Question 1: The Lord Jesus died on the cross for us, He forgave all our sins and redeemed us from the hands of Satan. That is to say, He did this to save us and grant us access to the kingdom of heaven. Even after this redemption, we continue to sin and we have yet to be cleansed. Nevertheless, I believe that the Lord’s forgiveness has made us righteous through our faith. As long as we sacrifice everything else to work and spend for God, as long as we are willing to endure suffering and pay the price, we’d be raptured into the kingdom of heaven. I think this is the Lord’s promise to us. However, my brothers and sisters have now questioned this belief. They say that although we labor and work for the Lord, we still sin often and then confess our sins, so we have not yet been cleansed. They have stated that the Lord is holy, so unholy people cannot meet Him. My question is: We who have sacrificed everything else and spend for the Lord, can we really be raised up into the kingdom of heaven? We really don’t know the answer to this question, so we’d like you to talk to us about it.
Answer: All believers think: The Lord Jesus redeemed us when He died on the cross, so we have already been absolved of all sin. The Lord no longer sees us as sinners. We have become righteous through our faith, and once saved, we are saved forever. As long as we endure until the end, when the Lord returns, we will be directly raptured into the heavenly kingdom. Well, is that the truth? Did God ever give any evidence in His words to back up this claim? If this viewpoint is not in line with the truth, what will the consequences be? We who believe in the Lord should use His own words as our basis for all things. This is especially true when it comes to the question of how to treat the Lord’s return. Under no circumstances can we treat His return based on man’s conceptions and imaginings. The consequences of such behavior are too serious to even contemplate. It’s the same as when the Pharisees crucified the Lord Jesus on the cross while waiting for the Messiah to come. What would the outcome be? The Lord Jesus has completed the work of redeeming mankind. This much is true, but is God’s work of salvation for mankind finished? Does that mean that all of us believers in the Lord Jesus qualify to be raptured into the heavenly kingdom? No one knows the answer to this question. God once said, “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” (Mat 7:21), “You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Lev 11:45). According to God’s words, we can be sure that those who enter the heavenly kingdom have freed themselves from sin and have been cleansed. They are the ones who do God’s will, obey God, love God, and revere Him. Because God is holy and those who enter the heavenly kingdom shall live together with Him, if we have not been cleansed how could we be qualified to enter the heavenly kingdom?! Therefore, some people’s notion that we believers have been absolved from sin and we can enter the heavenly kingdom is a complete misunderstanding of God’s will. It originated from our imaginations; it’s our own conception. The Lord Jesus absolved us of sin; that is not false. However, the Lord Jesus never said that we have been totally cleansed through this absolution and are now eligible to enter the heavenly kingdom. No one can deny this fact. Then why do all the faithful think everyone who has been absolved from sin can enter the heavenly kingdom? What do they use as evidence? How do they support this claim? Many people say that they base this belief on the words of Paul and the other apostles, as written in the Bible. Well then, let me ask you, do the words of Paul and the other apostles represent the words of the Lord Jesus? Do they represent the words of the Holy Spirit? Man’s words may be in the Bible, but does this mean they are words of God? There is one fact we can clearly see from the Bible: The people that are praised by God can hear His voice and obey His work. They are the ones who follow His way, are the ones eligible to inherit what God has promised. This is a fact that no one can deny. We all know that even though the sins of us the faithful have been forgiven, we have still not been cleansed; we still sin and resist God often. God clearly told us, “You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Lev 11:45), “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” (Mat 7:21). From God’s words, we can be sure that even though man’s sins have been forgiven, they are not eligible to enter the heavenly kingdom. People must be cleansed; they must become doers of God’s will before they can enter the heavenly kingdom. This is an irrefutable fact. Apparently, understanding God’s will is not nearly as simple as it seems. We don’t become cleansed just because our sins have been forgiven. We must first obtain some reality of the truth and earn God’s praise. Then we will be eligible to enter the heavenly kingdom. If we do not love the truth and in fact are weary of it and even hate it, if we only pursue rewards and the crown but do not care for God’s will, much less to say do God’s will, are we not doing evil? Does the Lord praise this sort of person? If so, we are just like those hypocritical Pharisees: Even though we’ve been forgiven of sin, we are still not able to enter the heavenly kingdom. This is an indisputable fact.
