“This is fine and acceptable in the sight of our Savior, God, whose will is that all sorts of people should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.”
~1 Timothy 2:3,4
A few days ago I (a Latina woman) was witnessing door to door with a White brother when we came upon a house of a Trump supporter.
I asked the brother to speak to the men in the garage even though it was my turn to talk.
I assumed that the men who lived there were White supremacists and would not want to talk to me.
One of the men complained that door to door ministers do not stop at his house because ‘they are afraid of him.’
He politely went on to ask a sincere Bible question.
I wonder how they would have received me had I been the one to greet them.
Many people hold erroneous ideals because they ignore the Bible’s “accurate knowledge of truth.”
Even those of us who have been studying God’s Word for years can have trouble seeing past our own prejudices from time to time.
For instance, a fellow believer asked me if my husband is in the country legally.
I pointed out that she would not be asking me that question if my husband and I were White.
Later, she said she does not see differences in race or ethnicity because we are all the same before God.
She is not from this area and she apologized and said she had always been curious about immigration issues.
These experiences have reminded me that I must progressively view all people as equal in their potential to serve God and be saved.
What a relief it is to know that despite our limiting imperfections, Jehovah God does truly seek out and find deserving ones regardless of ethnicity. (Zech. 8:23; Matt. 10:11; 24:14; 28:19,20; Rev. 14:6)
“[…] ‘The righteous one will live by reason of faith.'”
In his letter to the congregation in Rome, Paul explains that even those who suppress God’s Word ought to have a sense of right and wrong based on observing nature. (Rom. 1:18-20)
Does this mean that God judges us based on our own individual criteria, and we do not need to be held to absolute universal standards?
How do we know what it means to have good enough faith or to be righteous?
Paul says God’s righteousness is revealed in the good news. (Rom. 1:16,17)
When he speaks of faith, he is not speaking of an impersonal higher power who saves everyone regardless of their actions. (Rom. 1:21,29-32)
Yet, it takes more than knowledge of God to have faith. (Rom. 2:17,18,21)
If we listen to our own conscience, we can be at peace if we “work what is good.”
However, we cannot save ourselves.
We rely on God’s mercy. (Rom. 3:24; 4:5,25)
But if we are also to “live by reason of faith,” we do well to strengthen that faith by deepening our understanding of God’s good news and of his creation. (Rom. 2:10,13,15,16)
God’s Word tells us he judges us based on the sincere motives behind our actions and not merely on what we think or do. (Rom. 2:29)
The higher standard we’re being judged against is whether or not we do things out of love. (Matt. 22:37-40)
“[…] Because I have experienced the help that is from God, I continue to this day bearing witness to both small and great […].”
It is not easy for most Christians to put ourselves out there, knocking on strangers’ doors, or greeting others on the street.
Most of us do not naturally have a “sales personality.”
Speaking to neighbors, acquaintances, or strangers about spiritual matters requires a great deal of resiliency and tact.
Realistically, most people do not want to be approached about something so personal.
Those who do like to have spiritual conversations are usually discouraged by friends or family who are afraid they will be brainwashed. (Matt. 10:35,36)
As imperfect humans, we may also experience friction between our partners in the ministry from time to time.
But like Paul, we humbly recognize that we are only able to carry on God’s work through the strength he gives us to endure, despite our own limitations. (Matt. 24:13,14; 1 Cor. 9:19-23; Php. 4:13)
“I do not consider my own life of any importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear thorough witness to the good news of the undeserved kindness of God.”
Paul did not feel entitled to the privilege of teaching others about Christ.
He humbly recognized that he was a sinner and attributed the success of his ministry to Jehovah God. (1 Cor. 3:6; 15:9,10; 1 Tim. 1:12,13)
When a need for financial aid struck the congregation in Jerusalem, Paul personally risked his life to carry relief over to them. (Rom. 15:25,26)
He fulfilled his sense of debt towards God, grateful for the ransom sacrifice that allowed him to be God’s friend. (2 Cor. 5:18)
If we have the privilege of sharing God’s good news with others, may we equally treasure it.
“My Kingdom is no part of this world. If my Kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be handed over […].”
Throughout history and throughout the world, true Christians have followed Christ’s courageous example of maintaining political neutrality at the cost of their freedom or even their lives.
Like Jesus, we trust that God’s solution to mankind’s problems will be brought about through his own means. (Dan. 2:44)
Prior to the messiah’s coming, servants of Jehovah sometimes held high government rankings, such as King David or the governor Zerubbabel.
But the priests who killed Jesus were hungry for more political power. (John 11:48)
Jesus made it clear that his followers were not to get involved in the political controversies of his time, and the same applies to us. (Mark 8:15; John 17:16)
We can instead participate in the sharing of the kingdom good news- the same “truth” Jesus said he came to bear witness to. (Matt. 6:33; John 18:37)
“After looking around at them all, he said to the man: ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He did so, and his hand was restored.”
Did Jesus expect his followers to be charismatic faith healers?
Unlike religious faith healers, Jesus’ healings were not characterized by sensationalist drama and were usually rather casual.(Matt. 8:14, 15; Luke 8:43-48; 17:12-19)
The healings were physically visible. Had they been merely psychosomatic healings, the effects would have worn off sooner or later.
For instance, in the case of the man whose hand was paralyzed, Luke the medic says the hand was literally restored.
That is why not even Jesus’ enemies ever denied that the healings were really taking place.
Instead, they planned to kill Jesus (Luke 6:11; John 11:47,48)
Jesus’ healings served the purpose of signaling him as the messiah and savior of mankind. (Heb. 2:3,4)
But after the Christian congregation were established, some would perform “powerful works” in his name without his approval.(Matt. 7:21-23)
Such miracles would no longer be necessary because love was to be the hallmark trait of true Christians.(1 Cor. 12:27–13:2, 8)
His disciples would display that love by spreading the good news of God’s kingdom to everyone. (Matt. 24:14; 28:19,20)
“Did not the One who made me in the womb also make them?
Was it not the same One who formed us before our birth?”
Job did not consider himself to be above anyone.
Even at the height of his financial success, prior to his tragic losses, he esteemed his servants and the poor, treating them with dignity and generosity (Job 31:13,14,16-22).
His clean conscience kept him from ever feeling shame when praying to God during his trials.
It is thus important that we imitate his attitude toward those of lesser economic privilege.
For example, when carrying out our Christian commission to share the Good News, do we hold back from speaking with the homeless? (1 Thess. 2:4).
When we knock at the door of a beautiful mansion, do we refrain from sharing our message with the gardener or maid?
We do good in God’s eyes when we ‘do not withhold good from those to whom we should give it, if it is within our power to help,’ (Prov. 3:27).