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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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THE WATCHTOWER (STUDY EDITION) FEBRUARY 2017

The Ransom—A “Perfect Present” From the Father

The Ransom—A “Perfect Present” From the Father

“Every good gift and every perfect present is from . . . the Father.”JAS. 1:17.

SONGS: 20, 15

1. The ransom arrangement makes possible what blessings?

MANY are the blessings made possible by the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The ransom arrangement opens the door for all those of Adam’s children who love righteousness eventually to become part of God’s family. The ransom also makes it possible for us to have the opportunity to live forever in happiness. Still, Christ’s ransom does more than provide a blessed future for obedient mankind. Jesus’ willingness to die while upholding Jehovah’s righteousness addresses matters of universal importance.Heb. 1:8, 9.

2. (a) What matters of universal importance are found in Jesus’ prayer? (See opening image.) (b) What will we consider in this article?

2 Some two years before Jesus died and provided the ransom sacrifice, he taught his disciples to pray: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also on earth.” (Matt. 6:9, 10) To heighten our appreciation for the ransom,  let us consider how it relates to the sanctification of God’s name, the rule of God’s Kingdom, and the accomplishment of God’s purpose.

“LET YOUR NAME BE SANCTIFIED”

3. What does Jehovah’s name embrace, and how did Satan slander that sacred name?

3 Jesus mentioned the sanctification of God’s name as the first request in his model prayer. Jehovah’s name embraces the full scope of His excellence, majesty, and holiness. In another prayer, Jesus addressed Jehovah as “Holy Father.” (John 17:11) Since Jehovah is holy, all principles and laws that originate with him are holy. In spite of this, in the garden of Eden, Satan slyly questioned God’s right to set standards for humans. By lying about Jehovah, Satan slandered God’s sacred name.Gen. 3:1-5.

4. How did Jesus contribute to the sanctification of God’s name?

4 Jesus, on the other hand, truly loved the name of Jehovah. (John 17:25, 26) Jesus contributed to the sanctification of the divine name. (Read Psalm 40:8-10.) By his perfect life course on earth, Jesus proved that it is reasonable and righteous for Jehovah to set standards for his intelligent creatures. Even when Satan subjected Jesus to an agonizing death, Jesus remained completely loyal to his heavenly Father. By being loyal, Jesus proved that a perfect human could maintain perfect obedience to God’s righteous standards.

5. How can we share in sanctifying God’s name?

5 How can we show that we love Jehovah’s name? By our conduct. Jehovah requires that we be holy. (Read 1 Peter 1:15, 16.) This means that we worship only Jehovah and that we obey him with our whole heart. Even when we are persecuted, we do our best to live according to his righteous principles and laws. By performing righteous deeds, we let our light shine and thus bring glory to Jehovah’s name. (Matt. 5:14-16) As holy people, we prove by the way we live our lives that Jehovah’s laws are good and that Satan’s accusations are false. When we make mistakes, as we all do, we genuinely repent and turn away from practices that dishonor Jehovah.Ps. 79:9.

6. Why can Jehovah view us as righteous, even though we are imperfect?

6 On the basis of Christ’s sacrifice, Jehovah forgives the sins of those who exercise faith. He accepts as his worshippers those who dedicate themselves to him. Jehovah declares anointed Christians righteous as his sons and those of the “other sheep” righteous as his friends. (John 10:16; Rom. 5:1, 2; Jas. 2:21-25) So even now, the ransom enables us to have a righteous standing with our Father and to share in the sanctification of his name.

“LET YOUR KINGDOM COME”

7. What blessings under Kingdom rule does the ransom make possible?

7 In the model prayer, Jesus next petitioned God: “Let your Kingdom come.” How does the ransom relate to the Kingdom of God? The ransom makes possible the gathering of 144,000 to serve as kings and priests with Christ in heaven. (Rev. 5:9, 10; 14:1) Jesus and his  corulers, who together make up God’s Kingdom, will administer the benefits of the ransom to obedient mankind over a period of a thousand years. The earth will be transformed into a paradise, and all faithful humans will be lifted to perfection, fully uniting the heavenly and earthly parts of God’s family. (Rev. 5:13; 20:6) Jesus will crush the serpent’s head and erase from the universe all traces of Satan’s rebellion.Gen. 3:15.

8. (a) How did Jesus help his disciples to see the importance of God’s Kingdom? (b) How do we show our support for the Kingdom today?

8 While on earth, Jesus helped his disciples to see the importance of God’s Kingdom. Immediately after his baptism, Jesus proclaimed “the good news of the Kingdom of God” far and wide. (Luke 4:43) In his last words to his disciples before he returned to heaven, Jesus instructed them to be witnesses of him “to the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1:6-8) By means of the Kingdom-preaching work, people throughout the earth would have an opportunity to learn about the ransom and become subjects of God’s Kingdom. Today, we show our support for the Kingdom by assisting Christ’s brothers on earth in carrying out the commission to preach the good news of the Kingdom worldwide.Matt. 24:14; 25:40.

