I Cannot Miss the Salvation of the Lord’s Return Again This Time
By Chen Jing
Editor’s Note: Many people believe that the words spoken by the Lord Jesus upon the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30), meant that the Lord’s work to save mankind was then completed, that our sins are forgiven and we are saved, and we are now just waiting for the Lord to come and raise us up into heaven. But is this understanding correct? Does it accord with the facts of God’s work? Let’s read Sister Chen Jing’s experiences together, so that we may understand the true meaning of the words “It is finished.”
“Hey, nana, your eyesight is a lot better than it was. You can even do needlework!”
My granddaughter’s offhanded remark brought back to my mind the time when I almost lost my sight and narrowly missed God’s salvation in the last days …
Clinging to My Conceptions, I Refuse Entry to the Lord
“My daughter, the Lord Jesus whom we’ve long yearned for has returned! He is Almighty God, Christ of the last days, and in the last days God expresses the truth and performs the new work of judging and purifying man in order to save us once and for all from sin. We must be the wise virgins and hurry to keep pace with the Lamb’s footsteps, for only by doing that will we be able to attain God’s salvation!” my mother said excitedly, gripping both my hands.
It came as a wonderful surprise to hear the news of the Lord’s return, but then I thought about what the pastor often said, that “When the Lord was upon the cross, He said ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30), and this proves that the Lord’s work to save mankind was then completed, that our sins are forgiven and we are saved, and that when the Lord returns He will immediately raise us up into heaven.” I thought: “Yes, the Lord did indeed say ‘It is finished,’ so how could He possibly perform any more work to save mankind in the last days? We can place our faith in the Lord’s words, and so I’d best trust in them.” And so, I rebuffed my mother.
Later, I spoke to Sister Li, a preacher in my church, about the gospel my mother had preached to me. After hearing me out, Sister Li said anxiously, “Sister Chen, the Lord Jesus saying ‘It is finished’ upon the cross is sufficient proof that God’s work to save mankind is over. God cannot possibly come again to perform a work to save mankind; all we have to do is wait for the Lord to come to raise us up into heaven. Sister Chen, this is the time when we must keep watch and await the coming of the Lord. If you go astray in your faith at this crucial juncture, then you won’t get into heaven!” Sister Li’s words made me very afraid, and I thought to myself: “No matter who preaches to me that the Lord has returned and is performing a new work, I won’t believe it. I’ll just wait for the Lord Jesus to return and raise us up into heaven.”
After that, my mother came again to preach to me Almighty God’s kingdom gospel several times, but I rebuffed her each time. Each time I watched my mother walking away, trembling and clutching at her crutches, I would feel very upset. My mother was no fool, and if she wasn’t certain that Almighty God’s work of the last days was the true way, then she wouldn’t have come so many times to preach it to me. But I was still afraid of going astray, and so I didn’t dare investigate it. During this time, Sister Qin from our village also came and preached to me that the Lord had returned and was performing a new work, but I rebuffed her too.
I Suddenly Develop an Eye Condition and God’s Will Is Behind It
One day, I suddenly felt as though one of my eyes was being obscured by something. My eyesight out of that eye became very blurry and it hurt a little. After taking medicine for a few days, not only did it have no effect, but on the contrary my eye got worse and worse. After examining me, the doctor said, “You may lose your sight in this eye, and your other eye could also be affected as well.” I was panic-stricken to hear this, and I sought medical advice everywhere I could, but no treatment I took had any effect. I also had two upper-level co-workers in my church pray for me, but this had no effect either. My eyesight was getting worse by the day, until it became so severe that I couldn’t bear any light at all, I couldn’t even make a meal anymore, and sometimes I couldn’t see who people were. The torment of this illness caused me great suffering and I became spiritually very weak. I didn’t feel like praying to the Lord anymore and I stopped going to church. I often thought: “If I really do go blind, then I’ll be just a disabled person, and what is the point in living like that?”
In my pain and despair, I suddenly thought about how my mother had come again and again to preach to me God’s kingdom gospel, and about how I had not looked into it at all before rebuffing her. If the Lord Jesus really had returned and was performing a new work to save man, hadn’t I then been resisting the Lord? Could it be that my eyes had gotten like this because I had offended God’s disposition?
