The Road to Purification
By Christopher, Philippines
My name is Christopher and I am a pastor from a family church in the Philippines. In 1987, I was baptized and returned to the Lord Jesus. By the Lord’s grace, in 1996 I became a pastor of the local church. At that time, apart from preaching in many places around the Philippines, I also preached in places like Hong Kong and Malaysia. Because of the work and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I felt that I had inexhaustible energy in my work for the Lord and an unceasing flow of words in my sermons. I would often go to support brothers and sisters when they were negative and weak. Sometimes members of their family who did not believe in the Lord were unfriendly toward me, yet I could be tolerant and patient and not lose faith in the Lord and I believed that the Lord could change them. So I felt like I had changed a great deal since believing in the Lord. However, since 2011, I have not felt the work of the Holy Spirit as strongly as before. Slowly, I have had no new enlightenment for my sermons and have not had the strength to break free from living in sin. I could not help getting angry at my wife and daughter and teaching them a lesson through my temper when I saw that they were not doing as I desired. I knew that this was not in keeping with the will of the Lord, but often I could not help myself. I felt particularly distressed about this. In order to free myself from a life of sin and confession, I put more effort into reading the Bible, fasting and praying, and found spiritual pastors everywhere to seek and explore this together. But all of my efforts were useless and made no difference to me living in sin and to the darkness in my soul.
Then one evening in spring 2016, my wife asked me, “Christopher, I’ve noticed you’ve been very troubled recently. What is on your mind?” After hearing my wife ask this, I told her what was troubling me, “I’ve been wondering these last few years why I cannot break free from living in sin despite being a pastor and having believed in the Lord for many years. I cannot touch the Lord now. It is as if the Lord has forsaken me. Although I preach everywhere, as soon as I have free time, especially in the dead of night, I always feel a kind of emptiness and anxiety and this feeling just gets stronger and stronger. I think about how I have believed in the Lord for many years and how I have read the Bible a great deal and often resolved to bear the cross and conquer myself, but yet I am always bound by sins and am capable of telling lies in order to protect my own interests and face and fail to live up to ‘And in their mouth was found no guile’ (Revelation 14:5). When facing tribulations and refinement, although I know I have the Lord’s consent, I still cannot stop myself from complaining to the Lord and misunderstanding Him and I am completely unable to willingly deny myself. I am afraid that when the Lord comes, I will not be able to enter the kingdom of heaven because of living in sin like this!”
Upon hearing this, my wife said, “Christopher, how can you think like this? You must have faith; you are a pastor! Although we live in sin and have not broken free from the binds of sin, the Bible says, ‘That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved’ (Romans 10:9), ‘For whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved’ (Romans 10:13). As long as we persist in reading the Bible, meeting, and praying for the Lord, and bear the cross and always follow until the second coming of the Lord, we shall be able to enter the kingdom of heaven and receive the Lord’s blessing.”
I then said to my wife, “I thought so before, but in 1 Peter 1:16 it says: ‘Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy.’ I have believed in the Lord for thirty years, yet I cannot keep the Lord’s way and, living in sin, I am still capable of often resisting the Lord; this is not holy in the slightest. Ugh! How many times did I resolve to obey the teachings of the Lord, yet I could not practice the word of the Lord. How could I be worthy of entering the kingdom of heaven under such circumstances? The Lord Jesus said: ‘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’ (Matthew 7:21). According to the Lord’s words, it is not as simple as we think to enter the kingdom of heaven. The Lord is holy, so how can people who cannot practice the word of the Lord and who often resist Him be raptured into the kingdom of heaven? Only those who have changed and who do God’s will can enter the kingdom of heaven!”
My wife thought for a moment and said, “What you are saying makes sense. The Lord is holy and we are still sinful. We are not worthy of God’s kingdom. It’s just that … I suddenly remember … didn’t Pastor Liu invite a Korean Pastor Kim for the church? How about this time we seek on this issue?” I said: “Well, that’s OK too. The Lord Jesus said: ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you’ (Matthew 7:7). As long as we seek, I believe that the Lord shall lead us. As a pastor, I must consider the lives of our brothers and sisters. I must not muddle-headedly believe in God or I shall put brothers and sisters in a quandary and also entrap myself. So let’s wait until the Korean Pastor Kim arrives and then seek from him regarding this issue.”
