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At dusk, after I prayed to the Lord at my desk, I read chapter 20 of the Gospel of Matthew where it says that those who went into the vineyard early finally got the same wages as those who went late. I thought, “If those of us who have sacrificed and labored for the Lord for many years finally get the same wages as those who work for Him late, won’t this be God purposely favoring the latecomers?” I always thought so.
Afterward, I read a passage in a book, “No matter how much you are able to accept, no matter how much you have heard, how much you have understood, how much you live out or how much you obtain, there is one fact: The truth, the way and the life of God is bestowed freely on each and every person, and this is fair to each and every person. God will not favor one person over another due to someone being a new believer, who has only believed for a couple of months, or someone who has believed for two years, for 10 years or for 20 years; nor will He treat each and every person, or anyone, differently because of their age, their appearance, their gender, the family they were born into or their family’s background, right? He hasn’t done this, has He? Each and every person obtains the same from God. He doesn’t make anyone obtain less, or make anyone obtain much more. To each and every person this is fair and reasonable. He gives to you in time and in proportion, not letting you go hungry, cold or thirsty, right? When God does these things, what does God require of man? That is, when God bestows these things on man, does He have a selfish motive? (No.) He doesn’t have any selfish motive. This is for certain, isn’t it?” (“Man is the Greatest Beneficiary of God’s Management Plan”). These words cleared up my misunderstandings of God. As it turned out, God treats everyone fairly. In the course of His salvation work, the truth He bestows to us and the environments and opportunities He arranges for us are all the same. Whether we ultimately attain the truth depends on whether we love and seek the truth. The essence of some people’s nature neither loves nor pursues the truth. Even though they have believed in God for many years, they have missed every chance given by God to gain the truth, and they will attain nothing in the end. While, some people haven’t believed in God for very long, but they have a heart that loves and craves the truth. They often pray to God, seek the truth and act according to His word when encountering things. Finally, they will attain the truth and have a pleasant destination.
I reflected: Why can’t I praise the righteousness of God in this matter but always rely on my conceptions and imaginations to look at things and complain about God? Is this not because my conceptions and imaginations are not compatible with the standard by which God judges man? I determine who deserves to win God’s approval on the basis of who has believed in God for a long time, who understandsmore, who works hard or who is respected by people. While God doesn’t judge people by these. He establishes one’s outcome not according to the outward objective factors but according to whether he attains the truth. Just as a passage in a book says, “I decide the destination of each man not on the basis of age, seniority, amount of suffering, or least of all, the degree of misery, but on whether they possess truth. There is no other choice but this” (“You Ought to Do Enough Good Deeds to Prepare for Your Destination”). I saw that God eventually decides man’s outcome based purely on whether he possesses truth. This is the standard by which God judges man. For God doesn’t look at our status, seniority, our time spent believing in Him or amount of suffering, thus regardless of whether we are leaders or ordinary believers, all those who long for and seek the truth and who are humble or obedient will obtain God’s enlightenment and blessings, like the laborers who went into the vineyard late. All those who have believed in God for a long time but have not obtained the truth will be eliminated in the end, no matter how much suffering they have endured or how qualified they are. That’s an undeniable fact that nobody can alter.
I thought back to when God led the Israelites out of Egypt. They wandered in the wilderness for forty years. Those young men and the lofty “warriors” looked up to by others all died in the wilderness because of complaining about God; eventually only the women and children who obeyed His sovereignty and arrangements and never complained about Him entered Canaan. That is quite contrary to our imaginations and conceptions. Take another example: The Jewish chief priests, Pharisees and scribes believed that they were familiar with the Bible and the law and some of them traveled far and wide to preach the gospel, so they felt that they worked most and had impressive qualifications, and that they were best qualified to welcome the Messiah and receive His selection. However, when thecame to work, He didn’t choose them, nor appear to work among them according to people’s notions and imaginations, but instead He chose the fisherman Peter, the farmer John and others as His disciples outside of the temple because He knew the Pharisees didn’t have a God-revering heart. They served God using their years of work as capital; they arrogantly and stubbornly held to themselves and denied the appearance of God because the Lord Jesus was not called Messiah. They clearly knew that the Lord Jesus’ word has authority and has power, and yet they were not willing to let go of their status or seek the truth, much less accept God’s new work. Moreover, they resisted His work with their knowledge of the Bible and their notions and imaginations. Therefore they were eliminated by the Lord Jesus’ work. On the contrary, though the disciples of the Lord and the Jews who followed Him had less knowledge of the Bible and didn’t, like the Pharisees, travel around the world preaching the gospel and work hard, yet they had a fearful and seeking heart and also had a thirst for the truth. Thus the Lord Jesus bestowed the gospel of the kingdom of heaven and the way of upon them, so that they could receive His salvation.
The Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). From this, I realized that if we want to receive, we should have a heart that loves and longs for the truth, and practically pursue the truth and walk in His way, and in so doing, we will receive His blessings.
