Question 7: Many brothers and sisters all think that our belief in the Lord Jesus means our sins have already been forgiven, and that we’ve enjoyed so much of the Lord’s grace and all experienced the Lord’s compassion and mercy. The Lord Jesus already does not see us as sinners, so we should be able to be brought directly into the kingdom of heaven. Then why did the Lord not bring us into the kingdom of heaven when He came, but still has to perform His work of judgment in the last days? Is God’s judgment of the last days to cleanse and save mankind or to condemn and destroy? Many people are unable to see through this. Please fellowship this to us more specifically.
Answer: The question you just asked is very practical. Even though our sins have been forgiven for believing in the Lord, and we are counted as the saved, but in the eyes of God, man remains filthy and corrupt and has not escaped sin to receive cleanness. To have sins forgiven just means not being condemned by law. This is precisely what “saved by grace” means. God may have forgiven our sins and bestowed upon us many blessings, letting us enjoy the peace and happiness of having our sins forgiven, and giving us the right to pray to God and converse and communicate with God, but what cannot be denied is that we still often sin and resist God, and have not reached holiness. We still need God’s return in the last days to perform His work of thoroughly cleansing and saving mankind. In other words, the redemption work of the Lord Jesus is merely to pave the way for God’s judgment work of the last days. God’s work of saving mankind does not end there. Man should know this. You all mentioned that how come after man’s sins have been forgiven for believing in the Lord he still can’t help himself and often commits sins, and cannot extricate himself from living in sin? It’s because mankind’s corruption by Satan runs too deep, to the extent that everyone has a satanic nature and is full of satanic disposition. That’s why man cannot help but often commit sins. If this satanic nature is not resolved, man can still sin and resist God even if his sins are forgiven. In that way, man will never be able to achieve compatibility with God. This is why the Lord Jesus said He must return. It is so He will perform His judgment work of the last days to thoroughly cleanse and save mankind. Just as Almighty God says, “Before man was redeemed, many of Satan’s poisons were already planted within him. After thousands of years of Satan’s corruption, man already has within him a nature that resists God. Therefore, when man has been redeemed, it is nothing more than redemption, where man is bought at a high price, but the poisonous nature within has not been eliminated. Man that is so defiled must undergo a change before being worthy to serve God. Through this work of judgment and chastisement, man will fully come to know the filthy and corrupt substance within him, and he will be able to completely change and become clean. Only in this way can man be worthy to return before the throne of God. All the work done this day is so that man can be made clean and be changed; through judgment and chastisement by the word, as well as refinement, man can cast away his corruption and be made pure. Rather than deeming this stage of work to be that of salvation, it would be more apt to say it is the work of purification. In truth, this stage is that of conquest as well as the second stage of salvation. Man is gained by God through judgment and chastisement by the word; through the use of the word to refine, judge and disclose, all of the impurities, notions, motives, and individual hopes within man’s heart are completely revealed” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “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. … Therefore, after that stage was complete, there is still the work of judgment and chastisement. This stage makes man pure through the word so as to give man a path to follow. … This stage is more meaningful than the previous one and more fruitful as well, for now it is the word that directly supplies life for man and enables the disposition of man to be completely renewed; it is a stage of work more thorough. …” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Almighty God’s words are very clear: In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus only performed His redemption work. Mankind’s sins were forgiven for believing in the Lord, but their sinful nature has not been resolved. Man’s sinful nature is Satan’s nature. It has already taken root deep inside man, becoming man’s life. That is why man still can’t help but sin and resist God. Man having satanic nature is the root cause behind his resistance of God. Man’s sins have been forgiven, but can God forgive his satanic nature? The satanic nature directly opposes God and the truth. God would never forgive it. Therefore, God has to thoroughly save mankind from the bondage and control of satanic nature, and must judge and chastise mankind. The judgment and chastisement of God in the last days is the work targeted at the satanic nature and disposition inside corrupt mankind. Some people might ask, can man’s satanic nature only be resolved by judgment and chastisement? Can’t man, through paying the price of suffering, subduing his body, and restraining himself with volition, resolve his satanic nature? Definitely not. Let’s take another look at the many saints throughout history who all paid the price of suffering and subdued their bodies, who all wanted to escape the bondage and control of sin, and to transcend the flesh. But who among them managed to overcome Satan to become someone who truly obeys God? Almost none. Even if there were, they were people whom God especially made complete. But how many such people were there? It was precisely because there was no God’s judgment and chastisement, so man’s satanic disposition was unable to be cleansed. Man’s life disposition was therefore unable to change. This fact is sufficient to prove that using human means is incapable of resolving mankind’s satanic nature. Man must go through God’s judgment and chastisement, pruning and dealing, and trials and refining, before they can gain the truth and life, and receive the way of eternal life. It is only then that man’s satanic nature can be thoroughly resolved. That is why Almighty God carries out the work of judgment and chastisement in the last days on the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ redemption work, to thoroughly save mankind from the bondage and control of satanic nature, so that mankind can be cleansed to receive God’s salvation and be gained by God. From this we can see that it is God’s judgment and chastisement in the last days that thoroughly cleanses and saves mankind. This is the fact.
