Saved in a Different Way
By Huang Lin, China
I used to be an ordinary believer in the Pentecostal Church, and ever since I started believing in the Lord I never once missed a meeting. In particular, it was now the time of the last days and the prophecies in the Bible about the Lord’s return had basically been fulfilled. The Lord would soon return, and so I attended meetings even more enthusiastically, eagerly looking forward to His return, lest I miss my chance to meet with the Lord.
One day, my younger sister came and she said happily to me, “Sister, I’ve come today to tell you the absolute best news ever—the Lord Jesus has returned! And what’s more, He has returned in the flesh, He is expressing the truth and performing His work of the last days to judge and cleanse man, thus fulfilling the prophecy in the Bible that says ‘For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God’ (1 Peter 4:17). You’d best hurry up and follow God’s new work!” When I heard the news that the Lord had returned, I was both shocked and doubtful, and I said, “It says in the Book of Revelation, ‘Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him’ (Revelation 1:7). And the pastor and elder often preach to us that when the Lord returns, He will come to us on a white cloud. You say the Lord has returned and that He has come in the flesh, but how is this possible?” My sister said solemnly, “Sister, you say that the Lord Jesus will return coming with clouds, but are you sure about this? It also prophesies in the Bible: ‘Behold, I come as a thief’ (Revelation 16:15), and ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him’ (Matthew 25:6). Are you daring to say that the Lord could not possibly come in secret? There is a mystery to the Lord’s return, so we must seek the truth about it with an open mind! If we cling to our own notions and imaginings, how can we then welcome the Lord’s return?” But no matter how my sister gave fellowship, I remained unconvinced, believing instead that the Lord would return on a white cloud and that He couldn’t possibly come in the flesh. Later on, my sister preached the gospel to my family, and through her repeated fellowships, my husband, my younger son and his wife (they were all unbelievers) all accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. Yet I continued to cling to my own notions, and I refused to accept it.
Afterward, I continued attending meetings at my old church, while my husband, younger son and his wife all attended meetings at The Church of Almighty God. Every time I returned from a meeting, I felt listless and felt that by attending these meetings I was just going through the motions; my heart was empty and I was gaining nothing. They, on the other hand, were always so happy when they returned from a meeting, and they would often fellowship and seek together to find out which corrupt dispositions they revealed when they encountered issues, how they should seek God’s will, and how they should know themselves and reflect on themselves; they would also discuss how to practice the truth and live by God’s word, how to cast off their corrupt dispositions and be purified, and so on. When I heard them talk about these things, I felt puzzled, and I thought: “They’ve only been believing for a few days, so how can they know how to seek God’s will when they encounter issues, and find the way to practice, and talk in such a reasoned, well-argued way? I’ve believed in the Lord Jesus for all these years; I’ve prayed, attended meetings and read the Bible consistently, so how come I don’t understand God’s will when things happen to me? And it’s not only me who’s like this, but all my brothers and sisters in my church are the same. We are bound by all manner of sins and unable to be free, and our spirits are withered, dark and hopeless, and we feel like we’re getting further and further away from the Lord; what on earth’s going on?” The topics they were discussing were so fresh and new, talking about what corrupt dispositions they were revealing, reflecting on and knowing themselves, being purified, and so on. I’d believed in the Lord for so many years but had never heard the pastor and elder in my church preach this kind of way, and I just couldn’t understand how my own family could come to understand so much! I was at a loss.