Because I wanted to seek Pastor Kim, I wanted to know a little about Pastor Kim’s background. So I searched for the Korean Church on the Internet. On the pages that popped up, I saw the website https://www.holyspiritspeaks.org. I opened the website and some words on it drew me in: “Man received much grace, such as the peace and happiness of the flesh, the faith of one member bringing blessing on an entire family, the healing of sickness, and so on. The rest were the good deeds of man and his godly appearance; if man could live on the basis of these, he was considered an acceptable believer. Only believers of this kind could enter heaven after death, which means that they were saved. But, in their lifetime, these people did not understand at all the way of life. All they did was to commit sins and then confess their sins in a constant cycle without making any path toward changing their disposition: Such was the condition of man in the Age of Grace. Has man received complete salvation? No!” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). These words were so good that I couldn’t help continuing to read onward: “Therefore, after that stage of work was finished, there still remained the work of judgment and chastisement. This stage is to make man pure by means of the word and thereby give him a path to follow. This stage would not be fruitful or meaningful if it continued with the casting out of demons, for it would fail to extirpate man’s sinful nature, and man would come to a standstill at the forgiveness of his sins. Through the sin offering, man has been forgiven his sins, for the work of the crucifixion has already come to an end and God has prevailed over Satan. But the corrupt disposition of man still remaining within him, man can still sin and resist God, and God has not gained mankind. That is why in this stage of work God uses the word to expose the corrupt disposition of man, causing him to practice in accordance with the right path. This stage is more meaningful than the previous one, as well as more fruitful, for now it is the word that directly supplies man’s life and enables the disposition of man to be completely renewed; it is a much more thorough stage of work” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Reading this, I was extremely excited. Although I could not completely understand these words and some words even puzzled me, they gave me hope. I felt that here I could find a way to purify and change myself. I thanked God from the bottom of my heart for listening to my prayer. I read some of the content again and felt that the words were so well written that they watered and shepherded my thirsty soul. When I saw it written on the website: “If you can’t find the Gospel Hotline in your country or region, please leave us a message and we will contact you as soon as possible,” I quickly looked, but there was no Philippines Gospel Hotline and so I immediately left a message and did not hesitate to write down my contact number and email address.
After returning home that evening, I told my wife this news and after hearing what I said, my wife was willing to seek as well. I really thank the Lord that the next day they responded to my message and arranged to speak to us online that afternoon. That afternoon, we spoke to Sister Liu and Sister Su. From the conversation, I felt that they spoke simply, deftly and with insight. My wife was even more anxious than me and said, “I have something I would like to ask you. Is that OK?” They enthusiastically said, “Of course.” My wife said, “On your church’s website it says, ‘God of the last days has done a stage of judgment and chastisement work.’ My husband and I know that without holiness no one shall see the Lord because the Lord is holy, but in Romans it says, ‘That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved’ (Romans 10:9) ‘For whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved’ (Romans 10:13). If we believe in the Lord Jesus then we are already saved and can enter the kingdom of heaven, so why does God of the last days undertake a stage of work of judgment and chastisement? I don’t understand this issue and hope that you can talk about it.”
Sister Liu replied, “Thanks be to God! Let’s fellowship together and let God guide us. Let’s first take a look at what ‘being saved’ means here. In the latter period of the Age of Law, people had all shunned God and lost their respect for God. They became more and more sinful and went so far as to offer up blind, lame and diseased cattle, sheep and pigeons for sacrifice. People of that age no longer upheld the law and they were all in danger of being condemned to death for breaking the law. Under such circumstances, in order to save people under the law from certain death, God personally was incarnated and undertook the work of redemption and was in the end crucified to redeem the whole of mankind from sin. Man was forgiven his sins because he believed in the Lord Jesus and was thus eligible to come before God and pray to God and enjoy the blessings of God’s grace. This is the true meaning of ‘being saved’ in the Age of Grace. In other words, ‘being saved’ is merely a forgiveness of man’s sins. That is, God does not regard people as being sinful, although this does not mean that people themselves do not have sins. Therefore, being saved does not mean that we are completely purified and saved. If we want to be purified, we have to accept God’s judgment work of the last days.”
