By Bingke, China
One day, when Feng Yue was going to have a Bible study meeting with Sister Wang, Brother Li, and other primary co-workers, a silvery voice spoke from behind the door, “Dad, mum, I’m back.”
“Oh, Yingying’s back. Does your school break up during National Day?” said Sister Wang with a smile.
Yingying replied with a smile, “Yeah. Aunt Wang, Uncle Li, you both are here. You are having a meeting? I want to attend, too. ”
“OK!” gladly said Sister Wang and Brother Li, “Yingying has been influenced by her parents since childhood. Such a good child of the Lord.”
“Thanks be to the Lord! Yingying has been keen on seeing the Bible since childhood. She can remember a lot of Bible verses, and she is thoughtful. This’s all the Lord’s grace. Okay, let’s turn to our meeting. First, let’s quiet down, and offer a prayer to the Lord,” said Feng Yue. After that, Feng Yue began to pray to the Lord, “O our merciful heavenly Father, Lord Jesus! You were nailed to the cross for our sin. Your children are sinners. We truly owe You too much. Please forgive all the sins we have committed, and deliver us from all the evil and temptations….”
As soon as Feng Yue finished her prayer, Yingying, who are frank and straight, put forward an unexpected question. She said, “Mum, there is something I’m not quite clear on. Just now, while you were praying, I was thinking. In our prayers, we always confess our sins to the Lord and repent, and beg Him for forgiveness. However, we still sin every day, and moreover, we don’t act according to the Lord’s words. Could the Lord love us? Just like when I do something wrong at ordinary times, you will teach me to correct it. If I merely say without doing so, will you like me?”
Yingying’s query took Feng Yue by surprise. Feng Yue looked embarrassed. After a short silence, Sister Wang seized Yingying’s hands with a laugh, and said, “You don’t say, what Yingying said is true. This is how we are now — sinning then confessing our sins and then sinning again. When encountering adversities in our life, we don’t say anything, but in our heart we feel angry and complain. Sometimes, we cannot restrain ourselves but quarrel with others. We cannot even practice tolerance and patience. Even if we confess to the Lord after that, yet we still can’t let go of it. Much of the time, we fail to act according to the Lord’s teachings and we cannot glorify His name. When thinking of this, I feel ashamed of praying to the Lord. Well, the coming of the Lord draws near. But we even cannot keep the Lord’s teachings. If this continues, can we be taken into the kingdom of heaven by the Lord? Whenever I think of this, I feel worried.”
As soon as Sister Wang finished her words, Feng Yue responded, “Although we frequently sin and then confess, yet the Lord Jesus has redeemed us through His being nailed to the cross. The sin offering of the Lord Jesus is forever effective. As long as we confess our sins to the Lord and repent, the Lord will forgive us. The Scripture says, ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:1). Sinners as we are, the Lord sees us as sinless, and so we will enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, we needn’t worry about it.”
“Right! By faith in Lord Jesus Christ, we are no longer condemned. Our sins have been forgiven by the Lord. As long as we endure to the end, we shall be saved. There is no doubt that we will enter into the kingdom of heaven. So, don’t think of too much of it,” surely said Brother Li.
“Brother Li is right. I agree with his opinion,” Sister Liu responded.
With that, Yingying blinked her lustrous eyes, and ceaselessly mulled over what her mother and Uncle Li had said. She suddenly remembered something, and said, “Mum, Uncle Li, I remember God once said, ‘Be you holy; for I am holy’ (1 Peter 1:16). We still live in sins and are bound by sins. How can we be worthy of seeing the Lord? The Lord is holy. We, however, are with filthiness all over. Will the Lord bring sinners such as us into His kingdom?”
After hearing Yingying’s words, Sister Wang gave a nod and said, “Yeah, What Yingying said makes sense. The Lord Jesus once said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin. And the servant stays not in the house forever: but the Son stays ever’ (John 8: 34–35). ‘Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven’ (Matthew 7:21). The Lord clearly told us that those who don’t cast off their sinful nature nor obey God’s will cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. If man can enter into the kingdom of heaven by being forgiven of his sins, then why did the Lord say some people who name the name of the Lord work iniquity and can’t enter into the kingdom of heaven? Why did He say He would separate sheep from goats and tares from wheat? So, I think the words ‘Since we are forgiven of our sins by faith, we can enter into the kingdom of heaven’ aren’t in line with the words of the Lord Jesus. They are not correct.”
“I think Sister Wang is right. According to the Lord’s words, we can be certain that those who enter into the kingdom of heaven are those who have been set free from sin and have been cleansed. They have actual living out: doing God’s will, obeying God, and loving God. However, contrasting our living out with the Lord’s words, we still have a long way to go. We all know that those who enter the heavenly kingdom shall live together with God. Can we, full of grime, enter into the heavenly kingdom?” flatly said Yingying’s father.
