Article

Judgment Has Begun in God’s Family

Aishen, America

   As long as we frequently come before the Lord and confess our sins through prayer, our sins will be forgiven and when the Lord returns, we will be able to enter the kingdom of heaven.” Afterward, I noticed, when I read the Bible, many parts where the word “judgment” is mentioned. For example: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1Pe 4:17). “Because he has appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he has ordained” (Act 17:31). At the time, I did not understand what judgment meant. So, I went to ask the preacher. The preacher told me, “When the Lord returns, He will do the work of judgment to determine man’s sins. Since Jesus is the sacrifice for our atonement, our sins will be forgiven and we will not be convicted. Furthermore, those who spend and toil for the Lord will receive crowns in accordance with their contributions. There will be large and small crowns….” I did not quite understand what the preacher told me. I felt that this “crown” idea was very similar to the idea that seniority must be given priority in the secular world. My heart could not accept it.

    Afterward, I found a secretary position working for a gospel organization. My boss was also a preacher and she naturally became one of my spiritual elders. She explained many spiritual perspectives to me. The one I remembered most clearly was: As a person, one not only must have wisdom, he must also be clever when it comes to the secular world. What she meant by wisdom referred to doing more work for the Lord. Since the results of people’s work are not the same, the crowns are also not the same. If the results of the work are big, the crown would also be big. She used her own experiences as an example. In order to spread the gospel, she suffered a lot and paid a great price. Locally, she had established a church and had guided many people into believing in the Lord. She has also been to many countries to spread the gospel and she had also been imprisoned for believing in the Lord. Each time she talked about these experiences, I thought back to the words, “The crowns will be given in accordance with the work.” Unconsciously, I felt that she was a person that the Lord liked. After all, she had done a lot of work for the Lord and she had suffered a lot. As a result, I started to worship her more and more.

    Just as I was passionately worshiping this preacher, I discovered that she had unexpectedly embezzled some funds from the church. This was not a small amount either. No wonder she would spend ostentatiously every day. She would frequently take her family to the restaurant to eat, pay for me to study theology with her own name and even bought a big house in the States with cash. Previously, I was very puzzled, “When her husband came to the States, he did not have a job. Her family was completely dependent on her financially. How did she have so much money?” I did not understand the inside story until I discovered that she had embezzled money from the church. I could not comprehend it. She was a preacher, yet she was able to openly violate the Lord’s teachings and steal His offerings. Could it be that she was not afraid of being punished? The Bible says: “For he comes, for he comes to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth” (Psm 96:13). God is righteous and trustworthy. What this preacher did had already violated the Lord’s demands. Could it be that when the Lord comes, He will not judge her? Externally, she looked perfect, but in reality, she was someone that did not have any reverence or fear for the Lord. Is this someone that truly believes in the Lord? Could it be that a Christian who has worked and suffered for the Lord will not be convicted regardless of how great a sin she commits? These successive problems made me want to understand just what judgment is all about. When the Lord returns, how will He judge people? However, in the end, I was unable to find the answer in the Bible.

    Due to this preacher, I came to know many Christian leaders. Through my interactions with them, I could see that a great many of them lived within sin and were unable to extricate themselves from it. They sinned during the day and asked for forgiveness at night. They brandished God’s name to collect money and afterward took it for themselves so that they and their families could live a lavish lifestyle. Some even had extramarital affairs which hollowed out their marriages. Some even had divorces…. Verbally, they claimed to obey the Lord’s way and that their priorities were God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness. However, in practice, they were the same as worldly people. They lusted after wealth, status and fame and they lived despicable, dirty and evil lives. I was disgusted with what they did and my heart was unable to approve of it.

    Afterward, full of hope, I went to a few other churches. However, the circumstances of these churches and the believers in these churches were pretty much the same as what I had seen in the past. I was very disappointed. In addition, I was unable to live out the Lord’s teachings. When interacting with my family members and friends, I always got angry and got into arguments with them over small matters. I would even judge others behind their backs. Basically, I was unable to put patience and acceptance into practice. I could see that I myself was living in sin and I had no way of extricating myself from it. I felt very perplexed and I frequently thought, “If we continue down this path of faith, this endless cycle of committing sins and then asking forgiveness for them, when the Lord comes to judge people, would we really be forgiven for our sins because of Jesus’ atonement and be able to enter the kingdom of heaven?” I felt this may not be possible since I remember that the Bible said, “You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Lev 11:45). “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb 12:14). If man is not pure and holy, he is not qualified to even see the Lord. Would the Lord let him into the kingdom of heaven? This is like believing one’s own lies! Nobody was able to answer my questions and it seemed that nobody was concerned about them either. Furthermore, since I was continuously committing sins and asking forgiveness for them, I felt ashamed to come before the Lord. Gradually, I no longer wanted to go to church.

