1. The differences between the way of repentance in the Age of Grace and the way of eternal life in the last days
Relevant Words of God:
The gospel of repentance was preached in the Age of Grace, and provided that man believed, then he would be saved. Today, in place of salvation, there is only talk of conquest and perfection. Never is it said that if one person believes, their whole family will be blessed, or that once saved always saved. Today, no one speaks these words, and such things are outdated. At the time, Jesus’ work was the work to redeem all mankind. The sins of all who believed in Him were forgiven; as long as you believed in Him, He would redeem you; if you believed in Him, you were no longer of sin, you were relieved of your sins. This is what it meant to be saved, and to be justified by faith. Yet in those who believed, there remained that which was rebellious and opposed God, and which still had to be slowly removed. Salvation did not mean man had been completely gained by Jesus, but that man was no longer of sin, that he had been forgiven his sins. Provided you believed, you would never more be of sin. At the time, Jesus did much work that was incomprehensible to His disciples and said much that people did not understand. This is because, at the time, He did not give any explanation. Thus, several years after He departed, Matthew created a genealogy for Jesus, and others also did much work that was of the will of man. Jesus did not come to perfect and gain man, but to do one stage of work: bringing forth the gospel of the kingdom of heaven and completing the work of the crucifixion. And so, once Jesus was crucified, His work came to a complete end. But in the current stage—the work of conquest—more words must be spoken, more work must be done, and there must be many processes. So too must the mysteries of the work of Jesus and Jehovah be revealed, so that all people may have understanding and clarity in their belief, for this is the work of the last days, and the last days are the end of God’s work, the time of the work’s conclusion. This stage of work will elucidate for you the law of Jehovah and the redemption of Jesus, and is principally so that you may understand the entire work of God’s six-thousand-year management plan, and appreciate all the significance and essence of this six-thousand-year management plan, and understand the purpose of all the work done by Jesus and the words He spoke, and even your blind credence in and adoration of the Bible. All this it will allow you to understand thoroughly. You will come to understand both the work done by Jesus, and the work of God today; you will understand and behold all of the truth, the life, and the way. In the stage of work done by Jesus, why did Jesus depart without doing the concluding work? Because the stage of Jesus’ work was not the work of conclusion. When He was nailed to the cross, His words also came to an end; after His crucifixion, His work completely finished. The current stage is different: Only after the words are spoken to the end and God’s entire work is concluded will His work have finished. During Jesus’ stage of work, there were many words that remained unsaid, or which were not fully articulated. Yet Jesus cared not what He did or did not say, for His ministry was not a ministry of words, and so after He was nailed to the cross, He departed. That stage of work was chiefly for the sake of the crucifixion, and is unlike the current stage. This current stage of work is principally for the sake of completion, of clearing up, and of bringing all work to a conclusion. If the words are not spoken to their very end, there will be no way of concluding this work, for in this stage of work all work is brought to an end and accomplished using words. At the time, Jesus did much work that was incomprehensible to man. He departed quietly, and today there are still many who do not understand His words, whose understanding is erroneous yet still they believe it to be correct, and do not know that they are wrong. The final stage will bring God’s work to a complete end and will provide its conclusion. All will come to understand and know of God’s management plan. The notions within man, his intentions, his erroneous and absurd understanding, his notions about the work of Jehovah and Jesus, his views about the Gentiles, and his other deviations and errors will be corrected. And man will understand all the right paths of life, and all the work done by God, and the entire truth. When that happens, this stage of work will come to an end.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Vision of God’s Work (2)
Though Jesus in His incarnation was utterly without emotion, He always comforted His disciples, provided for them, helped them, and supported them. However much work He did, or however much suffering He endured, He never made excessive demands of people, but was always patient and forbearing of their sins, such that the people of the Age of Grace affectionately called Him “the lovable Savior Jesus.” To the people of that time—to all people—what Jesus had and was, was mercy and lovingkindness. He never remembered people’s transgressions, and His treatment of them was never based on their transgressions. Because that was a different age, He often bestowed plentiful food upon people so that they could eat their fill. He treated all His followers with grace, healing the sick, driving out demons, raising the dead. In order that people might believe in Him and see that all that He did was done earnestly and sincerely, He went so far as to resurrect a rotting corpse, showing