Monday, January 24, 2011

Jehovah's Witnesses & Death to Sin(a Romans 6:7 issue)

**Blog disclaimer**..Before I begin,please understand I am not suggesting here anywhere that Jehovah's Witnesses don't rely on the death of Yahushua for their salvation and way to eternal life.This blog is more about their odd belief that their own physical deaths eradicate their sin records,which to me personally seems irreconcilable with an actual need for a Redeemer beyond themselves since it is only sin that brings death at all.JW's don't think their own deaths acquit them from Adamic sin,just their "sin record."And without one of those,who would need a redeemer?This is why their misuse of Romans 6:7 is such a huge deal.

From the NWT:

Romans 6:7:For he who has died has been acquitted from his sin

Let's see what the WT has to say about this text(here beginning with a reference to resurrected ones being judged):

"How will returning ones be “judged out of those things written in the scrolls according to their deeds”? These scrolls are not the record of their past deeds; when they died, they were acquitted of the sins they committed during their lifetime. (Romans 6:7, 23) However, resurrected humans will still be under Adamic sin."~ WT 7/1/1998

The WT also says,from the Insight book vol. 1 under "Declare Righteous" :"The apostle Paul states that the person who dies is “acquitted [form of di·kai·o′o] from his sin,” having paid the penalty of death.—Ro 6:7, 23."

So the WT says that *our own* deaths acquit us from sin then say that we aren't free from it after all,still being under Adamic sin even after being raised.Interesting.

First of all,this is probably not the best translation of this verse,considering the Greek word the WT translates as "acquit" more properly means "freed."

The most important thing we can do here is heed the larger context from the ESV before we go any further.Not only will doing so make it clear the JW's have a twisted interpretation handed to them about this verse but also reiterate to all of us how important it is to crucify our own flesh and live for God.The correct interpretation of Romans 6:7 is not found within the WT but in context:

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

The bible,in it's immediate Romans context here, is speaking of crucifying our flesh for Christ and not living in sin any longer.Yes,a death to our flesh which frees us from the bondage of sin.When we follow Christ's model and crucify ourselves daily,living for God and His Son and their kingdom instead of our own desires and potentially corrupt will as descendants of the first Adam,we're no longer slaves to sin.It doesn't reign in our lives.We fight it and find victory in Yahushua,the Last Adam, who showed us how to live and act,the perfect blemishless model.The greatest servant of Yahuwah's who ever walked this earth.Verse 4 explicitly articulates the "death" verse 7 is talking about.A death to our own flesh and will as opposed to the actual physical perishing that the WT propagates egregiously out of context.Verse 6 ALSO makes it clear that the death in verse 7 is a "crucifying" of our own flesh,not an actual physical death.Verse 8 sums it up when it says "Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him."This means that we die to sin and live in the spirit!

Galatians 2:20 says:I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

And Romans 8:10 says:But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

These scriptures provide elaboration on the old self and flesh being that which figuratively dies in correlation with Romans 6:7 and it's surrounding context.So we must heed these texts and die to our flesh as we live in the spirit,again.Let's see more of what the WT has to say about Romans 6:7:

" The death state is used to illustrate the spiritually dead condition of the world in general, so Jesus could speak of ‘the dead burying the dead,’ and the apostle Paul could refer to the woman living for sensual gratification as “dead though she is living.” (Lu 9:60; 1Ti 5:6; Eph 2:1) And since physical death discharges one from any debts or obligations existing up to that time (Ro 6:7), a Christian’s being freed or liberated from sin (Ro 6:2, 11) and from the condemnation of the Mosaic Law (Ro 7:2-6) is also likened to death, such one having ‘died’ to his former situation and obligations. The one figuratively dying in such a way, of course, is still alive physically and is now free to follow Christ as a slave to righteousness.—Ro 6:18-20; Ga 5:1. Insight vol 1 under heading "Death"

So basically what we have here is the WT admitting that "death" in scripture often entails a figurative one(one example they gave was "the dead burying the dead") and not a physical one,determined according to context and reason of course.Yet within the very same paragraph and thought process,they say Romans 6:7 is actually speaking of a physical death instead of a figurative one even though any honest examination of the context would reveal the opposite!Amazing.

Of course no one's ABLE to physically breathe or move,much less commit sin when they're physically dead.But the WT is propagating an actual acquittal from any of it by OUR own physical deaths.

This particular ridiculous WT dogma(and I say dogma because, to put it in their own words,their "entire range of teachings" no matter how bizarre or unbiblical must be believed to supposedly be an acceptable Christian)would absolutely mean that our own deaths free us from sin instead of the death of Yahuwah's spotless and perfectly righteous Lamb.Something we do(namely,simply dying) would instead be what we would be crediting for removing our sin and sanctifying us.Blasphemous really.We should never look to anything we've done as if it could actually cleanse or save us.Only what Christ has done accomplishes that!We then as Christians should of course proceed to follow Yahushua's model and crucify our flesh and its desires,dying to sin.

1 Peter 4:1-2 says: Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

If you're a JW teaching this false notion to others ,that simply sleeping in a grave can eradicate your record of sin,it is time to repent of this lie.The bible says the unrighteous will be resurrected and each one will have to pay according to the deeds that they have done in this life if they did not exercise faith in the Messiah.The righteous who did exercise faith in Yahushua will inherit his glory and an everlasting kingdom.The rest will have to suffer God's wrath against their sin because God is perfectly holy and just.We're all criminals against God's wise and beneficial laws, so anyone who doesn't accept the acquittal offered only in our glorious redeemer in whom solely is found life must justly pay for their own sin accordingly because of not accepting HIS payment.

