Zhumadian City, Henan Province
After I failed the college entrance examination in 1976, I took the way of serving the Lord, and I also made a promise to the Lord: I want to be a “Nazarite” and serve God all my life. From then on, I devoted myself wholeheartedly to the church and soon became an important co-worker in the “Justification by Faith Church.” At that time, the church presented a reviving aspect. The brothers and sisters loved each other, and if anyone was in difficulty, everyone went to help. All the co-workers were of one heart and eager to work for the Lord, and the number of the believers in the church kept increasing. The spreading of the Lord’s gospel reached an unprecedented grand state. Seeing this, I was very glad, and at the same time I waited for the Lord Jesus’ second coming hopefully.
We all worked hard for the Lord, but somehow since 1997, we failed in preaching the gospel and the church condition got worse. The co-workers had nothing to preach, and the brothers and sisters either made small talk or dozed off at meetings. When being together, they only cared about themselves, showing no love to each other. Some brothers and sisters even returned to the world. Facing such a sad situation, we co-workers prayed together in tears, asking the Lord to work among us to restore the church to its original state, and at the same time we tried all kinds of ways to turn the situation around. However, no matter how we prayed and worked hard, we couldn’t retrieve it. Later, even the co-workers began to raise envy and strife and intrigue against and exclude each other. In a co-workers’ meeting, two co-workers had a bitter quarrel about the church expenses and even started a fight. After that, they formed their own cliques, and the church was thus divided. What was more unexpected was that Leader Liu, whom everyone adored, even had an affair with a sister (whose husband was an unbeliever), and some co-workers even spent church money secretly… I thought heavily about all these, but couldn’t get to the root of the problems. I really had no way out.
Just at that time (in 1998), I heard co-workers from Nanyang say, “Now a group of people are preaching the ‘Eastern Lightning.’ They say that the Lord Jesus has come the second time and done a new work, and His name is Almighty God. This is purely a heresy, a cult. We mustn’t be deceived by them…” Hearing it, I felt it was ridiculous, thinking, “These people are too foolish. We’ve already been saved through believing in the Lord Jesus. Is there any need for a new salvation work? It’s really laughable.” To prevent the brothers and sisters from being deceived, I immediately conveyed the co-workers’ words to them and told them again and again, “Once saved, we are saved forever. We don’t need any new salvation work. From now, no one can receive strangers! Never be easy on the people of the ‘Eastern Lightning!’”
In the fall of 2000, Brother Wang, who was formerly in our church (he had accepted God’s new work), came to preach the gospel to me. I jeered at him, “Gentleman! You’re too immature. Come to preach when you grow up! …” In the spring of 2001, a young brother, also in our church formerly, came to preach to me many times, and I roared at him, “You traitor of the Lord Jesus, go away! If you come again, I’ll make it hot for you!” That summer, an elderly sister came to my home, her face covered with sweat. I pointed my finger at her and said angrily, “You’ve given up believing in the Lord Jesus and converted to a cult. Go away, or I’ll kick you.” As I said this, I pushed her out of the door. She lost her balance and almost fell to the ground. Finally, she left in tears.
Good will be rewarded with good, and evil with evil; if the reward is not forthcoming, it is because the time has not arrived yet. In July, 2001, I suddenly got rheumatism. I suffered constant pain from my knees down. I wondered, “How could I have rheumatism in midsummer?” I prayed to the Lord earnestly all day, took much medicine, and tried many folk prescriptions. But far from being relieved, the ache in my legs worsened. I suffered terribly and vented my anger on those who preached Almighty God. One day, that young brother came to my home with a smile, carrying a bag of fruits. When he entered the door, he greeted me warmly, “Brother, I heard you’re unwell, so I came to see you!” I glared at him and pointed my finger at him, roaring, “It is you people who made me ill. I really wish to cut you into pieces to vent my hatred. Today you demon come again to disturb me. Go away quickly!” “Brother, I have no ill will. I came only to tell you God’s present work and God’s will. God has really come back and done a new work! Please listen to it…” At this, I became more angry and ordered my son to beat him away with a stick. Hearing my words, my son immediately took up a stick (as thick as a wrist) and laid about him hard. He neither dodged nor fought back. Rather, he said resolutely with tears in his eyes, “Brother, as long as you’re willing to listen to the true way, even if I’m beaten to death, it’s worth it!” At that time I already lost my humanity and sense. I said viciously, “Beat him hard, so he won’t dare to come again!” After a while, his head was wounded and bled. My wife was afraid that he was beaten to death, so she pulled him out of the door. Seeing him walk away with difficulty in tears, the savage I even said gloatingly, “I dare you to come again! …” The next day, my legs ached as if they were cut by a knife. I could move around before, but now I couldn’t even walk from pain.
