Giving Evidence of Victorious Faith
After reading this “Yearbook” report on the activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the history of their work in several countries, one thing is clearly evident. Faith is not something for a person merely to profess. Millions of religious individuals are doing that. As witnesses of Jehovah, however, we are giving proof that our faith is alive and active, accompanied by works. (Jas. 2:18, 26) This has resulted in our giving a tremendous witness in all parts of the earth even though having to undergo various trials. Despite persistent efforts of opposers in many lands to stop the Kingdom proclamation, Jehovah God has kept open the door to such activity. (1 Cor. 16:9) All who have shared in works of faith in the worldwide field are truly thankful to the Most High God for his rich blessings upon all that has been done during the past year. As long as Jehovah God indicates that there is more Kingdom witnessing to be done, we are determined to press forward with this work, thus demonstrating our faith in imitation of our Leader, Jesus Christ.—John 16:33; 17:4.
All those who attended the “Victorious Faith” International Convention this year were able to appreciate more fully what is involved in this matter of faith. This was forcefully brought home to us on the second day of the convention when the “Declaration of Our Faith” was presented. Let each one of Jehovah’s Witnesses who said “Yes” in response to what it expresses earnestly continue to display an active and meaningful faith. In order to make this important declaration available for the benefit of Jehovah’s Witnesses, it is set out below as part of a permanent record in this “1979 Yearbook.” Our reading through the Declaration and referring to it from time to time will bring to our minds the spirit of heartfelt appreciation and enthusiasm that was manifest at the time that this information was presented at each convention.
DECLARATION OF OUR FAITH
As witnesses for Jehovah God and followers of his Son Jesus Christ, we thank God for his precious Word of truth and for “the faith that was once for all time delivered to the holy ones.” (Jude 3) But we also feel the need to apply the apostle’s exhortation: “Keep testing whether you are in the faith, keep proving what you yourselves are.” (2 Cor. 13:5) Are we—heart and soul—“in the faith”?
“Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld.” (Heb. 11:1) Real faith is based on knowledge of the truth, on facts. What, then, are the facts that cause us to believe, live, work and worship as we do? Why are we Jehovah’s Witnesses?
With our own eyes we have seen the results where faith is lacking, for “faith is not a possession of all people.” (2 Thess. 3:2) The world has gone its own way, independent of God, and continues getting deeper and deeper into difficulty, with no prospect of genuine relief. We have seen the arrival of the “space age” and spectacular advances of science in many fields. Yet science has done little if anything to solve the major problems facing humanity—poverty, sickness, hunger, crime, hatred and violence. These problems are still all around us, and are becoming more complex. On the other hand, all that modern science has revealed about the marvels of the universe confirms for us the truth simply stated at Hebrews 3:4: “Every house is constructed by someone, but he that constructed all things is God.” The evidence of an all-wise universal Designer and Architect is there for us to see on every side. In the words of Hebrews 11:6, we “believe that [Jehovah] is and that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.” We believe firmly that his kingdom by Christ Jesus is the only hope for ourselves and for all mankind and we are determined to keep it ever first in our lives.—Matt. 6:33.
We have seen what ignorance of the Bible, or a failure to put faith in it and live by it, produces. We see marriages breaking up, families falling apart, young lives scarred or even ruined by immorality, a steady deterioration in the quality of life and of people’s enjoyment of life; less and less friendliness and unselfish concern and more and more mistrust, fear and insecurity. By contrast, we have seen and personally experienced what the faithful application of God’s Word can do, the remarkable changes it has accomplished in our own lives and homes, the benefits in contentment and peaceful relations and the warmth of unselfish love. We have seen the power the “good news” has in appealing to honest-hearted persons of every conceivable background, in the Western world and in the Orient, in all continents and islands of the sea. We have seen what faith can produce on a global scale; how God’s spirit has produced something that remains unique: an earth-wide “association of brothers.” (1 Pet. 2:17) “By this all will know that you are my disciples,” Christ Jesus said, “if you have love among yourselves.” (John 13:35) We rejoice to be part of the only real international brotherhood on the face of the earth, a brotherhood bound together in unbreakable love—for God and his Son, for truth, for what is right, and for one another.
We have also seen what God can accomplish while using fragile ‘earthen vessels,’ imperfect humans, and how, even though we are but a small minority, he has used us to make his own name, Jehovah, known throughout all the earth. (Ps. 83:18; Rom. 9:17) We have seen how, in this twentieth century, nations have fought to prevent this and have tried to smash a people that is tiny by comparison. But we take heart in knowing that faith has conquered even when our brothers have been subjected to the most brutal of treatments! With the apostle we say: “Who will separate us from the love of the Christ? Will tribulation or distress or persecution or hunger or nakedness or danger or sword? . . . To the contrary, in all these things we are coming off completely victorious through him that loved us.” Like the apostle, we are convinced that there is absolutely nothing that will be able to separate us from God’s love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.—Rom. 8:35-39.
Our brothers in Nazi Germany had that confidence, and our brothers in Malawi, Mozambique and many other countries today have that same confidence.
