XVIII. Questions and Answers on the Way of Eternal Life
Question 2: The Lord Jesus and Almighty God are the same God, but do different work in different ages. The Lord Jesus did the work of redemption, and preached the way of repentance. In the last days, Almighty God does the work of judging and purifying mankind, and brings them the way of everlasting life. I still have another question, what is the difference between the way of repentance and the way of eternal life?
Answer: There is only one God, and His work of saving mankind can’t be done in one or two stages. Because there are three stages of work in God’s management plan to save mankind, the truth expressed by God in each stage is different, and gradually deepens, so that in the end it becomes perfect. God does different work across the ages based on the needs of man at the time, so the way God gives to man in each age is different. Knowing the difference between the way of repentance and the way of eternal life is very important. It is a truth every true believer in God must understand, because it’s related to how we know the truth and gain eternal life. Now we all know that the Lord Jesus did the work of redemption in the Age of Grace, and gave man the way of repentance. As the Lord Jesus said: “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mat 4:17). Which is to say, man should confess his sins and repent before God if he wants to enter the kingdom of heaven. After man confesses previous sins, such sins will be forgiven. Man will no longer sin, repent and be born again. This is repentance. But at that time, the Lord Jesus only taught man to confess his sins and repent, not to commit sins, not to do evil, to deny himself, take up the cross, and follow the Lord, to love the Lord with all his heart, his soul, and his mind, to love others as himself, with humility, forbearance and patience, and to forgive others seventy times seven and so on. These are the ways for man to repent. When man confesses his sins and repents before the Lord Jesus, these sins will be forgiven, which qualifies man to pray before God and fellowship with Him, and enjoy the bountiful grace and truth given by God. But what we can’t deny is that even if man’s sins are forgiven, his sinful nature still exists, and he can still sin, oppose and betray God. This proves that though man’s sins can be forgiven, he can still sin, and can’t escape the satanic disposition to attain purification. The Lord Jesus only did the work of redemption, which merely allows man to confess his sins, repent, return to God, and enjoy the grace given by God. This shows that the truth expressed by the Lord Jesus is the way for man to repent. Just as Almighty God says: “At the time, Jesus only spoke to His disciples a series of sermons in the Age of Grace, such as how to practice, how to gather together, how to ask in prayer, how to treat others, and so forth. The work He carried out was that of the Age of Grace, and He expounded only on how the disciples and those who followed Him ought to practice. He did only the work of the Age of Grace and none of the last days. … The work of God in each age has clear boundaries; He does only the work of the current age and never does He carry out the next stage of work in advance. Only in this way can His representative work of each age be brought to the fore. Jesus had spoken only of the signs of the last days, of how to be patient and how to be saved, how to repent and confess, as well as how to bear the cross and endure suffering; never did He speak of what man in the last days should enter into or how to seek to satisfy God’s will” (“How Can Man Who Has Defined God in His Conceptions Receive the Revelations of God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “The sins of man could be forgiven through the sin offering, but as for just how man can be made to sin no more, and how his sinful nature may be extirpated completely and transformed, he has no way of solving this problem. The sins of man were forgiven, and this is because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live within the corrupt satanic disposition of old. This being so, man must be completely saved from his corrupt satanic disposition, so that his sinful nature may be completely extirpated, never to develop again, thus enabling the disposition of man to be transformed. This would require man to grasp the path of growth in life, to grasp the way of life, and to grasp the way to change his disposition. Furthermore, it would require man to act in accordance with this path, so that his disposition may gradually be changed and he may live under the shining of the light, so that all that he does may be in accord with the will of God, so that he may cast away his corrupt satanic disposition, and so that he may break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). The words of Almighty God clearly tell us that the Lord Jesus did the work of redemption, and what He gave us was only the way of repentance, but He didn’t give man the way of everlasting life to cast off his satanic nature and attain purification. So, in the last days, Almighty God has come, and on the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption, He has done the work of “judgment beginning at the house of God” and gives us the way of everlasting life. Only by accepting the way of everlasting life given by Almighty God in the last days can we become obedient to the will of God, completely escape the dark influence of Satan, reach salvation, and enter the kingdom of God.
Just now we fellowshiped about the way of repentance. Now we will talk about what the way of everlasting life is, as well as the differences between the way of repentance and the way of everlasting life. When we talk about the way of everlasting life, we’re not talking about simple confession of sins and repentance, we’re talking about the way of truth that gives people everlasting life. More specifically speaking, how people gain salvation, break free from Satan’s influence, how they gain the truth as life, become compatible with God, and be gained by God. This is the way of everlasting life. So, those who attain the way of everlasting life are those who receive the truth, who gain the truth as life, and are the people completed by God who can enter the kingdom of heaven. Are these not the people who attain the way of everlasting life? Would those who gain the truth as their life ever oppose or betray God? Would those who enter the kingdom of heaven ever die, or be sent to hell? Of course not. So, any who gain the truth as life will come to know God, and thereby attain the way of everlasting life, correct? Let’s look at Almighty God’s words on the subject.
