Question 7: Many brothers and sisters all think that our belief in the Lord Jesus means our sins have already been forgiven, and that we’ve enjoyed so much of the Lord’s grace and all experienced the Lord’s compassion and mercy. The Lord Jesus already does not see us as sinners, so we should be able to be brought directly into the kingdom of heaven. Then why did the Lord not bring us into the kingdom of heaven when He came, but still has to perform His work of judgment in the last days? Is God’s judgment of the last days to cleanse and save mankind or to condemn and destroy? Many people are unable to see through this. Please fellowship about this to us more specifically.
Answer: The question you asked is very practical. Even though our sins have been forgiven for believing in the Lord, and we are counted as the saved, in the eyes of God, we remain filthy and corrupt and have not escaped sin to receive cleanness. To have sins forgiven just means not being condemned by law. This is precisely what “saved by grace” means. God may have forgiven our sins and bestowed upon us many blessings, letting us enjoy the peace and happiness of having our sins forgiven, and giving us the right to pray to God and converse and communicate with God, but what cannot be denied is that we still often sin and resist God, and have not reached holiness. We still need God’s return in the last days to perform His work of thoroughly cleansing and saving mankind. In other words, the redemption work of the Lord Jesus is merely to pave the way for God’s judgment work of the last days. God’s work of saving mankind does not end there. We should know this. Just then you all mentioned, how come after our sins have been forgiven for believing in the Lord we still can’t help ourselves and often commit sins, and cannot extricate ourselves from living in sin? It’s because our corruption by Satan runs too deep, to the extent that we all have a satanic nature and are full of satanic disposition. That’s why we cannot help but often commit sins. If this satanic nature is not resolved, we can still sin and resist God even if our sins are forgiven. That way, we will never be able to achieve compatibility with God. This is why the Lord Jesus said He must return. It is so He will perform His judgment work of the last days to thoroughly cleanse and save mankind. Just as Almighty God says, “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 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). “The sins of man could be forgiven through the sin offering, but as for just how man can be made to sin no more, and how his sinful nature may be extirpated completely and transformed, he has no way of solving this problem. The sins of man were forgiven, and this is because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live within the corrupt satanic disposition of old. This being so, man must be completely saved from his corrupt satanic disposition, so that his sinful nature may be completely extirpated, never to develop again, thus enabling the disposition of man to be transformed. This would require man to grasp the path of growth in life, to grasp the way of life, and to grasp the way to change his disposition. Furthermore, it would require man to act in accordance with this path, so that his disposition may gradually be changed and he may live under the shining of the light, so that all that he does may be in accord with the will of God, so that he may cast away his corrupt satanic disposition, and so that he may break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation. ... Therefore, after that stage of work was finished, there still remained the work of judgment and chastisement. This stage is to make man pure by means of the word and thereby give him a path to follow. ... This stage is more meaningful than the previous one, as well as more fruitful, for now it is the word that directly supplies man’s life and enables the disposition of man to be completely renewed; it is a much more thorough stage of work” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Almighty God’s words are very clear: In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus only performed His redemption work. Mankind’s sins were forgiven for believing in the Lord, but their sinful nature has not been resolved. Man’s sinful nature is Satan’s nature. It has already taken root deep inside man, becoming man’s life. That is why man still can’t help but sin and resist God. Man having satanic nature is the root cause behind his resistance of God. Man’s sins can be forgiven, but can God forgive his satanic nature? The satanic nature directly opposes God and the truth. God would never forgive it. Therefore, God has to thoroughly save mankind from the bondage and control of satanic nature, and must judge and chastise mankind. The judgment and chastisement of God in the last days is the work targeted at the satanic nature and disposition inside us. Some people might ask, can our satanic nature only be resolved by judgment and chastisement? Can’t we, through paying the price of suffering, subduing our body, and restraining ourselves with volition, resolve our satanic nature? Definitely not. Let’s take another look at the many saints throughout history who all paid the price of suffering and subdued their bodies, who all wanted to escape the bondage and control of sin, and to transcend the flesh. But who among them managed to overcome Satan to become someone who truly obeys God? Almost none. Even if there were, they were people whom God especially made complete. But how many such people were there? It was precisely because there was no God’s judgment and chastisement, so man’s satanic disposition was unable to be cleansed. Man’s life disposition was therefore unable to change. This fact is sufficient to prove that using human means is incapable of resolving mankind’s satanic nature. Man must go through God’s judgment and chastisement, pruning and dealing, and trials and refining, before they can gain the truth and life, receive the way of eternal life. It is only then that man’s satanic nature can be thoroughly resolved. That is why, on the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ redemption work, Almighty God carries out His work of judgment and chastisement in the last days, to thoroughly save mankind from the bondage and control of satanic nature, so that mankind can be cleansed to receive God’s salvation and be gained by God. From this we can see that it is God’s judgment and chastisement in the last days that thoroughly cleanses and saves mankind. This is the truth.
