Baptismal questions from the Watchtower 1973 May 1 p. 280:
(1) Have you repented of your sins and turned around, recognizing yourself before JehovahGod as a condemned sinner who needs salvation, and have you acknowledged to him that this salvation proceeds from him, the Father, through his Son Jesus Christ?
(2) On the basis of this faith in God and in his provision for salvation, have you dedicated yourself unreservedly to God to do his will henceforth as he reveals it to you through Jesus Christ and through the Bible under the enlightening power of the holy spirit?
**For more information: http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/baptism.php
3. What questions logically arise?
3 Why, though, was this loving gift necessary? How could God offer it in a just, equitable way? And what are individuals called upon to do to qualify for it? Let us find the satisfying answers and see how they underscore God’s love.
“what are individuals called upon to do to qualify for it”—free gift? Works or faith? The WTS has said you cannot EARN everlasting life because it is a gift, but you evidently can QUALIFY for it!
I can remember talking to man at the door who asked me what it meant in the Bible when it said “free gift.” I explained what I thought it meant using the Bible and he said to me, “then you are out of harmony with what your religion teaches. But your explanation is right.” That made me go home and research it and found that indeed my personal understanding did not match up with WT doctrine but I felt that the Bible supported me. I did not challenge the elders or others but thought that in time God would correct their view. Some years later, still a believer, I realized that this is another doctrine where the WTS speaks out of both sides of their mouth. Is it no wonder that people like me are deceived.
qual·i·fy Be entitled to a particular benefit or privilege by fulfilling a necessary condition: "we qualify for compensation". (dictionary.com)
earn To acquire or deserve as a result of effort or action: She earned a reputation as a hard worker. (freedictionary.com)
God’s Love Versus Sin
4, 5. (a) In what great way did Jehovah express his love? (b) Knowledge of what background enables us to understand Romans 5:12?
4 In an act of great love, Jehovah sent his only-begotten Son to help humans. Paul expressed it this way: “God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8) Think of one fact there mentioned: “We were yet sinners.” All need to know how that came to be so.
What are the rules for capitalizing “Son”? Believe it or not, this question was asked and answered here.
*** w57 11/15 p. 703 Questions From Readers *** Sometimes in your publications you capitalize personal pronouns referring to Jehovah God and Christ Jesus, but generally you do not. Why not?—W.S., United States.
The practice of some who capitalize all personal pronouns referring to Jehovah and Christ appears to be merely a matter of preference or style and not something made obligatory by any principle in God’s Word. The way to praise and honor Jehovah and Christ is not by the mere capitalizing of initial letters in personal pronouns referring to them, but is by study and service, obedience and preaching. In the oldest Bible manuscripts available all the letters are alike. Capitalization is of relatively recent origin. Says Sir Frederic Kenyon in his book Textual Criticism of the New Testament , pages 19, 20, 25: “Capital letters, which are occasionally used in business documents to mark the beginning of a clause, do not occur in literary papyri . . .” It is interesting to note that not even the translators of the respected King James or Authorized Version always capitalized personal pronouns referring to Jehovah and Christ.—See Genesis 15:4-13; John 1:1-4, AV .
It is our policy to lower-case pronouns referring to Jehovah God and Jesus Christ in all our publications, with the exception that capitals are used when other pronouns in the sentence might make the meaning doubtful. If, for instance, both Jehovah and Jeremiah are mentioned in a sentence and then in that sentence the pronoun “he” occurs, the “h” would be capitalized if the pronoun were referring to Jehovah and it would be lower-cased if it referred to Jeremiah.
While we were yet sinners—so who died for us…Jesus or the elders…why is it that the elders can determine who is “repentant” basically forgiving sins?
5 Paul outlined the matter, starting with this point: “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.” (Rom. 5:12) We are in a position to understand this because God had a record made of how human life began. Jehovah created two humans, Adam and Eve. The Creator is perfect, and so were those first humans, our ancestors. God gave them but one limiting directive and informed them that disobeying that law would bring a death sentence. (Gen. 2:17) However, they chose to act ruinously violating God’s reasonable directive, thus rejecting him as Lawgiver and Sovereign.—Deut. 32:4, 5.