“LET YOUR WILL TAKE PLACE”

9. Why can we be confident that Jehovah will fulfill his purpose for mankind?

9 What did Jesus mean when he next said: “Let your will take place”? Jehovah is the Creator. Once he gives the word for something to happen, it is as good as done. (Isa. 55:11) He will not allow Satan’s rebellion to derail His purpose for mankind. From the beginning, it was Jehovah’s will for the earth to be filled with the perfect children of Adam and Eve. (Gen. 1:28) Had Adam and Eve died childless, God’s purpose to fill the earth with their offspring would have come to nothing. Thus, after Adam and Eve sinned, Jehovah allowed them to have children. Through the ransom, God gives all who exercise faith the opportunity to reach perfection and live forever. Jehovah loves people, and it is his will that obedient humans live the way he intended.

10. How does the ransom benefit humans who have died?

10 What about the billions of people who died without ever having an opportunity to know and serve Jehovah? The ransom makes possible the resurrection of the dead. Our loving heavenly Father will bring them back to life and give them an opportunity to learn about his purpose and to gain everlasting life. (Acts 24:15) Jehovah wants people to live, not die. As the Source of life, he becomes the Father of everyone who is resurrected. (Ps. 36:9) How appropriate, therefore, that Jesus taught us to pray: “Our Father in the heavens.” (Matt. 6:9) Jehovah has given Jesus an important share in resurrecting the dead. (John 6:40, 44) In Paradise, Jesus will fulfill his role as “the resurrection and the life.”John 11:25.

11. What is God’s will for the “great crowd”?

11 Jehovah’s generosity is not limited to a few privileged people, for Jesus said: “Whoever does the will of God, this one is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:35) It is God’s will that a  numberless “great crowd” from all nations and tribes and tongues become his worshippers. Those who exercise faith in Christ’s ransom and who do the will of God can be among those who shout: “Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.”Rev. 7:9, 10.

12. How is Jehovah’s purpose for obedient mankind reflected in the model prayer?

12 Jehovah’s purpose for obedient mankind is reflected in the petitions found in Jesus’ model prayer. In harmony with this prayer, we want to do our utmost to sanctify, or treat as holy, Jehovah’s name. (Isa. 8:13) Jesus’ own name means “Jehovah Is Salvation,” and our salvation by means of the ransom brings honor and glory to Jehovah’s name. God’s Kingdom will be used to apply the benefits of the ransom to obedient mankind. Indeed, the model prayer assures us that nothing can stop the will of God from taking place.Ps. 135:6; Isa. 46:9, 10.

SHOW YOUR GRATITUDE FOR THE RANSOM

13. What do we show by our baptism?

13 One important way in which we show gratitude for the ransom is by dedicating ourselves to Jehovah on the basis of our faith in the ransom and getting baptized. Our baptism shows that “we belong to Jehovah.” (Rom. 14:8) It represents our request to God for a good conscience. (1 Pet. 3:21) Jehovah responds to that request by applying the cleansing blood of Christ’s sacrifice to us. We are fully confident that he will give us all that he has promised.Rom. 8:32.

In what ways do we show our gratitude for the ransom? (See paragraphs 13, 14)

14. Why are we commanded to love our neighbor?

 14 What is yet another way to show our gratitude for the ransom? Since everything Jehovah does is influenced by love, it is his will that all his worshippers display love as their dominant quality. (1 John 4:8-11) We prove that we desire to be “sons of [our] Father who is in the heavens” by loving our neighbor. (Matt. 5:43-48) The command to love our neighbor is second only to the command to love Jehovah. (Matt. 22:37-40) One important way that we show such love for neighbor is by obeying the command to preach the good news of God’s Kingdom. As we show love for fellow humans, we reflect God’s glory. In fact, love for God is “made perfect in us” when we obey the command to love others, especially our brothers.1 John 4:12, 20.

THE RANSOM BRINGS “SEASONS OF REFRESHING” FROM JEHOVAH

15. (a) What blessings do we now receive from Jehovah? (b) What blessings await us?

15 The door to complete forgiveness opens to us when we exercise faith in the ransom. God’s Word assures us that our sins can be “blotted out.” (Read Acts 3:19-21.) As we considered earlier, on the basis of the ransom, Jehovah adopts his spirit-anointed servants as his children. (Rom. 8:15-17) As to those of us who are of the “other sheep,” it is as though Jehovah has drawn up an adoption certificate with our name on it. After we have reached perfection and have passed the final test, Jehovah will be delighted to sign the certificate, as it were, and adopt us as his beloved earthly children. (Rom. 8:20, 21; Rev. 20:7-9) Jehovah’s love for his precious children is everlasting. The benefits of the ransom last forever. (Heb. 9:12) This gift will never lose its value. No person or power can take it away from us.

16. How does the ransom enable us to be truly free?

16 There is nothing that the Devil can do to prevent all who genuinely repent from eventually becoming part of Jehovah’s family. Jesus came to earth and died “once for all time.” Thus the ransom has been paid permanently. (Heb. 9:24-26) It completely cancels the condemnation inherited from Adam. Thanks to Christ’s sacrifice, we are free from enslavement to this world under Satan’s control, and we no longer live in fear of death.Heb. 2:14, 15.

17. What does Jehovah’s love mean to you?

17 God’s promises are absolutely reliable. Just as his laws of creation never fail, Jehovah will never fail us. He does not change. (Mal. 3:6) Jehovah gives us far more than just the gift of life. He gives us his love. “We have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. God is love.” (1 John 4:16) The whole earth will be made a paradise of exquisite delight, and everyone on earth will reflect God’s love. May we join our voices with those of God’s faithful heavenly creatures in saying: “Let the praise and the glory and the wisdom and the thanksgiving and the honor and the power and the strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”Rev. 7:12.