Question 10: Many brothers and sisters who believe in the Lord still aren’t clear and they believe this: The Lord Jesus redeemed us from our sins and He already sees us as free from sin. As long as we suffer and pay a price to spread the gospel of the Lord, and we behave well and stand witness well, when the Lord comes we should be able to be raptured into the kingdom of heaven. We will follow the Lord until the end, we do not resist Him or deny His name, so why do we still need to undergo God’s work of judgment in the last days?
Answer: Many believers in the Lord believe the same thing that you do: ‘As long as I work hard and bear the cross for the Lord, exhibit some good behaviors and bear witness well, I will be qualified to wait for the Lord’s return and be raptured into the kingdom of heaven.’ Humans see this as perfectly reasonable, but is that what God’s will is? Do His words bear that out? If not, then this thinking on the part of man certainly comes out of human notions and imagination. Thinking back to when the Pharisees would frequently explain the scriptures to people in the synagogues, they appeared to strictly adhere to the laws, the rules, and the commandments, and in others’ eyes they were very pious and were upstanding in their behavior. But why did they madly resist and condemn the Lord Jesus and even nail Him to the cross? This proves that people may work hard for the Lord and be well-behaved on the outside but it does not mean that they obey and love God in their hearts. Outward piety does not represent a heart that magnifies and reveres God. People may frequently explain the Bible to others, but that doesn’t mean that they are able to put the Lord’s words into practice or to follow God’s way. God can see everything of what’s inside of a person—only He can see deep into their hearts. The Lord Jesus’ appearance and work completely exposed the essences of the hypocritical Pharisees. That the Pharisees were able to work and preach, to suffer and pay a price was actually entirely for their own status and their living. They explained the scriptures only to exalt themselves, to establish themselves, and have others adore them and look up to them. They absolutely were not exalting God or bearing witness to Him. God is holy and righteous, and His work lays everything bare. So, when the Lord Jesus came to work, He thoroughly revealed the Pharisees’ antichrist nature of hating the truth and resisting God. In fact, those of us who believe in the Lord are all clear on the fact that after a person believes in the Lord, although they may enthusiastically abandon other things and expend themselves for the Lord, work very hard, and exhibit some good behaviors, even while they are working they frequently sin and resist God, and make an enemy of God. There are some who complain to Him when disaster strikes, when there is persecution and adversity, and they may even deny and betray God. Although the pastors and elders of the religious world are able to work and preach, they are particularly like the Pharisees, establishing themselves so that others adore them, deceiving and controlling God’s chosen people, and establishing their own little kingdoms. Facing God’s work in the last days, they madly condemn and resist it, and even though they clearly know that Almighty God’s words are the truth, they are still stubbornly defiant toward God. This shows that as long as people still have a sinful nature, and as long as they have a satanic disposition that has not been resolved, they may resist and betray God at any time, and any place. No matter how well someone behaves, that doesn’t mean that they can truly obey God and follow His way. No matter how much of the Bible someone understands, it’s not the same as understanding the truth and knowing God. No matter how much someone suffers and what price they pay when expending themselves for God, it does not mean that they are someone who carries out God’s will. It is evident that when someone has a sinful nature that has not been resolved and a satanic disposition that has not been purified, no matter how hard they work for the Lord and for how many years, their nature and essence will not change. This is a fact that no one can deny. Just as 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 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. And so you, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance” (“Concerning Appellations and Identity” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “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 have worked for many years, in the end if you are still deplorably filthy—it is 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!” (“Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Therefore, we must experience God's judgment and cleansing in the last days to obtain the truth, free ourselves from our corrupt disposition and be obtained by God, to be saved and enter the heavenly kingdom.
