"WHAT DOES GOD REQUIRE OF US?"
According to The Gospel of John Chapter
Does this offend you? John 6:61
The Watchtower Tract and Bible Society (WTS) has written a brochure
entitled, "What Does God Require of Us?." It reveals a
multitude of requirements that one must accept to be a good Jehovah's Witness.
In fact, we are told in other WTS publications that we require accurate
knowledge to obtain eternal life. The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life
says on page 13: "We need to examine, not only what we personally
believe, but also what is taught by any religious organization with which
we may be associated. Are its teachings in full harmony with God's Word,
or are they based on the traditions of men? If we are lovers of the truth,
there is nothing to fear from such an examination." I believe
then it is imperative to seek out this 'accurate knowledge' in the
Holy Scriptures by examining Jesus' own words in the Gospel of John
Searching But Never Finding
"You are searching the Scriptures, because you think that by
means of them you will have everlasting life; and these the very ones that
bear witness about me. (John 5:39 NWT)" In straightforward language,
Jesus is disclosing to the Pharisees that although they possess and search
the Scriptures they have not obtained eternal life. They were blind
to Jesus their Messiah even to the point that he claimed "these
[scriptures] the very ones that bear witness about me."
How long must we search, how long must we grope, struggle, and jump through
the various hoops in order to meet God's requirements? In fact what are
God's requirements? Let us refer to some accurate knowledge.
Accurate Knowledge and God's Requirements
The most obvious, the most bold statement of God's requirements in the
New Testament can be found in John 6:28 (NWT). "Therefore they
said to him:"What shall we do to work the works of God?".
The NIV states it perhaps more specifically. "Then they asked him,
"What must we do to do the works God requires?" In verse
29 (NWT), "In answer Jesus said to them: "This is the
word of God, that you exercise [ FAITH ] in him who that One set
forth." [ "in him" is a reference to Jesus NOT Jehovah
the Father] (brackets and bold my emphasis). The question is
do you believe it?, Do you have the urge to include a 'yeah but...?"
in order to add your own requirements to Jesus accurate knowledge? Jesus
did not phrase this statement that you must "believe and produce
works, and fulfil a myriad of requirements." A faithful Jehovah's
Witness of the Watchtower will have great difficulty believing Jesus' accurate
teachings. They will not believe the accurate knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Why not? A faithful Jehovah's Witnesses rejects the accurate
teaching that the Holy Spirit can guide them in all understanding and
truth(John 16:13). In fact a faithful Witness of the Watchtower requires
the Watchtower for the 'official' interpretation. They have mediators
between them and the Bible (Father-Holy Spirit-Governing Body-finally
'accurate knowledge is disseminated to the Flock) similar to the gnostic
teachings of the second century. For 1850 years, Christians relied on the
Bible and the Spirit. In contrast the WTS has 'new light': "Thus
the Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation
as an organization, not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they
may believe that they can interpret the Bible. For this reason the Bible
cannot be properly understood without Jehovah's visible organization
in mind."(Watchtower 1967, October 1, p.587 Finding Freedom with
Jehovah's Visible Organization). In direct contradiction the Gospel of
John is clear if you have ears to hear! Believe in the Son! This requires
no additional interpretation, a simple quick reading will suffice.
Note: It is true that TRUE
faith will produce GOOD works, however John clearly elucidates that
we must trust in the Son for eternal life. He does not add further qualifications.
He is quite confident that God is the author and finisher of salvation.
Good works and obedience shine out of true faith, they cannot add to salvation.
Do read all of John chapter 6!
Who Is Giver of Eternal Life?
The Watchtower has made some very bold claims. They have commandeered Jesus'
very own statements about himself. The WTS presumes to be"giver
of eternal life." Salvation is found in the Watchtower according
to the Watchtower. The WTS has maintained "You must be part
of Jehovah's organization, doing God's will, in order to receive his blessing
of everlasting life..."(You Can live Forever (1982, 1990) p.255).
Therefore according to their unique interpretation of scripture, salvation
is found only in the Watchtower organization " And while now the
witness yet includes the invitation to come to Jehovah's organization for
salvation..." (Watchtower 1981 November 15 p.21 'Stay Awake
and Keep Your Senses'). Nowhere in the Gospel of John, or the entire
New Testament does it express, declare or even hint that any organization
can offer eternal life. Life is found only in Christ, to teach otherwise
To receive accurate knowledge without various ladders of mediation it
is best to turn to John chapter 6. It has already been established that
God requires us to trust in his Son for eternal life (John 6:28-29),
but it is important to verify this! Jesus firmly anchors his mission
going back to the time of Moses. Not only did the Father send bread to
His Jewish ancestors(re: Moses), but now he sends the Son as the
Bread of Life (John 6:30-32). It is this TRUE BREAD(Jesus)
who gives life to the world (John 6:33).No organization can give the 'Bread
of Life.' Just as the WTS makes the claim that salvation is found in
the Watchtower, John states the opposite: " Jesus said to them:
I am the bread of life. He that comes to me will not get hungry at all,
and he that exercises faith in me will never get thirsty at all (John
6:35 NWT)." Jesus is simply saying that those who come to him will
be spiritually satisfied. He is the giver of everlasting life.