Hearing their fellowship, my wife and I understood that “being saved,” as spoken of in the Epistle of the Romans, referred to the acceptance of Lord Jesus’ salvation and no longer being condemned to death for breaking the law. It was not as we had imagined “being saved” meaning being thoroughly purified. What they said made sense. Explaining “being saved” in this way was not contradictory to our situation of living in the state of committing sins and confessing sins. So what the Lord Jesus did was just the redemptive work, not the work of thoroughly purifying and saving man. Although people believe in the Lord and are saved, this does not mean that they have been thoroughly purified. Listening to their fellowship, I felt that there was truth to be sought within it, so I expressed my willingness to continue listening to their fellowship. I said, “Thanks be to the Lord! You speak really well. From speaking with you like this, we understand the true meaning of ‘being saved.’ Please continue with your fellowship. May the Lord guide us.” Sister Su went on to say, “Okay, let’s read a few passages of the word of Almighty God and it will all become clearer. Almighty God said: ‘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). ‘Man was healed of his sickness and forgiven his sins, but as for just how man was to be purged of the corrupt satanic dispositions within him, this work had yet to be done. Man was only saved and forgiven his sins for his faith, but the sinful nature of man was not extirpated and still remained within him. The sins of man were forgiven through the agency of the incarnate God, but this does not mean that man no longer has sin within him. The sins of man could be forgiven through the sin offering, but as for just how man can be made to sin no more, and how his sinful nature may be extirpated completely and transformed, he has no way of solving this problem. The sins of man were forgiven, and this is because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live within the corrupt satanic disposition of old. This being so, man must be completely saved from his corrupt satanic disposition, so that his sinful nature may be completely extirpated, never to develop again, thus enabling the disposition of man to be transformed. This would require man to grasp the path of growth in life, to grasp the way of life, and to grasp the way to change his disposition. Furthermore, it would require man to act in accordance with this path, so that his disposition may gradually be changed and he may live under the shining of the light, so that all that he does may be in accord with the will of God, so that he may cast away his corrupt satanic disposition, and so that he may break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation’ (‘The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering, and did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to take on the sins of man as the sin offering, but also required God to do greater work to completely rid man of his disposition, which has been corrupted by Satan. And so, after man was forgiven his sins, God has returned to flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment, and 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 shall gain the truth, the way, and the life’ (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh). We can see from the words of Almighty God that if we only maintain God’s redemptive work from the Age of Grace and do not accept God’s judgment work of the last days, then the problem of the origin of our sin will not be resolved. Almighty God of the last days has arrived and has carried out a step of work on the foundation of redemption work judging and purifying man—uttering truths to reveal the truth of man’s corruption, judging man’s satanic nature. He has come to change people’s satanic disposition and to completely free people from Satan’s influence and to save them. It is evident that Almighty God’s judgment work of the last days is the most critical and fundamental work for purifying, saving and perfecting people. Therefore, only by accepting Almighty God’s judgment work of the last days can we have a true understanding of our own corrupt essence and God’s righteous disposition, completely break free from Satan’s influence, be saved by God and become people who obey, worship and are compatible with God.”
Upon hearing these fellowships, my heart was bright and I felt like my long-standing problems had finally been resolved. So God was just carrying out the redemption work in the Age of Grace, not the work of ridding people of their corrupt satanic disposition. The judgment work done by God revealing the truth through His incarnation in the last days is the work of thorough purification and salvation of man. So how does God purify and change people and completely save them? I was eager to know the answer to this question. So I could not wait to ask, “I understood what you just spoke about and know that we can only attain purification by the returned Lord doing a step of judgment work. This is really what I have longed for for a long time. What I really want to know now is how Almighty God does judgment work purifying and saving people? Please share your fellowship.”