We might be in a position to “understand” but was Job?
One “limiting” directive ??? Why did perfect people need a law to prove their love for God
Reasonable directive – does God test people with evil? Even after surviving Armageddon and remaining faithful during the 1,000 Year Reign, coming to perfection, the WTS says God will once again have to test them, including Job.
*** w85 12/1 p. 18 par. 18 ***
By the end of Christ’s Millennial Reign , those of earth’s inhabitants who have shown that they accept Christ’s ransom and will live by Jehovah’s standards will have been raised to perfection. (Revelation 20:5) They will be as Adam was before he sinned. Like him, they will be tested as to their obedience.
6. (a) Why did Adam’s descendants die both before God gave the Mosaic Law and thereafter? (b) What can be illustrated with a disease like hemophilia?
6 It was only after Adam had become a sinner that he fathered children, passing on sin and its effects to all of them. Of course, they had not violated the divine law as Adam had, so they were not charged with the same sin; nor had any law code yet been given. (Gen. 2:17) Still, Adam’s descendants inherited sin. Thus, sin and death ruled down to the time when God gave the Israelites a law code, which clearly showed that they were sinners . (Read Romans 5:13, 14.) The effect of inherited sin might be illustrated with certain inherited diseases or defects, such as Mediterranean anemia or hemophilia. You may have read that Alexis, son of Russian Czar Nicholas II and Alexandra, inherited the bleeding disorder hemophilia. Granted, even in such a family, some children do not suffer from those diseases, but they still may be carriers. Not so with sin. The defect of sin from Adam was inevitable. All are subject to it. it is always fatal. And it is passed on to all children. Could that predicament ever be overcome!
So only Adam passed on sin??? Not Eve? She was the first to “sin” wasn’t she?
No law code given – but didn’t know what was right and wrong without a law code? But didn’t sin and death still rule after the law was given?
(Romans 2:14-15) . . .For whenever people of the nations that do not have law do by nature the things of the law, these people, although not having law, are a law to themselves. 15 They are the very ones who demonstrate the matter of the law to be written in their hearts, while their conscience is bearing witness with them and, between their own thoughts, they are being accused or even excused.
No more loaf pan with a dent – hemophilia now
*** Bible Teach book (2005) chap. 3 p. 29 par. 7 ***
The situation might be illustrated with a pan used for baking bread. If the pan has a dent in it, what happens to each loaf of bread made in the pan? Each loaf has a dent, or an imperfection, in it. Similarly, each human has inherited a “dent” of imperfection from Adam. That is why all humans grow old and die.
What God Provided Through Jesus Christ
7, 8. How did the course of two perfect men lead to different results?
7 Lovingly, Jehovah made aprovision for humans to overcome inherited sinfulness. Paul explained that this was possible by means of another man, a later perfect man—in effect, a second Adam. (1 Cor. 15:45) But the course of each of the two perfect men has led to very different results. How so?— Read Romans 5:15,16.
So sin did not come through the woman, Eve?
8 “It is not with the gift as it was with the trespass,” Paul wrote. Adam was guilty of that trespass, and he justly received an adverse sentence—he died. Yet, he was not the only one to die. We read: “By [that] one man’s trespass many died.” The just sentence on Adam demanded the same for all his imperfect progeny, including us. Still, we can take comfort in knowing that the perfect man, Jesus, could produce an opposite result. What is the result? We see the answer in Paul’s mention of “a declaring of [men of all kinds] righteous for life.”—Rom. 5:18
Why did Jesus not inherit sin through Mary, his imperfect mother? Didn’t she pass on her defective DNA?
*** w98 12/15 p. 14 par. 18 ***
Since Jesus did not have a human father and God’s holy spirit evidently ‘overshadowed’ Mary from the time she conceived until Jesus’ birth, he was born free from any inheritance of sin or imperfection.
