To Enter Into the Kingdom of God, We Cannot Hold Justification by Faith
Dear Sister Zhang Ying:
This is Jiang Li. How time flies! More than a year has slipped by since I came to America. How have you been doing? How is the condition of our church? I remember at a co-worker meeting, Brother Zhang said, “We believers of the Lord constantly live in the situation of sinning in the day and confessing at night, and are always bound by sins. If continuing like this, can we be raptured into the heavenly kingdom when the Lord returns?” At that time, I replied without hesitation, “The Bible says, ‘For by one offering he has perfected for ever them that are sanctified’ (Hebrews 10:14). So, although we sin every day, the Lord no longer remembers our sins, let alone sees us as sinners. We have been justified and saved by faith. As long as we work hard, spend and sacrifice for Him, the Lord won’t abandon us and will definitely take us to the kingdom of heaven when He comes.” However, Brother Zhang refuted, by saying, “We humans have received the Lord’s salvation, and He doesn’t remember our sins anymore. Yet the Lord Jesus said, ‘Be you holy; for I am holy’ (1 Peter 1:16). The Bible also says, ‘And holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord’ (Hebrews 12:14). Now, we still often sin and confess, and can’t attain holiness. So, how are we fit to enter the heavenly kingdom and see the Lord’s face? Besides, the Lord Jesus never said that all believers can enter the heavenly kingdom so long as they labor for Him. I think entering the heavenly kingdom is not as easy as we imagine. Though I am uncertain of this, I think there is truth in here to seek.” When having such an argument, all of us were lost in confusion, not knowing how to enter the kingdom of heaven. I thought: The disasters in recent years get greater and greater, and from various signs we can judge that our Lord must have come, but we don’t understand this aspect of truth. In such a case, won’t we be forsaken when the Lord comes? So, in order to understand this aspect of truth, after I came to America, I sought many spiritual pastors and elders, but their understandings were nearly the same as ours. Thus, the puzzle in my heart still couldn’t be solved.
Until one day, on the internet, I came into contact with Sister Wang. During our communication, I found her understanding of the Bible was deep and that her knowledge of God was practical, all of which were the things I had never heard before. Afterward, I told her of our bemusement. Then she fellowshiped with me patiently, “Many believers keep the words of the Bible, ‘For by one offering he has perfected for ever them that are sanctified’ (Hebrews 10:14). Therefore, they think: “The Lord Jesus has redeemed us mankind from the cross and forgiven our sins. He no longer treats us as sinners and we have been justified and saved by faith. As long as we can suffer, pay the price, work hard, sacrifice and endure to the end, we will be raised into the heavenly kingdom when the Lord comes.” Actually, this viewpoint is the conception and imagination of man and it comes from Paul. It isn’t based on God’s words. Sister, we believers in the Lord should use the Lord’s words as our foundation in everything. Paul is just a man, so his words can’t represent God’s words, much less God’s will.” Before she could finish speaking, I couldn’t listen to her anymore, saying, “Sister Wang, I admit that we believers in the Lord should take the Lord’s words as our basis for all things, and that this viewpoint comes from Paul — a man, rather than God. Yet the Lord Jesus was crucified and used His life to save us from Satan’s clutches and absolved us of all sins, making us saved by faith; that’s a fact. So, why can’t we be brought into the heavenly kingdom when the Lord returns?”
