God’s saints are holy just as God is holy (1 Peter 1:15; 2:9). Now, let’s think about what we must remove and what we must hold on to, as the holy people of God, by studying God’s words carefully.
As we live our life day by day, the kingdom of God comes nearer. Since the kingdom of heaven draws closer every day, if we still have lots of dross in our soul, can we enter the kingdom of God with such impurities? Surely not.
We must purge away all our dross that does not please God, in order to enter the eternal kingdom of our heavenly Father and Mother. When we remove all the impurities of our soul, we will receive spiritual blessings from heaven and become worthy to return to our heavenly home.
Back in the old days of Korea, those living away from home prepared many things to visit their hometowns during big national holidays. At that time, the public water supply system was not well developed and most people were not economically well-off. So they were often unable to bathe. However, just before going to their hometowns, they took a bath, put on new clothes, and then went to visit their parents at home.
Likewise, we need to prepare ourselves to go back to our spiritual home, the kingdom of God. First and foremost, we have to wash away the dirt off our soul.
“Remove the dross from the silver, and out comes material for the silversmith; remove the wicked from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness.” Prov 25:4-5
Unless the dross is removed from the silver, it loses its value. The silver can retain its value as a precious metal when all the dross is taken away from it.
Here, the silver represents something valuable. From a spiritual viewpoint, the most valuable beings are the 144,000 who are redeemed. They are the firstfruits to God, beautiful in His eyes, whom He has made perfect on this earth for 6,000 years (Rev 14:1-5).
What if our soul is filled with the dregs of our old ways-the impurities of the world-unpleasing to God? Unless we remove them all, we cannot be called God’s holy people, just as precious metals such as gold or silver cannot be made into something useful and valuable if they contain impurities.
As silver is refined and smelted in a furnace to extract every particle of dross, so must we be purified in the furnace of affliction to remove all the evil and impurities of our soul. We must throw off everything that God does not proclaim as holy. When we cooperate with God’s process of purifying us, we will be reborn into beautiful spiritual jewels.
If anyone clings to his evil ways till the end, God will sort him out. Jesus spoke in parables: “The kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away,” and, “Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left” (Matt 13:47-50; 24:40-41).
As the children of God, we must not only keep all of God’s commandments but also purge away all our dross, in order that we may enter the kingdom of heaven. Let us forsake all our wicked ways, our bad thoughts and our stubborn waywardness, so that we may be completely reborn by the word of God as the children of Zion.
“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. …” Isa 55:6-11
God’s thoughts are different from ours. So God told us to forsake our thoughts and turn to Him, to His ways and teachings. If we turn to God, He will have mercy on us.
If our thoughts go against God’s teachings, we must set aside our own thoughts without hesitation. Unless we forsake our thoughts, we still have some dross within us.
God is purifying us with the word of righteousness to make us perfect beings, spotless and blameless. We are to remove impurities one by one through God’s word. Nevertheless, if we fill our minds with our own thoughts and push away the thoughts of God, we will lose our place in heaven.
When we wash off the dirt, we can be beautiful, and when we get rid of all our impurities, we can be holy. If we forsake our own thoughts, God’s gracious word will control us; and when God’s living word works in us, we become worthy to enter the kingdom of God.
God gave specific examples of the spiritual dross which we must remove. He said that without removing them, no one would be able to enter the kingdom of heaven.
There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. Prov 6:16-19
Of all sins God hates pride the most. ‘I can do this thing better than anyone else. I am superior to others in this. I can do this better than him.’ Men are likely to fall into the error of arrogance without even knowing it. Therefore, we must always be on our guard against pride. ‘Although I am inferior to others in this respect, God chose me to do this work. Even though I am lacking in ability, if I do my best, Father and Mother will take pity on me and help me.’ We must believe this and try our hardest.
A lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers-these are the things God hates. If we are God’s holy people who are saved, we must purge away all the dross from our hearts.
… Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Col 3:1-10
We must put off our old self. No one can be a spiritual being in the kingdom of God unless he is purified from the impurities of this world. That’s why the Bible tells us, “Remove the dross from the silver.” These words imply that we should set our minds on valuable things-the things concerning the kingdom of God, putting aside our unworthy goals we had before we knew God.
We must forsake whatever God hates and do the things that please Him through the Holy Spirit. Our righteous acts will become the beautiful fine linen of our heavenly Mother, the new Jerusalem.
