Can Christians Change the World?

MOST professed Christians are convinced that Christ’s followers must try to change this old world, must try ‘to make it a fit place for Christ to come to.’ In all earnestness they feel that it is up to them to bring about the fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. To this end they try to bring God and Christ into worldly governments, seek to make wars less devastating and deadly or to eliminate them altogether, and endeavor to convert all the pagans to Christendom. Such are not at all dismayed at the magnitude of the task that lies before them but insist that theirs is a practical, realistic approach to overcoming present inequalities. They consider Jehovah’s witnesses, who refuse to take part in such efforts to change this old world, as defeatists, as quitters, and their activity as impractical and unrealistic.

But with Jehovah’s witnesses it is not a matter of quitting, it is not a case of defeatism. They never did try to change this old world, and so cannot be charged with quitting from that task. Nor are they defeatists, merely refusing to undertake it because of its magnitude. Jehovah’s servants are accustomed to assignments of great magnitude. What a task Noah undertook, to build an ark or chest large enough to accommodate eight persons and hundreds of animals for a whole year! What a job Moses essayed, to lead two million slaves out of Egypt and to the Promised Land! What an assignment the handful of Jesus’ followers were given, to make disciples of people of all nations and to have the good news of God’s kingdom preached in all the world! But to change this old world—Jehovah’s servants of today will not take on that task. Why not? Because, in the first place, nowhere in the Scriptures do they find such a commission given them. Importunity and persistency can help them to win only if their efforts are in line with God’s purposes. Only for a God-given assignment can they expect God to give them the needed wisdom, strength and protection to carry it out. Christians are not commanded to change the world, but merely to make disciples of people of all nations and to preach in all the world for the purpose of a witness.—Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20.

Secondly, Jehovah’s witnesses do not try to change this old world, because it is under the control of Satan the Devil. He is the god of this system of things and it lies in his power. They know they cannot change him nor can they oust him from that control. (2 Cor. 4:4; 1 John 5:19) To try to do so would be most unrealistic.

A third reason why Jehovah’s witnesses do not try to change this old world is that it cannot be reformed. It is honeycombed with corruption, even as was the world of Noah’s day. It is like an old moth-eaten garment upon which no new patch can hold. It loves pleasure more than God and can no more change its bad habits than an Ethiopian can change his skin or a leopard his spots. To endeavor to do so would be most impractical.—Matt. 9:16; Jer. 13:23.

Since this old world cannot be reformed God has doomed it to destruction, a fourth reason why Christians should not try to change it. Its heavens and earth are “stored up for fire and are being reserved to the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men.” “For Jehovah hath indignation against all the nations, and wrath against all their host.”—2 Pet. 3:7; Isa. 34:2. To try to reform or patch up this old system of things would be to presume that God’s judgments against it were not just, that we should cause him to change them. Such an attitude, although it may be as well meant as was Abraham’s effort to turn God from destroying Sodom and Gomorrah, will no more succeed than did his. That is why all lovers of righteousness who appreciate the gift of everlasting life are commanded to flee from this old world: “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues.” To stay with this old system of things is to condone its wickedness, and so deserve the destruction coming upon it. Such would be a most unrealistic course.—Rev. 18:4; Gen. 18:26-32.

Yes, what folly would it have been for Noah to interest himself in trying to change that antediluvian world instead of concentrating on building his boat while sounding God’s warning! Had he done that he would have perished in the Flood and we would not be here today! The same is true regarding Lot. Had he insisted on trying to get those Sodomites to turn from their wicked ways and delayed his flight he would have been “swept away in the iniquity of the city”! Jesus drew a parallel between the days of Noah and Lot and our day and stressed the need of urgency in separating ourselves from this old system of things.—Matt. 24:15-20; Luke 17:26-30.

Further, let it be noted that even if all the efforts of all well-meaning people of all nations were to succeed, bringing about honest government and peace between nations, such could not even begin to compare with that which God’s kingdom can and will bring. That kingdom not only assures eternal peace and the end of all oppression, but it will also bring about the end of pain, sorrow, sickness and death, will bring back loved ones from the tomb, and, above all, will succeed in uniting all those that live in the worship of the one true God, Jehovah. Surely all such is infinitely beyond the power and wisdom of men to realize by their own efforts!—Psalm 72; Isa. 11:9; Acts 24:15; Rev. 21:4.

What, then, is more practical and realistic than the message being brought to the people concerning this wonderful kingdom and the need of taking your stand with it before it is too late? Those who take their stand enjoy even now a foretaste of the blessings of that new world, for by becoming part of the New World society they associate with an organization of people that is free from selfish ambition and corruption, that knows no division because of race, color or language, and that obviously has God’s blessing upon it.

God has not commissioned Christians to change this old world, but merely to witness to it; we can no more change it than we can change the Devil, and because it cannot reform, God has doomed it to destruction. Our only safety lies in separating from its schemes and placing our hope in God’s new world of righteousness, which new world will be as far superior to anything that man can accomplish as the heavens are higher than the earth.


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