Does Salvation Through Faith Grant Entrance to God’s Kingdom?
A pandemic spreads relentlessly, and earthquakes, floods, insect swarms, famines have begun to occur. Many people are in a state of constant anxiety, and believers are anxiously awaiting the Lord’s coming on a cloud to be taken up into the sky, to escape suffering through the disasters and avoid death. They don’t know why they still haven’t been taken up to meet the Lord, and gaze at the sky all day without seeing a thing. Many people are utterly miserable, particularly seeing so many church clergy members’ lives taken away by the pandemic. They feel uneasy, that they’ve been cast aside by the Lord and fallen into the disasters, and their survival is uncertain. They feel confused and lost. Revelation prophesied the Lord Jesus would come before the disasters and take us up into the sky to keep us from succumbing to them. That is our hope. Our faith is to escape disaster and gain eternal life. But disasters have begun to rain down, so why hasn’t the Lord come on a cloud to receive believers? Through our faith, our sins are forgiven, we’re graced with, and bestowed with righteousness. Why haven’t we been taken up into the kingdom of heaven? We’ve waited agonizingly for the Lord many years and suffered a lot. Why hasn’t He come for us, taken us up to meet with Him and escape the misery of the disasters? Has He actually cast us aside? These are questions many believers have. Well, does salvation through faith really get us into the kingdom? I’ll share a little of my own personal understanding of the matter.
But before fellowshiping on this, first let’s clarify one thing. Is the idea of justification through faith, of getting into the kingdom that way supported at all by the word of God? Did the Lord Jesus ever say that justification through faith and the grace of salvation are all we need to enter His kingdom? He never did. Did the Holy Spirit ever bear witness to this? No. So we can be certain that this idea is purely a human notion, and we can’t rely on that to get us into the kingdom. In fact, the Lord Jesus was very clear about who could get into the kingdom. The Lord Jesus said, “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. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and in Your name have cast out devils, and in Your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21–23). “Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin. And the servant stays not in the house for ever: but the son stays ever” (John 8:34–35). “You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45). “Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). The Lord Jesus clearly told us that only those who do God’s will can enter the kingdom of heaven, that only those who escape sin and are cleansed will have a place in the kingdom. That’s the only standard for gaining entry. Does being redeemed of sin and justified through faith mean someone is doing God’s will? Does it mean they no longer sin, or rebel against and resist God? Of course not. All believers in the Lord can see the fact that although we’re redeemed and justified through faith, we’re constantly sinning, living in a cycle of sinning by day and confessing by night. We live with the pain of being unable to escape sin—we can’t help ourselves. There are people within all denominations who are jealous, and contentious, fighting for name and gain, badmouthing each other. This is very commonplace. And most people’s faith is entirely because they are greedy for God’s grace, but they don’t do as He says. They rush to church when faced with crisis, but in times of peace they follow worldly trends. And churches are just hosting one party after another. No one is fellowshiping on the truth or sharing personal, but just competing over who receives the most grace, the greatest blessings. With the great disasters coming and seeing the Lord still isn’t coming on a cloud to rapture them, many people’s faith and love are cooling, and they’ve begun to blame and judge God. Some have even denied and betrayed Him. The facts show us that having sins forgiven and being graced with salvation may mean people behave better, but it doesn’t mean they’ve escaped sin altogether, that they don’t disobey God, and particularly not that they have achieved holiness and are worthy of the kingdom. That’s just wishful thinking. So now we can see this fact and understand why the Lord Jesus said those who preached and cast out devils in His name are evildoers, and He never knew them. It’s because people are still always sinning, even though their sins are forgiven, and they blame and judge the Lord. They’re full of complaints when they see the Lord still hasn’t come, and they’ve begun denying and betraying Him. Some even say they’ll have words with the Lord if He doesn’t rapture them into the kingdom. These people are hardly any better than the Pharisees who oppressed and condemned Lord Jesus, or perhaps even worse. Other people can see how they’re behaving very clearly, and in God’s eyes, they are evildoers, without a doubt. God is holy and righteous, so would God allow those who are constantly sinning, judging and resisting God, into heaven? Absolutely not. And so, people’s belief that being justified by faith will get them into the kingdom is a notion that goes against the Lord’s own words, and the truth. It is purely a human notion and imagining that comes from our extravagant desires.