Almighty God says, “Christ of the last days brings life, and brings the enduring and everlasting way of truth. This truth is the path through which man shall gain life, and the only path by which man shall know God and be approved by God” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“The work in the last days lays bare the work of Jehovah and Jesus and all mysteries not understood by man, so as to reveal the destination and the end of mankind and end all the work of salvation among mankind. This stage of work in the last days brings everything to a close. All mysteries not understood by man needs must be unraveled to allow man to plumb them to their depths and have a completely clear understanding in his heart. Only then can the human race be divided according to their kind. … all mysteries not understood by man shall have been revealed, all truths previously not understood shall have been made clear, and the human race shall have been told of their future path and destination. This is the whole of the work that is to be done in the present stage” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“In this final stage of work, results are achieved through the agency of the word. Through the word, man comes to understand many mysteries and the work that God has done through generations past; through the word, man is enlightened by the Holy Spirit; through the word, man comes to understand the mysteries never before unraveled by past generations, as well as the work of prophets and apostles of times past, and the principles by which they worked; through the word, man also comes to understand the disposition of God Himself, as well as the rebelliousness and resistance of man, and comes to know his own substance. Through these steps of work and through all the words spoken, man comes to know the work of the Spirit, the work God’s incarnate flesh does, and even more, His entire disposition” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, expose the essence of man, and dissect his words and deeds. These words comprise various truths, such as man’s duty, how man should obey God, how man should be loyal to God, how man ought to live out the normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and the disposition of God, and so on. These words are all directed at the essence of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, those words that expose how man spurns God are spoken in regard to how man is an embodiment of Satan and an enemy force against God. In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with just a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes it over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth that man does not possess at all. Only methods of this kind are deemed judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced into submission to God, and moreover gain true knowledge of God. What the work of judgment brings about is man’s understanding of the true face of God and the truth about his own rebelliousness. The work of judgment allows man to gain much understanding of the will of God, of the purpose of God’s work, and of the mysteries that are incomprehensible to him. It also allows man to recognize and know his corrupt substance and the roots of his corruption, as well as to discover the ugliness of man. These effects are all brought about by the work of judgment, for the substance of this work is actually the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life of God to all those who have faith in Him” (“Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
From the words of Almighty God we can see that the way of everlasting life isn’t something that can be taught with a few rules, nor can man’s tendency to sin and oppose God be solved with merely a few passages. Mankind has been deeply corrupted by Satan, and filled with all kinds of Satan’s poisons. They are brazenly arrogant, prideful, and self-centered, and toward God, are full of notions, fanciful ideas, and outrageous demands. They have no real knowledge of God, much less do they have true fear, obedience, or love. If people want to escape their satanic dispositions and attain purification, or truly come to know, obey, fear, and love God, and become compatible with God, it requires them to understand many aspects of the truth. As is required by the corrupt mankind, in the last days, God does the work of “judgment beginning at the house of God,” and expresses all truths man requires to completely escape Satan’s influence and attain salvation. So, the way of everlasting life is more than one or two facets of truth, it is comprised of many, many aspects of truth. If, while we experience God’s work in the last days, we come to understand the entirety of the truths He has expressed to save mankind, and enter into the reality of the truth, then without doubt we can achieve a dispositional change in our life, and become those who truly obey and worship God. We can gain the way of everlasting life. What is the way of everlasting life? It’s all the truths God expresses in the last days to grant mankind salvation. God’s work in the last days is to instill these truths in man so that they become man’s life. People who live by these words of God will gain the way of everlasting life. No matter how deeply a person experiences the truth of God’s words, so long as we possess the realities of various truths to some extent, live out the likeness of a real man, are honest, truly obey God, conduct ourselves in a principled manner, fear God, and avoid evil, we become people who possess the truth, and humanity, and therefore we gain the way of everlasting life. When we attain the way of everlasting life we escape sin and the influence of Satan, which means we no longer sin, oppose God, or betray God. With true knowledge of God, we can achieve dispositional change. We can obey God, worship God, love God, become compatible with God, and become someone who obeys God’s will. When we gain the way of eternal life, we will never die. We will enjoy God’s blessings, and are promised entry into the kingdom of heaven.
Almighty God says, “After humanity enters into the right track, people will have normal human lives. They will all do their own respective duty and be absolutely faithful to God. They will utterly shed their disobedience and their corrupt disposition, and they will live for God and because of God. They will lack disobedience and resistance. They will be able to entirely obey God. This is the life of God and man and the life of the kingdom, and it is the life of rest” (“God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“I rest upon the throne, I recline across the whole universe, and I am fully satisfied, for all things have recovered their holiness, and I can peacefully reside within Zion once again, and the people on earth can lead serene, contented lives under My guidance. All peoples are managing everything in My hand, all peoples have regained their former intelligence and original appearance; they are no longer covered with dust, but, in My kingdom, are as pure as jade, each with the face like that of the holy one within man’s heart, for My kingdom has been established among man” (“The Sixteenth Utterance” of God’s Utterances to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“In the kingdom, the life of God’s people with God is incomparably happy. The waters dance for people’s blessed lives, the mountains enjoy with people My abundance. All men are striving, working hard, showing their loyalty in My kingdom. In the kingdom, there is no more rebellion, no more resistance; the heavens and the earth depend on each other, man and I are close and feel deeply, through life’s felicities, leaning together” (“People! Rejoice!” of God’s Utterances to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
from the movie script of From the Throne Flows the Water of Life