Let’s continue fellowshiping. The Lord Jesus absolved us of all sins. What sins did He absolve? What kinds of sin do we confess to after we begin believing in the Lord? The main sins referred to are those factual sins that betray God’s laws, commandments, or words. We humans betrayed God’s laws and commandments and were thus condemned and punished by His law. That’s why the Lord Jesus came to do His work of redemption. Thus, we need only pray to the Lord Jesus and confess and repent our sins and He shall absolve us. After that, we will no longer be subject to condemnation and punishment according to His law. God will no longer treat us as sinners. So we can pray directly to God; we can cry out to God and share in His abundant grace and truth. This is the true meaning of the “salvation” that we often spoke of in the Age of Grace. This salvation has nothing to do with being cleansed and entering the heavenly kingdom. You could say that those are two separate things, because the Lord Jesus never said that all who have been saved and absolved can enter the heavenly kingdom. Let’s read some of Almighty God’s words, “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 a sinner, 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” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Vision of God’s Work (2)). “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. … 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” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)). Almighty God’s words answer this question very clearly. As soon as we hear them, we understand them. In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus only did His work of redemption to absolve mankind of sin, making them righteous through faith and saved through faith. However, the Lord Jesus never said that everyone who has been forgiven of his or her sins can enter the heavenly kingdom. This is because the Lord Jesus may have absolved us of all sin, but He never absolved us of our satanic nature. Our inner arrogance, selfishness, deceit, evil etc., that is, our corrupt dispositions, still remain. These things are deeper than sin. They are much harder to resolve. If the satanic nature and corrupt dispositions, which are so resistant to God, have not been resolved, we cannot help but commit many sins. We may even commit sins that are even worse than breaking the law, that is, the more egregious sins. Why were the Pharisees able to condemn and resist the Lord Jesus? How could they crucify Him on the cross? This proves that if our satanic nature has not been resolved we can still sin, resist God, and betray God.
We have believed in the Lord for all these years and experienced one thing ourselves, that is, although our sins have been absolved, we still can’t resist sinning constantly. We still lie, trick, cheat and use sophistry in pursuit of reputation and status. We even shirk responsibility and get other people in trouble for our own sake. When confronted with natural and manmade disasters, or trials and tribulations, we blame and betray God. When God’s work is not in line with our own conceptions, we deny, judge, and resist God. Although we believe in God in name, we still revere and follow other human beings. If we have positions, we exalt and bear witness to ourselves, just like the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees. We act like we are God to try and make people revere and admire us. We even steal and take for ourselves the sacrificial offerings to God. We grow jealous and follow our own preferences and the whims of our flesh and emotions. We plant our own flags, form our own groups, and establish our own little kingdoms. These are all clear facts. We can see that if our satanic nature and dispositions are not resolved, we won’t be eligible to enter the heavenly kingdom even if our sins are forgiven a million times. The fact that we can still sin and resist God shows that we still belong to Satan, are enemies of God, and will definitely be condemned and punished by Him. It’s just as it says in the Bible, “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries” (Heb 10:26–27). Let’s read some of Almighty God’s words: “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). As you can see, we have only been redeemed by the Lord Jesus but still live in our satanic disposition, frequently sinning and resisting God. We must experience God’s judgment and salvation in the last days to be completely freed from sin and be after God’s heart. Then we will be eligible to enter the heavenly kingdom. Actually, the Lord Jesus once said, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (Jhn 14:2–3). The Lord went back to prepare a place for us and after He has prepared a place for us, He will return to receive us. In truth, this “receiving” refers to His plans for us to be reborn in the last days. When the Lord comes to do His work, He will bring us before His throne to be judged, cleansed, and made perfect by God’s words. He will make us into overcomers before the disasters arrive. The process of His receiving us is actually how He will cleanse us and make us perfect. Now the Lord has come to earth to perform His work of judgment in the last days. We have been raptured before His throne to live together with Him. Doesn’t this completely fulfill the prophecy of the Lord coming to receive us? After the great disasters end, Christ’s kingdom will be established on earth. All who survive the refinement of the great disasters will have a place in the heavenly kingdom.
