Question 4: Granted that Paul was not perfect, the Lord did not remember his past transgressions. He worked for the Lord for years. The hardships he suffered and the price he paid no one can surpass. His suffering must be approved by the Lord. Paul is still our exemplar! He is the example that all of us Christians should follow. If even Paul is not approved by God, no one else will be.
Answer: Do you dare say Paul’s suffering is sure to be approved by God? Do you know his aims and intentions behind his suffering? I think Paul’s suffering is merely for redeeming his sins, which is against his will, and his suffering is even more for the crown and rewards. As such, how could his suffering be approved by God? The Lord is righteous, and He sees deep into the hearts of men. Man cannot see through Paul, but God can. Shouldn’t man believe that God is a righteous God? Why do people praise, worship, and exalt Paul like this? Isn’t it resisting the Lord Jesus? Why do people speak for Paul? What’s the problem? Are they the ones who speak on the side of the Lord Jesus? Do such people have true faith in the Lord?
People worship Paul and emulate Paul, which shows that they have the same substance of nature as Paul and shows that their aims and intentions of suffering for the Lord is the same as Paul’s. What kind of people one worships and follows represents the substance of his nature. In man’s conceptions, God will save all those who suffer and pay the price for preaching the Lord’s name, which is wrong. God saves those who are the same kind as Peter, who have humanity, love the truth, pursue the truth, and truly love God. God never saves the wicked who hate the truth, deny and resist Him, because such kind of people have satanic nature and can never change and Paul was just one of them. Unlike Paul, Peter followed Jesus actively and received what was directed by the Holy Spirit, so he recognized Jesus as the Lord, Christ. Peter had true faith in the Lord Jesus and the Lord Jesus searched all of it. Later the Lord Jesus focused on cultivating and perfecting Peter. The Lord Jesus asked Peter many times, “Simon, son of Jonas, love you me?” and said to Peter, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:16). “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven …” (cf. Matthew 16:19). Thus it can be seen that Peter was the very one who truly loved the Lord and truly followed the will of the heavenly Father, while Paul was one of the Pharisees who hated the truth and resisted God. The Lord called Paul for the purpose of giving him an opportunity to repent and asking him to do service in spreading the gospel. The Lord Jesus conquered Paul who had such a devilish nature. It reveals His almightiness and God can mobilize anyone to do service for His work. From God’s work, we can clearly see what kind of people God saves and what kind of people He does not. In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus didn’t save those Jewish Pharisees but condemned and cursed them, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Why you be witnesses to yourselves, that you are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill you up then the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:29-33). In the last days, Almighty God has also judged and revealed the Pharisees’ substance, “These Pharisees in substance were stubborn, arrogant, and did not obey the truth. The principle of their belief in God is: No matter how profound Your preaching, no matter how high Your authority, You are not Christ unless You are called the Messiah” (“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). “What was their essence? Was it not that they didn’t seek the way of compatibility with the truth? They obsessed over each and every word of the Scripture, while paying no heed to My will and the steps and methods of My work. They were not people who sought the truth, but people who rigidly followed the words of Scripture; they were not people who believed in God, but people who believed in the Bible. Essentially, they were watchdogs of the Bible. … So they preferred to forsake their future and the sin offering to condemn Jesus, who did not conform to the doctrine of Scripture, to death” (“You Should Seek the Way of Compatibility With Christ” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Brothers and sisters, from the facts that God judged and condemned the Pharisees during His two incarnations, we see God’s righteous and holy disposition. God never saves the hypocritical Pharisees, for they are substantively weary of the truth, hate the truth and are enemies of God. Paul actually was Pharisee in substance. No matter how long he believed in God, how much suffering he underwent, he would never know God, nor would he become the one who followed the will of God. Therefore, your view that Paul should be approved by the Lord because of his suffering and sacrifice is wrong!
from the movie script of Stinging Memories