    Just when I was feeling desperate, one day in February, 2017, I met a sister online. Listening to her talk about her acceptance of the Bible, I thought it was very pure. She communicated with a lot of light and I felt very happy that I had finally found a kindred spiritual sister. We talked endlessly. Sometimes, we would not even realize that we had talked for an entire afternoon. It never felt tiring. On the contrary, I enjoyed it very much because each time I listened to this sister communicate, I felt like I benefited a lot. One day, this sister told me that the Lord had already returned, He is expressing new words and doing His work of judgment beginning with God’s family, which fulfills Jesus’ following words: “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (Jhn 12:47-48). When I heard this news, I was both shocked and happy. Our Jesus, whom we have been expecting, has finally returned! In the past, when I was reading the Bible, I envied the disciples that followed Jesus because they were able to see the Lord face to face and listen to Him speak. What a blessed opportunity! I never thought that I myself would have the opportunity to welcome the returned Lord. Astonishingly, I also had some worries: The Lord has returned to do His work of judgment. How will the Lord judge people? How will the Lord judge me? I was very anxious and I wanted to know the answer to these questions.

    Thereupon, I spoke out these questions that I had. The sister read two passages of God’s words for me: “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). “The essence of God’s work of chastisement and judgment is to cleanse humanity, and it is for the day of final rest. Otherwise, the whole of humanity will not be able to follow their own kind or enter into rest. This work is humanity’s only path to enter into rest. Only God’s work of cleansing will cleanse humanity of their unrighteousness, and only His work of chastisement and judgment will bring to light those disobedient things among humanity, thereby separating those who can be saved from those who cannot, and those who will remain from those who will not” (“God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).

    After she finished reading God’s words, the sister said, “During the Age of Grace, the work of the Lord Jesus is that of redemption, not of absolving man of his sinful nature. That is why, even though we have been forgiven for our sins, our nature of committing sins still resides within and we are still capable of frequently expressing satanic corrupt disposition such as arrogance, conceitedness, crookedness, treachery, selfishness, greed, evil, etc. Due to the bindings and control of satanic nature, we frequently live in and are unable to escape from this endless cycle of committing sins and admitting to them.” The sister asked me, “If we live in sin all the time, would we be raptured into the kingdom of heaven?” I replied with certainty, “No.” The sister nodded her head and said, “Correct. Those that live in sin absolutely cannot enter the kingdom of heaven because God is pure and holy. Why would God allow people who are filled with satanic corrupt disposition and are not at all able to put the Lord’s words into practice to enter into the kingdom of heaven? If this were so, there is no way of letting people see God’s righteousness, purity and holiness, nor would Satan be convinced. Therefore, in the last days, God has done a stage of work of judgment through His words on the foundation of Jesus’ redemption work. He has expressed the truth of millions of words, revealed mysteries, exposed the truth and essence of mankind’s corruption and also pointed a practical path for man to walk, etc. The purpose of these truths is to cleanse and change man’s life disposition so that we can attain salvation, and perfection and so that we can be qualified to enter into God’s kingdom. Additionally, the purpose of God’s judgment work is not targeting any one specific person’s corruption. Instead, it targets the entire human race’s nature and essence of resisting God and betraying God in order to judge man. Through reading God’s words of judgment, we are able to understand the truth of how we have been corrupted by Satan and we can see clearly satanic poisons within us as well as satanic nature of contradicting and resisting God. This is similar to how externally, even though we are able to toil, work, cast away and spend for God, a part of the results of our work are immeasurably self-satisfied. We still lift up ourselves and bear witness to ourselves so that others will regard us highly and look up to us. When we have spent a bit for God, we try to enter into a deal with God because we want to obtain God’s grace, blessings, rewards and crowns. When we encounter unhappy situations or disasters, we start to complain to God, misunderstand God and during serious times, we are even able to betray God and leave God, etc. Within the judgment of God’s words and revealing of facts, we are finally able to have a true understanding and hatred of ourselves and thirst to no longer live in these corrupt dispositions that cause God to detest us. At the same time, we can see that God’s righteous disposition does not tolerate offense and God’s pure and holy essence does not tolerate tarnishes. We have corrupt dispositions and we should accept God’s judgment. From this, we should generate hearts that revere God. By experiencing many instances of this kind of judgment and chastisement, we gradually cast away the bindings of our satanic corrupt disposition. Our conscience and rationality is restored bit by bit and we can live out a bit of the likeness of a genuine human being. These are all results that can be obtained through God’s judgment work of the last days.”

