Question 3: During church meetings, the pastor and elder frequently say that the Lord Jesus saying on the cross “It is finished” proves that the work of saving mankind was finished, that simply by believing in the Lord Jesus and confessing our sins before Him, we are forgiven of sin, and the Lord would no longer see us as sinners. We are justified by faith alone, saved by grace. The Lord will receive us into the kingdom of heaven when He returns, and will not possibly return to do further work of saving mankind. I feel that this understanding by the pastor and elder is not acceptable. Yet, ultimately what was the Lord Jesus referring to, when He said on the cross, “It is finished”? Why does God need to come back in the last days to express truth, and do the work of judging and purifying man?
Answer: When the Lord Jesus said on the cross “It is finished,” really what was He referring to? Did He mean that the work of redemption was finished, or did He mean that God’s work of fully saving mankind was finished? Could the people of the time really know? It can be said that no one knew. All the Lord Jesus said were the words: “It is finished.” He did not say that God’s work of saving mankind was finished. Humans cannot ever truly understand what the Lord Jesus referred to when He said, “It is finished.” Why would anyone dare to explain the words of the Lord according to his own ideas? Why dare arbitrarily to interpret this phrase “it is finished?” This is none other than randomly putting one’s own human ideas upon the words of the Lord Jesus. Consider this, everyone, if the Lord Jesus saying “It is finished,” indicates that God’s work of saving all mankind is thoroughly complete, then why did the Lord prophesy, saying, “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). How do you understand this? Also, as recorded in the Gospel of John, Chapter 12, Verses 47–48, the Lord Jesus said: “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.” The words of the Lord Jesus tell us clearly that the Lord will return to express truth and to do judgment work. There is also the Bible prophecy: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1Pe 4:17). According to what the pastor and elder say, if the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus completed all of the work of saving the human race, then how would the prophecy of the Lord Jesus, “However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth,” how would these words come true? Wouldn’t the Lord Jesus’ prophecy that He would return to express truth and do judgment work fall through? Therefore, what the pastor and elder say clearly does not tally with the Lord Jesus’ words, and does not tally with the reality of God’s work. We should all know that what the Lord Jesus did was the work of redeeming the human race. All we must do is accept the Lord Jesus, confess and repent before Him, and our sins will be pardoned. Then we are qualified to pray to the Lord, and can enjoy the grace that the Lord bestows. Regardless of the sin, we will no longer be condemned by law. This is the outcome of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption. This is the true meaning of the phrase “salvation by faith” that we often say. From the outcome achieved by the work of the Lord Jesus we see even greater verification that the Lord Jesus’ work was solely that of redemption. By no means was it the work of judging, purifying, and perfecting people of the last days. Though our belief in the Lord Jesus pardons our sins, and we no longer commit obvious sins, and behave quite well, yet we have not thoroughly separated ourselves from sin and become pure, and been fully saved, have we? Do we still frequently tell lies and commit sins? Do we still act greedily and have wicked thoughts? Do we still envy others, and hate others? Are our hearts full of arrogance and trickery? Do we still mimic worldly trends, cling to wealth, and covet glory? Some people, when caught or persecuted by the Chinese Communist government, even blame God. They even provide written statements in which they deny God, and betray God. Especially concerning the expression of truth and judgment work of Almighty God during the last days, people cast judgment upon and condemn God’s work based on their own notions and fancies. Isn’t this true? In our belief in the Lord, therefore, we gain only pardon of sins. But within us remains Satan’s nature and Satan’s disposition. This is the source of our sinning and resisting God. If our inner sinful nature is not resolved, then we will resist God, betray God, and consider God an enemy. Would you say that such a person is qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven? It should be clear by now that in saying “It is finished,” the Lord Jesus meant only that God’s work of redemption was complete. Most certainly, He was not saying that all of the work of saving the human race was complete. Almighty God incarnate of the last days came to express all truth, and to do the work of judgment starting from God’s house. This coming is to thoroughly make people pure, and to fully save them, to resolve the foundational problem of sin inside people, to allow people to be free from sin and attain purity, to achieve full salvation and enter God’s kingdom. let us read a few more passages of Almighty God’s words, so that all of us can understand more clearly.
