Regarding being raptured into the heavenly kingdom, many brothers and sisters say with confidence: “The Bible says: ‘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 be saved. For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to ’ (Romans 10:9–10). We have received salvation at the cross of the Lord Jesus and if we only believe in our hearts and confess our sin with our mouths, we will be forgiven—we are already saved by grace through faith and when the Lord comes, we will definitely be raptured into the kingdom of heaven.” Is this viewpoint of ours actually correct? Does having our sins forgiven and being saved really mean being raptured into the heavenly kingdom? We really need to communicate this issue clearly, because it is directly connected to our entering the kingdom of heaven, a great matter.
First, we need to recognize the fact that we have undeniably received the redemption of the Lord Jesus; however, has our sinful nature been resolved? Does God forgiving our sins mean that we are now purified? As for us, if we take a look at ourselves and how most of our brothers and sisters around us live out their lives, we see that the vast majority of us follow the ways of the world; when we encounter an issue we lack tolerance and patience, and are unable to put the words of the Lord into practice. We live our old lives of sinning by day and confessing by night. Can those of us who sin so frequently really already be fully saved? Will we really be raptured into the kingdom of heaven in the future? In the Bible, it has been recorded: “Jesus answered them, 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). “For I am Jehovah your God: you shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44). “Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). From these verses we see that God is holy, His kingdom is holy and God will not allow unclean people to enter His kingdom. Even though our sins are forgiven, our sinful nature is still within us and we are not free from the bondage of sin. We live within a vicious cycle of sinning and confessing and are not at all purified. Frequent sinning makes us servants of sin. How could a servant of sin enter the? Therefore, the argument that being saved by grace through faith means getting into the kingdom of heaven does not hold up.
With regard to “being saved by grace through faith,” what does “being saved” mean here? We all know that under the Age of Law, God issued the law and the commandments through Moses to lead the Israelites in their life on earth. In those days, the Israelites only had to keep the law and commandments and they would not be condemned. Any offenders had to offer a sacrifice to atone for their sin, or they would be punished. Therefore, the people of those days abided scrupulously by the law and no one dared to violate it. Toward the end of the Age of Law, people sinned more and more as their corruption by Satan grew deeper and deeper. There were no longer enough sacrifices to atone for their sins and everyone was at risk of being put to death in accordance with the law. God could not bear to see the people He had created so devoured by Satan, so God became flesh and came to earth to act as man’s sin offering by being nailed to the cross, thus rescuing man out from living under the law. Since then, if we only believe in the Lord Jesus our sins can be forgiven. We no longer suffer condemnation for failing to uphold the law; that is, we are saved by the Lord’s redemption. It is clear, then, that “being saved by grace through faith” is us believing in the Lord Jesus, being forgiven of our sins by repenting before the Lord, and no longer being subject to being put to death by the law. Not only that, but it also means being able to enjoy the peace, joy and abundant grace bestowed upon us by the Lord Jesus. This is what we commonly refer to as the true meaning of “being saved” by faith.
Let’s read a couple of passages together: “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 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. And so you, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance.”
“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.”
From these two passages, we can see that we are indeed saved by grace through faith because of the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus, but this salvation only means our sins are forgiven. It does not mean we are free from the bondage and control of sin. Since our sinful nature still exists, we often go against the teachings of the Lord and follow the lusts of the flesh and commit sins. It’s just as Paul once said: “For to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me” (Romans 7:18–20). Paul’s words convey the inner voice of every brother and sister. Though we are saved by grace through faith, we are often dominated by sin, manifesting all sorts of corrupt satanic dispositions. For instance, the Lord requires us to be honest people, but we often lie, deceive and cheat for our own advantage. In our interpersonal dealings, we plot against each other for personal gain. When we suffer through trials, we still misunderstand and blame God, even distancing ourselves from Him or betraying Him. When God’s work does not conform to our notions, we judge and condemn God at will. We follow God yet follow and adore man at the same time…. It is hard to free ourselves from this vicious cycle of sinning and then confessing. We are never able to break free from the bondage of sin, neither can we ever absolutely submit to God and be compatible with Him. So how can we be raptured into the kingdom of heaven?
Do we still have hope of achieving purification and entering the kingdom of God? There are actually some verses in the Bible that have already revealed this to us. Let’s take a look. It is recorded in the Bible that: “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). “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 12:48). “Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). “Behold, the judge stands before the door” (James 5:9). We can see from these verses that the Lord Jesus will come again in the last days and express the truth, doing a stage of work to judge and purify mankind, thoroughly saving us from sin, allowing us to escape the bondage of sin, and ultimately making us compatible with God. We will become people who fear God and submit to Him. Achieving such an outcome must be accomplished by God’s work of judgment in the last days. Only through the judgment and revelation of thecan we understand the truth of our corruption by Satan as well as our natures and essences; only then can we understand God’s righteousness, majesty and inviolable disposition. Only then can we have true remorse and repentance, and have the resolve to despise the flesh and forsake Satan. We can then develop God-fearing heart; we can break away completely from the evil influence of Satan, fully turn to God and be gained by God. As our understanding of the truth deepens, we will submit more and more to God and practice the truth more and more. This way, before we even realize, we will entirely cast off sin and be purified. Only then can we be raptured into the kingdom of heaven. It is clear that only when we accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words in the last days can we understand the truth, know God, fully break free from Satan’s influence and throw off Satan’s corrupt disposition. Then we can live by the truth and by the word of God—this is full salvation. This requires us to pray more regarding welcoming the Lord’s return, to seek it with humility and to attentively heed “what the Spirit says to the churches.” Only then can we welcome God’s appearance, experience God’s work of judgment in the last days, be purified and enter the heavenly kingdom. Thank the Lord—may the Lord’s salvation in the last days come to us soon!
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