Keeping the Organization of Public Servants Pure, Chaste
“In every way we recommend ourselves as God’s ministers, by the endurance of much, . . . by purity, by knowledge.”—2 Cor. 6:4, 6.
1. What assignment of public service is the grandest that has been given to any organization on earth?
NO OTHER organization on earth has a grander assignment of public service than this organization of public servants. Nineteen centuries ago its Head Servant, the Lord Jesus Christ, handed out a worldwide assignment in these words: “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth. Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:18-20) That nineteen-hundred-year-old command must still be complied with. But the service assignment that Jesus has given for today adds something extra, something glorious, to it. This service assignment was outlined in Jesus’ prophecy on the evidences that were to mark the “time of the end” of this system of things and was given in these words: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”—Matt. 24:14.
2. How may this organization of Kingdom witnesses be identified today, and for what reason will these witnesses be made public servants in a more powerful way in the future?
2 There is an organization of such Kingdom witnesses on earth today. It is no part of Christendom nor of any other segment of the world empire of Babylonish religion. It is identified as the New World Society of Jehovah’s witnesses. This Christian society is the only religious society putting the kingdom of the heavens first and keeping free from earthly politics. Thus it can freely preach what Jesus called “this good news of the kingdom,” that is, God’s kingdom. By specializing on this it is the organization rendering to all mankind a public service without compare. By proving faithful in this public service they will be made public servants in a more powerful way in the future for the good of all mankind.
3. From what standpoint does this Society prove to be an organization of public servants, rendering the greatest service?
3 The facts and figures published year after year in editions of the Yearbook prove that the New World Society of Jehovah’s witnesses is carrying out the assignment to preach the good news of God’s kingdom for which God-fearing men and women have prayed for thousands of years. In carrying out this assignment the Society is rendering the greatest public service on earth today. From that standpoint the Society is an organization of public servants, even though not all of them give talks from the public platform.
4. What questions may people who are doubtful about public officials ask about the individuals in the New World Society?
4 However, people who have been disappointed at the conduct of public officials in the political rulerships of this world may be doubtful also about the New World Society of Jehovah’s witnesses. They may say, ‘Yes, Jehovah’s witnesses as a New World Society are undeniably rendering a public service on a worldwide scale, but what about the private lives of the individual witnesses of Jehovah? What kind of life do they live in their homes, in their secular business and inside their religious congregations? What about their morals in private, away from the public eye?’
5. What kind of answers to these questions should we expect on the part of the baptized persons in the New World Society, and why?
5 Those are proper questions. By their private lives how do Jehovah’s witnesses in the New World Society answer those questions? We should expect satisfying answers. Why so? Because each baptized person in the New World Society belongs to the Most High God of the universe. That is so because water baptism is a symbol of a person’s complete dedication of himself to Jehovah God through Jesus Christ. Without any limitations the New World Society of baptized Jehovah’s witnesses belongs to Him. That being so, Jehovah God requires that this organization of public servants be pure, chaste. Never would He give to this organization the assignment of preaching his Kingdom message worldwide unless this organization measured up to His divine requirements. Because his witnesses represent Him he is rightly concerned about their moral purity, their chastity, their right conduct. He is seriously interested in keeping the organization to which he gives such a responsible service assignment clean, pure, chaste, inasmuch as he refuses to use an unclean, impure organization.—Ps. 50:16-23.
GIVING NO CAUSE FOR STUMBLING OTHERS
6. How do dedicated persons who receive a service assignment from God need to act, and what makes it advisable to do so?
6 Dedicated public servants who have God’s name called upon them and who receive a service assignment from him need to walk worthily. They cannot preach and teach one thing and at the same time live contrariwise and expect to have God’s approval. Nobody can fool God, pull the wool over his eyes. He knows, his King Jesus Christ knows, and the angels know whether an individual is living in private contrary to what he publicly preaches and teaches. God has feelings. He keenly feels any reproach that is thus being heaped upon his own name, upon his beloved organization, upon his truth and upon the good news of His kingdom. So the private lives of his dedicated public servants are a concern to him. This stern fact makes it advisable for each public servant to walk worthily.
7, 8. (a) Why did the apostle Paul keenly appreciate this fact? (b) In order to advance his message of salvation, what was Paul willing to suffer or to fulfill as his responsibility?
