UNDERSTANDING FAITH FOR OUR SALVATION

Understanding Faith For Our Salvation

GALATIANS 3: 10 For all those who depend upon works of law are under a curse; for it is written: “Cursed is every one that does not continue in all the things written in the scroll of the Law in order to do them.” 11 Moreover, that by law no one is declared righteous with God is evident, because “the righteous one will live by reason of faith.” 12 Now the Law does not adhere to faith, but “he that does them shall live by means of them.” – NWT

It says the Law has nothing to do with faith and that whoever does everything the Law requires will live through it. The Law which was given through Moses was made because of the transgressions of the people before. Therefore the Law indeed requires a person not to sin. It is said in this verse that no one is put right with God through the Law but rather through faith. What is the meaning of Law and Faith? The Law is something to follow in order not to be punished. Faith is something we believe and expect. When Israel had the Law of Moses, God did not just let pass the sins of the people who have sinned against the Law in relation to God. We know that the Law of Moses was continued to practice by the Israel until Jesus’ ransom had been offered to mankind which is through his death. That is why when Jesus has not given yet his life for the mankind, the Law of Moses was still practice. That is also why when someone had sinned against the Law (including the additional laws given to Moses) the sanedhrin in times of the Jewish people can punish the sinner by death. However, when God’s covenant through Jesus had been furnished, the old Law had been changed into a new one. The proof text is in Galatians 3:19 and Hebrews 9:15. Does it mean all the Law of Moses could not apply anymore? Not really. There are only some laws that had been changed. Examples are the tithing, repentance through offering animals, the Sabbath, the death punishment and the foods which can be eaten already, the circumcision and others. But the ten commandments which is given to Moses is still applicable today. We should remember that Jesus add up the commandments into two that is to love God with all your heart, mind and soul and to love others as yourself and this laws sum up all the other laws, and to love God is to follow his commands – 1 John 5:3. Now, does Galatians 3:11 – 12 speak of faith alone and so we can have salvation which leads to eternal life? No. We should look the deeper context of the word “faith”. This does not only mean of believing or expecting something. It requires action and following God’s command. A very good example of this is the wife of Lot. She and his family have faith with the truthfulness of the plan of God. This can be seen after Lot requested Jehovah to allow him to enter in one city which is near and so he will be saved. He told this because he thinks he cannot go further to the required place for them to be safe and so he requested God to allow him to go to a nearby city. After his request, they heard a voice from God which granted his request. Then when they enter the said city requested by Lot to God, the fire stroke Sodom and Gomorrah however, the wife of Lot looked back at the city and so she became a pillar of salt. We may ask what causes her to look back. The answer could be because of her out of curiosity of what is happening on their back or looking on the wealth of the two cities. She maybe forgot the command of the angel of not to look back at the city while they are escaping from destruction. Now, what can we learn from this? The family had faith on the words of Jehovah and they have taken action. We should remember that Lot called Jehovah for his request. You can read this bible accounts at Genesis 19. In this account, even from the start the family of Lot believed already with the two angels for they know Jehovah and the family of Lot obviously believe on Jehovah. While the two men which were about to marry his daughters did not have faith on what Lot had said to them through the angels about the coming destruction and so they were also destroyed. So why the wife of Lot was not saved though she had faith? It is because she refused to follow the command of God through the angels which is not to look back in the two cities. Maybe she was curious at that time on how the destruction is happening at their back. She did not follow the command of God. The curiosity or objection of command leads her to destruction. We can see now that faith can save you but if you do not do the will of God then you will not be saved. If the Christians have faith yet they will not take action for their faith then they may not have salvation.  This is a reminder to all Christians, they must have faith and they must not forget the will of God for they might perish at the end or even at this present system of things. In addition to this, many people in the Bible (as reported in Hebrews 11) have put as righteous to God because of their faith to God and accompanying it with works. Others say that if you have faith in Jesus then you will be saved (see John 14:1). This is not always possible. If for example, a person has a gift of understanding the word of God and he has faith in God and his words, yet he does not apply it in his life, what life could he have in the future? If he understand the word of God yet he doesn’t work for it, he is just like the Pharisees mention in the Bible by Jesus. The people who knows LAW but do not practice it. Another thing I am saying is about the LOVE which is the greatest among all. It is the heart that searches by God. He judges all the mankind through their heart for it is through our heart we take actions. THE LOVE FOR GOD AND FOR THE OTHERS, how can we show these? It is through following God’s commands and helping others through what we have whatever sect or group they are in.