Almighty God says: “A sinner such as you, who has just been redeemed, and has not been changed, or been perfected by God, can you be after God’s heart? For you, you who are still of your old self, it is true that you were saved by Jesus, and that you are not counted as a sinner because of the salvation of God, but this does not prove that you are not sinful, and are not impure. How can you be saintly if you have not been changed? Within, you are beset by impurity, selfish and mean, yet you still wish to descend with Jesus—you should be so lucky! You have missed a step in your belief in God: You have merely been redeemed, but you have not been changed. For you to be after God’s heart, God must personally do the work of changing and cleansing you; if you are only redeemed, you will be incapable of attaining sanctity. In this way you will be unqualified to share in the good blessings of God, for you have missed out a step in God’s work of managing man, which is the key step of changing and perfecting. You, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are therefore incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Concerning Appellations and Identity).
“You must know what kind of people I desire; those who are impure are not permitted to enter into the kingdom, those who are impure are not permitted to besmirch the holy ground. Though you may have done much work, and worked for many years, in the end if you are still deplorably filthy, then it will be intolerable to the law of Heaven that you wish to enter My kingdom! From the foundation of the world until today, never have I offered easy access to My kingdom to those who curry favor with Me. This is a heavenly rule, and no one can break it!” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks).
“Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering; He did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to become the sin offering and bear the sins of man, but it also required God to do even greater work to rid man completely of his satanically corrupted disposition. And so, now that man has been forgiven of his sins, God has returned to the flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment. This work has brought man into a higher realm. All those who submit under His dominion shall enjoy higher truth and receive greater blessings. They shall truly live in the light, and they shall gain the truth, the way, and the life” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Preface).
“Before man was redeemed, many of Satan’s poisons had already been planted within him and, after thousands of years of being corrupted by Satan, he has within him an established nature that resists God. Therefore, when man has been redeemed, it is nothing more than a case of redemption in which man is bought at a high price, but the poisonous nature within him has not been eliminated. Man that is so defiled must undergo a change before becoming worthy to serve God. By means of this work of judgment and chastisement, man will fully come to know the filthy and corrupt essence within his own self, and he will be able to change completely and become clean. Only in this way can man become worthy to return before the throne of God. All the work done this day is so that man can be made clean and be changed; through judgment and chastisement by the word, as well as through refinement, man can purge away his corruption and be made pure. Rather than deeming this stage of work to be that of salvation, it would be more apt to say it is the work of purification” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)).
“The work of the last days is to separate all according to their kind, and to conclude the management plan of God, for the time is near and the day of God has come. God brings all who enter His kingdom—all who are loyal to Him to the very end—into the age of God Himself. Yet prior to the arrival of the age of God Himself, God’s work is not to observe the deeds of man, or to inquire into the life of man, but to judge man’s disobedience, for God shall purify all those who come before His throne. All who have followed the footsteps of God to this day are those who come before the throne of God, and this being so, every single person who accepts God’s work in its final phase is the object of God’s purification. In other words, everyone who accepts God’s work in its final phase is the object of God’s judgment” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth).
“The last days have already arrived. All things in creation will be separated according to their kind, and divided into different categories based on their nature. This is the moment when God reveals humanity’s outcome and their destination. If people do not undergo chastisement and judgment, then there will be no way of exposing their disobedience and unrighteousness. Only through chastisement and judgment can the outcome of all creation be revealed. Man only shows his true colors when he is chastised and judged. Evil shall be put with evil, good with good, and all humanity shall be separated according to their kind. Through chastisement and judgment, the outcome of all creation will be revealed, so that the evil may be punished and the good rewarded, and all people become subject to the dominion of God. All this work must be achieved through righteous chastisement and judgment. Because man’s corruption has reached its peak and his disobedience become exceedingly severe, only God’s righteous disposition, one that is principally compounded of chastisement and judgment and is revealed during the last days, can fully transform and complete man. Only this disposition can expose evil and thus severely punish all the unrighteous” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Vision of God’s Work (3)).