Sister Su went on to say, “The question of how Almighty God does judgment work cleansing and saving people is particularly important for anyone who wants to achieve change and purification. Almighty God’s words speak of the truth of this matter. I will send you Almighty God’s words. Brother, please read them!”
I excitedly read out Almighty God’s words: “In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, expose the essence of man, and dissect his words and deeds. 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 the 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, those 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 just a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes it over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth that man does not possess at all. Only methods of this kind are deemed 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 I had finished reading God’s words, Sister Su continued with her fellowship, “Almighty God’s words speak so clearly of how God judges and purifies people. God in the last days is primarily uttering the truth regarding man’s corrupt disposition and man’s satanic nature of resisting God in order to judge, purify and save man. Almighty God has uttered truths on many aspects—how Satan has corrupted people, how God has saved people, what following people is, what obeying God is, what viewpoints man should have in believing in God, what the change of one’s disposition is, what fearing God and shunning evil is, what offending God’s disposition is, how to be an honest man, etc. These truths all hold authority and power and can supply people with life. It is the way of eternal life that God bestows upon mankind. As long as people accept and practice the word of God, they can attain purification and salvation. We have experienced a few years of Almighty God’s work of judgment and we have had personal experience of these. When we read Almighty God’s words of judgment, chastisement and revelation of man, we feel that God’s words are like a double-edged sword, revealing our rebelliousness, corruption, resistance, wrong intentions, notions and imaginations and even Satan’s toxins hidden in the depths of our hearts. It makes us see that we are arrogant and self-righteous, crooked and cunning, selfish and mean and blind to all but our own interests, with hardly any fear for God. We see that all that we do and what our hearts are filled with is filth and corruption, like living ghosts, without any likeness of man. We all feel too ashamed to show our faces. We realize that if we continue to live by Satan’s corrupt disposition, we will always be people who disgust God, we will never be able to win God’s praise and we will be destined for elimination and punishment. The judgment of Almighty God’s words and what they reveal make us feel like God is judging us face to face, which makes us recognize God’s majestic, wrathful and righteous disposition and gradually develop a God-fearing heart and true repentance and change. Now it feels like we are living slightly in the likeness of man and we see that we have indeed attained God’s great salvation. If God’s judgment did not come upon us, we would not be able to know God’s righteous disposition which does not tolerate man’s offense and His holy and good essence and we would not develop a hatred for our own rebellion and corruption, nor would we be able to cast aside our corruption and be purified. So the more we experience God’s judgment and chastisement, the more we see that God’s judgment and chastisement is our best protection, greatest blessing for us and the most real salvation!”
Sister Liu also fellowshiped, “Almighty God’s judgment and chastisement work of the last days is the work of thoroughly purifying, saving and perfecting people. If we do not accept the judgment before the seat of the Christ of the last days, then we shall not be able to achieve purification and changes to our life disposition and the outcome will most certainly be rejection and elimination by God and we will suffer perdition and perish. There will never be a chance of salvation and to enter the kingdom of heaven. This is absolute.”
I happily said, “Thanks be to God! I feel very bright in my heart after listening to your fellowship. I have believed in the Lord for so many years but really I have lived in sin and have been powerless to break free. Now I understand that if I do not experience God’s judgment and chastisement in the last days, I shall be unable to break free from the bondage and restraint of the sin. Now I have found the path to purification and salvation.” After several days’ fellowship, my wife and I understood some truths and accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days.
Thank Almighty God for loving me and saving me! As a pastor, I have the responsibility and the obligation to bring all the pastors and the brothers and sisters that I know before God. After a period of cooperation, not only did dozens of brothers and sisters in the church who often came to meetings all accept Almighty God, but they also brought another family church’s pastor into God’s family and the majority of the brothers and sisters from their church also returned before God. I was delighted to see that those brothers and sisters had accepted God’s salvation of the last days and had been raised up before the throne of God. This is all the fruit of the work of Almighty God and we wish to attribute all of this glory to Almighty God!