them that in His hands even the dead could come back to life. In this way He endured silently and carried out His work of redemption among them. Even before He was nailed to the cross, Jesus had already taken upon Himself the sins of humanity and become a sin offering for mankind. Even before being crucified, He had opened the way to the cross in order to redeem mankind. Ultimately, He was nailed to the cross, sacrificing Himself for the sake of the cross, and He bestowed all of His mercy, lovingkindness, and holiness upon mankind. Toward humanity, He was always tolerant, never vengeful, forgiving them their sins, exhorting them to repent, and teaching them to have patience, forbearance, and love, to follow in His footsteps and sacrifice themselves for the sake of the cross. His love for the brothers and sisters exceeded His love for Mary. The work that He did took as its principle healing the sick and driving out demons, all for the sake of His redemption.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The True Story Behind the Work of the Age of Redemption
At the time, Jesus only gave His disciples a series of sermons in the Age of Grace on such subjects as how to practice, how to gather together, how to supplicate in prayer, how to treat others, and so forth. The work He carried out was that of the Age of Grace, and He expounded only on how the disciples and those who followed Him ought to practice. He only did the work of the Age of Grace, and none of the work of the last days. When Jehovah set down the Old Testament law in the Age of Law, why did He not then do the work of the Age of Grace? Why did He not make clear in advance the work of the Age of Grace? Would this not have helped man to accept it? He only prophesied that a male infant would be born and come to power, but He did not carry out in advance the work of the Age of Grace. The work of God in each age has clear boundaries; He does only the work of the current age, and never carries out the next stage of work in advance. Only thus can His representative work of each age be brought to the fore. Jesus spoke only of the signs of the last days, of how to be patient and how to be saved, of how to repent and confess, and of how to bear the cross and endure suffering; never did He speak of how man in the last days should achieve entry, nor of how he should seek to satisfy God’s will. As such, is it not ridiculous to search the Bible for God’s work of the last days? What can you see by merely clutching the Bible? Be it an expositor of the Bible or a preacher, who could have seen the work of today in advance?
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. How Can Man Who Has Delimited God in His Notions Receive the Revelations of God?
The words spoken by God in this age are different from those spoken during the Age of Law, and so, too, do they differ from the words spoken during the Age of Grace. In the Age of Grace, God did not do the work of the word, but simply described the crucifixion in order to redeem all mankind. The Bible only describes why Jesus was to be crucified, and the suffering He was subjected to on the cross, and how man should be crucified for God. During that age, all the work done by God was centered around the crucifixion. During the Age of Kingdom, God incarnate speaks words to conquer all those who believe in Him. This is “the Word appearing in the flesh”; God has come during the last days to do this work, which is to say, He has come to accomplish the actual significance of the Word appearing in the flesh. He only speaks words, and rarely is there the advent of facts. This is the very essence of the Word appearing in the flesh, and when God incarnate speaks His words, this is the appearance of the Word in the flesh, and is the Word coming into the flesh. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and the Word became flesh.” This (the work of the appearance of the Word in the flesh) is the work that God will accomplish in the last days, and is the final chapter of His entire management plan, and so God has to come to earth and manifest His words in the flesh. That which is done today, that which will be done in the future, that which will be accomplished by God, man’s final destination, those who will be saved, those who will be destroyed, and so on—all of this work that should be achieved in the end has all been clearly stated, and is all in order to accomplish the actual significance of the Word appearing in the flesh. The administrative decrees and constitution that were previously issued forth, those who will be destroyed, those who will enter into rest—these words must all be fulfilled. This is the work principally accomplished by God incarnate during the last days. He makes people understand where those predestined by God belong and where those not predestined by God belong, how His people and sons will be classified, what will happen to Israel, what will happen to Egypt—in the future, every one of these words will be accomplished. The pace of God’s work is accelerating. God uses the word as the means to reveal to man what is to be done in every age, what is to be done by God incarnate during the last days, and His ministry that is to be performed, and these words are all in order to accomplish the actual significance of the Word appearing in the flesh.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. All Is Achieved by the Word of God