Sister Wang smiled and patiently fellowshiped, “The Lord Jesus forgave our sins. What does ‘sins’ refer to? Actually, before the Lord Jesus began His work, the sins people committed were mainly those factual sins that betrayed God’s laws, commandments and words. Because people of that time betrayed God’s laws and commandments, and would be condemned and punished by law, the Lord Jesus came to do the redemptive work. Since then, as long as we pray to Him, confess and repent our sins, He shall absolve us. And we will no longer be condemned and punished by His law. God will no longer count us as sinners. So, we can directly pray to Him, call out to Him and enjoy His abundant grace and blessings. This is the true meaning of being saved, but being saved is not the same thing as entering God’s kingdom. Actually, they’re very different. It can be said that they are two separate things. For the Lord Jesus never said that all those having been saved and absolved can enter the kingdom of heaven. Instead, 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 ‘Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 18:3). According to His words, we can see that those who can enter the heavenly kingdom must do the heavenly Father’s will and follow God’s words. They are the ones who know God, obey God, become compatible with God, and can dedicate themselves and make sacrifices to do God’s will. Such people can give their whole life to God and are willing to devote it to Him without any transactions, impurities, or extravagant desires. They don’t pursue their personal status, reputation or vanity, either. Even if God doesn’t bless them or takes all their things away, they can still submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements without their own choices. Only these kinds of people are eligible to enter God’s kingdom. Just like Job, he could truly obey and worship God, even when he was stripped of his priceless family possessions and all his children, and his body was covered with sore boils, he could completely obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements without complaint, and he still extolled Jehovah’s holy name. So, in God’s eyes, he was perfect and upright, and was the one that obeyed God’s will. Peter is yet another example. He was a person who loved and obeyed God. He lived wholly to accomplish God’s commission and carry out God’s will. He worked and expended without any thought of himself. Even when being crucified for God upside down, he was still whole-heartedly willing. So, he was the one who abided by God’s will and was most approved by God. Such people are qualified to enter God’s kingdom and can enjoy His blessings. God is holy, so if we mankind don’t love or obey Him or can’t get rid of corruption to be purified, we won’t be eligible to enter His kingdom. God won’t bring filthy and corrupt ones into His kingdom. This is determined by His righteous and holy disposition. Therefore, our notion that we are capable of entering the heavenly kingdom after our sins have been absolved is wrong. It completely comes from our human conception and imagination. It’s a misunderstanding of God’s will. For the Lord Jesus only said, ‘But he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven’ (Matthew 7:21), and He never said all those whose sins have been pardoned can enter God’s kingdom.”
Sister Wang’s communication sounded reasonable to me. Yet I felt an unspeakable sadness in my heart then: Can our understandings be wrong during all our years of belief in the Lord? How could it be? At that time, I thought of the thing Pastor Li of our church did. As a pastor, he even dared to deceive the brothers and sisters — misappropriating the church’s money that was for building and repairing the church. I pondered: Can people like him really enter the heavenly kingdom? And now each of us still lives in sin, being unable to keep the Lord’s teachings at all. Behaving like this, we don’t bring any glory to the Lord. As for us who personally think we have been saved, can we really have the opportunity to enter God’s kingdom? The Lord is holy; how can He bear the existence of the filthy? The more I thought, the more afraid I felt. It seemed that my pursuit of all these years was not necessarily correct. Then I recalled the Pharisees who resisted the Lord Jesus. All of them served God in the synagogues and knew a lot about the Bible. To people, the Pharisees should have obtained God’s approval. However, they eventually suffered God’s punishment, for they condemned the Lord according to their own imagination and crucified the Lord Jesus on the cross. I thought to myself: It appears that the imagination of us humans is too horrible; unless solved, this can really take us to hell. In fact, I also often sin — envying others, hating others, clinging to wealth and pursuing status and vanity, which usually occupy my heart. And I can’t extricate myself from living in the whirlpool of sin. Indeed, if such dirty and corrupt people like me can enter the heavenly kingdom, then won’t the words said in the Bible, “And holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14), be for nothing? Thinking of this, I eagerly asked, “Sister Wang, you communicated that not all those having been saved can enter the kingdom of heaven. I can accept this. The Lord said those who obey the heavenly Father’s will can enter the heavenly kingdom; what exactly should we do, then? Could you please fellowship more with me?”
She replied, “To become those who obey the heavenly Father’s will and can be brought into the heavenly kingdom, we must be freed of our corrupt disposition. This is most crucial. About this question, Almighty God’s words have given us the answer. Let’s read together. 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’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘But the work for just how the corrupt satanic dispositions within man could be cast away was not done in him. Man was only saved and forgiven his sins for his faith, but the sinful nature of man was not taken away and still remained within him. The sins of man were forgiven through God incarnate, but it does not mean that man has no sin within him. The sins of man could be forgiven through the sin offering, but man has been unable to resolve the issue of just how he can no longer sin and how his sinful nature can be cast away completely and be transformed. 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)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). According to these words of God, Sister Wang fellowshiped, “From Almighty God’s words, we can see that, in the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus only did the work of redemption, instead of the work of changing and cleansing man. So, if wanting to be purified and completely saved by God, we need God to do a new work. Today, God has come to cleanse man and transform man’s disposition. Only by following His footsteps, accepting His judgment and being cleansed of our corruption, can we be eligible to enter His kingdom.” After listening to her communication, I knew: In order to purify our corrupt disposition, God needs to personally do higher work. The Lord Jesus only redeemed us from our sins, allowing us to have the chance to come before God and accept His salvation, yet we haven’t escaped sin to receive cleansing. Therefore, in the Age of Grace, no matter how well we humans pursued or controlled revelations of our corruption, our corrupt disposition couldn’t be transformed. That’s the reason why we often live in the vicious cycle of sinning in the day and confessing at night. So, to transform our disposition, we must accept Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days.