Why did God perform His work of judgment and chastisement on corrupt mankind in the last days? To understand this question, we must know that it is not through one or two stages of work that man can be saved thoroughly, but instead three stages of work, that is the Age of Law, the Age of Grace and the Age of Kingdom, through which God saves man completely from Satan’s domain. The three stages of work are the complete work of God’s salvation to mankind. In the Age of Law, Jehovah God issued the law and commandments to lead the life of mankind on earth. With the law and commandments man knows what kind of person God blesses and curses as well as the righteousness and sin. When it came to the later period of the Age of Law, man all lived in sins and were incapable of keeping the law, were faced with the danger of being condemned and cursed by law as man’s corruption by Satan became severer and severer. Therefore, in the Age of Grace the Lord Jesus came to do the redemption work, personally undertaking the sin offering, asking man to repent so that their sins could be forgave, they could be free of condemnation and curses, and qualified to come before God, pray to Him, commune with Him and enjoy the rich grace and truth from Him. This is the real meaning of “being saved.” Yet the Lord Jesus only forgave man’s sins, left the sinful nature and satanic disposition of man alone. They still have satanic nature and lives in the cycle of sinning and confessing, unable to escape the bondage and control of sin, making painful cry to God, “O wretched man that I am! How can I be delivered from the bondage and control of sin?” This is the same experience and feeling of all the believers in the Lord. But it is impossible for man to resolve the sinful nature by themselves, nobody can save man but God, only the creator can deliver man from Satan and sin, saving man thoroughly from Satan’s domain. Almighty God says, “Since He created man, He leads him; since He saves man, He will thoroughly save him, and will completely gain him; since He leads man, He will bring him to the proper destination; and since He created and manages man, He must take responsibility for man’s fate and prospects. It is this which is the work done by the Creator” (from “Restoring the Normal Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God is faithful, since He saves man He will save them thoroughly, He would never give up His work halfway. In order to save man completely, in the last days Almighty God expressed all the truth to cleanse and save mankind, started the judgement beginning at the house of God, thoroughly resolving man’s satanic nature and disposition, enabling man to escape sins and achieve being saved and gained by God. The judgement work done by Almighty God of the last days is exactly the need of mankind and the crucial stage of God’s saving man. Just as the Lord Jesus’s prophecy, “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 …” (John 16:12-13). “The Spirit of truth” refers to God’s incarnation in the last days and expressing truth to do the judgment. Man can only be saved and gained by God through accepting and obeying God’s judgment in the last days. This can be witnessed by every believer who has true experience in God’s judgement in the last days. Can you understand the reason why God does the judgment work in the last days by fellowshiping in this way?
We all know now that God’s judgment and chastisement is mankind’s greatest salvation. If man does not experience God’s judgment and chastisement, man’s satanic nature cannot be resolved, and man will not be able to truly turn to God and be gained by God, and mankind will be unqualified to enjoy God’s promise and receive a beautiful destination. This is a fact nobody can deny. But many people don’t understand—what is the meaning of God judging and chastising man? Is God’s judgment and chastisement condemning mankind or saving them? This requires us to know God’s work and understand God’s intentions of saving mankind. Let’s read a few passages of Almighty God’s word.
Almighty God says, “Through what is God’s perfection of man accomplished? Through His righteous disposition. God’s disposition primarily consists of righteousness, wrath, majesty, judgment, and imprecation, and His perfection of man is primarily through judgment. Some people don’t understand, and ask why it is that God is only able to make man perfect through judgment and imprecation. They say that if God were to curse man, wouldn’t man die? If God were to judge man, wouldn’t man be condemned? Then how can he still be made perfect? Such are the words of people who do not know the work of God. What God curses is the disobedience of man, and what He judges are the sins of man. Although He speaks harshly, and without the slightest sensitivity, He reveals all that is within man, and through these stern words He reveals that which is essential within man, yet through such judgment, He gives man a profound knowledge of the essence of the flesh, and thus man submits to obedience before God” (“Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“All of you live in a place of sin and licentiousness; you are all licentious and sinful people. Today you not only can see God, but more importantly, you have received chastisement and judgment, received such deepest salvation, that is, received God’s greatest love. All that He does is true love for you; He has no ill intention. It is because of your sins that He judges you, so that you will examine yourselves and receive this tremendous salvation. All this is done to work man. From beginning to end, God has been doing His utmost to save man, and He is certainly not willing to completely destroy the men He created with His own hands. Now He has come among you to work; isn’t this even more salvation? If He hated you, would He still do work of such magnitude to personally lead you? Why should He suffer so? God does not hate you or have any ill intention toward you. You should know that God’s love is the truest love. It is only because of people’s disobedience that He has to save them through judgment; otherwise, they would not be saved” (“The Inside Truth of the Conquering Work (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“In His final work of concluding the age, God’s disposition is one of chastisement and judgment, which reveals all that is unrighteous, and publicly judges all peoples, and perfects those who truly love Him. Only a disposition such as this can bring the age to an end. The last days