The work in the last days lays bare the work of Jehovah and Jesus and all mysteries not understood by man, so as to reveal the destination and the end of mankind and end all the work of salvation among mankind. This stage of work in the last days brings everything to a close. All mysteries not understood by man need to be unraveled to allow man to plumb them to their depths and have a completely clear understanding in his heart. Only then can the human race be classed according to kind. Only after the six-thousand-year management plan is completed will man come to understand the disposition of God in its entirety, for His management will then have come to an end. Now that you have experienced the work of God in the final age, what is the disposition of God? Do you dare say that God is the God who merely speaks words and no more? You would not dare render such a conclusion. Some would say that God is the God who unveils mysteries, that God is the Lamb and the One who breaks the seven seals. But no one dares to render such a conclusion. Others might say that God is the incarnate flesh, but this would still not be correct. Still others might say that God incarnate only speaks words and does not work signs and wonders, but you would dare even less to speak in this way, for Jesus became flesh and worked signs and wonders, so you would not dare to define God so lightly. All of the work done throughout the six-thousand-year management plan has only now come to a close. Only after all of this work has been revealed to man and carried out in the midst of mankind will humanity know all of God’s disposition and what He has and is. When the work of this stage has been fully completed, all mysteries not understood by man shall have been revealed, all truths previously not understood shall have been made clear, and the human race shall have been told of their future path and destination. This is the whole of the work that is to be done in the present stage. Even though the path that man walks today is also the path of the cross and the path of suffering, what man practices, and what he eats, drinks and enjoys today are greatly different from that which fell to man under the law and in the Age of Grace. What is asked of man this day is unlike that in the past and even more unlike that asked of man in the Age of Law. Now, what was asked of man under the law when God was doing His work in Israel? It was no more than that man should keep the Sabbath and the laws of Jehovah. No one was to labor on the Sabbath or transgress the laws of Jehovah. But it is not so now. On the Sabbath, man works, gathers, and prays as usual, and no restrictions are imposed on him. Those in the Age of Grace had to be baptized, and they were further asked to fast, break bread, drink wine, cover their heads and wash the feet of others for them. Now, these rules have been abolished, but greater demands are made of man, for the work of God grows ever deeper and the entry of man reaches ever higher. In the past, Jesus laid His hands upon man and prayed, but now that everything has been said, what is the use of the laying on of hands? Words alone can achieve results. When He laid His hands upon man in the past, it was to bless man and also to heal him of his diseases. This was how the Holy Spirit worked at that time, but it is not so now. Now the Holy Spirit uses words in order to work and achieve results. His words have been made clear to you, and you should put them into practice just as you have been told. His words are His will; they are the work He wishes to do. Through His words, you will understand His will and that which He asks you to attain, and you may just put His words into practice directly without any need for the laying on of hands. Some may say, “Lay Your hands upon me! Lay Your hands upon me that I may receive Your blessing and that I may partake of You.” All these are outdated practices from the past, now obsolete, for the age has changed. The Holy Spirit works in accordance with the age, neither at random nor in conformity to set rules. The age has changed, and a new age necessarily brings with it new work. This is true of every stage of work, and so His work is never repeated. In the Age of Grace, Jesus did a fair amount of that kind of work, such as healing sickness, casting out demons, laying His hands upon man to pray for him, and blessing man. However, to do so again would be meaningless in the present day. The Holy Spirit worked in that way at the time, for it was the Age of Grace, and there was sufficient grace for man to enjoy. No payment of any kind was asked of him, and so long as he had faith, he would receive grace. All were treated very graciously. Now the age has changed, and the work of God has progressed further; it is through chastisement and judgment that the rebelliousness of man and the unclean things within man will be purged away. That stage being the stage of redemption, it behooved God to work in that way, showing enough grace for man to enjoy, so that man might be redeemed from sin and, by means of grace, be forgiven his sins. This present stage is to expose the unrighteousness within man by means of chastisement, judgment, the smiting of words, as well as the discipline and revelation of words, so that humanity may afterward be saved. This is work more in-depth than redemption. The grace in the Age of Grace was sufficient for man’s enjoyment; now that man has already experienced this grace, he is no longer to enjoy it. This work is now past its time and is no longer to be done. Now man is to be saved through the judgment of the word. After man is judged, chastised, and refined, his disposition is thereby changed. Is this not all because of the words I have spoken? Each stage of work is done in line with the progress of the whole human race and with the age. The work is all significant, and it is all done for the sake of the final salvation, that mankind may have a good destination in the future, and that humanity may be classed according to kind in the end.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)
