Jehovah’s Requirements for Life Seekers
“And now . . . what is Jehovah your God asking of you but to fear Jehovah your God, so as to walk in all his ways and to love him and to serve Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul.”—Deut. 10:12
1. What should determine our aim in life?
IT IS good to have an aim in life. The life aims of people are of great variety, some noble, some less so. One’s aim may be to be a president; another’s, a statesman. Others may aspire to be lawyers, farmers, doctors and nurses, and they may devote their life’s energy to such achievements. Still others seek as their life’s aim the ministry of Jehovah God. To do any of these things requires life. Of the many vocations, which one brings the greatest reward and longest life? Surely that would be the desirable one.
2. What prevents some from realizing their life’s aim, while meeting what requirements of this world?
2 During the time it will take to read this, thousands of people who have a desire for peace, happiness and life will die. Since death is no respecter of persons, it means that those dying will be people of different nationalities and different races and from all walks of life. Because of death, some will never have realized their aim in life; others, an all-too-brief realization of it. Their vocation in life did not bring them the length of days with permanent happiness. While alive, no doubt most of them were good citizens; they paid their taxes, supported one of the political parties, were never arrested and put into jail; and many, if not the majority, had, to a certain extent, met the requirements laid upon them by the society of this world. They gave to charity, were members of a church, were successful in business, and were well liked by friends. Yes, they had met the requirements of this old world; but how many of them knew and met God’s requirements during their lifetime? If they did not, there is nothing they can do after they are dead. They will have to rely on God’s undeserved kindness.—Eccl. 9:5.
3. What is an essential requirement for life seekers?
3 But how many of the more than two and a half billion people now living on earth know God’s requirements and are meeting those requirements? It has been said many times that there are only two things in this life that man has to do. One is to pay taxes and the other is to die. The majority of people do not mind paying taxes because of the benefits received; but when it comes to dying, every sane person on earth will fight against it, because death pays no benefits, and man’s greatest desire is to live. Those interested in living and gaining life everlasting must do this one thing— gain knowledge of the Creator. “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.”—John 17:3; Matt. 17:25-27.
4. What knowledge of Jehovah will help us realize why he is justly entitled to require things of us?
4 Gaining this life-giving knowledge will enable one to understand that God has certain requirements that have to be met. This knowledge will enable one to know that Jehovah is the most high God, the supreme Ruler of the universe, the Creator of all things and the one who gave life in the beginning. This knowledge will enable one to understand that God is justly entitled to require things of those who are indebted to him. The psalmist David recognized this when he wrote: “Know that Jehovah is God. It is he that has made us, and not we ourselves. We are his people and the sheep of his pasturage.”—Ps. 100:3; Isa. 45:12.
5, 6. (a) Can we escape punishment for breaking the laws of man or God by pleading ignorance of them? (b) How has Jehovah made provisions for all to know his laws and requirements?
5 Why is it so important to know God’s requirements? To help us understand we might ask, “Why is it so important to know and obey the laws of the government under which we live?” What would happen if we should refuse to pay our taxes or if we should steal? If we got caught we would have to pay a fine or go to jail. We could not say to the judge, “Judge, you cannot fine me; you cannot put me in jail. I did not know what the laws were.” The judge would say, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” The laws have been recorded in writing for all to know, to understand and to obey.
6 The same is true with God’s laws. Jehovah has laid down certain requirements for man to meet. If he fails to meet them or breaks them, he surely will get caught and be punished, because Jehovah’s “eyes are roving about through all the earth,” and no lawbreaker can escape his notice. (2 Chron. 16:9) Nor can any plead ignorance of God’s laws or requirements, because at least portions of the Bible have been published in 1,151 languages and dialects. Jehovah is also sending forth his ministers by the hundreds of thousands to help all people who will listen to understand his book of laws. There have been more copies of the Bible sold throughout the world than any other book, yet for it to be the best seller means nothing. One statement from it will tell why: “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”—2 Tim. 3:16, 17; Matt. 28:19, 20.
WHY GOD’S REQUIREMENTS NOT UNDERSTOOD
7, 8. (a) Why is Christendom responsible for many not knowing and understanding God’s requirements.? (b) Does the Bible support the teaching that there are many acceptable forms of worship?
