By Wu Hui
“Liang Chao, it’s almost midnight. You came back so late. You were drinking again,” Li Lan blamed her son.
“On my way home from work, I bumped into several old classmates. They invited me to eat out with them. It was not polite to refuse, so I accepted,” her son said airily.
“Liang Chao, you are a Christian, but you often wine, dine and frolic with the unbelievers and revel in sin. Is this in accordance with the Lord’s will? You hasten and repent to the Lord. If you continue to be depraved, how could you qualify to be raptured up into the heavenly kingdom?” Li Lan could not help but feel worried about her son.
“Mom, aren’t you the one who always says that, when the Lord comes He will instantly change our images, and then we will be without sin? So what do we have to worry about?” At these words he went back to his room and rested.
Hearing this, Li Lan shook her head helplessly, then sighed and thought, “It is stated in 1 Corinthians 15:52, ‘In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.’ I often preach to my brothers and sisters, ‘As long as we believe in the Lord in our hearts and confess our belief in Him with our mouth, and work hard and bear heavy burdens for Him, He will not forsake us even though we frequently commit sins. When the Lord comes He will instantly change our images, make us sinners innocent, and take us into the heavenly kingdom.’ However, many brothers and sisters are bothered by sins and so feel reproached in their hearts. Some even commit widespread sins, follow the evil social trends, eat and drink and play, but don’t practice the Lord’s words. The Bible says, ‘You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy’ (1 Peter 1:16). ‘Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord’ (Hebrews 12:14). The Lord is holy. Will He really receive people who often sin and resist Him into the kingdom of heaven?” With this in her mind, she could not help but develop doubts.
The next morning, she learned that her cousin, Su Dan, had just come back from a missionary trip, so she hurried to go find Su Dan to ask for clarification. After they met, Li Lan came straight to the point and spoke out on the confusion within her heart.
Hearing her question, Su Dan said, “Sister, I also used to preach to the brothers and sisters, ‘Although we still live in a circle of sinning and confessing, we are called righteous because we believe in the Lord, so when the Lord comes He will instantly change our images and bring us into the kingdom of heaven.’ But this time by discussing this matter with several brothers and sisters, I finally knew our understanding doesn’t accord with the Lord’s will. In 1 Corinthians 15:52 it says, ‘In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.’ This Bible passage was something that Paul said and was his own understanding. The Lord Jesus never said that, nor did the prophets prophesy that, and the Holy Spirit particularly hasn’t said that. In our faith in God we must take God’s words as basis. Paul’s words cannot be the basis for us to enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Hearing this, Li Lan said in amazement, “How did I not see that? For so many years, I’ve treated Paul’s words as God’s words. This really doesn’t accord with the truth. I think what you said is right, because Paul is just a corrupted human being, he had no truths, neither was he a prophet, and God didn’t use him to convey God’s words. His words indeed cannot be the basis to enter the kingdom of heaven. Only God’s words are the truth, the way, and the life, so the entry into the kingdom of heaven must be on the basis of God’s words.”
Su Dan went on to say, “Yes! The reason why we take Paul’s words as God’s words and believe that the Lord will instantly change our images is because we take God’s work to be supernatural based on our notions and imaginings. This isn’t in accord with God’s working principles. In fact, God’s work of saving people is practical and isn’t supernatural at all. For example, when God saved Noah, God did not rapture him into heaven with one phrase so that he would avoid the flood waters. Instead, God made Noah build the ark, used the ark to save Noah’s family, and then destroyed those who rebelled against and defied Him. And when Jehovah God used Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into Canaan, only after various twists and turns, such as, leaving Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, crossing the Jordan river, and attacking Jericho did the Israelites finally enter the land of Canaan. Jehovah God did not bring the Israelites into Canaan in an instant. Also, the Lord Jesus personally came incarnate to do the work of the Age of Grace, provided mankind with the way of repentance, healed the sick and cast out demons, was crucified and completed His work of redemption. And so on. God does work to save mankind in a practical way like this. There is nothing supernatural. Similarly, during the last days, God also carries out work in a practical manner, and He certainly will not use the method of instantly changing our images to purify and change us.”
Li Lan seemed to understand something and then said, “So God’s work is all real. Paul’s words don’t conform to the principle of God doing work. But there is something I still don’t understand: In the last days, how will God practically carry out the work of purifying us?”
Su Dan said, “The Bible actually does have prophecies about how exactly God will do the work of cleansing and changing us in the last days. The Lord Jesus said, ‘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). ‘For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God’ (1 Peter 4:17). ‘Sanctify them through Your truth: Your word is truth’ (John 17:17). From these verses we can see that in the Lord’s return in the last days He will utter more words, carry out the work of judgment beginning from the house of God, express all truths to purify and save mankind, and use the truths to cleanse our sins. Then we’ll be qualified to enter God’s kingdom.”
