By Xiao Ye
Liu Xin and Yang Yu went to Chen Li’s house to attend a class reunion at the appointed time. On the way there, Liu Xin reflected on herself: “In this period, I always live in the condition of committing and confessing sins and can’t live out the requirements of the Lord. If this continues, can I?” Recently, some of the brothers and sisters were absorbed in making money and Liu Xin had to remind them of the meetings. So she had a prejudice against and a critical view of them within. Then when she thought of what the Bible says, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb 12:14), “Be you holy; for I am holy” (1Pe 1:16), she felt guilty in her heart. She thought to herself, “I have believed in God for many years, but I still live in the situation of sinning each day and confessing each night. I can’t treat the brothers and sisters with love, tolerance, forbearance, or understanding. If this goes on, how can I be worthy to see the Lord’s face?” As Liu Xin was thinking, Yang Yu said, “We haven’t gathered together for a long time. I wonder whether Wu Yue has time to come.” Liu Xin nodded her head and said, “Yeah. Among our classmates, she has a solid foundation for her faith in God, and she is also a preacher in the church. She has a pure understanding of the Bible and is able to communicate pure knowledge in her preaching. I’m not sure whether she will be there. I just have a question to ask her.” “Oh, well we’ll know after we get there,” Yang Yu said. So they quickened their pace to walk to Chen Li’s house.
When they arrived, Liu Xin saw Wu Yue sitting on the sofa. They shook hands and greeted each other. Liu Xin said, “Wu Yue, I have been perplexed by a problem recently. I’d like to use this opportunity to seek from you.” Wu Yue, smiling, said, “Thank the Lord! I’m more than happy to help. If you have any question, feel free to ask. We can communicate and share together.” Liu Xin bowed her head, paused for a moment, and then said, “We have believed in the Lord for many years and have been yearning for the Lord to return to bring us into the kingdom of heaven. The Bible says: ‘Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord’ (Heb 12:14). ‘Be you holy; for I am holy’ (1Pe 1:16). From these two verses, we can see that God requires us to achieve holiness and that only those who have attained holiness can see the Lord. But now we still sin constantly, living in sin, and can’t act according to the Lord’s requirements. Especially when I read these words of the: ‘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’ (Jhn 8:34–35), my heart is filled with pain. These days the brothers and sisters didn’t want to attend the meetings. Although I have tried to help and support them, they’re the same as usual. So I have a critical view of them and look down on them, unwilling to help and support them again. I have no tolerance or understanding toward brothers and sisters, nor can I live out the Lord’s love. With such actions, can I be raptured into the kingdom of heaven when the Lord comes?”
Wu Yue was about to open her mouth to speak when Yang Yu, who was beside her, said, “We have believed in the Lord for many years. Everyone knows that the Lord Jesus sacrificed Himself for our sins and saved us. Although we still sin often, as long as we confess and repent before the Lord, He will forgive all our sins. Just as the Bible says: ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are inJesus’ (Rom 8:1). God doesn’t see us as sinful, for the Lord is loving and merciful and will never forsake us. So when the Lord returns we will certainly be taken into the kingdom of heaven.” After hearing their thoughts, everyone looked puzzled and felt what Liu Xin and Yang Yu said both seemed reasonable. But they were not clear whether they could enter into the kingdom of heaven in the future if they sinned and confessed like that. Then they turned their eyes to Wu Yue and hoped to get an answer from her. Chen Li added some water to everyone’s cup and sat there to listen too.
Wu Yue looked at everyone, put down her cup, and said with a smile, “Thank the Lord! In the past, I also thought like this. I thought since the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross for us, personally bore our sins, redeemed us from sin and has forgiven our sins, then we no longer belonged to sin. And that as long as we repented and confessed before the Lord, He would surely forgive our sins. And when He returned to receive us, we would still enter the kingdom of heaven with Him. Later, through attending gatherings and fellowshiping God’s words with a sister I came to understand: Although the Lord Jesus has forgiven our sins, we still have sinful nature within us, and we still can often commit sins and oppose God. We are totally unqualified to enter into the kingdom of heaven. The Bible says: ‘Be you holy; for I am holy’ (1Pe 1:16). God’s words clearly tell us that only by achieving holiness can we enter into God’s kingdom and be qualified to see the Lord’s face.
