I rushed down the stairs to the sound of a barking dog and our doorbell. When I opened it, two well-dressed young men stood in front of me. I greeted them with a warm, “Hi,” to which one of them asked in perfect English, “Do you know of any Spanish speaking families around here?”
“Next door there is a Spanish speaking family. Across the road there is an Indonesian family, then an Indian, then English, and I am Chinese. Do you want to see a picture of me on a cruise?”
They politely said they did, so I quickly opened my wallet and showed them a picture of Tom Cruise with the word “ME” on his forehead. They laughed.
“So what are you guys selling?”
“Are you Mormons?”
“Tell me this. I have a knife in my back. I have three minutes to live. My blood and life are draining from me. I know I’m dying. What are you going to say to me? How can I enter the kingdom?”
They looked at each other. Then back at me. There was dead silence. It was obvious that they didn’t know what to tell me.
“Come on, guys. I’m dying. I have three minutes!”
One of them said, “I don’t know. There’s lots you have to do.” The other one echoed, “Lots.”
Then the first said, “You have to learn. You have to gain knowledge…”
“What about the thief on the cross? What knowledge did he get? How could he learn anything? He couldn’t turn the pages of a book. He was nailed to a cross. He probably couldn’t read anyway. Yet Jesus said to him, ‘Today you will be with Me in Paradise.’”
“We have to go now.”
“Come on, guys. This is important. I want to know how to enter Jehovah’s kingdom. What are your names?”
“Do you consider yourselves to be good people?”
“Have you ever told a lie?”
“What does that make you?”
Javier said he had stolen and then became very quiet. Jonathan said that he had never stolen, blasphemed, or even looked at a woman with lust. Never.
“Are you gay?”
“No. The reason I haven’t done that is because I was born into the truth.”
I explained, “We have to face a perfect Law on the Day of Judgment, and nothing you and I do can save us. Only the blood of Jesus. He died for us. He took our punishment upon Himself, and now God can save us through His mercy. That’s why the thief was saved. He didn’t do anything to save himself because he couldn’t. Only God’s mercy and grace can save us. The Bible says, ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.’ ‘Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.’ Revelation 21:8 says that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire. That’s why you need Jesus Christ, to wash your sins away. The moment you repent and trust Him, God will forgive you and grant you everlasting life.”
“But we are doing what Jesus did.”
“Did He go door to door?”
“Yes. He went around preaching the gospel.”
“But the gospel you are preaching is different than the one He preached. The Bible says that there’s nothing you and I can do to merit Jehovah’s favor—to earn everlasting life. We are saved by God’s mercy. That’s how the thief on the cross could be saved. We are not saved by doing anything.”
“Does that mean I can believe in Jesus and then run around lying and stealing?”
“No. That’s hypocrisy, and no hypocrite will enter the kingdom. You have to repent and trust Jesus Christ alone for your salvation and not try and bribe Jehovah. I do good works and preach the gospel not to be forgiven. I do it because I am forgiven, and the difference is life and death, Heaven and Hell. Thanks, guys, for talking to me.”
No Arguments—Just Truth
There were no arguments about the deity of Christ because I made sure the conversation didn’t go in that direction. It’s important to remember that Jehovah’s Witnesses see Christians as misguided “Trinitarians” while they see themselves as protectors of Jehovah’s glory. So they are going to be incredibly stubborn about the issue of Jehovah sharing His glory with another.
When Peter said that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17). So, I believe that the best way for anyone to find out who Jesus is, is for God to reveal it to them. If I had started quoting Bible verses to make some point about Jesus being God—“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16, italics added) or “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1, italics added)—they would have started quoting back. Then they would have fallen back on the argument that they have the only true translation. Jehovah’s Witnesses also deny the existence of Heaven and Hell. They believe in annihilation, and that the kingdom of God will come to this earth and be set up for a thousand years. Christians can’t even agree on issues of prophecy, so I deliberately stay away from it.
“All religions have their roots in idolatry. They have a wrong understanding of the nature of God and His righteous requirements.”
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All I did was hold up the truth against error and leave the results in the hands of God. Charles Spurgeon said, “I have heard it said that if there is a crooked stick, and you want to show how crooked it is, you need not waste words in description. Place a straight one by the side of it, and the thing is done directly.”
The Root Issue
All religions have their roots in idolatry. They have a wrong understanding of the nature of God and His righteous requirements. When you look closely at their beliefs, it becomes evident they are made up of the fruitless branches of self-righteousness. They think that they can bribe God with their works. Like the Jews of whom Paul spoke—they go about to establish their own righteousness, being ignorant of the righteousness which is of God (see Romans 10:3). The Law puts the axe to the root. It reveals a perfect righteousness and kills hope of self-salvation. It shows the self-righteous person that the leap he is trying to make to Heaven is infinitely beyond his reach.
I had noticed that Javier had been nodding in agreement at what I was saying. When he asked for my name again, I looked directly at him and said that they could come back any time. We shook hands, and we left on good terms. I came away feeling really good because I had avoided doing what the Bible says not to do—argue:
But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:23-26)