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By Aixi, Malaysia
When I was 12, I began believing in theand became a Christian. After I began believing, I actively and persistently participated in Sunday worship and Bible study groups. At Bible study meetings, we often discussed 2 Timothy 4:7–8, “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.” We thought that, as Christians, we should imitate Paul and strive to run around and do works, because the Lord would bestow crowns of righteousness upon us. Our pastor also often encouraged us by saying the kingdom of heaven is entered through effort, and as long as we make efforts to pursue and diligently do the Lord’s work, when the Lord returns, He would us up to the kingdom of heaven. These teachings became the cornerstone of my belief in God, and I swore to myself that I would do all in my power to participate in church service work so that I could accrue enough “value” to satisfy God, so that when He came, I could be raptured up into the kingdom of heaven.
In university, my pastor spoke about fostering more talent in the church, so that the church could expand everywhere. When I saw the church needed people to participate and serve, I thought, “If I can resolutely work for the Lord, labor, and expend, God will undoubtedly bless me, and I can accrue awards for myself in heaven.” Even though I was very busy with my course work during that period, each week, I spent all of my time outside of class doing service work, leading study grounds, visiting and supporting my brothers and sisters, as well as planning church activities, taking part in church training, and so on. Wherever the church needed my service, I was sure to be found. Even though I was so busy I scarcely found time to breathe between church service and my classes, when I thought of how my labor and works would be traded for a good future and the Lord’s blessings, I felt like all my sacrifices were worth it.
But, gradually, I began to become aware that the church leaders often had disputes over the offerings, that they were split into factions over interests, and that the church workers fought amongst themselves over status. I also often lived in sin, and I was very enthusiastic toward the brothers and sisters who cared for and helped me, but when brothers and sisters unfamiliar to me needed me to care for and help them, I didn’t want to lovingly come to their aid. I also deliberately said and did things to become the leader of a study group, thereby struggling for reputation and interest against my co-workers. All these circumstances made me very confused. The church leaders and workers, including myself, could labor without complaint, as well as expend and sacrifice a great deal, in service to the Lord. Why was it that even though the Lord Jesus taught us to be tolerant, patient, and love others as we love ourselves, we couldn’t do it?
By chance, one of my sisters from university invited me and another brother to participate in an online Bible study group. At one meeting, we examined these verses of scripture, “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). My brother said, “These people mentioned in the Scripture who prophesy and work in the Lord’s name, according to most people’s notions, are the people who expend and sacrifice the most for the Lord. They should be the people the Lord approves of most, and are assured a place in the kingdom of heaven. But why does the Lord say He does not approve of them, and instead condemn them for their sins?”
After reading these verses and hearing my brother’s question, I thought: We talked about this in our Bible study group a year ago. At the time, a brother asked the same question. Why does the Lord Jesus say these people who labored and worked can’t enter the kingdom of heaven? And why does that seem to conflict with our belief that we are called righteous because we believe, and that we can enter the kingdom of heaven through labor and work? Even though we discussed these questions, we didn’t find any resolution to these mysteries. Later, I sought answers with a friend in the church who was very familiar with, Mr. Huang, but he wasn’t able to explain the reasons either, and he maintained his belief that diligent labor and work allows us to enter the kingdom of heaven. That day, this brother raised the same question, which made me curious. I wanted to hear how my brother would fellowship.
My brother said, “Many people read that Paul 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), and make this their own motto. They pursue labor, work, suffering, and expending, and they believe if they persist in these things, they will be raptured up to the kingdom of heaven by the Lord. But, is this in accord with God’s will? Did the Lord Jesus say that labor and work alone are enough to enter the kingdom of heaven and be rewarded? God controls who enters the kingdom of heaven, so we should base our understanding of what kind of people can enter on the Lord’s words, not our own notions and imaginations. 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). ‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength’ (Mark 12:30). The Lord very clearly says that only those who do the Father’s will can enter the kingdom of heaven, that the people who enter the kingdom of heaven are those who do God’s will, love God with all their hearts, souls, and minds, and those who obey God. He does not say those who labor and work will enter the kingdom of heaven. The chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees in the Age of Law served barefoot in the temple, and even traveled to the far corners of the earth to preach the gospel. From the outside, they appeared to expend, forsake, and bear suffering and complaint for God, but when the Lord Jesus came to work, to safeguard their own positions and incomes, they fabricated all kinds of rumors, frantically resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus, and stopped the ordinary believers in Judaism from turning to the Lord Jesus. They believed in God but did not know God, and were even capable of resisting and condemning God. No matter how much work they did, God would never allow such people to enter His kingdom.
“I recall how at our church, even though many people were able to forsake everything for the Lord’s work, do it heedless of wind or rain, and even lay down their lives to serve the Lord, it was undeniable that we often couldn’t keep the Lord’s teachings. Our work and expending often carried our own ambitions and desires, and were not at all done purely out of love for the Lord or to satisfy Him. At times, in their service of God, some people stole the offerings given by our brothers and sisters to God, keeping them for themselves to supplement their material lives. Other people labored and worked to exchange these for rewards from the Lord, not out of consideration for God or to repay God’s love. Some people often exalted and testified themselves in their work and preaching, rather than exalting and testifying the Lord, so believers worshiped and looked up to them, and had no place in their hearts for God, but had a place for them. Some people passionately expended to gain leadership positions or gain prestige among the believers. Some people, even as they labored and worked, also struggled for fame and fortune, ostracized those with different opinions, formed factions and cliques, and tried to set up their own kingdoms…. Could people like that possibly do God’s will? Were they really loving and satisfying the Lord? Such people could never do God’s will, and even less could they enter the. We always thought labor and work would allow us to enter the kingdom of heaven, but that was entirely based on our own notions and imaginations.”
After I heard my brother’s fellowship, several scenes flashed through my mind: the church leaders and workers fighting over their reputations and their interests, my unwillingness to help brothers and sisters in need who I didn’t know, the things I said, did, and showed off to become a study group leader and how I fought my co-workers for my reputation and interests…. We truly were living in sin, and not people who were doing God’s will!
The next day, I couldn’t stop thinking about my brother’s fellowship. I turned his words over in my mind, thinking, His fellowship was indeed in accordance with the Lord’s words. While we labored, worked, and expended, we also fought for our own reputation, interests, and status, squabbled amongst ourselves over benefits, lied and deceived each other, and often sinned and resisted the Lord. Our deeds weren’t at all doing the Father’s will. The Lord said, “But he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven.” How could people who sacrificed and expended the way we did possibly enter the kingdom of God? But on the other hand, even though many of the intentions behind our work and expending were wrong, and we could still sin and resist God, our pastor often said that the Lord had forgiven our sins, and when He came, we would be raptured directly into the kingdom of heaven. What was going on here? I was very confused. I looked forward to the next meeting, when I could fully discuss these questions with my brother.
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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.