Salvation according to the Watchtower Organization, Part 1

According to the Watchtower Organization, Feb. 15, 1983, p. 12, there are four requirements for salvation as taught by the Watchtower magazine. Please check out the list.
(see this quote in context)

  1. Jesus Christ identified a first requirement when he said in prayer to his Father: "This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ." (John 17:3) Knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ includes knowledge of God's purposes regarding the earth and of Christ's role as earth's new King. Will you take in such knowledge by studying the Bible?
  2. Many have found the second requirement more difficult. It is to obey God's laws, yes, to conform one's life to the moral requirements set out in the Bible. This includes refraining from a debauched, immoral way of life. 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; 1 Peter 4:3, 4.
  3. A third requirement is that we be associated with God's channel, his organization. God has always used an organization. For example, only those in the ark in Noah's day survived the Flood, and only those associated with the Christian congregation in the first century had God's favor. (Acts 4:12) Similarly, Jehovah is using only one organization today to accomplish his will. To receive everlasting life in the earthly Paradise we must identify that organization and serve God as part of it.
  4. The fourth requirement is connected with loyalty. God requires that prospective subjects of his Kingdom support his government by loyally advocating his Kingdom rule to others. Jesus Christ explained: "This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth." (Matthew 24:14) Will you meet this requirement by telling others about God's Kingdom?

According to the Bible, salvation is obtained by faith in Christ and what He did on the cross. That is why the Bible says we are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1). Justification is the legal declaration by God where He declares the sinner righteous. This is based on the substitutionary atonement of Jesus on the cross and in our place.

  • 2 Cor. 5:21, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
  • 1 Pet. 2:24, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."

Because Jesus took our place and satisfied all the law, we are not obligated to keep the law in any way in order to be justified/saved. His righteousness, His fulfilling of the law is reckoned to us, is given to us by faith. That is why Jesus says He gives us rest (Matt. 11:28). It is rest from trying to earn our salvation in any way. As Christians, we are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9) because we can never please God by any work we do (Isa. 64:6; Gal. 2:21). Only through Jesus and His work on the cross are we saved.

When the Galatian Christians sought to be circumcised, they were essentially trying to complete their salvation by a work of law. To this Paul said, "And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. 4You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace," (Gal. 5:3-4). Why? because Rom. 11:6 says, "But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace."

Unfortunately for the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Watchtower Organization is teaching that in order to be saved you must become 1) knowledgeable about the Father, 2) obey God's laws, 3) be associated with the Jehovah's Witnesses, and 4) be loyal in spreading the kingdom news of God.

Please take note that the Watchtower does not teach about coming to Christ as Jesus stated in Matt. 11:28. It does not focus on the sacrifice of Christ on the cross and what Jesus did. It does not mention what saves us in 1 Cor. 15:1-4, namely, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Instead, it focuses on the Father, itself as an organization, and works. It is the works issue that is the most problematic here. The Jehovah's Witness' organization teaches works righteousness in combination with the sacrifice of Christ. This combination of our works and Jesus' sacrifice is a teaching that is not only a heresy but also makes salvation void.

Works do not save us

  • Rom. 3:28, "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law."
  • Gal. 2:16, "nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus . . . "
  • See also, Rom. 4:5; 5:1; Gal. 3:11; Phil. 3:9.

Again as to quote the Watchtower above, "Many have found the second requirement more difficult. It is to obey God's laws, yes, to conform one's life to the moral requirements set out in the Bible." And if this isn't enough, please consider the following quote:

"Accepting the message of salvation and devoting ourselves to God through Christ and being baptized in water is only the beginning of our exercise of faith. It is only the beginning of our obedience to God. It sets us on the way to everlasting life, but it does not mean our final salvation," (This Means Everlasting Life, p. 181).

As you can see, the Watchtower Organization teaches that salvation is dependent upon the work of the Jehovah's Witnesses, and this is a doctrine that leads to damnation.

Are you doing enough works?

If you are a Jehovah's Witnesses, then are you doing enough works to be saved? Are all your hours going door-to-door really going to please God enough for Him to let you into Paradise Earth? Are you actually obeying God's laws? If not, why not?

Do you think that sincerity will make up the difference? If so, you're in for a rude awakening.

"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23"And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.' (Matt. 7:21-23).

Notice how those condemned on the day of judgment appealed to their works that they did in Jesus' name. In other words, they combined their faith and deeds in their appeal to Jesus for salvation. It was not by faith alone! Is that what you are doing? Are you relying on the complete grace of God in Christ alone, or are you hoping to be able to prove to God you are a worthy Jehovah's Witness by your deeds of obedience? You can never be made worthy by anything you do. All our deeds are filthy rags before the Lord (Isa. 64:6). That is why true Christians are justified (saved) by faith (Rom. 5:1).

True Christianity is the teaching that Jesus is God in flesh (John 1:1, 14; Col. 2:9); and because He is, His sacrifice is infinite in value. It is completely sufficient to save us from our sins and does so. All we need to do is believe and by faith we are justified (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8-9). It is after we are saved that we then go out and do good works and keep His commandments. We do them because we are saved and not to get saved or to keep our salvation.

Are you good enough? Is your heart good enough? Are you sincere enough? Have you put enough hours going door-to-door? .... do you need a rest? If so, come to Jesus. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins.

  • Matt. 28:18, "And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth."
  • John 14:14, "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it."
  • Matt. 11:28-30, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29"Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. 30"For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.