The Sky Was Especially Clear and Sunny That Day (Part 3)
By Tian Ying, China
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 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).”
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!”