Why does God of the last days do the work of judging and chastising the corrupt human race? To understand this subject, we must know that in order to save the human race, God cannot just do one or two stages of work. Instead, in order to completely save mankind, God must carry out three stages of work. This includes the work in the Age of Law, the Age of Grace and the Age of Kingdom. These three stages of work are what it takes to save mankind completely from the domain of Satan. These three stages of work constitute the entire work of God saving the human race. During the Age of Law, Jehovah God proclaimed laws and commandments in order to guide man in his life on earth. Based on the laws and commandments that God proclaimed, mankind could know what kind of people God blesses and what kind of people God curses. At the same time, mankind could know what is righteous and what is sinful. However, during the later stages of the Age of Law, since the human race had become more and more deeply corrupted by Satan, man lived in sin. He was not able to abide by the laws and faced the danger of being convicted and cursed by these laws. That is why the Lord Jesus came to do the work of redemption during the Age of Grace so that man could confess his sins, repent and be pardoned from his sins, thus exempting man from the conviction and the curse of the law. This way, man would be qualified to come before God and pray, commune with God, and enjoy the abundant grace and truth of God. This is what it truly means “to be saved.” However, the Lord Jesus only pardoned our sins, He did not pardon our sinful nature and our satanic disposition. Our satanic nature still exists. We still live in the vicious cycle of committing sins, confessing them and committing the sins once more. We had no way of breaking free from the constraints and control of our sinful nature. We shouted painfully to God, “I am really suffering! How can I break free from the constraints and control of sin?” As believers in the Lord, this is our common experience and knowledge. However, we ourselves are unable to resolve our sinful nature. Nobody can do the work of saving the human race. Only God—the Creator—is able to save mankind and free us from Satan and sin. Only He can save us from the domain of Satan. Almighty God says, “Since He created man, He leads him; since He saves man, He will thoroughly save him, and will completely gain him; since He leads man, He will bring him to the proper destination; and since He created and manages man, He must take responsibility for man’s fate and prospects. It is this which is the work done by the Creator” (“Restoring the Proper Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God is faithful. Since God saves man, He will save him completely. God will definitely not give up halfway. That is why in order to completely save mankind, Almighty God expresses all the truth of cleansing and saving mankind in the last days. He does the work of judgment beginning with God’s house in order to thoroughly resolve the problem of mankind’s satanic nature and satanic disposition. He does this so that mankind can break free from sin, attain salvation, and be gained by God. The judgment work that Almighty God of the last days does is precisely what corrupt mankind needs. It is also the key stage of work that needs to be performed by God to save mankind. This fulfills the prophecy that the Lord Jesus predicted: “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” (Jhn 16:12-13). “The Spirit of truth” refers to God being incarnated into flesh in the last days, expressing the truth and doing the work of judgment. All we need to do is accept and obey God’s judgment work of the last days so that we can attain salvation and be gained by God. This is something that all those who have truly experienced God’s judgment work of the last day can confirm. Everyone should be able to understand why God does the work of judgment in the last days when it is communicated like this, right?
We all know now that God’s judgment and chastisement is the greatest salvation to us corrupt mankind. If we do not experience God’s judgment and chastisement, our satanic nature cannot be resolved, and we will not be able to truly turn to God and be gained by God, and we will be unqualified to enjoy God’s promise and receive a beautiful destination. This is a fact nobody can deny. But many people don’t understand—what is the meaning of God judging and chastising man? Is God’s judgment and chastisement condemning mankind or saving them? This requires us to know God’s work and understand God’s intentions of saving mankind. Let’s read a few passages of Almighty God’s word.
