By Xiaomo, China
The mention of “Jesus’ Redemption” always fills us with gratitude to the Lord. Two thousand years ago, to redeem us from the hands of Satan, the Lord Jesus was crucified and sacrificed for the sins of humanity, thereby forgiving all our sins. When we sin, as long as we repent and confess our sins to the Lord, our sins are forgiven, and we enjoy peace and joy. But recently, some brothers and sisters have been confused: Although our sins are forgiven by the Lord, we have never been able to escape the bondage of sin, we often lie and deceive, we are stuck in the cycle of sinning and confessing, and we cannot keep the Lord’s teachings. The Bible clearly tells us, “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26). We know clearly that we can sin involuntarily despite knowing our actions go against God’s will, and that if we merely repent without changing, the sacrifice for our sins is useless. Like this, can we truly be directly raptured into the kingdom of heaven when the Lord comes? But there are also some brothers and sisters who believe that although we often sin, the Lord has forgiven our sins and does not see us as sinners, and when the Lord returns, we will be raptured into the kingdom of heaven! So, will we be raptured into the kingdom of heaven? Let's explore the issue together.
Brothers and sisters, first of all we must know that it is true that the Lord Jesus has forgiven our sins, but did the Lord Jesus say, “If people are forgiven, they can enter the kingdom of heaven?” Has the Holy Spirit testified this? If not, then this view is not in line with the truth, nor in the mind of God, but springs from the imagination of the human mind. The Bible tells us that Jehovah said, “You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45). The Lord Jesus said, “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). God is holy and righteous, and God does not allow polluted and corrupt people to exist in His kingdom, so God requires that we escape sin and become pure. Only by being purified can we enter the kingdom of heaven. How could people such as us who constantly sin and resist God enter the kingdom of heaven?
At this, perhaps some brothers and sisters will ask: The Lord Jesus has forgiven our sins and does not see us as sinners, but if we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven, what is the significance of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption? God’s words on the subject answer the question very clearly. Let’s take a look, “At the time Jesus’ work was the redemption of all mankind. The sins of all who believed in Him were forgiven; as long as you believed in Him, He would redeem you; if you believed in Him, you were no longer a sinner, you were relieved of your sins. This is what it meant to be saved, and to be justified by faith. Yet in those who believed, there remained that which was rebellious and opposed God, and which still had to be slowly removed. Salvation did not mean man had been completely gained by Jesus, but that man was no longer of sin, that he had been forgiven his sins: Provided you believed, you would never more be of sin” (“The Vision of God’s Work (2)”). “Before man was redeemed, many of Satan’s poisons had already been planted within him and, 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. … For all that man may have been redeemed and forgiven of his sins, it can only be considered as God not remembering the transgressions of man and not treating man in accordance with his transgressions. However, when man, who lives in a body of flesh, has not been set free from sin, he can only continue to sin, endlessly revealing his corrupt satanic disposition. This is the life that man leads, an endless cycle of sinning and being forgiven. The majority of men sin in the day only to confess in the evening. This way, even if the sin offering is forever effective for man, it will not be able to save man from sin. Only half the work of salvation has been completed, for man still has a corrupt disposition” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)”).
These two passages of God’s words make the results of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption very clear. In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption forgave the sins we committed, but these sins primarily refer to violations of God’s laws and commandments. We accepted the Lord Jesus’ redemption, and the Lord no longer treated us as sinners. If we sinned, we could simply pray in the name of the Lord Jesus and confess and repent to the Lord, and our sins would be forgiven, and we would no longer be condemned or punished by the law. This is the true meaning of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption. But the Lord Jesus only forgave our sins. The Lord did not forgive our satanic dispositions such as arrogance, selfishness, deceit, and evil. This is something deeper and more corrupt than sin. While our satanic disposition of resisting God remains unresolved, we will still be able to sin against God, and commit even greater sins than breaking the law. When we preach and work, for example, we often show off and tell our brothers and sisters how much we have suffered and paid for the Lord to make them worship us, look up to us, and bring them before ourselves. Or, even as we serve the Lord with our coworkers, we also contend, struggle, and become envious with others over fame, fortune, status, and even attack and exclude others. Or, when we are sick, or when our families are in danger or things don’t go according to our notions of how they should, we can rebel against and resist God, and even deny God and betray God. Although we believe in God and follow God in name, when we encounter difficulties, we do not seek answers in the Lord’s words or follow the Lord’s requirements, but instead listen to and obey people, and have no place for God in our hearts. We do many such things. People like us have only been redeemed by the Lord Jesus, but our satanic nature is still ingrained within us. How could those who never escape from sin ever be qualified to be directly raptured by the Lord and enter the kingdom of heaven? We can see that the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption forgives our sins, but we still sin and resist God often, we are not purified, and we still cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.
Now we understand the real significance of “Jesus’ redemption,” and we can see that to be saved and enter the kingdom of heaven, mankind also requires the next stage of God’s work to be completely changed and purified. The Bible says, “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). “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). The Lord Jesus said, “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 12:48). “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). The words of the Lord Jesus are very clear. Because the spiritual stature of those in the Age of Grace was too small, the Lord Jesus did not give them all the truths required to completely save corrupt mankind. In the last days, the Lord Jesus will return to express and speak new words and do the work of judgment and chastisement to completely remove our sinfulness and free us from the bondage of sin, so that we can be brought into the kingdom of heaven by the Lord and enjoy God’s blessings.
Through the fellowship above, we understand that accepting the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption only forgives our sins, and that we also need to experience God’s judgment in the last days to completely escape the bondage of sin and enter the kingdom of heaven. So, how should we welcome the Lord’s return, and how should we treat God’s work in the last days? I recommend the gospel page The Lord Has Returned, so that we may continue to seek and look into this aspect of the truth.