Are Those Who Have Been Forgiven of Their Sins Still Unqualified to Enter the Kingdom of God?
In the last co-workers meeting, I heard your perspectives about Eastern Lightning, and I thought Eastern Lightning is indeed worth our seeking and investigating. However, I heard witnesses of Eastern Lightning fellowship, “In the last days, God has become flesh again and is performing the work of judgment beginning from the house of God. Only if we accept the truth expressed by Christ in the last days can we be purified and.” Regarding this, I am rather confused: We have received the Lord’s redemption by believing in Him, with our sins forgiven, so when the Lord comes again we will be directly raptured into the kingdom of heaven. However, Eastern Lightning witnesses said that if we don’t accept the judgment work of Christ in the last days, we won’t be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. Brother Zhen, I want to hear your opinions on this question. I’m looking forward to your reply!
Dear Brother Yang,
Thank the Lord! I am very glad to hear from you. As for your question, I will communicate some of my understandings, and I hope they will be helpful to you.
Firstly, as Christians, we should know that we who believe in the Lord should use His words as our basis for all things. This is especially true when it comes to how to treat the Lord’s return. Under no circumstances can we treat His return based on our conceptions and imaginings. Otherwise we are prone to losing the salvation of the Lord. It’s just like back when the Lord Jesus came to do His work. The Lord wasn’t called the Messiah, nor did He keep the Sabbath, in addition, He did His work outside the temple. Because the Lord Jesus’ work was not in line with their notions and imaginations, the Jewish chief priests and Pharisees crucified the Lord Jesus, thus committing a hellish sin, and being condemned and cursed by God. Therefore, we should draw a lesson from the Pharisees’ failure. Regardless of how much of what we hear doesn’t conform to our own notions, we should put aside our notions and imaginations and focus on seeking God’s intentions in God’s words.
Next, let’s study several passages of God’s words. God said, “Be you holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). “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). From God’s words, we can be sure that even with our sins forgiven, we are still not eligible to enter God’s kingdom. Only on the condition that we are cleansed and become doers of God’s will can we enter the heavenly kingdom, which is an irrefutable fact. As we all know, it is true that the Lord Jesus has forgiven our sins, but He never said that those whose sins were forgiven were cleansed and are allowed to be brought directly into the kingdom of heaven. Nobody can deny this fact. Moreover, even though we are forgiven of our sins for believing in the Lord, we are still not purified, but always commit sins and resist the Lord, of which we all have first-hand experience.
I have seen a passage in one of Eastern Lightning’s books that benefits me a lot, and now I will share it with you. In the book it says, “A sinner such as you, who has just been redeemed, and has not been changed, or been perfected by God, can you be after God’s heart? For you, you who are still of your old self, 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 you 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. You, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are therefore incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance.”
From these words, we can see that the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross as a sin offering for mankind, and redeemed us from sin, and relieved us from the curses and condemnation of the law. We only had to confess our sins and repent before the Lord and our sins would be forgiven. We could then enjoy the grace and blessings which God bestowed upon us. This is the redemptive work that the Lord Jesus did and is the true meaning of being saved by faith in the Lord. But “being saved” merely means that our sins are forgiven, and that we won’t be condemned and put to death by the law, but it does not mean “being truly saved.” Though the Lord Jesus pardoned us of our sins, we have yet to wrest ourselves from the fetters of sinfulness, we are still possessed of our sinful nature and satanic disposition inside, and unknowingly commit sins, resist God and betray God. We believers all have deep experience of this. For example: Though we outwardly have good behaviors, when our own interests are at stake, we always tell lies and practice deceit and crookedness, can’t truly forbear and forgive others, and what we live out is the arrogant, conceited, selfish, and greedy image of Satan; our hard work is not for loving and showing consideration for the Lord, but is mixed with our intention to strive for a crown of glory; when we enjoy the Lord’s grace, we rejoice and also have faith in the Lord, while when we encounter trials and refinements or something unfortunate occurs to our families, we complain about God and even misunderstand and judge God. All these facts sufficiently prove that even though we have received the Lord Jesus’ salvation, we are merely forgiven of our sins, which doesn’t represent that we have thoroughly rid ourselves of sin and are purified, much less does it represent that we have been gained by God. God is holy, while we are caked in grime and can still betray, and disobey God, so how can we enter the kingdom of heaven?
Later, I heard Eastern Lightning witnesses say, “In the last days, God has incarnated and is doing a stage of judgment work by expressing the truth. He reveals and judges our sinful nature with His words, so that we can come to know our rebelliousness and filth, and clearly see the actual truth of our having been corrupted by Satan. At the same time, God’s words show His holy and righteous disposition which cannot be offended, show us the way to cleanse our sinful nature, and allow us to know how to pursue to completely free ourselves from the bondage of sins, to meet God’s requirements, to be saved and to enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever has accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days has experienced the judgment of His words to varying degrees, and their sinful natures are gradually being transformed through His judgment. I find that all of these things are the exact fulfillment of what the Bible says: “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). “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). “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). By pondering these scriptures, I came to know: In the last days when the Lord comes again, He will judge man with His words, and bestow on us all the truths which we need to be truly saved. Accordingly, we must meet the appearance and work of the returned Lord—Almighty God, and accept His judgment work in the last days, only then can we be saved and brought to the kingdom of heaven.
Regarding the question “Are we are able to enter the kingdom of heaven if we don’t accept Eastern Lightning’s way?” I’d like to share with you a passage of Almighty God’s words: “Christ of the last days brings life, and brings the enduring and everlasting way of truth. This truth is the path by which man gains life, and it is 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…. 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 His work is the path that must be taken by all those who would enter the new age.”
Brother Yang, I have just begun seeking and investigating Eastern Lightning, and what I understand about their way is limited, so I can only tell you some of my understandings for your reference. If you want to be clear about it, I advise you to read Almighty God’s words more and seek and fellowship more with the witnesses from The Church of Almighty God, because the Lord Jesus warned us before, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). May the Lord lead us! Amen!