For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Romans 10:2-4
They just don’t get it.
The false religions and cults simply cannot grasp the simplicity of the gospel message. This is evidenced anytime you have a conversation with one of them about sin, grace, faith, and justification.
You can go round and round in debate with a member of one of these organizations and you often walk away with a headache because they can’t see the forest for the trees.
They have been so indoctrinated to believe their respective organization’s interpretations of biblical texts that when someone presents them with the proper interpretation of biblical texts (using Scripture to interpret Scripture) they simply reject it.
It is so sad to watch the deceived continue in their deception, especially when they are leading others down the same broad path.
It’s like trying to convince a fish that it’s wet; the fish has known nothing but wet, so it cannot even fathom what dry is.
Recently the Jehovah’s Witnesses stopped by my home and dropped off an advertisement with my wife for an upcoming event. They won’t stay to talk (our house has been flagged for almost five years now) but they will occasionally still drop off literature . . . and run.
In their latest dump-and-run literature drop they gave my wife a flier for their upcoming commemoration of the anniversary of Jesus’ death. Here’s the opening line from that advertisement:
“John the Baptizer stated that Jesus ‘takes away the sin of the world.’ (John 1:29) This drew attention to Jesus’ role in saving obedient mankind.”
Jesus saved the obedient?
See how subtle their deception is?
The obedient don’t need a Savior. Jesus Himself said He came for the sinner, not the righteous (Matthew 9:13, Mark 2:17).
This declaration by the Jehovah’s Witnesses is predicated on the erroneous assumption that our obedience is a prerequisite for Christ to be able save us. This is classic Watchtower Organization rhetoric and is essentially the doctrine of all cults and false religions: Believing you must do your part and cooperate with God to help Him or enable Him to save you.
They just don’t get it.
If the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe obedience is required as a means or requirement of salvation (which anyone who knows Watchtower doctrine can attest that this is indeed their position) then they better be obedient to all the Law without ever sinning once from cradle to grave, otherwise they will be found guilty of breaking all the Law (James 2:10):
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.
But what’s even more damning to those seeking salvation via the conduit of obedience is the fact that they are under a curse for doing the very thing they think will save them (Galatians 3:10):
For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.”
What Jehovah’s Witnesses (and Mormons, and Roman Catholics, and Muslims, etc.) fail to understand is that regeneration comes before obedience, not the other way around. Romans 8:6-8 makes our inability very clear:
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
It’s a classic case of putting of the cart before the horse.
They just don’t get it.
It’s only after we’ve been saved, regenerated, made alive in Christ, been born again, that our works and obedience are pleasing and acceptable to God
Our obedience is borne out of a love and desire to please the One who purchased us with His own blood, not out of us trying to appease Him and merit His favor like the pagans try do for their idols.
Our obedience, and the good works we do after being saved, come from God and are prepared beforehand for us to walk in (Ephesians 2:10). This is why our behavior should reflect our conversion (Matthew 3:8, Luke 3:8, Acts 26:20, Ephesians 4:1) and why the absence of which should cause us to question whether or not we’ve been genuinely converted.
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test? 2 Corinthians 13:5
Simply put, regeneration precedes obedience (John 14:15, John 14:21-24, 1 John 3:24).
What obedience did Abraham offer to become righteous before God (Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:3)? What obedience did John the Baptist declare to those coming to be baptized (Matthew 3:2)? What obedience did Christ declare upon the start of His earthly ministry (Matthew 4:17) or later in His ministry (Luke 13:5)? What obedience did the thief on the cross exhibit to be with Jesus that very day in paradise (Luke 23:39-43)? What obedience did Paul tell the Philippian jailer he needed to perform to be saved (Acts 16:30-31)?
The false faiths that dot the landscape of Christianity like pock marks all invalidate the word of God for the sake of their traditions (Matthew 15:6), and their works-righteousness gospel is in complete contradiction to Jesus’ teaching of the means of the free gift of God’s grace and mercy as cited in His example of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14. You cannot read those words of our Lord and still believe that your obedience (or anything for that matter) merits you any favor in God’s eyes. If you still believe otherwise, then you make Christ’s brutal, bloody, and barbaric sacrifice null and void because it was all done in vain.
I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly. Galatians 2:21
See also: Why Don’t They Get it?