30. The Sky Was Especially Clear and Sunny That Day
By Tian Ying, China
I used to be a believer in the Three-Self Church in China. When I first started participating in gatherings, the pastors would often say to us, “Brothers and sisters, it is recorded in the Bible that, ‘For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation’ (Romans 10:10). We’ve been justified due to our faith, and since we believe in Jesus, we have been saved. If we believed in anything else, then we wouldn’t be saved….” I kept these words spoken by the pastors always in mind. They spurred me on as I ardently engaged in pursuit and actively attended gatherings, waiting for the Lord to come and receive me into the kingdom of heaven. Later, a series of unlawful deeds were committed in the church, and as a result I began to weary of the gatherings there. Not only were the pastors divided amongst themselves, with each trying to establish themselves at the top and set up their own fiefdoms, but also the sermons given by the pastors were constrained to toe the line drawn by the United Front Work Department (UFWD). The UFWD didn’t allow our pastors to preach from the Book of Revelation out of fear that it would “incite disturbance among the people,” and so, they didn’t preach from the Book of Revelation. The pastors would often preach about donations, saying that the more one donated then the more blessings one would receive from God. Seeing the church in this condition, I felt bewildered: How had the church come to this? Did the pastors not believe in the Lord? Why did they not follow the Lord’s word? Why did they not have even the slightest reverence for the Lord? From that point on, I no longer wanted to go to gatherings at the Three-Self Church because I felt that they did not truly believe in God, and that they were false shepherds who pretended to believe in God in order to obtain the brothers and sisters’ hard-earned money.
In late 1995, I left the church without hesitation and joined a house church (the Sola Fide Church). At first, I thought that their sermons were not subject to the restrictions of the national government, and they even integrated the Book of Revelation into their sermons and discussed the last days, the Lord’s return, and so on. So I felt that their preaching was much better than that of the pastors in the Three-Self Church, and that there was more enjoyment to be had by attending gatherings here compared to the gatherings in the Three-Self Church—I was very happy. But after a period of time, I discovered that here, too, among the co-workers there were some who engaged in jealous disputes and who created schisms. None of the brothers and sisters were living out the requirements of the Lord, and they were not as loving as they had once been. When I saw that this church wasn’t really any different to the Three-Self Church, I felt very disappointed, but I also didn’t know where I could find a church that had the work of the Holy Spirit. For lack of a better option, all I could do was stay within the Sola Fide Church, and so I kept attending their gatherings. The pastors and preachers all said “once saved always saved” and “so long as you endure to the end, toil and work for the Lord and keep the way of the Lord, then you will be able to enter the kingdom of heaven.” So I thought to myself at that time: “Regardless of what happens to other people, as long as I persevere in my faith in the Lord Jesus and do not depart from the way of the Lord, then when the Lord returns I will have a chance to be raptured into the kingdom of heaven.”
In the blink of an eye it was late 1997, God’s kingdom gospel had already reached us, and our church was thrown into uproar. Leader Li said to us, “Nowadays a group has emerged that is spreading Eastern Lightning, they are stealing good sheep from various denominations, and they are saying that the Lord Jesus has already returned and that He is carrying out a new stage of work. The Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross for us, and He has already paid the price of His life in order to redeem us. We have already been saved. We just need to endure to the end, and when the Lord returns we will certainly be raptured into the kingdom of heaven. We must therefore be careful, and we absolutely cannot receive these people from Eastern Lightning. Whoever receives them shall be expelled from the church! Also, you must be sure not to listen to what they say, and you must be sure not to read their books….” It seemed that co-workers at all levels were all talking about these things at pretty much every gathering. After hearing what they said, the brothers and sisters unwittingly began to resist and guard against Eastern Lightning. I began to be even more careful and cautious, for I feared that I would be stolen away by Eastern Lightning and would therefore lose my chance to enter into the kingdom of heaven.