Under God’s enlightenment and guidance, I understood: No matter how much God’s work does not fit with our notions, He is righteous. He looks deep into man’s heart and has a thorough understanding of us. He knows best who truly believes in Him and loves the truth and who is a hypocrite and is weary of the truth. So, God decides our different outcomes on the basis of our essence and there is absolutely no deviation. Hence we shouldn’t measure God’s work with our conceptions and imaginations. Instead, we should pursue the truth and be obedient in the environment He has created for us. This is what a sensible creation should do.
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One may ask: The Bible says, “That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). It says that the one who confesses with the mouth and believes in the heart that Jesus is the Lord is saved. In fact, we do have believed in the Lord; however, does it mean that we have been saved thoroughly? Speaking of the topic of being saved, it is familiar to brothers and sisters. They are all firmly convinced that they have been saved thoroughly since they have believed in the Lord Jesus, and that they will be taken to the kingdom of heaven when the Lord comes again. But is it really the case? What on earth is the true meaning of being saved? Is it true, as we think, that we are saved thoroughly as long as we believe in the Lord Jesus? We all know the Israelites had ever been enslaved by the Egyptian Pharaoh, undergoing all kinds of hardships. Jehovah God could not stand them being maltreated; therefore, He called Moses to lead them out of Egypt and then into the good land of Canaan. As for the Israelites of that time, they were saved. But it cannot be said that they no longer need the salvation of Jehovah God. Before they entered Canaan, Jehovah God set forth the law through Moses, causing them to know how to revere Him, how to serve Him, as well as how to live on earth, how to get along with others, etc. Henceforth, the work of God in the Age of Law made the Israelites know how to live, and to them, this means that they were saved again. However, at the end of the Age of Law, people were unable to keep the law, lost their reverence for God, and even offered blind and lame livestock on the altar. As a result, they all faced the danger of being condemned to death by the law. In order to rescue them from death, God incarnate came to earth and did a stage of work of redeeming mankind. The Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross as the sin offering for mankind, and bore the sins of man. For those accepting the salvation of the Lord Jesus, this means that they were saved again. As the Bible says, “That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved” (Romans 10:9). Actually here it means that after accepting the Lord Jesus’ salvation of the cross, people will no longer be condemned by the law for failing to keep it. Nevertheless, although our human sins have been forgiven, it doesn’t mean that we have no sins, for all believers still live in the vicious cycle of committing sins only to confess them and then to continue on to sin again, and no one can break free from it. The Bible says, “holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). “Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin to salvation” (Hebrews 9:28). We can see from these verses that although we have got the redemption of the Lord Jesus, we are not completely saved by God because our corrupt dispositions haven’t been purified yet. Therefore, God returns to flesh in the last days to do the work of thoroughly saving and purifying man. God says, “it is true that you were saved by Jesus, and that you are not counted as a sinner because of the salvation of God, but this does not prove that you are not sinful, and are not impure. How can you be saintly if you have not been changed? Within, you are beset by impurity, selfish and mean, yet you still wish to descend with Jesus—you should be so lucky! You have missed a step in your belief in God: You have merely been redeemed, but have not been changed. For you to be after God’s heart, God must personally do the work of changing and cleansing you; if you are only redeemed, you will be incapable of attaining sanctity. In this way you will be unqualified to share in the good blessings of God, for you have missed out a step in God’s work of managing man, which is the key step of changing and perfecting. And so you, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance” (“Concerning Appellations and Identity”). “The sins of man were forgiven because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live in the old, corrupt satanic disposition. As such, man must be completely saved from the corrupt satanic disposition so that the sinful nature of man is completely cast away and never again develops, thus allowing the disposition of man to be changed. This requires man to understand the path of growth in life, the way of life, and the way to change his disposition. It also needs man to act in accordance with this path so that the disposition of man can gradually be changed and he can live under the shining of the light, and that he can do all things in accord with the will of God, cast away the corrupt satanic disposition, and break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)”). From God’s words we can see that we Christians are only forgiven of our sins by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus. However, because the Lord Jesus didn’t do the work of thoroughly purifying our corrupt dispositions, thus if we want to utterly cast away the corruption to be cleansed and completely saved, we need to accept not only the Lord Jesus’ redemption, but also God’s work of judging and purifying man in the last days. Only when we, in the course of experiencing the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, gradually gain a true knowledge of our own corrupt substance, are able to break free of Satan’s influence of darkness and live by God’s words, can we be called the ones who are purified and saved thoroughly, that is, the ones who have received complete salvation and are truly saved. So, today when the Lord Jesus has returned, only if we walk out of the Age of Grace, follow the steps of God’s work, and accept the judgment of God’s words to have our corrupt disposition cleansed, can we be saved thoroughly by God, and ultimately be taken to a wonderful destination. You may be interested in this article: What Is Salvation? Once Saved Always Saved?