Here’s my next topic in my top ten: Assurance of Salvation. Have you ever wondered about this yourself? Can we be sure that we’re saved? Must we live in constant fear of losing our salvation, or wonder whether we ever had salvation to begin with? Without getting into the whole theological discourse on the arguments for and against eternal security, (aka Calvinism versus Arminianism), what does the Bible have to say about assurance, and what does the Watchtower teach Jehovah’s Witnesses about the subject?
The short answer is that Jehovah’s Witnesses (and members of other legalistic groups) have absolutely no assurance of salvation whatsoever. Here’s how my conversation usually goes:
Me: One of my favorite verses is First John 5:13, which says that “these things are written to you who believe in the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” I love this! I have come to the place in my life where I know that I have eternal life. Have you?
JW: Yes, I have.
Me: Really! That’s awesome! So, you know for sure that you have eternal life, and that you’ll live forever?
JW: Well, no one can know that for sure.
Me: Why not? This verse says that we CAN know, doesn’t it?
JW: Well, the Bible says that “he that endures to the end will be saved.”
Me: Oh yes, faithfulness is very important. But meanwhile, we can have assurance that we have eternal life. When will you know for sure that you have eternal life? When you survive Armageddon?
JW: Um, maybe.
Me: I’ve been talking with my JW friends, and reading at JW.org, and so I want to see if I have this right. The Watchtower teaching is that you have to survive Armageddon, then another thousand years, and then there will be a final test. Do I have that correct, and is that when you will know for sure that you have eternal life?
JW: Yes, we will be gradually perfected during the thousand years. Jehovah will be working on us to bring us to perfection.
Me: Hmmm. That concerns me.
Me: Adam and Eve were perfect, and they failed their test. So, what assurance do you have that you will pass the final test? Won’t there be some that don’t pass the test?
JW: Well, yes.
Me: And getting back to this verse, First John 5:13, it says that we can know now, for sure, that we have eternal life. What’s your take on this verse?
JW: Excuse me, I need to be going now.
Me: Okay, later on, read the whole chapter, First John 5, okay? It’s really great.
Then I pray that the Lord will bring the scripture back to their memory later.