However, the new year had just begun in 1998 when, one day, I unexpectedly ran into someone from The Church of Almighty God, and I had the fortune to listen to the way of Eastern Lightning for the first time. That day, my elder sister gave me a call and invited me to her house. She had also invited Sister Hu from her village to come over too. When Sister Hu saw me she smiled and said, “Oh good, you came. A distant relative of mine who believes in the Lord is visiting me. Why don’t we all gather together?” I happily agreed. Before long, Sister Hu came back with her relative. When this sister saw us, she greeted us with enthusiasm. Although I had never met her before, I felt a sort of closeness to her. She said, “There is widespread desolation in the church nowadays. The preachers don’t have anything fresh or new to sermonize about. At every gathering, when they aren’t preaching about how to resist Eastern Lightning, it’s all just listening to tapes and singing hymns. This is all that happens at gatherings. Co-workers engage in jealous disputes, they collude and connive, they are all extremely self-righteous and no one listens to anyone else. The brothers and sisters are negative and weak, and they have lost their faith and love. Many have left the Lord to return to the world to make money.” Deep inside me I felt the same way, and as I nodded my head, I said to the sister, “This is what it’s like in my church, too. Before, we would have 20 to 30 people in every meeting place at our monthly meetings, but now there are just a few elderly people, and even the preachers have gone into the world to make money! There is no enjoyment to be had at the gatherings.” The sister nodded her head and said, “This kind of situation doesn’t just exist in certain churches anymore, but is a widespread phenomenon throughout the religious world. This shows that the work of the Holy Spirit is not to be found within the church any longer, and so unlawful deeds are being committed all the time—this is a sign of the Lord’s return. It’s just like the end of the Age of Law, when the temple became a place where livestock was sold and people exchanged money. It was because God had already stopped carrying out His work in the temple, and instead had incarnated as the Lord Jesus to carry out a new stage of work outside of the temple.” I listened attentively, nodding from time to time. The sister went on, saying, “Sister, in Luke 17:24–26 it says: ‘For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in His day. But first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.’ How do you interpret these lines of Scripture?” I thought seriously about them for a while, and then laughed awkwardly and said, “Sister, aren’t these lines of Scripture talking about the coming of the Lord?” The sister replied, “These lines of Scripture are discussing the coming of the Lord. However, they are not talking about the coming of the Lord Jesus back in those olden days. Rather, they are referring to the return of the Lord in the last days because, here, the Lord is very clearly prophesying about what will happen when He returns in the last days. Sister, right now the faith of the believers in the church has grown cold, and they are negative and weak. This is because God has become flesh once again to carry out a new stage of work. God’s work has moved on, and everyone who does not follow God’s new work will lose the work of the Holy Spirit.” As soon as I heard the sister say that the Lord Jesus had already returned, I immediately guessed that she belonged to Eastern Lightning, and my heart instantly sank. The smile on my face disappeared as the words from my leaders who had sealed off the church at once appeared in my mind: “To believe in Jesus is to be saved, and once saved always saved! … Do not receive those from Eastern Lightning! …” As I thought about these words from my leaders, I wanted to rush back home. But when this idea came into my mind, the Lord enlightened me by having me remember a verse from a hymn: “Jesus is our refuge, when you have troubles hide with Him, when the Lord and you are together what do you have to fear?” “That’s it!” I thought. “If I have the Lord by my side, then what do I have to fear? The things I am afraid of do not come from God, they come from Satan.” Just then, the sister said, “If anyone has any questions, go ahead and share them. The word of God will be able to solve all the problems and difficulties that we have.” When I heard the sister say this, I thought to myself: “You may not be able to answer my questions! I now have to find out exactly what is really being preached by Eastern Lightning, and how it has been able to steal away so many good sheep.”
Thinking this, I decided to jump straight in and take the initiative, and I said, “Our leaders are always saying that the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross for us, and that He has already paid the price of His life in order to redeem us, and therefore we have already been saved. It is recorded in Scripture: ‘For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation’ (Romans 10:10). Since we have been saved once we have been saved forever, and so long as we endure to the end, then when the Lord returns we will certainly be raptured into the kingdom of heaven. This is the promise that the Lord has made to us. We therefore do not need to accept any new work being carried out by God.”