We should remember faith need works. How do we say that? As I have said, people reported in Hebrews 11 did rightful actions because of their faith. It is through their faith they work rightfully eventually. If you have faith in God and in Jesus and you know the truth and the coming judgment of God, would you not tell these things to other people? A good example of this is through Ezekiel who was a prophet before. In Ezekiel chapter 33, God clearly stated that the lookout is responsible for the life of the sinners. Once the lookout did not follow the command of God which is to give warning to the sinners of the coming danger then he will also pay for that irresponsible action. If someone has faith, this doesn’t mean that he will have salvation through his faith alone. He must act according to his faith. We know that even in the true congregation of God before there are called Christians who have faith in God, in Jesus and in truth yet still they are not acting according to their faith or what it requires for them to be (1 Corinthians 5:1 – 5, 11 – 13; 1 Timothy 1:18 – 20). See they were once Christians with faith about the truth yet they were removed from the congregation of God because of their wrong doings. So what is now meant by Galatians 3:11- 12 in relation to James 2:22, 26? James 2:22 You behold that [his] faith worked along with his works and by [his] works [his] faith was perfected, 26 Indeed, as the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. – NWT (highlighted for emphasis) Are these verses opposite with the verse that says faith alone is enough in Galatians 3:11 – 12? No. The faith that is speaking of Paul here is the same as the faith with work which meant by James. James just broadened the context of faith that we must have. The faith meant by Paul means the faith of all truth which includes the faith in God, in Jesus and the truth in words of God which includes salvation, resurrection and condemnation. Faith should not be a partial thing. It is a whole thing that covers all things for God. For how can someone be saved if  he has faith in God yet his faith in salvation lacks because of his wrong doings? What is his faith in God when he is acting against His will? Can he have faith in salvation if his doings are wrong? Faith is something we expect to happen – Hebrews 11:1. How can we expect salvation if we are in wrong doings or not doing the right things? And what is this one will of God that Jehovah’s Witnesses are doing? It is to preach the word of God in all nations as Jesus commanded them to do – Matthew 28:19, 20 which is in relation to EZEKIEL 33. In the bible, it is wrong not to do the right things when we know it is right thing to do – James 4:17. This means that if we have love, knowledge, time, strength and courage to preach the word of God yet we are not doing it, then maybe it’s a wrong thing now. It’s up to the Christians if they have faith in God and not have works or have faith in God with works. Jehovah is the One that will judge among all of us, through his son Jesus Christ. READ also Romans 10:10, 15; 1 Timothy 4:16; Hebrews 10:35 – 36 and Isaiah 52:7 and Psalms 68:11. Both Isaiah 52:7 and Psalms 68:11 are being fulfilled through the organization of Jehovah, the Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is not the only thing which we can give to people. We can give help to others who are really in need in anything we can. Again, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are acting as a group through the Watchtower.  What the JW are doing is they donate to their own organization and the Watchtower gives its assistance to those people who are really in need. However, the Watchtower, is not a foundation of which the main purpose is to help physically but rather to help the people of the world in spiritual things. That is why they give most of the funds for spiritual needs which include Biblical literatures and building kingdom halls as well as the other needs of their members. Spiritual matters are the main purpose of the Watchtower because the physical needs of today are for this moment only while the spiritual thing that Jehovah’s Witnesses is giving is for the eternal life of tomorrow with full of physical satisfactions. Let us go back now with the Law and Faith. The Law will be phased out at the right time (i.e. after 1000 years of millennial reign of Jesus) that is why it is said in Galatians 3:12 that the law has nothing to do with faith. It is true since those who have faith in God, in Jesus and in truth will have eternal life. The people who lived before in the time of Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) don’t know yet the complete TRUTH. They don’t know yet about