Feng Yue frowned and thought over what Sister Wang and her husband had said. She thought their words indeed conformed with the Lord’s words, and she couldn’t deny them. However, she was confused: In Romans, the apostle Paul showed clearly, “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies. Who is he that comdemns?” (Romans 8:33–34). “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Paul’s words clearly said that both sins of the past and those of the future have been forgiven by the Lord. The Lord no longer sees us as sinners. Won’t we enter the kingdom of heaven when the Lord comes back? Can Paul’s words be wrong? Thereupon, Feng Yue spoke out the confusion in her heart. Brother Li echoed back Feng Yue’s opinion.
Then, Sister Wang said quietly, “Sister Feng, about the issue of entering into the kingdom of heaven, the Lord Jesus said only the one who does the will of the heavenly Father will enter. Only the Lord Jesus’s word is the authority and the truth. We should set the Lord Jesus’s word as the standard and basis.”
Yingying’s father looked at Brother Li and then at Feng Yue, saying, “Only the Lord is the truth, the way, and the life. The Lord Jesus is the King of the kingdom of heaven. What kind of people can enter the kingdom of heaven is decided by what the Lord Jesus said. No matter how great Paul worked and how much he spoke, he was, after all, a man, and he was not on guard at the gate to the kingdom of heaven. So, in my opinion, in regard to our entering into the kingdom of heaven, we shouldn’t listen to what man said, but we should rather take the Lord Jesus’s word as standard.”
This moment, Feng Yue wore a little embarrassed expression. With assumed tranquility she raised her head to spontaneously conceal herself. Yet she pondered in her heart: What they said is reasonable. Although Paul labored for the Lord’s work, yet his word, after all, was not the truth. In my faith, I should go by the Lord’s word as the basis. If I rely on Paul’s word to believe that my sins are forgiven because of the sin offering of the Lord Jesus, rather than focus on obeying the Lord’s teachings, then aren’t I the one that knows the true way but sins willfully when believing like this? In the Bible it clearly says, “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins. But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:26–27). In the end, I not only won’t enter into the kingdom of heaven, but may be abandoned and eliminated by the Lord. Then shan’t I be done? … With thinking of this, she became more and more afraid. She had never had such a feeling since she began to believe in the Lord. She suddenly felt vulnerable, without knowing which way to jump.
After the meeting, Feng Yue leaned against the sofa and knitted her brows, with a disconsolate and perplexed expression. The scenes that had just taken place kept replaying in her mind….
Feng Yue chanced to meet her co-worker Sister Chen whom she had not seen for years. Feng Yue told her confusion to Sister Chen.
After that, Sister Chen said with a slight smile, “Sister Feng, I was of the same opinion as you. I thought: Even if we sin and confess, the Lord Jesus has forgiven our sins through His being nailed to the cross, and He no longer sees us as sinners. Not until I communed with a sister, did I realize that my understanding was incompatible with the Lord’s will.”
Feng Yue said, “Oh, please talk to me about it.”
Sister Chen said smiling, “Hum, as a matter of fact, the work the Lord Jesus did during the Age of Grace is that of redemption for mankind. The Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross to be a sin offering for mankind. As long as we confess and repent before the Lord, we will be forgiven. Forgiveness of sin means that we will no longer be condemned or cursed by law for committing sins and violating the laws. Thus, we have cast off the punishment of the law. This is what we call receiving salvation by faith. However, this ‘salvation’ only means our sins are forgiven, and that we won’t be condemned or put to death by the law, but does not refer to our eternal salvation. It is true that the Lord Jesus absolved us of sin and no long treats us as sinners. However, the Lord never said forgiveness of sins can make man holy, and get him into the kingdom of heaven. If the one who often rebels against God and lives in sin can enter into the kingdom of heaven, isn’t this the opposite of God’s words, ‘Be you holy; for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:16).
After hearing that, Feng Yue nodded and said nothing.
Sister Chen said, “The Lord absolved ours sins, and no longer sees us as sinners, so that we can have the chance to come before Him and enjoy truth and grace given by Him. However, this does not mean that we are not sinful or filthy. Our sinful nature and satanic disposition have taken root inside us. For example, a young man stole something from others. Then he was sentenced to several years of reeducation through labor according to the law. His parents took compassion on him and took him out of the prison by going through connections, for fear that he couldn’t bear the pain in prison. After coming out of prison, he was not a prisoner. Can it prove that he had no the nature of stealing because his parents bought him back? Is this saying tenable?”
“It’s not tenable,” said Feng Yue.
Sister Chen patiently said, “Similarly, as far as our sinful nature is concerned, we cannot say it does not exist within us because of the Lord’s forgiveness. There is no denying that we have sinful nature. For instance, although having faith in the Lord, yet we always tell lies, covet glory, and uphold evil. We still are arrogant, conceited, supercilious, selfish and greedy. After expending and laboring for the Lord, we think we are superior to and better than others, and that we are qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven. When enjoying the Lord’s grace, we are happy and resolute in our faith in the Lord. However, once we are faced with disasters, or there is some tragedy in the family, we misunderstand, blame, and even deny and betray God. We all should have first-hand experience of this, right?”