The sister smiled and said to me, “Many believers think that the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross for us, and that since He paid the price of His life to redeem us, we have been saved. People believe that to be saved once is to be saved forever, that all we need to do is endure to the end, and then when the Lord returns we will certainly be raptured into the kingdom of heaven, and we do not need to accept any new work carried out by God. But is this way of thinking really correct? Does it really conform to the Lord’s will? Actually, this idea that ‘to be saved once is to be saved forever, and when the Lord returns we will be raptured into the kingdom of heaven’ is just a notion and an imagining of man, and it simply does not accord with what the Lord said. The Lord Jesus never once said that those who have been saved by their faith may enter into the kingdom of heaven, but rather, He said, ‘But he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven’ (Matthew 7:21). To be saved and to do the will of the Father which is in heaven are not the same thing. When we speak of being saved by one’s faith, this being saved refers to being forgiven for your sins. That is to say, if someone was supposed to be put to death according to law, but then they came before the Lord and repented and received the Lord’s salvation, then the Lord would forgive them their sins, and that person would cast off the condemnation of the law, and would no longer be put to death according to law. This is the true meaning of being saved. But to be saved doesn’t mean that a person has been freed from sin and been cleansed. We have all profoundly experienced this. Though we have believed in the Lord for many years, and we often confess our sins to the Lord and repent, and also enjoy the joy and peace of being forgiven for our sins, we still often involuntarily commit sins, and we are bound by our sins. This is a fact. For example, our corrupt dispositions such as arrogance, deceitfulness, selfishness, greediness, wickedness and so on still continue to exist; we still enjoy pursuing the trends of the world, pursuing wealth and fame, and the pleasures of the flesh, and we covet sinful pleasures. In order to protect our personal interests, we are also capable of frequently telling lies and deceiving others. Therefore, to be saved does not mean that one has attained full salvation. That is a fact. It is recorded in Scripture: ‘You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy’ (Leviticus 11:45). God is holy, so would He allow those who often sin and resist God to enter the kingdom of heaven? If you believe that those who have been saved by their faith may enter into the kingdom of heaven, then why does the Lord Jesus say the following words? ‘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’ (Matthew 7:21–23). Why is it said that when the Lord returns, He will separate the goats from the sheep and the tares from the wheat? It is therefore completely untenable to say that those who have been saved by their faith may enter into the kingdom of heaven. It is completely at odds with the words of the Lord Jesus, and it defies the words of the Lord! So, if we do not receive and believe in the Lord’s word, but rather cling to the fallacies disseminated by the pastors and elders and rely on our own notions and imaginings to believe in God, then we will never be able to meet the Lord’s requirements, and we will never be able to be raptured into the kingdom of heaven.”
I mulled over the sister’s words and felt that what she’d said made a lot of sense, so I sat there listening quietly. The sister went on, saying, “The word of Almighty God has already revealed the mystery of being saved and attaining full salvation, so let’s take a look at the word of Almighty God and see what He has to say about this. Almighty God says: ‘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 Vision of God’s Work (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘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. … Running deeper than sin, it is something planted by Satan and deeply rooted within man. 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 Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘You only know that Jesus shall descend during the last days, but how exactly will He descend? 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’ (“Concerning Appellations and Identity” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).”
