Last week I started a new series in the bulletin looking at the difference between Christianity and other major religions – particularly their teaching about how to get to heaven. Today we will look at Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses hold to the teachings given to them through the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. The society publishes a magazine and there is also an official website watchtower.org.
Jehovah’s Witnesses sound like Christians because they teach that Jesus died as a ransom. The Watchtower website writes: ‘…by means of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice, we can receive “the forgiveness of our sins.”‘
Also, Jehovah’s Witnesses appear to teach that this ransom is received by faith: ‘Jesus himself said: “He that exercises faith in the Son has everlasting life”; (John 3:36).
But the problem is that they define ‘faith’ differently from the Christian: ‘How can we exercise faith in Jesus? Such faith is not shown by words alone. “Faith without works is dead,” says James 2:26. Yes, true faith is proved by “works,” that is, by our actions. One way to show that we have faith in Jesus is by doing our best to imitate him not just in what we say but also in what we do.’ Thus the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that to exercise faith we must imitate Christ by doing good works. Here’s another way they put it: ‘All those future blessings, including life everlasting in perfect health, are made possible because Jesus died for us. To receive those blessings, we need to show that we appreciate the gift of the ransom.’ And appreciation is shown by good works, not by simply believing that Jesus died for you.
Christianity teaches the opposite – faith is not about your works. Paul writes: ‘”We…know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified’ (Galatians 2:15-16). Faith has nothing to do with works of the law. It is a simple trust that Jesus died for you.
Are you saved by believing in Jesus death? Or do you want to make your faith about what you do, not what is done in Christ?