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Lu Xunguang staggers to the window. The moonlight gently sprinkles on his body. At this time, he is in a whirlwind of thought, and the scenes of serving the Lord with Brother Liu constantly surface in his mind. Lu Xunguang thinks in his heart: When he and Brother Liu were young, they served the Lord with enthusiasm in the church, preaching everywhere and shepherding the churches. Until now, many years have passed. At that time, they suffered illegal arrest of the Chinese Communist Party police when preaching the gospel, being imprisoned forcibly for eight years. When they felt weak in their hearts, they encouraged each other to take up the cross to follow the Lord. And they all surely believed they could wear the crown of righteousness that the Lord bestowed upon. Many years have gone by in the blink of an eye, he doesn’t know how Brother Liu is doing now …
At this time, his son Tian Ci pushes open the door of the study and asks, “Dad, Xueqin just told me that you are finding me. What’s the matter?”
His son’s word drags him back from the infinite memories. Lu Xunguang turns around, walks to his son and says, “Oh, you come back! Tomorrow, Brother Liu will be back from outside. I want you come with me to pick him up.”
Tian Ci asks happily, “Is this Uncle Liu who was arrested and imprisoned when preaching the gospel with you? I often hear you mention him. Now, I finally have the chance to fellowship with Uncle Liu.”
Lu Xunguang nods his head and says, “Yes, your Uncle Liu is also one who truly loves the Lord. At that time, owing to the requirements of the work of the church, he went to other places. Now I haven’t seen him for ten years and don’t know how he has experienced for these years. This time, we ought to commune with him.”
Tian Ci says in agreement, “Yeah! That’s great.”
Then Lu Xunguang asks, “Ah, Tian Ci! For these days, you have been busy working late. You have handled the church affairs well? As a preacher, you need to take care of the church and do more work for the Lord. Only in this way, are we qualified to be brought into the kingdom of heaven when the Lord comes.”
Tian Ci responds, “Yes, dad. I get it!”
Tian Ci keeps talking with his father. The night is becoming calmer and calmer. And at this point, the moonlight looks especially beautiful …
When driving back home, due to the traffic congestion, Lu Xunguang, Tian Ci and Brother Liu don’t arrive at home until midday. Lin Xueqin, his daughter-in-law, has cooked a huge dinner. After lunch, Lu Xunguang chats with Brother Liu in the hall, while Tian Ci is helping Xueqin wash the dishes. Tian Ci hears Brother Liu saying, “For these years, we always think laboring for the Lord and preaching everywhere as well as spreading the gospel more are doing the will of God, and such suffering of us can get the approval of the Lord, and thus we will qualify to be brought into the kingdom of heaven when the Lord comes. Therefore, these years, we have expended with enthusiasm and labored for the Lord outwardly, and we have never doubted whether our view is right and whether it is in accordance with the Lord’s word. And we just singularly pursued in this way. During all these years, I have met many preachers. Once, I met a fellow villager who was also a preacher. When we fellowshiped together, he said the view of working hard for the Lord towas actually derived from man’s notions, not came from God, for the has never said such words. If we pursued according to man’s notions, how could we enter the kingdom of heaven? At that time, I felt surprised at what he had said, thinking: Did this view come from man’s notions? How could this be possible? For these years, all believers in the Lord have pursued in this way, how could this possibly be wrong? Hasn’t the Lord Jesus told this? In order to figure this out, I closely studied later only to find the Lord Jesus has never told the word, ‘those who work hard for Me can enter the kingdom of heaven,’ but just 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’ (Matthew 7:21). I repeatedly contemplated this verse ‘But he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven,’ then what on earth is doing the will of the heavenly Father? We have worked hard for the Lord to preach the gospel, was this not doing the will of the heavenly Father? In order to be able to understand this issue clearly, I prayed to the Lord to seek His guidance. Later, through the fellowship of my fellow villager, I did realize that our expending and labouring for the Lord outwardly is not truly doing the will of the heavenly Father and cannot be approved by the Lord. …” Hearing their communication, Tian Ci thinks in his heart: My father often says working hard for the Lord is doing the will of the heavenly Father, and I also agree with him. However, why does Uncle Liu’s understanding of this differ from ours completely? Thinking of this, Tian Ci touches his wife with arms and says, “Xueqin, let us hurry to do the dishes. Then we can listen to what our father and Uncle Liu are fellowshiping about!”
Soon, Tian Ci and his wife finish washing the dishes, and then they sit to the side silently. At this point, the atmosphere in the room is somewhat tense.
Lu Xunguang says with a little dissatisfaction, “Brother Liu, for these years of believing in the Lord, we have always expended and worked hard for the Lord, paying the price of suffering and preaching everywhere as well as shepherding churches, how can you say this is not doing the will of the heavenly Father? Moreover, the disciple Paul also said, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness’ (2 Timothy 4:7-8). This also shows that working hard for the Lord and running around to preach the gospel are precisely doing the will of the heavenly Father, how could this possibly be wrong?”