The Father's will (Yahweh)according to John 6:40 NWT is that
"everyone that beholds the Son and exercises faith in him should
have everlasting life, and I will resurrect him at the last day."
The NIV states, "Everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him
shall have eternal life..." Unbelieving Jews at this point are still
disputing Christ's claim (John 6:41-42). Jesus reaffirms the Fathers's
will in John 6:47-51 NIV:" I tell you the truth, he who believes
has everlasting life, I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the
manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down
from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread
that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live
forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of
the world" Jesus is alluding to the gospel (his death
on the tree and bodily resurrection to pay for our sins.) The
audience as of yet would not understand that Jesus would have to offer
his 'bread' as his flesh for the sins of the world! To trust in
His WORD and Him alone is to live spiritually...and in abundance. It is
no mistake Jesus has emphasized several times that to trust in Him = eternal
life. It is a simple, essential part of the Father's will.
The Fathers Call
Some followed Jesus simply because He could fill their bellies (John
6:26). They sought Jesus for carnal reasons. Jesus commanded them not to
work for food that spoils (the temporal) but instead to seek the
eternal- Jesus Himself (John6:27). It is Jesus who offers the eternal
food. It is He that is the spiritual sustenance. The life offered is found
in Christ, no organization can offer this particular life giving food.
It is the Father who delivers and draws unbelievers to Jesus Christ (John
6:39.44), and Jesus PROMISES that none shall be lost that are given to
Him (John 6:39,70). But how? The Holy Spirit enables a non-believer to
believe. Jesus says the Spirit gives 'life, and the flesh counts for
nothing (John 6:62, see also John Chapter 3)." To emphasize his
proclamation He professes " The words I have spoken to you are
spirit and they are life.(John 6:63 NIV)" Even more so Paul clearly
reveals that the man without the Spirit does not accept the things of God,
it is all perceived as foolishness. (1 Cor 2:14) . The carnal man always
wants to add to the teachings of Jesus by proclaiming further requirements.
To Whom Shall We Go?
Towards the end of John Chapter 6, we discover that many disciples leave
Jesus (John 6:66). They do not leave the church, nor a synagogue or an
organization...they left Jesus. They no longer wanted to associate
with Him. They would not believe. They could not trust the simple message,
they could not believe His accurate knowledge. Jesus challenges them by
saying, "Does this offend you?(John 6:61)." It seemed
too difficult for some to put simple trust in Jesus. It was a hard teaching
(6:60). Jesus then asks the twelve, "You do not want to go also,
do you? " Simon Peter answers him: "Lord, whom shall we
go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life; and we have believed
and come to know that you are the Holy One of God." ( John 6:67-69
NWT) Jesus proclaimed that He had the words of eternal life. Moreover
He declared that He was eternal life, that He was abundant
life, that anyone who came to him and believed WOULD secure
eternal life. These are hard sayings. They are worth believing.
Note: Jehovah's Witnesses
often misunderstand Christians when we claim that we are saved by faith
alone. Christians have good reason to believe that they are saved by faith
alone. However, Christians believe that works and faith together cannot
save. Christians do believe that when one has believed upon Jesus Christ
that they are born anew (born again, regenerated, spiritually alive) .Therefore
believers can live a spirit powered life that enables them to be obedient
because the Spirit abides in them. Christians are not obedient because
they hope to obtain salvation, they seek obedience because they have escaped
from the Kingdom of Darkness into Yahweh's Kingdom. The are spirit enabled
to now perform good works out of appreciation for Jesus dying for their
sins. Good works do not cause salvation. Good works are a result of true
faith, and its fruit is born out of sanctification (growing in holiness).
There are roughly 89 references to the word belief / believe in the Book
of John almost ALL (88%) pertaining to putting faith in Christ or
trusting Christs words (none coupled with faith + works or faith
+ obedience or faith + loyalty)
60 times there is a reference to believing / putting trust into Christ
18 times there are references to trusting what Christ has stated
11 admonitions regarding trusting / believing or reference to scripture
0 references to loyalty
0 references to obedience
1 reference to obeying the Son if you already have faith