome of this, having received from Him the gift of righteousness and being totally accepted by Him!
James makes the futility of trying to be righteous by good works to be accepted by God clear in chapter 2 verse 10.
Here he says that if we keep the whole law but offend in just one point, then we are guilty of all.
The great sadness is that great numbers of individuals, locked into the teachings of the Watchtower have committed themselves to a daily, weekly grind, year in, year out in seeking to be righteous and acceptable before God. They are unaware of the great truth that the sacrifice that Jesus made was full and complete, and requires no works to make up any shortfall.
Jesus granted to the criminal on the cross next to Him eternal life and to be with Him in paradise. There was no way the man could do any works to earn or deserve what was granted him; all he could do was to cry out to Jesus in his dire need.
To summarise – to come into a righteous state before God requires us to come into a new relationship with Him, made possible by the shed blood of His Son upon the cross. It is therefore based on a relationship through Jesus and not in any way upon works.
Those locked into the Watchtower system of belief need to take serious heed of the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:23. To those who have been relying on works to secure their acceptance with Him, He will say ……I never knew you: depart from me…..
The good news for Jehovah’s Witnesses however, is that the opportunity presently remains open to you to accept the gracious invitation of Jesus the divine Son of God – The Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, to receive Him into your life.
“And let him who is thirsty come. Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” Revelation 22:17