Feng Yue nodded in agreement, and said, “Sister, what you communicated is all true. Not just me, but all my brothers and sisters live in the vicious circle of committing and confessing sins. In our daily life, controlled by our corrupt disposition, we fail to practice the Lord’s word. We have gained the Lord’s forgiveness of our sins, but we cannot say we are not sinful or corrupt. Ours sinful nature has taken strong root within us.”
“Yeah! The Lord did forgive our sins, but it doesn’t mean we receive cleansing, much less does it show we are saved forever. It is because the Lord only performed the work of redeeming sin in the Age of Grace. Our sinful nature has yet to be eradicated, still existing within us. Though we often admit our sins to the Lord, we are unable to escape from the bonds of sin due to having no knowledge of the substance and source of our sinful nature. We don’t commit these obvious sins, like sin which consists of lawlessness, and sin which results in the accusation of our conscience. But we are unable to recognize the deeper sins, the sin of resistance to God. For instance, why do we disobey God? Why can’t we be obedient to God? What drives us to be like this? Where is the root? … We have less knowledge of these sinful things — these satanic things hidden deeply within us. Then how can we wrest ourselves from the fetters of sinfulness, or be qualified to see God’s face?” said seriously Sister Chen.
Feng Yue asked in a hurry, “Sister, in such case, unless the problem with sin is solved, we have no way to break away from the constraints of our sinful nature, much less can we be able to be after God’s heart. What should we do?”
Sister Chen said, “According to our present condition, we need God’s further purification and salvation. Let me recite two passages of words, ‘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.’ ‘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 his 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. This would require man to grasp the path of growth in life, to grasp the way of life, and to grasp the way to change his disposition. Furthermore, it would require man to act in accordance with this path, so that his disposition may gradually be changed and he may live under the shining of the light, so that all that he does may be in accord with the will of God, so that he may cast away his corrupt satanic disposition, and so that he may break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation.’ From these words, we see in the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus didn’t give us mankind all the truths we require to be saved. That is, there are many truths that the Lord Jesus didn’t tell us mankind, such as truths that will allow us to be freed from our corrupt satanic dispositions and to be purified, truths that we require to obey and know God, and so on. Therefore, in the last days, God will express all the truths that save mankind to cleanse and perfect man. Only when we receive these truths, shall we finally be freed of our corrupt disposition, be gained by God, and be taken into His kingdom. Only then will God’s work of saving man come to an end completely.”
Feng Yue seemed to see the way of being purified from the words of Sister Chen. Feng Yue felt greatly relieved. She accepted these words into her heart. Meanwhile, she was very surprised: These two passages of words Sister Chen recited are clear and true. They are what I need. I just only have been redeemed by God. But I have not yet been changed and purified by God. How can I be after God’s heart? What qualifications do I have to enter into the kingdom of heaven?
Sister Chen interrupted Feng Yue’s thoughts, and said, “Xiao Yue, what are you thinking with these words? Please speak your mind.”
“Thank God! After listening to what you recited and what you communicated, I feel I gain so much. So all along, I’ve believed that my forgiveness of sins means that I have no sin, no filth, and that I am qualified to enter into the kingdom of heaven. However, I’ve never known I still is a slavery of sinning and repenting. How can I say I am gained by God? When thinking of this now, I am so innocent, childish and absurd. But for your communication, I would always live in my own dream and in self-deception without knowing it.”
Sister Chen said with a smile, “Give glory to God. I just made clear this mistaken opinion. God is righteous and holy. How can we enter into God’s kingdom before we are cleaned and perfected by God? To attain that, we need to accept all the truths of life given by God in the last days. In God’s words, we truly know God’s disposition, and understand God’s will and God’s requirements for man. At the same time, we know the truth of our corruption by Satan and our nature and substance. After that, we can forsake Satan, rebel against Satan. And we can act according to God’s words, and be able to obey and satisfy God. Like this, we can break free from the constraints of our sinful nature entirely and be saved by God.”
Feng Yue pondered in her heart: In Sister Chen’s fellowship, there is indeed light and God’s guidance. I also believe in God like her. Why don’t I know this? This time, Feng Yue suddenly thought of the words Sister Chen had recited, “This would require man to grasp the path of growth in life, to grasp the way of life, and to grasp the way to change his disposition.” She felt that these words were extraordinary, and they showed man the way of escaping sin to receive cleanness. She could hardly wait to gain these words. So, she asked, “Sister Chen, I wonder where the words you recited just now come from. I want to see that book.”
Sister Chen responded with a smile, “In fact, what I know is from the words expressed by the Spirit of truth. These words contain many truths we need to know, and can solve all the practical problems and difficulties in our belief in God. ”
“The words expressed by the Spirit of truth?” Feng Yue was surprised. She thought: The Lord Jesus once 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: 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). The Lord said He would come back and express all the words to save us in the last days. Could it be said that the two passages of words are from … “Where are the words expressed by the Spirit of truth? Can I have a look?” asked Feng Yue hurriedly.
“Yeah, you are so anxious.” Said Sister Chen. With that, Sister Chen took out a book from her handbag …
Source from: Find the shepherd