The sister then continued with her fellowship. “From the word of Almighty God, we can see that every stage of work carried out by God is carried out in accordance with the needs of the corrupt human race. At the end of the Age of Law, man was becoming more and more deeply corrupted by Satan and was committing more and more sins. Man had violated the laws of Jehovah and was in danger of being stoned to death and burned by the fires of heaven. God loves mankind. He incarnated Himself to become the likeness of sinful flesh, and He was nailed to the cross to redeem man from sin. So, as long as we believe in the Lord Jesus then we will be saved, and the Lord will not remember our sins. We can come directly before God and pray to Him, and enjoy the abundance of grace bestowed by Him. But although we have been redeemed, that does not prove that we are without sin. We, the human race, have been corrupted by Satan for thousands of years, and Satan’s poison has taken root deep inside of us—it has become our life and it has become our nature. We are controlled by our satanic natures, such as those of conceit and arrogance, deception and crookedness, selfishness and contemptibleness, and greed and evil. We are still capable of frequently telling lies, engaging in deception, sinning, and resisting God. This is the root of our living in the cycle of constantly committing sins and then confessing them. Therefore, based on the needs of the corrupt human race and God’s management plan for saving humankind, God has come to carry out a stage of work in the last days to judge and chastise man in order to cleanse us and change our corrupt dispositions, and in the end God will lead those who have attained full salvation and who have been perfected into His kingdom. If we still now cling to the notion ‘once saved always saved,’ and we refuse to accept God’s work of judgment in the last days, then the poison of Satan that is in our blood will never be cleansed, we will never be able to attain God’s full salvation, and being raised up into the kingdom of heaven will be out of the question. These consequences are very serious. So, now, in these last days, only by leaving the Age of Grace behind and accepting Almighty God’s judgment work of the last days will man be thoroughly cleansed, attain God’s full salvation, and go to a good destination.”
As I listened to the fellowship given by the sister, I thought to myself: “Yes, Almighty God’s words are so practical. During these last several years, haven’t I been constantly living a life where I commit sins during the day and then confess them at night? We really have only been forgiven our sins because of our faith in the Lord, but our sinful nature still exists. We can still sin and resist God. The Lord is holy, so how can those who often sin and resist Him be raptured into the kingdom of heaven? Almighty God’s words have unraveled these issues that have weighed heavily on my mind for so many years. Almighty God’s words really do contain truths for us to seek. Could it be that Almighty God really is the returned Lord? I really do need to look into this properly.”
I was gradually dropping my guard against the sister, but just as I was thinking about looking into the matters we had discussed, a loud and urgent knocking sound suddenly came from the door. Sister Hu rushed to open the door, and my pastor came storming into the room. He looked at me, and then at the sister who was spreading the kingdom gospel of Almighty God, and then said to me in a tone of astonishment and anger, “What are you doing here? Didn’t I tell you not to go around listening to strangers’ sermons? How could you still come running over here to listen to them? Go home at once, and do not listen to them again. If you are deceived, then your regret will come too late!” After the pastor had finished chiding me, he then turned to threaten the sister. “And you people who are spreading Eastern Lightning, you do nothing but come to our church and steal our flock! Leave at once! If you do not go, I will not be so polite!” Witnessing the pastor treat the sister in this way made me feel quite disgusted, so I said to him, “Pastor, this sister just had some really good things to say, and what she said accords with the Bible. I feel that it’s really quite possible that Almighty God is the returned Lord. Why don’t you just give it a listen, and then we can decide. Besides, doesn’t the Bible say, ‘Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares’ (Hebrews 13:2)? We who believe in the Lord ought to show some compassion, and we cannot treat people this way. Doesn’t throwing this sister out like this go against the Lord’s teachings?” The pastor then yelled at me, “What do you understand? We who believe in Jesus have already been saved. We do not need to be saved again! They have come here to steal our flock, and so we mustn’t receive them!” At this time the sister who had been spreading the gospel smiled and said, “We are all waiting for the return of the Lord, so why can’t we sit down and have a conversation? If we miss out on the Lord’s return we will regret it very much—” Without waiting for the sister to finish talking, the pastor started shoving her out, saying, “That’s enough out of you! No matter how well you talk, I still won’t listen to you! Leave at once!” And just like that, the pastor went so far as to push, pull and swear at the sister to drive her out of the house. After the sister left, the pastor looked back and threatened me, saying, “Hurry back home. From now on you are no longer allowed to be in contact with people from Eastern Lightning. If you do, you will be expelled from the church, and if that happens you will never have the chance to receive the praise of God and enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Because I had already heard the fellowship given by the sister, I understood that the work of the Lord Jesus had been that of redemption, but not of purifying man, and that only when the Lord returns to carry out His work of judgment in the last days will He thoroughly cleanse and save man. Without accepting God’s work of judgment in the last days, man’s corrupt dispositions will not be changed, and he will not be able to attain God’s full salvation and enter into the kingdom of heaven. The pastor’s words therefore did not have much of an effect on me, so I just went along with it and nodded in feigned agreement, and then I returned home.