Soon, the harvest time came. Because my legs couldn’t move, my wife had to do all the field work. Every day, she was dead tired, but still had to take care of me after being back. Whenever I thought that I was almost a disabled man, I was so distressed that I felt worse than death! … But one day, my wife came back from the field happily, without the usual fatigue at all. I was puzzled and asked her, “Aren’t you tired today? You look so happy!” “We had helpers today,” my wife said with a smile. I was very surprised, thinking, “They help us in such a busy season. It’s really the Lord’s love. The Lord is caring for those He loves.” I blamed my wife for not asking them to dine with us. My wife said, “Do you know who helped us? It was Brother Wang and the young brother our son beat. They worked till dark and said they would still come tomorrow.” “Ah! How could it be them?” I was stunned. “I treated them like that, but they still came to help me with the field work. What makes them do so?” My wife added, “Ay! We really owe the young brother. I heard from Brother Wang that he spent much money on the wound after he went back, and it took him more than twenty days to be healed. But he didn’t blame you. He said you did that because you were not clear about the truth. We injured him, but he still came to help. How could he do this if he is not led by the true God?” At that time, I couldn’t calm down. I thought, “Yes! I beat them and swore at them, but they didn’t bear hatred against me and still came to help me when I most needed help. Who could have such a big heart and love in this world except those led by the true God? The Scripture says that the fruit of the Spirit is love, peace, goodness, meekness, and forbearance. God is love! Is it true that they are led by the true God? Is what they believe in really the true way?” Then I remembered that each time I resisted God’s new work, my illness got worse. I broke out in a cold sweat… Finally I decided that I must get it straight when they came again the next day.
At noon the next day, the two brothers came back from the field with my wife. When I saw they were dirty all over from the corn straws and had streaks of dirt and sweat on their faces, a wave of guilt and admiration came over me and I couldn’t help shedding tears. After they washed their faces, they came up to me and said kindly, “Brother, are your legs getting better? Don’t worry. Just take care of yourself at home. We’ll help you do the field work!” “What makes you do this?” “It is Almighty God’s great love that encourages us. If we don’t tell you God’s salvation work of the last days, we will disappoint God who loves us and our conscience will prick us…” The brother’s sincere words moved me deeply. So I brought up the question in my mind. I asked, “Once we believed in God, we are saved. Why do you say that we still need God to do the salvation work?” The brother said sincerely, “Brother, you say we have been saved. What is the proof?” “When we believed in Jesus Christ, we were sealed with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the proof of our inheritance. The proof of being saved is the Holy Spirit’s presence,” I answered. The brother fellowshipped, “Brother, can we see the Holy Spirit’s presence in the churches today? In the churches, the leaders commit adultery and steal sacrifices, the co-workers raise envy and strife and form cliques, the brothers and sisters love the world, there was no enjoyment in the meetings, and one can’t get healed when ill. Can these facts prove that the churches have the Holy Spirit’s presence? Can these be the proof of being saved?” “Right! What he said is quite true and reasonable,” I thought, “If I have the Holy Spirit’s working, why can’t I live out the Lord Jesus’ teaching ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ and ‘love your enemies’?” The brother continued, “‘For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.’ Here ‘is made to salvation’ means that the Lord Jesus’ blood has saved man from sins and through our believing, God ‘calls’ us righteous, but it doesn’t mean that we have truly become a righteous person. In fact, our sins are still there. We are still living in a vicious circle of committing sins and confessing them. It is written in the Bible, ‘Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.’ (1 John 3:2-3) Why does it say ‘It does not yet appear what we shall be’? If after we believed in Jesus, we are saved forever, why should it say so? From this we can see that we haven’t been completely saved. Just as the Apostle Paul said, ‘… for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.’ (Romans 7:18-19) Even the Apostle Paul couldn’t overcome sins; can we do it? So if we want to be free from committing sins and be saved completely, we need both the Lord Jesus’ salvation and God’s salvation work in the last days.” I was completely convinced and nodded my head.