At this point, some may mention that being saved through faith by grace has a biblical basis: “For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation” (Romans 10:10). “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). So if we can’t get into the kingdom that way, what does being “saved” actually mean?tells us about this mystery of the truth. Let’s take a look at what it says in His words. Almighty God says, “At the time, Jesus’ work was the work to redeem 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 of sin, 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” (“The Vision of God’s Work (2)” in ). “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, and this is because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live within his 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” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). We can see from this that the Lord Jesus was crucified as mankind’s sin offering, redeeming us from sin. All we have to do is confess and repent to the Lord to have our sins forgiven. We’re no longer condemned and put to death under the law. The Lord no longer sees us as sinners and Satan can no longer accuse us. We are allowed to come before the Lord in prayer and enjoy the peace and joy He bestows, along with His abundant grace and blessings. This is what being “saved” means here. Being saved for faith only means being forgiven of sin, and not being condemned under the law. It’s not like people imagine, that once saved, they are always saved and will be worthy of entering the kingdom. The Bible’s mentions of being “saved” is how Paul described it, but neither the Lord Jesus nor the Holy Spirit ever said that. We can’t use human beings’ statements recorded in the Bible as our basis, only the Lord Jesus’ words. Some may ask that since the Lord has forgiven our sins, God no longer sees us as of sin and has called us righteous, so why can’t we be taken up into the kingdom? It’s true that God called us righteous, but He didn’t say that having our sins forgiven made us worthy of the kingdom, or that since we’re forgiven, we can still commit any kind of sin and still be holy. We must understand that God’s disposition is holy and righteous, and He would never call someone holy who is constantly sinning, or call someone free of sin who is still a sinner. Even a believer whose sins are forgiven can be damned if they resist and blaspheme God. Just as the Bible says, “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26). The Pharisees were damned by the Lord Jesus for judging, condemning, and resisting Him. Isn’t that a fact? Believers all know that God’s disposition will tolerate no offense, and the Lord Jesus said, “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven to men. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come” (Matthew 12:31–32). Forgiveness of sins truly is God’s grace, but if people continue offending God’s disposition after being forgiven, they can still be damned and punished by God. If we crucify God all over again, the consequences will be harsh. But God is love and mercy, so He wants to save us from sin and evil, so we become holy. That’s why the Lord Jesus promised He’d come again after His redemption work. Why would He return? To fully save mankind from sin and from Satan’s forces, so we can turn toward God and be gained by Him. Only a believer who welcomes the Lord’s return has any hope of entering the kingdom of heaven. At this point, some people may wonder, since our sins have been forgiven, how can we truly escape sin and become holy, and gain entrance to the kingdom? That brings us to the main point. Only accepting the Lord Jesus’ forgiveness isn’t enough. We also have to welcome the Lord’s coming and accept His next step of work in order to escape sin, be fully saved by God, and thus be worthy of the kingdom. Just as the Lord Jesus prophesied, “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). “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” (John 12:47–48). “For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son: … And He gave Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man” (John 5:22, 27). “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). If we think about this carefully, we can see the Lord in the last days as the Son of man, expressing truths and doing the work of judgment, guiding us to enter into all truths, so we can be completely freed from sin, from Satan’s forces, and achieve complete salvation. So accepting and chastisement of the last days, and having our corruption cleansed is our only path into the kingdom of heaven. Let’s take a look at a couple more passages of Almighty God’s words. Almighty God says, “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 essence 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” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” 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 all 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). Don’t Almighty God’s words make everything clearer? The Lord Jesus did the work of redemption in the Age of Grace, which was to forgive man’s sins and redeem us of them—that is true. But people’s sinful nature hasn’t been resolved and we keep resisting God, so that does not count as being fully saved. Almighty God has come in the last days, expressing so many truths, and is doing the work of judgment beginning with the house of God on the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ redemption. He’s come to utterly purify and save mankind, to take us into God’s kingdom. God’s last days’ judgment work is His most key, most fundamental work for saving man, and it’s the only path for us to be purified and fully saved. This is a golden opportunity and our only chance to get into the kingdom of heaven. We could say that Almighty God’s judgment work beginning with God’s house is the work of rapturing believers. Through God’s judgment and chastisement, our corruption can be cleansed, and then we’ll be protected through the great disasters and enter God’s kingdom. This is what being raptured really is. If we don’t keep up with this work, no matter how long our faith, how much we’ve suffered or paid a price, it will all be in vain. That is giving up halfway, and all our previous efforts would be a waste. We would just end up falling into disaster, weeping and gnashing our teeth. God would never bring someone who could still rebel against Him into His kingdom. That’s determined by His righteous disposition.