Jesus and his ransom for the mankind, they don’t know God’s will for the 144,000 and their rulership on earth together with Jesus Christ. They don’t know yet the 1000 years coming to be ruled with Jesus Christ and by the 144,000. That is why Jehovah will resurrect the other people who have not heard about these things yet have faith in God in order to fulfill his words in Isaiah 11:9; Habakuk 2:14; Psalms 22:27; Acts 3:25; Galatians 3:8; Genesis 22:18. All people on earth after 1000 years will be blessed because of the promise seed of Abraham which is Jesus and of course the 144,000 who belong to that seed for they are also the secondary seed of Abraham – Galatians 3:29. The Law (the commandments of God in the Bible) will be phased out after  the millennial reign of Jesus and the 144,000 (i.e.  after 1000 years). The LAW will have no purpose anymore. But of course there will be new commandments of God after Armageddon to be followed by the people and these are the new scrolls that will be opened as stated in Revelation. People will be judged by God through the 144,000 (1 Corinthians 6:2) according to what the people will be doing during 1000 years (read the preceding verses and the verses following Isaiah 65:20). People who will not act properly will be condemned right away during this period and so they will not come to 1000 years (Revelation 20:5 – those who have resurrected and taught yet acted against the will of God). However, those people who will come to 1000 years will undergo to a final test. OF COURSE THEY WILL NOT COME TO THE END ON THAT TIME if they did not follow all the commandments of God including the new ones. Resurrection happens in proper order and not all at the same time, first was Jesus Christ, then the 144,000, then the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the first Christians [for they are the ones to teach the resurrected non-JW], and lastly those who have not heard the truth – 1 Corinthians 15:23. Those who will come at the end of 1000 years must HAVE FAITH for this is the last resort that Christians must hold to especially those who will be resurrected that did not come to know the truth about God and his promises. If you will read about Gog of Magog which represent by Satan in the book of Ezekiel (38:1 – 39:16), we can see his final drive to mislead the people all over the world through his demons and they will attack the true Christians who remains with Jehovah. First before the coming of Armageddon (in Ezekiel 38 and 39) and second after 1000 years (Revelation 20:7 – 10). Then those who did not remain in union of Jehovah will be destroyed together with Satan and his demons (Revelation 20:7 – 10). The Gog and Magog in Revelation is identifying the first and second phrases thus it represent Satan and the nations of four corners of the earth. How would Satan and his demons would do their final actions against the people of God? Of course they will gather first people who have the tendency not to remain faith in God. They will deceive these people to stand or rebelled against Jehovah but fire will burn them up.  Also it is not only FAITH (because demons may try to deceive the people to rebel against Jehovah) that will be tested after 1000 years it is also peoples’ integrity to Jehovah that is if they would follow the will of God or disobey him. What about Romans 9:30 – 33? Again, this is what the Faith all about. In this verse, Paul mentioned that the Israel did not put right with God because they did not depend on faith but on what they did. How it was so? Well, the Hebrew Scriptures speak about Jesus coming as the Messiah yet the Jews on that time did not have faith on what God had promised. Their mind is only to Moses Law. That is why many scribes, priests and Pharisees who knows and practice the Law of Moses did not put right with God because of their lack of faith on what God had promised and that is in the coming of Jesus as the Messiah. So what is faith now that may save a person? Is it only the faith about Jesus and that he was resurrected by God (Romans 10:9)? No. Faith requires action. It is through our mouth we confess the TRUTH or the word of God for the salvation of ourselves and the others – 1 Timothy 4:16. The faith of the beginners who are about studying the word of God (or the unbaptized JW or the bible study students) is the faith in God, in Jesus and in truth and the faith of JW is also the same but they give public ministering of the word of God. Psalms 68:11 is being fulfilled today. Many women Jehovah’s Witnesses are preaching the word of God all over the world. Hebrews 10:35 speaks about our freedom of speech most especially about the word of God that has a big reward after all.