While enjoying rich blessings in many ways, we are all faced with the grim realities of our imperfect state—aging, sickness, accidents and death. We cannot believe and we do not believe that this brief life is all there is. We have faith in God’s provision of the ransom, that by Jehovah’s undeserved kindness he arranged that Jesus Christ “might taste death for every man.” (Heb. 2:9) While finding it true in our daily lives right now that “godly devotion is beneficial for all things,” we are grateful indeed that it holds promise not only of the “life now” but also “that which is to come.” (1 Tim. 4:8) We believe wholeheartedly in Jehovah’s promise of life without end in his righteous new order.
Because of all that we have seen, heard and experienced in our own lives, we here at this “Victorious Faith” International Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses express anew our firm determination to move forward in the service of the Most High God, Jehovah, following the lead of his Son Jesus Christ. We have full faith in their direction of us as a united body. We are convinced that there is no need for uncertainty today nor for any feeling of lack of positive direction as we move straight onward in the course that God’s Word lays before us. Nothing about God’s purposes has changed; these remain solid and unchangeable. We know that the time for his day of judgment has not shifted, has not moved backward in the slightest. We do not know the time of its arrival, but we do know that it will come as God’s Son said—with shocking suddenness. (Luke 21:34, 35) Not reliance on some specific time period, but our wholehearted trust in God and our conviction that his purposes are absolutely certain of fulfillment—this is what gives us a sense of clear direction in our lives. (Heb. 3:14; 4:12) We believe that, by continuing through faith to conquer the pressures and temptations of this world, we will see the day when we can look back and say, as did God’s servants of old: “Not a promise failed out of all the good promise that Jehovah had made . . . it all came true.” “Not one word of them has failed.”—Josh. 21:45; 23:14.
We will not, we cannot, stop speaking about the things we have seen and heard and experienced. (Acts 4:20) We are impelled to give expression with our lips to our strong faith in Jehovah’s victorious kingdom and we sincerely want to share the blessings of this “good news” with all. Like the faithful apostle, our plea is: “Become reconciled to God.” (2 Cor. 5:20) That is our determination, to make public declaration of this good news of Jehovah God’s kingdom from here on until the end of this system of things.—Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20.
We know we must give proof of our faith in Jesus Christ as our Ransomer and Head and King, and we have his words that “everyone, then, that confesses union with me before men, I will also confess union with him before my Father who is in the heavens; but whoever disowns me before men, I will also disown him before my Father who is in the heavens.”—Matt. 10:32, 33.
We will never turn our backs on the One who has done so much for us, who has given meaning and purpose to our lives. We will never turn our eyes from the light he has given us that has enabled us to see through all the confusion of our times and understand why the world of mankind is in its present distress, and what today’s conditions signify as to the nearness of his new order of righteousness. Instead, we will keep our faces and our hearts turned ever toward him and his Son, seeking their guidance, their favor, proving obedient to their direction in all our lives. We will let neither materialism erode our faith nor opposition crush it.
Jesus’ apostle John said: “This is the conquest that has conquered the world, our faith.” (1 John 5:4) Ours is not faith in human organizations, their leaders and plans, but in Jehovah God and in his grand purpose in connection with Jesus Christ. We have complete confidence that our faith will be victorious. We are sure that this faith is solidly based, and it will therefore lead to success and not to failure, to the realization of our hopes and not to disappointment. “For the Scripture says: ‘None that rests his faith on him will be disappointed.’”—Rom. 10:11.
We are confident that by displaying such a living faith, one that is actively at work each day of our lives, we will be privileged to be used even more wonderfully in the remaining days between now and the sudden arrival of God’s expression of judgment. We confidently expect that such remaining time will be filled with grand evidences of God’s backing of his name people. By our daily lives and by our faithful witnessing, moved by love of neighbor, we are determined to extend the word of life to all who will hear. As we meet people at their homes, in the streets and in all our daily contacts, we will make known to them the “good news” that God’s kingdom is at hand to bring grand blessings to mankind. Our hope is that the remaining time may see grand expansion of the spread of the Kingdom good news, indeed, the finest ever. We pray to the One who, as Ephesians 3:20 says, “can, according to his power which is operating in us, do more than superabundantly beyond all the things we ask or conceive,” and we ask that he use us in just that way so that “to him be the glory by means of the congregation and by means of Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”—Eph. 3:21.
If, after having heard this entire declaration of faith, it expresses the way that all of you feel, and you say “Amen” to this declaration, then let us hear your “Yes!” in response.
The reading of the Declaration was repeatedly interrupted by spontaneous applause, and, having heard this entire declaration of faith, the conventioners responded with their own loud “Yes” of agreement. You, dear reader, may have been one of these. And certainly it is the aim of Jehovah’s Witnesses everywhere to live in accord with this declaration, for unequivocally it sets forth our determination to move forward in the service of the Most High God, making known the good news of his kingdom. May we stand firm in one spirit with Jehovah’s people world wide, “with one soul striving side by side for the faith of the good news.”—Phil. 1:27, 28.
Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses