How Much Knowledge Is Enough?
Chris: John, does your religion teach that you can know that you have everlasting life?
John: Yes, as a matter of fact, John 17:3 says, ďThis means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus ChristĒ.
Chris: Thatís certainly an important verse. Can I ask you, John, how much knowledge do you need to take in to be assured of eternal life?
John: Well, Chris, we really donít know. Iíve been a Jehovahís Witness now for 10 years. I go to meetings 3 times a week and I try to do my best at keeping up with the Watchtower and book readings. Sometimes itís hard with work and family obligations, but I do my best.
Chris: I guess what Iím getting at is, have you taken in enough knowledge by now to know that you are guaranteed of everlasting life?
John: Chris, no one can be guaranteed of eternal life. The organization teaches us to keep being faithful by going door to door and to serve as much as possible. In the end, if I am considered worthy by Jehovah, He will grant me life on a Paradise earth.
Chris: I see. John, can I read you John 17:3 in my bible?
John: Go ahead.
Chris: ďAnd this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.Ē
John: Same thing.
Chris: Not really, John. Your bible says that eternal life comes by taking in knowledge of God and Christ. My version says that eternal life is by knowing God and Jesus.
John: I donít really see the difference.
Chris: Let me give you an illustration. Do you like music, John?
John: Sure. Doesnít everybody?
Chris: Good. When I was a teenager, I really liked Elton John. I had most of his albums and saw him in concert several times. I even knew a lot of personal things about him such as where he grew up, what his real name is, and how he got started in the music business. What do you think he would do if I showed up at his house one day, knocked on his front door and asked him to let me in?
John: Well, I donít know exactly. You couldnít expect him to let you in. After all, he doesnít know you.
Chris: Exactly! And I really donít know him. I know a lot about him but donít have a personal relationship with him. It reminds me of what Jesus said in Matthew 7:22-23. ďMany will say to me in that day, ĎLord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in your name?í And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!Ē Thatís pretty heavy, John. These people went around doing good works and even miracles in Jesusí name, yet He wonít let them in because they didnít have a relationship with Him.
John: I see your point, Chris, but I have to trust my bible over yours. I think mine has the correct interpretation of John 17:3.
Chris: Have you ever looked that verse up in an interlinear to see how the Greek text renders it?
John: No, but I have one right here. Itís called The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures. Letís see. John 17:3 says, ďThis but is the everlasting life in order that they may be knowing you the only true God and whom you sent forth Jesus ChristĒ.
Chris: Did you see that, John? It doesnít say anything about taking in knowledge. It says that they may be knowing you. Again, knowing somebody is much more intimate than learning a bunch of stuff about them. Donít you think?
John: Well, yeah. But the organization does teach us to have a relationship with Jehovah.
Chris: But going door to door and reading Watchtower magazines will never bring you into a relationship with Jehovah. John, you may someday end up like the people who came to Jesus with all their good works only to hear Him say, ďDepart from me. I never knew you.Ē That would be tragic!
John: Well, Chris. If my field service and dedicated reading wonít make me worthy of Paradise, what will?
Chris: Thatís a good question. Letís talk about that next week.