Thinking this, I began to feel afraid, and I hurriedly prayed to the Lord: “O Lord! I’ve been taking treatment for my eyes for a long time now, but they still haven’t gotten any better, and instead are getting worse and worse. O Lord! My mother has come many times to tell me that You have returned and are performing a new work, but I have refused to investigate it or accept it because I was afraid of going astray. Could it be that this has something to do with my eye condition? O Lord! I am foolish and blind, and I don’t understand. If You truly have returned, then I ask that You guide me and give me another chance. I’m now willing to seek and investigate Your work.”
I Take the Initiative to Seek God’s New Work
The Lord truly is a wonder, for He heard my prayer. One day not long after, Sister Qin just happened to be passing by my house so I hurriedly called her over. After going inside, I immediately asked her, “Sister, the pastors and elders often preach that the meaning of the Lord’s words ‘It is finished’ spoken when He was upon the cross meant that God’s work to save mankind was then completed. I also believe that, by believing in the Lord, our sins are forgiven and we are saved, that when the Lord comes again He will immediately raise us up into heaven, and that He cannot possibly perform another work to save man. And yet you testify that the Lord Jesus has returned and is performing a new work. What is the truth of all this?”
Sister Qin smiled and said, “Sister Chen, when He was upon the cross, the Lord Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ But what exactly He meant by these words is not clearly explained in the Bible. So is it then right for the pastors and elders to say that the words ‘It is finished’ meant that God’s work to save mankind is now totally completed? Does what they say accord with the Lord’s words? Do they have a biblical basis for this statement? Did the Lord Jesus ever say such a thing? Did the Holy Spirit?”
I was struck by what she’d said, and I thought: “Yes, this statement is not in the Bible at all!” I quickly replied to her questions and said, “No.”
Sister Qin then said, “Since the Lord Jesus never said that ‘It is finished’ meant that God’s work to save mankind was then totally completed, is not this statement made by the pastors and elders a personal interpretation of the Lord’s words based on their own conceptions and imaginings? Even more seriously, this is something which pertains to arbitrarily adding the words of man to Jesus’ words, and it is something which offends God’s disposition!”
I was dumbstruck by what Sister Qin had said, and I thought: “That’s right! I’ve always agreed with what the pastors said and have always clung to this view, but I’ve never before considered where this view came from. If this is the case, and this view has no basis in the Lord’s words, then the view we’ve been clinging to isn’t necessarily correct!”
Sister Qin went on, saying, “Let’s think about it: If, as the pastors and elders say, the Lord Jesus saying ‘It is finished’ meant that God’s work to save mankind was totally finished, then why would the Lord Jesus have spoken these prophecies? ‘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). ‘And if any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day’ (John 12:47–48). According to the Lord’s prophecies, we can be absolutely sure that when the Lord returns in the last days, He will express more truths and perform the work of judgment. If we go by the view held by the pastors and elders, then these prophecies spoken by the Lord Jesus would not be able to be fulfilled, and wouldn’t that then mean that the Lord’s words would come to nothing? The Lord is faithful, and every word the Lord spoke must be fulfilled. Therefore, the view held by the pastors and elders clearly doesn’t accord with the Lord Jesus’ words, nor does it accord with the facts of God’s work.”
When the sister said this, everything suddenly became clear, and I thought: “The sister gives fellowship based upon the Lord’s words, and it seems as though when the Lord returns, He will indeed express more words and perform the work of judgment! But if this truly is the case, what exactly did the Lord Jesus mean when He said, ‘It is finished’?” I then asked Sister Qin this question.
By Seeking, I Understand the True Meaning of Jesus’ Words, “It Is Finished”
Sister Qin said, “If we want to understand this issue, we must first comprehend the background to the Lord Jesus performing the work of redemption. We can see from what is recorded in the Bible that, before Jesus began the work of redemption of the Age of Grace, people lived on earth in the Age of Law according to the law and the commandments proclaimed by Jehovah God. If someone sinned, then they had to offer up a sacrifice to God in accordance with the requirements of the law, and then their sin would be forgiven. Toward the end of the Age of Law, people became less and less able to keep to the law and they were committing more and more sins. They were all in danger of being condemned and put to death by the law and so, against this backdrop and according to the needs of mankind, God became flesh as the Lord Jesus and was crucified for mankind’s sake, thus redeeming the whole of mankind. So long as we come before God and pray in the name of the Lord Jesus, and we confess and repent our sins, then our sins will be forgiven. We are no longer subject to the condemnation or punishment of the law, and we can enjoy the grace and blessings which God bestows on us. This is the result of Jesus performing the work of redemption, and it is the true meaning of the oft-spoken word ‘saved.’ Therefore, when the Lord Jesus said ‘It is finished’ upon the cross, He meant that God’s work to redeem mankind was over, and not that God’s work to save mankind was completely finished. Let’s read a couple of passages of Almighty God’s words, and then we’ll understand this better.”