Before I could look round, harvest time had arrived, and my two sons gathered their corn and brought it home. In past years, I would always help my elder son shuck the corn and then help my younger son, but this year my younger son and his family shucked the corn themselves, and I thought to myself: “I haven’t helped my younger son’s family with their work this time, so his wife must surely be angry with me, and will say that I’m showing favoritism.” But to my surprise, not only was she not angry, but she also cheerfully said to me, “Mom, you and dad aren’t getting any younger. Don’t worry yourselves anymore with helping us with our work. Just take care of your health!” I was very surprised to hear her say this. It was indeed the first time she had ever spoken a word of concern about us! She had never said anything like this before! And later it happened again. I said to my sons and their wives, “Your children ought to go to middle school, so I’m going to buy them a bicycle each.” So I bought a bicycle for my elder son’s child, but then something came up and I had to spend all the money I had left over, and I was no longer able to buy a bicycle for my younger son’s child. Later, my daughter-in-law’s mother bought my grandchild a bicycle, and I felt bad. I thought to myself: “My daughter-in-law must surely be upset with me and will say that I don’t follow through with the things I say.” But to my surprise, not only was she not upset but she comforted me by saying, “Mom, there’s no need to be sorry for not buying my child a bicycle. You and dad keep your money from now on and spend it on yourselves. Don’t worry about us!” These two events surprised me a great deal. Since my daughter-in-law began believing in Almighty God, she no longer wrangled with me about things, but instead showed care and consideration for us—she had really changed. And my husband always used to lose his temper with me at the drop of a hat and would always speak sternly to me. But now he would smile when he spoke to me, and even sometimes when I was angry at him, he would endure it patiently and would say calmly to me, “The one we believe in is the same God. Physically speaking, we are husband and wife, but spiritually speaking we are brother and sister. We should love each other, understand each other and forgive each other, and live by God’s word. What do you reckon? I always had a bad temper and was prone to getting angry, and this was the result of my satanic corrupt disposition. I was too arrogant and conceited and I had no normal humanity. Now, I have read many of Almighty God’s words, and I have come to understand that God’s work of the last days is to save man by expressing His words. If people seek to attain God’s salvation then they must take God’s words and practice them in real life, and handle every matter in accordance with the truth and with principles. I have to forsake my flesh, practice in accordance with God’s word and live out a normal humanity.” Looking at my husband, my son and his wife, I kept pondering in my heart: “They only accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days two short years ago, so how come they’ve changed so much? This is really convincing me! I’ve believed in the Lord for so many years now, and I read the Bible and pray every single day, so how come I haven’t changed at all in all this time? When temptations come to me, why do I always sink into sin and can’t get myself out again? Only God has the power to change people. Could it be that the Almighty God they believe in is the Lord Jesus returned? If this really is true, and I keep refusing to accept it, won’t the Lord abandon me? To have such great salvation before me and yet not attain it, wouldn’t that make me so stupid?” Thinking these thoughts, I couldn’t help but feel anxious. I wanted to seek and investigate, but I was embarrassed to talk to my family about it.
One day, when my husband was out, I secretly took out the book he often read. The moment I looked at the cover, the six large words “The Word Appears in The Flesh” written in glittering gold leaped out at me, and I thought: “What mysteries does this book contain exactly? It can change people so much, so I must read it carefully.” Gingerly, I opened the book and saw these words written there: “This incarnation is God’s second incarnation following the completion of Jesus’ work. Of course, this incarnation does not occur independently, but is the third stage of work after the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. Each new stage of God’s work always brings a new beginning and a new age. So too are there corresponding changes in the disposition of God, in His way of working, in the location of His work, and in His name. No wonder, then, that it is difficult for man to accept the work of God in the new age. But regardless of how He is opposed by man, God is always doing His work, and is always leading the whole of mankind forward. When Jesus came into the world of man, He brought the Age of Grace and ended the Age of Law. During the last days, God once more became flesh, and when He became flesh this time, He ended the Age of Grace and brought the Age of Kingdom. All those who accept the second incarnation of God will be led into the Age of Kingdom, and be able to personally accept the guidance of God” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh). After reading this, I pondered: God’s second incarnation brought the work of the Age of Grace to an end, so could it be that God is no longer working in churches in the Age of Grace? Have we now entered the Age of Kingdom? It says here: “All those who accept the second incarnation of God will be led into the Age of Kingdom, and be able to personally accept the guidance of God.” Since my husband, my son and his wife accepted Almighty God’s work, they have really changed. Could it be possible that the Almighty God they believe in truly is the Lord Jesus returned? Are they truly following God’s footsteps and accepting God’s personal guidance? Otherwise, how could they understand so many truths and how could they have changed so much? This must be the result of the work of the Holy Spirit, for this is not something that can be achieved by relying on oneself without the work of the Holy Spirit…. I had only just thought this when I suddenly saw my husband come home. I hurriedly put the book back where it had been, and I thought: He mustn’t know that I’ve been reading his book, or else he’ll laugh at me.
The next day, my husband went out to attend a meeting, and I once again took out that book and began to read. I read this passage: “Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering, and did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to take on the sins of man as the sin offering, but also required God to do greater work to completely rid man of his disposition, which has been corrupted by Satan. And so, after man was forgiven his sins, God has returned to flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment, and 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 shall gain the truth, the way, and the life” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh). After reading this passage, I tried to figure it out: The Lord Jesus redeemed all mankind by being crucified, but He did not eliminate man’s corrupt dispositions, and within man there remained their sinful nature—this is absolutely true. As for those of us who believe in the Lord, we often cannot keep the Lord’s teachings, and we lie and cheat, and every day we sin and then confess, constantly rolling about in sin without the strength to free ourselves from the bonds of sin. This is an undeniable fact. At that moment, I thought of God’s words in the Bible: “You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45). God asks that we be holy, and yet we often sin and displease the Lord—how is that holy? God is holy, and even more so God’s kingdom cannot be tarnished. So how can we, who commit sins so often, enter the kingdom of heaven? Thinking of this, I felt a sense of loss, and I carried on reading in the book: “Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to take on the sins of man as the sin offering, but also required God to do greater work to completely rid man of his disposition, which has been corrupted by Satan.” Could it be that Almighty God’s work of the last days is an even greater work performed by the Lord Jesus who has returned in the flesh? Is it only through accepting and experiencing the judgment of Almighty God that we can rid ourselves of sin and be purified and changed? Is it possible that the changes wrought in my husband and my daughter-in-law have come from their experiences of Almighty God’s work of chastisement and judgment? My husband, my son and his wife had believed in God only for a short time and yet had come to understand some truths, they could talk about their understanding of their own corrupt dispositions, could seek God’s will when things happened to them and could find the path to practice. Whereas I, on the other hand, had believed in the Lord for many years, and yet if someone had asked me what exactly faith in God was, or what exactly God’s will was, to be honest, I wouldn’t have been able to say, much less talk about any change in my disposition. Thinking of myself compared to them, I felt truly ashamed! It looked to me now that I had to earnestly investigate Almighty God’s work of the last days.
From then on, every day I secretly read the book The Word Appears in the Flesh behind my husband’s back, and the more I read it, the brighter my heart became and the more I enjoyed reading it. Sometimes, I didn’t want to attend meetings at my church, but just stayed home reading this book. One time, I read these words of Almighty God: “I will surely illuminate and enlighten all those who hunger and thirst for righteousness and who search with sincerity. I will show to you all the mysteries of the spiritual world and show you the way forward, cause you to cast off your old corrupt dispositions as soon as possible, so that you may achieve life maturity and be of use to Me, and that the work of the gospel may soon proceed without hindrance. Only then will My will be satisfied, only then will God’s six-thousand-year management plan be accomplished as soon as possible. God will gain the kingdom and it will come down to earth, and together we will enter into glory!” (“Chapter 8” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). After reading this, I couldn’t help but think of the words the Lord Jesus said: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). The more I read, the more I felt that the words of Almighty God and the words of the Lord Jesus shared the same source. Both their words have authority and power, and so it seemed to me highly likely that Almighty God was indeed the Lord Jesus returned! Thinking this, I felt amazed: If this is true, I must hurry to accept Almighty God’s work of the last days, for if I keep refusing to accept it, then I will be left behind by God’s work! But how could I say this to my family? They had preached the gospel a lot to me in the past, but I’d always refused to accept it. If I said now that I was willing to accept Almighty God’s work of the last days, what would they think of me? Just as I was procrastinating in indecision, God opened a way for me.
One day, my daughter-in-law and one of her sisters in the church came to preach the gospel to me. I knew then that this was a God-given opportunity, so I spoke honestly with them: “Actually, I’ve been reading a lot of Almighty God’s words in secret and I feel that these words come from God. There is simply no way any man could speak these words that carry such authority and power.” When my daughter-in-law heard me say this, she was amazed, and she looked at the sister and laughed with joy. I went on: “But there is something I still don’t quite understand. The Lord Jesus prophesied ‘And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory’ (Luke 21:27). We believers all long for the Lord Jesus to return, and to come down amongst us on a white cloud. But you say that the Lord has returned already and that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned. So how come we haven’t seen the Lord come on a white cloud? Please fellowship with me about this.”
The sister spoke in earnest, saying, “Thanks be to God! As we know, there are many verses in the Bible that prophesy the Lord’s return. But if we look carefully, we will see that the Lord’s return is prophesied in two different ways: One is that the Lord will come openly on a cloud and every eye will see Him, like in Luke 21:27 that says ‘And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.’ The other way is that the Lord will come in secret, like a thief and without anyone knowing about it, as in Matthew 24:36 that says ‘But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.’ It can be seen that the Lord’s coming will happen in two stages: First, He will come in secret, and after He has performed one stage of His work, then His coming shall be made known. What you’re talking about is the prophecy of the Lord coming openly, whereas now we are in the stage whereby the prophecy of the Lord coming in secret is being fulfilled, which is the stage in which God becomes flesh to perform His work and save mankind. When God has finished working in the flesh, He will then come openly, so that all may see Him….”
My heart was illuminated to hear the sister give such fellowship, and I thought: As it turns out, it is prophesied in the Bible that the Lord will come in two different ways. First, He will come in secret, and afterward He will come openly—this truly is a mystery! I’ve been reading the Bible for so many years, so how come I never discovered this? But thinking about it now, I am certain that this is indeed the case!
