The Path to God’s Kingdom Isn’t Always Smooth (I)
By Senen, India
I was born in a Christian family, and I followed my parents in believing in the Lord. I also often went to church meetings and participated in various church activities. One day in March of 2020, I met a sister on Facebook. We talked about belief in the Lord, and I felt the things this sister talked about were very new. For example, she asked me if I knew the criteria for entering the kingdom of heaven, and this topic instantly piqued my curiosity. I thought, “I have believed in the Lord for so long, but the pastors and elders have never discussed the criteria for entering the kingdom of heaven. I have also never thought if we can enter the kingdom of heaven by believing as we do.” This was the first time I had heard about this topic, and I was curious to know the answer. Later, by attending meetings and reading the words of Almighty God, I understood after being corrupted by Satan, we have sinful natures within us, and we often sin. If we don’t remove this sinful nature, we can’t escape from sin. Those who are filthy and corrupt aren’t qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven, because God is righteous and holy, and people can’t see God without being holy. She also told me, “The Lord Jesus has returned as Almighty God, to express the truth, and do the work of judging and purifying people. He does this to remove our sinful natures and completely save us from sin. Only by accepting God’s work of judgment in the last days and being purified of our corruption are we qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven.” She also read two passages of Almighty God’s words to me. “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” (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” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh). At the time, I contemplated these words, and thought about the deeds of myself and my brothers and sisters. I had to admit that we believed in the Lord and did some good deeds, we were kind, and we didn’t hit or scold others, but we could still often tell lies and commit sins, we were arrogant and looked down on others, we still envied and hated others, and we competed with others for fame and gain. We all lived trapped in a cycle of sinning and confessing, and we constantly struggled with sin. Only after reading the words of Almighty God did I understand that this was because the sinful natures in us had not been removed. From Almighty God’s words, I also found the way to escape from sin and be saved by God. That is, we must accept Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days. Only once our corruption is cleansed are we qualified to enter God’s kingdom. I thought Almighty God’s words were very good and practical. His words brightened my heart and made me understand some truths I had never heard before. After that, I diligently read Almighty God’s words, actively attended online meetings, fellowshiped with others on the knowledge and understanding of God’s word, and every time we met, I found it very rewarding and enjoyable. After a period of time, I understood many truths and mysteries I hadn’t in my belief in the Lord, such as what the incarnation is, how to discern the true Christ from false ones, the mystery of God’s name, the purpose of God’s management plan, how Satan corrupts people, how God works step by step to save humankind, how God’s kingdom is realized on earth, and so on. Also, for questions I didn’t understand when I read the Bible before, I found answers in Almighty God’s words. I realized these mysteries could only be revealed by God Himself. So I determined that Almighty God’s word is the truth and the voice of God, and that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus. At that time, I was very excited. I told many friends the good news of the Lord’s return, and told them to also investigate the work of Almighty God in the last days.
But not long after, the highest and most authoritative Christian church in my area—the Baptist Church in Northeast India—began to spread documents among the believers that were fabricated by religious pastors to condemn The Church of Almighty God. These documents contained CCP slander and smearing of The Church of Almighty God, and said this Church preaches that God had returned incarnate, and that He is a woman, which contradicts the Bible. They asked all believers not to attend gatherings of The Church of Almighty God. This content was also broadcast on major TV stations in India. As soon as you turned on the TV or computer and watched the news, you could see this kind of negative propaganda. It soon spread to the whole country. Seeing these pastors and leaders blatantly distorting the facts, spreading fallacies, and slandering and condemning Almighty God made me very angry and very sad. Many who investigated God’s work of the last days with me withdrew from the group because they were deceived. Some even tried to persuade me, saying this was a church condemned by the CCP, and couldn’t be believed. I was disappointed to see them give up the true way. I thought, the CCP is an atheist regime. It doesn’t believe in God at all, and it persecutes religious beliefs all the time. Why did these people prefer to believe in the CCP, an atheist political party, instead of listening to God’s voice or investigating God’s work? Just at that moment, a friend of mine in my hometown saw my WhatsApp feed saying “The Lord has returned, and the kingdom of Christ has come to earth,” and he asked me if I had attended meetings of The Church of Almighty God. I said, “Yes.” He told me I couldn’t believe in it. He also sent me slanderous remarks and fallacies about The Church of Almighty God, and said, “The pastor warned us not to follow Almighty God. The Lord’s return in the last days couldn’t possibly be as incarnate flesh, so we can’t attend meetings of The Church of Almighty God.” Because by that time, the brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God had fellowshiped the truth of the incarnation