Reasoning with Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses believe that:
a. A Christian is not justified by faith in Christ alone.22
b. True faith is demonstrated by good works. 23
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Q1. Is a Christian justified by faith alone or by faith plus works?
John 3:16-"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."
John 3:17-18-"For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
John 3:36-"He who believes in the Son has eternal life..."
John 5:24-"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life."
John 6:28-29-They said therefore to Him, "What shall we do that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He hath sent."
John 6:40-"For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life."
John 6:47-"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life."
John 20:31-but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
Acts 10:43-"Of Him [Jesus] all the prophets bear witness that through His name every one who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins."
Acts 13:39-"through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things..."
Acts 26:15,18-"I am Jesus whom you are persecuting...they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me."
Rom 3:21-28-But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus.
Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On the principle of works? No, but on the principle of faith. For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law.
Rom 5:1-Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom 6:23-For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Rom 7:6-But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.
Rom 8:1-2-There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.
Gal 2:16-even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of law.
Gal 5:1-It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
Eph 2:8-9-For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
Phil 3:9-not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.
Col 2:13-14-And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
Col 2:20-23-If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations, "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch" (referring to things which all perish as they are used), according to human precepts and doctrines? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting rigor of devotion and self-abasement and severity to the body, but they are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh.
Titus 3:5-7-He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Heb 4:10-for whoever enters God's rest also ceases from his labors as God did from his.
1 John 1:7-the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 3:22-23-we keep His commandments...And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ.
Rev 5:9-"Thou...hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood..."
Rev 7:14-they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Q2. Do good works naturally follow true faith?
Matt 7:21-23-Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?" And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness."
Eph 2:8-9-For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Phil 2:12-13-work out [not FOR] your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for [His] good pleasure.
Titus 3:5-8-He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God may be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.
Jas 2:17-Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, [being] by itself.
Jas 2:20-But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?
Jas 2:24-You see that a man is justified by by works, and not by faith alone.
Jas 2:26-For just as the body without [the] spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
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a. The finished redemptive work of Christ is fully sufficient for the justification of a believer. A Christian is justified by faith in Christ alone.
b. Good works naturally follow true faith.
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Scriptures commonly used by Jehovah's Witnesses:
Jas 2:24-You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.
22. Make Sure of All Things, p. 296; Watchtower, 12/1/85, p.7
23. Watchtower, 12/1/85, p. 10