Question 13: Most people in the religious world believe that the Lord Jesus saying “It is finished” (Jhn 19:30) upon the cross is proof that God’s work of salvation has already been completely finished, yet you testify that the Lord has returned in the flesh to express the truth and do the work of judgment beginning with God’s house in order to fully save mankind. So exactly how should one understand God’s work to save mankind? We are unclear on this aspect of the truth, so please fellowship this for us.
When the Lord Jesus said on the cross “It is finished” (Jhn 19:30), really what was He referring to? Did He mean that the work of redemption was finished, or did He mean that God’s work of fully saving mankind was finished? Could the people of the time really know? It can be said that no one knew. All the Lord Jesus said were three words: “It is finished.” He did not say that God’s work of saving mankind was finished. Humans cannot ever truly understand what the Lord Jesus referred to when He said, “It is finished.” Why would anyone dare to explain the words of the Lord according to his own ideas? Why dare arbitrarily to interpret this phrase “It is finished”? This is none other than randomly putting one’s own human ideas upon the words of the Lord Jesus. Consider this, if the Lord Jesus saying “It is finished” indicates that God’s work of saving all mankind is thoroughly complete, then why did the Lord prophesy, saying, “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: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come” (Jhn 16:12–13). How do we understand this? Also, as recorded in the Gospel of John, Chapter 12, Verses 47–48, the Lord Jesus said: “And if any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” The words of the Lord Jesus tell us clearly that the Lord will return to express truth and to do judgment work. There is also the Bible prophecy: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1Pe 4:17). According to what the pastor and elder say, if the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus completed all of the work of saving the human race, then how would the prophecy of the Lord Jesus, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth,” how would these words come true? Wouldn’t the Lord Jesus’ prophecy that He would return to express truth and do judgment work fall through? Therefore, what the pastor and elder say clearly does not tally with the Lord Jesus’ words, and does not tally with the reality of God’s work. We should all know that what the Lord Jesus did was the work of redeeming the human race. All we must do is accept the Lord Jesus, confess and repent before Him, and our sins will be pardoned. Then we are qualified to pray to the Lord, and can enjoy the grace that the Lord bestows. Regardless of the sin, we will no longer be condemned by law. This is the outcome of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption. This is the true meaning of the phrase “salvation by faith” that we often say. From the outcome achieved by the work of the Lord Jesus we see even greater verification that the Lord Jesus’ work was solely that of redemption. By no means was it the work of judging, purifying, and perfecting people of the last days. Though our belief in the Lord Jesus pardons our sins, and we no longer commit obvious sins, and behave quite well, yet we have not thoroughly separated ourselves from sin and become pure, and been fully saved, have we? Don’t we still frequently tell lies and commit sins? Don’t we still act greedily and have wicked thoughts? Don’t we still envy others, and hate others? Aren’t our hearts full of arrogance and trickery? Don’t we still mimic worldly trends, cling to wealth, and covet glory? Some people, when caught or persecuted by the Chinese Communist government, even blame God. They even provide statements of repentance in which they deny God, and betray God. Especially concerning the expression of truth and judgment work of Almighty God during the last days, people cast judgment upon and condemn God’s work based on their own notions and fancies. Isn’t this true? In our belief in the Lord, therefore, we gain only pardon of sins. But within us remains Satan’s nature and Satan’s disposition. This is the source of our sinning and resisting God. If our inner sinful nature is not resolved, then we will resist God, betray God, and consider God an enemy. Would you say that such a person is qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven? It should be clear by now that in saying “It is finished,” the Lord Jesus meant only that God’s work of redemption was complete. Most certainly, He was not saying that all of the work of saving the human race was complete. Almighty God incarnate of the last days came to express all truth, and to do the work of judgment starting from God’s house. This coming is to thoroughly make people pure, and to fully save them, to resolve the foundational problem of sin inside people, to allow people to be free from sin and attain purity, to achieve full salvation and enter God’s kingdom. let us read a few more passages of Almighty God’s words, so that all of us can understand more clearly.
