Question 19: One aspect of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption was to forgive and absolve our sins, while the other aspect was to bestow on us peace and joy and bountiful grace. This allows us to see that God is a merciful and loving God. But you testify that Almighty God does the work of judgment in the last days, that He expresses the truth and judges and chastises man, prunes and deals with man, exposes man and eliminates all kinds of evil men, evil spirits and antichrists, which allows people to see that God’s righteous disposition does not tolerate any offense. Why is the disposition revealed in the Lord Jesus’ work so completely different from the disposition revealed in the work of Almighty God? How exactly should we understand God’s disposition?
Since the Lord Jesus carried out His redemptive work in the Age of Grace, we have witnessed how the Lord Jesus is full of forgiveness and patience, and how He is full of love and mercy. So long as we believe in the Lord Jesus then our sins will be absolved and we will be able to enjoy the grace of God. As a result, we have determined that God is a loving and merciful God, that He always forgives man and absolves man from all the sins he commits, that God always treats us in the same way a mother treats her children, with meticulous care, without ever showing anger. Therefore, many people don’t understand it when they see Almighty God in the last days expressing truths and judging man in harsh language that reveals man’s corruption so directly and without mercy, they don’t understand it when He condemns and curses evil people, antichrists and the Pharisees, they feel that God should not use such harsh language to judge man. The fact that we have these kinds of conceptions shows that we do not have knowledge of God’s inherent disposition. Whatever kind of disposition God reveals in each age is always based on the needs of His work of saving the human race, and it is also determined by the needs of corrupt man. It is all in order to redeem and save mankind. If you want to understand this aspect of the truth, if you want to gain a true knowledge of God’s disposition, then let us read passages from the words of Almighty God.
Almighty God says, “Jesus’ work was done in accordance with the needs of man in that age. His task was to redeem humanity, to forgive them of their sins, and so all His disposition was one of humility, patience, love, piety, forbearance, mercy, and lovingkindness. He blessed humanity richly and brought them grace in abundance, and all things for enjoyment: peace and happiness, Jesus’ tolerance and love, His mercy and lovingkindness. In those days, all that man encountered was an abundance of things to enjoy: His heart was at peace and reassured, his spirit was consoled, and he was sustained by the Savior Jesus. That he could gain these things was a consequence of the age in which he lived” (“The Truth Concerning the Work in the Age of Redemption” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“In the past, His means of salvation was showing the utmost love and compassion, such that He gave His all to Satan in exchange for the whole of mankind. Today is nothing like the past: Today, your salvation occurs at the time of the last days, during the classification of each according to kind; the means of your salvation is not love or compassion, but chastisement and judgment in order that man may be more thoroughly saved” (“You Should Put Aside the Blessings of Status and Understand God’s Will for the Salvation of Man” 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, publicly judges all peoples, and perfects those who truly love Him. Only a disposition such as this can bring the age to an end. … 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 people shall be classified according to their kind. Through chastisement and judgment, the end of all things will be revealed, so that the evil will be punished and the good will be rewarded, and all people will become subject under the dominion of God. All the work must be achieved through righteous chastisement and judgment. 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. Therefore, a disposition such as this possesses the significance of the age, and the revelation and exhibition of His disposition is for the sake of the work of each new age. God does not reveal His disposition arbitrarily and without significance. If, when the end of man is revealed during the last days, God still bestows upon man inexhaustible compassion and love, if He is still loving toward man, and He does not subject man to righteous judgment, but shows him tolerance, patience, and forgiveness, if He still pardons man no matter what serious sins he commits, without any righteous judgment, then would there ever be an end to all of God’s management? When would a disposition such as this be able to lead mankind into the right destination? Take, for example, a judge who is always loving, kindhearted, and gentle. He loves people irrespective of the crimes they have committed, and he is loving and tolerant of people whoever they are. Then when will he be able to reach a just verdict? 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).