Sister Qin then turned on her tablet computer and read out: “As man sees it, God’s crucifixion had already concluded the work of God’s incarnation, redeemed all of mankind, and allowed Him to seize the key to Hades. Everyone thinks God’s work has been fully accomplished. In fact, from God’s perspective, only a small part of His work had been accomplished. All He had done was to redeem mankind; He had not conquered mankind, let alone changed man’s satanic countenance. That is why God says, ‘Although My incarnate flesh went through the pain of death, that was not the whole goal of My incarnation. Jesus is My beloved Son and was nailed to the cross for Me, but He did not exhaustively conclude My work. He only did a portion of it’” (“Work and Entry (6)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “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).
Sister Qin continued, saying, “We know from God’s words that, when He was crucified upon the cross, the Lord Jesus finished His work of redemption, and as long as we believe in the Lord and pray to Him, then our sins can be forgiven. But this does not mean that God’s work to save mankind is completely over. Because our sinful nature has not yet been resolved and there remain deeply rooted within us such satanic dispositions as being arrogant and conceited, selfish and contemptible, crooked and deceitful, and wicked and greedy, we are therefore still capable of frequently committing sins and defying God. To give a few examples, when our dispositions are arrogant, then no matter who we associate with, we always want to have the final say. The moment someone else says or does anything at odds with our own ideas, at best we can form preconceived ideas about them, and at worst we can slander them and judge them behind their backs, and even lecture them condescendingly and cause them to feel constrained. So as to protect our own interests, we can often tell lies and engage in deception, and all we reveal is our satanic disposition of being crafty and deceitful. When sickness, pain, trials and tribulations come upon us, because we have a God-betraying disposition, we can complain about God and blame God anywhere, anytime, and we can even go so far as to betray God. These satanic dispositions are the root cause that leads us to commit sin, to defy God, to betray God, and to be the enemies of God. The Bible says, ‘Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord’ (Hebrews 12:14). The people who are wanted in the kingdom of God are those who are without filth and corruption, and who genuinely worship and obey God. How are we, who are so filled with satanic corrupt dispositions, qualified to be raised up into heaven? Therefore, God’s work of salvation will continue for as long as our sinful nature remains unresolved.”
As I listened to the sister speak, my heart filled with light, and I hurriedly said, “I understand! So, when the Lord Jesus said ‘It is finished’ upon the cross, He meant that the work of redemption was finished, and not that God’s entire work to save mankind was finished. Although our sins are forgiven through our faith in the Lord Jesus, because our sinful nature has not yet been resolved, we are still capable of frequently telling lies and engaging in deception. We can also be jealous of others and hate others, we can be intolerant and impatient with others, and we cannot help but live in sin and defy God. God is holy, and such filthy people as us can certainly not get into the kingdom of God!”
Sister Qin looked at me and said excitedly, “Thanks be to God! Sister, that you can understand this issue the way you have is truly due to the guidance of God! Because our satanic nature has not been resolved, we still need God to perform a stage of work to change our corrupt dispositions. Almighty God has come in the last days, and on the foundation of Jesus’ work of redemption, He performs the work of judgment beginning in God’s house and He expresses all the truths we need to attain true salvation. He does all this so that we may eliminate from within us our satanic dispositions once and for all, be free from sin and be purified, attain God’s salvation and enter into the kingdom of God.”
How God Performs the Work of Judgment in the Last Days
Sister Qin went on with her fellowship, saying, “Let’s read another passage of God’s words, and then this issue will become clearer. Almighty God says, ‘In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, to expose the essence 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 essence 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 substance 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 substance 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).