Some people say, disciples like Paul, those that suffer and sacrifice for the Lord, Aren’t they all qualified to enter the heavenly kingdom? It’s just as Paul once said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness” (2Ti 4:7–8). Many people think: Well, Paul labored for the Lord and inherited the crown of righteousness, so as long as we labor like Paul, we will all be able to inherit the crown of righteousness and enter the heavenly kingdom, right? Is that the truth? These words that Paul spoke, were they based on God’s word? Did the Lord Jesus ever say that Paul received the rewards and inherited the crown? Did the Holy Spirit ever testify that Paul entered the heavenly kingdom? None of these things were written in the Bible. Yes. The Lord Jesus never said Paul was the one who would inherit the crown and enter the heavenly kingdom! Yes. These are only our own conceptions and imaginations! As you can see, Paul's words are not supported by the evidence. Therefore, we can't use Paul’s words as the basis of how to enter the heavenly kingdom. As for obtaining eternal life and entering the heavenly kingdom, the Lord Jesus once said it very clearly, “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). The Lord Jesus’ words are quite clear. People must leave their evil sins, be cleansed and follow God’s will in order to enter the heavenly kingdom. If they labor and sacrifice by mere zeal, while continuing to sin and resist God, if they cannot follow God’s way, then they are evildoers; they certainly will not be able to enter the heavenly kingdom. Paul, on the other hand, said that fighting the good fight, finishing his course and keeping the faith would allow him to enter the kingdom of heaven and be rewarded. Isn't this obviously in conflict with what the Lord Jesus said? According to Paul's viewpoint, as long as we labor for the Lord, we'll be able to receive the rewards and enter the heavenly kingdom. If that is the case, couldn’t all those Jewish Pharisees that travel sea and land to spread the gospel while condemning and resisting the Lord Jesus enter the heavenly kingdom? Those that preach and cast out demons in the name of the Lord but do not follow God’s way, aren't they eligible to enter the heavenly kingdom as well? Isn’t that viewpoint just too absurd? Why were the Pharisees never able to gain the Lord Jesus’ praise, no matter what they did? This was mainly because they only spread the gospel and endure suffering in pursuit of their own benefit and rewards. God is righteous. God can see into men’s minds and hearts. Therefore, when the Lord Jesus did His work, they were completely exposed. They fanatically condemned and resisted the Lord Jesus to protect their own positions and meal tickets. They were enemies of the Lord Jesus; they crucified Him on the cross. The end result was that they were cursed and punished by God. This is a commonly known fact.
What becomes of the religious people in the last days? Many of those people are just like the Jewish Pharisees. Although they have labored for the Lord, everything they have done is in pursuit of blessings and rewards; they have been trying to obtain the crown and rewards; they are not practicing the Lord's words or obeying the Lord.Therefore, when they do work and make sacrifices, they do so according to their own whims and desires. They exalt themselves and testify about themselves in pursuit of their positions and reputations. They form factions, establish their own kingdoms. Even after many of them have done some work and endured some suffering, they lean on their seniority, self-righteously asking God for a place in the heavenly kingdom. How can these people, especially the pastors and elders, earn God's praise? When faced with God's work of judgment in the last days, not only do they not accept it, they fanatically resist and condemn Almighty God in order to protect their own positions and meal-tickets. They crucified God on the cross again. They provoked God’s disposition a long time ago. Isn’t this a fact? Do we not understand it yet? These facts are enough to prove that we who sacrifice and labor for the Lord will not necessarily be able to enter the heavenly kingdom. We that believe in the Lord but do not practice His words or follow His commandments are not motivated by our love of God or a desire to obey Him; we are merely seeking blessings and entry to heaven. We are tricking and exploiting God. No matter how much work we do, no matter how we suffer, we will not earn God’s praise. Let's read more of Almighty God’s words, “At a superficial glance, human beings seemed to be constantly bustling about as they expended themselves and worked for God, during which time they were in fact reckoning, in the secret recesses of their inmost hearts, the next step they should take to win blessings or to reign as kings. One could say that, as the human heart was enjoying God, it was at the same time being calculated toward God. Humanity in this condition meets with God’s deepest abhorrence and detestation; God’s disposition does not tolerate any human being deceiving or using Him” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Introduction). “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! … If you only look to rewards, and do not seek to change your own life disposition, then all your efforts will be in vain—this is an unalterable truth!” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks). From God’s words, we can see that He is holy and righteous. God will definitely not allow dirty, corrupt humans to enter His kingdom. This is determined by God’s righteous disposition! 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. This is an undoubtable fact.
—The movie script of Awakening from the dream