Tian Ci feels very confused and says, “Yes! Uncle Liu, we have always thought that as long as we labor for Paul, work for the Lord as hard as we can and overcome our bodies, this should be definitely doing the will of God. Isn’t that the case?”
Brother Liu answers, “Tian Ci and Brother Lu, calm down, listen to me explain it. In the past, I also thought if I labored and worked for the Lord I’d obtain His approval, and then I could surely enter the kingdom of heaven. But when the preacher read a passage of words to me, I did realize my thought was wrong. I will read to you, ‘Why do you? Most people are confounded by this question. They always have two entirely different viewpoints about the practical God and the God in heaven, which shows that they believe in God not in order to obey, but to receive certain benefits, or to escape the suffering of disaster. Only then are they somewhat obedient, but their obedience is conditional, it is for the sake of their own personal prospects, and forced upon them. So: why do you believe in God? If it is solely for the sake of your prospects, and your fate, then you’d best not believe. Belief such as this is self-deception, self-reassurance, and self-appreciation. If your faith is not built upon the foundation of obedience to God, then you will ultimately be punished as a result of opposing God. All those who do not seek obedience to God in their faith oppose God. God asks that people seek the truth, that they thirst for God’s words, and eat and drink God’s words, and put them into practice, so that they may achieve obedience to God. If your motivations are truly thus, then God will surely raise you up, and will surely be gracious toward you. No one can doubt this, and no one can change it. If your motivations are not for the sake of obedience to God, and you have other aims, then all that you say and do—your prayers before God, and even your every action—will be in opposition to God. You may be soft-spoken and mild-mannered, your every action and expression may look right, you may appear to be one who obeys, but when it comes to your motivations and your views about , everything you do is in opposition to God, and evil. People who appear as obedient as sheep, but whose hearts harbor evil intentions, are wolves in sheep’s clothing, they directly offend God…’ (‘In Your Faith in God You Should Obey God’). Hearing this passage of words, I felt pricked in the heart. Each and every word of this passage was revealing my intents and goals of faith in God, and that’s indeed true! Although we can expend and labor for the Lord, forsaking everything to preach the gospel and establish churches, our intents are not to care for the Lord’s will and perform our duty as a creature of God, much less to obey and love the Lord. In contrast, we want to exchange our suffering and sacrifice for the blessings of the heavenly kingdom. For the sake of the interests of our flesh, we expend and labor for the Lord, can this obtain the approval of the Lord? Have we examined this issue? Brother Lu, and Tian Ci, let me give an example: Like our children, they can keep house for us, and even take us to the hospital when we are old and sick. If what they do is not out of their filial heart, but for receiving our inheritance, do we like such kind of children? Can this still be said to be showing their filial piety and respect to us? (Xueqin shakes her head and says, ‘No!’) If we work hard for the Lord to gain a crown of righteousness, it is obvious that we think of paying the price of suffering as bargaining chips for our entry into the kingdom of heaven, and that we are making a deal with God and in exchange for the blessings of the kingdom of heaven. Is this doing the will of the heavenly Father? What’s more, the Lord has never said that those who work hard for Him can certainly enter the kingdom of heaven, and He has never said Paul is in the kingdom of heaven either. Therefore, Paul’s word cannot be the basis for us to enter the kingdom of heaven. Don’t you think so? In fact, as to the important matter of entering the kingdom of heaven related to our fate and destination, following the word of the Lord is the most precise and accurate. Because only the word of the Lord is the truth, the word of man or disciples in the Bible can only be used as reference. If we treat the word of man as the criterion of our entry into the kingdom of heaven, but put aside the word of the Lord, is this not somewhat allowing the subordinate to supersede the dominant?”
Xueqin says in agreement, “Yes, the Lord Jesus has never said as long as we work hard for Him, we can surely enter the kingdom of heaven. The Lord 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’ (Matthew 7:21-23). Those who preached the gospel and worked in the name of the Lord were condemned by the Lord when the Lord came. This proves that working hard for the Lord is not doing the will of the heavenly Father or the criterion of entering the kingdom of heaven.”
Brother Liu nods and continues fellowshiping, “Although the Pharisees suffered and paid the price outwardly, they could resist God and even nail the Lord onto the cross. It is enough to prove the outward suffering and paying the price and doing good deeds do not represent doing the will of the heavenly Father or knowing and obeying God! (Pausing for a while and having a look at Xunguang) Similarly, today we have suffered for the Lord and done some good deeds outwardly, but we can often commit sins and resist God. When faced with trials, we complain and blame God, judge Him; even if we sacrifice something, that will only be obtaining blessings, demanding grace and making a deal with God. This is not true obedience to God! We possess the behavior of committing sins and resisting God, and also have our despicable intentions in our faith in God, how can our faith in God like this be considered as doing the will of the heavenly Father? How can we be approved by the Lord? (Xueqin shakes her head and says, ‘No!’) Therefore, we can see that we are still not the ones who do the will of the heavenly Father, and we are not qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven!”
