VII. One Must Fellowship Clearly That Only What Christ of the Last Days Brings Is the Way of Eternal Life
1. Understanding that the message spread by the Lord Jesus in the Age of Grace was merely the way of repentance is essential
Bible Verses for Reference:
“Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mat 4:17).
“For this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Mat 26:28).
“And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luk 24:47).
Relevant Words of God:
In the beginning, Jesus spread the gospel and preached the way of repentance, and then went on to baptize man, heal the sick, and cast out demons. In the end, He redeemed mankind from sin and completed His work for the entire age.
from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The work Jesus did was in accordance with the needs of man in that age. His task was to redeem humanity, to forgive them their sins, and so His disposition was wholly one of humility, patience, love, piety, forbearance, mercy, and lovingkindness. He blessed humanity richly and brought them grace in abundance, and all the things that they could possibly enjoy, He gave them for their enjoyment: peace and happiness, His tolerance and love, His mercy and lovingkindness. In those days, all that man encountered was an abundance of things to enjoy: Their hearts were at peace and reassured, their spirits were consoled, and they were sustained by the Savior Jesus. That they could obtain these things was a consequence of the age in which they lived. In the Age of Grace, man had already undergone Satan’s corruption, and so the work of redeeming all humanity required an abundance of grace, infinite forbearance and patience, and even more, an offering sufficient to atone for humanity’s sins, in order to arrive at its effect. What humanity saw in the Age of Grace was merely My offering of atonement for the sins of humanity, that is, Jesus. All they knew was that God could be merciful and forbearing, and all they saw was Jesus’ mercy and lovingkindness. This was entirely because they lived in the Age of Grace. And so, before they could be redeemed, they had to enjoy the many kinds of grace that Jesus bestowed on them; only this was beneficial to them. This way, they could be forgiven of their sins through their enjoyment of grace, and could also have the chance to be redeemed through enjoying Jesus’ forbearance and patience. Only through Jesus’ forbearance and patience did they win the right to receive forgiveness and enjoy the abundance of grace bestowed by Jesus—just as Jesus said: I have come to redeem not the righteous but sinners, to allow sinners to be forgiven of their sins. … The more Jesus loved mankind, forgiving them their sins and bringing unto them enough mercy and lovingkindness, the more mankind gained the capacity to be saved, to be called the lost lambs that Jesus bought back at a great price. Satan could not meddle in this work, because Jesus treated His followers as a loving mother treats the infant in her bosom. He did not grow angry at them or despise them, but was full of consolation; He never flew into a rage in their midst, but forbore with their sins and turned a blind eye to their foolishness and ignorance, to the point of saying, “Forgive others seventy times seven times.” So His heart transformed the hearts of others. It was in this way that the people received forgiveness of sins through His forbearance.
from “The True Story Behind Work in the Age of Redemption” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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. When Jehovah set down Old Testament law in the Age of Law, why did He not then do the work of the Age of Grace? Why did He not make clear in advance the work of the Age of Grace? Would this not have been of benefit to the acceptance of man? He only prophesied that a male infant would be born and come to power, but He did not carry out in advance the work of the Age of Grace. 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 how man in the last days should enter in, or how to seek to satisfy God’s will.
from “How Can Man Who Has Defined God in His Conceptions Receive the Revelations of God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Every stage of God’s work contains considerably deep meaning. The reason Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit is because He was to redeem sinners. He had to be without sin. But only in the end when He was forced to become the likeness of sinful flesh and took on the sins of the sinners did He rescue them off the cursed cross that God used to chastise people. (The cross is God’s tool for cursing and chastising people; mentions of cursing and chastising are specifically about cursing and chastising sinners.) The goal was to have all sinners repent and to use crucifixion to have them admit their sins.
from “Work and Entry (6)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The work of Jesus was only for the sake of man’s redemption and the crucifixion. Thus, there was no need for Him to say more words in order to conquer any man. Much of what He taught man was drawn from the words of the Scriptures, and even if His work did not exceed the Scriptures, still He was able to accomplish the work of the crucifixion. His was not the work of the word, nor for the sake of conquering mankind, but in order to redeem mankind. He only acted as the sin offering for mankind, and did not act as the source of the word for mankind.
from “The Vision of God’s Work (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Age of Grace preached the gospel of repentance, and provided that man believed, then he would be saved. … At the time Jesus’ work was the redemption of all mankind. The sins of all who believed in Him were forgiven; as long as you believed in Him, He would redeem you; if you believed in Him, you were no longer a sinner, you were relieved of your sins. This is what it meant to be saved, and to be justified by faith. Yet in those who believed, there remained that which was rebellious and opposed God, and which still had to be slowly removed. Salvation did not mean man had been completely gained by Jesus, but that man was no longer of sin, that he had been forgiven his sins: Provided you believed, you would never more be of sin.
from “The Vision of God’s Work (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh