Jealously Guard Liberty-giving Worship
THE worship of Jehovah God is truly liberty-giving. This fact Jesus Christ made clear when he said: “If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Having been made free, Christians must jealously guard that freedom, even as the apostle Paul admonishes: “For such freedom Christ set us free. Therefore stand fast.”—John 8:31, 32; Gal. 5:1.*
The truth that sets Jesus’ followers free is not just truth in general. In fact, secular truth may well do the opposite; it may lead one into bondage if not used in the right way. Thus nations today are facing a bondage to the “scientific elite,” because of the advantages that scientists have by reason of their possessing many secular truths. In medicine this has resulted in a “medical priesthood” that seeks to force judges and lawmakers to do their bidding even to the extent of robbing patients of their God-given and Constitutional rights to heed their consciences in accepting medical treatment. Clearly, secular truth can lead men into bondage.
The truth that sets Jesus’ disciples free is the truth that comes from God. It is the truth that is found in his Word. By accepting it, by exercising faith in it, by letting it make progress in your life, you can be set free. Free from what? Free from even the greatest slavery of all, to sin and death. Yes, by reason of Christ’s sacrifice and God’s kingdom, all who exercise faith in the truth of God’s Word can hope to gain freedom from sin and death and enjoy the glorious freedom of God’s sons eternally.—Rom. 6:23.
But God’s truth offers Jesus’ followers freedom from bondage to Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion. Even as the truth taught by Jesus enabled the Jews of his day to get free from bondage to Judaism, and the Gentiles to get free from pagan religion, so today this truth enables all lovers of God and of his Word to get free from bondage to Babylon the Great, thereby keeping from sharing in her sins and receiving her plagues.—Rev. 18:4.
God’s truth also sets Jehovah’s witnesses free from bondage to the political systems and ideologies of this world. It gives them a basis for neutrality in regard to all political and national conflicts. And while they recognize the nations of this world as the “superior authorities,” their subjection to them is only relative, not absolute, obeying such only so long as their laws do not run counter to the liberty-giving worship of Jehovah.—John 18:36; Rom. 13:1.
However, God’s people do not all enjoy freedom to engage in this liberty-giving worship without hindrance. In many places their worship is interfered with, calling to mind the words of the apostle Paul: “All those desiring to live with godly devotion in association with Christ Jesus will also be persecuted.”—2 Tim. 3:12.
The “faithful and discreet slave” organization is taking the lead in safeguarding liberty-giving worship. (Matt. 24:45) It fights court battles for liberty to refuse blood transfusions, to preach and to assemble in obedience to God’s commands. It instructs Christians as to how they can continue to maintain their integrity: how to proceed as cautious as serpents, yet as innocent as doves, by discreetly preaching underground.—Matt. 10:16; 2 Tim. 4:2.
What about Christians individually? An unbelieving husband may try to pressure his wife not to attend any of the congregation meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses and not to take any part at all in the Christian ministry. Will she jealously guard her liberty-giving worship, by putting God first? A schoolteacher may be pressured to engage in political activity or nationalistic exercises, or not to preach from house to house. Will she put worship of God first? At a hospital, physicians may try to pressure a Christian to accept blood transfusions. Again, will he stand firm, resisting any infringement of his liberty-giving worship? The right course is obvious.
In particular must all Christians be on guard against being intimidated by threats, so that fear of physical harm or economic loss does not keep them from engaging in their freedom-giving worship. They must remember that their suffering for righteousness is pleasing to God, and, should they lose their lives, they have hope of an early resurrection. So let all Christians follow the example of “the faithful and discreet slave” as it heeds the counsel of the apostle Paul: “For such freedom Christ set us free. Therefore stand fast.”—Gal. 5:1.
For details see The Watchtower, December 1, 1966.