I had some visitors yesterday morning, and I was happy to see them. We had a good, long chat. They weren’t intending to stay long. They just wanted to share an encouraging verse from the Bible with me. The passage was Psalm 37:10-11:
For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more.Indeed, you will look diligently for his place, but it shall be no more.
But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
I asked how people might know whether they were ‘wicked’ or ‘meek’, in terms of this passage. I told them that from my reading of the Bible, no one except the Lord Jesus Christ falls into the category of ‘meek’. Everyone else has earned, by their attitudes and behaviours, the description of ‘wicked’.
If I remember correctly, my new friends told me that Jesus’ atoning sacrifice deals with our past sin if we are baptised, and Jehovah then gives us the tools to avoid destruction at the end of this age; bible study, doing his will and witnessing. I was also told that no one could know whether they were saved until the judgement of the last day.
For my part, I said that unless Jesus does everything to the rescue a person from sin and death, then no one can be rescued. Unless a person is reborn by the Holy Spirit (I know that JWs believe that only 144000 can be born again), people like us will have no interest or liking for our Creator. The life, death and rising again of Jesus is both most necessary and is also all that is necessary to reconcile us to God. We are simply to trust Jesus: who the Bible says he is, what the Bible says he did, and what the Bible says these things mean. This sort of faith is just as much a gift from the God as the work of Jesus on the cross. The Saviour of the world has left nothing to chance. You can know you are (have been) saved when you trust yourself to Jesus.
They asked about those who do trust in Jehovah for a time and then stop. My answer was that some people, who never really trusted Jesus but were attracted by an ‘idea’ of Jesus for a time, do come and go. But Jesus said that He is the good shepherd who lays his life down for his sheep (his people) and no one can take them from his hand. Those who are really his, the ones whom the Father had given Jesus, these shall be saved because Jesus came for them.
They said that God gives us free will to make a choice, like Adam had a choice. I said that before Adam sinned, he could freely choose to continue as a loving creature of God, or he could freely choose to rebel and make war with his creator. He chose to make war. After that point, he and his children (except for the intervention of Jesus) always will choose to make war. This choice they make freely as they have no desire to do otherwise. This is why Jesus had to act for his people before they had any love for him — while they were still his enemies. This also is why a mighty work of regeneration (re-birth) is necessary to bring a person to trust Jesus.
My new friends thanked me for my time, but they had to move on. I was happy they came. I have respect for them. They work very hard and are zealous. I’ve been to one of their meetings (it went for two hours) and they study the Bible and watchtower materials with unflagging attention. But I believe it is zeal without knowledge. They read their Bibles, but it is through a foreign lens. As they left, I urged them to deal seriously with the parts of the Bible that do not line up with what they are being told.