She continued, “I read the following passage in a book on a gospel website, and it tells us how God will use words to cleanse mankind in the last days. Allow me to read. The passage says, ‘In the work of the last days, the word is mightier than the manifestation of signs and wonders, and the authority of the word surpasses that of signs and wonders. The word exposes all the corrupt dispositions buried deep in the heart of man. You have no way of recognizing them on your own. When they are laid bare before you through the word, you will naturally come to discover them; you will not be able to deny them, and you will be utterly convinced. Is this not the authority of the word? This is the result achieved by the work of the word today. Therefore, it is not through the healing of sickness and casting out of demons that man can be fully saved from his sins, nor can he be fully made complete by the manifestation of signs and wonders. The authority to heal sickness and cast out demons only gives man grace, but the flesh of man still belongs to Satan and the corrupt satanic disposition still remains within man. In other words, that which has not been made clean still belongs to sin and to filth. Only after he has been made clean through the agency of the word can he be gained by God and become a sanctified man. … After thousands of years of being corrupted by Satan, he has within him an established nature that resists God. Therefore, when man has been redeemed, it is nothing more than a case of redemption in which man is bought at a high price, but the poisonous nature within him has not been eliminated. Man that is so defiled must undergo a change before becoming worthy to serve God. By means of this work of judgment and chastisement, man will fully come to know the filthy and corrupt substance within his own self, and he will be able to change completely and become clean. Only in this way can man become worthy to return before the throne of God. All the work done this day is so that man can be made clean and be changed; through judgment and chastisement by the word, as well as through refinement, man can purge away his corruption and be made pure’” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)”).
These words attracted Li Lan and she listened closely.
Then Su Dan fellowshiped this, “From these words we can see that in the last days, since mankind has been corrupted by Satan for thousands of years, the nature and disposition of Satan have been ingrained in us. We are very arrogant, deceitful, and malicious. We deceive and slaughter each other. And we have become the people of Satan who resist and betray God. Although we have accepted the Lord Jesus’ work, the Lord absolved our sins, and we can work hard and spend for the Lord, yet our internal sinful nature is still there and has not been purified. For example, when seeing our co-workers who are better than us, we unwillingly express the corrupt disposition of jealousy. When encountering something concerning our own personal benefits, we are also able to often tell lies and deceive others. Whenever our own interests are damaged, we are still capable of hating others. In our preaching and work, we like to show ourselves off, so that our brothers and sisters will look to us and hold us in high esteem. And so on. Bound by our sinful nature, we often involuntarily commit sins and resist God and we are living in a cycle of sinning and repenting. The Lord’s return in the last days will be to disclose all of the mysteries of truth to us and use words to reveal our satanic dispositions and Satan’s various toxins and cunning schemes, allowing us to know and distinguish. And God will set up every type of environment to lead us to enter into all truths, so that all true believers in God and all truth-lovers can gain discernment of and see through their satanic nature and Satan’s schemes, and can also know what kind of person God likes and dislikes. That’s how they will be able to truly hate and curse their own satanic nature, be willing to accept truths as their life, and forsake their own satanic nature. This way those who pursue the truth can gain purification and transformation. Therefore, we can see that, in the last days God expressing words and doing the work of judgment and purification is the most effective way to rid us of corrupt dispositions, whereas, God’s signs and wonders can’t expel our sins, so the method of the instant change can’t save people.”
Su Dan took a drink of water and went on, “All those who receive God’s words of judgment and chastisement and whose corrupt nature is cleansed and changed, they are the overcomers made by God in the last days. This fulfills the prophecy in Revelation 14:4, ‘These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and to the Lamb.’ And at the same time, all those who condemn and reject God will be revealed and then God will reward the good and punish the evil. Just as Revelation 22:12 says, ‘And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.’ God uses the judgment and chastisement of His words to help those who pursue the truth gain cleansing and have the chance to become overcomers, so that they can be raptured into heaven. On the contrary, God shall condemn those who don’t accept His judgment and chastisement. In this way, the wheat shall be separated from the tares. This is God’s work of putting each with its own kind during the last days. Just as another passage of words on the gospel website says, ‘Those who are impure are not permitted to enter into the kingdom, those who are impure are not permitted to besmirch the holy ground. Though you may have done much work, and have worked for many years, in the end if you are still deplorably filthy—it is intolerable to the law of Heaven that you wish to enter My kingdom! From the foundation of the world until today, never have I offered easy access to My kingdom to those who curry favor with Me. This is a heavenly rule, and no one can break it!’ (‘Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks’). God’s work of judgment and purification in the last days is the only path by which to receive cleansing and enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Hearing this, Li Lan said excitedly, “Your fellowship has made me understand. God’s work is practical, tangible and visible at every step, not empty or vague at all. It’s not as we believe, that we can be cleansed by instantly changing images. In the last days, the Lord will employ words to purify and transform mankind, so only by experiencing the chastisement and judgment of God’s words in the last days can our corrupted disposition attain purification and achieve change. It is a pity that after believing in the Lord for many years, I don’t know His work but live in my own conceptions and imaginings, and naively believe that the Lord will instantly change our form when He comes. I just foolishly wait like this for the Lord to bring us into the kingdom of heaven. How foolish! I was almost cast aside by the Lord. Su Dan, the words you read are so good. I also want to go on the gospel website to investigate.”
Su Dan said happily, “Great!”
Then Su Dan turned on her computer and clicked on the Gospel of the Descent of Kingdom web page …
We often live in the state of sinning and confessing, and cannot put the Lord’s word into practice. So are we able to enter the kingdom of God? What are the criteria for entering the kingdom of heaven? Click to read and you’ll find the answer.