When hearing this, Lu Xunguang feels very surprised in his heart, with a cold sweat breaking out on his face, thinking: For these years, I have abandoned everything to work for the Lord, and followed the example of Paul. And I have thought I am doing the will of the heavenly Father and have never doubted it. But Brother Liu’s fellowship indeed makes sense. How can it … Oh, Lord! May You lead me! Tian Ci bows his head and thinks deeply.
Lu Xunguang wipes the sweat from his face lightly and hurries to say to Brother Liu, “Brother Liu, the passage of words you read is so astounding! I have never realized the issue of my making a deal with the Lord! Now I know the expending and laboring for the Lord with our tradeoff is not out of our true obedience to God, and we all have our own selfish plans in it. That’s indeed true! But I still have a question. 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’ (Matthew 7:21). What on earth is doing the will of the heavenly Father?”
Brother Liu smiles and says, “In fact, doing the will of the heavenly Father is referring to that our hearts can love God, we can practice the word of the Lord and follow His commandments. Not only can we expend for the Lord outwardly, but there are no transaction with and demands of God in our hearts. Even if faced with trials, we don’t complain God, but stand testimony to God and submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangement. Just as the Lord Jesus said, ‘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’ (Matthew 22:37-38). Only when one has no intentions and desires in his faith in God, and completely obeys God and truly loves God whatever God says can he be considered as doing the will of God! Like Abraham, he could have complete obedience to God and listen to, truly returning his only son to God and standing testimony to God in trials. So he is one who does the will of the heavenly Father; Job, he could follow God’s way, fearing God and shunning evil, and in trials of losing all wealth and his children, he didn’t complain about God but still extolled and held on to His way, in the end he became one who was approved by God; Peter, he focused on caring for in all things and obeying God’s requirements, and ultimately he was nailed upside down on the cross for God, achieving supreme love of God and obedience onto death. They are ones who practice God’s word, follow His commandments and fear and obey God, and they have born beautiful and resounding testimonies to God. People like these are the ones who truly do the heavenly Father’s will.”
Hearing Brother Liu’s fellowship, Lu Xunguang feels like he is waking up from a dream. He stands up and gets some water, pondering silently, “Brother Liu’s fellowship is really practical! Recalling my belief in the Lord for many years, although I have done preaching work everywhere in the name of the Lord in storm and rain, endured some hardship and paid some price, when I did preaching work, I often showed off myself to let people look up to me, and often went against the Lord’s requirements by acting according to my own ideas. By sacrificing something, enduring some hardship, and paying some price for the Lord, I thought that I was the one who loved the Lord most, and I was most faithful to the Lord, yet I never knew that I had been making a deal with God and demanding the blessings of the kingdom of heaven from God. In my laboring for the Lord, there is no reality of practicing the Lord’s word and obeying Him, therefore, I still lived in a vicious cycle of sinning and repenting. That’s indeed not implementing the heavenly Father’s will. Think about that the Pharisees traveled to the ends of the earth to spread the gospel and worked for the Lord, but they eventually became the ringleaders of opposition against God when the Lord came. It’s no wonder that the Lord Jesus condemned them, ‘And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity’ (Matthew 7:23).”
After hearing Brother Liu’s fellowship, Tian Ci comes to a sudden realization, and he says: “Truly doing the will of God is implementing God’s words, God’s commandments and God’s instructions. If we cannot practice according to the Lord’s word, but rely on our wishful thinking to go down a path that has hardships, this will go without saying we implement the will of the heavenly Father.”
Lu Xunguang returns to his seat, composes himself and says, “Your fellowship is really very enlightening! I am totally convinced. In the past, I thought one who labored for the Lord was implementing the will of the heavenly Father. Now, I do see clearly there are too many intentions in us when we follow and serve the Lord. This runs completely counter to the Lord’s will! It’s very dangerous for us to continue pursuing in this way!”
Xueqin pours Brother Liu some water and says, “Yes, the Lord Jesus put it very clearly. If we still believe in the Lord according to our notions and imaginations, and think laboring for the Lord is implementing the will of God, in the end, we will surely be condemned by the Lord like the Pharisees. Then our faith in God will come to naught!”
Through the window, the light of the setting sun shines into the room, where it seems very peaceful. They are exploring, with joy on their faces …
After seeing Brother Liu off in the evening, Lu Xunguang comes back to the study. Recalling the fellowship with Brother Liu: At first, he was joyful to meet Brother Liu again, then he was dissatisfied with his fellowship. And eventually they together seek the will of the Lord and find the way to practice. This process is really full of twists and turns! Lu Xunguang raises his head and sees the painting on the wall, where it writes, “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). Lu Xunguang is overcome with emotion: Yes! Entering the heavenly kingdom is not as easy as we thought. We can’t get it just by working hard for the Lord. Because it doesn’t represent that we are following the Lord’s way. We must work hard to practice the word of the Lord, and follow His commandments. This is what it means to implement God’s will. Only in this way can we enter the kingdom of heaven!
