Editor’s Note: Does attaining salvation from the Lord Jesus mean gaining eternal salvation? How can we gain eternal salvation, get into the kingdom of heaven, and receive God’s care and protection? Read on to find out.
Mention “salvation” and most people think that believing in the Lord confers salvation, and that means attaining God’s eternal salvation, because Romans 10:10 says, “For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.” In our eyes, by believing in the Lord Jesus in our hearts and acknowledging Him with our words, we are justified by faith and gain eternal salvation, so when the Lord returns, He’ll take us straight up into the kingdom of heaven. We will be those who receive eternal salvation from God. However, there are those who have raised some doubts about this; even though we are saved by our faith, we still commit sins, frequently losing our tempers, feeling jealous of others, and having evil thoughts. We even follow evil worldly trends. The Lord Jesus clearly said, “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). Those who frequently sin and confess are still servants of sin, and absolutely cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. So how could that count as receiving eternal salvation from God?
We’d like to fellowship and explore this contentious topic today: Does gaining salvation from the Lord Jesus mean gaining eternal salvation from God? And how can we receive God’s eternal salvation?
Let’s fellowship a bit on the background of the Lord Jesus’ work to take a look at what justification by faith specifically refers to. Everyone knows that late in the Age of Law, mankind was becoming more and more deeply corrupted by Satan; they were unable to adhere to the law and the commandments, and were doing many things that offended God’s disposition. They were worshiping idols, committing adultery, and even offering sacrifices such as lame or blind pigeons and sheep. Everyone was in danger of being condemned and put to death under the law. In order to save humanity, God personally became flesh as the Lord Jesus based on mankind’s needs at that time, doing a step of the work of redemption, expressing the way of repentance, and ushering in a new direction to follow for mankind. He taught people tolerance and patience, to love their enemies, to forgive others seventy times seven times, and more. The Lord Jesus also healed the sick, cast out demons, and performed all manner of miracles. As long as someone genuinely confessed their sins to the Lord, the Lord Jesus would forgive those sins with His immense tolerance and forbearance. Ultimately, He was nailed to the cross as an eternal sin offering for mankind, taking on humanity’s sins and achieving the work of redemption of the Age of Grace. This is the salvation that God bestowed upon man in the Age of Grace. By accepting the Lord Jesus’ salvation, we become qualified to come before God in prayer. As long as we acknowledge the name of the Lord, believe in Him in our hearts, and confess and repent to the Lord, our sins will be forgiven. We’ll be able to enjoy all of the peace and joy that comes from God—this is gaining God’s salvation for the Age of Grace, and it’s the true meaning of justification by faith. We can clearly see the Lord Jesus’ salvation is the salvation of forgiveness of sins, and this is what is achieved through our belief in the Lord. We’re no longer condemned and put to death under the law, but that doesn’t mean we’ve been fully obtained by God or gained God’s eternal salvation. That’s because the Lord Jesus did not redeem us of our satanic natures. Let’s read a couple of passages of God’s words to gain more clarity on this.
God says: “At the time, Jesus’ work was the work to redeem 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 sins of man could be forgiven through the sin offering, but as for just how man can be made to sin no more, and how his sinful nature may be extirpated completely and transformed, he has no way of solving this problem. The sins of man were forgiven, and this is because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live within his corrupt satanic disposition of old. This being so, man must be completely saved from his corrupt satanic disposition, so that his sinful nature may be completely extirpated, never to develop again, thus enabling the disposition of man to be transformed. This would require man to grasp the path of growth in life, to grasp the way of life, and to grasp the way to change his disposition. Furthermore, it would require man to act in accordance with this path, so that his disposition may gradually be changed and he may live under the shining of the light, so that all that he does may be in accord with the will of God, so that he may cast away his corrupt satanic disposition, and so that he may break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation.”