7 The Christian apostle Paul deeply appreciated this fact. It was well that he did so, for he was one of the most prominent public servants on earth of the Most High God. Paul knew that the chasteness of his private life ought to recommend to others the Christian message that he preached and taught. Also, the purity of what he taught ought to recommend his message to others and not be a stumbling block or hindrance. It ought to lead to a clean organization. In order to live, to preach and to serve for the unhindered advancement of his message of salvation, Paul was willing to suffer anything. So, after referring to himself and Timothy as ambassadors substituting for Christ, Paul made this statement:
8 “In no way are we giving any cause for stumbling, that our ministry might not be found fault with; but in every way we recommend ourselves as God’s ministers, by the endurance of much, by tribulations, by cases of need, by difficulties, by beatings, by prisons, by disorders, by labors, by sleepless nights, by times without food, by purity [or, chastity], by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by holy spirit, by love free from hypocrisy, by truthful speech, by God’s power.”—2 Cor. 6:3-7; 5:20.
9, 10. (a) How would Paul’s companion Timothy keep himself chaste with respect to other men appointed to a congregational office? (b) Who else would benefit from his chasteness in this regard?
9 Take note of Paul’s mention of purity or chastity. In this he included his missionary companion Timothy with himself. He insisted that this younger man Timothy be pure or chaste personally and as respects other persons. Under God’s direction Paul clothed this younger man with the authority to do the appointing of overseers and ministerial servants in newly organized congregations. If Timothy did not exercise caution in appointing men to office, and if he let his appointments be influenced by some selfish personal bias of his, he might put into office men who would commit sins as public servants. He would share the blame for their sins and how those sins affected the congregation and the Christian cause.
10 By taking good care and impartially striving to put in office men truly capable and of good, reliable conduct, Timothy would keep himself free and pure from sharing the blame for another man’s sins in office. Said Paul: “Never lay your hands hastily upon any man; neither be a sharer in the sins of others; preserve yourself chaste.” (1 Tim. 5:22) By not appointing men liable to turn out bad he would not only keep himself chaste and clear of any share in the blame but also keep the congregation chaste. It would not have the bad example of a sinful man set in front of it.
11, 12. (a) Why did Timothy as a servant who had to pass along instructions to others have to set a right example? (b) In this regard, what did Paul write Timothy?
11 Timothy had to watch not to pave the way for someone else to set a bad example in office. Besides that, he himself as a public servant had to set a right example worthy of imitation. He was to do more than merely tell other brothers what to do, passing along to them instructions that came from the governing body of God’s earthly organization. He had to show himself worthy of telling others what to do according to organization instructions. In that way he had to add force to his commands and instructions by himself leading an exemplary life. The ripeness of his Christian development both in mind and in spirit would correct any wrong impression on others that his bodily youngness might make. This was the point that Paul made when he wrote to Timothy:
12 “Keep on giving these commands and teaching them. Let no man ever look down on your youth. On the contrary, become an example to the faithful ones in speaking, in conduct, in love, in faith, in chasteness. While I am coming, continue applying yourself to public reading, to exhortation, to teaching.”—1 Tim. 4:11-13.
13. How has the New World Society been able to purify its doctrines and to keep them pure?
13 Today those words are followed in the New World Society of Jehovah’s witnesses in order to keep this organization of public servants pure, chaste. The teaching or doctrine has to be kept pure. It can be kept this way only by keeping it in harmony with God’s inspired Word. “The sayings of Jehovah are pure sayings,” said the psalmist David, “as silver refined in a smelting furnace of earth, clarified seven times.” (Ps. 12:6) Truth is pure, and Jesus Christ the Son of David said in prayer to God regarding God’s written Word: “Sanctify them by means of the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17) By faithfully appealing to this pure Word of God the New World Society has been able to purify its doctrines and to keep its teaching pure and truthful.
14, 15. (a) In comparison with the course of Jehovah’s witnesses, what statement about going back to the Scriptures comes late in the day from Roman Catholicism’s head? (b) How does he clutter up the way of such a return to the Bible?
14 From the very first number of the Watch Tower magazine in July of 1879, which is eighty-five years ago, it has been the endeavor of Jehovah’s dedicated people to do this. So it is very late in the day that the statement comes from the Roman Catholic Pontifex Maximus Paul VI, just back from his pilgrimage to the Middle East, as reported by the New York Times under the dateline “Rome, Jan. 8,” namely:
Pope Paul stressed that “anyone who wants to be true Christian” must go back to the Scriptures. “The return to the Gospel must be our continual exercise of thought, spiritual fervor, moral renewal, religious and human sensitiveness,” he declared.