“We can see from God’s words that God is the truth, the way, and the life, and that only God can save us from the shackles of our satanic dispositions so that we may attain His salvation. So as to utterly change and purify us, in the last days, God expresses many truths, and He reveals the truth of our defiance to God and betrayal of God, as well as our sinful nature. He also tells us all the truths concerning what dispositional change is, the path to dispositional change, what attaining salvation and being perfected mean, the criteria for attaining salvation and being perfected, what kind of people God loves, what kind of people God hates, how we should serve God’s will, and how we should fear God, shun evil and become compatible with God. When we accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, and when we have experienced God’s work, we see how deeply corrupted by Satan we are, and how our nature is filled with the various satanic corrupt dispositions, such as arrogance, selfishness and greed. We see that, no matter what we do, every action contains our own motives and goals, and the lives we live out bear no semblance to a genuine human being whatsoever. At the same time, we recognize in God’s words that God’s disposition is so righteous and holy, we begin to hate and despise ourselves from the bottom of our hearts, and we become willing to repent and change, and not to act on our satanic nature any longer. In this way, we begin to consciously forsake Satan and practice in accordance with God’s words, and our corrupt dispositions begin gradually to change, our conscience and sense of reason are restored, and we begin to truly obey and revere God. There is something which every single brother and sister who has experienced the judgment and chastisement of God’s words for many years can verify: God’s judgment and chastisement in the last days truly can change and purify people. As long as someone loves the truth, focuses on pursuing the truth and practices in accordance with God’s words, then they are sure to attain dispositional change and be gained by God. In the end, God will lead into His kingdom all who have experienced His judgment and chastisement, who have been purified, and who have gained both truth and life. There, they will obtain the provision of the water of life that flows from God, and they will enjoy a happy life of being with God, just as it says in Revelation: ‘And He that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new’ (Revelation 21:5). ‘I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give to him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely’ (Revelation 21:6).”
Sister Qin’s fellowship really opened my eyes, and I said with joy, “Thank the Lord! I now understand that, although we have been redeemed by the Lord Jesus, yet our sinful nature hasn’t been resolved, and that’s why Jesus prophesied that He would return to perform the work of judgment and cleanse us of our corrupt dispositions. Only by accepting God’s work of judgment in the last days can our inner satanic dispositions be utterly eliminated, and only then will we be able to enter into God’s kingdom. Sister Qin, by reading Almighty God’s words and listening to your fellowship, I now understand how necessary it is for our attainment of salvation to accept God’s work of the last days, and I wish to investigate in earnest Almighty God’s work of the last days.”
I Become Certain of the True Way, and I Repent and Start Over With a Clean Slate
Afterward, I often attended meetings with the brothers and sisters, and I avidly read Almighty God’s words. Through reading many chapters of Almighty God’s words, such as “Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God,” “Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth,” “Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life,” and “Did You Know? God Has Done a Great Thing Among Men,” I came to have a better understanding of such truths and mysteries as God’s work of the last days and God’s six-thousand-year management plan. My spirit felt satiated, my relationship with God became much closer, and more and more light entered my heart. The more I read the words of Almighty God, the more certain I became that Almighty God is indeed the Lord Jesus returned, and that He is the manifestation of Christ of the last days.
I thought about how blind I had been. My mother and Sister Qin had testified to me several times about Almighty God’s work of the last days, but I had consistently clung to the view instilled in me by the pastor, and I had neither sought nor investigated God’s new work, and thus did I narrowly miss the salvation brought by the Lord’s return. And yet God did not give up trying to save me, but instead He used my illness to make me reconsider. When I became willing to seek His work, God gave me another chance, and through listening to Almighty God’s words and Sister Qin’s fellowship, God finally allowed me to understand what Jesus truly meant when He said “It is finished,” and I then relinquished my conceptions about God’s work and accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. If God hadn’t done this, I really would have missed my chance to attain God’s salvation. Thanks be to God for loving me and saving me!
Later, I actively participated in spreading God’s kingdom gospel alongside my brothers and sisters and, what came as a surprise to me was that, once I had accepted God’s work of the last days, my eyes got better without me even realizing it. I have no way to repay God’s great kindness, and I wish now only to spend the rest of my life performing my duty to repay God’s love!