Afterward, Sister Wang read another passage of God’s words to me, “Christ of the last days brings life, and brings the enduring and everlasting way of truth. This truth is the path through which man shall gain life, and the only path by which man shall know God and be approved by God. If you do not seek the way of life provided by Christ of the last days, then you shall never gain the approval of Jesus, and shall never be qualified to enter the gate of the kingdom of heaven, for you are both a puppet and prisoner of history. Those who are controlled by regulations, by letters, and shackled by history will never be able to gain life, and will never be able to gain the perpetual way of life. That is because all they have is turbid water that has lain stagnant for thousands of years, instead of the water of life that flows from the throne. Those who are not supplied with the water of life will forever remain corpses, playthings of Satan, and sons of hell. How, then, can they behold God? … Those who wish to gain life without relying on the truth spoken by Christ are the most ridiculous people on earth, and those who do not accept the way of life brought by Christ are lost in fantasy. And so I say that the people who do not accept Christ of the last days shall forever be despised by God. Christ is man’s gateway to the kingdom during the last days, which none may bypass. None may be perfected by God except through Christ. You believe in God, and so you must accept His words and obey His way. You must not just think of gaining blessings without receiving the truth, or accepting the provision of life. Christ comes during the last days so that all those who truly believe in Him may be provided with life. His work is for the sake of concluding the old age and entering the new one, and is the path that must be taken by all those who would enter the new age. If you are incapable of acknowledging Him, and instead condemn, blaspheme or even persecute Him, then you are bound to burn for eternity, and shall never enter the kingdom of God. For this Christ is Himself the expression of the Holy Spirit, the expression of God, the One whom God has entrusted to do His work on earth. And so I say that if you cannot accept all that is done by Christ of the last days, then you blaspheme the Holy Spirit. The retribution that should be suffered by those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit is self-evident to all” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
After reading God’s words, Sister Wang continued fellowshiping, “Today, God has come to the world and expressed millions of words, and is doing the work of judging, chastising and cleansing man. This fulfills the words of the Bible, ‘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). Now, through studying God’s words online and watching the movies on the website of The Church of Almighty God, more and more people accept God’s work of the last days. And people of all countries around the world who sincerely believe in God have accepted His new work, enjoying the nourishment and provision of His words. This exactly fulfills the words in the Book of Revelation 2:29, ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ Only by accepting God’s work of judgment and chastisement in the last days, can we be purified and obtain the way of eternal life.”
Her communication sounded really practical, and these words and understandings were something that I had never heard of. Moreover, her grasp of the scriptures was quite good. This made me fully convinced. I thought: Almighty God could very well be the return of the Lord Jesus. Otherwise, nobody can unveil these mysteries to help man have such pure knowledge. After that, I began to investigate The Church of Almighty God. Through a period of investigation, I found that Almighty God’s words have authority and power. They are directed at our human needs and are very realistic and practical. Now, I visit The Church of Almighty God’s website every day. There is a lot of content — books of God’s words, videos of hymns, videos of readings, all types of movies, videos of testimonies of God’s chosen people about experiencing His work, and so on. Through reading Almighty God’s words, I understand many truths that we must understand in believing in God. I also know some truths I didn’t understand in the past, such as what true faith in God is, what it means to be truly saved, the path to changes in our life disposition, and so on. And I was also aware that if we want to be cleansed and enter the heavenly kingdom, we must accept God’s work of judgment in the last days. It is the path that must be taken in order to enter the heavenly kingdom. Now, I’m writing to tell you this good news, hoping that you can put aside your notions and imaginations, and no longer define God and His work by relying on knowledge and doctrines of the Bible. Quickly, investigate The Church of Almighty God online and accept God’s new work.
Sincerely Yours, Jiang Li
August 27, 2017, America