2/2/12 Rafael, about 45
At a park I met a man named Rafael who grew up Catholic, joined the Jehovah's Witnesses (JW), and has now dropped out of religious involvement altogether. He left the JW's because he couldn't live up to their legalistic standards. He now simply tries to live by the Golden Rule and hopes that he is doing enough in God's eyes. We talked a while and I ended up explaining why the JW's have such high legalistic standards. In a nutshell here I explained that the JW's believe that Jesus is a created being rather than God incarnate. As a created being of finite worth Jesus would not be able to bear the sins of the world or even our own sins for that matter because -being of infinite worth- God's justice demands an infinite penalty for our sin and rebellion against Himself, or a substitute of infinite worth. However, as God's only begotten Son, Jesus provides the perfect sacrifice - able to die in our place because He has never sinned Himself; and able to take upon Himself the sin of all who will put their trust in Him because He has infinite worth and value. The natural conclusion of a JW would be that, because they believe Jesus is only a created being, his sacrifice on the cross was incomplete and must be supplemented with good works - leading to a legalistic mindset that asks "what more do I have to do to be saved?". The Christian, on the other hand, is able to say "I'm saved! I want to do the most I can do express my love and gratitude toward my Savior!!"