God says, “Today, those who bear genuine love toward Me, people like these are blessed; blessed are those who submit to Me, they will surely stay in My kingdom; blessed are those who know Me, they will surely wield power in My kingdom; blessed are those who seek after Me, they will surely escape from Satan’s bonds and enjoy blessing in Me; blessed are those who are able to forsake themselves, they will surely enter into My possession, and inherit My kingdom’s bounty. Those who run around for My sake I will commemorate, those who go to expense for My sake I will joyfully embrace, those who make offering to Me I will give enjoyments. Those who find enjoyment in My words I will bless; they will surely be the pillars that hold up the ridgepole in My kingdom, they will surely have matchless bounty in My house, and no one can compare with them. Have you ever accepted the blessings that you were given? Have you ever sought the promises that you were made? You will surely, under the guidance of My light, break through the stranglehold of the forces of darkness. You will surely not, in the midst of darkness, lose the light guiding you. You will surely be the master of all creation. You will surely be an overcomer before Satan. You will surely, at the downfall of the kingdom of the great red dragon, stand up amid the myriad throngs to bear witness to My victory. You will surely be resolute and unwavering in the land of Sinim. Through the sufferings you endure, you will inherit the blessing that comes from Me, and will surely irradiate within the entire universe with My glory.”
from The Word Appears in the Flesh
We Can Only Enter the Kingdom of Heaven by Doing God’s Will (Part Two)
By Xinshou, United States
After Sister Li listened, she smiled and said, “Thanks be to God, you’ve asked a critical question! Whether we can become people who do the Father’s will is directly related to our own endings and destination, and fellowship on this question is very necessary! In the last days, the returned Lord Jesus, who is Almighty God, has already revealed the truth and mysteries surrounding this question to us. First, let’s read several passages of Almighty God’s word!” After she spoke, Sister Li opened a book of God’s word and began to read, “A sinner such as you, who has just been redeemed, and has not been changed, or been perfected by God, can you be after God’s heart? For you, you who are still of your old self, it is true that you were saved by Jesus, and that you are not counted as a sinner because of the salvation of God, but this does not prove that you are not sinful, and are not impure. How can you be saintly if you have not been changed? Within, you are beset by impurity, selfish and mean, yet you still wish to descend with Jesus—you should be so lucky! You have missed a step in your belief in God: You have merely been redeemed, but have not been changed. For you to be after God’s heart, God must personally do the work of changing and cleansing you; if you are only redeemed, you will be incapable of attaining sanctity. In this way you will be unqualified to share in the good blessings of God, for you have missed out a step in God’s work of managing man, which is the key step of changing and perfecting. And so you, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance” (“Concerning Appellations and Identity” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“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).
“In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, to expose the essence of man, and to dissect the words and deeds of man. 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 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, the 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 a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth of which man is utterly bereft. Only methods such as these can be called 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. This work is the work of judgment done by God” (“Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Sister Li fellowshiped, “Almighty God’s words state very clearly that if we wish to become people who do God’s will, we must first accept God’s work of judgment in the last days. In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus did the work of redemption, so that after we believed in the Lord, if we sinned, we only had to pray to the Lord, and our sins would be forgiven. What we can’t deny, however, is that our satanic nature is still rooted deep within us, that we often expose satanic dispositions such as arrogance, self-importance, crookedness, cunning, selfishness, baseness, evil, and greed, that we are incapable of practicing the Lord’s words, and that we continue to involuntarily sin and resist God. For people like us, who live in sin, in bondage to the satanic nature, even if our sins are forgiven a thousand or ten thousand times, we still belong to Satan, and we cannot gain God’s approval or enter the kingdom of heaven. God knows we are deeply corrupted by Satan, so He has again come incarnate in the last days, and on the basis of the work of redemption done by the Lord Jesus, expressed the truths to do the further work of judgment beginning with the house of God to purify and change our corrupt dispositions. When we experience the judgment in the words of Almighty God, we see clearly our own corrupt essences and the root of our resistance to God, we gain some true knowledge of God’s righteous and holy disposition, God’s desire to save people, and what He has and is, we produce hearts that fear God, and we are able to genuinely loathe ourselves. After this, when we expose corrupt dispositions, we are able to consciously betray ourselves and practice according to God’s requirements. Gradually, we become ever more obedient to God, our corrupt dispositions are reduced, and we are ever more able to practice God’s words. By continuously experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement, we are able to develop genuine obedience and love for God, carry out God’s word in all things, and pursue the truth, which is how we can become people who do God’s will. So, only by accepting God’s work of judgment in the last days and pursuing the truth can we become people who do God’s will and be lifted up by God into the kingdom of heaven.”
