A New Way of Life
TO THE members of the society of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses, religion is a serious matter. It means more than membership in a religious denomination and attending some church service on Sunday when convenient. Religion for them is the most important thing in their lives. It represents for them a new way of life.
In its infancy Christianity was known as “The Way.” Thus we read that Saul of Tarsus persecuted those “who belonged to The Way.” Opposers were said to speak “injuriously about The Way.” (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23) It is also called “the way of Jehovah,” “the way of God” and “the way of the truth,” since it constitutes the way marked out by God in his Word for all true worshipers to follow. (Acts 18:25, 26; 2 Pet. 2:2) That “The Way” must indeed be a new way of life for those who embrace it is clear from the Scriptural examples.
It meant a radical change in morals for some in the very wicked city of Corinth who were converted to Christianity, for the apostle Paul says to them: “What! Do you not know that unrighteous persons will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be misled. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God’s kingdom. And yet that is what some of you were. But you have been washed clean, but you have been sanctified, but you have been declared righteous in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the spirit of our God.”—1 Cor. 6:9-11.
Following “The Way” also meant a complete change of attitude for those who had been practicing magic, spiritism and suchlike. Apparently there were many such in Ephesus, a very religious city, for we read about them: “Many of those who had become believers would come and confess and report their practices openly. Indeed, quite a number of those who practiced magical arts brought their books together and burned them up before everybody. And they calculated together the prices of them and found them worth fifty thousand pieces of silver. Thus in a mighty way the word of Jehovah kept growing and prevailing.”—Acts 19:18-20.
But perhaps no one experienced a more sweeping change from an old to a new way of life than the apostle Paul. As Saul of Tarsus he had been, by his own confession, “a blasphemer and a persecutor and an insolent man,” and ‘the foremost of sinners.’ But after his conversion he could write: “You are witnesses, God is also, how loyal and righteous and unblamable we proved to be to you believers. In harmony with that you well know how, as a father does his children, we kept exhorting each one of you, and consoling and bearing witness to you, to the end that you should go on walking worthily of the God who is calling you to his kingdom and glory.”—1 Tim. 1:13, 15; 1 Thess. 2:10-12.
What was true of those who accepted Christianity in the days of the apostles is true also of those today accepting and following “The Way.” They adopt a new way of thinking, of believing, of speaking, of acting, a new way of life entirely. Every aspect of their lives is affected. People with whom they formerly associated are amazed at the change that has come about. They have truly heeded the counsel of the apostle: “Quit being fashioned after this system of things, but be transformed by making your mind over, that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Rom. 12:2) They have come to know and appreciate that the distinguishing mark of the true followers of Christ Jesus is that they ‘have love among themselves.’—John 13:34, 35.
The new way of life requires proper adjustment in their family relationships. Husbands demonstrate that they love their wives as their own bodies, as part of themselves, while wives render submissive obedience to their husbands as to the Lord. Parents, though firm when the occasion requires, treat their children with loving consideration. They do not needlessly irritate and exasperate them, but, rather, bring them up “in the discipline and authoritative advice of Jehovah.” Children following this new way of life heed the Bible’s command to obey their parents in union with the Lord in everything.—Eph. 5:22-26; 6:1-4; Col. 3:20, 21.
Those following “The Way” are likewise guided by Bible principles in dealing with their neighbors. They manifest no prejudice because of race, nationality or language. They practice the teaching of Jesus: “Just as you want men to do to you, do the same way to them.” (Luke 6:31) Toward employers they act honestly, giving an honest day’s work for a day’s wages. They do not come in late and quit early if they think that they can get away with it. They do not loaf when no one is supervising, nor do they purloin their employer’s merchandise, cash or equipment even when this might be done without detection. “Let the stealer steal no more,” is the command that they obey.—Eph. 4:28.
Followers of “The Way” do not defraud the government under which they live in the matter of taxes. They engage in no political or social demonstrations or upheavals, no rowdyism, no gambling. Rather, they are intent upon living up to the requirements of the new way of life they have chosen to follow. It is not an easy way, with a broad gate and plenty of “elbow room” to do as one pleases, but the gate is narrow and the way itself is cramped. Nevertheless, how glad they are that they have found it, for it leads to life.—Matt. 7:13, 14.
What enables this people to make such a great change in their lives? Diligent study of God’s Word, personally and in congregation meetings, brings to view beckoning examples of those who in the past chose to give up the old and selfish way of life and adopt the new. They learn that faithful adherence to Bible standards brings peace and satisfaction now, and also opens up an endless vista of life in a new system of things that God has promised as a reward to those who remain faithful. They discover that God’s requirement for those who gain life in his new order beyond Armageddon is that they conscientiously endeavor to live according to the new way of life NOW.
Confidently these members of the Christian society of Jehovah’s witnesses lay hold of and cherish the grand promise of their God: “And I will give them one heart and one way in order to fear me always, for good to them and to their sons after them. And I will conclude with them an indefinitely lasting covenant, that I shall not turn back from behind them, for me to do them good; and the fear of me I shall put in their heart in order not to turn aside from me. And I will exult over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land in trueness with all my heart and with all my soul.”—Jer. 32:39-41.