Some may ask how Almighty God does this judgment work to cleanse and save mankind. Let’s see what He says about that. Almighty God says, “Christ of the last days uses a variety of truths to teach man, to expose the substance of man, and to dissect the words and deeds of man. These words comprise various truths, such as man’s duty, how man should, how man should be loyal to God, how man ought to live out normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and the disposition of God, and so on. These words are all directed at the substance of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, the words that expose how man spurns God are spoken in regard to how man is an embodiment of Satan, and an enemy force against God. In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes over the long term. All these different methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth of which man is utterly bereft. Only methods such as these can be called judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced about God, and moreover gain true knowledge of God. What the work of judgment brings about is man’s understanding of the true face of God and the truth about his own rebelliousness. The work of judgment allows man to gain much understanding of the will of God, of the purpose of God’s work, and of the mysteries that are incomprehensible to him. It also allows man to recognize and know his corrupt essence and the roots of his corruption, as well as to discover the ugliness of man. These effects are all brought about by the work of judgment, for the essence of this work is actually the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life of God to all those who have faith in Him. This work is the work of judgment done by God” (“Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Almighty God has expressed millions of words in the last days, telling us all the truths we need for the cleansing of our corruption and our salvation. He judges and exposes our sinful, anti-God satanic nature and all aspects of our corrupt dispositions, and He exposes all of our deepest, most hidden and despicable motives and notions. The more we read God’s words, the more we experience that judgment, and we can see how incredibly deeply Satan has corrupted us, how arrogant and contrary we are. We are so cunning, selfish, and greedy, and we live by satanic philosophies and laws in everything, always protecting our own interests. Even our faith and work for the church is for rewards and entry into the kingdom. We have no conscience or reason, but entirely live out the likeness of Satan. Through God’s judgment and chastisement, we can finally see His righteousness that tolerates no offense. God truly sees into our hearts and minds, and even if we don’t say it, God will bring to light what we’re thinking, the corruption residing deep within our hearts. With nowhere to hide, we feel so ashamed, and we grow fear for God. We can pray about what’s in our hearts, and open up honestly about our mistaken thoughts and ideas, gaining a conscience and reason. If we tell a lie, we’ll disclose it right away, and make amends. Experiencing God’s words this way, our corrupt dispositions are gradually cleansed and changed, and we can live out a human likeness. Through Almighty God’s judgment and cleansing, we can deeply feel how practical God’s work to save man is! Without this, we could never see our actual corruption, and we’d never truly repent or change. We can see that escaping evil can’t be done through our own hard work and self-control, but it’s imperative that we’re judged, chastised, and tested by God. We also have to be pruned, dealt with, and disciplined. That’s the only way for our life dispositions to really change and for us to genuinely submit to and fear God. So if we only have the Lord Jesus’ redemption in our faith, our sins are forgiven and we’re justified by faith, but we’re unworthy of the kingdom. We still have to welcome the Lord’s return and accept Almighty God’s judgment so we can cast off corruption and completely resolve our sinful nature. And so, Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned, doing the work of judgment. He is the Savior come down to personally work to fully save mankind. Many believers from all denominations hear God’s voice and are accepting Almighty God. They are the wise virgins and are attending the Lamb’s wedding feast. But those who reject Almighty God are becoming the foolish virgins who will fall into the disasters, weeping. Now we should see why the religious world hasn’t seen the Lord Jesus come down on a cloud. They stubbornly cling to the literal Scripture, certain that the Lord is coming on a cloud to rapture them, based on their own ideas. But in reality, the Lord has already come in secret to work. Almighty God has expressed so many truths that they refuse to seek. They hear but don’t listen, and see but don’t understand. They blindly resist and condemn Almighty God. They keep gazing at the sky, waiting for the Savior Jesus to come down on a cloud. This will bring them into the disasters. Who is to blame?
Today, Almighty God has completed a group of overcomers through His judgment work of the last days. The disasters have begun, and God’s chosen people are throwing themselves into spreading Almighty God’s kingdom, bearing witness to God’s appearance and work. More and more people are investigating and accepting the true way, and is being established in more and more countries. Almighty God’s words are being spread and testified to throughout the world. Those who thirst for the truth and seek God’s appearance are coming before His throne, one after another. This cannot be stopped! It fulfills this biblical prophecy: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of Jehovah’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it” (Isaiah 2:2). But those antichrist forces in the religious world who oppose Almighty God, and the so-called believers who are misled and controlled by them have already succumbed to the disasters, losing their chance at rapture. They are weeping and gnashing their teeth. It really is a tragedy. Let’s watch a video reading of God’s words to wrap up for today. Almighty God says, “Christ of the last days brings life, and brings the enduring and everlasting way of truth. This truth is the path by which man gains life, and it is the only path by which man shall know God and be approved by God. If you do not seek the way of life provided by Christ of the last days, then you shall never gain the approval of Jesus, and shall never be qualified to enter the gate of the kingdom of heaven, for you are both a puppet and prisoner of history. Those who are controlled by regulations, by letters, and shackled by history will never be able to gain life nor gain the perpetual way of life. This is because all they have is turbid water which has been clung to for thousands of years instead of the water of life that flows from the throne. Those who are not supplied with the water of life will forever remain corpses, playthings of Satan, and sons of hell. How, then, can they behold God? If you only try to hold on to the past, only try to keep things as they are by standing still, and do not try to change the status quo and discard history, then will you not always be against God? The steps of God’s work are vast and mighty, like surging waves and rolling thunders—yet you sit passively awaiting destruction, clinging to your folly and doing nothing. In this way, how can you be considered someone who follows the footsteps of the Lamb? How can you justify the God that you hold on to as a God who is always new and never old? And how can the words of your yellowed books carry you across into a new age? How can they lead you to seek the steps of God’s work? And how can they take you up to heaven? What you hold in your hands are letters that can provide but temporary solace, not truths that are capable of giving life. The scriptures you read can only enrich your tongue and are not words of philosophy that can help you know human life, much less the paths that can lead you to perfection. Does this discrepancy not give you cause for reflection? Does it not make you realize the mysteries contained within? Are you capable of delivering yourself to heaven to meet God on your own? Without the coming of God, can you take yourself into heaven to enjoy family happiness with God? Are you still dreaming now? I suggest, then, that you stop dreaming and look at who is working now—look to see who is now carrying out the work of saving man during the last days. If you do not, you shall never gain the truth, and shall never gain life” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).