XVIII. Questions and Answers on the Way of Eternal Life
Question 3: You say only those who obey the will of God receive the way of everlasting life. After we started believing in the Lord, we suffered and paid a price to spread the Lord’s gospel. We’ve shepherded the Lord’s flock, taken up the cross and followed the Lord, practiced humbleness, patience, and tolerance. Are you saying we haven’t been following God’s will? We know if we continue, we will become holy, and be raptured to the kingdom of heaven. Is this way of understanding and practice wrong?
Answer: You have the notion that if you labor, sacrifice, or do good deeds, you are obeying God’s will. But are these imagined notions of yours after God’s heart? Do they have a basis in God’s word? Let’s see what the Lord Jesus said: 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). From the Lord Jesus’ words we can see that those who prophesy, cast out devils, and do many wonderful works in His name are the ones who suffer and do works for the Lord. They serve God, devote all their time to Him, and have many good behaviors. But, why does the Lord Jesus call them those who work iniquity? How should we understand this? By your notions, any who suffer and do work for the Lord and spend and sacrifice for Him are obeying God’s will. The chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees in Judaism also appeared to be very pious. They traveled far and wide to preach the gospel. So why did the Lord Jesus condemn and curse them? That’s something worth reflecting on, isn’t it? We can’t determine obedience to God’s will using the notions of man. True obedience to God’s will refers to people who can obey God’s work and words, practice God’s words, follow God’s commandments, and fulfill their duties according to God’s will and requirements. You say any who suffer and do work for the Lord are obeying God’s will. Then let’s evaluate them using the Lord Jesus’ requirements. What was the Lord Jesus’ most important requirement for man? “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). But are we doing this? Obeying God’s will means loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind. No matter how much work we do, or how much we suffer, there must be no personal ambition or impurity, we must be devoted purely to obeying and satisfying God, to carrying out God’s will. We must be happy to sacrifice everything for God, without demand for recompense. In the face of trials and tribulation from God, we must not complain or betray Him, and put ourselves at the mercy of God’s arrangements. Like Abraham, Job, and Peter, when God’s trials come, we must accept with utter obedience and without complaint or question, and bear good and resounding testimony for God. This is obedience to God’s will. Given those demands, it should be obvious whether or not we are people who truly obey the heavenly Father’s will.
We see many capable of suffering, doing work, and sacrifice after believing in the Lord, but in their suffering and sacrifice we find personal desire and ambition. They seek rewards, and to enter the kingdom of heaven. Isn’t this using and defrauding God? How is this practicing the truth to satisfy God? But there’s an even bigger tragedy going on. Even though the pastors and elders of the religious world often work and preach in their churches, and appear to do good acts from the outside, yet when Almighty God does the work of judgment in the last days, to protect their own position, influence, and income they wildly judge, condemn, and profane Almighty God, and try to stop the believers from investigating the true way. Don’t they make themselves enemies of God in doing this? How is this any different from the crimes of the Pharisees who resisted the Lord Jesus? These facts are enough to prove that people have no knowledge of God, that people’s satanic nature remains, and that people have not received the truth as life. Even those who can suffer, labor, and sacrifice for God do so to barter with God. They believe in God with the aim of gaining blessings for themselves. Such people are not practicing God’s words at all, and do not care for God’s will, much less are they testaments of obedience and love for God. How could such people be obeying God’s will? And how could they be qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven and gain everlasting life? Let’s read a passage from Almighty God: “I decide the destination of each person not on the basis of age, seniority, amount of suffering, and least of all, the degree to which they invite pity, but according to whether they possess the truth. There is no other choice but this. You must realize that all those who do not follow the will of God will be punished. This is an immutable fact” (“You Ought to Prepare a Sufficiency of Good Deeds for Your Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God decides the destination of each man not on the basis of how much work he does or suffering he undergoes, but on the basis of whether he possesses truth, practices God’s word, and obeys God’s will, because only those who obey God’s will are qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven and gain everlasting life. This is decided by God’s righteous disposition, and cannot be changed. So, we all need to reflect on the path we’ve taken to belief in God. Why, while we believe in and follow God, do we also sin and resist God? It’s caused entirely by the sinful nature hidden within us. With our sinful nature, it’s very difficult to truly obey and love God. Our sinful nature makes it hard to avoid trying to barter and gain blessings while we sacrifice for God. Our sinful nature creates complaints, negativity, and betrayal in us when faced with God’s trials. So, with our sinful nature, we can’t possibly become someone who obeys God’s will, and can’t become holy. It’s completely impossible! For us to truly obey God’s will and become holy, the problem of our sinful nature must be solved. Given that, if we don’t accept Almighty God’s work of judgment and chastisement in the last days, we will never be approved by God. If we don’t experience God’s work of judgment in the last days, we will never receive the truth, achieve change in our life disposition, or be after God’s heart. That’s a fact no one can deny.
from the movie script of From the Throne Flows the Water of Life