“The essential purpose of God’s work of chastisement and judgment is to purify humanity and to prepare them for their ultimate rest; without such cleansing, none of humanity could be classified into different categories according to kind, or enter into rest. This work is humanity’s only path to enter into rest. Only God’s work of purification will cleanse humans of their unrighteousness, and only His work of chastisement and judgment will bring to light those disobedient elements of humanity, thereby separating those who can be saved from those who cannot, and those who will remain from those who will not. When this work ends, those people who are allowed to remain will all be cleansed and enter a higher state of humanity in which they will enjoy a more wonderful second human life upon the earth; in other words, they will commence their human day of rest, and coexist with God. After those who are not allowed to remain have been chastised and judged, their true colors will be entirely exposed, after which they will all be destroyed and, like Satan, will no longer be permitted to survive upon the earth. The humanity of the future will no longer include any of this type of people; such people are not fit to enter the land of the ultimate rest, nor are they fit to join in the day of rest that God and humanity will share, for they are the targets of punishment and are wicked, unrighteous people. … The entire purpose behind God’s ultimate work of punishing evil and rewarding good is to thoroughly purify all humans so that He may bring a purely holy humanity into eternal rest. This stage of His work is the most crucial; it is the final stage of the whole of His work of management” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together).
Almighty God speaks very clearly about the significance and outcome achieved of God’s judgment work during the last days. This allows us to be certain that God’s judgment work during the last days is the work that thoroughly purifies and saves the human race. The redemption work that the Lord Jesus did paves the way for God’s judgment work of the last days. Almighty God does the work of judgment and purification upon the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ redemption work, thoroughly saving the human race from sin and bringing them into God’s kingdom. Isn’t God working in this way very practical? If we accept only the redemption work of the Lord Jesus, and don’t accept God’s judgment and purification work of the last days, how could we be qualified to enter God’s kingdom? It appears that belief in God requires us to understand the work of God. This is ever so important! Yet many religious people hold the belief of salvation through faith alone. They believe that belief in the Lord brings pardon of sins, solving all problems, believing the merciful and loving Lord pardons any sin a person could commit. He will lift them all into the kingdom of heaven when He comes. They therefore refuse to accept the last days’ judgment work of Almighty God. What problem is this? Does this kind of person understand God’s work? Do they understand God’s righteous disposition? Would you say that God could permit a satanic category of person who rebels against Him and resists Him to enter into His kingdom? Right! He would not! What result would the entry of this kind of person into God’s kingdom bring about? Let us consider an example. If the Israelites who believed in Jehovah God were brought into the kingdom of God, what do you think would happen? They could not even accept God incarnate, the Lord Jesus, and they also did their utmost to condemn the Lord Jesus, and nailed the Lord Jesus to the cross. This satanic category that insanely resists God in this way, if they were to enter into the kingdom of God, would they continue to resist God? Would they revolt? Would they attempt to usurp the Lord’s power? Why did the Lord Jesus not go into the synagogue to preach? It is because the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees of the Jewish faith were so evil. They were capable of anything. We all know that after the Lord Jesus was caught by them, He was beaten, taunted, and spat upon. He was even turned over to the Roman government to be crucified. The Lord Jesus already knew that they were the ilk of serpent so He did not go into the synagogue to preach. In the last days the Lord Jesus has returned. Why does He not go into the churches to preach? It is because the leaders in the churches are all so fiendish. Were the incarnate Almighty God to go into the churches, they would surely call the police. They would surely hand Almighty God over to the CCP government. Is this not the truth? Now do we dare to go into the churches to openly bear witness for Almighty God? If you bore witness for Almighty God to them, they would certainly besiege you and dishonor you, and even turn you over to Public Security Bureau. For these reasons, the church of today is the same as the synagogues of the Jewish religion were. They are all places that drive away God, resist God, and condemn God. Is this the way it is? This goes to show the extent to which the human race is corrupt. They are fed up with truth, and abhor truth. They all reject the arrival of God, and they all have become Satan’s kind and oppose God. If God had not been incarnated during the last days to express truth, to judge people, and purify people, the human race would have been destroyed by God because they resisted God.
—The movie script of Stay Out of My Business