Almighty God says, “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 a sinner 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” (“Concerning Appellations and Identity” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“You must know what kind of people I desire; those who are impure are not permitted to enter into the kingdom, those who are impure are not permitted to besmirch the holy ground. Though you may have done much work, and have worked for many years, in the end if you are still deplorably filthy—it is intolerable to the law of Heaven that you wish to enter My kingdom! From the foundation of the world until today, never have I offered easy access to My kingdom to those who curry favor with Me. This is a heavenly rule, and no one can break it!” (“Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” 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; He did not rid man of his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to become the sin offering and bear the sins of man, but it also required God to do even greater work to rid man completely of his satanically corrupted disposition. And so, now that man has been forgiven of his sins, God has returned to the flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment. 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 they shall gain the truth, the way, and the life” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“Before man was redeemed, many of Satan’s poisons had already been planted within him and, after thousands of years of being corrupted by Satan, he has within him an established nature that resists God. Therefore, when man has been redeemed, it is nothing more than a case of redemption in which man is bought at a high price, but the poisonous nature within him has not been eliminated. Man that is so defiled must undergo a change before becoming worthy to serve God. By means of this work of judgment and chastisement, man will fully come to know the filthy and corrupt substance within his own self, and he will be able to change completely and become clean. Only in this way can man become 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 through refinement, man can purge 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” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“The work of the last days is to separate all according to their kind, and to conclude the management plan of God, for the time is near and the day of God has come. God brings all who enter His kingdom—all who are loyal to Him to the very end—into the age of God Himself. Yet prior to the arrival of the age of God Himself, God’s work is not to observe the deeds of man, or to inquire into the life of man, but to judge man’s disobedience, for God shall purify all those who come before His throne. All who have followed the footsteps of God to this day are those who come before the throne of God, and this being so, every single person who accepts God’s work in its final phase is the object of God’s purification. In other words, everyone who accepts God’s work in its final phase is the object of God’s judgment” (“Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“The last days have already arrived. All things in creation will be classed according to their kind, and divided into different categories based on their nature. This is the moment when God reveals humanity’s outcome and their destination. If people do not undergo chastisement and judgment, then there will be no way of exposing their disobedience and unrighteousness. Only through chastisement and judgment can the outcome of all creation be revealed. Man only shows his true colors when he is chastised and judged. Evil shall be put with evil, good with good, and all humanity shall be classified according to their kind. Through chastisement and judgment, the outcome of all creation will be revealed, so that the evil may be punished and the good rewarded, and all people become subject to the dominion of God. All this work must be achieved through righteous chastisement and judgment. Because man’s corruption has reached its peak and his disobedience become exceedingly severe, only God’s righteous disposition, one that is principally compounded 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” (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“The essence of God’s work of chastisement and judgment is to cleanse humanity, and it is for the day of final rest. Otherwise, the whole of humanity will not be able to follow their own kind or enter into rest. This work is humanity’s only path to enter into rest. Only God’s work of cleansing will cleanse humanity of their unrighteousness, and only His work of chastisement and judgment will bring to light those disobedient things among humanity, thereby separating those who can be saved from those who cannot, and those who will remain from those who will not. When His work ends, those people who remain will be cleansed and enjoy a more wonderful second human life upon the earth as they enter a higher realm of humanity; in other words, they will enter into humanity’s day of rest and live together with God. After those who cannot remain have undergone chastisement and judgment, their original forms will be entirely revealed; after this they will all be destroyed and, like Satan, will no longer be allowed to survive upon the earth. The humanity of the future will no longer contain any of this type of people; these people are not fit to enter the land of the ultimate rest, nor are they fit to enter the day of rest that God and man will share, for they are the targets of punishment and are the wicked, and they are not righteous people. … His ultimate work of punishing evil and rewarding good is entirely done in order to utterly purify all of humanity, so that He may bring an entirely holy humanity