46. What is the difference between the redemption work of the Age of Grace and the judgment work of the Age of Kingdom? Why must one accept the judgment work of the last days before achieving salvation?
The Answer from God’s Word:
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. … Jesus did not come to perfect and gain man, but to do one stage of work: bringing forth the gospel of the kingdom of heaven and completing the work of the crucifixion—and so once Jesus was crucified, His work came to a complete end. But in the current stage—the work of conquest—more words must be spoken, more work must be done, and there must be many processes. So too must the mysteries of the work of Jesus and Jehovah be revealed, so that all people may have understanding and clarity in their belief, for this is the work of the last days, and the last days are the end of God’s work, the time of this work’s conclusion. This stage of work will elucidate for you the law of Jehovah and the redemption of Jesus, and is principally so that you may understand the entire work of God’s six-thousand-year management plan, and appreciate all the significance and substance of this six-thousand-year management plan, and understand the purpose of all the work done by Jesus and the words He spoke, and even your blind credence in and adoration of the Bible. All this it will allow you to perceive. You will come to understand both the work done by Jesus, and the work of God today; you will understand and behold all of the truth, the life, and the way. In the stage of work done by Jesus, why did Jesus depart without concluding God’s work? Because the stage of Jesus’ work was not the work of conclusion. When He was nailed to the cross, the words that He had spoken also came to an end; after His crucifixion, His work completely finished. The current stage is different: Only after the words are spoken to the end and God’s entire work is concluded will His work have finished. During Jesus’ stage of work, there were many words that remained unsaid, or which were not fully articulated. Yet Jesus cared not what He did or did not say, for His ministry was not a ministry of words, and so after He was nailed to the cross He departed. That stage of work was chiefly for the sake of the crucifixion, and is unlike the stage today. This stage of work is principally for the sake of completion, of clearing up, and of bringing all work to a conclusion. If the words are not spoken to their very end, there will be no way of concluding this work, for in this stage of work all work is brought to an end and accomplished using words. At the time, Jesus did much work that was incomprehensible to man. He departed quietly, and today there are still many who do not understand His words, whose understanding is erroneous yet still believed by them to be correct, who do not know that they are wrong. In the end, this current stage will bring God’s work to a complete end, and will provide its conclusion. All will come to understand and know of God’s management plan. The conceptions within man, his intentions, his erroneous understanding, his conceptions toward the work of Jehovah and Jesus, his views about the Gentiles, and all his deviation and errors will be corrected. And man will understand all the right paths of life, and all the work done by God, and the entire truth. When that happens, this stage of work will come to an end.
from “The Vision of God’s Work (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
After the work of Jesus ended, God still continued His work for the next age, because the entire management of God is always progressing forward. When the old age passes, it will be replaced by a new age, and once the old work has been completed, a new work will continue the management of God. This incarnation is God’s second incarnation following the completion of Jesus’ work. Of course, this incarnation does not occur independently, but is the third stage of work after the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. … When Jesus came into the world of man, He brought the Age of Grace and ended the Age of Law. During the last days, God once more became flesh, and when He became flesh this time, He ended the Age of Grace and brought the Age of Kingdom. All those who accept the second incarnation of God will be led into the Age of Kingdom, and be able to personally accept the guidance of God. 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.
If people remain in the Age of Grace, then they shall never be free of their corrupt disposition, let alone know the inherent disposition of God. If people always live among an abundance of grace but are without the way of life that allows them to know God and satisfy God, then they shall never truly gain Him though they believe in Him. … if you cling to views of the past, and reject or deny the fact of the second incarnation of God, then you shall remain empty-handed and acquire nothing, and ultimately be guilty of opposing God. Those who obey the truth and submit to the work of God shall come under the name of the second incarnate God—the Almighty. They will be able to accept the personal guidance of God, and shall acquire more and higher truth and receive the real human life. They shall behold the vision that people of the past have never seen….
… when God becomes flesh this time, His work is to express His disposition, primarily through chastisement and judgment. Using this as the foundation, He brings more truth to man, shows more ways of practice, and so achieves His objective of conquering man and saving man from his corrupt disposition. This is what lies behind the work of God in the Age of Kingdom.
from Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Holy Spirit works in accordance with the age, neither at random nor in conformity to set rules. The age has changed, and a new age necessarily brings with it new work. This is true of every stage of work, and so His work is never repeated. In the Age of Grace, Jesus did a fair amount of that kind of work, such as healing sickness, casting out demons, laying His hands upon man to pray for him, and blessing man. However, to do so again would be meaningless in the present day. The Holy Spirit worked in that way at the time, for it was the Age of Grace, and there was sufficient grace for man to enjoy. No payment of any kind was asked of him, and so long as he had faith he would receive grace. All were treated very graciously. Now the age has changed, and the work of God has progressed further; it is through chastisement and judgment that the rebelliousness of man and the unclean things within man will be purged away. That stage being the stage of redemption, it behooved God to work in that way, showing enough grace for man to enjoy, so that man might be redeemed from sin and by means of grace be forgiven his sins. This present stage is to expose the unrighteousness within man by means of chastisement, judgment, the smiting of words, as well as the discipline and revelation of words, so that humanity may afterward be saved. This is work more in-depth than redemption. The grace in the Age of Grace was sufficient for man’s enjoyment; now that man has already experienced this grace, he is no longer to enjoy it. This work is now past its time and is no longer to be done. Now man is to be saved through the judgment of the word. After man is judged, chastised, and refined, his disposition is thereby changed. Is this not all because of the words I have spoken? Each stage of work is done in line with the progress of the whole human race and with the age. The work is all significant, and it is all done for the sake of the final salvation, that mankind may have a good destination in the future, and that humanity may be divided according to their kind in the end.
The work of the last days is to speak words. Great changes can be effected in man by means of words. The changes now effected in these people upon their accepting these words are much greater than those effected in people upon their accepting the signs and wonders of the Age of Grace. For, in the Age of Grace, the demons were cast out from man with the laying on of hands and prayer, but the corrupt dispositions within man still remained. 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. At the time that Jesus was doing His work, man’s knowledge of Him was still vague and unclear. Man always believed Him to be the son of David, and proclaimed Him to be a great prophet, the benevolent Lord who redeemed man’s sins. Some, on the strength of their faith, were healed just from touching the edge of His garment; the blind could see and even the dead could be restored to life. However, man was unable to discover the corrupt satanic disposition deeply rooted within himself, neither did he know how to cast it away. 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! 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. Therefore, the incarnation in the last days has completed the significance of God’s incarnation and completely finished God’s plan of management for man’s salvation.
from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh