When the Lord returns, how can we recognize His voice and welcome Him?
By Cindy, United states
I believe that all followers of God want to attain salvation and enter into God’s kingdom so that they may enjoy the blessings of the heavenly kingdom. What must we do to be saved and enter God’s kingdom? There are probably quite a few brothers and sisters who would respond, “TheHimself redeemed us on the cross, absolving us of all of our sins, so in His eyes we are no longer sinners. As long as we follow the Lord Jesus, keep reading , praying, going to church, and diligently doing the Lord’s work, when He returns we’ll be completely saved and we’ll enter God’s kingdom.”
Just like everyone else, I used to think that too, but I recently encountered a brother who was spreading the gospel that the Lord has already returned. I explored this issue of getting into the kingdom with him and then realized that most Christians’ understanding of this isn’t in line with the truth. What we live out has not yet reached the standard for being fully saved. Now I’d like to share some fellowship on a bit of my own understanding. Even though we have accepted the Lord Jesus’ redemption and our sins have been absolved, that doesn’t mean we’ve been fully saved or that we’re qualified to enter into the. That’s because the root of our sin is still there, and we are often stuck living within our corrupt dispositions. For example, we may give some things up or expend a bit, we may help bring some people before God, and then we feel that we’ve really worked hard and have achieved something great, that we are very devoted to God. We think that this should be our ticket to get into the kingdom of heaven. However, when we see that obtaining these blessings doesn’t seem like it’s in the foreseeable future we feel downcast and disappointed, or we may even feel that there’s no point in following God. We lose our motivation to expend ourselves for Him. From this, it’s clear that our efforts for God are just transactional; we are not genuinely devoted to Him. We see nonbelievers eating nice food and wearing nice clothing, driving a fancy car and living in a big house, while we don’t have much time to go out and earn money because we’re busy working for the church, so our material pleasures don’t measure up to theirs. We feel envious, we feel jealous, and sometimes we’re weakened and fall into passivity. This shows us that our perspectives on things and values in life still haven’t changed, that the things we actually love aren’t the truth or life, but are fame, gain, status, and fleshly pleasures. We harbor these corrupt dispositions within us—they are all contrary to the truth, and they are incompatible with what the Lord requires. How could we possibly be fully saved this way? God said, “You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45), “Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin. And the servant stays not in the house for ever: but the son stays ever” (John 8:34–35). show us that God is holy, and those who have not been purified absolutely cannot enter His kingdom. This is determined by God’s righteous disposition. How could people like us who are constantly sinning be qualified to enter into God’s kingdom? If we want to be fully saved and get into His kingdom, we must cast off our corrupt dispositions, be cleansed, achieve obedience to God, and love Him. This is the only way for us to really be saved and be able to enter His kingdom.
At this point in our fellowship, I think everyone can acknowledge that the root of our sinfulness is still deeply entrenched, and that we haven’t achieved purification. So then how can we rid ourselves of our corrupt dispositions and attain full salvation so we can enter the kingdom of God? Actually, the Lord Jesus gave us some prophecies long ago, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 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 16:12–13). “And if any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:47–48). It’s clear from these prophecies that the Lord Jesus is going to return and do another step of work—the work of judgment. He’s also going to express all the truths that we don’t understand. As long as we accept God’s work of judgment in the last days, put the truth into practice, are cleansed of our corrupt dispositions, and live out a true human likeness, ultimately we can be fully saved and raptured into the kingdom of heaven. This is because the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption wasn’t the end-time work of ridding us of sin, but was paving the way for His work in the last days. The work of redemption just absolved us of our sins, but our sinful nature remains within us. This is why the Lord needs to do a step of the work of judgment. Just as it says in God’s words, “Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering, and did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to take on the sins of man as the sin offering, but also required God to do greater work to completely rid man of his disposition, which has been corrupted by Satan. And so, after man was forgiven his sins, God has returned to flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment, and this work has brought man into a higher realm. All those who submit under His dominion shall enjoy higher truth and receive greater blessings. They shall truly live in the light, and shall gain the truth, the way, and the life.”
