Question 5: We follow the example of Paul and we work very hard for the Lord, just like Paul said: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” Is this not following the will of God? Practicing in this way should mean that we are qualified to be raptured and to enter into the kingdom of heaven, so why must we accept God’s work of judgment and purification in the last days before we can be brought into the kingdom of heaven?
Answer: There are many believers in the Lord who follow the example of Paul. Are they really doing the will of the heavenly Father? Are they really worthy of entering the kingdom of heaven? Let’s have a look at what the Lord Jesus 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. 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). We can see from the words of the Lord Jesus that when the Lord returns, there will be many people who preach and work in the name of the Lord who will not only not gain His praise, but will instead be identified as evildoers by the Lord. This shows that making sacrifices, expending yourself and working hard in His name does not mean that you are doing the will of the heavenly Father. So then what really is doing His will? It mainly refers to being able to love God in your heart, to honor Him as great, fearing God and shunning evil, being able to put the Lord’s words into practice, obeying His commandments, frequently exalting and bearing witness to God, genuinely expending yourself for Him, remaining free of any deals or requests, being able to stand witness for God during trials, and obeying God’s sovereignty and arrangements. Only this is doing God’s will. Just as the Lord Jesus said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mat 22:37–39). So, all those who do God’s will are those who have cast off evil and achieved purification. They are all people who can put the truth into practice and genuinely obey God. They are all able to frequently put the Lord’s words into practice and keep His commandments, and they all love God in their hearts, and are able to live relying on the Lord’s words. If someone doesn’t love God in their heart, they try to make deals with God while working and preaching, they also frequently resist God and rebel against Him and are unable to put His words into practice, how can this person be called someone who does the heavenly Father’s will? And how could anyone say that they have already cast off sinfulness and achieved purification? We can all see the following fact. After believing in the Lord, many people are able to preach and work in His name, carry the cross and suffer, and even go to prison and be martyred. All this represents is that they have some faith in the Lord, some enthusiasm for Him. But it cannot be denied that while people are working hard they still frequently rebel against God, resist Him, and do things according to their own will and their own preferences. They do not focus on carrying out the Lord’s words or holding His commandments. Some even lust for fame and status; they exalt and bear witness to themselves, or even form their own faction or establish their own little kingdom. There are also a number of people who don’t work and suffer in order to love and satisfy God, but for the sake of being rewarded, being crowned. That is why after they’ve done some work and endured some suffering, they try to capitalize on their past and flaunt their seniority. They audaciously demand the blessings of the kingdom of heaven from God. This is particularly true of the pastors and elders of the religious world; when Almighty God came to express the truth and do the work of judgment in the last days, they continued to rely on their notions and imaginations to resist and condemn Him, fabricate rumors, spread lies to deceive and control believers and hinder their investigation of the true way. Their sins of resisting God are even more serious than those of the Pharisees who resisted the Lord Jesus. They have committed the heinous sin of nailing God to the cross again, and they have offended God’s disposition. What is even more deplorable is that after resisting and condemning Christ of the last days—Almighty God—they still see themselves as outstanding contributors who are utterly devoted to the Lord, and they are still waiting for the Lord Jesus to descend and rapture them into the kingdom of heaven. This is inconceivable! These facts demonstrate that there are many who are able to make sacrifices, expend themselves, and work hard in the name of the Lord, but this does not prove that they do God’s will, and it particularly does not prove that they are praised by God, or that they are worthy of entering the kingdom of heaven and receiving rewards. Since their internal satanic natures have not been resolved and they have not been able to cast off the binds of sin, even while they are working they do evil and resist God, and are even in direct opposition to God. How can they be called someone who does God’s will? And how can they be worthy of entering the kingdom of heaven? Let’s read Almighty God’s words.
Almighty God says, “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 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! You must seek life. Today, those who will be made perfect are the same kind as Peter: They are those who seek changes in their own disposition, and are willing to bear testimony to God and perform their duty as a creature of God. Only people such as this will be made perfect. If you only look to rewards, and do not seek to change your own life disposition, then all your efforts will be in vain—and this is an unalterable truth!” (“Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). It is clearly said in the word of Almighty God. God is holy and righteous. God absolutely forbids any filthy and corrupt people to enter His kingdom. However, Paul 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….” These words are Paul’s own conceptions and imaginings. They are not at all in accordance with God's words or the truth. They are the exact opposite of God’s words!
Many people are asking, “We work hard for the Lord and adhere to the name and the way of the Lord. Why can’t we enter the kingdom of heaven?” It is not just whether we follow the will of God. The most important thing is that our sinful nature has not been resolved. Therefore, the experience of God’s judgment work in the last days is necessary for someone to receive cleansing to accomplish change in life disposition and become a person who obeys the will of the heavenly Father. Only this way can he be eligible to be brought into the kingdom of heaven. Now we may understand why we often commit sins during the day and confess sins at night, and never manage to forgo sin? The root cause is our nature of Satan which often dominates us to resist and rebel against God. Even if we often confess our sins and repent to the Lord, we cannot break away from the binding of sin. Such is the dilemma and status quo of all believers in the Lord. For in the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus only performed the work of redemption so man could be forgiven of his sin and be eligible to pray to God, commune with God and enjoy the grace and blessings of God. But the redemption work of the Lord Jesus only forgave our sins without pardoning our satanic nature. Even if we were able to work hard in the name of the Lord, run around and expend, we still could not break away from the control and binding of sin. So the Lord Jesus said that in the last days He would return, which is to resolve our sinful nature and satanic disposition. In the last days, Almighty God has come to carry out His work of judgment and cleansing of man based upon the foundation of the redemption work in the Age of Grace. By expressing the truth, God reveals and judges man’s satanic nature, and cleanses man’s satanic disposition, so that we can be completely delivered from the influence of Satan and be saved and gained by God. Let us read the words of Almighty God: “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). “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). From the words of Almighty God, we realize that we have been profoundly corrupted by Satan. The nature of Satan is deep in us. Although our sins were forgiven through the redemption work of the Lord Jesus, and we could live before God by the grace of the Lord Jesus, we are still living in the satanic disposition and unable to practice God’s word and lead our lives according to God’s word, because the nature of Satan in us has not been resolved. This is not the type of people who will ultimately be gained by God. The people God will gain are those who have been cleansed of their corrupt disposition, those who are free of corruption and obedient to the will of God. So we still need the judgment work of Almighty God to resolve the roots of our sins, namely, the satanic disposition within us. When our satanic disposition has been cleansed, our separation from Satan’s influence has been complete, and we can truly obey and worship God, then we will truly be saved and gained by God, and qualify for God’s promise to enter His kingdom. There is no doubt about it.
Excerpted from the movie screenplay of The Mystery Of Godliness