    Listening to God’s words and the sister’s communications, my heart felt that everything suddenly became clear and I was benefiting immensely. I understood that in the last days God does His work of judgment by means of expressing the truth. He judges, cleanses and saves man with His words. At this time, I deeply felt that this work of God was truly practical and fantastic! Now, I finally understood. If we want to enter into the kingdom of heaven, just experiencing Jesus’ redemption and having one’s sins pardoned is not enough. We must also accept the work of judgment through His words that Jesus returned to do. Only then will we be cleansed and saved. This is the only path through which man can be saved and enter the kingdom of heaven. I could not help but think of the following verses from the Bible: “Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth” (Jhn 17:17). “Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1Pe 1:5). At that very moment, I felt all the confusion that I had carried up to that point was lifted off my shoulders and my heart felt crystal clear. I thought of what Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jhn 14:6). The truth can only come from God. Only God can express the truth. I believe that the judgment work that Almighty God has started doing begins with God’s family and that it is the work of God. Almighty God is the returned Lord. Consequently, I gladly accept Almighty God’s salvation of the last days.

    Afterward, I actively participated in gatherings and I eagerly read God’s words. One day, I read the following passage: “I decide the destination of each person not on the basis of age, seniority, amount of suffering, and least of all, the degree to which they invite pity, but according to whether they possess the truth. There is no other choice but this. You must realize that all those who do not follow the will of God will be punished. This is an immutable fact. Therefore, all those who are punished are so punished for the righteousness of God and as retribution for their numerous evil acts” (“You Ought to Prepare a Sufficiency of Good Deeds for Your Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “I will have no sense of pity for those of you who suffer for many years and work hard with nothing to show for it. On the contrary, I treat those who have not met My demands with punishment, not rewards, still less any sympathy. … I do not care how meritorious your hard work is, how impressive your qualifications, how closely you follow Me, how renowned you are, or how improved your attitude; so long as you have not done what I have demanded, you will never be able to win My praise. … for I cannot bring My enemies and people reeking of evil on the model of Satan into My kingdom, into the next age” (“Transgressions Will Take Man to Hell” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words helped me understand that God is fair to each and every person. God does not determine someone’s final destination based on their external spending. Instead, it is based on whether someone has the truth and whether they comply with God’s way. God is indeed very righteous! Only God Himself can reveal such a righteous disposition. After reading Almighty God’s words, I associated those words with something that Jesus once said: “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Mat 7:21). Before, I believed that those who toiled and worked for the Lord and those who paid a big price and suffered a lot, when the Lord returns to do His work of judgment, God would definitely treat them leniently. Now, I learned that this was completely my own notion and imagination. It is an erroneous way of accepting it and it basically is not in accordance with God’s intentions. Today, Almighty God has opened up His own work, His disposition and His intentions to us. This was when I understand the inner meaning of what Jesus said. This is truly God’s blessing!

    What made me even happier was, after I accepted Almighty God’s work for a period of time, I could see that God’s words of judgment and chastisement were indeed able to resolve my problem of committing sins. In the past, Jesus taught us that we must be tolerant and patient to others, however, I was unable to put this into practice. After reading Almighty God’s words and accepting God’s judgment and chastisement, I recognized that the reason I was unable to put these things into practice was because I was being controlled by my arrogant and conceited satanic nature. I realized that I was full of hubris, my gaze was always fixated on others and I always looked down upon others. Through God’s words of judgment and chastisement, I came to realize the truth of how I was corrupted by Satan. In fact, I was no different from anybody else. We were all crooked, treacherous, selfish, despicable and only out for profit. We had every kind of corrupt disposition. I was also someone who had been corrupted deeply by Satan and I had no humanity and rationality. The more I received God’s judgment, the more I could see that I was impoverished, pathetic and insignificant, and the more I saw that God was pure, holy, great and supreme. I no longer wanted to be so egotistical and look down upon others. When I interacted with those around me, I was able to treat them properly. In this way, I was not relying on practicing external self-control and patience. Instead, from my heart, I had more understanding, tolerance and forgiveness for others. I understand that actually, everybody is living within satanic corrupt disposition. We are all victims. It is Satan who has corrupted us. At the same time, I was a little more grateful toward God. It is Almighty God’s work of judgment that has brought us to the path of changing our disposition and the opportunity of attaining cleansing and salvation!

    Through experiencing Almighty God’s judgment and chastisement work, I can see that God’s work of saving man is very practical! In the past, when I believed in the Lord, I sought to become holy but I did not have a path. My sins became more and more serious. Aside from praying to the Lord and asking the Lord for forgiveness, in terms of our essence of committing sins, we were the same as those who do not believe in God. God has incarnated to do His work of judgment in order to resolve our essence of committing sins. This is the work that Jesus wants to do when He returns in the last days. It completely fulfills the prophecies in the Bible involving the Son of man doing the work of judgment in the last days. Even though it has not been a long time since I had accepted God’s work of the last days, however, through reading God’s words and experiencing God’s work, I feel that when I accept God’s words of judgment and chastisement, reflect upon myself based on God’s words, seek to understand God and put God’s words into practice, I am able to attain a change in my disposition. Seeking to the very end in this manner, one can definitely attain cleansing and salvation and be allowed by God to enter God’s kingdom. At this moment, it is as if I can already see the beautiful sight of life in the kingdom.

    Thank God! May all the glory belong to Almighty God!

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