Yes,please beware everyone:

Matthew 16:27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.(see also 2 Corinthians 11:15)

Romans 2:5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.
6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

Notice there is no hint in these texts about these deeds for which the unrighteous will suffer God's wrath being those which they do AFTER being resurrected.That has to be read INTO the text,and it is by the the WT,dangerously and unjustifiably.

Yahuwah demonstrated His wrath against sin on His Son.Agony and torture leading to death.Only in the second death,the lake of fire, there can be no resurrection.But like the first death,it certainly doesn't "acquit" us from sin or those who suffer it would have no reason to be held by it.Because lack of sin would mean life.Death may be *payment* and a *consequence* for sin,but it certainly isn't an acquittal or no one could be held by it because Yahuwah desires to give everlasting life to anyone who exercises faith in Him and his Messiah,anyone free from sin.Those who don't have that saving obedient faith in the Lord aren't acquitted from their sins just because they have slept in a grave.Again,the bible makes it crystal clear that there will be payment for the unrighteous in the resurrection according to their deeds.Which obviously means their physical deaths didn't save them from such even though those deaths are a natural *consequence*(as opposed to an acquittal) from Adamic sin.

A serious question about this WT teaching would be:
If you're freed from your sins just because you have died,then how is it that *even* the second death itself won't demand another resurrection since it would merit sinlessness for those who experience it?(that is if death erases a record of sin)In other words,if an individual's perishing acquits that one from any sin they've ever committed,then Yahuwah would have no right to not raise every sinner even from the second death and say "well you paid and now you are acquitted and may live forever with everyone else."Because naturally an acquittal from sin would equal eternal life since it is only sin that brings a consequence of death.Freedom from it means life.In the WT world,everyone,for simply perishing should be acquitted of sin and hence free to live forever.Nonsensical,of course.There would have been no real reason for Christ to have had to die since *our own* physical deaths can free us in the world of the WT.

This WT dogma would naturally give JW's and those who believe their teachings a false sense of security that it doesn't really matter what they do ultimately,that their own deaths will acquit them of any wrongdoing or sin.Though that may be comforting,it is false and deceiving,which is never ok.Though the JW's may not be able to see it without some critical thinking outside the governing body's dictates,this false doctrine they have would logically lead to universalism because all it would take is a perishing on any individual's part then they're clean in God's eyes.Look to Christ's death for salvation and redemption,not your own.Obey Christ and don't think physical death can eradicate all the evil deeds you have done.Only faith in Yahushua and in HIS death and resurrection as well as a subsequent crucifying of our own flesh IN Yahushua can.

Thanks be to God for the opportunity to live for something greater than a world that's passing away and vain or harmful pursuits.We have a purpose here.To crucify our flesh and live for God looking forward to a glory so extraordinary that to do it justice in trying to articulate it in human terms would inevitably fall short.Now is the time for ALL of us to make our lives ALL about loving God and fellow man,preparing ourselves and others for the eternal kingdom of Yahuwah and his Messiah!!Not removing ourselves from the world of course,but nevertheless feeling like foreigners in it as we maintain an eagle eye focus on the kingdom of God and His righteousness and bringing it alive to others in the spirit.We certainly don't need an organization or a class of supposedly especially gifted men to do this.Only God,His Son,and love.

In conclusion,Romans 6:7 is about dying to our own fleshly will and hence no longer having sin reign in our mortal bodies.Yes,dying to it.This is NOT what the WT teaches though it's what the context makes clear.A couple last texts here to further summarize Romans 6:7 for Jehovah's Witnesses:

Galatians 5:24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

2 Corinthians 5:17:So if any one be in Christ, there is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold all things have become new:

So what,in context,in Romans 6:7 and also according to many correlating texts,"dies" by getting "crucified" and "passing away?"

Answer:the old man,the flesh,our own will

And then what does that lead to?

Answer:Freedom from bondage to sin

Yes he who has (figuratively) "died" is free from sin!

1 comment:

  1. You are 100% correct in your explanation of the true context of Paul's words at Romans 6:7.
    I am one of Jehovah's Witnesses - I serve God, not men, and I have come to appreciate Christ's warnings to the Christian congregations worldwide, as recorded at Revelation chapters 2 & 3. Most Witnesses don't even consider the import of those verses, just as they also ignore 1 Peter 4:17.
    The Jews in Christ's time were God's people - the Jewish system/organization was not!!! It was corrupted by false leaders and their false teachings. But the faithful were expecting the Messiah to come and cleanse the nation. Likewise today, some of Jehovah's people are awake to the truth that false teachings are being expounded, but they too are awaiting Christ's coming to judge God's people first!!
    Which false teachings?
    In the Old Covenant, no foreigners were participants, only beneficiaries: FALSE.
    Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Moses separated the people. And what about Ruth & Rahab? They weren't natural Israelites, but they became ancestors of Jesus.

    The New Covenant: only the anointed are participants: FALSE.
    Jesus' blood of the New Covenant was to be poured out in behalf of MANY - not 144,000.
    Moses mediated 2 distinct covenants, and Jesus did the same - one for the people, and one for a priesthood.
    NEW SCROLLS: FALSE!!! Read the Scripture - Revelation 20:12 - there are no 'NEW' scrolls, and the scrolls mentioned are used for JUDGING, not wonderful new teachings!!
    Lovers of truth, "test the inspired expression", don't put your faith & trust in men whose countless 'predictions' and teachings have been the subject of "new light", like 'the generation' has been several times.
    Micheygirl66, the truth WILL become abundant as Daniel said. No one else is preaching the good news as Jesus commanded - so don't confuse the 'organization' with the people!
    Best wishes,