“We all know that in the Age of Law, Jehovah issued the laws and commandments to tell people how to worship God and how to live on earth. At that time, anyone who broke the law and commandments issued by Jehovah would be condemned and put to death by the law. But God is merciful. He did not have the heart to see them die under the law, so God Himself personally became flesh to open the Age of Grace and did the work of redemption. He offered Himself up onto the cross for mankind, redeemed them from under the law and saved them from Satan’s domain. Thereupon, as long as we pray, confess and repent to the Lord, we will be forgiven of our sins and will not be condemned or put to death by the law. That is to say, God was nailed to the cross for mankind and bore all the sins of mankind. God no longer treats us mankind as sinners and we are redeemed from our sins because of God’s salvation. Therefore, we can directly pray to the Lord and enjoy His grace and are no longer accused by Satan. This is the genuine meaning of our sins being forgiven. Although the Lord Jesus became man’s sin offering and we gain pardon of sin, our nature of sinning and resisting God has not been resolved. We can still reveal such corrupt dispositions as selfishness and baseness, arrogance and self-importance, and can do things that resist God, making Him feel disgust and hatred. How can people like us who are filled with such defilement and corruption be qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven? About this, let’s look at the words of God.” Liu Xin and the others nodded their approval to each other. With that, Wu Yue took out a book of God’s word from her bag. She handed it to Liu Xin and said, “Liu Xin, please read.”
Liu Xin took the book and read: “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.”
After Liu Xin finished reading God’s words, Wu Yue fellowshiped, “From God’s words, we can clearly see that the Lord Jesus is man’s sin offering and has forgiven our sins, but our sinful nature still remains and has not been purified. Therefore, we still need God to do a stage of purification work to purify and change our satanic nature and disposition of resisting Him. Only thus can we become compatible with Him and be qualified to see His face. If our corrupt disposition is not resolved, we will still do things that resist God. For example, even after putting faith in the Lord, because of chasing after empty glories, we always lie and cheat and cannot put His words into practice to be an honest person. In our sermons and fellowship, we still lift ourselves up and testify what we have suffered. When we associate with our brothers and sisters, due to our arrogant disposition, we often look down on them and sometimes even criticize them with a condescending attitude; what we reveal is all corruption and ugliness—we do not have God in our hearts and treat all others with contempt. When confronted with natural and manmade disasters or something that doesn’t conform to our expectations, we will still misunderstand, complain against and even betray God. If we don’t change these behaviors, we will offend God’s disposition. It is clear that if we haven’t dealt with our nature of resisting God, if our satanic disposition isn’t purified, we will be unlikely to enter the kingdom of heaven. What we said in the past all comes from our notions and imaginations and does not hold with God, such as if we commit sins, as long as we confess and repent before the Lord, He will forgive us and bring us into the kingdom of heaven upon His return; the Lord is love, so He will never abandon us; and so on. The Bible says: ‘For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins’ (Heb 10:26). From this we can see God’s righteous disposition and holy substance. If we always live in the vicious cycle of committing sins and then confessing them, and don’t resolve our corrupt disposition, in the end we will be loathed and eliminated by God and never receive the Lord Jesus’ approval, much less enter the kingdom of heaven. Just as Revelation 21:27 says: ‘And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defiles, neither whatever works abomination, or makes a lie.’”
What Wu Yue fellowshiped thoroughly resolved the question that baffled Liu Xin. She said, “Thank the Lord! Now, I understand that although the Lord Jesus offered Himself up for our sins, forgave our sins, and saved us from the domain of Satan, the root of our sins has not yet been resolved. Our nature will still direct us to commit sins and resist God. If we don’t resolve our corrupt dispositions, we certainly cannot get into the kingdom of heaven.” At this moment, Yang Yu scratched her head and said with a bit of embarrassment, “Alas! I had thought that although we commit sins every day, as long as we repented before the Lord, we would be forgiven by Him. But, after hearing what Wu Yue fellowshiped, I realized that my view is wrong.”
Wu Yue looked around at everyone and said, “Thank the Lord! Now we still have corrupt disposition and are not qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven; however, when the Lord returns in the last days, He will express truth to save us by purifying and changing our corruptions. I wonder if you all remember these verses of scripture: ‘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’ (Jhn 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’ (Jhn 12:48); ‘For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God’ (1Pe 4:17); ‘So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin to salvation’ (Heb 9:28). From these verses we can see that when the Lord descends in the last days He will do a stage of work of judgment and chastisement. Only when our corrupt dispositions are cast away through experiencing God’s judgment and purification, can we enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Liu Xin said happily, “Thank the Lord! Your fellowship is in line with the Bible. This way, we will have a path to enter the kingdom of heaven. Wu Yue, is it Ok for me to read your book?”
“Yes, of course.” As she said that, she handed Liu Xin the book of God’s word. Yang Yu and the other classmates also came close to read it with curiosity.