Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that:

  1. A Christian is not justified by faith in Christ alone [1]
  2. True faith is demonstrated by good works [2]

What does mainstream Christianity believe?

Q1. What is justification?

Answer: When we believe in Christ we are forgiven all sins – past, present and future. Even greater is the gift of justification: God legally declaring us righteous, our sins imputed to Christ and His righteousness imputed to us – this is the entry point of salvation. Christ’s redemptive work is entirely sufficient.

Additional info here and here

Acts 13:38-39 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed [ftn. Greek justified] from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.

Rom 4:25 [Christ] was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Rom 5:18-19 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

Rom 8:1-2 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

Phil 3:9 Be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith [“I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ – God’s righteousness” Message Bible]

Col 2:13-14,20-23 [You] God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. … If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations – “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings?

Heb 7:24 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost [ftn completely] those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

Heb 9:12 He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.

Heb 10:10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

(Also, Col 1:21-22; 1 Pet 2:24)

Q2. Is a Christian justified by faith alone or by faith plus works?

Answer: Scriptures exclude works in any form as a means of our salvation. We are made right with God by faith in Christ alone. It is entirely by God’s grace. Jesus plus nothing equals everything.

John 3:17-18 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life…. Whoever believes in him is not condemned … Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life

John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

John 6:28-29,40,47 “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent. … For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.… Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.”

Rom 1:15-16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith [not … ‘from faith to works’]

Rom 3:21-28 The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus … For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. [“God does not respond to what we do; we respond to what God does” – Message Bible]

Rom 4:4-5 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Rom 11:6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

Gal 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? [“For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God” Message Bible]

Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

“Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish!”

Message Bible

2 Tim 1:9 [God] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began

Titus 3:5-7 He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. [“It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit.” Message Bible]

Heb 4:10 Whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

(Also, John 20:31; Acts 10:43; 26:15,18; Rom 5:1; 7:6;8:1-2; Gal 2:16; 5:1; Phil 3:9; 1 John 1:7; 3:22-23; Rev 5:9; 7:14)

Q3. Do good works naturally follow true faith?

Answer: The Holy Spirit dwelling inside the saved Christian implants the desire and imparts the power to do God’s works

Eph 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

1 Cor 15:10 By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

Phil 2:12-13 Work out [not – work FOR] your own salvation with fear and trembling [Jer 33:9; Mark 5:33] for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. [See, Scripture Explainer]

1 Tim 1:14 The grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

Titus 2:11-12; 3:5-8 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age. … he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness … that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works.

James 2:17,26 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead…. for as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. [See Scripture Explainer]

(Also, Matt 7:21-23; Rom 10:1-4)


  • Christ’s redemptive work alone is fully sufficient for the justification of a believer. A Christian is justified by faith in Christ alone
  • Good works naturally follow true faith


  1. Watchtower 1985 Dec 1st p 7
  2. Watchtower 1985 Dec 1st p10

Article Credits:

Translate ยป