Kingdom Blessings Can Be Yours
THE Christian apostle Paul was fluent in certain major languages of his day. He had received the equivalent of a university education today. He enjoyed all the advantages and rights of a Roman citizen. (Acts 21:37-40; 22:3, 28) These credentials could have enabled him to become rich and famous. Yet, he said: “What things were gains to me, these I have considered loss on account of the Christ . . . and I consider them as a lot of refuse, that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:7, 8) Why did Paul make such a statement?
Formerly known as Saul of Tarsus and as a persecutor of those “who belonged to The Way,” Paul became a believer after being given a vision of the resurrected and glorified Jesus. (Acts 9:1-19) For Paul, this experience on the road to Damascus proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus was the promised Messiah, or Christ, the future ruler of the promised Kingdom. It also brought about a dramatic change in Paul’s life course, as indicated by his forceful statement noted above. In other words, being sincere and of honest heart, Paul repented.—Galatians 1:13-16.
In the Bible, the verb “repent” is often translated from a Greek word that literally means “afterknowing,” as opposed to “foreknowing.” Thus, repentance involves a change in one’s mind, attitude, or purpose, a rejection of one’s former ways as unsatisfactory. (Acts 3:19; Revelation 2:5) In Paul’s case, he did not let that momentous event on the road to Damascus remain simply an emotional or even a so-called spiritual experience. For him it was an awakening to the fact that his former way of life, in ignorance of Christ, was futile. He realized, too, that in order to benefit from his newly found knowledge about the Christ, he must do something to rectify his life course.—Romans 2:4; Ephesians 4:24.
A Change That Brought Blessings
Previously, Paul’s knowledge of God came largely from the sect of the Pharisees, of which he was a member. Their beliefs included much human philosophy and tradition. Because of religious prejudices, Paul’s zeal and efforts were misdirected. Though he thought he was serving God, he was actually fighting against him.—Philippians 3:5, 6.
After receiving accurate knowledge about the Christ and his role in God’s purpose, Paul could see that he was faced with a choice: Should he remain a Pharisee and continue to enjoy position and esteem, or should he change his life course and start to do whatever was necessary to gain God’s approval? Happily, Paul made the right choice, for he said: “I am not ashamed of the good news; it is, in fact, God’s power for salvation to everyone having faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16) Paul became a zealous preacher of the good news about the Christ and the Kingdom.
Many years later, Paul told his fellow Christians: “I do not yet consider myself as having laid hold on it; but there is one thing about it: Forgetting the things behind and stretching forward to the things ahead, I am pursuing down toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13, 14) Paul benefited from the good news because he willingly abandoned what had been steering him away from God and he wholeheartedly pursued goals that were in line with God’s purpose.
What Would You Do?
Perhaps you have only recently heard the Kingdom good news. Does the hope of living forever in a perfect paradise appeal to you? It well should, for all of us have an inborn desire to live and to enjoy life in peace and security. The Bible says that God has put “time indefinite” in our heart. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) So it is natural for us to hope for the time when people can live forever in peace and happiness. And that is what the Kingdom good news offers.
To make that hope a reality, however, you need to investigate and find out what the good news is about. The apostle Paul admonished: “Prove to [yourself] the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2) So, like Paul, after gaining knowledge and understanding, you must make a choice.
On the other hand, you may already have certain beliefs concerning your future. Remember that Saul had his ideas about God’s will before he became the apostle Paul. But rather than expecting a miraculous revelation from God, why not look at the matter objectively? Ask yourself: ‘Do I really know what God’s will is regarding mankind and the earth? What proof can I offer to substantiate my beliefs? Can my proof stand up under examination in the light of God’s Word, the Bible?’ You have nothing to lose from examining your religious beliefs in this way. In fact, you should want to do so because the Bible urges us: “Make sure of all things; hold fast to what is fine.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) After all, is it not God’s approval that really matters?—John 17:3; 1 Timothy 2:3, 4.
Religious leaders may promise us an eternal future. But unless that promise is based on the teachings of the Bible, it will not help us to gain the blessings of God’s Kingdom. In his famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus forcefully warned: “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will.”—Matthew 7:21.
Notice Jesus’ emphasis on doing the will of his Father as the criterion for receiving the blessings of God’s Kingdom. In other words, what may have the appearance of godliness is not necessarily approved by God. In fact, Jesus went on to say: “Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:22, 23) Clearly, the important thing is that we make sure that we accurately understand what the good news of the Kingdom really is and then act in harmony with it.—Matthew 7:24, 25.
Help Is Available
For more than 100 years, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom. By means of the printed page and by word of mouth, they are helping people around the world to gain an accurate knowledge of what the Kingdom is, what blessings it will bring, and what one must do to gain such blessings.
We encourage you to respond to the message being preached by Jehovah’s Witnesses. By accepting and acting on the good news, you can receive grand blessings not only now but also in the future when God’s Kingdom rules the entire earth.—1 Timothy 4:8.
Act now, for the blessings of God’s Kingdom are at hand!
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By means of the printed page and word of mouth, Jehovah’s Witnesses preach the good news of God’s Kingdom