What’s with the brackets? (See change in NWT reference today)
9.God was doing what in declaring men righteous, as mentioned at Romans 5:16, 18?
9 What is the sense of the Greek words underlying the expressions “declaration of righteousness” and “declaring of them righteous”? One Bible translator wrote of the concept: “It is a legal metaphor that makes a quasi-legal point. It speaks of a change in a person’s status in relation to God, not of an inner change in the person… The metaphor pictures God as the judge who has reached a decision in favor of the accused, who had been brought before God’s court, so to speak, on a charge of unrighteousness. But God acquits the accused.”
Which Greek words?
Who is the “Bible translator”? Can’t find it on Google.
See above for how WTS applies “declared righteous” differently to the anointed than to the “other sheep.”
10. What did Jesus do that provided the basis for humans to be declared righteous?
10 On what basis could the righteous “Judge of all the earth” acquit an unrighteous person? (Gen. 18:25) Laying the groundwork, God lovingly sent his only-begotten Son to earth. Jesus did his Father’s will perfectly despite temptations, extreme ridicule, and abuse. He kept his integrity even to the extent of dying on a torture stake. (Heb. 2:10) In sacrificing his perfect human life, Jesus offered a ransom that might release, or redeem, Adam’s offspring from sin and death.—Matt. 20:28; Rom. 5:6-8.
Torture stake—what is more important being right about prophecies (1914, 1915, 1920, 1925, 1940’s, 1975, 1984 (generation 70 years), 1994 (generation 80 years) or torture stake/cross. Now that the WTS has washed clean the pagan stain on luaus and piñatas?
Adam’s offspring (not Eve’s?)…does it just depend on the author at New York?
11. The ransom is based on what correspondence?
11 Elsewhere, Paul termed this “a corresponding ransom.” (1 Tim. 2:6) What was the correspondence? Adam brought imperfection and death to billions, his descendants. It is true that Jesus, as a perfect man, could have been the source of billions of perfect descendants. [*] Hence, it was understood that a combination of Jesus’ life plus that of all his potential perfect descendants formed a sacrifice equivalent to that of Adam and his imperfect descendants. However, the Bible does not say that any potential offspring of Jesus formed part of the ransom. Romans 5:15-19 makes the point that the death of just “one man” provided the release. Yes, Jesus’ perfect life corresponded to Adam’s. The focus is, and should be, on Jesus Christ alone. It became possible for men of all sorts to receive the free gift and life because of Jesus’ “(one act of justification,” his course of obedience and integrity even to death. (2 Cor. 5:14, 15; 1 Pet. 3:18 ) How did that result come about?
Eve did not bring death and imperfection to her descendants?
Speculation (not in the Bible)—Jesus…could have been the source of billions of perfect descendants…all of his potential perfect descendants = Adam’s (not Eve’s)
For MEN of all sorts…not women?
[*] For example, that view involving descendants, or progeny, was included in Insight on the Scriptures,volume 2, page 736, paragraphs 4 and 5.
(it-2 p. 736 Ransom)
But God is pleased to approve the application of the ransom to redeem those of Adam’s offspring who avail themselves of such a release. As Paul states, “as through the disobedience of the one man many were constituted sinners, likewise also through the obedience of the one person many will be constituted righteous.” (Ro 5:18, 19) At the time of Adam’s sin and his being sentenced to death, his offspring or race were all unborn in his loins and so all died with him. (Compare Heb 7:4-10.) Jesus as a perfect man, “the last Adam” (1Co 15:45), had a race or offspring unborn in his loins, and when he died innocently as a perfect human sacrifice this potential human race died with him. He had willingly abstained from producing a family of his own by natural procreation. Instead, Jesus uses the authority granted by Jehovah on the basis of his ransom to give life to all those who accept this provision.—1 Co 15:45; compare Ro 5:15-17.