Once saved, we are always saved and then can enter the kingdom of heaven. Is this view correct? Being truly saved is not that simple. Read this article to learn the true meaning of being saved and find the way to true salvation.
By Wang Ying In 1982, I accepted the Lord Jesus’ gospel. Through reading the Bible, I knew that the Lord Jesus is the only true God and is the Lord who created the heavens and earth and all things. Later, our preacher often preached to us 2 Timothy 3:16, “‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.’ The entire Bible is inspired by God and is all God’s word. All of God’s work and word are in the Bible. There is no God’s work and word outside the Bible. No matter when, as a believer in God, we cannot depart from the Bible.” These words impressed themselves on my mind. I thought the Bible was a heavenly book and represented God. So, I especially treasured it, studying and reading the Bible with hunger and thirst for righteousness every day and reciting some famous chapters and verses; the Bible became my lifeblood. A few years later, I became a preacher and often said to brothers and sisters, “None of the books in the world can be the equal of the Bible. The writings of any great spiritual figure cannot replace the Bible. God’s word and work are all in the Bible. The Bible is the foundation for our Christian faith.” Gradually, there arose envy and strife in our church, which thus split into a few factions, and brothers and sisters didn’t want to attend meetings. Faced with the condition of the church, I took great pains to study the Bible and wanted to change it. But no matter how I read, I was still thirsty in my spirit and had no new knowledge. When preaching, I felt dry, without any new light. Sometimes, I dozed off when I read the Bible. But the place of the Bible was still very high in my heart. Living in such a condition, I felt extreme pain. So many times I knelt before the Lord and prayed tearfully to seek His will. I hoped that someone having the work of the Holy Spirit could fellowship with us about the truth in the Bible so that our thirsty heart could be watered. It was one hot summer morning in 1995. I was washing clothes under the big tree in my yard. At this time, two young sisters came to chat with me. They talked about the present situation of the church, saying, “Now, the religious world is a widespread desolation. Jealousy and strife between co-workers of all the sects happens too often. The preachers have no message to preach; believers are cold in faith and cannot feel the work of the Holy Spirit. This fulfills the prophecy of the Lord Jesus, ‘And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold’ (Matthew 24:12). These conditions are the signs of the Lord’s return….” Hearing these words, I nodded gravely. I thought: The two sisters are young, but what they said is the real situation of the religious world; it seems that the Lord Jesus will come soon. Then, one of them said, “The reason why the religious world becomes so desolate is that the Holy Spirit’s work has moved and God has done a new stage of work.” As she said this, she took out a book from her bag and said, “Auntie, the Lord Jesus we have longed for has returned. He has been incarnated and has done a stage of new work of judgment and chastisement. The words in this book are all God’s personal utterance. Please read God’s words and investigate His work of the last days.” Having spoken, she handed the book to me. I shot a quick glance at the book but didn’t accept, thinking, “Is this God’s utterance? Has God done a stage of new work of judgment and chastisement? That’s not right. It goes against the Bible. Doesn’t it depart from the Bible? God’s words are all in the Bible. The book in their hands is not the Bible. How could they say these words are God’s words?” So, I said to them firmly, “Just now you talked about the church’s desolation, I feel it’s reasonable. But you said the Lord Jesus has come back and expressed new words, and that the words in this book are God’s words, how could it be possible? God’s word and work are all in the Bible. There is no God’s work and word outside the Bible. Apart from the Bible, I won’t believe anything. Speak no more!” Then the sister asked me, “Auntie, are we really sure that there is no God’s work and word outside the Bible? John 21:25 records, ‘And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.’ From this, we can see God’s work and word are not completely recorded in the Bible. The Bible just recorded a very limited portion of them. God is who He is and is the living water of life. God can create the heavens and earth and all things, and even more can rule everything. Can the Bible thoroughly clarify God’s deeds? We confine God’s work and word to the Bible, saying there is no God’s work and word outside the Bible, don’t we regard God as too small?” Though these words of the sister were reasonable, I wasn’t convinced. I turned my head aside, without saying anything. The other sister asked me, “Auntie, which, you say, came first, God or the Bible? Which is greater, the Bible or God? Which do we believe in, God or the Bible? The Lord Jesus said: ‘Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me’ (John 5:39). Actually, what the Bible recorded was the previous work God has done, and it is a media by which we know God’s previous work. So, the Lord Jesus said the Bible is only a testimony to Him. But He didn’t say His word and work are all recorded in the Bible, that there was no His word and work outside the Bible. We all know God’s work is always new and never old. When the Lord Jesus came to do His work, the Old Testament was out of date. If man holds on to it, he is resisting God. Likewise, in the last days, the Lord has come again and done the new