God’s words very clearly state that the Lord Jesus did the work of redeeming mankind in accordance with humanity’s needs at the time. Our sins are forgiven through our faith in the Lord, and we are able to come before God to pray and worship Him. This is entirely due to the grace of God. This means He is no longer counting our sins, but it does not mean that we are free from sin. Since the Lord did not get rid of the satanic nature we harbor within us—that is, our sinful, satanic nature or satanic dispositions that control us are still deeply entrenched—we’re prone to being arrogant, cunning, selfish, despicable, evil, and greedy. These satanic dispositions go even deeper and are even more firmly rooted than sin. As we are controlled by these satanic dispositions, we still can’t help but sin and oppose God. For example, we may discover that a coworker has done something that isn’t in line with God’s will and want to point it out to them, but dominated by our satanic disposition of being cunning, we’re afraid that pointing out the issue will wound the other person’s pride and impact our ability to get along well with them. And so most of the time, we choose to keep one eye open and one eye closed, ultimately harming the interests of the church. It’s just the same at home. When our children go against what we’ve set out, we know that we should practice tolerance and patience as the Lord taught us, and talk it over nicely with them. Instead, we’re controlled by our arrogant, self-important satanic dispositions and feel that as parents, we can say and do whatever we like, and our children just have to obey. Otherwise, they’re offending our dignity as parents, and so we just can’t help but lose our temper and scold our children. We’re also controlled by our selfish, despicable satanic dispositions, always thinking of our own personal interest. When we feel that we stand to benefit from our faith and will receive God’s blessing, we happily and tirelessly hit the streets to share the gospel, we make sacrifices and expend ourselves. But as soon as we encounter illness, misfortune, or some sort of mishap, we blame and misunderstand God. We even try to reason with Him, go against Him, and regret everything we’ve expended in the past. We live entirely by our corrupt dispositions and find it very difficult to practice the truth. Even if we do have some patience, tolerance, forgiveness, and understanding for others, even if we do some things for others’ benefit, that’s just momentary good behavior. The moment something touches upon our personal interests, our satanic nature flares up; we engage in intrigue and personal struggles; we develop hatred for others and even wish to take revenge. These are things we all have personal experience with. We’re constantly praying and maybe even fasting, but we just can’t rein ourselves in. This shows us that our sins aren’t just an issue of superficial behavior, but that our nature has come to be of Satan and that it is likely to appear at any time, taking over our words and deeds, making us sin in spite of ourselves. God says, “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). “You shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44). We can see here that God is holy, and if our satanic nature is left unresolved, if we’re not cleansed of the poisons of Satan, we will continue to frequently sin and resist God. We all know that the wages of sin is death, and so, no matter how long we’ve believed in the Lord, if our sinful nature isn’t resolved, if our corrupt disposition isn’t transformed, we will not be one of the people of the kingdom of heaven. We will face imminent danger of being punished by God, of being devoured in the disasters. That kind of person absolutely will not attain eternal salvation from God.
So then, how can we attain God’s everlasting salvation?
The Lord Jesus prophesied, “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). And 1 Peter 4:17 says, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.” The Lord Jesus knew that those who had just been redeemed from the law wouldn’t be able to achieve anything more than confession and repentance on the foundation of knowing their sin. They wouldn’t be capable of any deeper truths regarding how to escape from sin. The Lord Jesus was understanding of humanity’s lack of maturity, and so at the time He did not express truths for people to attain purification. Instead, He prophesied that He would have to come again in the last days and do the work of judgment beginning with the house of God, to tell us all the truths necessary to purify and fully save mankind. This allows us to learn the path to a change in disposition, rid ourselves of our sinfulness, and it enables us to cast off our satanic, corrupt dispositions, and to achieve purity and gain eternal salvation. Just as Hebrews 9:28 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.”
Today, these prophecies have already been fulfilled. The Lord Jesus returned to walk among us long ago, and He has uttered all truths to purify and fully save mankind, in the name of Almighty God. He has launched the work of judgment beginning with the house of God to thoroughly resolve mankind’s sinful nature, allowing people to be cleansed of their sins. This is the eternal salvation that God bestows upon us. Now, let’s take a look at a few passages of God’s words to delve more deeply into how God’s work of judgment in the last days can cleanse man’s sins and bring them everlasting salvation.
Almighty God says: “In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, to expose the essence of man, and to dissect the words and deeds of man. These words comprise various truths, such as man’s duty, how man should obey God, how man should be loyal to God, how man ought to live out normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and the disposition of God, and so on. These words are all directed at the essence of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, the words that expose how man spurns God are spoken in regard to how man is an embodiment of Satan, and an enemy force against God. In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth of which man is utterly bereft. Only methods such as these can be called judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced into submission to God, and moreover gain true knowledge of God. What the work of judgment brings about is man’s understanding of the true face of God and the truth about his own rebelliousness. The work of judgment allows man to gain much understanding of the will of God, of the purpose of God’s work, and of the mysteries that are incomprehensible to him. It also allows man to recognize and know his corrupt substance and the roots of his corruption, as well as to discover the ugliness of man. These effects are all brought about by the work of judgment, for the substance of this work is actually the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life of God to all those who have faith in Him. This work is the work of judgment done by God.”
“He employs all manner of environments to deal with the corrupt disposition of man, and uses various things to lay man bare; in one regard, He deals with man, in another He lays man bare, and in another He reveals man, digging out and revealing the ‘mysteries’ in the depths of man’s heart, and showing man his nature by revealing many of his states. God perfects man through many methods—through revelation, through dealing with man, through man’s refinement, and chastisement—so that man may know that God is practical.”