Thus, Jesus was indeed “a corresponding ransom,” not for the redemption of the one sinner, Adam, but for the redemption of all mankind descended from Adam. He repurchased them so that they could become his family, doing this by presenting the full value of his ransom sacrifice to the God of absolute justice in heaven. (Heb 9:24) He thereby gains a Bride, a heavenly congregation formed of his followers. (Compare Eph 5:23-27; Re 1:5, 6; 5:9, 10; 14:3, 4.) Messianic prophecies also show he will have “offspring” as an “Eternal Father.” (Isa 53:10-12; 9:6, 7) To be such, his ransom must embrace more than those of his “Bride.” In addition to those “bought from among mankind as firstfruits” to form that heavenly congregation, therefore, others are to benefit from his ransom sacrifice and gain everlasting life through the removal of their sins and accompanying imperfection. (Re 14:4; 1Jo 2:1, 2) Since those of the heavenly congregation serve with Christ as priests and “kings over the earth,” such other recipients of the ransom benefits must be earthly subjects of Christ’s Kingdom, and as children of an “Eternal Father” they attain everlasting life. (Re 5:10; 20:6; 21:2-4, 9, 10; 22:17; compare Ps 103:2-5.) The entire arrangement manifests Jehovah’s wisdom and his righteousness in perfectly balancing the scales of justice while showing undeserved kindness and forgiving sins.—Ro 3:21-26.
Acquittal Based on the Ransom
12, 13. Why do those who are declared righteous need Gods mercy and love?
12 Jehovah God accepted the ransom sacrifice that his Son offered. (Heb. 9:24; 10:10, 12) Still, Jesus’ disciples on earth, including his faithful apostles, remained imperfect. Though they strove to avoid doing wrong, they did not always succeed. Why? Because they had inherited sin. (Rom. 7:18-20) But God could and did do something about that. He accepted the “corresponding ransom” and was willing to apply it in behalf of his human servants.
God accepted ransom…still…disciples on earth (were there some in heaven?) remained imperfect
His human servants—today only jws
13 It is not that God owed it to the apostles and others to apply the ransom because they had performed certain good works. Instead, God applied the ransom in their behalf out of his mercy and great love. He chose to acquit the apostles and others of the judgment against them, viewing them as absolved of inherited guilt. Paul made that plain: “By this undeserved kindness, indeed, you have been saved through faith; and this not owing to you, it is God’s gift.”—Eph. 2:8.
God did not owe it…but still humans have to QUALIFY, although there is not that ever equals what is required to QUALIFY. Remember even the WTS calls it UNDERSERVED kindness.
How long does it take for jw elders to absolve people of their sins…1 year before being reinstated or let back in the congregation as a member, 2, 3, 4, even 8 years. 8 months for a pedophile but 8 years for an adulterous jw wife……..
How does one “qualify” for a “gift”? Can anyone “qualify” for God’s free gift who gave it while “we were yet sinners?”
14, 15. What reward was placed before those whom God declared righteous, but what did they still need to do?
14Think what a gift it is for the Almighty to forgive the sin a person inherited as well as the wrongs he committed! You could not count how many sins individuals committed before becoming Christians; yet, on the basis of the ransom, God can forgive those sins. Paul wrote: “the gift resulted from many trespasses in a declaration of righteousness.” (Rom. 5:16) The apostles and others receiving this loving gift (being declared righteous) would have to continue to worship the true God in faith. With what future reward? “Those who receive the abundance of the undeserved kindness and of the free gift of righteousness [will] rule as kings in life through the one person, Jesus Christ.” Indeed, the gift of righteousness works in the opposite direction. The gift has life as its outcome.—Rom. 5:17; read Luke 22:28-30.
You could not count how many sins…but jw elders do, “Brother, how many times did you touch the sister’s breast? (one time = uncleanness, 2 or more times = loose conduct).
Elders can determine repentance and thus know if God above has forgiven this person.