I felt much brighter after hearing Almighty God’s words and Sister Li’s fellowship. That’s right, God’s disposition is righteous and holy, we live in sin, and we can still involuntarily sin and resist God. We aren’t people who do the Father’s will at all, so how could we possibly be qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven? It seemed to me that we truly do need to accept God’s work of judgment in the last days to escape from the bondage of sin, be purified, and be fully saved by God! Thanks be to the Lord for His enlightenment and guidance. Through my brother and sister’s fellowship that day, I understood nearly at once the question that had confused me for so long. I recalled the scroll with seven seals mentioned in Revelations, which can only be opened by God. If the Lord hadn’t returned, who else could explain such mysteries? In the past, I had prayed to the Lord to be one of the wise virgins who soberly await His return, but I never dared imagine I would actually be able to receive the returned Lord! The more I thought, the brighter my heart felt. To me, all of this seemed to embody the Lord’s good intentions, so I decided to diligently investigate Almighty God’s work of the last days. Before I left, Brother Zhang gave me a book, The Scroll Opened by the Lamb, which I happily accepted.
Accepting God’s Work in the Last Days Brings My Heart Incomparable Sweetness
In the period that followed, through watching The Church of Almighty God’s gospel films and hymn videos, listening to their hymn albums, and reading God’s word, I came to understand the mystery of God’s six-thousand year management plan, aspects of the truth regarding God’s incarnation, the mystery of God’s name, and other things which made me certain that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus, who we have so long awaited. I read in the word of God: “Humanity, having strayed from the Almighty’s provision of life, is ignorant of the purpose of existence, but fears death nonetheless. They are without help or support, yet still reluctant to close their eyes, and they steel themselves to drag out an ignoble existence in this world, sacks of flesh with no sense of their own souls. You live in this way, without hope, as do others, without aim. Only the Holy One of legend will save the people who, moaning in the midst of their suffering, long desperately for His arrival. So far, such belief has not been realized in those who lack consciousness. Nevertheless, the people still yearn for it so. The Almighty has mercy on these people who have suffered deeply; at the same time, He is fed up with these people who lack consciousness, as He has had to wait too long for an answer from humanity. He wishes to seek, to seek your heart and your spirit, to bring you water and food and to awaken you, that you may no longer be thirsty and hungry” (“The Sighing of the Almighty” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). In God’s words, I felt His love for humanity. God has always been concerned for we who live in sin, and God hopes that we all can hear His voice and accept His salvation. I remembered how at the time of my greatest confusion, God miraculously orchestrated and arranged for Brother Zhang and Sister Li to preach God’s Kingdom gospel to me, as well as to patiently fellowship with me on many aspects of the truth, so that I would have the opportunity to come before God and catch up to God’s new work. This truly was God’s grace and salvation! Especially when I heard the church’s hymn “The True Love of God,” I felt that each line of the song was my voice, as well as my own actual experience. Thanks be to God for saving me. I finally found my real home!
God’s Word Changes My Mistaken Views on Belief in God
One day, I read, “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II,” in which God fellowships on Job’s experience, and only then did I understand that God approves of people, such as Job, who fear God and shun evil. During the trials he experienced, his wealth being stripped away and his children dying, even though he was in agony, he never complained against God, and instead said, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). When Job again faced trials, growing boils all over his body, he still maintained his faith in God, and would rather curse himself than complain against God. From this, I can see that Job’s fear and obedience of God were genuine. Whether God gave or took away, Job was able to obey His orchestrations and arrangements, and his faith stood up to inspection.
I read another passage of God’s word in the same article, “At the same time as pursuing God, man doesn’t treat God like God. He has always tried to make deals with God, ceaselessly making demands of Him, and even pressing Him at every step, trying to take a mile after being given an inch. At the same time as trying to make deals with God, man also argues with Him, and there are even people who, when trials befall them or they find themselves in certain situations, often become weak, passive and slack in their work, and full of complaints about God. From when he first began to believe in God, man has considered God to be a cornucopia, a Swiss Army knife, and he has considered himself to be God’s greatest creditor, as if trying to get blessings and promises from God were his inherent right and obligation, while God’s responsibility were to protect and care for man and provide for him. Such is the basic understanding of ‘belief in God’ of all those who believe in God, and their deepest understanding of the concept of belief in God. From the substance of man’s nature to his subjective pursuit, there is nothing that relates to the fear of God. Man’s aim in believing in God could not possibly have anything to do with the worship of God. That is to say, man has never considered nor understood that belief in God requires fearing God, and worshiping God. In light of such conditions, man’s substance is obvious. And what is this substance? It is that man’s heart is malicious, it harbors treachery and deceit, it does not love fairness and righteousness, or that which is positive, and it is contemptible and greedy. Man’s heart couldn’t be more closed to God; he hasn’t given it to God at all. God has never seen man’s true heart, nor has He ever been worshiped by man. … compared to Job, your faith is simply unworthy of mention. You are the enemies of God, you do not fear God, you are incapable of standing firm in your testimony to God, and unable to triumph over the attacks, accusations, and temptations of Satan. What makes you qualified to receive the promises of God?” (“God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Seeing Job’s experience and the revelations in God’s word, I felt very ashamed. As I believed in God, although I expended and paid a price, they filled with my own individual contaminants. What I pursued was to gain blessings and grace for myself, and the essence of what I did was transacting with God. When God granted me grace and blessings, and my business grew, I actively preached the gospel and passionately expended for Him. But, when my company faced bankruptcy and was deeply in debt, I complained against God for not protecting me, thereafter lost my faith in God, and was no longer motivated to expend for Him. Now, I finally clearly saw that God does not approve of expending and paying a price in this way, and no matter how much I did outwardly, I did it all for my personal interests, to gain God’s blessings. I didn’t do it to satisfy God at all, much less could I be called someone who did God’s will. When I realized these things, I felt that I owed God too much, so I quickly prayed to God, “God! In the past, I only believed in You because I sought to fill my belly with bread. I was trying to extract grace and blessings from You, and even when I worked and expended, it was to transact with You. Now, from Your words, I see that my views on belief are mistaken. I wish to repent to You, and I ask for Your guidance on the road ahead, so that I may become someone who genuinely fears and obeys You.”
When Trials Come, God’s Word Is Almighty
Not long after, a trial came to me as well. First, I lost my work, after which my husband’s eye suddenly stopped functioning. He required surgery immediately. At first, I was confused about why these things happened to me so suddenly. I thought, “How could it be that such unlucky things happen to me just after I accept God’s work of the last days? What’s going on?” My mind was a blank at the moment, and I could do nothing but pray to God and beg Him to protect my husband. But after I prayed, I remembered a passage of God’s word, “If they wish to be saved, and wish to be completely gained by God, then all those who follow God must face temptations and attacks both great and small from Satan. Those who emerge from these temptations and attacks and are able to fully defeat Satan are those who have been saved by God” (“God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). It was then that I realized these circumstances weren’t a coincidence at all. This was a spiritual battle, and the moment when God required me to bear witness. Just like during Job’s trials, when outwardly it appeared that bandits stole his wealth and disaster took the lives of his children, behind it was a bet between God and Satan. Satan used these things to tempt and attack Job, hoping to destroy Job’s faith in God. God also wanted to use Satan’s temptations to inspect Job’s faith and see whether he could keep to the path of fearing God and shunning evil. At that moment, I understood that Satan was using the loss of my job and my husband’s condition to disturb and tempt me, to make me blame and misunderstand God over these things, or even deny God, but God was also using these things to inspect me and see how I would choose in the midst of a trial. I also thought of Job’s attitude toward his trials. No matter what his circumstances, he never denied God. He nevertheless glorified God’s name, and finally, he stood firm and testified for God, and gained God’s approval. When I thought of this, I was much calmer, and I had a path of practice. So, I prayed to God, “Almighty God! Thank You for Your enlightenment and guidance. Now, I understand Your will, and I entrust my husband’s operation entirely to You. No matter whether it succeeds, I will obey Your orchestrations and arrangements.” I was very surprised to see my husband’s operation be successful. The doctor said, after a month of rest, his vision would be restored. When I heard the news, I silently offered thanks and praise to God.
Following this, another difficulty befell us: I had no job, and while he was recovering, my husband couldn’t work, so without a source of economic support, how would we afford our rent and daily expenses? And when would we ever be able to pay back our previous debts? These thoughts were particularly upsetting for me. But then, I remembered that God’s good intentions are within everything that happens to us every day. Although I didn’t understand God’s will, and didn’t know when the difficulties we faced would be resolved, I couldn’t blame God. I was taken aback when just after I prayed to God to express my willingness to obey His orchestrations and arrangements, a payment check from the head franchise office arrived. We had originally planned to write this payment off as a loss, and I was very surprised to receive the payment they owed us. I couldn’t hide my excitement after receiving the money, and I knew this was God’s miraculous orchestration at work. At our most desperate, God was using the people, events, and things around us to help us resolve our troubles. I also saw that God used this trial to eliminate the contaminants within me, change the mistaken intentions in my belief to transact with Him, and allow me to be genuinely faithful and obedient to Him. This experience allowed me to understand that only by seeking the truth, reflecting on our own corruption and contamination, and obeying all of God’s orchestrations and arrangements in the circumstances He sets up for us can we receive God’s mercy and grace or see God’s deeds.
The words expressed by God in the last days open up the entirety of the truths and mysteries regarding God’s will, God’s disposition, what kind of people God loves and hates, each kind of person’s ending and destination, the path to full salvation, and more. It was only through these words that I came to know that my past mistaken views, that belief in the Lord is merely to seek blessings and grace, didn’t accord with God’s will at all. In our belief in God, God’s will and requirement is that we should fear and obey God. It was the words expressed by God in the last days which pointed out the correct views about belief in God to me, and finally ended my vague belief! Thanks be to God!