Are You Good Enough For Jehovah?
There are rules regarding speech, bad habits, dress, and hair. There are rules about holidays, medical treatment, saluting the flag and military service.
There are rules about what is an acceptable form of worship to God i.e. field service and meeting attendance as well as personal study of their publications. There are rules about who you can and can’t associate with.
If a person observes these rules and regulations to the letter then he or she is considered “spiritual” and a strong Jehovah’s Witness. If they don’t they are ostracized by the congregation as being either bad association or in the case of “gross misconduct” they can be disassociated or disfellowshipped.
I was reading in my bible this morning and came upon a passage that was quite interesting:
“But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”
As you may recall this was the very same man who later on denied Christ three times out of fear for his own safety. Peter even had to be reproved by Paul for showing favoritism to the Jewish element in the Christian congregation. They even had words resulting in a major disagreement and parted ways. The things that I treasure most about Peter are his uniquely human qualities.
He was impetuous, rash, quick to speak without thinking, and was even referred to as “Satan” by Christ Himself. In a fit of anger he cut off the ear of one of the men sent to arrest Jesus and was subsequently admonished by Jesus for doing so. Yet Peter was given the “keys to the kingdom” and was the “rock” that the early church was built upon was he not?
Jesus obviously looked past Peter’s failings, freely forgiving him, and saw instead the goodness of his heart and his true intentions.
Would you rather be judged for all of your trespasses one at a time by a taskmaster who only sees the sin you committed or would you rather have someone like Christ who sees through all of your sinful nature to the core of your being and knows your deepest motivations and loves you for who you are and not what you do?
Let’s fast forward this to modern times for a minute. Let’s say that you were in a Nazi concentration camp and you were given a choice between going to the ovens or denying your allegiance to the Watchtower.
If you denied your faith and avoided death at the hands of the Nazis would you be accepted back into the warm embrace of the Watchtower or would you be outcast?
That was a rhetorical question.
Let’s take it a little closer to home.
Let’s say that your infant child was facing death if you refused to allow a blood transfusion to be administered. You, in a moment of human weakness, allowed the transfusion to take place and your child’s life was saved. Would the congregation understand and forgive you? Would the elders forgive you? Absolutely not. You would more than likely be disfellowshipped or at the very least publicly reproved and reprimanded for your weakness. You and your family, including your child, would be treated as outcasts by the congregation for a very long time if not for good.
Let’s hit reverse and go back to Christ’s time.
Did Jesus have Peter disfellowshipped for his denial of knowing Him? Nope. Did He even have him reprimanded? Nope. Did He remove him from his position in the congregation? Nope. Did any of Peter’s fellow Christians treat him differently because he denied Christ? Nope.
The fact is that we all fail. We are all sinners. We all fall short of the glory of God. That was why Christ came and died for all of us. How can we, after being freed from the enslavement of sin and death by the blood of Christ sit in judgment of another? We can’t and we mustn’t. Yet this judgment and condemnation of others is practiced by all Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society on a continual basis.
Let me ask you this question: Who do the Jehovah’s Witnesses resemble more in their practice of judgment and condemnation here? Christ or the Pharisees?
Again that is a rhetorical question.
When we sin we feel badly about it. We think that when we sin that we are deserving of punishment. We feel that perhaps God doesn’t listen to our prayers or care for us as much as He did before. That is what the Watchtower teaches isn’t it?
This is a purely human interpretation of our sinful condition. Just as Peter did when he first met Christ, we attempt to push God away when we are sinful.
The fact is that when we sin we need God more than we did before and He wants us more than He did before.
Everything that Jesus Christ said about this subject leads us to this conclusion.
“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.”
It is only human to distance ourselves from God when we sin just as Peter did when he first met Jesus and just as the sheep did with the shepherd. We are ashamed of our failures and avoid God much like when we avoided our parents when we were bad as children. That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t still love us or want us to return to Him.
“And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
Notice that Jesus directly implied that the “righteous” were also in need of repentance. Judging from Jesus’ words to the Pharisees and about them, the “righteous” were more in need of repentance than anyone!
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
What I get from all of this is that God is more interested in saving those of us who know and freely admit that we are sinners rather than those like the Watchtower who have come up with an elaborate system of justification to deny their sinful nature and feel that by their works they are justified and saved just as the Pharisee did in the above passage.
I maintain that when we sin (and we all sin every day), this is the very time to draw nearer to God not distance ourselves from Him. This is when we need Him most. The Watchtower, and other organizations like them, would have you believe that when you sin you are lost and must prove yourself with works in order to get another chance at God’s approval. They teach that by being “good”, attending all the meetings, and going out in field service that somehow you can balance the scales of justice in your favor and that “probably maybe you will be spared in the day of Jehovah’s anger.”
The fact is that Jesus Christ paid for every single sin you ever committed or ever will commit when He died for you. If you question the power of His shed blood on your behalf to erase any sin that you commit then you are treating that free gift of salvation as a fraud, a counterfeit, and are falling into the very same trap that the Watchtower has fallen into.
Don’t ever think that God has given up on you. He hasn’t and He never will. Don’t allow the error taught by the Watchtower or any other religious cult prevent you from drawing near to God. He wants you to come back to Him and to repent. Does that mean that you won’t sin again? Nope. It just means that you have asked for forgiveness for your sins through the shed blood of Jesus Christ and being the great God that He is, He has made that avenue of salvation available to any one of us at any time we ask Him.
Yours in Christ,