By Liu Jing
After reading the verse in the Scripture, “That if you shall confess with your mouth the, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall ” (Rom 10:9), many brothers and sisters in the Lord then think: The Lord Jesus was crucified as a sin offering to redeem us, so we have already been saved because of our belief in Him. Therefore, there’s no need to receive any other salvation. And we’ll be raptured into the kingdom of heaven when the Lord comes. Is this viewpoint correct? Have we been truly saved by accepting the Lord Jesus’ redemption? And what exactly is being truly saved? If we are unclear about this question, we will easily miss the opportunity of being saved by God.
It’s written in the Scripture, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8). From this verse, we can see: Being saved, on the one hand, refers to God’s salvation coming upon man, and on the other hand, it means that man gains the salvation which is freely given by God because of his belief. That’s to say, when God’s salvation work comes upon man, man will gain the salvation from God as long as he believes in and follows God. Just like in the beginning when mankind was being corrupted, they didn’t know how to live on earth, nor did they know what sins were, much less did they know how to worship God. There is the risk that such mankind will be taken captive by Satan at any time. Therefore, God began His work of salvation among man. In the Age of Law, through Moses, God issued laws and commandments, led His new-born mankind to live on earth, guiding their food, clothing, shelter, and transportation, teaching them how to get along with others, how to worship and serve Him, how to offer sacrifices to Him and how to slaughter bulls and goats to atone for their sins. If people followed the laws set down by Jehovah God, they would be blessed by God. But if not, they would be punished by God like being stoned to death or burned by heavenly fire. Consequently, in the Age of Law, God’s work was to use the laws to constrain people’s deeds and justify or condemn them, so that people could know their sins. At that time, whoever called upon the name of Jehovah and followed His laws was blessed and saved by God. Just as Joel 2:32 says, “Whoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be delivered.” This explains the meaning of being saved in the Age of Law.
However, we all know that though people knew what sins were by the laws set down by Jehovah God, Satan’s poisons were already planted within them after their being corrupted by Satan. As a result, at the end of the Age of Law, people all failed to keep the law and lost their God-fearing heart, to the extent that they sacrificed the blind or lame animals on Jehovah God’s altar. If that continued, they would face the danger of being condemned and executed by the law. In order to save man and allow man to cast off the restraints and condemnation of laws, God personally became flesh and was nailed to the cross to serve as a sin offering. And He began the new work of salvation. From then on, those who believed in and accepted the Lord Jesus wouldn’t be condemned for not being able to keep the law. Rather, their sins were forgiven owing to the Lord Jesus’ salvation. Meanwhile, they lived in the grace and peace and joy bestowed by the Lord. Contrarily, those people, like the chief priests and scribes who served Jehovah and those Jews who followed them, stubbornly held on to the laws of the Old Testament and didn’t admit at all that the Lord Jesus is God, much less accept the Lord Jesus’ redemption. Instead, they nailed the Lord Jesus to death on the cross, so that they offended God’s disposition and fell under the punishment and curse of God. In the end, they lost their chance to receive the Lord’s salvation.
In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus forgave our sins and we were saved through our faith. However, this “being saved” only means that our sins are forgiven, and we won’t be condemned or put to death by the law. It doesn’t mean that we’ve been purified and broken free of the bondage and restraints of sin, much less that we can. That’s because our sinful nature is still deeply rooted within us. On this count, we still unknowingly commit sins and resist God, living in the bondage of sin. Let us put forward some examples: We all know that the Lord Jesus taught us to be tolerant and patient with others and love our neighbor as ourselves. However, since others affect our own interests and face, we frequently harbor prejudices against them. Then we can’t bear them or treat them with love but even keep hating them within. The Lord taught us to be pure and honest like little children when we speak and act. But in order to protect our own face and status, we always tell lies and deceive. The Lord taught us to give thanks in everything. But when encountering unfavorable circumstances or disasters, we unknowingly complain about and misunderstand God, and even lose faith in God. The Scripture says, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb 12:14). The Lord is holy. But now our corrupt satanic dispositions haven’t been gotten rid of and we haven’t been purified, so how could we be fit to see the Lord’s face? How could we say that we have been truly saved?
So what exactly is being truly saved? Let’s read God’s word. God said, “For, in the Age of Grace, the demons were cast out from man with the laying on of hands and, but the corrupt dispositions within man still remained. Man was healed of his sickness and forgiven his sins, but as for just how man was to be purged of the corrupt satanic dispositions within him, this work had yet to be done. Man was only saved and forgiven his sins for his faith, but the sinful nature of man was not extirpated and still remained within him. The sins of man were forgiven through the agency of the incarnate God, but this does not mean that man no longer has sin within him. 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 the 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.” “Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering, and did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to take on the sins of man as the sin offering, but also required God to do greater work to completely rid man of his disposition, which has been corrupted by Satan. And so, after man was forgiven his sins, God has returned to flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment, and this work has brought man into a higher realm. All those who submit under His dominion shall enjoy higher truth and receive greater blessings. They shall truly live in the light, and shall gain the truth, the way, and the life.”
From God’s words, we can see that in the Age of Grace all of the work that the Lord Jesus did was the work of redemption, but not the work of judgment of God in the last days, and that our filthiness and corruption still exist within us. So if we remain in the Age of Grace, we can only be forgiven of our sins. But since our sinful nature remains rooted within us, we still endlessly reveal our corrupt satanic disposition. Thus we can never achieve purification and have no chance to enter God’s kingdom. Therefore, if we wish to attain purification and be completely free from Satan’s influence, we still need God to do another stage of work of judging and purifying to transform us. Only in this way can we cast off our corrupt satanic disposition and recover the original likeness of the first created humans. Only then will we truly be saved. Therefore, we must come out of the Age of Grace to accept and obey Almighty God’s work of the last days and experience God’s work of judgment and chastisement. Only in this way can we truly be purified and saved by God completely. This also fulfills what the Bible says, “Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1Pe 1:5).
Through the above fellowship, we know that in the Age of Law, man could be saved because of his obeying the law. However, this work in the Age of Law was just the very beginning of the work of salvation which merely made men achieve to be aware of their sins, but men hadn’t been truly saved through it. Then, in the Age of Grace, because of their belief in the Lord, men could obtain the salvation of the Lord and have their sins forgiven if they came before Him to confess sins after they sinned. But as the root of men’s committing sins had not yet been resolved, they could still sin and resist God. Thus, men hadn’t been truly saved. However, in the final age,of the last days, Almighty God, has expressed a variety of truths and has done the work of judgment and chastisement to remove sins. This work aims to save man completely from Satan’s influence. So, only if we follow God’s footprints and accept His end-time judgment can we be thoroughly saved. At that time, those people who devoutly served Jehovah God held on to the viewpoint that men would be saved if they called on the name of Jehovah. They rejected the Lord Jesus’ salvation and suffered the pain of subjugation in the end. Similarly, if we also hold on to the viewpoint, “We have been saved because of our belief in the Lord Jesus, so we’ll be raptured into the kingdom of heaven when the Lord is back,” and refuse to accept God’s salvation of the last days, then won’t we lose the final opportunity of being saved like those who rejected the Lord Jesus’ work in the Age of Grace? Revelation 14:4 says, “These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes.” It proves that God’s work doesn’t remain frozen at one stage but is always progressing forward. Only those who follow the footsteps of the Lamb are the overcomers. In the end, may we put aside our notions and be the ones who follow the Lamb’s footsteps closely, so as to accept God’s salvation of the last days and attend the wonderful feast.