V. Questions and Answers on the Conditions for Entering the Kingdom of Heaven
Question 8: Since believing in the Lord, we have given everything to expend ourselves and have worked very hard for the Lord, and we have undergone quite a lot of persecution and tribulation. We have even been imprisoned for Him and we’d rather die than deny the name of the Lord or betray Him. I think that this is carrying out God’s will. By suffering for the Lord and standing witness we can achieve holiness, and be qualified to see the Lord. As long as we continue to uphold this, when He returns we will be raptured into the kingdom of heaven.
Answer: Working hard for the Lord is doing God’s will—this is a notion of most people in the religious world. As far as people see it, that’s quite right, but does it accord with the truth, and is it in line with the Lord’s will? Let’s first look at a fact. When the Jewish Pharisees traveled over land and sea to preach and do His work, to other people it looked like they were upstanding in behavior and pious. So why were they condemned and cursed by the Lord Jesus, who said “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites”? God can see into people’s hearts! Even though the Pharisees worked hard, they were just carrying out religious rituals and explaining knowledge and theory from the Bible. They did not put God’s word into practice at all, and they did not follow His commandments. Every single thing they did was for blessings, for rewards, and it was also for their status and to make a living. In their hearts, they didn’t love God at all and they didn’t have any reverence for Him. Their mad resistance and condemnation of the Lord Jesus completely exposed their nature of hating the truth and their hypocritical essences. That is why the Lord Jesus hated and cursed them. From this fact we can see that being able to work hard absolutely does not represent doing God’s will, and someone being upstanding in their behavior does not represent purification. As long as a person does not love God in their heart, does not put God’s words into practice, and does not keep His commandments, all of their hard work is in vain. It is all meaningless and absolutely cannot gain God’s praise. Anyone who is capable of resisting and condemning Christ in the flesh will certainly suffer the hatred and damnation of God. So then what really is doing God’s will? This refers to people being able to put God’s words into practice, obeying His commandments, being able to perform their duty in accordance with His words and the principles of His words, relying on their love for God to expend themselves for Him, having a heart of magnifying God, being able to fear God and shun evil, and frequently exalting Him and bearing witness to Him. Only this is truly doing God’s will. We can all see that there truly are many people who suffer quite a lot after believing in the Lord, that they pay quite a great price and even go to prison or are martyred and still do not depart from the Lord. The only thing this means is that they have genuine faith in the Lord. However, they are not pursuing the truth while they are working hard and they do not place emphasis on putting the Lord’s words into practice or keeping His commandments. Instead, they follow their own will and are obstinate and arrogant. After believing in God for many years, their disposition in life has not changed at all—they are still arrogant and do not obey anyone else. They frequently tell lies and engage in deceit, and even though they are able to do a lot of work and suffer a great deal, and they have some good behaviors and testimony, everything they do is for the sake of gaining blessings, gaining rewards. It is to enter into the kingdom of heaven and be crowned. Paying a price and expending oneself this way is trying to make a deal with the Lord and it is deceitful in nature. Personal motives and objectives are hidden within. They absolutely are not people who love and obey the Lord, so how could it be said that they do God’s will? What’s more, although they wave the flag of working and expending themselves for the Lord, they have never exalted Him or borne witness to Him. Rather, they are showing themselves off in all things to have people look up to them. They are struggling for fame and fortune and setting up their own little kingdoms. Their hard work is for the same purpose as the Pharisees’—it is entirely for their status and their living. This has nothing to do with doing God’s will. Instead, it is doing evil and resisting God. We can see from this that if a person cannot put God’s words into practice and they cannot keep His commandments, if they do not have a heart of love and obedience for God, then no matter how much they suffer and how much work they do, they still are not doing God’s will, and it particularly does not mean that they have cast off sinfulness and achieved purification, so how could they be worthy of entering into the kingdom of heaven? Just as 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” (Mat 7:21-23).
So then, what kind of person is one who does God’s will? Let’s first take a look at a passage of Almighty God’s words. Almighty God says, “Jesus was able to complete God’s commission—the work of all mankind’s redemption—because He gave every care to God’s will, without His personal plans and considerations. So, too, was He the intimate of God—God Himself, something which you all understand very well. (Actually, He was the God Himself who was testified to by God; I mention this here to use the fact of Jesus to illustrate the issue.) He was able to place God’s management plan at the very center, and always prayed to the heavenly Father and sought the will of the heavenly Father. … He lived for thirty-three years, throughout which He always did His utmost to fulfill God’s will according to God’s work at the time, never considering His own personal gain or loss, and always thinking of the will of God the Father” (“How to Serve in Harmony With God’s Will” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words allow us to understand how the Lord Jesus did God’s will, and this way we are clear on what a person who truly does God’s will is. He has a heart of loving God, he is considerate of God’s will, he can put His words into practice and obey His commandments, and he can obey God’s designs and arrangements. At any time, in any environment, he is able to uphold God’s commission, and complete His commission. He lives only to carry out God’s will—He is someone who exalts and bears witness to God. He is someone who has absolutely devotion, obedience, and love for God. Just as the Lord Jesus said: “If a man love me, he will keep my words … He that loves me not keeps not my sayings” (Jhn 14:23-24). “If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed” (Jhn 8:31). “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mat 22:37-39). All those who truly do God’s will are able to put the truth into practice and obey God. They can accept God’s commission and devote themselves to it until death. They are able to genuinely love God and live by His words. Take Peter for example. He sacrificed his entire life to God, and everything he did relied on his love for God to practice the truth and satisfy God. He shepherded the churches strictly according to the Lord’s will and requirements, and he never asked for anything from God for his own personal gain or loss. All he sought was to love God in his heart; even until the time he was martyred he felt he was unworthy of dying for the Lord, and asked to be crucified. In the end, he did achieve obedience till the death and the supreme love for God. It is because Peter was a person who genuinely loved the Lord that the Lord Jesus gave him the keys to the kingdom of heaven. And there was Job who was completely upright, who feared God and shunned evil things, and whether God gave to him or took from him, whether God blessed him or brought disaster upon him, he was able to worship and praise God’s name through it all. He unfailingly followed God’s path, so in God’s eyes he was a perfect person. God commending all of these figures throughout the ages was not only because they worked hard. What’s more important is that as they could follow God’s path, fear God and shun evil, genuinely love and obey God, offer up their entire lives to God, expend themselves to carry out God’s will, and endure endless struggles in their lives—only this is what made them people who truly do God’s will, who are worthy of receiving God’s promise and being raptured into the kingdom of heaven.
from the movie script of Stinging Memories