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In the past, I particularly liked reading the parable of the lost sheep told by the. He said: “How think you? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, does he not leave the ninety and nine, and goes into the mountains, and seeks that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, truly I say to you, he rejoices more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18:12-14). Every time I read this passage, I was especially moved and thought that the Lord Jesus’ love for mankind was too great. God wouldn’t forsake any of His sheep as long as it was His. But I didn’t understand or comprehend the Lord Jesus’ intention of saying the words in the end: “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” It wasn’t until I read God’s words afterward that I had a deep understanding of the Lord Jesus’ intention in saying these words.
God says: “Let’s take another look at the last sentence in this passage: ‘Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.’ Was this the Lord Jesus’ own words, or the words of His Father in heaven? On the surface, it looks like it’s the Lord Jesus who is speaking, but His will represents the will of God Himself, which is why He said: ‘Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.’ People at that time only acknowledged the Father in heaven as God, and this person that they saw in front of their eyes was merely sent by Him, and He could not represent the Father in heaven. That’s why the Lord Jesus had to say that as well, so that they could really feel God’s will for mankind, and feel the authenticity and the accuracy of what He said. Even though this was a simple thing to say, it was very caring and it revealed the Lord Jesus’ humility and hiddenness. No matter whether God became flesh or He worked in the spiritual realm, He knew the human heart best, and best understood what people needed, knew what people worried about, and what confused them, so He added this one line.”
After reading God’s words, I came to understand that so profound is the significance of the words that the Lord Jesus said at that time. When the Lord Jesus worked, even though many believers believed in and followed Him, they did not have much real knowledge that He is the Christ in the Flesh and God Himself. They couldn’t even fully acknowledge that the Lord Jesus is the God in heaven. Just as what Philip said to the Lord Jesus, recorded in, “Lord, show us the Father, and it suffises us” (John 14:8). So, the Lord Jesus at that time was fully aware of everyone’s thought and confusion, and moreover their needs. Thus, in order that people could know and understand Him, after saying the parable of the lost sheep, the Lord Jesus specially added this line: “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” Just exactly as God said: “When He said this, it was actually to tell people: You can rest assured—this doesn’t represent what’s in My own heart, but it is the will of the God who is in your hearts.” It can be seen that only when the Lord Jesus added this line could it achieve the desired effect at the time. Otherwise, it was difficult for people to acknowledge and accept the Lord Jesus’ words are exactly God’s words and His will. We can see God’s wisdom, loveliness, humbleness, and hiddenness through the words of the Lord Jesus. As God works and speaks, He never coerces people or stands up high. When people can’t accept the Christ is God, God says in another way, which is suitable for people to take in. He considers people in all aspects. Furthermore, from the way of God’s speaking, it can be seen that no matter how foolish and ignorant we are, God would rather change a way of speaking and add this one line than condemn us. As long as we can appreciate His true intentions in His words, accept what He says, and truly believe in Him and follow Him, this is enough for Him.
At this time, I also understood the true meaning of what the Lord Jesus said to Philip: “Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known me, Philip? he that has seen me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father? Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak to you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me, he does the works” (John 14:9-10). In fact, at that time, the Lord Jesus had spoken out that His identity is the Father in heaven, that is, God Himself. However, the people at the time didn’t know His identity. As in their eyes, the Lord Jesus they saw was just the Son of man, an ordinary person outwardly, having no difference from others. So they couldn’t recognize that what the Lord Jesus said fully represented the Father in heaven and was the personal utterance of the Spirit of God in the flesh. Thus, under these circumstances, the Lord Jesus said such words, which made people better able to accept and believe His words, and to feel that His words represented God’s will.
Besides, I realized God’s love and expectations toward people from the line said by God. God incarnate comes to earth to work and save mankind. Under the cover of His normal humanity, people don’t know Him. They are filled with conceptions, imaginations, and even doubts about God. Yet God does not give up saving mankind because of their attitude toward Him. Rather, He gets them to sense His love little by little through His words, from which mankind can know what God has and is as well as His inherent identity and position. The Lord Jesus expected all His followers could know Him, recognizing God’s essence from the words and work of the flesh worn by God among mankind rather than the incarnate flesh of God from His appearance. They should know the utterance of the Christ in the flesh is that of God Himself, and identify that the Son of man living among man is God Himself. Such people are the ones God hopes to see and gain. Now, do you have any brand-new and deeper knowledge of the intentions behind the Lord Jesus’ words: “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish”?
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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?