By Guo Xiang
One may ask: In the the said, “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” (Matthew 7:22-23). Why will the Lord call these people evil-doers even though they have preached, cast out demons, and done many wonderful works in His name?
Regarding this question, firstly we need to understand the standard by which God judges a man and on what basis God approves a man. In our conception, all those who have spent and sacrificed a lot for the Lord, who preach, and who have healed many sick people and cast out many demons should be approved by God. In fact, God’s measure of whether someone is good or evil is never based on how much work he has done or how much he has sacrificed, but on whether he follows the will of God and whether he keeps pace with God’s footsteps. Just as Revelation prophesied, “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and to the Lamb” (Revelation 14:4). Clearly, God wants those who can follow His footsteps closely wherever He goes, and only such people can be approved by Him. If someone clings to the old work and words, and does not keep pace with God’s newest work or practice His present words, then no matter how hard he works in the name of the Lord, he is one who rebels and resists God, and one who will be eliminated by God.
Think back to the Age of Law. The chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees served Jehovah God and suffered much hardship: The priests had been serving Jehovah God in the temple for decades despite bitter cold and scorching heat; the scribes and Pharisees had travelled over sea and land to preach the laws of Jehovah God, and done their utmost to be faithful to Him. However, when the Lord Jesus came to work, they clung to the letters in the Bible, holding that the coming God must be called the Messiah, and that believers in God must worship God in the temple, keep the Sabbath, read the Old Testament, and so forth. Thus they refused to accept the Lord Jesus’ work and words in the new age, and they even defied and blasphemed Him, and nailed Him to the cross. Eventually, they were condemned and punished by God and lost forever their chance of salvation. On the contrary, those who followed the Lord Jesus’ footsteps, such as Peter, John, Jacob, and the Samaritan woman, they also worshiped Jehovah God and kept His law in the Age of Law, but when God did a new work, they came out from the law to submit to and accept it. Therefore, they gained God’s approval and received the salvation from the Lord Jesus. From this we can know that, when God does His new work, if man can obey, accept, and keep pace with the work of God, he will be approved by God and his former sufferings will also be memorized. But those who cannot keep up with God’s new work are actually ones who serve God but do not know God and even resist God. They will not gain God’s approval no matter how much work they have done in the name of God, and God will say to them, “depart from me, you that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23).
In the last days, based on the needs of mankind, God has again personally become flesh to express words and do a stage of work of judging, chastising, and purifying mankind. But those Christians in religion are like the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees in the Age of Law. They think that God should be called Jesus rather than Almighty God when He returns, that God should continue to heal the sick and cast out demons, and always forgive man and be compassionate toward man, rather than express His righteous and majestic disposition that does not tolerate man’s offense or express words to judge and chastise man, that God should return upon a white cloud rather than become flesh to do the work among man in a hidden way, and so on. They have long ago defined God in their conceptions and illusions. They measure the return of the Lord Jesus based on their imaginings; then how can they welcome His return and hear His voice? They place themselves in such enmity to God; no matter how much they have sacrificed to preach, heal and cast out demons, or do wonderful works in the name of the Lord Jesus, God will not be pleased with them.
Almighty God says, “For those who once held to the law of Jehovah, and those who once suffered for the cross, if they cannot accept the stage of work of the last days, then all that they did will have been in vain, and useless. The clearest expression of the Holy Spirit’s work is in embracing the here and now, not clinging to the past. Those who have not kept up with the work of today, and who have become separated from the practice of today, are those who oppose and do not accept the work of the Holy Spirit. Such people defy the present work of God” (“God’s Work and Man’s Practice”).
“Those who can follow the present work of the Holy Spirit, and who are able to follow the footsteps of God, such that they follow God wherever He leads them—these are people who are blessed by God. Those who do not follow the present work of the Holy Spirit have not entered into the work of God’s words, and no matter how much they work, or how great their suffering, or how much they run about, none of it means anything to God, and He will not commend them. Today, all those who follow the actual words of God are in the stream of the Holy Spirit; those who are strangers to the actual words of God are outside of the stream of the Holy Spirit, and such people are not commended by God” (“Know the Newest Work of God and Follow the Footsteps of God”). From Almighty God’s words we can see that God does not look at how much a man has run about, how much he has suffered, or how much he has sacrificed. He judges a man by whether he has followed His footsteps, whether he has received the work of the Holy Spirit, and whether he is a wise virgin and can recognize His voice. This is the standard by which God judges a man good or evil.
God’s intention in saving mankind has never changed. When God carries out a new work, He hopes that all those who truly believe in Him can accept and submit to it, follow His footsteps, and gain the salvation that He bestows on mankind. Only if we follow the footsteps of God, can we attend the bountiful feast of the Lamb and be approved by God. Just as the Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). Therefore, we should treat the Lord Jesus’ return with caution. Only those who seek with a humble heart will not miss the opportunity of being raptured before God’s throne.