2 Corinthians 13: 5 Keep testing whether YOU are in the faith, keep proving what YOU yourselves are. Or do YOU not recognize that Jesus Christ is in union with YOU? Unless YOU are disapproved. – NWT

Living in the faith, what does it mean for you? Well, to those who know the truth, TO LIVE IN THE FAITH is TO LIVE IN UNION WITH JEHOVAH AND JESUS as well as TO LIVE IN UNION WITH THE WORD OF GOD AND WITH THE WILL OF GOD. What about Mark 16:16 which says those who has faith and baptism will be saved? This statement may mean as those who have faith and those who have baptism. Of course those who have baptism (as true Christians) must also have FAITH and so the two are required. But we must know that 1 Corinthians 5:12 tells that God judges those who are outside the congregation of God. It is Jehovah God who will judge them and so we must not judge the ones who are outside the congregation of God. Read also Roman 2:12 – 16. That is how God will judge the people of all nations according to his righteousness.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are of serious concern, whatever things are righteous, whatever things are chaste, whatever things are lovable, whatever things are well spoken of, whatever virtue there is and whatever praiseworthy thing there is, continue considering these things9 The things that YOU learned as well as accepted and heard and saw in connection with me, practice these; and the God of peace will be with you. – NWT (underlined words and bold characters are mine for emphasis)

James 2:14 Of what benefit is it, my brothers, if a certain one says he has faith but he does not have works? That faith cannot save him, can it? 15 If a brother or a sister is in a naked state and lacking the food sufficient for the day, 16 yet a certain one of YOU says to them: “Go in peace, keep warm and well fed,” but YOU do not give them the necessities for [their] body, of what benefit is it? 17 Thus, too, faith, if it does not have works, is dead in itself. – NWT

Faith of someone cannot save himself if he doesn’t have work or he is not working for it. If he doesn’t show love for the others who need help what would be the product of his faith?

Love is the most important as what says in 1 Corinthians 13:13. However, if you are afraid to preach the word of God then still you are not perfected yet by love – 1 John 4:18. Love is also importance in relation in working in the congregation of God – 1 Corinthians 13:1 – 3. If you have faith and you don’t have love for the others still it is worthless. One thing, if you share things to others who need help yet you don’t have love it is worthless too. Many religious people are doing this to show to many people that they are good and to show to their churches that they are generous yet they heart are not filled with love just like the Pharisees before. They just want the praise from the people.Religious leaders do these to gain more members for their church.  TAKE NOTE: The Word of God will remain forever as it was said by Jehovah in Isaiah 40:8 “The green grass has dried up, the blossom has withered; but as for the word of our God, it will last to time indefinite.” – NWT (underlined word are mine for emphasis; see also 1 Peter 1:25). So the Scriptures will remain forever. However, the LAW will be phased out (but not in the Bible). This only means that the Law will only be just part of the history. A code of ethics before to say just as an illustration that is required before. And since the people will no longer be tempted by the devil and will come into perfectness, the law will not be needed anymore to remind them, for they will understand the right and wrong through their heart forever. The Law just as what said by God to His nation will also be written in the heart of the people who will be saved. They are the ones who will really understand and not forget the will of God. The ones who can remember always in their heart the Law of Jehovah.

A good illustration about faith is this: There is a Father who has sons. The Father loves very much the sons and he teach many things to his sons and the sons loves also their father. However, there was a time came when someone who is against the Father told many things to the sons. There are sons who turn against their father but there were sons who still remain with their father however there is a son who started to doubt and be confused. His faith with his Father weakens his whole being as if the person who is telling false things against his father is the one that overcome his faith to his father. He keeps doubting, thinking if the Father is lying to him and not telling truth. At the end, he was brainwashed by his other brothers or the other sons of his father who are misled by that someone. He did not joined with them but he was in questions, in confusion and keeping in doubt about his father. Yet his father knows it and so his father gets angry with him and with his other brothers who are misled and so he punished them all. This illustration speaks about the similarity of Jehovah and his people, the same  thing is questioning here. There is the faith that the son has before when he heard many things with his father yet he came into thinking that his father might be telling wrong things or not true. His father knows it and so he was punished by him together his other brothers who are misled and who tried to misled him.

LOVE ENDURES EVERYTHING

FAITH AND LOVE IN ALL GOOD THINGS PROVIDE US SALVATION

Please see this link for additional information:

http://www.watchtower.org/e/19960201/article_01.htm

http://www.watchtower.org/e/19960201/article_02.htm

I would like to share this article from Watchtower’s site. In this article it explains how important to live in faith by reason. Thus our faith is based on reason that is in the true teachings in the Bible. Please read the link below.

Remember these verses:
Roman 1:18 For God’s wrath is being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who are suppressing the truth in an unrighteous way, 19 because what may be known about God is manifest among them, for God made it manifest to them. 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God nor did they thank him, but they became empty-headed in their reasonings and their unintelligent heart became darkened. 22 Although asserting they were wise, they became foolish 23 and turned the glory of the incorruptible God into something like the image of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed creatures and creeping things.
(Highlights and underlined are mine for emphasis)
Others are saying they know, believe and love  God however, they are not in truth.
Roman 10:2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God; but not according to accurate knowledge; 3 for, because of not knowing the righteousness of God but seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.
1 Timothy 2:4 whose will is that all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth. 

