The Sky Was Especially Clear and Sunny That Day (Part 2)
By Tian Ying, China
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 redemption of 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 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. … 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 men sin in the day only to confess in the evening. This way, even if 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. … [R]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 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 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. And so you, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are 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.