15 However, the Roman Catholic Pontifex Maximus cluttered up the way of this return of Roman Catholics to the Bible:
He said that study of Scripture did not imply disavowal of church traditions, “but an increasing effort to bring our Christian faith closer to its original concept, search for greater essential faithfulness to the thinking of Our Lord, and spiritual invigoration of what the authentic development of tradition has brought down to us.”—N.Y. Times, Jan. 9, 1964.
16. How does the New World Society endeavor to do just the contrary of this?
16 To the contrary of this, the New World Society of Jehovah’s witnesses endeavors to purify itself of all religious traditions and to adhere to the pure written Word of God. We remember Jesus’ condemnatory words against man-made traditions.—Matt. 15:1-14.
17, 18. What kind of purity was the apostle Paul talking about when he wrote 2 Corinthians 11:2-6?
17 Very plainly the apostle Paul was talking about doctrinal purity and about keeping the true Christian organization free from the teaching of false apostles, when he wrote these words to the congregation that he had founded in Corinth, Greece:
18 “I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, for I personally promised you in marriage to one husband that I might present you as a chaste virgin to the Christ. But I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent seduced Eve by its cunning, your minds might be corrupted away from the sincerity and the chastity that are due the Christ. For, as it is, if someone comes and preaches a Jesus other than the one we preached, or you receive a spirit other than what you received, or good news other than what you accepted, you easily put up with him. For I consider that I have not in a single thing proved inferior to your superfine apostles. But even if I am unskilled in speech, I certainly am not in knowledge.”—2 Cor. 11:2-6.
19. (a) In what respect was the serpent in Eden trying to corrupt Eve? (b) Similarly, how were men in Corinth in Paul’s day trying to corrupt the congregation?
19 Certainly, when the serpent in Eden tempted Adam’s wife Eve in order to seduce and corrupt her, its effort was in the matter of doctrine, in the matter of religious belief. It was not in moral or sexual behavior. The serpent induced Eve to believe that her Creator, Jehovah God, was a liar in what he had taught her husband Adam. In a like cunning manner, during Paul’s absence from Corinth, those so-called “superfine apostles” were trying to corrupt the Christian congregation there. How? By preaching a Christ different from the one whom Paul had preached, by trying to put in the congregation a spirit different from the one they had got through Paul along with its gifts, and by preaching a kind of “good news” different from the good news that Paul had preached to them. Thus those so-called “superfine apostles” were trying to marry off the Corinthian congregation to a different Christ as a spiritual husband. This was leading to a spiritual immorality. How?
20. How was the corrupting influence of those “superfine apostles” leading to spiritual immorality on the congregation’s part?
20 The apostle Paul had already promised them in marriage to Jesus Christ the heavenly Son of God. So now if they let themselves become engaged to marry some other Christ, they would be losing their spiritual morality. They would be losing their spiritual chastity, their virgin chastity, that they owed to Jesus Christ as their promised Husband. The apostle Paul wanted to present this Christian congregation that he had founded as a “chaste virgin to the Christ,” but here those “superfine apostles” were trying to break the congregation’s engagement to Jesus Christ and switch it over to a counterfeit Christ. They were trying to seduce the already engaged congregation to commit spiritual immorality, spiritual adultery, inasmuch as in Jehovah’s law given through Moses an engaged virgin was considered as already the wife of the man to whom arrangements had been made to marry her.
21. What kind of jealousy did Paul have over the congregation in Corinth, and to whom was he a true friend?
21 Hence the apostle Paul likened those so-called “superfine apostles” to the serpent in Eden, and he tried to protect the Christian congregation from them. The jealousy that Paul had over them was not a selfish, impassioned, ungodly jealousy, but was a godly jealousy that tolerated no rivalry but insisted on exclusive devotion to Jesus Christ their original Bridegroom. Paul was truly a “friend of the bridegroom,” and he desired to experience in due time the friend’s “joy on account of the voice of the bridegroom” when speaking to his “chaste virgin” Bride in heaven.—John 3:29.
SEXUAL PURITY (CHASTITY) ALSO
22. (a) About what other kind of purity of the congregation was Paul concerned? (b) What did he write about a pertinent case in the congregation in Corinth?
