By Tian Ying, China
After returning home, I kept thinking over the fellowship made by the sister, and I thought to myself: That little sister today was so loving, she really was nothing like what the pastor said she was. Also, what she was saying is all in the Bible. It really was ill-founded of me before when I believed that “to be saved once is to be saved forever.” I thought back on all the years I have believed in God and realized that I was constantly living in circumstances where I would commit sins and then confess them, but all along I couldn’t solve this, and I personally went through a lot of suffering. I felt that if I went on believing like this, in the end I could not attain God’s praise. After listening to the sister’s fellowship, I became even more certain that if people believing in the Lord want to attain salvation and enter into the kingdom of heaven, then they really do have to receive the work carried out in the Lord Jesus’ return that judges and cleanses man. So then, what really is Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days? How does Almighty God cleanse and change man? … As I was thinking these things over I was flipping through the Bible until I saw a passage where the Lord Jesus says: “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (Jhn 16:12–13). I also saw the Bible say: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1Pe 4:17). “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev 2:7). When I read this it felt like I had finally awoken from a dream: As it turns out the Lord Jesus had long ago prophesied that in the last days God would express more of the truth and carry out a new stage of work. Wouldn’t this be Almighty God coming to carry out the work of judging and cleansing man? Alas! If the pastor didn’t come in and disturb me today I would have been able to listen more carefully about the way of Almighty God. Before I had always listened to the words of pastors and elders, but I had never sought out and investigated Almighty God’s work in the last days, I just listened to whatever it was the pastors and elders talked about. It wasn’t until today that I recognized that I had no place for the Lord in my heart. In studying the Lord’s return, I didn’t seek the Lord’s will but listened to the words of the pastors and elders. I really was too stupid! Those of us who believe in the Lord should honor God as great, and we must actively seek out God’s footsteps with regard to the Lord’s return, only in this way will we be conforming to God’s will. Today I saw that the pastor’s actions simply do not conform to God’s will. I can no longer just blindly listen to what they have to say, I must seek out and investigate the way of Almighty God.
First thing in the morning of the following day, I decided to go to Sister Hu’s home and look for the sister who had spread the gospel of Almighty God so that we could continue fellowshiping. Who would have thought, before I had even gone out the door Sister Hu had brought the sister over to my house. This was truly guidance from the Lord. She first asked me with concern whether or not I had been disturbed by the pastor yesterday. I said very definitively: “No, after yesterday’s fellowship, I came back here and carefully thought over everything, and I realized that we really cannot be cleansed just by believing in the Lord Jesus, our corrupt nature will still exist, and with it we will not be able to attain God’s salvation. What’s more, I also read a passage in the Bible that really prophesied that the Lord will return to carry out His work of judgment in the last days. The thing that I want to now know about the most is: What really is the work of judgment that Almighty God is to carry out in the last days? How will Almighty God’s work of judgment both cleanse and change man?”
The sister said delightedly: “Thanks be to God! This question you have asked really is very crucial, for it has to do with the important topic of how our faith in God will really enable us to attain salvation and enter the kingdom of heaven. Let us first look at how this is said in the word of Almighty God. Almighty God says: ‘When God becomes flesh this time, His work is to express His disposition, primarily through chastisement and judgment. Using this as the foundation, He brings more truth to man, shows more ways of practice, and so achieves His objective of conquering man and saving man from his corrupt disposition. This is what lies behind the work of God in the Age of Kingdom’ (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘When it comes to the word “judgment,” you will think of the words that Jehovah spoke to all the places and the words of rebuke that Jesus spoke to the Pharisees. For all their severity, these words are not God’s judgment of man, only words spoken by God within different environments, that is, different settings; these words are unlike the words spoken by Christ as He judges man in the last days. In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, expose the essence of man, and dissect his words and deeds. These words comprise various truths, such as man’s duty, how man should obey God, how man should be loyal to God, how man ought to live out the normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and the disposition of God, and so on. These words are all directed at the essence of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, those words that expose how man spurns God are spoken in regard to how man is an embodiment of Satan and an enemy force against God. In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with just a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes it over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth that man does not possess at all. Only methods of this kind are deemed judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced into submission to God, and moreover gain true knowledge of God. What the work of judgment brings about is man’s understanding of the true face of God and the truth about his own rebelliousness. The work of judgment allows man to gain much understanding of the will of God, of the purpose of God’s work, and of the mysteries that are incomprehensible to him. It also allows man to recognize and know his corrupt substance and the roots of his corruption, as well as to discover the ugliness of man. These effects are all brought about by the work of judgment, for the substance of this work is actually the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life of God to all those who have faith in Him. This work is the work of judgment done by God’” (“Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
After reading the word of God, the sister kept fellowshiping: “Through the word of God we understand that Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days uses a lot of aspects of the truth to expose man and dissect man, and that this work of judgment is carried out using His righteous and majestic disposition that is intolerant of offense by man. God uses words to reveal the substance and truth about man’s corruption, and to judge our satanic nature that resists God and betrays God. Through experiencing the judgment and chastisement of God’s words various kinds of our corruption are cleansed, such as having plenty of conceptions and imagination about God’s work, or taking our own conceptions as the truth in our examination of God’s work, so that we judge God, condemn God and resist God as we wish; although we believe in God we really are no different from nonbelievers, we both pursue fame and fortune, willing to pay whatever price for it, but not a single person is living in order to satisfy God; we also look at a lot of things with viewpoints that are incompatible with God, such as our belief that so long as we believe in the Lord then we will be saved, and that when the Lord comes we will be raptured into the kingdom of heaven, when in fact God actually says that only by following the will of God will man be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. Through God’s judgment and chastisement, these corrupt dispositions, erroneous ways of thinking and Satan’s rules for living will be cleansed and transformed, and we will more truly obey God, and at the same time, through God’s judgment and chastisement, we will also come to recognize that God’s righteous disposition is intolerant of offense by man, we will know what kind of person God likes, what kind of person God despises and God’s will of saving man, we will have reverence for God, we will know how to pursue the truth and properly carry out our duties to attain God’s praise. Through experiencing and practicing God’s words we will understand more of the truth. For example: We will know what it means to have faith in God; we will know what it means to truly attain salvation; we will know what it means to obey God and love God; we will know what it means to follow God’s will. Our corrupt dispositions will all change to varying degrees, and our life views and values will also be transformed. This is the work of judgment and chastisement that God carries out among us, you could also call it God’s loving salvation. So, only by receiving judgment before the seat of Christ of the last days—Almighty God will we be able to receive the truth, only then will we be able to break away from sin and be cleansed and attain salvation. Sister, are you able to accept this fellowship?”
Through reading God’s words and through the sister’s fellowships, I came to understand God’s work and His will. I nodded my head, feeling deeply moved, and I said: “Thanks be to God, through listening to the word of Almighty God, I have come to understand that in the last days God uses the truth of His word to carry out the work of judging and cleansing man. My past pursuits were so vague, they were impractical, but now I understand that it is only through receiving God’s work of judgment and chastisement in the last days that man will be able to be cleansed by God and attain salvation so that he may enter into the kingdom of heaven. Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus! I am willing to accept Almighty God’s work in the last days, accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words so that my corrupt disposition may someday soon be changed.” As she listened to me say this, the sister smiled happily, and continuously gave her thanks to God.
Almighty God’s words freed me of the conceptions I had in my mind, and they showed me the way to throwing off my corrupt disposition and being cleansed. I feel that I have a clear path to go down in pursuit of attaining salvation, and my spirit feels bright and steady, as if it’s been liberated. As I looked outside through the window I felt that the sky on that day was especially clear and sunny. I plopped down on the ground and prayed to God: “Oh God, I give my thanks to You. In my lifetime, I am so honored to welcome Your return and witness Your appearance. This is my blessing! But I am blind and ignorant, for I believed the rumors that were spread by the pastors and elders, I held on to my conceptions and imagination, and I almost lost my eternal salvation! Oh God, I am so ignorant and numb! I am willing to repent, and I treasure this extremely rare opportunity to attain salvation. I am also willing to bring more brothers and sisters into Your presence so that they may attain salvation! Amen!”