1. You say that we must accept God’s work of judgment of the last days, as only then will our corrupt satanic dispositions be cleansed and changed, and only then will we enter the kingdom of God. So, as the Lord requires, we are humble and tolerant, we love our enemies, we bear our cross, we discipline our body, we forsake worldly things, we work and preach for the Lord, and so on. Are these not all changes that have occurred in us? Are you saying that this is still not enough for us to enter the heavenly kingdom? I believe that as long as we continue striving in this way, we will become holy and will enter the heavenly kingdom.
Bible Verses for Reference:
“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. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name? and in Your name have cast out devils? and in Your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity” (Mat 7:21–23).
“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb 12:14).
Relevant Words of God:
Most people place special emphasis on behavior in their belief in God, as a result of which certain changes occur in their behavior. After they have begun to believe in God, they stop contending with others, insulting and fighting with people, smoking and drinking, and stealing any public property—whether it be but a nail or a plank of wood—and they even go so far as to not take it to the courts whenever they suffer losses or are wronged. Without doubt, they do indeed undergo some behavioral changes. Because, once they believe in God, accepting the true way makes people feel especially good, and because they have also now tasted the grace of the work of the Holy Spirit, they are particularly fervent, and there is even nothing that they cannot forsake or suffer. Nevertheless, after having believed for three, five, ten, or thirty years, because there has been no change in their life dispositions, they end up sliding back into old ways; their arrogance and haughtiness grow more pronounced, they begin to compete for power and profit, they covet the church’s money, they do anything that serves their own interests, they crave status and pleasures, and they have become parasites of God’s house. In particular, most of those who serve as leaders are abandoned by people. And what do these facts prove? Mere behavioral changes are unsustainable; if there is no alteration in people’s life dispositions, then sooner or later, their vicious sides will show themselves. Because the source of the changes in their behavior is fervor, coupled with some work by the Holy Spirit at the time, it is extremely easy for them to become fervent or to exhibit temporary kindness. As the unbelievers say, “Doing one good deed is easy; what’s hard is doing a lifetime of good deeds.” People are incapable of doing good deeds throughout their entire lives. One’s behavior is directed by the life; whatever one’s life is, so is one’s behavior, and only that which is revealed naturally represents the life, as well as one’s nature. Things that are fake cannot last. When God works to save man, it is not to adorn man with good behavior—the purpose of God’s work is to transform people’s dispositions, to make them reborn into new people. Thus, God’s judgment, chastisement, trials, and refinement of man all serve to change his disposition so that he may achieve absolute submission and devotion to God, and come to worship Him normally. This is the aim of God’s work. Behaving well is not the same as submitting to God, much less does it equal being compatible with Christ. Changes in behavior are based on doctrine and born of fervor; they are not based upon true knowledge of God or upon the truth, much less do they rest upon guidance from the Holy Spirit. Even though there are times when some of what people do is directed by the Holy Spirit, this is not an expression of the life, much less is it the same as knowing God; no matter how good a person’s behavior is, it does not prove that they have submitted to God or that they put the truth into practice. Behavioral changes are but a momentary illusion; they are but manifestations of zealousness. They cannot be counted as expressions of the life.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three
Though a person may have done a great number of good works since coming to faith in God, many matters may yet be opaque to them, and less still may they have come to an understanding of the truth—yet, because of their many good works, they feel they have already come to live in God’s words, and have submitted to Him, and have quite satisfied His will. This is because when no adverse circumstances arise, you do whatever you are told; you have no qualms about performing any duty, and you do not resist. When you are told to spread the gospel, it is a hardship you can bear, and you offer no complaint, and when you are told to run here and there, or to do manual labor, you do so. Because of these displays, you feel you are one who submits to God and a true pursuer of the truth. Yet were one to question you more deeply and ask, “Are you an honest person? Are you a person who genuinely submits to God? A person with a changed disposition?” then, thus questioned, thus held up against the truth for scrutiny, you—and, it may be said, anyone at all—would be found wanting, and neither is any person able truly to practice according to the truth. Therefore, when the root of all man’s acts and deeds, as well as the essence and nature of his actions, are held up against the truth, all are condemned. What is the reason for this? It is that man does not know himself; he always believes in God in his own way, performs his duty in his own way, and serves God in his own way. What is more, he feels he is full of faith and reason, and, in the end, he feels he has gained much. Without his knowing it, he comes to feel he is already acting in line with God’s will and has satisfied it completely, and that he has already met God’s requirements and is following His will. If this is how you feel, or if, in your several years of belief in God, you feel you have reaped some gains, then all the more should you come back before God to reflect on yourself. You should look at the path you have walked over your years of faith and see whether all your actions and behavior before God have been entirely after His heart, what you do that resists God, what you do that is able to satisfy God, and whether what you do meets God’s requirements and can be entirely in accord with His will—you should be clear on all these things.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only by Recognizing One’s Own Misguided Views Can One Truly Transform
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
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. 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. For all that man may have been redeemed and forgiven of his sins, it can only be considered as God not remembering the transgressions of man and not treating man in accordance with his transgressions. However, when man, who lives in a body of flesh, has not been set free from sin, he can only continue to sin, endlessly revealing his corrupt satanic disposition. This is the life that man leads, an endless cycle of sinning and being forgiven. The majority of mankind sin in the day only to confess in the evening. This way, even though the sin offering is forever effective for man, it will not be able to save man from sin. Only half the work of salvation has been completed, for man still has a corrupt disposition. … It is not easy for man to become aware of his sins; he has no way of recognizing his own deeply rooted nature, and he must rely on judgment by the word in order to achieve this result. Only thus can man gradually be changed from this point onward.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)
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 shall also 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.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Prepare Sufficient Good Deeds for Your Destination
You might imagine that, having been a follower for so many years, you have put in hard work no matter what, and you should be granted a bowl of rice in God’s house just for being a service-doer. I would say that the majority of you think this way, for you have always pursued the principle of how to take advantage of things and not be taken advantage of. Thus, I am telling you now in all seriousness: 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 much you have improved your attitude; as long as you have not met My demands, you will never be able to win My praise. Write off all those ideas and calculations of yours as soon as possible, and start treating My requirements seriously; otherwise, I will turn everyone to ash in order to bring an end to My work and, at worst turn My years of work and suffering into nothing, for I cannot bring My enemies and those people who reek of evil and have Satan’s appearance into My kingdom or take them into the next age.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Transgressions Will Lead Man to Hell