into eternal rest. This stage of His work is His most crucial work. It is the final stage of the whole of His management work” (“God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Almighty God speaks very clearly about the significance and outcome achieved of God’s judgment work during the last days. This allows us to be certain that God’s judgment work during the last days is the work that thoroughly purifies and saves the human race. The redemption work that the Lord Jesus did paves the way for God’s judgment work of the last days. Almighty God does the work of judgment and purification upon the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ redemption work, thoroughly saving the human race from sin and bringing them into God’s kingdom. Isn’t God working in this way very practical? If we accept only the redemption work of the Lord Jesus, and don’t accept God’s judgment and purification work of the last days, how could we be qualified to enter God’s kingdom? It appears that belief in God requires us to understand the work of God. This is ever so important! Yet many religious people hold the belief of salvation through faith alone. They believe that belief in the Lord brings pardon of sins, solving all problems, believing the merciful and loving Lord pardons any sin a person could commit. He will lift them all into the kingdom of heaven when He comes. They therefore refuse to accept the last days’ judgment work of Almighty God. What problem is this? Does this kind of person understand God’s work? Do they understand God’s righteous disposition? Would you say that God could permit a satanic category of person who rebels against Him and resists Him to enter into His kingdom? He would not! What result would the entry of this kind of person into God’s kingdom bring about? Let us consider an example. If the Israelites who believed in Jehovah God were brought into the kingdom of God, what do you think would happen? They could not even accept God incarnate, the Lord Jesus, and they did their utmost to condemn the Lord Jesus, and nailed the Lord Jesus to the cross. This satanic category that insanely resists God in this way, if they were to enter into the kingdom of God, would they continue to resist God? Would they revolt? Would they attempt to usurp the Lord’s power? Why did the Lord Jesus not go into the synagogue to preach? It is because the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees of the Jewish faith were so evil. They were capable of anything. We all know that after the Lord Jesus was caught by them, He was beaten, taunted, and spat upon. He was even turned over to the Roman government to be crucified. The Lord Jesus already knew that they were the ilk of serpent so He did not go into the synagogue to preach. In the last days the Lord Jesus has returned. Why does He not go into the churches to preach? It is because the leaders in the churches are all so fiendish. Were the incarnate Almighty God to go into the churches, they would surely call the police. They would surely hand Almighty God over to the CCP government. Is this not the truth? Now do we dare to go into the churches to openly bear witness for Almighty God? If you bore witness for Almighty God to them, they would certainly besiege you and dishonor you, and even turn you over to Public Security Bureau. For these reasons, the churches of today are the same as the synagogues of the Jewish religion were. They are all places that drive away God, resist God, and condemn God. Is this the way it is? This goes to show the extent to which the human race is corrupt. They are fed up with truth, and abhor truth. They all reject the arrival of God, and they all have become Satan’s kind and oppose God. If God had not been incarnated during the last days to express truth, to judge people, and purify people, the human race would have been destroyed by God because they resisted God.
Excerpted from Classic Questions and Answers on the Gospel of the Kingdom
Now there are some people who point out that the last thing the Lord Jesus said on the cross was, “It is finished” (Jhn 19:30). And then they say: “When the Lord Jesus served as a sin offering for man, He accomplished God’s work of salvation. We have been forgiven our sins because we believe in the Lord Jesus. We have also been justified through faith alone and so we will be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. We just have to wait for the Lord’s rapture.” Or they say: “Everything’s ready, we just need the rapture.” Has this statement been verified? No, it hasn’t. We can only verify that our sins have been forgiven, right? How can we be sure that our sins are forgiven? Regardless of what kind of sin you commit, you only need to pray and admit your sin and you will feel joy, peace, and your spirit will be freed from the bondage of sin. One feels totally released when he is free from sin! This is true. So we can say that the sin offering is absolutely true and is something that all believers in the Lord Jesus can confirm through their experiences. But the Lord Jesus did not say, “By believing in the Lord Jesus, you will attain salvation and be completely free from sin. If you believe in the Lord Jesus, you’ll be commended by God and will enter the kingdom of heaven.” The Lord Jesus did not say this and there is no evidence for it. Why is there no evidence? Man’s sins have been forgiven, but have his inner satanic disposition and his sinful nature been forgiven? No. Did the Lord Jesus ever say “Once your sins are forgiven you can enter the kingdom of heaven”? Did the Lord Jesus ever say “You just need to believe in Me and there’ll be a place for you in the kingdom of heaven”? The Lord has never said that. What did the Lord Jesus say? “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” (Mat 7:21). So what does “does the