22 As a general overseer who had the “anxiety for all the congregations” in Gentile lands of the West, the apostle Paul was also deeply concerned about the bodily chastity or sexual purity of the organization of God’s public servants. Paul knew that a local congregation could not remain a part of God’s organization and at the same time allow the moral impurity of any of its members. The congregation needs to free itself, vindicate itself from all community responsibility for the sexual immorality of any of its members. Listen to this case that Paul handled for the congregation at Corinth in the first century of our Common Era. It was a shocking case, for Paul writes: “Actually fornication is reported among you, and such fornication as is not even among the [Gentile] nations, that a wife a certain man has of his father. And are you puffed up, and did you not rather mourn, in order that the man that committed this deed should be taken away from your midst?”
23. In that connection, what kind of responsibility did Paul not want to share, and so what did he do about the situation?
23 As Paul had founded that congregation and had the apostolic oversight over it, he was not for a minute going to become soiled with any community responsibility for such immorality inside God’s organization of public servants. So he immediately follows up the charge that he files against the congregation by writing: “I for one, although absent in body but present in spirit, have certainly judged already, as if I were present, the man who has worked in such a way as this, that in the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are gathered together, also my spirit with the power of our Lord Jesus, you hand such a man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, in order that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. . . . Do you not judge those inside, while God judges those outside? ‘Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.’”—1 Cor. 5:1-5, 12, 13.
24, 25. (a) In Paul’s mind, what was the question now with regard to the Corinthian congregation? (b) How did the congregation demonstrate itself to be chaste in this matter?
24 In Paul’s mind the question now was, Will the Christian congregation with its so-called “superfine apostles” clear itself of any community responsibility for this shocking case of incestuous immorality? Would it be saddened because it had tolerated this immorality within it for any length of time without proper action? Would it vindicate itself by promptly carrying out the apostle’s orders to remove that wicked man from the congregation? Paul’s mind was later set at rest when his missionary companion Titus came back from Corinth and told him that the congregation had done so. Giving official approval to this, Paul wrote them:
25 “(I see that that letter saddened you, though but for a little while,) now I rejoice, not because you were just saddened, but because you were saddened into repenting; for you were saddened in a godly way, that you might suffer no damage in anything due to us. For sadness in a godly way makes for repentance to salvation that is not to be regretted; but the sadness of the world produces death. For, look! this very thing, your being saddened in a godly way, what a great earnestness it produced in you, yes, clearing of yourselves, yes, indignation, yes, fear, yes, longing, yes, zeal, yes, righting of the wrong! In every respect you demonstrated yourselves to be chaste in this matter.”—2 Cor. 7:8-11.
26, 27. (a) Only after what developments would it be safe for the Corinthian congregation to take the incestuous man back again? (b) Nevertheless, against what did the congregation have to keep on watching, and what did Paul write them to indicate this?
26 Certainly only after the congregation had vindicated itself by showing that it did not uphold sexual immorality among its members, only after they had demonstrated themselves “to be chaste in this matter,” only after that would it be safe for the apostle Paul to advise the congregation to let that wicked man come back into the congregation again. Not only had the man sincerely repented of his incestuous sin, between the time that the congregation received Paul’s first letter and the time that it got his second letter, but the congregation as a whole had taken the right stand and action toward the matter. (2 Cor. 2:6-11) But, whether they forgave this man for his proved repentance and took him back in again or not, Paul knew that the Corinthian Christians had to keep on watching against sexual immorality in the congregation. They were living in a very sexy pagan city and many members of the congregation had come in from that sex-crazed world. Hence toward the end of his second letter (2 Cor. 12:20, 21) Paul made this remark:
27 “I am afraid that somehow, when I arrive, I may find you not as I could wish and I may prove to be to you not as you could wish, but, instead, there should somehow be strife, jealousy, cases of anger, contentions, backbitings, whisperings, cases of being puffed up, disorders. Perhaps, when I come again, my God might humiliate me among you, and I might mourn over many of those who formerly sinned but have not repented over their uncleanness and fornication and loose conduct that they have practiced.”
28, 29. (a) How is the same situation true of the New World Society today, especially as more persons come into it? (b) Why may Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 well be said to the Society today?
