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Some people don’t understand this aspect of truth about the almightiness and reality of God. They think that God is almighty and He can redeem mankind with one word, but why did thehave to be nailed to the cross and endure hardship to redeem mankind? If you want to understand this problem, please read the following article.
By Sun Gang
One day, I went to Brother Li’s home, who is in our church, wanting to visit the weak brothers and sisters together with him. When I arrived, he was reading. Seeing me, he stood up and said gladly: “Brother Sun, you came just at the right moment. I just have a problem and I can’t figure it out. You’re a preacher. Please tell me about it quickly.” I asked: “What’s the problem? Just say it.” Brother Li said seriously: “Brother Sun, when I was assisting brothers and sisters, some of them raised a query: ‘Since God is almighty and so authoritative and powerful, if He wants to redeem mankind, wouldn’t He just have to say the word? But why did the Lord Jesus redeem mankind by being nailed to cross?’ At that time I also didn’t know how to explain it. Thank the Lord. Today you just came at the right time. Let’s fellowship about it.”
I said with a smile: “OK! In fact, this problem is right the one most brothers and sisters in the Lord are confused about. Recently I just have some new light about it.” Brother Li said joyfully: “Thank the Lord! It’s wonderful! Do tell me.” I said: “At the mention of the topic concerning why the Lord Jesus used the crucifixion to redeem mankind, we need to talk from the Old Testament. Thinking back to the Old Testament Age of Law, people had to come before the altar and give offerings to God to make atonement if they committed sins. Only by doing this could they receive Jehovah God’s pardon. Otherwise, people all had to be executed by the law. At first the people of Israel, no matter who sinned, must offer the firstborn and the best sheep, cattle, pigeons and turtledoves, and so on to God as Jehovah God required in order to ask God to pardon them. Thus, by the end of the Age of Law, they sinned more and more, and gradually they were unable to observe the laws and decrees set forth by Jehovah God. In this way, making offerings became more and more so that they couldn’t find the firstborn and good offerings to atone for their sins. Finally, they actually dared offer the blind and lame offerings before the altar, which seriously violated God’s laws. In accordance with the laws established by Jehovah God, if people offended the laws, they must be put to death. So, God became flesh to perform the work of redemption according to man’s needs. If God hadn’t saved man, the whole people in the Age of Law would have been executed because they failed to observe the laws, and the meaning of God’s creation of man would have lost.”
Brother Li hurried to ask me: “Then why did the Lord Jesus have to be crucified to redeem mankind? Isn’t God almighty? He can redeem mankind with just one word.” I answered him: “Brother Li, there are principles and truths in this to be sought. Some time ago, a brother just brought me a book about belief in God. And a passage of words in it is well and right spoken directed toward this aspect. Let me read it to you.” Brother Li said hurriedly: “That’s wonderful! Please read it at once.”
Taking the book from my bag, I opened it and read: “God expresses some words or does some deeds and people always misunderstand and think, ‘How can God act that way? God is almighty!’ There is a constant fight within man. … The crucifixion was endured so that man could be redeemed, yet man does not understand God and always harbors some conceptions about God, saying: ‘To redeem all mankind God had only to say to Satan, “I am almighty. You dare to withhold mankind from Me? You must give them to Me.” With these few words everything could have been resolved—did God not have authority? All that was needed was for God to say that mankind is redeemed and that man’s sins are pardoned, then man would have been without sin. Were these things not decided by God’s words? If the heaven and earth and all things came into being with words from God, how then could God not resolve this issue? Why did He Himself need to be crucified?’ Both God’s almighty side and His practical side are at work here. With regard to His practical side, God incarnate endured much suffering in His thirty-three and a half years on earth, in the end being crucified until His blood ran dry. He endured the most terrible suffering but then was resurrected from death. His resurrection was God’s aspect of almightiness at work. He did not make any indication, or shed any blood or make it rain and say this was a sin offering. He didn’t do anything like that, but instead He personally became flesh to make contact with the whole of mankind and was nailed to the cross, so that mankind would know of this deed. By means of this deed, mankind came to know that God had redeemed them and this was proof that God had indeed saved man. Whichever incarnation performs the work or whether the Spirit Himself does the work directly, it is a necessity. This means that, by doing things in this way, the work is made most valuable and most significant, and only by doing things in this way can mankind reap the benefits thereof. This is because the whole of mankind is the object of God’s management. It was said before that mankind was managed in order to wage war with Satan and to humiliate it. And actually, is this not good for man in the end? To man, this is something to commemorate and is something that is most valuable and significant. Because those who are made complete are a group of people who have emerged from tribulation with an understanding of God, who have been made perfect by God and who have come through the corruption of Satan; so this work must surely be done in this way. The decision about which method to employ in His every stage of work is based on the needs of mankind. God’s work is certainly not done in any old way. But people have a choice and have their own conceptions. For example, in regard to the crucifixion, people think: ‘What has God being crucified got to do with us?’ They think there is no connection, but God had to be crucified in order to save mankind. Being crucified was the worst suffering of that time, wasn’t it? Could the Spirit have been crucified? Had the Spirit been crucified He would have felt no pain, could not have typified God and could not have become a symbol for God, not to mention that He would have been unable to bleed. The Spirit cannot bleed; only the flesh can bleed and His precious blood was the proof of a sin offering. His flesh became in the likeness of sinful flesh and He suffered pain on behalf of mankind. The Spirit could not have been nailed to the cross, so the Spirit cannot suffer pain on behalf of mankind and cannot redeem man’s sins. This was done for mankind and this is God’s practical side. But that God could do this, that He could love man, was something unachievable by man himself, so this was God’s almightiness at work. Why is it said that He is God and that He has the aspect of almightiness? Every deed God does contains within it His aspect of almightiness, and it also contains His aspect of practicality. God’s almightiness is His essence, but His practicality also embodies one side of His essence; these two aspects are inseparable. … For example, in the Age of Law, God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, and this proved that God has a practical side. But Jonah did not listen and, in the end, his survival inside the whale’s stomach for three days was the work of God’s almightiness. What God did to Jonah reveals that God is almighty. God’s work from beginning to end is a revelation of His own essence and an expression of what He is. His essence has two aspects: One is the aspect of His almightiness, the other is the aspect of His practicality. These two aspects you can see in any stage of God’s work, and you can see that both these two aspects are in everything God does. This is one way to understand God” (“How to Understand God’s Almightiness and Practicality”).
I fellowshiped: “From the above words, we can see the reason why God became flesh and was nailed to the cross for the sake of mankind was totally according to the needs of the corrupted mankind. Because people couldn’t observe the laws and died under the laws, the Lord Jesus became the likeness of sinful flesh to atone for us humans. Only by the Lord Jesus being crucified and shedding His precious blood could we be redeemed. But some people hold the opinion that God has authority and power; if God had redeemed mankind with just one word, how great it would have been! With regard to this question, let’s read another passage of words. ‘Every stage of work that God does is done at war with Satan and every stage of work is related in some way to this war with Satan. … it wouldn’t have been acceptable for one word to have been spoken that would have removed all mankind’s sins and redeemed them, for it is without any facts and without producing any proof. With one word spoken by God mankind would have been without sin—this was achievable. But Satan would not have been convinced. It would have said: “You have suffered nothing nor have You paid any price. With one word mankind’s sins are no more. This is unacceptable, as mankind was created by You”’ (The Second Aspect of Significance of the Incarnation). If God had done like that, Satan would not have been convinced and it would have accused God. This is just like two armies fighting each other. The strong party says to the weak party: ‘You cannot defeat me and you might as well surrender to me!’ Will the weak party be convinced? No! So, they have to practically fight until the victory is determined. In this way, it is persuasive and Satan will be convinced. Therefore, only by God practically coming on earth to be nailed to the cross for the sake of us, redeeming and delivering us from out of Satan’s grasp could we survive by the sin offering of the Lord Jesus. This is the proof of God redeeming mankind. Besides, although the spirit of God is great and has authority, He can neither be crucified for the sake of mankind nor bleed to gain the proof of the sin offering, and moreover Satan would not have been convinced. Only through the Lord Jesus becoming the sin offering for us and using His life and precious blood to bring us back from out of Satan’s grasp would Satan be convinced and could all mankind know God is the God who loves man. In another regard, only the holy God is qualified to be the sin offering for all of mankind. Apart from Him, no created being could pay in His stead to perform the work of redeeming mankind. Because men are all corrupted by Satan and are sinful beings. It can be seen that each stage of work done by God has a significance. They are not unnecessary. God does not do insignificant work. In addition, God was practically nailed to the cross for the sake of mankind and let us have understandings of God’s almightiness and reality through God’s practical work. If God hadn’t practically been crucified for mankind but only had used one word or a miracle to accomplish the work of redeeming mankind, we would have never truly known God and our knowledge of God’s love would have been very empty. Furthermore, we would have thought that God leads man only from heaven and He would not come to earth to save man. Thus it would be very easy for us to define God. It is plain to see that it is one aspect of God’s normal and practical work that God does work by becoming flesh. From the thing that God was crucified and resurrected, we have seen God’s almightiness. Satan had thought that as long as the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross, God’s management plan would fail. But God’s wisdom is often exercised based on Satan’s schemes. Through the crucifixion, the Lord Jesus accomplished redemption, completed the work of saving mankind, and also was resurrected after three days, which let us see that His life is eternal and His power is extraordinary. So we’re more certain of God. At the same time, we also see that no enemy force can disrupt God’s work. God used this method to defeat Satan and make Satan utterly convinced. Through God practically doing work like this, we know that God’s essence has both His aspect of almightiness and practicality. Having had knowledge of the reality and almightiness of God, we not only won’t have conceptions against God but also are uneasy to lose, define and deny God. In particular we the group of people in the last days will encounter more of trials, tribulations, persecutions and sufferings, so we even more need to have great faith to follow God. Hence we need to have knowledge of God’s practical and almighty essence. In this way, we won’t lose faith in any environment. By means of our practical cooperating with God, God’s almightiness will reveal to us.”