Christ of the last days uses a variety of truths to teach man, to expose the substance of man, and to dissect the words and deeds of man. 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 normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and the disposition of God, and so on. These words are all directed at the substance of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, the 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 a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes over the long term. All these different methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth of which man is utterly bereft. Only methods such as these can be called judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced about 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 essence 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 essence 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.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth
In this final stage of work, results are achieved through the agency of the word. Through the word, man comes to understand many mysteries and the work that God has done through generations past; through the word, man is enlightened by the Holy Spirit; through the word, man comes to understand the mysteries never before unraveled by past generations, as well as the work of prophets and apostles of times past, and the principles by which they worked; through the word, man also comes to understand the disposition of God Himself, as well as the rebelliousness and resistance of man, and he comes to know his own essence. Through these steps of work and through all the words spoken, man comes to know the work of the Spirit, the work God’s incarnate flesh does, and even more, His entire disposition. Your knowledge of God’s work of management over six thousand years was also gained through the word. Was not the knowledge of your former notions and your success in putting them aside also attained through the word? In the previous stage, Jesus worked signs and wonders, but there are no signs and wonders in this stage. Was not your understanding of why God does not reveal signs and wonders also achieved through the word? Therefore, the words spoken in this stage surpass the work done by the apostles and prophets of generations past. Even the prophecies told by the prophets could not have achieved this result. The prophets spoke only prophecies, they spoke of what would happen in the future, but not of the work God wished to do at the time. Nor did they speak to guide mankind in their lives, or to bestow truths upon mankind, or to reveal mysteries to them, much less to bestow life. Of the words spoken in this stage, there is prophecy and truth, but mainly these words serve to bestow life upon man.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)
Christ of the last days brings life, and brings the enduring and everlasting way of truth. This truth is the path by which man gains life, and it is the only path by which man shall know God and be approved by God. If you do not seek the way of life provided by Christ of the last days, then you shall never gain the approval of Jesus, and shall never be qualified to enter the gate of the kingdom of heaven, for you are both a puppet and prisoner of history. Those who are controlled by regulations, by letters, and shackled by history will never be able to gain life nor gain the perpetual way of life. This is because all they have is turbid water which has been clung to for thousands of years instead of the water of life that flows from the throne. Those who are not supplied with the water of life will forever remain corpses, playthings of Satan, and sons of hell. How, then, can they behold God? If you only try to hold on to the past, only try to keep things as they are by standing still, and do not try to change the status quo and discard history, then will you not always be against God? The steps of God’s work are vast and mighty, like surging waves and rolling thunders—yet you sit passively awaiting destruction, clinging to your folly and doing nothing. In this way, how can you be considered someone who follows the footsteps of the Lamb? How can you justify the God that you hold on to as a God who is always new and never old? And how can the words of your yellowed books carry you across into a new age? How can they lead you to seek the steps of God’s work? And how can they take you up to heaven? What you hold in your hands are letters that can provide but temporary solace, not truths that are capable of giving life. The scriptures you read can only enrich your tongue and are not words of philosophy that can help you know human life, much less the paths that can lead you to perfection. Does this discrepancy not give you cause for reflection? Does it not make you realize the mysteries contained within? Are you capable of delivering yourself to heaven to meet God on your own? Without the coming of God, can you take yourself into heaven to enjoy family happiness with God? Are you still dreaming now? I suggest, then, that you stop dreaming and look at who is working now—look to see who is now carrying out the work of saving man during the last days. If you do not, you shall never gain the truth, and shall never gain life.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life