We can see from God’s words that in the last days, Christ’s work of judging and cleansing mankind is primarily done by uttering words. The words expressed by God in the last days contain many aspects of the truth. For example, they expose the manifestations of people living by satanic dispositions such as arrogance, selfishness, and deceitfulness; how people can achieve submission to and fear of God; the correct perspective on faith we should hold as believers. All of these words reveal God’s righteous disposition, and they are an expression of what God has and is. For mankind, corrupted by Satan, these truths in and of themselves are a ruthless exposure and a righteous judgment—they condemn and curse humanity while also purifying them. Just as the Bible says, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). We must accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, and then go through being pruned, dealt with, tried and refined by the various people, events, and things set up by God. This is the only way we can see our own ugliness, filthiness, and our rebelliousness and resistance against God, then begin to hate ourselves. We can then engage in genuine self-reflection and repentance while also seeing God’s disposition that tolerates no offense, develop hearts of reverence for God, and become willing to accept God’s judgment, chastisement, trials, and refinement; we can accept the truth as our own law for our conduct. Gradually, our corrupt dispositions that are so deeply rooted within us can be cleansed, bit by bit. It’s just like a glass filled to the brim with filthy water, and as the truth—the clean water—is continually poured into that glass, the filth is rinsed away and replaced. Before you know it, that glass has been cleansed, and all that’s left within it is the crystal clear, pure water.
Take, for example, our satanic disposition of arrogance that rules over us. In our lives, we always want to wield power and have the last say, and no matter what we’re doing, we want others to listen to us. We’re completely incapable of being even-keeled in negotiations with others. We get riled up and become angry when someone else’s views aren’t in line with our own, but after we’ve shown our temper, we feel distressed, and there’s a darkness within our spirits. We can’t feel God’s presence. At times like this, God’s words are within us, reprimanding us, and sometimes God will have those in our vicinity expose and deal with us. We can gain some understanding of the corrupt dispositions that we reveal in these circumstances, and what sorts of thoughts and notions we’re living by; this happens by our accepting being judged, exposed, pruned, and dealt with by God’s words. We realize that losing our temper comes from a disposition of arrogance, that we’re venting our displeasure to safeguard our personal interests, face, and status, that it’s not an expression of proper reason, and that we always want others to listen to and obey us. This is just like the archangel wanting to control and dominate others; the essence of this is vying for position with God. Once we realize all of this, we gain discernment over Satan’s tactics for corrupting mankind, and we are able to develop contempt for our own corruption. We no longer wish to live that way. We also gain clarity on our own identity and status as a regular created being; we see we’re no different from anyone else, and in further interactions with others we become willing to live out proper humanity according to what God requires, to keep a low profile in our words and deeds, and to listen to others’ suggestions in discussions. This is how we can attain true peace and joy after every single time we put the truth into practice, so that we no longer live within the pain and frustration of sinning and then confessing. Our love and faith for God will also continue to grow. Through this kind of practical experience of God’s judgment and chastisement, we come to know who God delights in and who He despises; who God saves and who He eliminates; who God blesses and who He damns. We also come to understand that God truly does inspect and rule over all, that He is by our side, very practically guiding and saving us. At this point, we gain a heart of reverence for God, our corrupt dispositions are transformed, and when we encounter an issue, we’re able to seek the truth, put the truth into practice, and submit to God. Over time, we become able to live out a true human likeness. This is all the fruit borne of experiencing the judgment and chastisement of God.
At present, God’s chosen people, who earnestly follow Almighty God, have experienced cleansing and transformation of their corrupt dispositions to varying degrees. There are various testimonies of their experiences on the official website of The Church of Almighty God; these are from God’s chosen people’s personal experiences of His words and work. There are testimonies of experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement, casting off a corrupt disposition and living out proper humanity; there are testimonies of resolving deceitfulness and becoming an honest person; there are testimonies of escaping the bonds of seeking name, gain and status, and stepping onto the right path in life; there are testimonies of undergoing oppression and hardship, yet triumphing over Satan. There are also testimonies of coming to know God’s righteous disposition, of loving and submitting to God, of serving God and being devoted to Him, and more. These brothers and sisters have experienced true repentance and transformation. They are those who have gained God’s eternal salvation—they are the people of God’s kingdom.
God’s work to judge and cleanse mankind has now nearly come to a close. The disasters of the last days have begun; plagues, earthquakes, fires, and famines have already come about. In these end times, how we can attain eternal salvation from God is directly related to the extremely important matter of whether we can gain entry into the kingdom of heaven. Do you want to escape the bonds of sin? Do you truly wish to receive everlasting salvation from God, enter into the kingdom of heaven, and gain God’s care and protection? If so, then we have to accept the judgment and cleansing of Christ of the last days. This is our only chance to achieve a transformation in our dispositions, get into God’s kingdom, and receive eternal salvation. Just as Almighty God says, “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 those 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, and there are none who can go around Him. None may be perfected by God except through Christ.”