Christians love to hear the message that their sins are forgiven by Christ. It's our oxygen. We breathe it in. It is the fuel that powers Christian living. To know that all of my sins, past, present, and future, have been forgiven because of Christ's death in my place gives tremendous comfort to broken reeds and smoldering wicks.
The Watchtower's "gospel" does not bring comfort. In fact, it crushes. It leads to despair or pride those who swallow it. I was one of those who did swallow it for twenty years, and I have not got away unscathed. The Watchtower gospel is not good news, it's really bad news. The Gospel ends up being something you have to do.
Notice, the June 1, 1995 Watchtower, p 30, says, “Certainly we do not expect that in the present system Jesus would apply to us the full merit of his sacrifice. Even if he did, we would still not have everlasting life.”
Notice here that everlasting life is not at all dependent on the death of Christ in your place for your sins. How do these two sentences even logically follow? If Jesus death is applied to us and we don't have eternal life, then what in the world does it do?
The article continues to talk about the account with the paralyzed man to whom Jesus said, "your sins are forgiven you" (Luke 5), the article states, "What Jesus said did not mean that the man got eternal life on the spot. But the man was blessed with a degree of forgiveness.”. This is just silly. What good does a degree of forgiveness do? If Jesus only gives a degree of forgiveness, then there is still a degree that isn't forgiven. If there still is a degree of sins that remain unforgiven then God the just judge will have to execute justice upon them. A scary thought that! Also Jesus didn't say to the man, “some of your sins are forgiven you”, and he didn’t say, “some day your sins will be forgiven you.” He said, “Your sins are forgiven you.”
The article also teaches that:
1. Jesus does not apply to us the full merit of his sacrifice in the present system
2. Just a degree of our sins are forgiven in the present system
3. We do not get eternal life in the present system
Holy Scripture firmly says otherwise.
All of our sins are forgiven us through Christ.
1 John 1:9 - "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
Acts 13:38-39 ".. through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the Law of Moses.”
The basis for this forgiveness is the death of Christ.
Ephesians 1:7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace”
1 Peter 2:24 "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed."
Eternal life and forgiveness of sins is a present reality for all those who have turned to Christ in repentance and faith.
1 John 5:11-13. “This is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life...”
John 6:47 “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life."
John 5:24 "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”
I hope this is sufficient to demonstrate that the Watchtower is not teaching the Good News as Holy Scripture reveals it. They teach a legalistic righteousness that is based upon my performance. The death of Christ for them is just there to give you the opportunity to earn forgiveness and salvation by your deeds. That is not the Gospel.