Accurate Knowledge Leads to Life
Everyday living requires knowledge. But are you also acquiring the knowledge that affects your eternal welfare?
WOULD you perform an operation an someone’s brain or heart if you had never studied medicine?
Even the thought of performing such a delicate operation involving human life without the needed knowledge of medicine no doubt shocks you. You know that surgery requires the great skill that comes from accurate knowledge and training in this field. Only a person who had this accurate knowledge and training would be in position to perform such an operation successfully.
It is not only in a technical field such as medicine that accurate knowledge is needed. It is necessary even in making your daily living. For example, you could not very well get employment as a truck driver if you had never driven a truck and had no knowledge of traffic regulations. It requires knowledge of the vehicle and knowledge of the rules of the road to be a qualified driver.
A housewife, too, needs knowledge. She has to have a knowledge of cooking before she can prepare an appetizing as well as nourishing meal that her family can enjoy. She needs to know how to care for her home and her children. The more accurate her knowledge and the more practice she gets, the better the results will be.
Yes, to sustain and save life, to care for the necessary affairs of life, knowledge is needed.
WHAT ABOUT GOD?
You put much effort, then, into acquiring the knowledge you need so you can enjoy life and prolong it as long as possible. Yet there is something that can have an even more important effect on your life. Of it, too, you need possession. What is it? The accurate knowledge of God, his purposes and his requirements. It is God’s will that is going to prevail on earth ultimately, regardless of what men and nations do. Says the inspired proverb: “Many are the plans in the heart of a man, but the counsel of Jehovah is what will stand.” (Prov. 19:21) Upon Jehovah God depend the life prospects of every person on earth. For those who love and serve him, he assures life everlasting in a righteous new order.
In view of this, does it make sense to exert all your vital force in acquiring knowledge needed to sustain your present life for a brief seventy or eighty years, and at the same time ignore the far more important knowledge of God and of his provision for eternal life?
Life is a most precious possession. Even in this trouble-filled world you would rather be alive than dead. So you do what you have to do in order to stay alive as long as possible. Yet if you are to have any future at all beyond the normal life-span, it must of necessity be God who provides it. As the psalmist indicated: “With you [God] is the source of life.”—Ps. 36:9.
Men, with all their marvelous accomplishments to their credit, cannot keep you living indefinitely. But God can. And if you serve him faithfully, he will. His promise is: “My son, my law do not forget, and my commandments may your heart observe, because length of days and years of life and peace will be added to you.” (Prov. 3:1, 2) Just how enduring that will be is also shown in the Bible, at Psalm 37:29, which states: “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.” This is Jehovah God’s grand promise, living forever in a trouble-free world, without any of the troubles that sorely distress and perplex humanity today.
In that glorious new order, right here on this earth it will be true that pain and grief so prevalent today will be things of the past. All earth will be transformed into a paradise. Man will grow to perfection of mind and body and will enjoy to the full the marvels of God’s creation, and that throughout eternity. “They will certainly build houses and have occupancy; and they will certainly plant vineyards and eat their fruitage. They will not build and someone else have occupancy; they will not plant and someone else do the eating. For like the days of a tree will the days of my people be; and the work of their own hands my chosen ones will use to the full. They will not toil for nothing, nor will they bring to birth for disturbance; because they are the offspring made up of the chosen ones of Jehovah, and their descendants with them. And it will actually occur that before they call out I myself shall answer; while they are yet speaking, I myself shall hear.” (Isa. 65:21-24) No man or nation can promise such things and then fulfill such a promise, but God can and he does. Are not these divine provisions worth learning about? Could the pursuit of any other field of knowledge be more worthwhile?
It is just not logical to spend all your time and effort to acquire possessions that will not endure, and at the same time not spend any time or effort to obtain that which will endure forever. You are amused at the child who picks up two bright, shiny pennies instead of a soiled ten-cent piece, because this shows the child’s immaturity and lack of knowledge concerning the value of things. But are you showing a sound sense of values if you expend all your vital force in the pursuit of material possessions, fleshly pleasures and knowledge of everything except what pertains to your relationship to God, the One on whom your very life depends?
This does not mean you can be unconcerned about your daily life, for you must rightly provide its necessities. But if you love life, you will not be completely absorbed in acquiring these things at the expense of the more important things. Keep in mind the words of Jesus Christ, who said: “Even when a person has an abundance his life does not result from the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15) Jesus then gave force to this expression by telling of a rich man who thought he had life all figured out: “[The rich man] said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my storehouses and build bigger ones, and there I will gather all my grain and all my good things; and I will say to my soul: “Soul, you have many good things laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, enjoy yourself.’” But God said to him, ‘Unreasonable one, this night they are demanding your soul from you. Who, then, is to have the things you stored up?’ So it goes with the man that lays up treasure for himself but is not rich toward God.”—Luke 12:18-21.