Then the brother read a few passages of God’s words: “Though man has been redeemed and forgiven of his sins, it is only considered as God not remembering the transgressions of man and not treating man in accordance with man’s transgressions. However, when man lives in the flesh and he has not been set free from sin, he can only continue to sin, endlessly revealing the corrupt satanic disposition. This is the life that man leads, an endless cycle of sin and forgiveness. The majority of men sin in the day only to confess in the evening. As such, even if the sin offering is forever effective for man, it would not be able to save man from sin. Only half the work of salvation has been completed, for man still has corrupt disposition. …” (from 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 sinners 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.” (from “Concerning Appellations and Identity” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) “Man was … forgiven his sins, but the work for just how the corrupt satanic dispositions within man could be cast away was not done in him. Man was only saved and forgiven his sins for his faith, but the sinful nature of man was not taken away and still remained within him. The sins of man were forgiven through God incarnate, but it does not mean that man has no sin within him. The sins of man could be forgiven through the sin offering, but man has been unable to resolve the issue of just how he can no longer sin and how his sinful nature can be cast away completely and be transformed. The sins of man were forgiven because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live in the old, corrupt satanic disposition. As such, man must be completely saved from the corrupt satanic disposition so that the sinful nature of man is completely cast away and never again develops, thus allowing the disposition of man to be changed. This requires man to understand the path of growth in life, the way of life, and the way to change his disposition. It also needs man to act in accordance with this path so that the disposition of man can gradually be changed and he can live under the shining of the light, and that he can do all things in accord with the will of God, cast away the corrupt satanic disposition, and break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation.” (from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) Only then did I wake up. “It is not that once we are saved through believing in God, we are saved forever. The Lord Jesus only redeemed us from sins and doesn’t remember our transgressions, but it doesn’t mean that we are holy. The corruption and unrighteousness within us still need God to do the work to cleanse them completely. Only in this way can we be gained by God…” When I thought of these, I was really ashamed. “During my more than twenty years of believing in the Lord, I thought that I was already saved completely. I never sought the trend of the work of the Holy Spirit, nor investigated the truth in God’s word. As a result, I wrongly condemned God’s new work as a heresy, a cult. I was really too arrogant and ignorant! What’s more, I sealed off the churches and hindered the brothers and sisters from accepting the true way. I was a typical antichrist, a devil that devours people’s souls! God sent messengers to save me time and again, but I jeered, insulted, swore at them, and drove them away. And I even beat and injured the young brother, who didn’t resist at all, and delighted in it. How inhuman I was! Even a dog doesn’t bite his owner, but I injured the servant of my Lord. I was really worse than a beast! O God, the illness that came upon me is exactly the expression of Your righteous disposition and also the punishment and retribution I deserve. According to the evil deeds I did, I should have been torn to pieces and died in my boots, but You still sent the brothers to bring me before You and gave me a chance of being saved. O God, Your love is so great and so real. I, a traitorous evil servant, feel very indebted to Your grace and to the brothers and sisters who came to preach the gospel to me. I bitterly regret my evil deeds. I don’t know what I should do to make up for my monstrous sins. All that I can do is to cooperate with Your gospel work with my whole heart and whole being to bring more brothers and sisters in darkness before You to accept Your salvation, so that I can repay Your great love and console Your heart.”
More than a week after I accepted God’s new work, I could walk normally. Soon afterward, I threw myself into the wave of spreading God’s gospel of the last days. Now all five members of my family and all the brothers and sisters in our church have returned before God’s throne. We eat the new manna and enjoy the sweetness of God’s word. The church isn’t in a dead state as before. We sing new songs, dance new dances, and fellowship about God’s word with a simple and open heart. We are very released and free. And when we encounter something, we eat and drink God’s word to know what God is and our corrupt disposition from it. As a result, we gradually break free of Satan’s influence of darkness, live in God’s light, and truly step onto the way of salvation.
Dear brothers and sisters, please drop the view of “once saved, we are saved forever” and accept Almighty God’s work! Only in this way can we be saved completely and have the qualification to enter into the door of the Kingdom. Now God’s gospel work in China is about to be concluded with great glory. If you miss this good opportunity, you’ll regret forever. Brothers and sisters, seek immediately! We have believed in God for years, but whether we can be saved depends on this!