Judgment Is Not Condemnation

In 2015, I was sent to work in another city by my unit. At that time, because of being stuck at work, I could not go to church every Sunday. After getting married, my husband was an unbeliever and I just arrived in a new environment, so I lost the life of fellowship. Afterward, my parents passed away and I also remained sick without improvement. I then unconsciously lost confidence in the Lord, prayed less than I used to and often lived in weakness. Even though I was busy all the time, I felt particularly empty.

In April of 2016, I had flatulence and it got more and more severe that I even put on my clothes with great difficulties. One of my fellow believers recommended Doctor Zheng to treat me. During the treatment, apart from prescribing medicines for me, Doctor Zheng told me that God is an almighty doctor and is man’s refuge and that I should rely on God and have faith in the trial given by Him. From our casual conversations, I thought he understood the Bible rather well. So I spoke to him that we were unable to feel God’s blessing and presence during meetings, fewer and fewer believers came to attend meetings, my spirit was particularly weak, and I was the target of the pastor’s cultivation before, but I didn’t even have the confidence to have meetings. Doctor Zheng told me that the situation in his former church was the same: The communications were dull and dry during meetings and believers couldn’t feel the presence of the Lord in prayer. But later, he found the place where there was the work of the Holy Spirit, and kept up with God’s footsteps, and thereby saw the light again in darkness. Brother Zheng said with delight, “The Lord Jesus has come back. He has already expressed words and done the work of judgment beginning with the house of God.” Upon hearing this, I was shocked and said, “The Lord has come back? How could it be possible? I have read the Bible for more than twenty years. We Christians are all waiting for the Lord to collect us to heavenly home upon a white cloud. The Bible says clearly, ‘…this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven’ (Act 1:11). Now we haven’t seen the signs of the Lord’s coming riding upon a white cloud. How could the Lord possibly have come back? Brother, have you gone the wrong way?”

But Brother Zheng answered, “I didn’t go the wrong way but instead have kept up with the Lamb’s footsteps. Sister, you said that the Lord will come upon a cloud when He comes and also provided the biblical basis. But regarding the prophecy ‘shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven’ recorded in the Bible, we should understand how it will be fulfilled. Only when the prophecy concerning the Lord’s return comes into reality can we know it. We can’t define God based on our imagination. This is wrong. I used to think that the Lord will come upon a cloud to take us to heavenly home. However, after reading Almighty God’s words, I had the correct understanding of the ways of the Lord’s return. Actually, the Lord’s return will be in two different ways: in secret and in public. And the way of arriving on a cloud, which you have mentioned, refers to the Lord appearing in public.”

“The Lord will come in two ways: in secret and in public” was a subject I had never heard of before. I felt that what Brother Zheng was saying was very novel. I dearly loved to know what “the Lord will come in two ways: in secret and in public” was about. It has been a long time since someone helped me with a problem of the belief like this. It seemed that my yearning heart has revived. Then I listened to Brother Zheng carefully about what he was going to talk about.

