"What must we do to be saved?"
Watchtower, Sept. 15, 1989, p. 5-7
Quote is at end of page: "Yes, there are various things involved in getting saved. We must take in accurate knowledge of Gods purposes and his way of salvation. Then we must exercise faith in the Chief Agent of salvation, Jesus Christ, and do God's will the rest of our lives. (John 3:16; Titus 2:14) Salvation is sure for those who follow this course. But it involves persevering right to the end of our present life or of this system of things. Only 'he that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved,' (Matthew 24:13)."
Comment: Doing God's will for the rest of your life is required for JW salvation.
Requirements for Salvation
So, then, what is required for salvation? The prime requirement is the one that the apostle Paul stated to the Philippian jailer: Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will get saved. (Acts 16:31) Heartfelt acceptance of the shed blood of Jesus is essential if we are going to be saved. And what will salvation mean for us? Jesus indicated the answer when he said: I give them everlasting life, and they will by no means ever be destroyed. (John 10:28) For most, salvation will mean everlasting life on an earth restored to paradisaic perfection. (Psalm 37:10, 11; Revelation 21:3, 4) In the case of a little flock, however, it will mean ruling with Jesus in his heavenly Kingdom. Luke 12:32; Revelation 5:9, 10; 20:4.
Some suggest that belief in Jesus is the end of the matter. There is just one thing that any one needs to do to get to heaven, says one religious tract. That is, to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour, surrender to Him as Lord and Master, and openly confess Him as such before the world. Thus, many believe that a sudden, emotional conversion experience is all we need in order to guarantee everlasting life. However, to concentrate on only one essential requirement for salvation to the exclusion of the others is like reading one crucial clause in a contract and ignoring the rest.
This becomes more evident when we
listen to the comments of some who at one time thought that professing belief in Jesus was all that was needed to be saved. Bernice says: I was raised in the Brethren Church, but I came to wonder why, if everlasting life is dependent solely on Jesus, he himself said: 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.
For nine years Norman was convinced that he was saved. But then he saw that more was required than an emotional profession that Jesus Christ was his Savior. I saw from the Bible that it was not enough just to acknowledge to God that we are sinners and in need of salvation, he says. We also have to do works that befit repentance.Matthew 3:8; Acts 3:19.
Yes, believing in Jesus is crucial to our salvation, but more is needed. Jesus spoke of some who professed faith in him and even did powerful works in his name. But he did not recognize them. Why? Because they were workers of lawlessness and did not do the will of his Father. (Matthew 7:15-23) The disciple James reminds us of the need to become doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves with false reasoning. He also said: You believe there is one God, do you? You are doing quite well. And yet the demons believe and shudder. . . . Faith without works is dead. James 1:22; 2:19, 26.
Some, though, argue that those who are genuinely saved do all these things anyway. But is that really the case in practice? Denis, who accepted Jesus when he was a young boy, says: The saved people I have known feel no great need to examine the Scriptures because they think they already have all they need for salvation. Indeed, the hypocrisy and unchristian acts of many who claim to be saved have brought the whole subject of salvation into disrepute.
Nevertheless, many insist that the Scriptures say: He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life. (John 3:36, King James Version) Therefore, they conclude that once you have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you can never again be lost. Once saved, always saved is their watchword. But is that what the Scriptures really say? To answer this, we need to consider everything the Bible says on the subject. We would not want to deceive ourselves with false reasoning by reading only selected parts of Gods Word.
Once Saved, Always Saved?
Notice the inspired warning of the disciple Jude. He wrote: Beloved ones, though I was making every effort to write you about the salvation we hold in common, I found it necessary to write you to exhort you to put up a hard fight for the faith that was once for all time delivered to the holy ones. (Jude 3) Why did Jude write this? Because he knew that individual Christians could still lose the salvation they hold in common. He went on to say: I desire to remind you . . . that Jehovah, although he saved a people [the Israelites] out of the land of Egypt, afterwards destroyed those not showing faith. Jude 5.
Judes warning would be pointless if Christians did not face a danger similar to that of those Israelites. Jude was not questioning the value of Jesus sacrifice. That sacrifice has saved us from Adamic sin, and Jesus will protect those who exercise faith in him. No one can snatch them out of his hand. But we can lose that protection. How? By doing what was done by many Israelites who were saved from
Egypt. We can deliberately choose to disobey God. Deuteronomy 30:19, 20.
Imagine being rescued from a burning tower. Think of the relief you would feel as you were safely taken from the building and the rescuer said: You are safe now. Yes, you would have been saved from certain death. But what would happen if you decided to go back into the building for some foolish reason? Your life would again be in danger.
Christians are in a saved condition. They have the prospect of everlasting life because they are in an approved position before God. As a group, their salvation from Adamic sin and all its consequences is sure. But individually they will be saved to eternal life only if they continue to adhere to all of Gods requirements. Jesus emphasized this when he likened himself to a vine and his disciples to branches in that vine. He said: Every branch in me not bearing fruit [God] takes away . . . If anyone does not remain in union with me, he is cast out as a branch and is dried up; and men gather those branches up and pitch them into the fire and they are burned. (John 15:2, 6; Hebrews 6:4-6) Those losing faith in Jesus also lose everlasting life.
He That Has Endured . . . Will Be Saved
Yes, there are various things involved in getting saved. We must take in accurate knowledge of Gods purposes and his way of salvation. Then we must exercise faith in the Chief Agent of salvation, Jesus Christ, and do Gods will the rest of our lives. (John 3:16; Titus 2:14) Salvation is sure for those who follow this course. But it involves persevering right to the end of our present life or of this system of things. Only he that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved. Matthew 24:13.
Along with others in his household, the jailer in Philippi responded positively to the message of salvation that Paul and Silas preached. One and all, he and his were baptized without delay. (Acts 16:33) We can take similar positive action. Thus, we will enter into a close and blessed relationship with Jehovah God and his Son, Jesus Christ, and can have complete confidence in divine provisions for salvation. The Philippian jailer rejoiced greatly with all his household now that he had believed God. (Acts 16:34) Such a course will also cause us to rejoice greatly.