17. The Lord Jesus is a merciful and loving God. As long as we uphold the name of the Lord Jesus and keep His way, we believe that when He returns, He won’t abandon us, and we will be directly raptured into the kingdom of heaven.
“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” (Mat 7:21-23).
The Answer from God’s Word:
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. Therefore, a disposition such as this is imbued with temporal significance, and the revelation and exhibition of His disposition is made manifest for the sake of the work of each new age. It is not that God reveals His disposition arbitrarily and without significance. Supposing that, in revealing the outcome of man during the last days, God were still to bestow upon man infinite compassion and love and continue to be loving toward him, not subjecting man to righteous judgment but rather showing him tolerance, patience, and forgiveness, and pardoning man no matter how grave his sins, without any jot of righteous judgment: then when would all of God’s management ever be brought to a close? When would a disposition such as this be able to lead people into mankind’s appropriate destination? Take, for example, a judge who is always loving, a judge with a kindly face and a gentle heart. He loves people irrespective of the crimes they may have committed, and he is loving to and forbearing with them whoever they may be. In that case, when will he ever be able to reach a just verdict? During the last days, only righteous judgment can classify man according to their kind 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.
from “The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Anyone who does not believe in God incarnate—that is, anyone who does not believe the work and speech of the visible God and does not believe in the visible God but instead worships the invisible God in heaven—does not have God in his or her heart. They are people who are disobedient to and resist God. These people lack humanity and reason, to say nothing of truth. For these people, the visible and tangible God all the more cannot be believed, yet the invisible and intangible God is the most credible and also the most gladdening to their hearts. What they seek is not the truth of reality, nor is it the true essence of life, much less God’s intentions; rather, they pursue excitement. Whichever things are most capable of letting them attain their own desires are, without a doubt, their faiths and pursuits. They only believe in God in order to satisfy their own desires, not to seek the truth. Are these people not evildoers? They are extremely self-confident, and they do not believe that God in heaven will destroy them, these “good people.” Instead, they believe that God will allow them to remain and, moreover, will reward them handsomely, for they have done many things for God and displayed a great deal of “loyalty” toward Him. If they were to pursue the visible God, they would immediately strike back against God or fly into a rage once their desires were to fall through. These are vile people who seek to satisfy their own desires; they are not people of integrity in pursuit of the truth. Such kind of people are the so-called wicked people who follow Christ. Those people who do not seek the truth cannot believe the truth. They are all the more unable to perceive humanity’s future outcome, for they do not believe any work or speech of the visible God, and they cannot believe in humanity’s future destination. Therefore, even if they follow the visible God, they still commit evil and do not seek the truth, nor do they practice the truth that I require. Those people who do not believe that they will be destroyed are conversely the very individuals who will be destroyed. They all believe themselves to be so clever, and they believe that they themselves are those who practice the truth. They consider their evil conduct to be the truth and thereby cherish it. These wicked people are very self-confident; they take the truth to be doctrine, and take their evil acts to be truth, and in the end they can only reap what they have sown. The more self-confident people are and the more wildly arrogant they are, the more they are unable to obtain truth; the more people believe in the heavenly God, the more they resist God. These are the people who will be punished.
from “God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
God does not want more people to be punished, but instead hopes for more people to be saved, and for more people to keep up with His footsteps and to enter into His kingdom. But if people refuse to recognize their mistakes, if they cannot accept the truth with a humble heart, but instead go nitpicking, trying to find fault and pretending to understand when really they do not, then they will be the ones who lose out in the end. God’s work waits for no one. His salvation is not like some piece of trash, to be randomly thrown on just anyone. Rather it is targeted, with an objective and by choice. If you do not know to cherish it, then the only thing awaiting you will be God’s righteous judgment and punishment. God treats all people righteously; no matter your age, how senior you are or even how much suffering you have been through, God’s righteous disposition is forever unchanged in the face of these things. God does not treat anybody with high regard, nor does He favor anybody. His attitude toward people is based on whether or not they can accept the truth and accept His new work by relinquishing all things. If you can receive His new work and receive the truth that He expresses, then you will be able to gain God’s salvation. If you are prideful of your veteran status and you flaunt your seniority, laying down terms to God, then you will be disavowed from God’s salvation. Just like the Jews, who could not accept Jesus Christ but only waited for the Messiah, that which befell them in the end was the curse and the ire of God; this is a fact that is there for all to see. … We must not jump to conclusions about God’s work and His management, otherwise that which we will gain will not be God’s promises, but rather His wrath, curses and punishment, and the yearning of a lifetime will come to nothing. Drawing on the pain of past experiences, that which we must do even more is to not allow God’s salvation to slip away from us and to hold on tight to every piece of guidance and every opportunity God bestows on us, so as to avoid God’s curse falling upon us when we do not expect it. We must patiently and cautiously await God’s coming, take a careful approach to the gospel that crosses our path, pray to God to fortify us with faith and pray to God to bestow spiritual eyes on us that we may discern every kind of person, matter and object that we encounter, until such time as we witness the appearance of God.
… The knowledge and external behaviors of the Pharisees did not save their relationship with Jesus Christ. On the contrary, it harmed them, and it was their knowledge and conceptions, along with the image of God in their hearts, that impelled them to condemn the Lord Jesus. It was their imaginations and minds which misled them, which covered their spiritual eyes, causing them not to recognize the Messiah that had already come, to do all they could to find evidence and to gain a foothold in order to condemn the Lord Jesus. This is their ugly face—using the excuse of upholding God’s original work to condemn God’s realistic work in the present. Of course, this is a mistake that people living in any age are liable to make—using old doctrines and rules to measure and condemn truths that they have never heard before, thinking that they are adhering to the true way and maintaining their purity before God, that they are being loyal to God. But what are the facts? God is continually doing His new work, continuing His management, always new and never old. And what about people? They always hold fast to some obsolete things that they think to be the entirety of God’s expressions, patting themselves on the back, swollen with arrogance, waiting for God to bestow rewards on them with an attitude that believes God would never discard them, would never mistreat them. And what is the outcome? God’s work continues uninterrupted, with more people of the new age following Him and accepting His new work, while those who wait for God to bestow rewards on them are eliminated by God’s new work, and even more people fall into God’s punishment. At the moment when their punishment begins, their life in believing in God is over, and their ending, and their destination, are brought to an end. This is something that no one wishes to see, but it happens unknowingly before our eyes. So is this down to God’s disposition being so merciless, or is it that people’s seeking is at fault? Is it really not worth mankind thoroughly examining themselves?
from Afterword to Classic Examples of Punishment for Resisting Almighty God