We have all seen that after becoming believers, many people are able to work hard, pay a price for the Lord, and discipline their bodies. But no matter how great their faith or enthusiasm is, they are still unable to cast off the binds of their sinful nature. They are still living in sin, and this is a fact. Without resolving this sinful satanic nature, people will never be able to genuinely obey God, be in harmony with Him, be gained by Him, and then enter His kingdom. So, God’s work of saving mankind cannot just be completed by doing the work of redemption—He still needs to do the work of judgment in the last days. The work of judgment in the last days is to thoroughly resolve mankind’s sinful satanic nature, have people truly know God, and achieve genuine obedience to and worship of God. Only then will God’s work of saving mankind be entirely completed. This is why the Lord Jesus said that He must come again, and that His return is to do the work of judgment in the last days, to thoroughly purify and save mankind. Let’s read a few passages from Almighty God’s words:
“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 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” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“By means of this work of judgment and chastisement, man will fully come to know the filthy and corrupt substance 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. In truth, this stage is that of conquest as well as the second stage in the work of salvation. It is through judgment and chastisement by the word that man arrives at being gained by God; and it is through the use of the word to refine, judge, and disclose that all of the impurities, notions, motives, and individual aspirations within man’s heart are completely revealed” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“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).
All the Lord Jesus did in the Age of Grace was the work of redemption, and it was just to atone for man’s sins. He did not atone for mankind’s corrupt disposition and sinful nature, and this proves that when the Lord Jesus returns He will do the work of judgment in the last days to thoroughly resolve the issue of mankind’s satanic nature, to allow people to be purified and saved, and to be worthy of entering into God’s kingdom. This is God’s salvation in the last days. So, after people’s sins were atoned for, God is doing the work in the last days of “judgment begins with the house of God” on the foundation of Jesus’ work of redemption. Almighty God has expressed the truth to judge and expose corrupt mankind’s nature and essence of resisting God and the truth of their corruption, to reveal and dissect the source of humanity’s sinfulness, and to reveal to mankind God’s righteous and holy disposition which will not tolerate offenses. From the judgment of God’s words, His chosen people have come face to face with God and have been exposed and judged; they have seen God’s righteous disposition revealed to man, and have seen God’s holy essence just like seeing a bright light from the sky. They have all prostrated themselves before God and have nowhere to hide; they are terribly ashamed. They have seen how deeply they have been corrupted by Satan and that they are full of a satanic nature; they are arrogant and conceited, selfish and despicable, crooked and deceitful, and full of lies. They detest the truth, and believe in God but are unable to magnify Him and are utterly lacking a heart of reverence for God. They frequently judge God, rebel against Him, and resist Him. When trials come upon them they complain and even deny or betray God. They simply are the embodiment of Satan, just like living demons, and don’t have the likeness of a true human being at all. They see all of these things and start to hate themselves, to truly repent to God, and to acknowledge from their hearts that God’s words are the truth, the way, and the life. They develop a heart of longing for the truth. At the same time, through God’s judgment and chastisement they all genuinely experience God’s disposition of righteousness, majesty, and wrath which will not tolerate offenses. They truly see the appearance of God, they see God’s holiness that cannot be sullied and His righteousness which will not tolerate offenses. They understand God’s good intentions in saving mankind and His genuine love for mankind. They see the true face and the essence of their corruption by Satan. For these reasons, they develop a heart of reverence for God and become willing to accept the truth, and obey God’s designs and arrangements. As people’s understanding of God gradually deepens, they see their own satanic nature and essence more clearly, and then they begin to hate Satan, and even more hate Satan’s nature. So, they are able to forsake Satan and forsake the flesh, and then the truth begins to rule within them and God’s words naturally become their lives. This is how people begin to rely on God’s words in their lives, fully cast off the influence of Satan, and achieve a change in disposition and harmony with God. It is evident that the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption was to build a foundation, to pave the way for God’s work of judgment in the last days. Only the work of judgment done by Almighty God in the last days is the work of fully purifying, saving, and perfecting mankind. Only if people accept and obey Almighty God’s judgment in the last days and obtain the truth will they be able to cast off the binds and strictures of sin, achieve a change in their disposition in life, and become someone who follows God’s will. Only then can they achieve true holiness, and only then will they be worthy of entering into God’s kingdom.
Excerpted from the movie screenplay of The City Will Be Overthrown