Brother Zheng continued, “In addition to the verses concerning the Lord’s descending upon a cloud in public in the Bible, there are still those mentioning the Lord will come in secret. For example, ‘I come as a thief’ (Revelation 16:15), ‘…for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes’ (Matthew 24:44), and ‘But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father’ (Mark 13:32). Here ‘the son of man comes’ means that the Lord will appear in His fleshly form when He comes again. When God incarnate comes into the world of man, His exterior appearance is an ordinary, normal man, which is secret for all humanity. No one recognizes Him as God, nor does anyone know His true identity. Not until the Son of man works and speaks do those who are able to recognize His voice come to know Him. Yet those who can’t discern His voice will certainly regard Him as an ordinary man and thus deny and reject Him. For instance, when the Lord Jesus was incarnated to do His work, He appeared as a man, looking ordinary and normal. So most people denied, resisted, and condemned Him. Whereas some other people, through the Lord Jesus’ work and word, recognized Him as the incarnate Christ, the appearance of God. Now, God has appeared to man by becoming flesh again and begun the work of judgment beginning with the house of God. He is expressing His words to judge, purify, and perfect man, which really is the Lord’s work when He comes in secret. During this time, people can’t see the scene of the Lord coming on a cloud in public. Not until God has made a group of overcomers will His hidden work of incarnation come to an end. And the great disasters shall consequently fall. It will be the time when God rewards the good and punishes the wicked and the time God reveals Himself publicly to the myriad peoples and the myriad nations. At that point, the prophecies of the Lord’s public descent will be fulfilled: ‘And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory’ (Matthew 24:30), and ‘Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him’ (Revelation 1:7). When people see the Lord publicly appear to them on a cloud, they should be wild with joy as we can imagine. But right here it says that all kindreds of the earth shall wail. So why is that? That’s because when God appears to the public, His hidden work of salvation in His incarnate flesh will have been finished. After that comes the work of rewarding good and punishing evil. And then, all those who refused to accept God’s hidden work will thoroughly lose the chance to be saved. Those who pierced Him, that is, those who resisted and condemned Christ of the last days, Almighty God, will see Almighty God whom they resisted and condemned is exactly the returned Lord Jesus. How could they not beat upon their breasts and weep and gnash their teeth? So then, at that moment the scene that all kindreds of the earth shall wail will appear. Sister, we should seek and investigate the true way during the time of God working in secret, accept the work of salvation and judgment of man that Almighty God does. Just as the wise virgins: Once hearing the cry that the bridegroom has come, they come out to meet him. If people blindly await the open arrival of the Lord Jesus upon a white cloud, they will miss the chance for salvation and only fall into disasters mourning and grinding their teeth.”

After hearing what Brother Zheng had said, I thought it was not without reason. I have already read these verses, yet I indeed did not get such a light. The Lord Jesus will come in two ways: in secret and in public, which was in line with the Bible. It indeed was the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit. But God does the hidden work of judgment and salvation of man. Is that true? Won’t God condemn man based on his actions and deeds when God judges man? How can it be the work of saving mankind? Is God’s work of judgment to save man or to condemn man? I am a believer over 20 years and the Lord’s return is a great matter. So, I should read and understand more of the Bible first.

At night, I though of the conversation with Brother Zheng. Then I googled the word “judgment” to see what I could get. So, I opened the browser and searched. Then I came across the words God’s Chastisement and Judgment Is the Light of Man’s Salvation, which attracted me. I clicked on the link at once to check it out. It says, “In his life, if man wishes to be cleansed and achieve changes in his disposition, if he wishes to live out a life of meaning and fulfill his duty as a creature, then he must accept God’s chastisement and judgment, and must not allow God’s discipline and God’s smiting to depart from him, in order that he may free himself from the manipulation and influence of Satan, and live in the light of God. Know that God’s chastisement and judgment is the light, and the light of man’s salvation, and that there is no better blessing, grace or protection for man” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). These words touched my heart. I would really like to know what is God’s chastisement and judgment being the light of man’s salvation. Won’t man be condemned when God judges him? How can it become the light of man’s salvation? I was curious and somewhat excited. I had never heard of such view. Although it was quite different from what I understood it to be, the judgment seemed to have a very profound meaning. I noticed that the content was from the Church of Almighty God. I clicked the column of Books and browsed through the page. I saw a book titled Testimonies of Experience in Life Entry. I clicked on it and found that most of the articles were testimonies concerning judgment, such as God’s Chastisement and Judgment Has Saved Me, I Have Seen God’s Love in His Chastisement and Judgment, God’s Chastisement and Judgment Awoke My Sinful Heart, God’s Chastisement and Judgment Has Brought Me to the Right Path, and so on. I skimmed through a few ones. They were all testimonies from the believers in God of how their corrupt disposition got changed and cleaned through experiencing God’s chastisement and judgment. Some talked about how their arrogance, craftiness or selfishness became transformed; some talked about how their wrong viewpoints of believing in God were changed and so on. It made me more curious about the statement that God’s chastisement and judgment is the light of man’s salvation. Is the work of judgment by God really the work of purifying and saving man? At that time, I could not calm down. I must figure out the true meaning of God’s chastisement and judgment being the light of man’s salvation. Testimonies of Experience in Life Entry should be a book greatly helpful for one’s belief in God. I should read it seriously.