… “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Rev 19:6-8
When we become ornaments on the fine linen of the Bride, we can take part in the wedding banquet when She enters. We ourselves are not qualified to enter heaven; we can only enter as ornaments worn by the Bride.
On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Rev 21:25-27
Revelation chapter 21 describes a new heaven and a new earth we are going to. Nothing impure or abominable can please God. Anyone who does these things can never enter the kingdom of heaven, as God said.
Those who are absorbed in worldly things cannot have heavenly things in mind. We have to remove all impurities and abominations from us and do the things that are pleasing to God. We can please God as His precious and beautiful jewels when we obey God’s word with perfect faith, getting rid of our evil thoughts and bad tempter.
Let’s suppose there is a little baby who has just learned how to walk, along with a marathon runner. Although the athlete is a skilled runner, the parents are much more moved by the little baby when they see him or her trying to walk, teetering and tottering, taking one step and then another.
What the parents feel towards their children is the same as what God feels towards us. We are all like little children, and we are lacking in many areas. However, when we depend on the words of Father and Mother and try to do our best with faith, the gospel brings forth flowers and fruits which are accompanied by God’s blessing and love. When we respect God’s word and make every effort to do what He says, though we are not skilled, God will be moved and make the impossible possible.
It is the same with preaching. God has given us the mission of preaching the gospel to refine us to be the holy people of heaven in the process of finding our lost brothers and sisters, so that we can enter the eternal kingdom of heaven. Preaching is not a skill. Preaching the gospel is not done with words of human wisdom, but only with God’s power and wisdom (1 Cor 1:17).
In Zion we often see the new members bear more fruit than those who are experienced and skilled in preaching. Though they do not know how to preach, they try to save a soul and God is moved by the spiritual toddlers and allows them to bear much fruit.
Let us humble ourselves like little children. ‘I am still lacking in many respects and unworthy to enter the kingdom of God. Like a toddler, I will put God’s words into practice one by one.’ If we do the will of Father and Mother with a humble heart, God will surely allow us to have a good outcome. Those who try their best, though lacking in ability, and make every effort to glorify Father and Mother and to become worthy children of God as the salt and light of the world-these people are the spiritual toddlers who move God and those who forcefully advance the kingdom of heaven.
The gospel is fulfilled by those who move God, not by worldly experts. God left His glorious throne in heaven and laid down His life for us. Everything God tells us to do is for our own good. If we truly believe this and behave according to God’s will, glory and blessing will be ours in the kingdom of heaven forever.
Even though we don’t do things well, when we try to obey the teachings of Father and Mother, our worldly thoughts disappear. If we remove all our spiritual dross, then God makes us into beautiful vessels.
Let us do what God has told us to do. All blessings will come to us if we just obey the word of God. 2,000 years ago, when a blind man begged Jesus to help him recover his sight, Jesus made some mud and put it on his eyes, and told him to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam. With faith in Christ, the blind man did what He had told him, and his eyes were opened so he could see (John 9).
When there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, Mary told the servants to do whatever Jesus told them. Jesus instructed them to fill the jars with water and draw some out and bring it to the master of the banquet. When the servants did as Jesus had told them, the water turned into wine (John 2:1-11).
There are many things impossible with the earthly system. However, everything is possible with the heavenly system. The Bible shows us that all things are possible for him who believes. When people fail to find an answer through the worldly system, they think it is impossible. As the children of Zion, we must get rid of such mistaken thoughts and follow God wherever He leads us. Then we will be able to remove all the dross from the silver. By doing so, let us faithfully follow the path to heaven, which Father and Mother lead us on, to the end.
It is really an overwhelming blessing for us to dwell with our heavenly Father and Mother and receive instructions from Them while living in this world. As Father and Mother have taught us, we should remove all the bad things and hold on to the good, so that we will be completely reborn as the holy people of heaven.
If God’s people have dross, they are unworthy to be called His saints. If light contains darkness, it is no longer light but darkness. Let us take God’s teaching deeply to heart, “Remove the dross from the silver,” and forsake all impurities and abominations as well as our own thoughts and fill our hearts with the treasures of God. Today, tomorrow, until the day we go to heaven, and even after entering heaven, let us follow the teachings of Father and Mother forever!