To true Christians who would like to survive the end of the doomed old order, the apostle Peter makes that vital requirement clear in these words: “Hence, beloved ones, since you are awaiting these things, do your utmost to be found finally by him spotless and unblemished and in peace. Furthermore, consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul according to the wisdom given him also wrote you.” (2 Pet. 3:14, 15) How, then, can we be found in such an approved state?
“SPOTLESS AND UNBLEMISHED”
8, 9. (a) When is it a shame to be discovered with a spot on one’s person? (b) According to James 1:26, 27, how can one’s religion be spotted?
8 A spot visible on one’s person may spoil one’s personal appearance. If one got the spot while one was diligently engaged in a good work, it is not a disgraceful thing. Still, one would like to cleanse away the unsightly spot before presenting oneself to a clean-looking gathering of people. If, though, one gets the spot while engaged in a dishonorable work, then the spot in itself is to one’s discredit. It is a shame, a disqualification, to be discovered with it. There can be spots of the latter kind upon one’s religion, one’s form of worship. Is our religion or form of worship spotted in such a way? If it is, then it is not pleasing and acceptable to God. In proof of this fact, we read:
9 “If any man seems to himself to be a formal worshiper [or, to be religious] and yet does not bridle his tongue, but goes on deceiving his own heart, this man’s form of worship is futile. The form of worship [or, the religion] that is clean and undefiled from the standpoint of our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their tribulation, and to keep oneself without spot from the world.”—Jas. 1:26, 27.
10. Why could Christendom’s religion never be considered “clean and undefiled” from God’s standpoint?
10 Christendom, with her professed Christianity, is covered with spots from the world. In all the realm of religion, her record is the worst. She may boast of caring for orphans and widows in her orphanages and poorhouses, but this will not hide the glaring fact that she has made orphans and widows by the millions. Is it asked how? The answer is simple: It has been by crusades and wars that she has promoted, fomented and backed up with her blessing, her prayers, and her own manpower. Her meddling in worldly politics is notorious and is resented even by many politicians themselves. She has given herself over to unchristian worldliness and has become a financial parasite upon her church members. She has not bridled her tongue, but has taught all kinds of false, Babylonish doctrines, palming these off as Christian, and has spoken gross falsehoods about the true God and has brought terrible reproach upon his sacred name, and has lyingly accused his true worshipers. How, then, can her confusion of forms of worship be “clean and undefiled” from God’s standpoint? It could never be!
11. With whom do those desirous of practicing the “clean and undefiled” religion refuse to ally themselves, and what is God’s command for today on this score?
11 Persons who desire to be found “spotless” by Jehovah God when his day for executing judgment arrives cannot ally themselves with the professedly Christian section of religious Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion. For persons to become spotless in this regard, God’s command for today is: “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues. For her sins have massed together clear up to heaven, and God has called her acts of injustice to mind.” (Rev. 18:4, 5) Because of her hypocrisy in the name of God and his Christ, Christendom is the most reprehensible member of that international harlot, Babylon the Great. Let none of us remain spotted up from her and share in her sins before God!
20. How does a blemish compare with a spot on a person, and what about Jesus Christ in this regard?
20 Not only “spotless” but also “unblemished” is how we need to be found by Jehovah God finally at the arrival of His “day.” (2 Pet. 3:14) We know that a blemish is deeper than a spot. A spot is superficial and can be wiped off or cleansed away, but not so a blemish. This is a defect, a disfigurement that mars the physical perfection. It denotes that something on the inside is wrong, at fault. Jesus Christ was perfect through and through, and because of this he could offer himself as a ransom sacrifice for mankind, like an “unblemished and spotless lamb.”—1 Pet. 1:18, 19; Heb. 9:14.
21. In what respect do we seek to be unblemished before God, as encouraged in Philippians 2:14-16?
21 We descendants of the sinner Adam cannot, of course, have perfect human bodies, without a blemish of any kind. But what about our personality and heart motivation? Rightly, we take great pains to keep ourselves “without spot from the world,” but, at the same time, we seek to cultivate a Christlike personality with purity of heart. Far be it from us to have anything defective about our sincerity in imitating the Lord Jesus Christ. We do not care to be like an animal victim presented at God’s altar for sacrifice to God that is rejected by the temple priest because of its being “blemished.” With equal force to us today the words of the apostle Paul of nineteen centuries ago apply: “Keep doing all things free from murmurings and arguments, that you may come to be blameless and innocent, children of God without a blemish in among a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you are shining as illuminators in the world, keeping a tight grip on the word of life.”—Phil. 2:14-16.
22, 23. How will God keep the light as beamed out by his unblemished, innocent children on earth shining despite attack by the forces of darkness?
22 Is that not a grand goal to which to aspire, namely, to be “children of God without a blemish”? Due to our being such kind of children of His, he will find nothing of which to be ashamed or over which to express disapproval.
26. Advocates of the New Order will have to resist pressures in what direction, and why will Christlike love be of aid in that behalf?
26 Amid the worldwide breakdown of law and order among supporters of the old order, the advocates of God’s new order will have to resist the pressures toward world anarchy. They will have to hold together as a divinely organized people, maintaining true Christian unity. This will require them to be at peace with one another. With inspired foresight the apostle Peter has admonished us that, when Jehovah’s day for executing his judicial decision arrives with thieflike suddenness, we spotless and unblemished ones must also be found to be “in peace.” We have the means with which to preserve our peace with Jehovah God and with one another. For long we have been cultivating the Christlike love, which is the “perfect bond of union.” (Col. 3:14) Still, there is more than that one binding force.
27. What others kinds of oneness will not fail them during the dissolution caused by the “great tribulation”?
27 There is that force also, of which love is the prime fruit, and that is God’s holy spirit. So we must have the oneness of the spirit. Besides this, there are also the oneness of belief, the oneness of Christian activity in preaching and disciple-making, and the oneness with the one living and true God Jehovah through his Son Jesus Christ. These potent things make for harmony and peace within the organization of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses. These peacemaking things will not fail them during the approaching “great tribulation” that will melt down the worldly old order to a formless mass.
28. For peace to act as a uniting bond, what unifying things do we have, as noted in Ephesians 4:3-6?
28 All along, during this “time of the end” since the year 1914 C.E., the devoted advocates of Jehovah’s righteous new order have been applying themselves to what the apostle Paul exhorts us to do: “earnestly endeavoring to observe the oneness of the spirit in the uniting bond of peace. One body there is, and one spirit, even as you were called in the one hope to which you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all persons, who is over all and through all and in all.”—Eph. 4:3-6.
29. We are also one in awaiting what, and so what thing prescribed by Peter is there for us to keep doing?
29 Finally, we are one in awaiting shortly the dissolution of this moribund old order of things. What, then, shall we keep on doing until the thieflike arrival of the “presence of the day of Jehovah”? For us who desire to prove ourselves worthy of God’s new order, the apostle Peter under inspiration prescribes what to do: “Do your utmost to be found finally by him spotless and unblemished and in peace.”—2 Pet. 3:10-14.