The Lord Jesus died on the cross for us, He forgave all our sins and redeemed us from the hands of Satan. That is to say, He did this to save us and grant us access to the kingdom of heaven. Even after this redemption, we continue to sin and we have yet to be cleansed. Nevertheless, I believe that the Lord’s forgiveness has made us righteous through our faith. As long as we sacrifice everything else to work and spend for God, as long as we are willing to endure suffering and pay the price, we’d be raptured into the kingdom of heaven. I think this is the Lord’s promise to us. However, my brothers and sisters have now questioned this belief. They say that although we labor and work for the Lord, we still sin often and then confess our sins, so we have not yet been cleansed. They have stated that the Lord is holy, so unholy people cannot meet Him. My question is: We who have sacrificed everything else and spend for the Lord, can we really be raised up into the kingdom of heaven? We really don’t know the answer to this question, so we’d like you to talk to us about it.
We have believed in the Lord for so many years. Although we can preach and work for the Lord and suffer a lot, we can still always lie, deceive and defraud. Every day, we speak in defense of ourselves. So often, we are arrogant, opinionated, ostentatious, and condescending to others. We live under the situation of sinning and repenting, unable to escape the binding of the flesh, let alone experience and practice the Lord's word. We haven’t lived out any reality of the Lord’s word. In our case, can we be brought into the kingdom of heaven at all? Some people say, no matter how we sin, how we are bound by the flesh, the Lord sees us as sinless. They go by Paul's word: “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” (1Co 15:52). And assume that the Lord will instantly change our form when He comes and bring us into the kingdom of heaven. Some people believe that those who receive salvation by faith but still constantly sin are unqualified to enter the kingdom of heaven. It is mainly based on God’s word: “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” (Mat 7:21). “… you shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Lev 11:45). These are two competing viewpoints that no one can say clearly, please communicate for us.
We’ve believed in the Lord for so many years, and we’ve maintained His name. We often read the Bible, pray and confess our sins to the Lord; we are humble, patient, loving toward others. We often do charity, donate, and sacrifice everything else to work for the Lord and spread the gospel to witness Him. Are we not practicing the Lord's words and following His way? How can you say we never had any reality of faith in the Lord or are an unbeliever? In the Bible, Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness” (2Ti 4:7–8). Therefore, I think that our faith in the Lord will obtain His praise. When the Lord arrives, He will definitely rapture us into the kingdom of heaven.
You say that we must accept God’s work of judgment of the last days, as only then will our corrupt satanic dispositions be cleansed and changed, and only then will we enter the kingdom of God. So, as the Lord requires, we are humble and tolerant, we love our enemies, we bear our cross, we discipline our body, we forsake worldly things, we work and preach for the Lord, and so on. Are these not all changes that have occurred in us? Are you saying that this is still not enough for us to enter the heavenly kingdom? I believe that as long as we continue striving in this way, we will become holy and will enter the heavenly kingdom.
You say that people who believe in God must accept God’s work of judgment in the last days, and only then can their corrupt disposition be changed. But we, in accordance with the Lord’s requirements, practice humility and patience, love our enemies, bear our crosses, subdue our bodies, abandon worldly things, and we work and preach for the Lord and so on. So aren’t all these our changes? Can’t they become the credentials for our entry into the kingdom of heaven? I believe that as long as we seek in this way, we can attain purification, and enter into the kingdom of heaven?
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. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name? and in Your name have cast out devils? and in Your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity” (Mat 7:21–23). Those who say “Lord, Lord” all believe in and serve the Lord. They have always made sacrifices, expended themselves, and worked hard for the Lord, and they have spread the gospel and built churches. Have they not followed the Lord’s will by doing all this? When the Lord Jesus returns, why will they not be commended by the Lord, and instead be condemned by Him as evildoers?
Having believed in the Lord for so many years, we have always felt that as long as one can practice humility, tolerance and love brothers and sisters, and can follow the example of Paul by expending and laboring for the Lord, he is following the way of the Lord, and he will be raptured into the kingdom of heaven when the Lord returns. Just as Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness” (2Ti 4:7–8). But you have witnessed that when we believe in the Lord, we must receive the judgment work of Almighty God in the last days. When we receive cleansing, we will be commended by God and admitted in the kingdom of heaven. I have a question: We believe in the Lord for so many years, and we expend and labor for the Lord; can we enter the kingdom of heaven without receiving the judgment work of Almighty God in the last days?