June 20, 2009

What is the Jehovah's Witness Concept of Salvation?

Concerning the majority of Jehovah's Witnesses you encounter today, there are several "salvations" they look for.

1. Being saved from Armageddon, brought through living into the post-apocalyptic world.

2. If they die before Armageddon, being resurrected into the post-apocalyptic world (and thus saved from the non-existence of death - of note is the fact that this creature has no personal continuity with the one who died, this is a newly created human with the memories/personality of the formerly existing human).

Both of these salvations are only temporary. They are not eternal. I mention this because evangelicals tend to think of "being saved" as something that happens once and lasts forever. Although the JW might say the two above are salvations, they are speaking of a temporary salvation that gives them an opportunity to gain permanent salvation.

3. Successfully passing the final test at the end of the Millenium, and thus being judged by Jehovah as worthy of life. This is the only "salvation" that truly sticks in Watchtower theology. Jehovah God brings a final test upon the world of witnesses who are in the same state as Adam and Eve (sinless and brought up to human perfection). This final test lets them personally demonstrate their personal righteousness or unrighteousness, resulting either in everlasting life on earth or annihilation into non-existence. Passing this final judgment has nothing to do with faith in Jesus or salvation by God's grace. It is a crass works-based salvation that rests squarely on the personal performance of each individual in the final test.

What are they saved from? In each salvation mentioned above the JW is saved from non-existence, either temporarily or permanently.

Sadly but not surprisingly, even the salvation granted after the final test is not truly permanent. It continues to be contingent on the performance of each individual.

This is all in contrast to the Bible's message, which tells us that we are saved by God's grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone all to God's glory alone.
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