7 Because the majority of mankind lacks knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures, God’s requirements are misunderstood, overlooked and ignored throughout the world. People wonder how this could be possible with so many different religious organizations supposedly teaching and instructing from God’s Word. Many people feel that if God’s requirements are not known or understood, it is because people are not attending and supporting the churches. Yet when we consider the facts we find that Christendom, with its hundreds of sects and cults, is partly responsible for the prevailing misconceptions concerning God’s requirements.
8 Consider some of the requirements of the religions of this world and see if they are helping the people gain a knowledge and understanding of God. Most religious leaders contend that you must be a member of a church and contribute at least ten percent of your income in order to be saved. When asked which one of the many different religious sects and cults you should choose, many have answered, “It does not make any difference. All will take you to the same place, only over different roads.” This is not the understanding we get from God’s Word. Did God say there are hundreds of faiths to choose from and whichever one we select or whichever one suits our fancy will be all right with him? Read the following words of Paul: “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (Eph. 4:5) Since that narrows it down to one true form of worship and we desire to find that true faith, it will take seeking.
9. What Scriptural examples show that more is required of Christians than mere morality or living a good clean life?
9 Many people feel that mere morality or living a good life and keeping the Ten Commandments is sufficient; but let us turn to the Bible and see if that is all God requires. In the parable of the sheep and goats Jesus termed the wicked as goats. Why? Was it because they had murdered, stolen, committed adultery or fought with their neighbors? Some of them may have been good examples in all respects, but still they were not pleasing to Jehovah God. Consider Jesus’ reason for calling them goats: “Then he will say, in turn, to those on his left: ‘Be on your way from me, you who have been cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. For I became hungry, but you gave me nothing to eat, and I got thirsty, but you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger, but you did not receive me hospitably; naked, but you did not clothe me; sick and in prison, but you did not look after me.’ Then they also will answer with the words: ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them with the words: ‘Truly I say to you, To the extent that you did not do it to one of these least ones, you did not do it to me.”’ (Matt. 25:41-45) Jesus classed them as goats, not for what they were doing, but for what they were not doing; they were not showing positive action by doing good to Christ’s brothers. The same was true of the young rich ruler who went to Jesus, seeking life. Jesus outlined to him that the requirement for life was not just living a good clean life but also selling what he had and being His follower. So we see that mere morality or living a good clean life is not enough. More is required.—Matt. 19:16-22.
10. (a) Why can we conclude that Jehovah will show life seekers what he requires of them? (b) Are Christians required to keep the Ten Commandments today?
10 Now, as always, Jehovah is showing man what he requires of him. In Adam’s day Jehovah told Adam what he required of him. Adam was to care for the garden of Eden, rule over the animal creation, name the animals, bring the earth under control, and multiply and fill the earth. (Gen. 1:28; 2:19) Jehovah God had certain requirements for Noah. Noah was to preach the destruction of the wicked world by a flood of water; he was to build a great boat that would protect his household. (Gen. 6:14; Heb. 11:7) Not only did God have requirements for individuals, but, as with the nation of Israel, he had requirements for a nation. He called Moses up into Mount Sinai and gave him the Ten Commandments, which were to serve as a guide for them. Contrary to the opinion of some, people today are not under those laws that God gave to Moses for the nation of Israel. This is made clear by Paul: “Consequently, the Law has become our tutor leading to Christ, that we might be declared righteous due to faith. But now that this faith has arrived, we are no longer under a tutor.” Of course, the righteous principles embodied in those commandments continue in effect.—Gal. 3:24, 25.
11. How did Jesus make clear what Jehovah requires of Christians?
11 If the Ten Commandments were fulfilled when Jesus gave his life on the stake, then what is required of Christians today? We know that it is not to name the animals or care for the garden of Eden. It is not to build another boat as Noah did, because we have God’s promise that this earth will never be destroyed by a flood of water again. (Matt. 5:17; Gen. 9:12-16) It is not to deliver another nation like Israel, because none of the nations on earth today are called Jehovah’s own. Jesus clearly answered this question when he was asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus said: “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. The second, like it, is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments the whole Law hangs, and the Prophets.” (Matt. 22:36-40) Jesus’ words here are clear as to the requirements placed upon Christians. Love Jehovah and your neighbor.