work and expressed new words, so the New Testament is out of date. If we confine God’s word and work to the Bible, not reading His new word, we will easily commit the same mistake of the Pharisees resisting God.” After hearing their words, I was in a quandary. I felt their words made sense, but I then called to mind that the preacher often told us the Bible was all inspired by God, and the Bible was all the word of God. The Lord Jesus has ever said: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). Moreover, over these years, believers in the Lord Jesus hold onto the Bible like this. Since I believed in the Lord, I have always read and recited the Bible, and preached to brothers and sisters in this way. Aren’t we really wrong? It’s impossible. But I should treat the preachers who preach the Lord has come with love, which is after the Lord’s heart. At that moment, I felt somewhat fretful and wanted to quiet and think it over. So, I moderated the tones of my voice and said to the two sisters, “Sisters, it’s getting late today. Let’s end it here. Since you said this book is God’s word, then I will take it and have a look. Let’s commune another day.” The two sisters happily left the book to me and went away. After dinner, I was washing the bowls while staring blankly. What the two sisters asked me in the day lingered in my mind all the time: Which came first, God or the Bible? Which is the greater, God or the Bible? Their words make me puzzled. I haven’t thought these questions although I’ve believed in the Lord for so many years. I must search the Bible and make them clear. After washing the bowls, I knelt on the bedroom floor and prayed to the Lord, “Oh, Lord! Today two sisters came and told me You have returned and moreover, You have expressed new words and done a new work. I feel what they said is reasonable. However, aren’t all of Your work and words in the Bible? What’s going on? Lord, please enlighten me and open my spiritual eyes so that I can understand Your will. If You really have come back, may You help me to guard my tongue from blaspheming You. Pray in the name of the Lord Jesus. Amen!” After my prayer, I sat in front of the desk and opened the Bible. When I read Genesis, I thought: Genesis was written by Moses. When was Moses born? I saw Moses’ birth was recorded in Exodus, that is to say, when God created the heavens and earth and all things, the Bible didn’t exist. And there was no Bible when the world was destroyed by flood and when the Israelites went out of Egypt. Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy were all written after Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. It was then two thousand years after God created the heavens and earth and all things. At that time, there was no book of prophecy, but the Five Books of Moses. That is, God didn’t create the heavens and earth and all things according to the Bible. The work of destroying the world with a flood and burning Sodom were not according to the Bible, either. They were recorded by Moses after God had done the work. That proves that God’s work came first and then the record of the Bible. Thus, the viewpoint that God’s word and work are all in the Bible and there is no God’s work and word outside the Bible is not consistent with the fact. Now, our church indeed has no work of the Holy Spirit, and we have no new light when reading the Bible. Has God really done a new work and expressed new words outside the Bible? But the preachers said God’s work and word were in the Bible, I also told the same thing to brothers and sisters. Is it really wrong? At that moment, I felt conflicted, walking to and fro in the room. Sometimes I read the Bible, and sometimes the book the sisters gave to me, not knowing what to do. So, I came before the Lord again asking Him to lead me. After praying, I realized: If this book really is God’s utterance, there must be truth in it and it can resolve all man’s difficulties and issues. Then why don’t I read this book and see whether it can solve my puzzlement? Thinking of this, I opened the book and saw “Concerning the Bible (1)”, “Concerning the Bible (2)”, “Concerning the Bible (3)” and “Concerning the Bible (4)” in the table of contents. Out of curiosity, I opened the book and read: “During the time of Jesus, Jesus led the Jews and all those who followed Him according to the Holy Spirit’s work in Him at the time. He didn’t take the Bible as the basis of what He did, but spoke according to His work; He paid no heed to what the Bible said, nor did He search in the Bible for a path to lead His followers. Right from when He began to work, He spread the way of repentance—a word of which there was absolutely no mention in the prophecies of the Old Testament. Not only did He not act according to the Bible, but He also led a new path, and did new work. Never did He refer to the Bible when He preached. During the Age of Law, no one had ever been able to perform His miracles of healing the sick and casting out demons. His work, His teachings, His authority—no one had done this during the Age of Law. Jesus simply did His newer work, and even though many people condemned Him using the Bible—and even used the Old Testament to crucify Him—His work surpassed the Old Testament; if this were not so, why did people nail Him to the cross? Was it not because it said nothing in the Old Testament of His teaching, and His ability to heal the sick and cast out demons? … To people, it appeared as if His work had no basis, and there was much of it that was at odds with the records of the Old Testament. Is this not folly? Does doctrine need to be applied to the work of God? And must it be according to the foretellings of prophets? After all, which is greater: God or the Bible? Why must God’s work be according to the Bible? Could it be that God has no right to exceed the Bible? Can God not depart from the Bible and do other work? Why did Jesus and His disciples not keep the Sabbath? If He were to keep the Sabbath and practice according to the commandments of the Old Testament, why did Jesus not keep the Sabbath after He came, but instead washed feet, covered head, broke bread, and drank wine? Isn’t this all absent from the commandments of the Old Testament? If Jesus honored the Old Testament, why did He defy these doctrines? You should know which came first, God or the Bible! Being the Lord of the Sabbath, could He not also be the Lord of the Bible?” (“Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). After reading this passage of words, I felt all these words are reasonable. Yes, when the Lord Jesus did His work, the New Testament didn’t exist. The New Testament of the Bible didn’t come into existence until three hundred years after the Lord Jesus finished His work. So, the Lord Jesus’ work of healing the sick and casting out the demons and the crucifixion was not according to the records of the Bible. Besides, the Old Testament didn’t even mention the work God would do, thus the Lord Jesus’ work and word were outside the Old Testament. This shows that the Bible was produced as God’s work. Before God didn’t do His work, the Bible couldn’t have entire records. These words are indeed quite practical. At this moment, I thought of the words the Lord Jesus has said in the Bible: “However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (John 16:13). It is mentioned many times in Revelation: “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7). The Lord said when the Spirit of truth comes, He will tell us all the truth and the future things, which prophesies that the Lord will speak when He comes again. Since these words are not in the Bible, can it be said that there is truly God’s word and work outside the Bible? At that point, I felt puzzled. Then, I read the following two passages. I thought: These words cannot be spoken by any ordinary people. They speak more clearly than the Bible; are they really God’s word? But 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God …” How can we believers in the Lord give up the Bible? At that time, although I had many questions and couldn’t put aside the Bible, I didn’t feel conflicted. I hoped that the two sisters could come again and clear up my confusion. A few days later, the two sisters came again. I told them my thoughts, “After hearing your fellowship last time, I feel it’s reasonable. After you left, I checked the Bible, and these days I read the book you gave to me and understood that God’s work and word came first, and then the Bible. That I think God’s words are all in the Bible is indeed not factual. But I still don’t understand this question: The Bible was all inspired by God and entirely came from God. So, the words in the Bible were all God’s word. And the Lord Jesus has ever said heaven and earth shall pass away but not a stroke of His words shall pass away. But you said that the Bible was out of date, and you didn’t read the Bible. Doesn’t it mean that you’ve abandoned the Bible?” One of the sisters said to me smilingly, “Auntie, ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God,’ is said by Paul not by the Lord Jesus. However, the whole religious world says everything written in the Bible was inspired by God, and was God’s words. Is this viewpoint right? First, what Paul said had no basis, because God had never borne witness to the Bible in this way, nor had the Lord Jesus ever said that the Bible was divine inspiration and was entirely the word of God. Paul’s testimony of the Bible was merely based on his individual knowledge of it; he was not at all speaking on God’s behalf. Only God knows the inside story of the Bible, and we humans of creation have not been able to understand it thoroughly. This is a fact. Today, Almighty God has disclosed the inside story of the Bible. After reading Almighty God’s word, we will be clear. Almighty God says: ‘Today, people believe the Bible is God, and that God is the Bible. So, too, do they believe that all the words of the Bible were the only words God spoke, and that they were all said by God. Those who believe in God even think that although all of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament were written by people, they were all given by inspiration of God, and a record of the utterances of the Holy Spirit. This is the erroneous interpretation of people, and it does not completely accord with the facts. In fact, apart from the books of prophecy, most of the Old Testament is historical record. Some of the epistles of the New Testament come from people’s experiences, and some come from the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit; the Pauline epistles, for example, arose from the work of a man, they were all the result of the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment, and they were written for the churches, were words of exhortation and encouragement for the brothers and sisters of the churches. They were not words spoken by the Holy Spirit—Paul could not speak on behalf of the Holy Spirit, and neither was he a prophet, much less did he see visions. His epistles were written for the churches of Ephesus, Philadelphia, Galatia, and other churches. … If you say that his epistles are the words of the Holy Spirit, then you are absurd, and you are committing blasphemy! The Pauline epistles and the other epistles of the New Testament are equivalent to the memoirs of the more recent spiritual figures. They are on a par with the books of Watchman Nee or the experiences of Lawrence, and so on. It’s simply that the books of recent spiritual figures are not compiled into the New Testament, yet