From reading the words of Almighty God, what do we see regarding the disposition God revealed in the Age of Grace? What disposition does God reveal in the Age of Kingdom? Are the dispositions of God as revealed in the Age of Grace and the Age of Kingdom the same? It was in the Age of Grace that God did His redemption work, wherein He revealed His mercy and love, His tolerance and patience, as well as His forgiveness and absolution. It was only then that mankind became qualified to come before God and pray, confess their sins and beseech God. Upon obtaining God’s absolution, they enjoyed God’s grace and blessings. In the late period of the Age of Law, despite mankind knowing what sin was and knowing that the laws of Jehovah did not tolerate any violations from mankind, nonetheless mankind often went against these laws and offended God. Based on what the law and the commandments require of mankind, they would be put to death under the law. Therefore, in the Age of Grace, God became flesh and was crucified for mankind and He personally bore the sins of mankind, absolving and forgiving mankind for their sins. The way the Lord Jesus treated His followers is just like a mother and father treat their own sons and daughters: with tremendous care and an unwillingness to cast aside anyone that believed in Him or followed Him. The Lord Jesus revealing His mercy, love, forgiveness, and absolution is to make us see how real God’s love is for us, how merciful and kind God’s heart is, how He is considerate of our weakness, and how His love reforms our hearts. It is only then that we are willing to accept God, come before Him to repent our sins, and obtain God’s redemption. Don’t we all feel this mercy and love from God? Having arrived in the last days, mankind already knows that God exists and moreover they have enjoyed so much of God’s grace. All can be certain that God is redeeming and saving mankind, and at this time mankind is able to accept some truths and the time has come for God to do His work of judgment so that man can be thoroughly cleansed and saved. Because mankind of the last days has been so thoroughly tainted by Satan’s corruption, they are so arrogant and crooked, selfish and despicable, and so terribly evil and greedy. For the sake of fame, status, and wealth they lack any scruples. They have lost all conscience and reason, they lack any humanity, and even though they believe in the Lord and are forgiven of their sins, their sinful nature and satanic disposition yet remains. For this reason, mankind cannot extricate itself from living in sin. In order to completely save mankind from the evil of sin, God has become flesh as the Son of man in the last days in accordance with the needs of corrupt mankind. God issues forth all the truths that will cleanse and save mankind. God has carried out a stage of judgment and chastisement work, and when He issues forth the truth to judge man, His words will be a bit harsh and cut right to the point, like a sharp two-edged sword, which fully shows His righteous, majestic, and wrathful disposition. It is precisely because of God’s judgment and chastisement that we are able to see His righteousness and holiness are unoffendable by man, and we then prostrate ourselves upon the ground and are utterly ashamed. We realize that we are so thoroughly corrupt and brimming with Satan’s disposition, that we have no reverence for God, no submission to Him, and all we do is rebel and go against God, and that we do not deserve to be in God’s presence. It is only through this that we achieve true repentance and know what a true man should be like and how one should live a meaningful life. Through experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement, we are able to understand many truths, create a reverence for God, submit to Him in our hearts, come to know how important it is to pursue the truth and that knowing God and loving Him is the most meaningful thing; isn’t this true repentance? Isn’t this real change? Without God’s judgment and chastisement, there would be no way for such a corrupt mankind to be cleansed and saved.
We see now that the only way to achieve the effect of God saving and perfecting man is by means of His judgment and chastisement. These are the facts. If, based on our imaginations, God in the last days had the same loving and merciful disposition as the Lord Jesus, would the effect of cleansing and saving mankind be able to be achieved? If God did not carry out His work of judgment in the last days then we would never be able to truly know that God’s inherent disposition is mainly based on His righteousness. In this way, we would be unable to receive the truth or be cleansed, saved and perfected. In addition, for those nonbelievers who do not pursue the truth, and for those antichrists that hate the truth and are enemies of God, there would be no way to reveal them and eliminate them. Only God’s righteous judgment can thoroughly reveal man and classify each man according to their kind. Only this can bring God’s work of saving mankind to an end. Through reading the word of Almighty God we can come to know what kind of disposition God expresses in each age is determined based on the need of the work of saving mankind. So, we cannot define God’s disposition and God’s entirety based on the disposition He revealed in any one age. It is because the Pharisees delimited God’s name and rigidly followed a set of rules that they resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus, which caused them to be punished and cursed by God. We have to know God’s disposition by coming to understand God’s three stages of work. This is the only accurate way to do so, this is in accord with God’s will. If we concluded that God is loving and merciful based solely on the disposition revealed by the Lord Jesus in the Age of Grace, how could this be true knowledge of God? That would be a very foolish and ignorant way of knowing God. The Pharisees understood the Bible, but why did they not know God? Because they defined God based solely on one stage of His work. When the Lord Jesus came to carry out His work they nailed Him to the cross. From this it can be seen that it is very easy to define and resist God if we do not know Him. Is this not the truth?
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