Brother Li said excitedly: “Thanks be to the Lord! Through your talk I understand that actually God working in this manner all has practical meaning. The reason why God did work in such a way was to love man, save man and defeat Satan; and simultaneously, it was also in order to let us know more of God’s essence and lay a solid foundation on the path of believing in God so that we would be unlikely to be stumbled. Hey, Brother Sun, what you’ve said enlightens me a lot. To think that many times when we encountered difficulties and sincerely prayed to the Lord, He would come to our rescue, open up a path for us and solve some practical problems of us. It turns out that we have seen God’s omnipotence by our practical cooperation.”
I said happily: “That’s right! It is all thanks to God’s enlightenment and illumination that you have this kind of understanding.”
Brother Li said gladly: “Amen! Thank God for His guidance which lets me understand this aspect of truth. And this is also the deficiency of many brothers and sisters. They have this thought just because they don’t understand the aspect of the truth relating to God’s almightiness and reality. So, let’s go quickly to assist them.”
I nodded with a smile and said: “Okay! Let’s go right now!” …
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One may ask: The Bible says, “That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). It says that the one who confesses with the mouth and believes in the heart that Jesus is the Lord is saved. In fact, we do have believed in the Lord; however, does it mean that we have been saved thoroughly? Speaking of the topic of being saved, it is familiar to brothers and sisters. They are all firmly convinced that they have been saved thoroughly since they have believed in the Lord Jesus, and that they will be taken to the kingdom of heaven when the Lord comes again. But is it really the case? What on earth is the true meaning of being saved? Is it true, as we think, that we are saved thoroughly as long as we believe in the Lord Jesus? We all know the Israelites had ever been enslaved by the Egyptian Pharaoh, undergoing all kinds of hardships. Jehovah God could not stand them being maltreated; therefore, He called Moses to lead them out of Egypt and then into the good land of Canaan. As for the Israelites of that time, they were saved. But it cannot be said that they no longer need the salvation of Jehovah God. Before they entered Canaan, Jehovah God set forth the law through Moses, causing them to know how to revere Him, how to serve Him, as well as how to live on earth, how to get along with others, etc. Henceforth, the work of God in the Age of Law made the Israelites know how to live, and to them, this means that they were saved again. However, at the end of the Age of Law, people were unable to keep the law, lost their reverence for God, and even offered blind and lame livestock on the altar. As a result, they all faced the danger of being condemned to death by the law. In order to rescue them from death, God incarnate came to earth and did a stage of work of redeeming mankind. The Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross as the sin offering for mankind, and bore the sins of man. For those accepting the salvation of the Lord Jesus, this means that they were saved again. As the Bible says, “That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved” (Romans 10:9). Actually here it means that after accepting the Lord Jesus’ salvation of the cross, people will no longer be condemned by the law for failing to keep it. Nevertheless, although our human sins have been forgiven, it doesn’t mean that we have no sins, for all believers still live in the vicious cycle of committing sins only to confess them and then to continue on to sin again, and no one can break free from it. The Bible says, “holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). “Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin to salvation” (Hebrews 9:28). We can see from these verses that although we have got the redemption of the Lord Jesus, we are not completely saved by God because our corrupt dispositions haven’t been purified yet. Therefore, God returns to flesh in the last days to do the work of thoroughly saving and purifying man. God says, “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”). “The sins of man were forgiven because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live in the old, corrupt satanic disposition. As such, man must be completely saved from the corrupt satanic disposition so that the sinful nature of man is completely cast away and never again develops, thus allowing the disposition of man to be changed. This requires man to understand the path of growth in life, the way of life, and the way to change his disposition. It also needs man to act in accordance with this path so that the disposition of man can gradually be changed and he can live under the shining of the light, and that he can do all things in accord with the will of God, cast away the corrupt satanic disposition, and 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)”). From God’s words we can see that we Christians are only forgiven of our sins by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus. However, because the Lord Jesus didn’t do the work of thoroughly purifying our corrupt dispositions, thus if we want to utterly cast away the corruption to be cleansed and completely saved, we need to accept not only the Lord Jesus’ redemption, but also God’s work of judging and purifying man in the last days. Only when we, in the course of experiencing the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, gradually gain a true knowledge of our own corrupt substance, are able to break free of Satan’s influence of darkness and live by God’s words, can we be called the ones who are purified and saved thoroughly, that is, the ones who have received complete salvation and are truly saved. So, today when the Lord Jesus has returned, only if we walk out of the Age of Grace, follow the steps of God’s work, and accept the judgment of God’s words to have our corrupt disposition cleansed, can we be saved thoroughly by God, and ultimately be taken to a wonderful destination. 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