have already arrived. All things will be classed according to kind, and will be divided into different categories based on their nature. This is the time in which God reveals the end and the destination of man. If man does not undergo chastisement and judgment, then there will be no way of revealing the disobedience and unrighteousness of man. Only through chastisement and judgment can the end of all things be revealed. Man only shows his true colors when he is chastised and judged. Evil shall return to evil, good shall return to good, and man shall be classified according to kind. Through chastisement and judgment, the end of all things shall be revealed, so that the evil shall be punished and the good shall be rewarded, and all people shall become subject under the dominion of God. All the work requires righteous chastisement and judgment to be achieved. Because man’s corruption has reached its peak and his disobedience has been too serious, only God’s righteous disposition, which is principally one of chastisement and judgment, and is revealed during the last days, can fully transform and complete man. Only this disposition can expose evil and thus severely punish all the unrighteous. … During the last days, only righteous judgment can classify man and bring man into a new realm. In this way, the entire age is brought to an end through God’s righteous disposition of judgment and chastisement” (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
After reading Almighty God’s words, we can all see a fact from God’s word: Corrupt mankind cannot receive the truth and life if they do not go through God’s judgment and chastisement, and will therefore be unable to get rid of their sinful nature to achieve salvation, and moreover cannot get to know God’s righteous disposition and all God has and is. Mankind has been corrupted by Satan for thousands of years and all have satanic nature. They are all arrogant, deceitful, and reckless. Even though some of them believe in God, but they often still can’t help themselves but sin and resist God. This shows that man does not have true knowledge and fear of God. For a person full of satanic disposition to truly be obedient before God and be utterly convinced by God, what method should be used? He must experience God’s judgment and chastisement, by which he sees God’s righteous, majestic, and wrathful disposition, and sees all the truths expressed by God to judge and cleanse mankind. Only then can he be conquered, fall down completely before God, truly repent, and start to understand the truth, practice the truth, and gradually achieve dispositional change and compatibility with God. Then why couldn’t believers in the Lord from the Age of Grace truly get to know themselves? Why didn’t they fear God and often lived in sin, disobeyed God and opposed God, and didn’t even think that was of great importance? It was because God had not performed His judgment work of the last days. Without experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement, man cannot get to know his own satanic nature, his arrogant disposition will never be able to change, and it won’t be possible for him to achieve true obedience toward and fear of God. This is a fact. Some might say, “How could we bear the cross and follow the Lord if we don’t obey Him?” In the Age of Grace, people gave up everything to work and pay the price for the Lord. The aim was all so they could receive the crown, be rewarded and enter the kingdom of heaven. But did these people truly love and obey the Lord? Were these people the ones whose life disposition really changed? Did they really achieve compatibility with the Lord? Then why, when man is expending for the Lord, can they still simultaneously engage in transactions with Him, take advantage of Him and deceive Him? God observes the depths of man’s heart. Man looks at the outside, God looks at the inside. No matter how good a person is on the outside, it does not mean they are after God’s heart. Therefore, God’s work of judgment starting at the house of God in the last days is the work targeted at man’s satanic nature for thoroughly cleansing and saving man. Only after we experience God’s judgment and chastisement of the last days can we see clearly the nature, substance, real situation of man’s being corrupted by Satan, and that what man lives out is all the image of the devil Satan, without much humanity. We all feel deeply ashamed, fall down before God, repent to God, and are extremely remorseful, never again feeling that we are stronger or better than anyone. We start to despise ourselves, curse ourselves, and are no longer willing to live in our corrupt disposition. We unconsciously become humble, no longer able to be insolent. At the same time we also see that God’s disposition is too righteous, too holy, which is unoffendable, and can’t help but develop a heart of reverence for God. We don’t dare to do whatever we please and say whatever we want any more, and begin to forsake the flesh, practice the truth, and change the way we look at things. Our life disposition starts to change, and we are willing to obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements, no longer controlled by our future and fate and our desires for blessings, and live out the likeness of a real man. After we’ve experienced God’s judgment and chastisement, we all deeply appreciate that Almighty God expressing the words to judge and chastise men, is not to punish or destroy them, but is completely for cleansing and perfecting them. This is God’s great mercy and salvation toward us, and God’s truest and most genuine love for mankind. Moreover, we have also seen that the work of judgment beginning at the house of God is targeted at all those who accept God’s work of the last days. God is going to make a group of overcomers before the disaster. This group of people are those who will receive God’s promise and enter the kingdom of heaven. As for those non-believers and wicked people who resist God, they will be destroyed in accordance with the prophecy in the Book of Revelation. God will not perform His judgment and chastisement work on them, and will simply wait until the great disasters arrive to destroy them. So, we can all clearly see that God’s judgment and chastisement of His chosen people is to cleanse, save, and perfect them. Only those antichrists, wicked people and unbelievers who hate the truth and resist God will be condemned and destroyed. This is the absolute truth.
from the movie script of Song of Victory