So then how can God’s work of judgment in the last days achieve the transformation and purification of human beings? Let’s take a look at a passage of God’s words, and then we’ll understand. God says, “In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, expose the essence of man, and dissect his words and deeds. These words comprise various truths, such as man’s duty, how man should obey God, how man should be loyal to God, how man ought to live out the normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and the disposition of God, and so on. These words are all directed at the essence of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, those words that expose how man spurns God are spoken in regard to how man is an embodiment of Satan and an enemy force against God. In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with just a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth that man does not possess at all. Only methods of this kind are deemed judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced into submission to God, and moreover gain true knowledge of God. What the work of judgment brings about is man’s understanding of the true face of God and the truth about his own rebelliousness. The work of judgment allows man to gain much understanding of the will of God, of the purpose of God’s work, and of the mysteries that are incomprehensible to him. It also allows man to recognize and know his corrupt substance and the roots of his corruption, as well as to discover the ugliness of man. These effects are all brought about by the work of judgment, for the substance of this work is actually the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life of God to all those who have faith in Him. This work is the work of judgment done by God.”
God’s words tell us that in the last days, He has expressed many aspects of the truth, judging and exposing our satanic natures and essences, plus the truth of our corruption as human beings who resist God. He exposes and dissects the root of our sinfulness, revealing to us God’s righteous, holy, and inviolable disposition. Through the judgment of God’s words, we can see how deeply we’ve been corrupted by Satan: We’re arrogant, selfish, despicable, crooked, and deceitful. We do not love the truth, and though wewe do not honor Him as great. We’re unable to truly submit to Him or love Him, and when we encounter trials we complain to Him or even deny and betray Him. We don’t live out a true human likeness. Once we see all these things we start to despise ourselves and truly repent to God. We become willing to accept God’s judgment and chastisement; we pursue the truth and a change in disposition in accordance with God’s words. Then we can gradually cast off the binds and the strictures of our satanic, corrupt natures, thoroughly forsake Satan, and turn toward God. This is how we can resolve our internal sinful nature from its very root. In addition, through God’s judgment and chastisement we come to know God’s righteous disposition and holy essence; we understand God’s earnest, kind intentions in saving us, and His genuine love, and we develop a heart of reverence for God. We become willing to obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements. As our understanding of God gradually deepens, the truth starts to take hold within our hearts and God’s words become the very foundation of our survival, our guide in all things. Then we begin to live relying on God’s words. This is how we can live out a human likeness, fully cast off the binds and strictures of our satanic, corrupt natures, be cleansed, and attain full salvation.
That brother I met also shared his own personal experience with me. He used to believe that since he had been a believer for years, he had given things up, expended himself, and worked hard for the Lord, that he was already a person who loved and submitted to God. But by undergoing God’s judgment and chastisement he finally realized that although on the outside it appeared that he was able to make sacrifices and work really hard for the Lord, when he did more than his coworkers did he’d elevate himself, show off, keep count of all of the sheep he brought into the flock, of all the work he did. He saw that what he had contributed was in fact just an effort to cheat God and conduct a transaction with Him. He wanted to exchange his paltry contribution for God’s great blessings, so that he could be rewarded and get into the kingdom of heaven. That was not true submission to God, and it particularly wasn’t true love for God. Through the judgment and the revelations of God’s words, this brother finally saw that he was not someone who loves and obeys God, and that he was always living within his satanic disposition. He wasn’t remotely living out a human likeness. And through God’s judgment, chastisement, trials, and refinement, he also came to recognize God’s almightiness and omniscience, and that God scrutinizes the bottoms of people’s hearts; he really felt that God’s righteous disposition will tolerate no offense from mankind, and so he developed a heart of reverence for and submission to God. He lost no time prostrating himself and truly repenting to God. Gradually, he experienced a bit of change in his life disposition. All of this was the fruit of undergoing God’s judgment and chastisement.
At this point in our fellowship I trust that everyone has gained some clarity on how we can be fully saved to enter into God’s kingdom. If we only accept the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption, we still won’t achieve dispositional change. We must also accept God’s work of judgment in the last days, undergo the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, and accept the truth as our lives. Then we can achieve transformation in our corrupt dispositions, come to be obedient to God and love Him, and be compatible with Him. This is being thoroughly saved to gain entrance into God’s kingdom.
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