to me. They said that the Lord would return in the last days as incarnate flesh, which was planned by God long ago, and is proved by the prophecies of the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus said, “For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Mat 24:27). “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” (Luk 17:24–25). “Therefore be you also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes” (Mat 24:44). When the Lord Jesus prophesied His return in the last days, He mentioned many times “the coming of the Son of man,” “the Son of man comes,” and “the Son of man in His day.” Here, “the Son of man” refers to the incarnate flesh. Almighty God has come in the last days and has expressed many truths. He is the coming of the Son of man, the appearance of the Savior, which fulfills the prophecies of the Lord Jesus. Through the fellowship of my brothers and sisters, I also knew that only God is the truth, the way, and the life. If a person can express the truth and the word of God, and can do the work of God’s judgment in the last days, then this person must be God incarnate. No matter how ordinary His appearance, or whether He has status or power, His words and work are what is most important. This is the best way to prove His identity and status. Thinking of this, I told my friend what I understood and said to him, “God is the Creator, God can do whatever He wants. What we humans should do is seek, not judge and define God. The meetings of The Church of Almighty God help me understand many truths, so I won’t stop going to meetings. When we believe in God, we should listen to God’s voice, not blindly follow people. The Bible says, ‘We ought to obey God rather than men’ (Act 5:29).” After my friend heard this, he said to me very seriously, “If you continue to believe in Almighty God, when you return to your hometown, the Supreme Council will question you. The pastor won’t let you believe, and the villagers will reject you. Have you thought about these things?” I said, “Being rejected by people isn’t frightening. What’s scary is failing to keep up with God’s footsteps and being forsaken by God. Have you considered that if Almighty God is the return of the Lord Jesus, and we don’t accept it, we will fall into the disaster, cry, and gnash our teeth? The Lord’s return is a major matter, so why don’t you seek and investigate?” At the time, he still refused my advice.
Later, my friend told my parents about my belief in Almighty God. For a whole week after that, my parents called and scolded me every day, saying, “The pastor told us to stop you going to the meetings of The Church of Almighty God. You have to stop going to meetings and leave this Church!” I told them, “The Church of Almighty God is not like what the pastor says. Attending their meetings has taught me many truths I didn’t understand before. This is the true way, and I have not gone astray.” I wanted to testify Almighty God’s work to them, but they were so deceived by the rumors that they didn’t let me say more. Later, because of the epidemic, I returned home from school. When my parents saw that I often attended meetings online, they tried to restrict me. The neighbors also talked about me, saying if I had gone crazy for believing in Almighty God and ignoring the pastor. Some even said I was possessed by a demon. My parents were even angrier when they heard these things. They scolded me when they came home, “Do you know what the villagers say about you? Will you disregard what we tell you and still go to those meetings?” I said, “Yes, I will still attend meetings.” My parents were very angry, and tried to stop me even more. They often interrupted me during meetings, making it difficult to attend in peace. I remember once, I was praying after a meeting. When I opened my eyes, I suddenly saw my father standing next to me, which shocked me. Then he shouted angrily, “Cut off the internet and stop your meetings right now!” I told them, “The Lord Jesus has really returned, as Almighty God, to do the work of judgment beginning with God’s house. If we don’t keep up with God’s footsteps and accept God’s work of judgment, and if we don’t escape from sin, we can’t enter God’s kingdom, and in the end, we will fall into disaster and be punished.” But my parents didn’t listen to what I said at all and repeated the notions preached by the pastor. They said it’s impossible that God incarnated as a woman. I thought of a passage of Almighty God’s word the brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God read to me. “Each stage of work done by God has its own practical significance. Back then, when Jesus came, He came in male form, and when God comes this time, His form is female. From this, you can see that God’s creation of both men and women can be of use in His work, and with Him there is no distinction of gender. When His Spirit comes, He can take on any flesh He pleases, and that flesh can represent Him; whether male or female, it can represent God as long as it is His incarnate flesh. If Jesus had appeared as a female when He came, in other words, if an infant girl, and not a boy, had been conceived by the Holy Spirit, that stage of work would have been completed all the same. If that had been the case, then the present stage of work would have to be completed by a male instead, but the work would be completed all the same. The work done in each stage has its significance; neither stage of work is repeated, nor does it conflict with the other” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Two Incarnations Complete the Significance of the Incarnation). I remember they fellowshiped that God’s incarnation is when God’s Spirit wears flesh and becomes an ordinary person, so no matter if He is male or female, He is God Himself, and He can express the truth and do God’s work. The Lord Jesus was male. He was crucified for humankind and bore people’s sins, thereby completing the work of redeeming humankind. In the last days, God comes incarnate as a woman, and on the basis of the Lord Jesus’ work, expresses all truth required to save people, and does the work of purifying people. Therefore, whether the incarnate God is male or female, the truths He expresses and the work He does are the work of God’s Spirit, and they can all redeem and save humankind. Moreover, in the last days, if God comes incarnate as a woman to work, people will not define God by thinking God is male and cannot be female. Thinking of this, I fellowshiped to my parents, “God is a Spirit, and has no gender division. God created male and female in His own image, so the incarnate God can naturally be male or female. His physical appearance doesn’t matter. What matters is that He can express the truth to save humankind, and He is the incarnation of God’s Spirit, God Himself.” My parents couldn’t refute my words, so they said, “You say Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus, but we don’t believe it. We will accept it when the pastors and elders accept it. The pastor says Almighty God is an ordinary person born into an ordinary family, so this can’t be the incarnation of God.” In response to this, I told them, “When the Lord Jesus came to work, the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees of Judaism did not recognize Him as God because of the ordinary birth and appearance. They said, ‘Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t His mother’s name Mary?’ These Pharisees only looked at the appearance of the Lord Jesus. They did not investigate whether His words and work came from God. They judged with their arrogant dispositions that He was an ordinary man and not God. They also slandered and condemned the Lord Jesus. The believers of Judaism worshiped and obeyed them, and so followed them in crucifying the Lord. In the end, they lost God’s salvation and were punished. It’s the same today. These pastors and elders don’t investigate whether the words expressed by Almighty God are the truth and the voice of God. They blindly judge and condemn Almighty God, saying that Almighty God is an ordinary person, and questioning His origin and background. Isn’t this the same as when the Pharisees condemned the Lord Jesus?” At this point, I remembered a passage of God’s words my brothers and sisters had read to me. “He who is God incarnate shall possess the essence of God, and He who is God incarnate shall possess the expression of God. Since God becomes flesh, He shall bring forth the work He intends to do, and since God becomes flesh, He shall express what He is, and shall be able to bring the truth to man, bestow life upon him, and point the way for him. Flesh that does not have the essence of God is decidedly not the incarnate God; of this there is no doubt. If man intends to inquire into whether it is God’s incarnate flesh, then he must corroborate this from the disposition He expresses and the words He speaks. Which is to say, to corroborate whether or not it is God’s incarnate flesh, and whether or not it is the true way, one must discriminate on the basis of His essence. And so, in determining whether it is the flesh of God incarnate, the key lies in His essence (His work, His utterances, His disposition, and many other aspects), rather than external appearance. If man scrutinizes only His external appearance, and as a result overlooks His essence, this shows that man is benighted and ignorant” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh). Then I said to my parents, “Our determination of whether it is God’s incarnate flesh should be based on whether He can express the truth and do the work of saving humankind, not His appearance. Think about it, do we believe in the Lord Jesus because of His image in the flesh? No. We accepted the Lord Jesus because we read His words in the Bible, and saw that His words are the truth, His work redeemed the entire human race, and we enjoyed a lot of the Lord’s grace, and only then did we believe. I believe in Almighty God today because I saw that the words expressed by Almighty God are the truth. They have authority and power, and are the voice of God. Only then did I believe He is the incarnate God, the returned Lord Jesus.” Having said this, I advised them, “You should also read the words of Almighty God. Don’t blindly listen to the pastor’s words and believe what the pastor says. If they take the wrong path, resist God, and condemn God, will you follow them in resisting and condemning God?” When my parents heard me say this, they were very angry. They scolded me, “Do you have to be so stubborn as to go against the entire religious world? If you dare to oppose the pastors and elders, you will be driven out by the villagers. If that happens, where will you go? We won’t be able to help you if that happens! Stop talking about these things, and don’t testify Almighty God to others. When the pastor and elders accept it, we will accept it. For now, don’t make trouble for yourself.” No matter how I fellowshiped with them, they wouldn’t listen at all, and they rebuked me harshly. They said, “We spent so much money for your schooling, on your food and clothes, but you are so disobedient. You’re a disappointment to us.” At the time, my two brothers were also on my parents’ side. No one in my family listened to my advice. I tried to tell them that Almighty God has expressed many truths, and tried to share my harvest with them, but no matter what I said, they still didn’t want to hear it. My parents and the villagers treated me very well in the past, but now, just because I believed in Almighty God, their attitudes towards me changed. I had become a villain and an outcast in their eyes. Even at home, I couldn’t feel my family’s concern for me. I felt lonely and miserable. But I knew I couldn’t give up attending meetings no matter what, because if I didn’t attend meetings and equip myself with the truth, it would be impossible to withstand such an environment. Later, in order to avoid unnecessary conflicts, I had to hide from them and go to meetings in secret. I couldn’t talk and fellowship. I could only fellowship with others in text.