(Highlights and underlined are mine for emphasis)

ADDITIONAL COMMENT:

In Romans 4:4, 5, Paul said that the one who do not have work but have faith on the one who express to an ungodly one as righteous, the faith he had is considered as righteousness. It suggest that those who have work have their payment but cannot considered as a gift but as earned by those individuals. However, those who have faith but do not have deeds can be considered as righteous just what the thief on the right side of Jesus who expressed his faith to Jesus before he died and thus he is put right with God. Now, if someone from a different sect or religion come to know the truth and yet still partaking on the things being done in his church, then he does not having work on his faith. The Bible clearly teaches that if you know the right yet you are not doing it, then it is a sin – James 4:17. The Bible commanded the people to get out of false religions (2 Corinthians 6:14 – 17; Revelation 18:4). There is one body (the church or congregation of God), one faith, one spirit and one baptism – Ephesians 4:4, 5. How does faith alone can save a person? The time when someone is near of his death but have expressed his faith for the truth and repent and a person who cannot have work for his faith (those with disability) at the time he come to know the truth are the ones that speaks of this faith plus those who have heard little truth but did not get chance to know the full truth because of the changes of their residency whether locally or internationally but expresses their faith on the truth they have heard. These are likely the ones in the Bible that believe in the truth just like the transgressor on the right side of Jesus (Luke 23: 39 – 42) and also other people who have expressed their faith with God without having the Law in themselves. They are the ones who may have salvation and have hope for resurrection. Though Paul told in Romans 3:28 that a person may be declared as righteous separated from works, this doesn’t mean that he is against of the statement of James in James 2:24, 26 which states that a person is declared righteous not of  faith alone but of his works and that faith without work is dead. James said in verse 25 that Rahab was considered righteous because of his work and has faith with what told to him but not of the faith of scriptural truth for he had not heard it yet though he had knew that God saves Israel from Egypt and divided the Red Sea. This now speaks of the people in every nation even they do not know the truth. In Acts 10:34, 35, God remind us that he is not partial with every kind of people but for every people of the nations who is doing “righteousness” is acceptable to him. God searches the hearts of the mankind – 1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Chronicles 28:9; 1 Chronicles 29:17. Paul did not set aside the Law thus he is simply saying not to forget the Law but to follow the Law [those laws which need to be done still] which we can do through our work by simply upholding it – Romans 3:21. How can we uphold the word of God – the Bible? Is it not by simply following God’s commandments? Therefore, when someone has faith yet not following the counsel of the Bible, he is having faith without work. Paul emphasized in Romans 3:28 – 29 that God is not God only for Jews but for the people of all nations. Thus, Paul himself is referring on the Jews before who are only following the Law of Moses yet rejecting the faith which is a requirement for salvation of the person itself. He definitely includes the people of the nations who have faith on the things which is right. Righteousness as what said by Paul can be seen through faith whether it is on the last time of one’s life or through ones whole life on this present system of things. However, we should remember a great example in the Bible in which the rich man with authority asked on how to have eternal life. Though he was a follower of Law yet Jesus commanded him to sell his property and share it with the poor ones, yet he cried because he is rich and showing love on his property. He has faith indeed with Jesus as he called Jesus as the “Good Teacher” yet he did not have work on the command of Jesus. Jesus added that it is impossible for a person like him to enter in the kingdom of God – Luke 18:18 – 25.Thus, even we have faith yet we ignore the things which is right, it won’t assure us for the salvation.

Paul was a good example of showing exercising faith that is by doing work because of his faith.

2 Corinthians 4:13.

13 Now because we have the same spirit of faith as that of which it is written: “I exercised faith, therefore I spoke,” we too exercise faith and therefore we speak,

PAUL HIMSELF IS NOT ONLY BOUND OF FAITH ALONE BUT ALSO EXERCISING FAITH THROUGH SPREADING THE GOOD NEWS TO THE PEOPLE. This is the one example that JW is doing which is commanded by Jesus to his disciples (Matthew 28:19, 20).

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