A Corresponding Ransom - Obedience to the Gospel

By John Carson

 

 

This is Part 1 of a teaching series entitled, “A Corresponding Ransom”. I will be dealing with the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society’s (WT) translation and interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:5-6.

 


In this session called, "A Corresponding Ranom - Obedience to the Gospel", we'll see if the WT teaches whether faith in Jesus Christ is sufficient for our salvation. What does it take in order to be acceptable to God? Do Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs) have full assurance of their salvation?

 

To watch a video presentation of this, click here.

 

 


 

 

 

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (WT) teaches in order for you to receive salvation, you must become obedient to their Organization. Their own New World Translation (NWT) translates 1 Timothy 2:5-6 this way:

 

  • For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all.

 

The WT’s teaching of the Ransom required them to make some distinctions between certain groups of people. The “all” in verse 6, are viewed by JWs as “all sorts of people”, and the “men” in verse 5, are an anointed class of JW men and women. The WT interprets verse 5 to mean…

 

Jesus is the mediator between God and the anointed class of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but not on behalf of any other people.

 

Who are these anointed ones?

 

JWs believe Jesus returned invisibly in 1914, and anointed men and women have been gathered into heaven to be corulers with Him since 1919. Anointed JWs who are still alive on earth, make up the Governing Body of the WT Organization.

 

Once the number is compete, being 144,000, Jesus will return with those “anointed ones” and destroy all who are not faithful JWs. 

They believe the ransom opens the way for anyone to be saved from this destruction, upon the stipulation of obedience to the Governing Body of the WT Organization.

 

 

They teach obedience to the “Governing Body” of the WT Society may eventually lead a person to receive everlasting life on earth, which means a personal relationship with Jesus is not the requirement for eternal life.

 

To show your obedience to God, you must be loyal to the Governing Body of the WT Organization. This means you must become a JW. How do you do that?

 

  • Step 1: Learn what the Bible teaches.
  • This basically means you are to agree with the WT’s teachings about the Bible,

 

  • Step 2: Put what you learn into practice.
  • You will need to preach their message (usually door to door)

 

 

They do not believe the cleansing effect of the ransom occurs upon faith in Jesus Christ. You must become a baptized member of the WT Organization before you are accepted by God.

 

But once you are declared clean by the WT through baptism, you are responsible to keep yourself that way by remaining loyal to the WT’s Governing Body. On the Day of Judgement, when people are judged whether they survive or not, the WT claims:

 

 

What happens to those who decide not to become JWs, or leave the organization?

 

 

 

Surviving Armageddon does not guarantee you will enjoy everlasting life. You must remain faithful to this new government for 1,000 years. The WT teaches:

 

 

  • Let us do all we can to live as loyal subjects of that Kingdom now, so that we may benefit from its perfect, just rule forever!

    (God’s Kingdom Rules!, page 239)

 

The only ones who will be with Jesus, are the 144,000. The rest who survive Armageddon and remain completely loyal to the Governing Body of the WT Society, can have hope of escaping utter destruction. The rest will be annihilated.

 

Now is that really what the good news of the Gospel is all about? No! They have a different gospel and a different Jesus. Also, JWs are taught no one can have any assurance of salvation.

 

Hebrews 7:25 is one of my favourite verses. Speaking of the believer’s great high priest, Jesus Christ, it reads:

 

  • Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

 

Jesus intercedes on behalf of all that belong to Him, not to an elite class. The Bible does not teach there are different classes of saved people. In fact, the Bible teaches in 1 Corinthians 12, that all who are part of the believing body of Jesus, are all one in Christ. Galatians 3:28 teaches:

 

  • There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Jesus promised:

 

  • So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)

 

Jesus came to set the captives free, not to place a yoke of impossible obedience around people’s necks.

 

Do we dare cheapen the Gospel of Jesus Christ by making it into a list of rules to obey? In John 3, Jesus taught:

 

  • And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:14-16)

 

How does one show obedience to the Gospel? If Jesus told me to believe and not work for my salvation, and I don’t believe what He said, but instead I try to work for it, that is disobedience. Obedience is trusting what God said; that Salvation is all His work, not mine.

 

All that come to Jesus, are completely saved! Eternal life is God’s everlasting gift for those who have received Jesus Christ:

 

  • And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:11-12)

 

The WT teaches you will not survive unless you become a JW and remain obedient to the WT Organization; the Bible teaches we can belong to Jesus Christ and be with Him forever through faith in His finished work on the cross.

 


 

See also...

 

Part 2: A Corresponding Ransom - What Is It For?

 

Part 3: A Corresponding Ransom - A Serious Mismatch

 


 

 

Witnessing Tips:

  

If your JW friend quotes 1 Timothy 2:6, “who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all.”

  

Ask: Do you believe this means Jesus mediates on behalf of all who believe in Him, as verse 5 teaches?
 

They will deny this, and may explain that verse 5 only applies to an anointed class. Have your friend read John 1:12-13 in their NWT:

 

  • However, to all who did receive him, he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name. And they were born, not from blood or from a fleshly will or from man’s will, but from God.


Ask: Since ALL who believe in the name of Jesus are born of God and adopted into his family – how can you interpret only 144,000 are born again?


Ask: Where in the Bible does it say there are two groups with different hopes?

  

There is but one faith, one hope and one Lord over all. Nowhere did Jesus ever say that the promises in the New Testament applied only to 144,000 persons.


Have your JW friend read 1 John 5:11-12:
 

  • And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.


Ask: If God promised I have life in His Son, and that life is eternal, why do I need to become obedient to the WT instead?

Ask: If you have not received Jesus, what does 1 John 5:12 say you do not have? (Life)

Ask: If you want eternal life, where is that found? (In Christ alone)