the substance of these people is the same: They were people who were used by the Holy Spirit during a certain period, and they could not directly represent God’ (‘Concerning the Bible (3)’in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘Not everything in the Bible is a record of the words personally spoken by God. The Bible simply documents the previous two stages of God’s work, of which one part is a record of the foretellings of the prophets, and one part is the experiences and knowledge written by people used by God throughout the ages. Human experiences are tainted with human opinions and knowledge, which is unavoidable. In many of the books of the Bible are human conceptions, human biases, and human absurd interpretations. Of course, most of the words are the result of the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and they are correct interpretations—yet it still cannot be said that they are entirely accurate expressions of the truth. Their views on certain things are nothing more than the knowledge of personal experience, or the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. The foretellings of the prophets were personally instructed by God: The prophecies of Isaiah, Daniel, Ezra, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel came from the direct instruction of the Holy Spirit, these people were seers, they had received the Spirit of prophecy, they were all prophets of the Old Testament. During the Age of Law these people, who had received the inspirations of Jehovah, spoke many prophecies, which were directly instructed by Jehovah’ (‘Concerning the Bible (3)’in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From Almighty God’s words, we can see: The Bible isn’t all God’s words. In the Bible, only Jehovah’s and the Lord Jesus’ words are God’s words; the prophets’ predictions in the Old Testament and Revelation are inspired by God. Apart from these, none are inspired by God or are God’s words. Some are the writings of the disciples, and some are historical records. They are all man’s words. This is an undeniable fact. We all know that God’s words are completely accurate without any impurities. But Judas’ death was recorded in the Bible differently. Matthew 27:5 recorded, ‘And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.’ Acts 1:18 said, ‘Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the middle, and all his bowels gushed out.’ These two verses recorded the same thing, but one said he hanged himself while the other said that he burst asunder in the middle. How can this obvious mistake be from God? And about the genealogy of the Lord Jesus recorded in Matthew, we all know that the Lord Jesus and Joseph have no relations, but Matthew made a genealogy for the Lord Jesus, saying He was the son of Joseph. What did the Lord Jesus say about this? Luke 20: 41-44 recorded, ‘And he said to them, How say they that Christ is David’s son? And David himself said in the book of Psalms, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit you on my right hand, Till I make your enemies your footstool. David therefore calls him Lord, how is he then his son?’ Since David called Him Lord, how could He be his son? The Lord Jesus rejected this saying even at that time, so can it be inspired by God? God is who He is and is the Creator. How can He have a genealogy? Isn’t it from human impurities and good intentions? From the impurities and deviation in the Bible, we can see that not the whole Bible is the inspiration of God or is God’s word. So, we think the Bible is all inspired by God and is all God’s words; this is man’s absurd understanding and doesn’t accord with the fact at all.” Hearing her fellowship, I hurriedly found these verses she said and searched them carefully. After that, I was stunned. Before the ironclad facts, I had to admit that not the whole Bible was the inspiration of God. I thought, “I have believed in God for so many years, knowing the Bible very well, and often expound on the Bible to brothers and sisters, but why didn’t I realize that there are so many obvious deviations in the Bible?” At this time, I had mixed and inexplicable feelings. It was incredible and undeniable that there should be so many incredible problems with the Bible I worshiped. When the other sister saw I was surprised, she said with patience, “Only God knows clearly about these deviations. If Almighty God didn’t disclose them, we wouldn’t know this even if we read the Bible for a lifetime, because we blindly trust the Bible, and regard it as God. Christ of the last days, Almighty God has come and brought new work and new words. We should follow God’s new work and read God’s actual words, only doing this is following God’s footprints.” Hearing their reasonable fellowship, I felt very enlightened and fully convinced. Later, through reading more of Almighty God’s words and fellowshipping with the sisters, I understood many truths that I didn’t know before, and was able to put aside my absurd notion and get a correct understanding of the Bible. Moreover, I was certain that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus and is leading us into all the truths. Now I have come out of the Bible thoroughly, and have accepted God’s work of the last days and followed His footprints. Thank God for saving me. All the glory be to God! The End. If you have other understanding or new light about this article, you’re welcome to have a chat with us via the online chat window at the bottom of the website or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We Look forward to sharing with more brothers and sisters about your enlightenment from God and growing together in Christ. You may be interested in this article: It’s Not a Dream to Get Rid Of Sins and Enter Into the Kingdom of Heaven!
