(WDGR Lesson 9: “God’s Servants Must Be Clean”)
What did Jesus do for us when He died? Was His death merely a “ransom” sacrifice to release mankind from the “condemnation to death” due to Adam’s sin?1.
CINDY: Karen, are you home?
KAREN: Oh, yes, Cindy. Come on in. I’m working on getting grape juice stain out of my blouse. Seems like this is the toughest stain I’ve ever tried to get out of an outfit.
CINDY: That’s awful, Karen. I know how hard it is to get grape stain out of clothes. Just like we’ll be studying today in the Watchtower brochure What Does God Require of Us?, “God’s servants must be clean in all respects.” Why do you think we must “be clean in every way?”2.
KAREN: Well, Cindy, just as the Society notes in this brochure: “Jehovah God is clean and holy. He expects his worshipers to remain clean—spiritually, morally, mentally, and physically.…He sees everything we do, even in secret.”3. But I have a question. What must a person do in order to be clean in God’s eyes?
CINDY: Well, Karen, this brochure notes that “It takes real effort to stay clean in God’s eyes. We live in an unclean world. We also have a struggle against our own tendencies to do wrong. But we must not give up.”4.
KAREN: Cindy, what did Jesus Christ do for us when He died on the torture stake?
CINDY: Well, Karen, just as we studied the other day, when the first man Adam sinned by disobeying God’s command, he passed sin on to all of his children. Since the penalty of sin is death, Jesus sacrificed “his perfect human life to pay for Adam’s sin” so that “Adam’s children could thus be released from condemnation to death.” By exercising faith in Jehovah’s provision of the ransom sacrifice, we can have our sins forgiven and receive everlasting life.5.
KAREN: O.K., Cindy. So Jesus paid for Adam’s sin. What else did He do for us when he died?
CINDY: Well, by fulfilling the law of Moses that Jehovah gave to the Jews, the ransom sacrifice of Christ released us from the curse of the law of Moses, and set us free from idolatry and superstition of false religion.6.
KAREN: So Christ’s ransom sacrifice sets us free from the curse of the law of Moses, and pays the penalty of Adam’s sin. What else did Jesus do for us on the stake?
CINDY: What do you mean Karen?
KAREN: Cindy, would you read 1 Peter 2:24 in your Bible?
CINDY: “He himself bore our sins in his own body upon the stake, in order that we might be done with sins and live to righteousness.”7.
KAREN: What did Jesus bear in His own body on the tree?
CINDY: Well, it says he “bore our sins.”
KAREN: So He bore “our sins.” What sins are those? Our personal sins?…the times we lied, the times we stole, or thought unclean thoughts? And where did Jesus bear “our sins”?
CINDY: It says he bore our sins “in his own body.”
KAREN: What does the word “bore” mean?
CINDY: It means “to carry.”
KAREN: So Jesus carried our personal sins in His body. Let me draw this out for you, Cindy. This here is Jesus hanging on the tree, and these dots over here represent our personal sins—the times we lied, the times we stole, or thought unclean thoughts. Now the Bible says, Jesus “bore our sins in his own body.” So Jehovah literally transferred our personal sins over here to the body of Jesus, and He died carrying all of our personal sins in His body. Our sins… in Christ’s body. Have you ever seen this before?
CINDY: What! Karen? You mean our personal sins? The times we lied or thought bad thoughts? Oh, I don’t believe that! Jesus didn’t die for my personal sins. “Our sins” is just talking about our sinful tendencies due to Adam’s sin.
KAREN: Cindy, where do our personal sins come from? They come from Adamic sin, don’t they?
CINDY: Well, yes… but you’re adding the word “personal” here! Where does it say this is talking about our “personal sins”?
KAREN: What does the word “our” mean? “Our” is personal! Right?
CINDY: Well, yes.
KAREN: Cindy, would you read Ezekiel 18:4.
CINDY: “The soul that is sinning—it itself will die.”8.
KAREN: According to the Bible, what causes the soul to die?
CINDY: Sin. . .
KAREN: What sin? Adam’s sin, or our personal sins?
CINDY: Well, Karen, I guess it’s talking about our personal sins…“the soul that is sinning—it itself will die.” So our personal sins result in death, but what’s your point, Karen?
KAREN: My point is this, Cindy. Not only are you under the condemnation of death due to Adamic sin, but you are under an additional condemnation of death due to your own personal sins. Now you’re either going to have to pay for this, or you’re going to have to get someone else to pay for this. It’s just like when you get a traffic ticket. You go before the judge and the penalty is $50.00 or one day in jail. Now you can say to the judge, “Oh judge, please forgive me. I’ve been good. I’ve been doing the best I can and trying to obey all the laws.” But what is the judge going to say? “This must be paid or I cannot forgive you!”
KAREN: Now watch this. Let’s say I love you and I go before the judge and I pull out $50.00 and say “I’ll pay the penalty.” Now, the judge can turn to you and say, “Cindy you’re free to go.” Why? Because you’ve been good? No! But because the price has been paid. The judge cannot forgive you on the basis of mercy. He can only forgive you because justice has been paid. And that’s exactly what Christ did for you. It’s as if Jesus walked into Jehovah’s courtroom and said: “Father, I love Cindy very much. I know she deserves death and your wrath because of her personal sins. But Father, you know I haven’t done anything wrong, and I don’t deserve to die, but if you’ll take all of her personal sins—the times she lied, the times she stole or thought unclean thoughts—transfer them to my body, I’ll go down to that torture stake and pay in full everything Cindy has coming to her for her personal sins.” And you know, Cindy? That’s exactly what Jesus Christ did for you.
KAREN: So, Cindy, what caused the death of Jesus on the torture state? Was it the Jews? Was it the Romans? Or was it your personal sins?
Friends, just as Cindy discovered today, spiritual cleanness starts with the realization that Jesus paid the full penalty not only for Adam’s sin but for each of our personal sins. At Mark 2:10-11 Jesus said: “…in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—He said to the paralytic—I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.”9. Jehovah God has given Jesus the authority to forgive your personal sins. Why not come to Jesus today and ask Him to cleanse you of your personal sins? Jesus said: “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger.…All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”10.
1. The false Jehovah’s Witness belief that Christ died upon a torture stake instead of a cross is not discussed in this dialogue, because the focus is simply upon presenting the gospel. Since this false Jehovah’s Witness belief is not essential to salvation, it remain unchallenged in this dialogue between Karen and Cindy. Note: Most of the content of this dialogue was taken from an audio message entitled, A Few Effective Methods of Witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses, by Arnold Hoffman
2. What Does God Require of Us?, 1996, pp. 18-19
3. What Does God Require of Us?, p. 18:1, 3
4. What Does God Require of Us?, p. 18:1
5. What Does God Require of Us?, pp. 6-7
6. The Watchtower, June 1, 1992, p. 12
7. New World Translation
8. New World Translation
9. New American Standard Bible
10. John 6:35, 37, New American Standard Bible