THE CLEANSING IN THE COMING AGE
Is this cleansing discipline from God restricted to this age only, or is it found also in the coming age? From the Bible we know that death never changes anyone. Nowhere in the Bible are we shown a case of a man changed by death. We know that in the future we will be with God forever. In eternity we will be the same as the Lord; we will be holy, even as the Lord is holy. But can we say that today we are as holy as the Lord is? Can we say that we are worthy to be with the Lord for eternity? The blood of the Lord Jesus has cleansed us and that the record of our sins has been wiped away. This is a fact. But subjectively speaking, do we have Christ living in us experientially? Have we allowed the resurrected Christ to live out from us? Our walk today is far too different from what our walk must be in eternity; the two are too far apart. Today we come far short of the Lord’s holiness, righteousness, and glory. Many Christians today are still full of sins and filth.
So then, we have a problem. If things are so bad today but will be so good in the future, if things are so imperfect today but will be so perfect in the future, when will the change take place? Somewhere along the way there must be a change. If you are not perfect today, but will be perfect in that day, when will such a change take place? In eternity, when we are with God and the Lamb in the New Jerusalem, we will be in the light as God is in the light. But when will we become such ones? The human concept is that when we die we will change. But the Bible never tells us that physical death will make a person holy. This was a doctrine that was preached five or six hundred years ago. But the Bible never says that death can change a person. If death could change a Christian, then death could also change an unsaved person. But death never changes anyone. The slothful servant is still slothful when he is resurrected. The foolish virgins are still foolish when they wake up. When they wake up, their slothfulness and foolishness have not gone away. If a man is not changed in this age but will be different in the new heaven and new earth, and if death does not cause a person to change, then when does the change occur? The Bible shows us clearly that in the coming age there will be discipline, and this discipline will prune and cleanse us.
SOME SERVANTS OF GOD
TO BE JUDGED IN THE COMING AGE
We need to look at a few verses concerning this future discipline. Luke 12:45-48 says, "But if that slave says in his heart, My master is delaying his coming, and begins to beat the male servants and the female servants and to eat and to drink and become drunk, the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, and will cut him asunder, and will appoint his portion with the unbelievers. And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not prepare or do according to his will, will receive many lashes; but he who did not know, yet did things worthy of stripes, will receive few lashes. But to every one to whom much has been given, much will be required from him; and to whom much has been committed, they will ask of him all the more."
The first thing in these verses that we have to decide is whether or not the slave belongs to the Lord. Is he a Christian? Is he saved? Surely the slave is a saved one. How can I say this? First, in the New Testament God never considers those who do not belong to Him as His slaves. In going from the Old Testament to the New Testament age, first, man is a slave and then becomes a son. Thus, in the Old Testament there are many unsaved slaves. But in the New Testament the order is reversed. If a man is not God’s son, he is not qualified to be God’s slave. All slaves of God are sons in the New Testament. Therefore, the slave spoken of here is surely a saved one.
(Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), Chapter 22, by Watchman Nee)