So, I told Brother Zheng that I had googled and found God’s chastisement and judgment being the light of man’s salvation online. And I expressed a desire that he could speak more of the work of judgment by Almighty God. Brother Zheng talked a lot to me and sent me the words of Almighty God. Almighty God says, “Righteous judgment is brought to purify man, and heartless refinement is done to cleanse them; harsh words or chastening are both done to purify and are for the sake of salvation. Thus, today’s method of salvation is unlike that of the past. Today, you are brought salvation through righteous judgment, and this is a good tool for classifying you each according to kind” (“You Should Put Aside the Blessings of Status and Understand God’s Will to Bring Salvation to Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “God uses His judgment to make man perfect, He has loved man, and saved man—but how much is contained within His love? There is judgment, majesty, wrath, and curse. Though God cursed man in the past, He did not completely cast man into the bottomless pit, but used that means to refine man’s faith; He did not put man to death, but acted in order to make man perfect. The substance of the flesh is that which is of Satan—God said it exactly right—but the facts carried out by God are not completed according to His words. He curses you so that you might love Him, and so that you might know the substance of the flesh; He chastises you so that you might be awakened, to allow you to know the deficiencies within you, and to know man’s utter unworthiness. Thus, God’s curses, His judgment, and His majesty and wrath—they are all in order to make man perfect. All that God does today, and the righteous disposition that He makes plain within you—it is all in order to make man perfect” (“Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).

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 essence 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 essence 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” (“Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).

Combining with Almighty God’s words, Brother Zheng again communicated with me, “All the work of God is for the sake of saving mankind. The work of judgment by God incarnate is in order to completely change, purify and gain man. In the Age of Grace, God did the redemptive work, that is, the work of forgiving man of their sins. But the sinful nature of man is not taken away and man is still dominated by it to often sin in spite of himself. Moreover, man has not gained the truth and developed a true understanding of God. And man has not yet become someone who is in line with God’s will. Therefore, in the last days, God becomes flesh again to judge and purify man with His words. He has expressed all the truths mankind needs in order to achieve purification and salvation. God uses these truths to expose the true fact of man’s corruption, to reveal God’s righteous disposition and all of His will and requirements for man, to show man the way to cast aside the corrupt disposition so as to be cleaned and saved. As long as man readily accepts and obeys the judgment and chastisement of God’s word, he will surely get cleansed and perfected by God. This is the fact that God has fulfilled and can be confirmed from the testimonies of the experiences of the brothers and sisters from the Church of Almighty God.”

Praise the Lord! I have yet to experience God’s judgment and chastisement, but through reading Almighty God’s words and the brothers and sisters’ testimony articles of experiencing God’s chastisement and judgment work of the last days, as well as what Brother Zheng has talked about, I also felt that it indeed can change man. We really need God to do a stage of work of judgment and chastisement, instead of obsessively awaiting the Lord upon a white cloud to take us. Because without holiness, no man shall see the Lord, and we remain corrupt and often sin. If the Lord did not carry out the work of judgment to purify us when He comes, how could we become clean and enter the kingdom of heaven? Thanks be to God! I really have felt that Almighty God’s judgment and chastisement is the light of man’s salvation. Later, through many times of communication, I came to understand the significance of the work of judgment by God, the truth about the name of God, Besides, I also understood the truths of how to distinguish the true Christ from false ones, of how to discern the true church from false ones, of the difference between God’s work and man’s work, of how Satan corrupts man, of how God saves man, and so on. Hence I ascertained that Almighty God, who can express these truths and reveal these mysteries, is truly the returned Lord Jesus. So, I accepted His work in the last days happily.

Thanks be to God! I was clear about the reason why I always lacked motivation for the meeting over these years and the reason for my brothers and sisters’ passiveness and weakness. It is because God’s work has been changed and elevated. God no longer works in the Age of Grace. Instead, He has become flesh to do His work among man in a hidden way, expressed new words and begun the work of judgment and purification among men in the last days. It is true that without God’s work, no matter how hard man works, it will count for nothing. If God had not led me to accept Almighty God’s work of the last days, I would have been awaiting the Lord riding a white cloud in the sky to take me by my own imagination. In that case, I would lose the chance to welcome and to meet with the Lord. Thanks be to Almighty God!

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