12. (a) How did Jesus show he loved his heavenly father? (b) How can Christians today follow Jesus’ course in loving Jehovah?
12 But what does it mean to love God? Does it mean to get down on our knees and shout, “Hallelujah! Lord, I love you; yes, Lord, I love you”? Does it mean to go to religious meetings and to give ten percent of our money to help with the support of the clergy and the upkeep of the building? Think! What did Jesus do that showed his heavenly Father that he loved him with all his heart, soul, mind and strength? At the age of thirty he made a dedication of his life to his Father to do His will and was baptized. He then set out to make known the truth concerning his Father in heaven. He did not preach and teach the doctrines of religious organizations, such as hell-fire or purgatory, trinity and immortality of the soul. He did not teach traditions of men. He exposed the scribes and Pharisees as hypocrites and robbers, and he clearly showed that they were doing the works of Satan the Devil, not the works of his Father in heaven. That is how Jesus showed his love for his Father, not by contributing money to the synagogues, nor by promoting campaigns to build larger and more costly buildings, but by telling the truth about his Father. That was how Jesus demonstrated his love for his heavenly Father, and that is how Christians today can show their love. If we love someone we will not lie about him or allow someone else to lie about him. Those who love God are not going to permit false religious leaders or anyone else to lie about his name and purposes and do nothing about it. They will go forth as his ordained ministers in defense of his name and Word.—Matt. 23:13-36; John 8:44.
13. In what way can we show love to our neighbors. And why is this so essential now?
13 Jesus also said we should love our neighbor, and for three and a half years he demonstrated this love by teaching the people regarding the Kingdom and the blessings it would bring to mankind. He went up on the mountainside. He went into the villages, down to the seashore, everywhere and anywhere people would gather to listen. He explained to them that the time would come when people would be able to live in peace and happiness here on earth when there would be no wars or sicknesses. While Jesus at times did provide for the physical needs of those who heard him, his chief concern was for their spiritual welfare. Now what does it mean for us to love our neighbor? Most people will say that they love their neighbor and that they show this love by their actions. They feel that a good neighbor is one that stays home and minds his own business but is willing to help in times of trouble. Certainly Christians are good neighbors in this respect, because they recognize that being a busybody and meddling in other people’s affairs is not Christlike, and they are willing to help their neighbor in times of need; and never has there been a time in human history when the need has been as great as now because of what is coming upon the earth at the command of Jehovah God. Jeremiah warned: “And those slain by Jehovah will certainly come to be in that day from one end of the earth clear to the other end of the earth.” (Jer. 25:33) Jehovah’s witnesses have learned the way of escape; and with Jesus’ example before them, they are demonstrating their neighbor love as he did. Jesus showed his love for his neighbor by going to them with information concerning Jehovah, explaining to them the way of escape from destruction. So we want to show our love the same way by going to our neighbor and explaining and teaching the Bible to him, showing the way of escape and to everlasting life. Then one is truly giving one’s neighbor something that proves that he loves him.
RIGHT CHOICE ESSENTIAL FOR LIFE
14. What choice confronts all life seekers today, and who in times past was faced with a similar choice?
14 Jehovah says that he “will cause the meek ones to walk in his judicial decision and he will teach the meek ones his way.” (Ps. 25:9) Are you interested in learning that way and knowing how to meet Jehovah God’s requirements? You must decide. The choice is one that you must make. Either you know Jehovah God and keep his requirements or you will know Satan the Devil and meet his requirements. We cannot be indifferent. We have to be either for God or against God. We are not the only people who have had this choice to make. People in centuries gone by had this same decision to make. Moses stood before the chosen people of God just outside the Promised Land and said to them: “I do take the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you today, that I have put life and death before you, the blessing and the malediction, and you must choose life in order that you may keep alive.”—Deut. 30:19; Rev. 3:15, 16.
15, 16. Why should we not put off gaining knowledge of Jehovah and his requirements?
