A Letter From the Governing Body
“MAY you have undeserved kindness and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” This was the greeting Paul used in many of his letters to the congregations. It well expresses what we wish for all of you.—Eph. 1:2.
How we appreciate the undeserved kindness from Jehovah through the ransom sacrifice of Christ Jesus! By means of the ransom, we have an approved standing before God. We could never attain this through our own efforts, no matter how diligently we might study the Bible, preach the good news, or perform other good works. Forgiveness of sins and everlasting life are extended to us, not as payment for our efforts, but as gifts reflecting Jehovah’s undeserved kindness through Jesus Christ.—Rom. 11:6.
Paul wrote to fellow believers: “We . . . entreat you not to accept the undeserved kindness of God and miss its purpose. For he says: ‘In an acceptable time I heard you, and in a day of salvation I helped you.’ Look! Now is the especially acceptable time. Look! Now is the day of salvation.” There was an “acceptable time” prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in the first century. Honesthearted people who loved Jehovah were saved spiritually. This led to eventual physical salvation for all those faithful ones who fled from Jerusalem prior to its destruction in the year 70 C.E.—2 Cor. 6:1, 2.
Today, too, we are living in an “acceptable time” and a “day of salvation.” Those whom Jehovah accepts as his servants and who are being spiritually saved have the prospect of physical salvation through “the great day of Jehovah” now so close at hand.—Zeph. 1:14.
The coming of the day of Jehovah places upon us a sobering responsibility. We are both to warn people of it and to help honesthearted ones benefit from Jehovah’s undeserved kindness so that they too might be saved. Paul deeply appreciated this responsibility. He wrote: “Really, woe is me if I did not declare the good news!” He also expressed how he felt in these words: “Both to wise and to senseless ones I am a debtor: so there is eagerness on my part to declare the good news.”—1 Cor. 9:16; Rom. 1:14, 15.
Jehovah will hold us accountable if we neglect the vital work of warning people. We are aware of what Jehovah said to the prophet Ezekiel: “Son of man, a watchman is what I have made you to the house of Israel, and you must hear from my mouth speech and you must warn them from me. When I say to someone wicked, ‘You will positively die,’ and you do not actually warn him and speak in order to warn the wicked one from his wicked way to preserve him alive, he being wicked, in his error he will die, but his blood I shall ask back from your own hand.”—Ezek. 3:17, 18.
These last days are difficult to deal with. It is not easy to balance out family matters, secular activity, congregation activity, and preaching. In addition, many of you have to deal with sickness, depression, old age, and even opposition. Most of you are “loaded down.” We want to express our fellow feeling to you, in line with what Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you.” (Matt. 11:28) We want to commend warmly all of you who put forth the effort to keep serving Jehovah faithfully despite challenges large and small.
As a result of your zealous preaching and teaching activity and because of Jehovah’s blessing, worldwide 4,762 are baptized on average each week. During the past service year, 1,375 new congregations were formed. We hope and pray that the new book What Does the Bible Really Teach?, which is already available in over 120 languages, will help millions to benefit from the undeserved kindness and the peace from Jehovah during this “day of salvation.”
Be assured that the Governing Body loves you and that we pray for you. We also thank you for your prayers for us.
Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses