Trust in Jehovah Leads to Dedication and Baptism
“Trust in Jehovah and do good; reside in the earth, and deal with faithfulness.”—PSALM 37:3.
1. What testimony by worldly-wise men shows that it is folly to trust in human leaders?
IN WHOM can we trust? In human leaders? Their record shows that it is folly to trust in imperfect humans. Why, even worldly-wise men recognize that fact! Thus, the European business magazine Vision once said that what is “worst about the current situation is that no one can see a way out of it.” And economic historian Robert Heilbroner noted: “There’s something else that’s gnawing at us. It’s the suspicion that nobody is in charge, that nobody is equipped to deal with the problems that are rushing in on us.”
2. What can be said about the benefits of modern science?
2 True, men have made much progress in various fields of science. But has all of this been beneficial? No, it has not. As pointed out by author Lewis Mumford: “The notion that mechanical and scientific progress guaranteed parallel human benefits . . . now has become completely untenable.” A case in point is acid rain, which is polluting lakes and rivers and is helping to destroy trees by the millions. Moreover, the sorry state of the world—the increase in crime, violence, and terrorism, in drug and alcohol addiction, and in sexually transmitted diseases, and the precarious economic situation—all bear testimony that it is useless to put our trust in human leaders.
3. God’s Word gives what counsel as to where we should place our trust?
3 God’s Word most fittingly counsels us: “Do not put your trust in nobles, nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs. His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground; in that day his thoughts do perish.” (Psalm 146:3, 4) If not in men, then in whom can we put our trust? We can put our trust in the Creator of heaven and earth, as we read: “Blessed is the able-bodied man who puts his trust in Jehovah, and whose confidence Jehovah has become.”—Jeremiah 17:7.
Why Trust in Jehovah?
4. What are Jehovah’s cardinal attributes, and how do they give us sound reasons for putting our trust in him?
4 We can trust in Jehovah for sound reasons. First of all, we can put our trust in him because of his cardinal attributes—love, wisdom, justice, and power—and other marvelous qualities. His Word assures us that he is omnipotent, one of his titles being “God Almighty.” (Genesis 28:3) What a basis for trust that is! No one can successfully resist Jehovah, and no one can thwart his purposes. He is also the Omniscient One. Not only does he know the end from the beginning, the future being an open book to him, but in him also resides all knowledge and wisdom, as seen by his wonderful works of creation. Never in any of his dealings has he made a single mistake. (Isaiah 46:10; Romans 11:33-35) More than that, Jehovah is perfectly trustworthy, a God of righteousness and faithfulness. It is impossible for him to lie. (Deuteronomy 32:4; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18) Above all, since unselfish love is his predominant quality, it is fittingly said: “God is love.”—1 John 4:8, 16.
5. What record does God’s Word contain, testifying to his trustworthiness?
5 Jehovah’s dealings with mankind bear further testimony to his being a trustworthy God of almightiness, wisdom, justice, and love. Moses assured the Israelites that Jehovah keeps covenant and loving-kindness with those who love him and keep his commandments. (Deuteronomy 7:9) Earlier, Jehovah preserved God-fearing Noah and his family through the great Deluge. God delivered righteous Lot and his two daughters from the fiery destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Later, God brought the Israelites out of Egypt and gave them the land of Canaan in keeping with his promise to Abraham. (Genesis 7:23; 17:8; 19:15-26) And did Jehovah not deliver the three Hebrews who were cast into the fiery furnace, as well as Daniel from the lions’ pit?—Daniel 3:27; 6:23.
6. What modern-day evidence do we have that trust in Jehovah is not misplaced?
6 That Jehovah is one in whom we can place our trust has also been borne out by the experiences of his modern-day Witnesses. For example, Adolf Hitler boasted that he would exterminate the “brood” of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany. But instead Hitler and his Nazi party were exterminated, and today that band of Witnesses has multiplied many times over to upwards of 119,000. Moreover, literally hundreds of life stories of Jehovah’s Witnesses published in The Watchtower and its companion magazine Awake! bear eloquent testimony to the fact that Jehovah is indeed the God in whom we can trust.
Why Some Do Not Trust in Jehovah
7. Why did one individual say he was “a Jehovah’s Bystander”?
7 Yet, how few today put their trust in Jehovah! Even many who have learned of his qualities and exploits fail to place their trust in him. An article appearing in the journal U.S. Catholic (January 1979) says of one such person: “When the pollster asked the man his religious preference, he replied, ‘I guess I’m a Jehovah’s Bystander.’ Invited to elaborate he explained, ‘I believe pretty much what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe—but I don’t want to get involved.’” The magazine commented: “A dedicated Jehovah’s Witness has no choice but to get deeply involved.”
8. What basic characteristics make a person want to get involved in serving Jehovah?
8 Why is it that some do not want to get involved? Because they do not have the right heart condition. A person must be “rightly disposed for everlasting life.” (Acts 13:48) As Jesus noted in his parable of the sower, those bringing forth fruit receive the word of truth into ‘fine and good hearts.’ (Luke 8:15) Yes, the truth does not appeal to insincere ones. A basic requirement is an honest heart. The truth of God’s Word also does not appeal to those who are proud. A humble attitude is needed. (James 4:6) Moreover, the truth does not appeal to self-satisfied, self-righteous ones. But it does appeal to those who are conscious of their spiritual need, who hunger and thirst for righteousness, and who sigh and groan over all the detestable things they see taking place in the world today.—Matthew 5:3, 6; Ezekiel 9:4.
Trust in Jehovah Leads to Dedication
9, 10. (a) What is necessary before a person can put trust in Jehovah, and how do those with the right heart condition respond? (b) In whom do such persons exercise faith?
9 Before a person can put trust in Jehovah, he must hear about Him. But “how will they call on him in whom they have not put faith? How, in turn, will they put faith in him of whom they have not heard? How, in turn, will they hear without someone to preach?” (Romans 10:14) As Jehovah’s servants preach, those with the right heart condition respond, as did many in ancient Thessalonica. Concerning these, Paul wrote: “When you received God’s word, which you heard from us, you accepted it, not as the word of men, but, just as it truthfully is, as the word of God, which is also at work in you believers.”—1 Thessalonians 2:13.
10 Learning about Jehovah, such good-hearted ones exercise faith in him. This is vital, for “without faith it is impossible to please him well, for he that approaches God must believe that he is and that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Also essential is the exercising of faith in God’s Son. “There is no salvation in anyone else, for there is not another name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved”—yes, no other name than that of Jesus Christ.—Acts 4:12.
11. Trust in Jehovah will cause a person to follow what counsel given by the apostle Peter?
11 Trusting in God’s Word, in Jehovah, and in his Son Jesus Christ will move a person to heed the apostle Peter’s counsel to the Jews of his day: “Repent, therefore, and turn around so as to get your sins blotted out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the person of Jehovah.” (Acts 3:19) By taking in knowledge of Jehovah and His requirements, an individual learns that God’s will is for him to become a follower of Jesus Christ. As Peter expressed it: “To this course you were called, because even Christ suffered for you, leaving you a model for you to follow his steps closely.” (1 Peter 2:21) Jesus made clear what was involved when he said: “If anyone wants to come after me, let him disown himself and pick up his torture stake and continually follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) That means dedicating oneself to Jehovah God to do his will and to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
Dedication Not Just Another Commitment
12. How is the word “commitment” often used in Christendom?
12 In Christendom the term “commitment” is repeatedly used with regard to becoming a Christian. Thus we are told that Evangelicals of the United States “stress a personal commitment to Jesus.” A Roman Catholic cleric spoke of a “Catholic religious commitment.” In defending his political involvement, a Catholic priest once said: “Going into politics was an extension of my (priestly) commitment.” And business firms advertise “Our Commitment to Our Customers.” Actually, then, a person can have ever so many commitments at the same time: business commitments, social commitments, political commitments, and religious commitments.
13. What is involved in a dedication to Jehovah?
13 However, a dedication to Jehovah God is not just another commitment. A commitment is simply “an agreement or pledge to do something in the future.” But to make a dedication means ‘to devote oneself exclusively to the service or worship of a divine being or to sacred uses.’ Most people are content to make a commitment rather than a dedication. This no doubt accounts for the fact that their religion is simply like so much background music. It is pleasant to listen to but does not interfere with anything a person really wants to do.
14. Why is a mere commitment not acceptable to Jehovah God?
14 A dedication to God makes the doing of his will the most important thing in life. It requires that an individual observe the first and greatest commandment, cited by Jesus when he said: “You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength.” Jesus emphasized the exclusive nature of serving God when he stated: “No one can slave for two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other. You cannot slave for God and for Riches.” (Mark 12:30; Matthew 6:24) Clearly, then, a mere commitment is not acceptable to Jehovah.
Why Water Immersion?
15. What example did Jesus set as to making a public expression of faith in God?
15 Why symbolize a dedication to God by being baptized? If a person wants to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, he has no alternative. The same is true if he desires to be known as a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ. Jehovah’s “Faithful Witness,” Jesus, set the pattern for this, for he was baptized in the Jordan River. Since John was baptizing repentant sinners, he could not understand why Jesus wanted to be baptized, but Jesus told him: “Let it be, this time, for in that way it is suitable for us to carry out all that is righteous.” (Revelation 1:5; Matthew 3:13-17) God’s Son thus made a public expression of his faith by presenting himself to Jehovah, setting an example for all those desiring to do the divine will.
16. What command did Jesus give his followers regarding baptism, and what shows that his disciples obeyed that command?
16 More than that, shortly before returning to his Father in the heavens, Jesus commanded his followers: “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.” (Matthew 28:19, 20) The record in the book of Acts shows that Jesus’ disciples zealously obeyed that command.—Acts 2:40, 41; 8:12; 9:17, 18; 19:5.
17. Why can a mere sprinkling not be a valid baptism?
17 How were these baptized? Merely by having water sprinkled upon them, as is the custom in most churches of Christendom? By no means! Jesus ‘came up out of the water’ after being baptized. This clearly indicates that he was immersed in water. (Mark 1:9, 10) In fact, nothing else would be a baptism, for the Greek word rendered “baptize” means to “dip, plunge.”—Acts 8:36-39.
18. Why is immersion such a fitting symbol of a person’s dedication to God?
18 Such a baptism is a most fitting symbol of dedication. Going under the water well illustrates a person’s dying to his former course of conduct. His being lifted up out of the water pictures his being raised to a new way of life. Even as a wedding ceremony helps to impress their wedded state on a bride and groom, so water immersion before witnesses is likely to make a lasting impression on the baptism candidate. There is no question about it: By the act of being baptized, one’s dedication to Jehovah should be indelibly fixed in one’s mind and memory as the most important event in one’s life. It marks the turning point from serving self to serving Jehovah God.
19. What is a further reason to get baptized?
19 Let us not overlook the fact that water baptism is a prerequisite for obtaining a good conscience with Jehovah. This is made clear at 1 Peter 3:21, which reads: “That which corresponds to this is also now saving you, namely, baptism, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the request made to God for a good conscience,) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Baptized at What Age?
20. Why could infants not be eligible for baptism?
20 Jesus’ words at Matthew 28:19, 20 show that it is those who have been made his disciples that should be baptized. Hence, it follows that no infant or small child could meet the Scriptural requirements for baptism. An infant could not exercise faith in God’s Word, in God the Creator, and in his Son Jesus Christ. An infant could not understand that the holy spirit is God’s active force; nor could it repent of past sins and make a solemn vow to do God’s will.
21. Is it fitting for youths to get baptized?
21 But it seems that some among Jehovah’s people have gone to the other extreme. Many Christian parents let their children wait until they are in their late teens before broaching the subject of baptism. Time and again, we hear of youngsters making a valid dedication solely on their own initiative. For example, the preteen son of an elder sincerely wanted to get baptized. So his father had three other elders discuss with the youngster the questions designed for those contemplating baptism.* Their conclusion was that, though quite young, he qualified to be baptized as an ordained minister of Jehovah God. Why, attending the Pioneer Service School in the Bahamas recently was a ten-year-old baptized girl, the daughter of two full-time ministers!
22. When parents build Christian personalities in their children, what can they expect of their youngsters?
22 In this regard, it seems that some parents are falling short. To what extent are they using ‘fire-resistant materials’ to build Christian personalities in their children? (1 Corinthians 3:10-15) First of all, doing so requires that the pure worship of Jehovah be the most important thing in the parents’ lives. Additionally, the parents must be heeding the fine counsel given at Deuteronomy 6:6, 7 and Ephesians 6:4. The result of this may be that the parents will need to restrain their children from getting baptized too early, rather than needing to coach them later.
23. Once a person has reached the point of dedication and baptism, what else is required?
23 Once a person has demonstrated trust in Jehovah by means of dedication and water baptism, he must continue to demonstrate that trust. The succeeding article, “Serving as Jehovah’s Trusting Fellow Workers,” will help us to appreciate what this involves.
The series of questions to be answered by all who wish to be baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses are found in the book Organized to Accomplish Our Ministry. It is made available to those preparing for baptism.
How Would You Respond?
□ What facts highlight the folly of putting our trust in humans?
□ Why do Jehovah’s attributes and dealings give us sound reasons for trusting in him?
□ Why does putting trust in Jehovah require dedication and not mere commitment?
□ How can parents instill in their children the desire to dedicate themselves to Jehovah at an early age?
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We can place our trust in Jehovah as the Great Deliverer