will of My Father which is in heaven” mean? It means you have to do God’s will, follow God’s way, put into practice the way of the truth, that is, God’s word. A person must always do whatever God requires him to do, and must hold to everything God demands that he do, everything God demands he abide by, and everything God demands that he follow faithfully, and only then can he enter the kingdom of heaven. But how many people were able to meet God’s requirements in the Age of Grace? Not one. So we can say that the work of the Age of Grace was a stage of work of redemption. It is prophesied in the Bible that when the Lord returns, He will do a stage of work of judgment and chastisement to purify all those who come before God. In other words, God is going to undertake a stage of purification work, the work of separating all according to their own kind, in the last days before He ends the age. And all that the Lord Jesus prophesied about separating the wheat from the tares, the sheep from the goats, the wise virgins from the foolish virgins, and good servants from evil servants—all this will come true. During the last days, God will undertake a stage of work of judging people and purifying people, as prophesied in the Bible. For example: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1Pe 4:17), “Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1Pe 1:5), “Behold, I come as a thief” (Rev 16:15), “If therefore you shall not watch, I will come on you as a thief” (Rev 3:3), and “Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God: and I will write on him My new name” (Rev 3:12). All these prophecies refer to the work to be done when the Lord returns. This proves that from the Age of Law to the time of the Lord’s return to end the age, there are three stages of work. This is true, and can be seen in biblical prophecies. The work of the Age of Grace was the work of redemption—it certainly wasn’t the work of purification to eliminate mankind’s sinful nature. There has not been a believer in the Lord Jesus whose sinful nature has been totally eliminated, not a single one who has not sinned again after being forgiven, not one who has achieved a total transformation of their disposition, not one who has truly known God. These are the facts of the matter. During the Age of Grace, mankind believed in God for 2,000 years, but five fundamental problems remained unresolved: First, the problem of mankind’s sinful satanic nature was not resolved; second, the problem of mankind frequently expressing their satanic dispositions remained unresolved; third, the problem of the transformation of each person’s life disposition was not resolved; fourth, the problem of how mankind should know God and obey God was not thoroughly resolved; fifth, the problem of how mankind can attain purification was not completely resolved. These five fundamental problems remained unresolved, proving that God’s work of the Age of Grace was just a stage of work of redemption—and not the final stage of the work of mankind’s salvation. The work of the Age of Grace merely paved the way, built the foundations, for the salvation work of the last days.
Excerpted from The Fellowship From the Above
What exactly does it mean to be saved? People in religion believe that since the last words of the Lord Jesus on the cross were “It is finished” (Jhn 19:30), as long as you have faith in the Lord Jesus and your sins are forgiven, this means you are saved. People in religion misconstrue what God has said because they do not know God’s work. What was the Lord Jesus referring to when He said “It is finished”? He was referring to the completion of God’s work of redemption, certainly not to having finished God’s management plan. Therefore, it is a fact that those who do not know God’s work are most prone to misunderstanding what He has said and judging His work. So what is attaining salvation after all? Is forgiveness of sin true salvation? It is not. Forgiveness of sin only sets a basis for God’s work of the last days; it establishes a foundation. God’s work of saving mankind is, in reality, the work of the last days, which is established on the basis of the sin offering in the Age of Grace. It is only because of the sin offering that the sins of man are pardoned and mankind is qualified to come before God to receive His work. Only through the judgment and chastisement, the trials and refinement of the last days, is man truly saved and freed from the influence of Satan and from the control of his satanic nature. Only the work of the last days is able to change man’s disposition that has been corrupted by Satan, and is able to save man from Satan’s influence and achieve the aim of having man turn completely toward God. Therefore, if someone does not experience God’s work in the last days in his faith, then he cannot truly arrive at salvation. …
God is holy and righteous. After man’s sins have been forgiven, the root of man’s sinning—that is, his satanic nature—still has not been removed. If man proceeds as usual, resisting God and betraying God, is this not an offense against the disposition of God? If God raised up to His kingdom a mankind that is still capable of resisting and betraying Him, would this not indicate that God has deceived Himself? This corrupted mankind would still be capable of resisting God and of nailing Christ to the cross once again. If such a mankind were a mankind that is saved, then there would be no way of explaining God’s holiness and righteousness—it would make no sense. How could God’s kingdom allow the existence of a mankind that resists God? That is impossible because God’s disposition does not tolerate man’s offense. That is why saying “A man who has received the sin offering has been saved, and he can enter God’s kingdom” will not do. …
Excerpted from The Fellowship From the Above