I remember one night, the pastor and a co-worker suddenly came to my house. The neighbors and some villagers also came to watch. The pastor said, “What did you talk about at these meetings of The Church of Almighty God?” I said, “The Church of Almighty God testifies that the Lord Jesus has returned, and is the incarnate Almighty God who does the work of judgment in the last days. We also discussed what kind of people can enter the kingdom of heaven, how to pursue to gain salvation, and other issues.” The pastor said, “Then tell me what kind of people can enter the kingdom of heaven.” His tone was contemptuous. I answered him, “The Bible says, ‘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). From these verses, we can see if we want to enter the kingdom of heaven, we must be freed from sin and cleansed of corrupt dispositions, and become people who do God’s will. Now all still live in sin. We often lie and sin, and we fail to practice God’s words, so we can’t enter the kingdom of heaven.” I also told him, “I used to be confused about why we are trapped in a cycle of sinning, confessing, and sinning again. Why can’t we escape the bondage of sin? Only after reading Almighty God’s words do I understand, when we believe in the Lord, our sins are forgiven, but our sinful nature, the root of our sin, has not been eliminated, so we still often lie and sin. The Bible says, ‘Without holiness no man shall see the Lord’ (Heb 12:14). The Lord is holy, so if we still sin and resist God, we cannot enter God’s kingdom. Now the Lord Jesus has returned to do the work of judgment in the last days. He expresses all the truths that purify and save mankind. This fulfills the prophecy of the Lord Jesus, ‘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). Almighty God has expressed many truths. Not only does He reveal the mystery of God’s management plan, He also reveals the root cause of people’s sin, judges and reveals people’s sinful nature, such as arrogance, deceit, evil, and so on, and reveals the various contaminants in our belief in God and the wrong view of believing in God only to enter the kingdom of heaven. Those in The Church of Almighty God experience the judgment of God’s words, gradually realize the truth of their own corruption and the essence of their nature, produce genuine repentance, and purify their corrupt dispositions. This is the effect achieved by God’s word in the Age of Kingdom. If we want to enter the kingdom of heaven, we must accept Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days, and only after our corruption is cleansed are we qualified to enter God’s kingdom.” After I finished, the pastor said, “I know you long to pursue the truth, but you are still young. You do not understand the Bible, so you are easily deceived. You’d best stop following Almighty God, confess your sins to the Lord, repent, and stop attending their meetings.” Later, the pastor saw that I ignored him and said, “You are my sheep. How dare you not obey me? You must repent now, withdraw from The Church of Almighty God, and stop praying in the name of Almighty God.” I told him, “I will never stop following Almighty God.” He was very angry, and warned me, “The Supreme Council of the church appointed me to ‘look after’ you. If you don’t stop, you will be taken before the Supreme Council for questioning. You should know, once that happens, not to mention affecting your studies, you will also have a bad reputation in the church. You might not even be able to find a job in the future. Why go through the trouble? You should be focused on your studies!” At the time, when the pastor said this, I felt a lot of pressure, because I knew that once I was questioned by the Supreme Council of the church, they would never leave me alone. If I didn’t stop following Almighty God, when I needed a certificate issued in the future, the village head wouldn’t sign it for me, and I might not even be able to find a job. My parents sent me to college so that I could find a good job after graduating. If I couldn’t find a job, my parents would definitely hinder me even more from believing in Almighty God. Besides, I had just started believing in Almighty God, and I still understood little of the truth. If I were brought in for questioning, and faced with a group of people attacking me, could I withstand it? If I insisted on believing in Almighty God, would they expel me from school? Would they ask all the other believers to reject me? Thinking of this, I was very worried, so I silently prayed to God and asked God to lead me, and said I wished to stand firm in testimony.
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