After returning home, I kept thinking over the fellowship given by the sister, and I thought to myself: “What that sister was saying all accords with the Bible. It really was ill-founded of me when I believed that ‘once saved always saved’!” I thought back on all the years I’d believed in the Lord and realized that I was constantly living in a state whereby I would commit sins and then confess them, but I was never able to solve this problem, and I personally went through a lot of suffering. I felt that if I went on believing like this, then ultimately I would not be able to attain God’s praise. After listening to the sister’s fellowship, I became even more certain that if people believing in the Lord want to attain full salvation and enter into the kingdom of heaven, then they really do have to accept the work that judges and cleanses man performed by the returned Lord Jesus. So I wondered: What really is Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days? And how does Almighty God cleanse and change man? As I was thinking these things over, I thumbed through the Bible until I saw a passage wherein the Lord Jesus says: “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: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come” (John 16:12–13). I also read this in the Bible: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7). When I read this, it felt like I had finally awoken from a dream: As it turns out, the Lord Jesus long ago prophesied that in the last days God would express more of the truth and carry out a new stage of work. Wouldn’t this be Almighty God coming to carry out the work of judging and cleansing man? “Oh,” I thought, “if only the pastor hadn’t come and caused such disruption today, I would have been able to continue listening in earnest about the way of Almighty God. Before, I always listened to what the pastors and elders said, and I never sought out or investigated Almighty God’s work in the last days. I just did whatever the pastors and elders said. Only today have I recognized that I had no place for the Lord in my heart. As for my investigation into the Lord’s return, I didn’t seek the Lord’s will but listened instead to the words of the pastors and elders. What a fool I’ve been! Those of us who believe in the Lord should magnify Him, and we must actively seek out God’s footsteps with regard to the Lord’s return, for only in this way will we be conforming to God’s will. Today I saw that the pastor’s actions simply do not conform to the Lord’s will. I can no longer just blindly listen to what they say, but must seek out and investigate the way of Almighty God.”
First thing in the morning of the following day, I decided to go to Sister Hu’s home and look for the sister who had spread the gospel of Almighty God so that we could continue fellowshiping. Much to my surprise, before I had even gone out the door, Sister Hu brought the sister over to my house. This was truly guided by the Lord. She first asked me with concern whether or not I had been harassed by the pastor the day before, and I replied very definitively, “No. After yesterday’s fellowship, I came back here and carefully thought over everything, and I realized that we really cannot be cleansed just by believing in the Lord Jesus. Our corrupt nature still exists, and with it we will not be able to attain God’s full salvation. What’s more, I also read a passage in the Bible that does indeed prophesy that the Lord will return to carry out His work of judgment in the last days. The thing that I now wish most to know is what the work of judgment that Almighty God is to carry out in the last days is really all about, and how will Almighty God’s work of judgment both cleanse and change man?”
The sister said delightedly, “Thanks be to God! This question you have asked really is very crucial, for it has to do with the important topic of whether or not our faith in God will enable us to attain full salvation and enter the kingdom of heaven. Let us first look at what the word of Almighty God says. ‘God’s work in the present incarnation is to express His disposition primarily through chastisement and judgment. Building on this foundation, He brings more truth to man and points out to him more ways of practice, thereby achieving His objective of conquering man and saving him from his own corrupt disposition. This is what lies behind the work of God in the Age of Kingdom’ (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘At the mention of the word “judgment,” you are likely to think of the words that Jehovah spoke to all the places and the words of rebuke that Jesus spoke to the Pharisees. For all their severity, these words were not God’s judgment of man; they were but words spoken by God within different environments, that is, in different contexts. These words are unlike the words spoken by Christ as He judges man during the last days. In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, to expose the substance of man, and to dissect the words and deeds of man. These words comprise various truths, such as man’s duty, how man should obey God, how man should be loyal to God, how man ought to live out normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and the disposition of God, and so on. These words are all directed at the substance of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, the words that expose how man spurns God are spoken in regard to how man is an embodiment of Satan, and an enemy force against God. In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth of which man is utterly bereft. Only methods such as these can be called judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced into submission to God, and moreover gain true knowledge of God. 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 essence 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 essence 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).”