Almighty God says, “Through what is God’s perfection of man accomplished? Through His righteous disposition. God’s disposition primarily consists of righteousness, wrath, majesty, judgment, and curse, and His perfection of man is primarily through judgment. Some people don’t understand, and ask why it is that God is only able to make man perfect through judgment and curse. They say, “If God were to curse man, wouldn’t man die? If God were to judge man, wouldn’t man be condemned? Then how can he still be made perfect?” Such are the words of people who do not know the work of God. What God curses is the disobedience of man, and what He judges are the sins of man. Although He speaks harshly, and without the slightest sensitivity, He reveals all that is within man, and through these stern words He reveals that which is essential within man, yet through such judgment, He gives man a profound knowledge of the essence of the flesh, and thus man submits to obedience before God” (“Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“All of you live in a place of sin and licentiousness; you are all licentious and sinful people. Today you not only can see God, but more importantly, you have received chastisement and judgment, received such deepest salvation, that is, received God’s greatest love. All that He does is true love for you; He has no ill intention. It is because of your sins that He judges you, so that you will examine yourselves and receive this tremendous salvation. All this is done to work man. From beginning to end, God has been doing His utmost to save man, and He is certainly not willing to completely destroy the men He created with His own hands. Now He has come among you to work; isn’t this even more salvation? If He hated you, would He still do work of such magnitude to personally lead you? Why should He suffer so? God does not hate you or have any ill intention toward you. You should know that God’s love is the truest love. It is only because of people’s disobedience that He has to save them through judgment; otherwise, they would not be saved” (“The Inside Truth of the Work of Conquest (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“In His final work of concluding the age, God’s disposition is one of chastisement and judgment, in which He reveals all that is unrighteous, in order to publicly judge all peoples, and to perfect those who love Him with a sincere heart. Only a disposition such as this can bring the age to an end. The last days have already arrived. All things in creation will be classed 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 classified 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. … During the last days, only righteous judgment can classify man according to their kind and bring man into a new realm. In this way, the entire age is brought to an end through God’s righteous disposition of judgment and chastisement” (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
After reading Almighty God’s words, we can all see a truth from God’s word: We corrupt mankind cannot receive the truth and life if we do not go through God’s judgment and chastisement, and will therefore be unable to get rid of our sinful nature to achieve salvation, and moreover cannot get to know God’s righteous disposition and all God has and is. Mankind has been corrupted by Satan for thousands of years and all have satanic nature. They are all arrogant, deceitful, and reckless. Even though some of them believe in God, but they often still can’t help themselves but sin and resist God. This shows that man does not have true knowledge and fear of God. That’s a fact. For a person full of satanic disposition to truly be obedient before God and be utterly convinced by God, what method do you think should be used? He must experience God’s judgment and chastisement, by which he sees God’s righteous, majestic, and wrathful disposition, and sees all the truths expressed by God to judge and cleanse mankind. Only then can he be conquered, fall down completely before God, and truly repent, and start to understand the truth, practice the truth, and gradually achieve dispositional change and compatibility with God. Then why couldn’t believers in the Lord from the Age of Grace truly get to know themselves? Why didn’t they fear God and often lived in sin, disobeyed God and opposed God, and didn’t even think that was a big deal? It was because God had not performed His judgment work of the last days. Without experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement, man cannot get to know his own satanic nature, his arrogant disposition will never be able to change, and it won’t be possible for him to achieve true obedience toward and fear of God. Some might say, How could we bear the cross and follow the Lord if we don’t obey Him? In the Age of Grace, we gave up everything to work and pay the price for the Lord. But the aim was all so we could receive the crown, be rewarded and enter the kingdom of heaven. Did we truly love and obey the Lord? Were we the ones whose lives and disposition really changed? Did we really achieve compatibility with the Lord? Then why, when we are expending for the Lord, can we still simultaneously engage in transactions with Him, take advantage of Him and deceive Him? God observes the depths of man’s heart. Man looks at the outside, God looks at the inside. No matter how good we are on the outside, it does not mean we are after God’s heart. Therefore, God’s work of judgment starting at the house of God in the last days, is the work targeted at man’s satanic nature for thoroughly cleansing and saving man. Only after we experience God’s judgment and chastisement of the last days can we see clearly the nature and substance, and the real situation of our being corrupted by Satan, and that what we live out is all the image of the devil Satan, without much humanity. We all feel deeply ashamed, fall down before God, repent to God, and are extremely remorseful, never again feeling that we are stronger or better than anyone. We start to despise ourselves, curse ourselves, and are no longer willing to live in our corrupt disposition. We unconsciously become humble, no longer able to be insolent. At the same time we also see that God’s disposition is too righteous, too holy, which is unoffendable, and can’t help but develop a heart of reverence for God. We don’t dare to do whatever we please and say whatever we want any more, and begin to forsake the flesh, practice the truth, and change the way we look at things. Our life disposition starts to change, and we are willing to obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements, no longer controlled by our future and fate and our desires for blessings, and live out the likeness of a real man. After we’ve experienced God’s judgment and chastisement, we all deeply appreciate that Almighty God expressing the words to judge and chastise men, is not to punish or destroy them, but is completely for cleansing and perfecting them. This is God’s great mercy and salvation toward us, and God’s truest and most genuine love for us. Also, we have also seen that the work of judgment beginning at the house of God is targeted at all those who accept God’s work of the last days. God is going to make a group of overcomers before the disaster. This group of people are those who will receive God’s promise and enter the kingdom of heaven. But as for those wicked people who resist God, they will be destroyed in accordance with the prophecy in the Book of Revelation. God will not perform His judgment and chastisement work on them, and will simply wait until the great disasters arrive to destroy them. So, we can all clearly see that God’s judgment and chastisement of His chosen people is to cleanse, save, and perfect them. Only those antichrists, wicked people who hate the truth and resist God will be condemned and destroyed. This is the absolute truth.
Excerpted from the movie screenplay of Song of Victory