My daughter-in-law said to me, “Mom, the time of Almighty God in the flesh performing His work to judge and purify man with words is the stage in which God comes in secret, and it is the time in which God exposes people and separates us each to our own kind. To understand this aspect of the truth more, let’s read the words of Almighty God.” Saying this, she then read: “Many people may not care what I say, but I still want to tell every so-called saint who follows Jesus that, when you see Jesus descend from the heaven upon a white cloud with your own eyes, this will be the public appearance of the Sun of righteousness. Perhaps that will be a time of great excitement for you, yet you should know that the time when you witness Jesus descend from the heaven is also the time when you go down to hell to be punished. It will herald the end of God’s management plan, and will be when God rewards the good and punishes the wicked. For the judgment of God will have ended before man sees signs, when there is only the expression of truth. Those who accept the truth and do not seek signs, and thus have been purified, shall have returned before the throne of God and entered the Creator’s embrace. Only those who persist in the belief that ‘The Jesus who does not ride upon a white cloud is a false Christ’ shall be subjected to everlasting punishment, for they only believe in the Jesus who exhibits signs, but do not acknowledge the Jesus who proclaims severe judgment and releases the true way of life. And so it can only be that Jesus deals with them when He openly returns upon a white cloud. They are too stubborn, too confident in themselves, too arrogant. How could such degenerates be rewarded by Jesus? The return of Jesus is a great salvation for those who are capable of accepting the truth, but for those who are unable to accept the truth it is a sign of condemnation” (“When You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus Will Be When God Has Made Anew Heaven and Earth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The sister continued her fellowship, saying, “From God’s words, we come to understand that while Almighty God performs His work in secret, He only does His work to judge and chastise people with words. That is to say, He expresses all truths to provide us with what we need in life, and all who accept God’s work of the last days and who experience the chastisement and judgment of God’s words, who come to understand the truth and know God and whose life dispositions are changed, are the overcomers who are made complete by God prior to the disasters. When these overcomers are made complete, God’s great work will be over, and the work He performs in secret will also be finished. God will then come with clouds and will appear openly to all nations and peoples. Some people cling blindly to their own notions, waiting only for the Lord Jesus to come with clouds, yet refusing to accept any of the truths expressed by God while He performs His secret work. These people all rebel against God and defy God, and if they cannot turn back to God and accept His salvation of the last days, then they will fall into the great disasters and there will be great wailing and gnashing of teeth. It’s prophesied in Revelation chapter 1, verse 7: ‘Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.’ Think about it: When the Lord comes with clouds, everyone shall see Him, and the right thing to do should be to welcome His coming with great joy. So why will all kindreds wail? It’s because that, when God comes openly, they will see that the Almighty God whom they have defied is indeed the Lord Jesus returned, so how could they not then beat their breasts, wail and gnash their teeth?”
Listening to the sister’s fellowship, I kept nodding my head, and I said, “Ah, I never understood this verse before, and I asked the pastor in my church, but the pastor didn’t explain it clearly. It turns out that this verse is referring to all those who refuse to accept Almighty God’s salvation in the last days and who defy Him.” At that moment, I couldn’t help but think of the many times my family had preached the gospel to me and yet I had resisted and refused to accept it, and I felt very distressed. Remorsefully, I said to the sister, “If I hadn’t read Almighty God’s words, if Almighty God’s words hadn’t opened the door to my heart and given me a heart that seeks the truth, I fear I’d still not be listening to your fellowships, but would still be infatuated, waiting for the Lord Jesus to come on a white cloud and appear openly to people! I really am so ignorant and foolish! Only now do I understand that the stage of God’s secret work is indeed a wonderful opportunity for us to accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words and cast off our corrupt dispositions in order to attain salvation! When God comes on a cloud and appears openly to man, His salvation work will be over already, and He will begin to reward the good and punish the wicked. And when that happens, even if I tear at myself in my regret, it will be too late. Thank God for not abandoning me and for giving me this chance to attain salvation. I wish to accept Almighty God’s work of the last days!”
Afterward, I took the initiative and asked to enter The Church of Almighty God, and like my husband, son and daughter-in-law, every day I read God’s words and fellowship the truth, and I experience the judgment, chastisement, purification and salvation of God’s words. In the big family of The Church of Almighty God, I live the genuine church life, and my spirit is filled with peace and joy. I truly feel God’s great love for me; it’s just that I was so numb and I made God wait so long. I thank God for meticulously arranging various people and events to lead and guide me step by step back into God’s family, and I thank God for saving me in a different way! All glory be to Almighty God!