"What is God's Way to Salvation?"
Watchtower, March 1, 1960, p. 134-135
When a person, on the basis of the Scriptural knowledge he has gained, has belief in Christ as the Savior whom God provided and shows that faith by his works, he can consider himself as being on the way to salvation. It would be a mistake for him to think that he is now saved and cannot fall. He must show by his endurance in the Christian faith that he is worthy of salvation. "Let him that thinks he has a firm position beware that he does not fall." 1 Cor. 10:12 . . . Salvation from death is a gift from God to those that obey him, not to those that disobey," (Watchtower, March 1, 1960, p. 134).
Comment: A Jehovah's Witness must become worthy of salvation.
God's written Word reveals that more than profession of belief in Jesus is required for salvation. Just saying that one believes is not enough. When Paul and Silas told the Macedonian jailer: "Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will get saved," (Acts 16:31) they were not limiting salvation to belief that Christ is the Redeemer. They knew that more was involved. Besides believing that Christ is God's Son and mankind's Redeemer, knowledge of the Scriptures is necessary as well as a willingness to follow Christ's example. His faith in the heavenly Father was shown by his works of public teaching of spiritual truths that brought honor to his Father and comfort to the people. This fine example must be followed by those who say they believe in Christ. Their faith must be accompanied by similar works. This is pointed out by the Bible writer James, who said: 'show me your faith apart from the works, and I shall show you my faith by my works." Jas. 2:18.
When a person, on the basis of the Scriptural knowledge he has gained, has belief in Christ as the Savior whom God provided and shows that faith by his works, he can consider himself as being on the way to salvation. It would be a mistake for him to think that he is now saved and cannot fall. He must show by his endurance in the Christian faith that he is worthy of salvation. "Let him that thinks he has a firm position beware that he does not fall." 1 Cor. 10:12.
What he is on the way to being saved from is not the torments of a fiery hell, for such a place exists only in the imagination of misinformed persons. God's Word says nothing about eternal torment of lost souls in a fiery hell as being the punishment for wickedness. Instead, it simply says: "The wages sin pays is death." "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." "All the wicked ones he will annihilate." (Rom. 6:23; Ezek. 18:4, AS; Ps. 145:20) God's loving provision is salvation from eternal death. It means freedom from the curse of death that comes because of Adam's sin.
Salvation from death is a gift from God to those that obey him, not to those that disobey. It does not go to the wicked, which fact means that not all humans will benefit from it. The Bible limits it to persons of all kinds that exercise faith. "For I am not ashamed of the good news; it is, in fact, God's power for salvation to everyone having faith." Regarding those that do not have faith, the apostle Peter says that God will "reserve unrighteous people for the day of judgment to be cut off." That is,
they will be cut off from life. He goes on to say that they will 'suffer destruction in their own course of destruction." Rom. 1:16; 2 Pet. 2:9, 12.
PRINCIPAL REQUIREMENTS FOR SALVATION
For a person to gain salvation God requires that he exercise faith in Him and Christ Jesus. A person cannot expect God's favor when he refuses to exercise faith in the Father as a Savior and in the One whom the Father sent to make salvation possible. It is written: "For "anyone that calls upon the name of Jehovah will be saved." (Rom. 10:13) This has to be done by faith, not only in Jehovah and his Son, but also in the truthfulness of his Word. "Moreover, without faith it is impossible to win his good pleasure, for he that approaches God must believe that he is and that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him." Heb. 11:6.
The faithless person does not change reality by his denying the existence of sin and the need for salvation. Although he may refuse to recognize it, he is still a sinner. "If we make the statement, "We have no sin," we are misleading ourselves and the truth is not in us." (1 John 1:8) When a person exercises faith in God's written Word as being true he will acknowledge that he is in a sinful state because of Adamic sin and is in need of a Redeemer. He will show repentance for his sins against God because of his imperfection. "True, God has overlooked the times of such ignorance, yet now he is telling mankind that they should all everywhere repent." Acts 17:30.
It is only right that the Creator should require obedience from man. In times past those that obeyed him were the ones that he favored. It is no different today. Salvation through the coming war of Armageddon and from death depends upon obedience to Jehovah God and to Jesus Christ, whom he has anointed to be earth's ruler. This is shown at Hebrews 5:9, which says regarding Christ: "After he had been made perfect he became responsible for everlasting salvation to all those obeying him." Here again the Scriptures show that salvation is limited and not universal.
Endurance in the way to life is also a requirement for salvation. It does no good if a person starts out on a faithful course of obedience to God but fails to continue on it. He must remain faithful as long as he lives, even when his faithfulness brings the threat of death. "But he that has endured to the finish is the one that will be saved." Matt. 24:13.
A person must manifest his faith in the manner Christ did by dedicating himself to Jehovah God, symbolizing that dedication by water immersion, and making public proclamation of the truth. He must be a teacher of God's Word and purposes. He cannot remain silent, thinking that belief alone is sufficient for salvation. Silence is not God's way to it. "For with the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation." Rom. 10:10.
For the select few that have been chosen to rule with Christ in the heavens salvation comes by resurrection from the condition of death. But for the great multitude of people of all kinds that anticipate eternal life on earth salvation will come during Christ's thousand-year reign. Christ will at that time apply toward them the benefits of his ransom sacrifice, that they may be released from Adamic sin, made free from death and lifted to human perfection in an earthly paradise. This is the certain result of following God's way to salvation.