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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Do Jehovah's Witnesses Believe That They Are Earning Their Salvation as Some Opposers Claim?

Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe that salvation is by works or that it is something that they can “earn.” Here is what the Witnesses officially believe as quoted in their "Reasoning from the Scriptures" book:

"Eph. 2:8, 9, ... The entire provision for salvation is an expression of God's undeserved kindness. There is no way that a descendant of Adam can gain salvation on his own, no matter how noble his works are. Salvation is a gift from God given to those who put faith in the sin-atoning value of the sacrifice of his Son...A person does not earn salvation by his works. But anyone who has genuine faith will have works to go with it—works of obedience to the commands of God and Christ, works that demonstrate his faith and love."

So Jehovah's Witnesses do believe in salvation by grace or "undeserved kindness"--contrary to claims made by some critics.

There is no amount of works that any human can do to gain salvation. Salvation is a gift through faith. A person could be doing all the good works possible yet still not be saved since he did not have faith. Conversely a person could believe and have faith in Jesus, yet if he did not practice the actions or works of a Christian his faith alone would not save him. (cf. Eph. 2:8,10, Rev. 2:23)

Therefore, the “faith alone” teaching is not a biblical teaching. There is no true, saving faith without works! This is explicitly stated in James 2:14,22,24-26: You see that a man is to be declared righteous by works, and not by faith alone.” Any faith without works is “dead faith.”

Many scholars note that the Biblical concept of faith requires action:

"Faith understood merely as trust and confession is not able to save. Only through obedience . . . and conduct which fulfills the commandments of God does faith come to completion (Jas. 2:22)"--The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Zondervan, 1975), I.

"Our conclusion must be that ‘faith' in the vocabulary of Christians is not only belief and trust, but also faithfulness and loyalty. Put technically and linguistically, ‘faith' is both active and passive in sense. It is not only the inspiration of all religion but is also a moral excellence."--–Nigel Turner, Christian Words

There are a lot of things that Scripture says people must do or have in order to be saved. All these are necessary to bring us to salvation in Christ.

Baptism "saves you" (Mk 16:16; 1Pt 3:21).

A righteous life-style: Cannot practice sin (1Pt.2:24; 4:17-18; Heb 6:4-8; 10:26-29; Mt 28:19-20; Ac 26:20).

Knowledge: (Jn.17:3; 1Pet.2:2; Mt 28:19-20; 1Cor15:1,2)

Public declaration: (Rm.10:9,10).

Endurance: (Mt.24:13; Lu 13:23, 24;Phil.2:12 Cf. Mt 7:13, 14; 28:19-20).

Believing and teaching true doctrine: (2Thes.2:10; 1Tim.4:15-16; Cf. Joh 4:23)

All these are necessary to bring us to salvation in Christ.

Faith without knowledge is "blind faith" or gullibility.

Christ stated:"faith comes from hearing the message, and the message comes through preaching Christ" (Rm. 10:17 TEV).

This shows that knowledge is a prerequisite for faith. The context makes this very clear by giving us the steps which lead to salvation: 10:13 "or ‘Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?" (NLT)

So Christ listed the steps leading to salvation: 1. "Hearing" or gaining knowledge by being taught. 2. Believing because of what we now know. 3. Taking action to "call upon" the One we *KNOW* can save us. 4. Salvation.

So, more than a simple belief is required. Belief or faith in Jesus is based on knowledge of how to live a Christian life and then obedience to Christian requirements, not a simple calling Jesus our Lord (Mt.7:21-23; Heb.5:9; Phil 2:12; Jas 1:22, cf. Jn.17:3).

To be saved now and in the future we must have accurate knowledge and continue to act on it by showing faith in Christ and exercising that faith by Christian works/actions.

SOURCE: This is an answer provided by BAR_ANERGES to a question at Yahoo Answers.

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