John 3:16 Study: How to Gain the Eternal Life God Promised
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Whenever I read these words of the Lord Jesus, I am very moved. To save mankind, God incarnated in the form of the Lord Jesus and was personally crucified as a sin offering for mankind, taking on humanity’s sins. Our sins will be forgiven so long as we come before the Lord to confess and repent. We will no longer be condemned or put to death for violating the law. And moreover, we can come before God to enjoy rich grace from the Lord and we have hopes of gaining eternal life. God’s love for us is so great. However, many brothers and sisters think that we have already gained eternal life by believing in the Lord Jesus. Is this really the case? Eternal life means to live forever, but we will not have eternal life as long as we are still sinful, because the wages of sin is death. Only when we get rid of sin and become cleansed can we gain the eternal life promised by God. Our sins are absolved when we believe in the Lord Jesus, but it is undeniable that we still live in a cycle of sin and confession every day, and have not escaped the bonds and fetters of sin. Therefore, obtaining the eternal life promised by God is not as simple as we think! Just as God’s words say: “A sinner such as you, who has just been redeemed, and has not been changed, or been perfected by God, can you be after God’s heart? For you, you who are still of your old self, it is true that you were saved by Jesus, and that you are not counted as a sinner because of the salvation of God, but this does not prove that you are not sinful, and are not impure. How can you be saintly if you have not been changed? Within, you are beset by impurity, selfish and mean, yet you still wish to descend with Jesus—you should be so lucky! You have missed a step in your belief in God: You have merely been redeemed, but you have not been changed. For you to be after God’s heart, God must personally do the work of changing and cleansing you; if you are only redeemed, you will be incapable of attaining sanctity. In this way you will be unqualified to share in the good blessings of God, for you have missed out a step in God’s work of managing man, which is the key step of changing and perfecting. You, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are therefore incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance” (“Concerning Appellations and Identity” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). So how can we be purified, enter the kingdom of heaven and gain eternal life? The Lord Jesus said, “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” (John 16:12–13). “Sanctify them through Your truth: Your word is truth” (John 17:17). “And if any man hears My words, and believes 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). “For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22). By saying those words, the Lord Jesus promised that He would come again in the last days, and He prophesied the work He would do when He returns in the last days, that is, He would become flesh as the Son of man again and express the truth to do the work of judging and purifying people, to completely solve man’s sinful nature, so that man can be freed from sin and be cleansed, enter the kingdom of heaven and gain eternal life. It can be seen that accepting God’s work of salvation in the last days is the only way for us to gain eternal life. It’s just as God’s words say: “Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering; He did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to become the sin offering and bear the sins of man, but it also required God to do even greater work to rid man completely of his satanically corrupted disposition. And so, now that man has been forgiven of his sins, God has returned to the flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment. 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 they shall gain the truth, the way, and the life” (“What It Means to Truly Believe in God”). “By means of this work of judgment and chastisement, man will fully come to know the filthy and corrupt essence within his own self, and he will be able to change completely and become clean. Only in this way can man become worthy to return before the throne of God. All the work done this day is so that man can be made clean and be changed; through judgment and chastisement by the word, as well as through refinement, man can purge away his corruption and be made pure. Rather than deeming this stage of work to be that of salvation, it would be more apt to say it is the work of purification. In truth, this stage is that of conquest as well as the second stage in the work of salvation” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)”).
From God’s words, we can see that the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption only forgave people’s sins, but it did not eliminate people’s sinful natures or completely save people from sin, so God’s work to save humankind is not finished. The returned Lord Jesus’ work of judging, purifying, and saving humankind by expressing the truth is the final stage of God’s management plan, and it is also the most critical stage of work for man to rid himself of his sinful nature and be purified to enter the heavenly kingdom and gain eternal life.
At this point, you may also understand that in the words of the Lord Jesus, “that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” “believes in Him” means not only believing in the Lord Jesus, but also believing in the returned Lord Jesus, the incarnate Son of man in the last days, and accepting God’s work of judgment and purification in the last days to completely escape the bondage of sin, be purified and perfected, and become a person who obeys God, fears God, and loves God. Only such a person will truly gain eternal life.
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