VI. Questions and Answers on Being Saved and Being Finally Saved
Question 5: You say that people who believe in God must accept God’s work of judgment in the last days, and only then can their corrupt disposition be changed. But we, in accordance with the Lord’s requirements, practice humility and patience, love our enemies, bear our crosses, subdue our bodies, abandon worldly things, and we work and preach for the Lord and so on. So aren’t all these our changes? Can’t they become the credentials for our entry into the kingdom of heaven? I believe that as long as we seek in this way, we can attain purification, and enter into the kingdom of heaven?
Answer: We can love our enemy, bear the cross, overcome our body, and spread the gospel of the Lord. These are positive behaviors coming from our belief in the Lord. Our exhibition of such good behaviors signifies that our faith in the Lord is true. These good behaviors may appear correct to people, as if these are in line with the word of God, but it does not mean that we are practicing God’s word and following the will of the heavenly Father, it doesn’t mean that we have quit our sinful nature and become sanctified. There is a reason why we cannot just look at people’s good behaviors by appearance. We also need to look at their intentions and ultimate purposes. If our intention is to obey God, love God, and satisfy God, this kind of good behavior is practicing the truth and obeying the will of the heavenly Father. On the other hand, if our good behavior is solely for the solicitation of blessing and reward, for the reward of a crown, but not from a loving heart for God, then this kind of good behavior is the hypocritical behavior of the Pharisees instead of doing the heavenly Father’s will. If the mere exhibition of good behavior signifies that we are following the will of the heavenly Father, signifies that we have become sanctified, then why do we often commit sins and resist God? Why do we still lead the lifestyle of sinning during the day and confessing at night? This adequately shows that the mere exhibition of good behaviors does not mean that we are practicing the truth and living out the reality of God’s word. Nor does it mean that we have an understanding or a fearful heart to God, much less the ability to love and obey God. As Almighty God says: “Changes in nothing more than behavior are unsustainable. If there is no alteration in people’s life disposition, then sooner or later their wicked side will show itself. Because the source of the changes in their behavior is fervor, coupled with some work by the Holy Spirit at the time, it is extremely easy for them to become fervent, or to show kindness for a time. As the unbelievers say, “Doing one good deed is easy, what’s hard is doing a lifetime of good deeds.” People are incapable of doing good deeds their whole life. Their behavior is directed by the life; whatever their life is, so is their behavior, and only that which is revealed naturally represents the life, and one’s nature. Things that are fake cannot last. … Behaving well is not the same as obeying God, much less does it equal being compatible with Christ. Changes in behavior are based on doctrine, and born of fervor—they are not based on the true knowledge of God, or upon the truth, much less do they rest on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Even though there are times when some of what people do is directed by the Holy Spirit, this is not the expression of the life, much less is it the same as knowing God; no matter how good a person’s behavior, it does not prove that they obey God, or that they put the truth into practice” (“The Difference Between External Changes and Changes in Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks). Almighty God’s word clearly explains to us about the essence and source of good behavior. The good behavior of man comes from enthusiasm, which is the practices based on his notions of rules and regulations, not from comprehension of the practicing principles after understanding many truths, or the desire to love and satisfy God from understanding the intention of God. Good behavior stems from man’s conceptions and imaginations. Man’s conceptions and imaginations come from man’s own opinions and his corrupt nature. Therefore no matter what we do, whatever pain we suffer or the price we pay, it is not practice of the truth. It does not mean obedience to God or the outcome of the Holy Spirit’s work. Even when we exhibit good behavior and the ability to follow the rules while we appear to be very pious and spiritual, we are still prone to committing sin and resisting God because of our inveterate corrupt disposition of Satan, our unresolved sinful nature, and lack of true understanding of God. As we can see, many well behaving people still frequently commit sins and confess their sins after believing in God. This is an undeniable fact. When they show good behaviors while sinning and resisting God at the same time, it adequately proves that they are not following the will of the heavenly Father. They do not really deserve the praise of God. The Jewish Pharisees were law-abiding people with impeccable behaviors cosmetically. But when the Lord Jesus came to work, why did they frantically resist, condemn, scheme, and crucify the Lord Jesus? This was enough to explain that the nature of resisting God was innate in them. Regardless of how well they were behaving overtly, it did not mean that they understood, obeyed and were compatible with God, much less followed God’s will and became sanctified. If we want to resolve our sinful nature and become sanctified, we must experience God’s work of judgment in the last days, understand the ample truths therein and gain real knowledge of God, thus begetting true obedience and fear of God. Otherwise the deep-rooted corrupt disposition of Satan in us will never be cleansed and altered, and we will never be after God’s heart and admitted to the kingdom of God.
The Lord Jesus just did the work of redemption. Therefore, during the Age of Grace, we couldn’t break free from our sins and moreover we couldn’t attain sanctity, regardless of how we strived or read the Bible. According to the steps of His management plan for saving humanity, God predestined the work of judgment that begins at God’s house to purify and transform men and help them out of sin and become holy. It is just as Almighty God says: “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). “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 remains within them and man can still sin and resist God; God has not gained mankind. That is why in this stage of work God uses the word to reveal the corrupt disposition of man and asks man to practice in accordance with the right path. This stage is more meaningful than the previous one and more fruitful as well, 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 stage of work more thorough. Therefore, the incarnation in the last days has completed the significance of God’s incarnation and completely finished God’s management plan for the salvation of man” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From God’s words, we can see that the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption set the foundation for God’s work of salvation in the last days and the work of judgment in the last days is the core, the focal point, of God’s work of salvation. It is the key, the most important part of the salvation of mankind. Through experiencing God’s work in the Age of Grace, we are forgiven of our sins, but we cannot be freed from them, nor can we attain sanctity. Only God’s work of judgment in the last days can work the necessary truth into us, allow us to really know God, change our life dispositions, obey and worship God, and be after God’s heart. That is how God will complete His management plan to save mankind.
from the movie script of Stinging Memories