By Bai Xue Some Christians think that they are no longer sinners, but are justified by believing in the Lord Jesus, and that they will be taken into the kingdom of heaven when the Lord returns. It is written in the Bible, “Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus” (Romans 3:25-26). So they consider that, with Jesus Christ acting as their sin offering, as long as they repent to the Lord, their sins can be forgiven, and thus they can be justified through the redemption of Jesus. However, whether or not we have ever thought: It is true that our sins have been forgiven through our faith in the Lord Jesus, but does this mean that we are righteous men and are no longer of sin? First, we might as well see what the apostle John said about this, “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous” (1 John 3:7). The apostle John warned us not to be enticed by people’s exteriors, and that without doing righteousness, a preacher of righteousness isn’t necessarily righteous only by promoting righteousness, whereas the one doing righteousness as well is sure to be righteous. It is perceived that neither promoting righteousness nor doing righteousness can be absent. However, with neglecting to put righteousness into practice, we only think, as long as we endure to the end, we will be justified by faith and will not be counted as sinners, and also we will surely enter the kingdom of heaven. This viewpoint above doesn’t accord with God’s will, nor is there any proof in the Bible. Next, looking at us, believers in the Lord Jesus today: Although we have some good deeds outwardly after accepting the redemption of the Lord Jesus, such as giving alms and helping others, yet these deeds are still far from proving that we are doing righteousness—merely standing for a good behavior, which can still not correspond to the Lord Jesus. It is because that we, having many corrupt dispositions within, can’t avoid committing sins and resisting God yet. For instance, when we encounter things in our real life, we can’t walk in God’s way or live out His words, filled with selfishness and baseness, crookedness and craftiness, but often reveal corrupt dispositions of arrogance and self-conceit without a heart of reverence for God; when we shepherd the church and suffer hardships to do some work for the Lord’s sake, we can exalt and testify ourselves to be venerated and looked up to; when we serve God, we can attack against each other and raise jealousy and strife between one another to compete for status; in addition, when our labor and sacrifice beget no God’s blessings, we can complain about and misunderstand God; when God’s work is not in accord with our notions, we can judge God; and so on. Aren’t these manifestations above the revelation of corrupt dispositions? With so many sins existing within us, can we be called the righteous? Let’s see what is written in the Bible, “If so be that you have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:21-24). These verses also tell us: Since we have accepted the way of the Lord, we must cast off our former corrupt behaviors, live out the likeness of a new man, and ought not to do abominations any more. We should know the ones God finally will get are those who can live out God’s words and righteousness from the inside out, instead of those who only have a few good behaviors on the surface but are still bound by sins within. We, however, have lots of corrupt satanic dispositions, full of sins. How can we be called righteous people for this reason? It is also recorded in the Bible, “But when the righteous turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All his righteousness that he has done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he has trespassed, and in his sin that he has sinned, in them shall he die” (Ezekiel 18:24). As can be seen from the verse, although we can be justified because of the redemption of the Lord Jesus and our faith in Him, nevertheless this does simply mean that we get an opportunity of being justified from the Lord, rather than represent that we are righteous people. If we can’t seize this opportunity to do righteousness, but live in sin and give free rein to the spread of sin, then how can we become righteous? So faith is inseparable from practice. If we only have faith but no living out in our behaviors, then we can’t receive God’s approval. Thus, the saying of being justified by faith is invalid. Now that we can’t truly be justified by faith, how can we be justified then? In fact, the Lord Jesus has already set the standard of righteous people. It is said in Revelation 19:7-8, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” From this we see that what God says about the standard of righteous people is based on whether we can do righteousness, in other words, it depends on whether we can live out holiness and the image of a just man. Supposing that we fail to do it, then we will not be justified by God. But, as for us, having many Satan’s corrupt dispositions within, we have not changed our life dispositions, full of sins in our living out, so we cannot glorify and manifest God at all, nor can we live out His words. Then how can we act out righteousness? Therefore, we must get rid of our corruption, not living in sin any longer, so that we can become the ones who accept God’s inspection in everything, follow His will and practice according to His words, have a heart of loving and obeying God in all our actions, achieve changes in our disposition, and finally fear God and shun evil. Such people are righteous ones of whom God approves. Just like Job, in all his life he conducted himself in conformity with the Lord’s way, and had a heart of fearing God and shunning evil in everything. Whether trials of hardships or refinements, he could obey God’s orchestration and arrangement without complaints, without his own choices or demands, and could still praise God’s name. So, Job is the one who truly lived out the image of a righteous man and became a perfect man in God’s eyes. We think a man can be justified by faith. In that case, we can weigh whether what we do is the living out of a righteous man. For example, since we believe in and follow God today, whether we have changes in our disposition, whether we still live by the old satanic nature, and whether we have tolerance, patience and love to others on the basis of understanding the principles of the truth; on the other hand, whether we act strictly as words said by God without mixture of our own will, notions and imaginations, and whether all we do can be in accordance with Christ? How many, mentioned above, have we lived out? If we would like to be justified, we must remove our corruption, not living by satanic corrupt disposition any more. Only by breaking away from sin to carry out righteous acts can we get the Lord’s approval. Just like the words in 1 Peter 1:15-16, “But as he which has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy.” as well as in Hebrews 12:14, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” We all know that God is holy. So, God does not allow any filthy and corrupt things to exist in His kingdom. Only the ones who are purified and saved by God can enter God’s kingdom. If you have other understanding and new light, you’re welcome to have a real-time chat with us via the online chat window at the bottom of the website or send an email to email@example.com. We’re all ears to your experience and knowledge of belief in the Lord. Looking forward to exchanging our sharing and welcoming the Lord’s second coming together.
Can people enter the kingdom of God after being forgiven of sin? After seeking, he got the answer and understood the true meaning of forgiveness of sin and found the way to the kingdom of God.