Undeserved—free gift—did you even wonder when and where you would charge someone for the gift that you gave them?
giftn. Something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation. (freedictionary.com)
15Those receiving that gift, being declared righteous, become God’s spiritual Sons. As joint heirs with Christ, they have the prospect of being resurrected to heaven as actual spirit sons to “rule as kings” with Jesus Christ .—Read Romans 8:15-17, 23.
Per the WTS (see above) only the 144,000 (anointed) are declared righteous as sons; all others not until the end of the 1,000 year reign.
God’s Love Manifest to Others
16. How might ones with an earthly hope receive a gift?
16Not all who exercise faith and serve God as loyal Christians expect to “rule as kings” with Christ in heaven. Many have a Bible-based hope similar to that of God’s pre-Christian servants. They hope to live forever on a paradise earth. Can they even now receive a loving gift from God and be viewed as righteous with earthly life in view? Based on what Paul wrote to the Romans, the reassuring answer is yes!
Not all…loyal Christians (only jws) “expect” to go to heaven...where does the WTS prove that Jesus offered a secondary reward to his followers. John 10:16 could well refer to Jewish and Gentile Christians. Certainly even 144,000 per the WTS would be a small group (little flock) compared to the rest of humankind.
CARROT: Live forever on a paradise earth…earthly life in view.
17, 18. (a) in view of Abraham’s faith, how did God consider him? (b) How was it that Jehovah could view Abraham as righteous?
17 Paul discussed a prime example, Abraham, a man of faith who lived before Jehovah provided a law code to Israel and long before Christ opened the way to heavenly life. (Heb. 10:19, 20) We read: “It was not through law that Abraham or his seed had the promise that he should be heir of a world, but it was through the righteousness by faith.” (Rom. 4:13; Jas. 2:23, 24) So God counted faithful Abraham as righteous. —Read Romans 4:20-22.
OT—Abraham—but he lived before Jesus. The WTS applies their reasoning about him to Christians who lived after Jesus died and went back to heaven.
Notice how the WTS “clarifies” that works = faith in this comment in the WT paragraph using brackets but not in the NWT.
*** w03 1/15 p. 18 par. 12 ***
was “declared righteous by works [of faith], after she had received the [Israelite] messengers hospitably and sent them out by another way,” so that they eluded their Canaanite enemies. (James 2:24-26)
(James 2:24-26) 24 YOU see that a man is to be declared righteous by works , and not by faith alone. 25 In the same manner was not also Ra′hab the harlot declared righteous by works, after she had received the messengers hospitably and sent them out by another way? 26 Indeed, as the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
18That cannot mean that Abraham was sinless while serving Jehovah over the decades. No, he was not righteous in that sense. (Rom. 3:10, 23) However, in his limitless wisdom, Jehovah took into account Abraham’s exceptional faith and his works resulting therefrom. In particular, Abraham exercised faith in the promised “seed” to come in his line. That Seed proved to be the Messiah, or Christ. (Gen. 15:6; 22:15-18) Accordingly on the basis of “the ransom paid by Christ Jesus,” the divine Judge is able to forgive sins that occurred in the past. Thus, Abraham and other men of faith in pre-Christian times are in line for a resurrection.— Read Romans 3:24, 25; Ps. 32:1, 2.
But Abraham was imperfect and could be excused of all his sins, including lying about Sarah being his wife and saying she was his sister (she was his half-sister, lying by omission) because he was afraid Abimelech would kill him and the promise from God about his seed would come true. Evidently Abraham did not trust in God’s power and desire to protect him, so he was willing to give his wife to a man who had sexual things on his mind.
No “women of faith”?
Enjoy a Righteous Standing Now
19. Why should God’s view of Abraham be heartening to many today?
19 The fact that the God of love counted Abraham as righteous should be heartening for true Christians today. Jehovah did not declare him righteous in the sense that he does those whom he anoints with spirit to be “joint heirs with Christ.” The limited number of that group are “called to be holy ones” and are accepted as “God’s sons.” (Rom.1:7; 8:14, 17, 33) In contrast, Abraham came to be “Jehovah’s friend”—and that before the ransom sacrifice was offered. (Jas. 2:23; Isa. 41:8) What, then, about true Christians who hope to live in the restored earthly Paradise?