15 In order to make an intelligent choice you first must gain an accurate knowledge of Jehovah. Do not put off gaining this knowledge of God, because all the developments since 1914 prove this world has entered its time of the end, and complete destruction faces the people. Speaking of this very time through the prophet Hosea, Jehovah said: “Hear the word of Jehovah, O sons of Israel, for Jehovah has a legal case with the inhabitants of the land, for there is no truth nor loving-kindness nor knowledge of God in the land. There are the pronouncing of curses and the telling of lies and murdering and stealing and committing of fornication that have broken forth, and acts of bloodshed have touched other acts of bloodshed. My people will certainly be silenced, because there is no knowledge.”—Hos. 4:1, 2, 6; Matt. 24:3-8.
16 The opposite must hold true. If people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, then with knowledge of Jehovah they are assured everlasting life. Paul’s words to Timothy state: “This is right and acceptable in the sight of our Savior, God, whose will is that all kinds of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.”—1 Tim. 2:3, 4.
17, 18. Where only is life-giving knowledge found, and what must we do to find it?
17 To acquire that life-giving knowledge means that you will have to make a sincere and diligent search of God’s Word. Do not be deceived and misled by those who claim that the Bible is a fiddle upon which you can play any old tune. Do not try to make the Bible support the false religious doctrines. If you have been taught the traditions and doctrines of men and organizations, such as purgatory, eternal torment, trinity, immortality of the soul, do not twist the Scriptures in an endeavor to find support for those teachings in God’s Word. If you do, you will never gain an understanding of Jehovah.
18 Jehovah God is not the God of confusion, and his Word will not confuse those who are willing to dismiss all religious prejudice from their hearts and minds. Do not become discouraged in seeking for this knowledge, but heed the counsel in Proverbs: “Pay attention to wisdom with your ear, that you may incline your heart to discernment; if you keep seeking for it as for silver, and as for hid treasures you keep searching for it, in that case you will understand the fear of Jehovah, and you will find the very knowledge of God.”—Prov. 2:2, 4, 5.
19. How will fellowship with others interested in meeting God’s requirements aid one to acquire knowledge, and what should be kept in mind as to association of Christians with unbelievers?
19 As a further aid to acquiring knowledge, meet together with others who are interested in meeting God’s requirements. Paul admonished the Hebrews: “Not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you behold the day drawing near.” (Heb. 10:25) There is a reason for this admonition. Why did God instruct the nation of Israel not to associate with the heathen living around them? Was it not for their own good and protection? He warned them not to let their sons and their daughters marry the sons and daughters of the heathen. If they permitted this, then there was the danger that their sons and daughters would be serving the gods of the heathen and not Jehovah God. So they were to stay together, worship together and marry together. And the same applies today. Do not have fellowship with people serving strange gods or those making only a pretense at serving God, or any who are not interested in knowing and meeting God’s requirements. Our only association with them should be to preach and to teach them God’s Word, not to marry them or give our children to them in marriage.—Deut. 7:3, 4.
MINISTRY IS A REQUIREMENT
20. After learning Jehovah’s requirements, what must we do, and are any exempt?
20 Once we are persuaded and satisfied in our minds what God’s requirements are, then we must carry them out. James tells us: “Become doers of the word, and not hearers only.” (Jas. 1:22) Jesus did not say he came to earth just to learn his Father’s will, but he said he came “to do the will of him that sent me.” (John 4:34) What is true of the leader and exemplar is also true of his followers. Many people will say, “I cannot be a minister. I cannot go from door to door and preach to people as Jesus or the apostles and as Jehovah’s witnesses are doing.” We may say we cannot, but God knows we can. He has laid down his requirements for all people regardless of their race, their nationality, language, schooling or profession.
21. What aim in life will bring us the blessings of peace, happiness and everlasting life?
21 You may work hard and succeed in becoming a president, a statesman, a lawyer, a farmer, a doctor or a nurse, but do you want to make your aims even higher, yes, the highest, and to extend your life many years, even forever? You can, by learning the requirements of Jehovah God and entering the ministry as a follower of Christ Jesus. Anyone who wants to enjoy the blessings of happiness, peace and everlasting life will have to meet Jehovah God’s requirements and be a witness and minister, just the same as his servants have done in times past. Only thus can we receive the great gift of life from Jehovah God in his new world of righteousness and be able to live and to serve him forevermore.