After reading the word of God, the sister gave fellowship, saying, “Through the word of God we understand that during the work of judgment in the last days, Almighty God uses many aspects of the truth to expose man and dissect man; He uses words to reveal man’s corrupt substance and the truth about man’s corruption, to judge man’s satanic nature that resists God and betrays God, and to cleanse all manner of corruption that resides within us. Examples of such corruption include being filled with notions and imaginings about God’s work, taking the measure of God’s work by regarding our own notions as the truth, and judging God, condemning God and resisting God however we wish. Another example is that, although we may believe in God, we really are no different from unbelievers; we all pursue fame and fortune and are willing to pay any price for it, but not a single person lives to satisfy God. Our outlook on many things is also incompatible with God, such as our belief that so long as we believe in the Lord then we will be saved, and that when the Lord comes we will be raptured into the kingdom of heaven, when in fact God actually said that only by following the will of God will man be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. These are just a few examples of the corruption we harbor within us. Through God’s judgment and chastisement, these corrupt dispositions, these erroneous views and ways of thinking, and Satan’s life axioms will be cleansed and transformed, and we will come to be truly obedient to God. At the same time, through God’s judgment and chastisement, we also come to recognize that God’s righteous disposition brooks no offense by man, we come to know what kind of person God loves, what kind of person God despises, we come to understand God’s intention to save man, we come to have reverence for God, and we come to know how to pursue the truth and properly perform our duties so as to attain God’s praise. Through experiencing and practicing God’s words, we come to understand many truths. For example, we come to know what it means to have faith in God, what it means to truly attain salvation, what it means to obey God and love God, and what it means to follow God’s will, and so on. Our corrupt dispositions will all change to varying degrees, and our life views and values will also be transformed. This is the work of judgment and chastisement that God carries out on us, and you could also say that it is the salvation of God’s love. So, only by receiving judgment before the seat of Christ of the last days—Almighty God—are we able to gain the truth, and only then are we able to break away from sin, be cleansed and attain full salvation. Sister, are you able to comprehend this fellowship?”
Through reading God’s words and through the sister’s fellowships, I came to understand God’s work and His will. I nodded, feeling deeply moved, and I said, “Thanks be to God! Through listening to the word of Almighty God, I have come to understand that, in the last days, God uses the truth of His word to carry out the work of judging and cleansing man. My past pursuits were so vague and unrealistic. Now I understand that it is only through accepting God’s work of judgment and chastisement in the last days that man will be able to be cleansed by God, attain full salvation, and enter into the kingdom of heaven. Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus! I am willing to accept Almighty God’s work of the last days and accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words so that my corrupt dispositions may someday soon be changed.” After hearing me say this, the sister smiled happily, and continuously gave her thanks to God.
Almighty God’s words freed me of the notions I harbored in my mind, and they showed me the way to throw off my corrupt dispositions and be cleansed. I felt that my direction and goal in pursuing full salvation were now clear, and my spirit felt bright, steady, and liberated. As I looked outside through the window, I noticed how especially clear and sunny the sky was on that day. I fell to my knees on the ground and prayed to God: “O God, I give my thanks to You. To be fortunate enough to welcome Your return and witness Your appearance in my lifetime is such a blessing! But I am blind and ignorant, for I believed the rumors that were spread by the pastors and elders, I clung to my notions and imaginings, and I almost lost my eternal salvation. O God, I am so ignorant and numb! I am willing to repent, and I treasure this extremely rare opportunity to attain full salvation. I am also willing to bring more brothers and sisters into Your presence so that they may attain Your salvation! Amen!”