The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.
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The International Association Jehovah's Witnesses

Themes Archive

 
It Takes Faith to Become Rich
 
    In tense years when the communistic Russia and the capitalistic democracies eyed one another suspiciously, it was an uncomfortable thing to be rich in this world’s goods. The Bible does not favor the communist side of the controversy when it declares at James 5:1: "Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you." That prophetic warning applies to all nations, including mighty Russia with all her internal wealth and abundance of resources, and also the Vatican and the far-flung religious organization under it. The fact that the Vatican is one of the wealthiest religio-commercial organizations on earth today does not say that it possesses the faith that brings the true and enduring riches, for the Vatican’s material riches and earthly splendor and its religious traditions will disappear at the battle of Armageddon amid the howling and weeping of its wealth-gathering,
richly-clad hierarchy and priests.
    The source of enduring riches is Jehovah God, and the dispenser of such riches is Jehovah’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand." (John 3: 35) Only those who come to a knowledge of Jehovah and who then obey him will receive the riches that He dispenses by his Son. For this reason the Son said: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." (John 17 : 3) Eternal life is riches indeed.
    Many persons having a desire for the blessings of life but having been misled and greatly confused religiously are heard to say something like this: "I believe that if I do what I can see to be right I will be saved to eternal life." That idea is entirely erroneous. There are not many ways, but only one way, by which man can obtain the blessings of enduring riches, and that one way God has appointed.
How may man find that one and right way?
    In the Bible these words are written for the benefit of man who is searching to find the right way, namely : "Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them’ that diligently seek him." (Heb. 11:6) What such "faith"?
    Properly, which means Scripturally defined, faith is the having of a knowledge of Jehovah’s purpose as expressed in his Word, the Holy Scriptures, and then the confidently relying upon his Word as the truth. Faith must be based upon what is known to be true, and we have absolute assurance that God’s Word is true. Concerning those Scriptures Jesus said in prayer to God: "Thy word is truth." (John 17: 17) In harmony with the foregoing explanation those Scriptures of truth define faith in these words: "But faith is a basis of things hoped for, a conviction of things unseen." (Heb. 11 : 1, according to The Emphatic Diaglott) "Now faith is a well-grounded assurance of that for which we hope, and a conviction of the reality of things which we do not see." - Weymouth.
    A man cannot have confident assurance of anything that is based merely upon his mental conception, and that without any proof issuing from a truthful source. Anything not based upon the absolute truth is merely a guess. No sane person would want to let his eternal welfare in the New World rest upon merely a guess.
    Our reader’s desire is to receive the blessing of the Lord God that makes rich and with which there is no sorrow added, as says the proverb. (Prov. 10 : 22) In order to have hope of receiving such blessing there must be a good reason to expect that blessing, and that good reason must be based upon competent evidence or proof coming from an absolutely reliable source. The basis or ground upon which that hope rests is faith. Before one can "believe" in the Scriptural sense, or have faith, he must receive some knowledge. It is therefore written in the Scriptures: "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Rom. 10: 17) Knowing that the message in the Word of God is the truth, you can confidently rely upon that message when hearing it, for it furnishes the true and convincing evidence of the things for which you hope. Such is the reason for your having hope of obtaining the blessings that God has in store for those who love and serve him.
    Faith cannot be based upon the information coming from mere marl, because all men are imperfect and we cannot be certain that any man is speaking the exact truth of himself. Regardless of the honesty of man, his opinion is valueless unless his expressed opinion is supported by the truthful Word of God. If one relies upon what an imperfect man says of himself, that is credulity and not faith. Any hope based upon credulity is certain to be dashed to pieces. In order to have faith a man must hear the truth, must know it is the truth, and then must confidently rely upon that message of truth. If then that message of truth is faithfully obeyed, the believer can never fail. To rely upon what you hear from God’s Word of truth is to believe on Jehovah God and his purposes as disclosed in the Scriptures. Note the extended argument set forth in the Scriptures upon this point: "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher [one who proclaims God’s Word of truth as written in the Scriptures]? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things !" - Rom. 10:13-15.
    A man who harangues the people and states his conclusions or the conclusions or opinions of other men is not a preacher, within the meaning of the Scriptures. A more appropriate name for him would be the slangy term "windjammer". The man who appeals to the emotions or passions of others is not preaching the truth, because one can receive the truth only by reasoning calmly and soberly. Therefore God says to the man seeking truth: "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isa. 1: 18) To reason with the Lord God Jehovah means to soberly, prayerfully, studiously consider his Word.
    For that reason the Lord God sends forth his witnesses to inform other persons of his purpose ; and these witnesses proclaim not their ideas, but call attention to the message of truth as found in the Scriptures. The one receiving that information from the Scriptures has the privilege of believing on the Lord God Jehovah and his Son Jesus Christ, and if he does believe he will prove his faith by acting in harmony therewith. To rely upon the Word of God, which relying constitutes one element of faith, one must deport himself in harmony with the inspired Word of God.