No matter what you have, sooner or later you will be confronted with the hard fact that the grave awaits you. All the wealth, the knowledge, the skill and the energy you possess cannot be enjoyed in the grave. All effort and pleasure cease there: “As for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all . . . for there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol, the place to which you are going.”—Eccl. 9:5, 10.
Only God, who is the Creator, Sustainer and Giver of life, can provide an escape from the distressing prospect of death. The Bible shows how you can avail yourself of that provision.
WHAT IS NEEDED?
How can you build a life that will please God, one that will lead you to life in his promised Paradise? What must you do to gain favor with the Almighty?
The foundation for building the kind of life that pleases God is accurate knowledge. Just as you must have accurate knowledge of your employment so you can make a living, and as a doctor needs accurate knowledge to perform an operation that can save life, so you must have accurate knowledge of God to avail yourself of his provision of life.
Really, how can you expect to please God if you do not know what pleases him? How can you perform what he requires if you do not know what his requirements are?
‘Ah, but wait,’ you may say. ‘That is where my clergyman comes into the picture. He has that knowledge and takes care of those religious matters.’ But can a clergyman assume your responsibility to serve God? If a relative of yours is a skilled surgeon, that does not qualify you to be one. If your best friend is a skilled truck driver, does that qualify you to be one? Of course not. To qualify, you must study and acquire skill through experience.
You cannot take anybody’s word for it that you are pleasing God; no, not even the word of a clergyman. They have been wrong before, as were the Jewish clergy in Jesus’ day. The principle you must follow in learning of God is this: “Each one will carry his own load.” (Gal. 6:5) While others can assist you, you are still responsible to God for your own relationship to him. This cannot be shifted to another. If you want life in God’s righteous new order, you personally will have to learn and obey his commandments.
Hence, the first step in building a life that pleases God is to acquire accurate knowledge of him so you can be in position to observe his commandments. Jesus said: “If, though, you want to enter into life, observe the commandments continually.” (Matt. 19:17) Those commandments are contained in God’s Word, the Bible.
HAVING THE BIBLE NOT ENOUGH
A common response of many religious persons in this matter is, ‘I have my Bible and I read it.’ Yes, but do you draw the right conclusions from it? Also, does it serve as a guide for your life, or do you take from it what you want and discard what you might consider unpleasant?
Having and reading a Bible does not necessarily mean that you draw the correct conclusions from it or that you let it guide your life. As an example, consider the trinity doctrine taught by most of the religions of Christendom. Members of those religious organizations, though they may possess Bibles and read them to some extent, still believe that the heavenly Father, his Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are all one God. They believe that when Jesus came to earth he was God Almighty in human form.
But is this drawing the proper conclusions from the Scriptures? Jesus said: “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30) But that does not mean he is God, nor does it make reference to any so-called third person of the trinity. Did Jesus not explain in chapter 17 of the Gospel of John Joh 17 that this means oneness, of purpose, unity? Read it in your own Bible. Can a father be the same as his son? Jesus is God’s Son. Even a child can understand that a father is greater than a son. Jesus himself said: “The Father is greater than I am.” (John 14:28) But clergymen have so clouded this simple truth that some Bible readers do not believe it anymore. How simple it is for truly humble persons to draw the proper conclusion about this doctrine from Jesus’ words: “I do nothing of my own initiative; but just as the Father taught me I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me; he did not abandon me to myself, because I always do the things pleasing to him”! (John 8:28, 29) The Christian apostle Paul drew the proper conclusion, because he later wrote: “The head of the Christ is God.” (1 Cor. 11:3) So while clergymen may teach that God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are equal, all one God, the simple truth concerning it is that they are not, that Christ is God’s Son and inferior to him, and that the holy spirit is God’s active force, hence subordinate to him.
But just why do well-educated clergymen fail to understand and teach these plain Bible truths? Because they prefer the traditions and philosophies of men to the written Word of God. And when a person rejects the Word of Jehovah, what wisdom does he have? Surely not Godly wisdom, because he does not have the spirit of Jehovah God. Rather, Satan the Devil, the “god of this system of things,” blinds his mind, that “the glorious good news about the Christ, who is [not God, but] the image of God, might not shine through.”—2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 2:8; Jer. 8:9.
There is a great danger, then, in drawing wrong conclusions from the Bible or letting someone else draw them for you. Trying to please God without personally taking in accurate knowledge from his Word is like taking a long journey in the dark of night without a road map and without a light. It is like tossing a coin to decide which turn to take each time you come to an intersection. You soon get lost.
There are many roads, but only one leads to life. The Bible points out that one “road leading off into life.” (Matt. 7:14) As you travel that road to life, the accurate knowledge from God’s Word will enable you to “make sure of all things.” (1 Thess. 5:21) In this dark world it will serve as a lamp to your foot, and a light to your roadway. (Ps. 119:105) Accurate knowledge of God leads past the coming dead end of this system of things. It leads to life in God’s promised new order, now near at hand. Jehovah’s witnesses will be pleased to help you to obtain this vital knowledge from your Bible by studying the Bible with you in your own home for an hour each week, at your convenience and free of charge.