True Christians—only jws, all others are considered merely “professed” or “so-called” Christians by the WTS.
Yes, Abraham could only be God’s “friend,” while only 144,000 Christians (jws today only) were God’s Sons, Jesus was their brother, and God their father, whereas the rest were Jesus’ children and he their Eternal Father, making the “other sheep” grandchildren of God.
*** w95 8/1 p. 13 par. 19 ***
Even though the other sheep are not directly included among the “sons” spoken of at Isaiah 54:13, they are blessed with being taught by Jehovah. Therefore, they properly address God as “Father” because he will, in effect, be their Grandfather through the “Eternal Father,” Jesus Christ.—Matthew 6:9; Isaiah 9:6.
20. God expects what of those whom he today views as righteous, as he did Abraham?
20These have not received “the free gift of righteousness” with heavenly life in view “through the release by the ransom paid by Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 3:24; 5:15, 17) Nevertheless, they exercise deep faith in God and his provisions, and they manifest their faith by good works. One such work is that of “preaching the kingdom of God . . . and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 28:31) Thus, Jehovah can view these as righteous in the sense that he did Abraham. The gift such ones receive—friendship with God—differs from “the free gift” the anointed receive. Yet, it certainly is a gift that they accept with deep gratitude
Notice that the WTS says you cannot earn by works, yet you must “qualify” by works. Do jws even say the word “kingdom” at the door? How many hold back saying “Jehovah”? How many say “Jesus” at the door? How many speak from the Bible but the WTS publications?
Remember all nonanointed jws view Jesus as their Eternal Father, not their spiritual brother, and it is not until the end of the millennial rule that they will be “sons of God.”
21. What benefits are available because of Jehovah’s love and justice?
21If you hope to enjoy everlasting life on earth, you should realize that this opportunity has not come to you because of a capricious act by a human ruler. Rather, it reflects the wise purpose of the Universal Sovereign. Jehovah has taken progressive steps to accomplish his purpose. These steps have been in line with true justice. More than that, they have reflected God’s great love. Well could Paul say: “God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”—Rom. 5:8.
CARROT—everlasting life on earth
Progressive—was it progressive when the WTS taught before 1929 that the “superior authorities” were secular governments, from 1929 to 1962, that they were God and Jesus, but in a flash of light in 1962 that once again they were secular governments? Is that progressive or a flipflop doctrine of which there are several in the WTS past?
Do You Recall?
•Adam’s progeny received what inheritance, and with what result?
•How was a corresponding ransom provided, and in what sense was there a correspondence?
•The gift of being declared righteous brought what prospect to you?
Next week, “SHEPHERD THE FLOCK OF GOD IN YOUR CARE.”
Here is something to chew on for next Sunday.
*** w02 3/1 p. 16 pars. 13-14 ***
In Scotland some young lambs were grazing in a pasture when one of them strayed to the side of a hillock and tumbled onto a ledge below. It was uninjured, but it was frightened and unable to climb back. So it started to bleat plaintively. Its mother heard it, and she too began to bleat until the shepherd came and retrieved the young lamb.
Notice the sequence of events. The lamb called for help, the ewe added her voice to its cries, and the alerted shepherd sprang into action to rescue it. If a very young animal and its mother can sense danger and immediately call for help, should we not do the same when we stumble spiritually or face unexpected dangers from Satan’s world? (James 5:14, 15; 1 Peter 5:8) We should, especially if we are lacking in experience either because we are young or because we are relatively new in the truth.
So much from an organization that ignores Jesus’ words about the shepherd leaving the 99 to search for the one; no mention by Jesus that the shepherd had to hear it calling before he realized it was gone. God may know the number of hairs on our head, but not the elders.