    The knowing how

    Particularly since A.D. 325 religious men of Christendom have formed organizations that they call "churches", and they have put forth doctrines or opinions in an arranged form and called them "creeds". The people are urged to believe such doctrines or teachings and to follow the formalism of that creed. To believe in the doctrines of men or in that which is promulgated by the organization of religious men does not spell faith at all. Jehovah God and Jesus Christ are the Teachers of truth, and the true teachings or doctrines are set forth in the Holy Scriptures. The Scriptures are given as a perfect guide for man who desires to learn of righteousness and to pursue a course of righteousness. (2 Tim. 3: 16, 17) It follows, then, that you cannot please Jehovah God by believing and relying upon what you conceive in your own mind, nor can you please Him by believing or relying upon what is conceived in a mere man’s mind and taught by him. We can please God only by knowing his Word and thereafter relying upon his Word and obeying it confidently.
    Consequently some knowledge of the sacred Scriptures is absolutely essential to faith. The first essential is, according to Hebrews1 1 : 6, to "believe that he is", that is to say, that God exists, and that he is the one from whom all blessings and riches proceed. God is the eternal One that created the heavens, the earth and all the things that are therein. As the text at Exodus 3: 14 declares, he is the great "I AM", which means he is not merely the One that was and is now
but the One that has existed eternally, without beginning. Psalm 90: 1, 2 ascribes the following to Him: "Lord, thou hast been our" dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." And Isaiah 42:5 records Him as saying: "Thus saith God Jehovah, he that created the heavens, and stretched them forth; he that spread abroad the earth and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein." (Am. Stun. Yet.) Faith requires knowing this truth.
    By and through his Word, the Bible of Holy Scriptures, God reveals himself to his creatures on earth and discloses by it his purposes concerning his creatures. The meanings of his names or titles are very significant. His name God or The God means The Mighty One of excellence, the Creator of all things. His name Jehovah means The Purposer toward his creatures. His title The Almighty signifies that his might and power are without limitation. His title The Most High means that he is the Supreme One and there is none on a level with him or before him. His title Father means that he is the Life-giver. He is the
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, because Jesus Christ as His Son was Jehovah’s  beginning of the creation" and received life and beginning from Jehovah God. (Rev. 3 : 14) He has appointed his beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to be his Chief Executive Officer in the universe and the Savior of mankind.
    Having received some knowledge of Jehovah God and of his beloved Son Jesus Christ, the truth seeker desires to come to Him and to learn His purpose. His Chief Executive Officer, Jesus Christ, states authoritatively: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life : no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14: 6) The knowledge of the truth what a man must have before he can have faith, and, having it, he must rely upon that knowledge. God has provided for salvation and blessings of humankind by and through Jesus his Son, and there is no other possible way for man to obtain such blessings. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." So Peter said, at Acts 4 : 12. Besides that, Jesus says : ’’No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him." (John 6:44) God draws the truth seeker to Jesus Christ by affording him the opportunity to learn and know that Jesus is God’s provided way for salvation and blessing to men and that there is no other way.
    When a sane person learns that there is no other way of obtaining life and attending blessings save through Jesus Christ, then he is drawn to Jesus by this knowledge from God the Father. This agrees with the statement at Romans 6 : 23 that life is God’s gift to man through our Lord Jesus Christ. For such reason Jesus said to God: "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." - John 17:3.
    To the truth seeker these questions are put: Have you reached the point now that you believe that Jehovah is the true and almighty God and that Jesus Christ is his beloved Son; and that by God’s will Jesus died upon the tree at Calvary and thereby provided the redemptive sacrifice or ransom price for you, and that therefore Jesus Christ is the Savior of humankind and only by and through him can man have everlasting life? Are you convinced that these truths set forth in the Bible are entirely reliable, and that you can with certainty and confidence rely upon them? If you answer Yes, will you next prove that you do so believe by taking the course that the Scriptures point out that one must take in order to be in line to get the blessings of riches that Jehovah has provided for humankind? The truth seeker will now ask: By what steps may I prove it!
    The answer is, By entering an agreement to do God’s will as Jesus set it forth and hence to follow in Jesus’ steps. As a perfect man of thirty years of age Jesus said, before his baptism in the Jordan river: "Lo I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, 0 God." (Hob. 10:7) Psalm 40:7, 8 foretold this step of Jesus, and added his further sentiments: "I delight to do thy will, 0 my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." These words mean that Jesus fully relied upon Jehovah God and gladly agreed to do the will of God, his Father. Such agreement to do the will of God is commonly called "consecration". Every person that desires to receive God’s favor must take exactly that Christlike course. He must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as his Redeemer, Savior and Exemplar; and thus relying upon God and Jesus Christ, that person must agree or contract to do God’s will. What is God’s will toward that person is set forth in the Scriptures. Therefore it becomes necessary for such person to study the Scriptures and find out the perfect will of God concerning him.
    It is necessary for such person to give some evidence that he has agreed to do God’s will, and by such evidence produced by him other persons may know he has taken his stand on the side of God and of Christ Jesus. In regard to this it is written, at Romans I0:9, 10: ’‘if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
    An outward or public confession that he has agreed to do the will of God is essential on the person’s part to show he really has faith and is exercising faith in God and the divine provisions for him. Many persons claim to be Christians, as distinguished from so-called "heathen"; but almost all of them are ashamed to confess the name of God and of Jesus Christ. That shame is of itself proof that such persons have not agreed to do God’s will. "For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." (Rom. 10:11) Why should one be ashamed confess openly before others the name of the only one, namely, Jesus Christ the precious Foundation Stone, by whom all God’s blessing must be received? If he has true faith, the professing Christian will not be ashamed. Holding on to that faith, and acting upon it during this present evil world, such one will not come to an end that brings shame, but will enter into the indestructible riches of God’s new world under the kingdom of his Son Jesus Christ.