28 The same situation is true of the New World Society of Jehovah’s witnesses. It is living in the midst of a sex-maddened world, a regular modern Sodom. Not all the members of this New World Society have been born and reared in the homes of Christian witnesses of Jehovah. The vast majority of them have come out from Babylon the Great, that is, the world empire of false religion, and from among her immoral political paramours. And the more tens of thousands there are who come into the Society from this sexually disturbed world year after year, the more the Society as a whole is subjected to an immoral pressure, because of the immoral leanings of a growing number of incomers. Accordingly, to the Society of today the following words of Paul’s letter to the Corinthian Christians may well be said:
29 “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 . . . in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the spirit of our God.”—1 Cor. 6:9-11.
30. (a) What fact makes it all the more difficult to keep the Society clean as time goes on? (b) Against what did the apostle Peter warn all the washed ones?
30 Yes, as the New World Society grows, “that is what” more and more of Jehovah’s witnesses inside the Society once were. This fact makes it all the more difficult to keep such a growing Society clean, pure, chaste. But all baptized persons today in the Society would never have been admitted into it if first they had not been washed in the name of the Lord Jesus and with the spirit of our God. So in his second letter (2 Pe 2:22) the apostle Peter warns all of us washed ones that we should not go back to such worldly uncleanness, like the “sow that was bathed to rolling in the mire.”
31, 32. (a) Even if not such kinds of persons previously, against what do members of the Society have to watch? (b) For instance, what did Paul have to write Timothy about chastity inside the congregation?
31 Many members were not such kinds of persons before they came into the Society. Yet they should keep on watch against falling into temptation to such unclean practices. Take, for instance, Timothy, the missionary who joined Paul in writing the second letter to the congregation at Corinth. He was half-Greek, half-Jew, and was brought up in a godly way by his Jewish mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois. (2 Tim. 1:5) Yet after Timothy had worked with him for about fifteen years Paul saw good to write Timothy the following words on moral chastity inside the congregation:
32 “Do not severely criticize an older man. To the contrary, entreat him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters with all chasteness. Honor widows that are actually widows.”—1 Tim. 5:1-3.
33. (a) To whom especially are Paul’s words to Timothy directed with regard to dealing with the womenfolk? (b) Hence the treating of them immorally would be just as abominable as what?
33 When it came to dealing with womenfolk in the congregation, the young and the old, it called for moral chasteness on Timothy’s part, though now he was no longer a teen-ager. Remember, please, this letter to Timothy was to a regional overseer of congregations, and not to a congregation in general. So the instructions to deal with the “younger women as sisters with all chasteness” stands directed with special force to Christian men who serve as district servants, circuit servants and congregation servants in the New World Society of today. If these today pursue this clean, chaste conduct toward those of the opposite sex, such servants should be strengthening examples to all the other dedicated, baptized men in the Society. If such servants treat the younger women in the Society as they treat their own sisters of their personal family, then they will not morally injure these younger women of the Society any more than they will their own fleshly sister. Committing fornication with one of the younger women of the congregation would be just as abominable as committing incest with one’s own fleshly sister.
34, 35. (a) To what other persons did Paul need to give moral instructions, and with what end in view? (b) In that behalf, what must the older women do in behalf of the younger women?
34 On the other hand, moral instructions needed to be given also to the women of the Christian congregation. To another fellow missionary named Titus, Paul wrote the following words: “Let the aged women be reverent in behavior, not slanderous, neither enslaved to a lot of wine, teachers of what is good; that they may recall the young women to their senses to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sound in mind, chaste, . . . so that the word of God may not be spoken of abusively.”—Titus 2:3-5.
35 What must older women do to recall the younger women to their senses, that these may love their own husbands instead of some other woman’s husband, and may be chaste toward all of the opposite sex? The aged women must themselves set the example of personal chasteness. Chasteness on the part of a woman in the New World Society can help another person to take up the Christian course of life.
36. How did the apostle Peter emphasize this fact to Christian wives, with what reflection on God’s Word?
36 The aged apostle Peter emphasized this fact by writing to Christian wives: “You wives, be in subjection to your own husbands, in order that, if any are not obedient to the word, they may be won without a word through the conduct of their wives, because of having been eyewitnesses of your chaste conduct together with deep respect.” (1 Pet. 3:1, 2) The more corrupt that a community is outside the congregation and outside the home of a Christian wife, the more the chastity of the faithful wife shows up to good effect, with greater impressiveness. It reflects well on God’s Word.