Hello brothers and sisters of Spiritual Q&A,
Most of the co-workers and brothers and sisters in our church follow world trends, worship status and power, and compete for fame and wealth, thus living in the cycle of sinning, confessing, and sinning again. Under such a circumstance, some brothers and sisters think that though we still often sin, because thehas already pardoned our sins, as long as we believe in Him then we will not be condemned and will be raptured into the kingdom of heaven when He returns; while the others, based on God’s words “You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45), think that because we still live in sin and are not purified, we are not qualified to look upon the Lord’s face. For this, I’m quite confused and cannot figure out which view is right. So I wonder: We who have been forgiven our sins but still live in the state of sinning and repenting, can we see the Lord’s face at all?
Brother Chen Hui,
Good day! Touching your question, I’ll talk a little bit about my understanding. As for whether those who still frequently sin after being forgiven their sins can be raptured into the kingdom of heaven and see the Lord’s face, we should go by the Lord Jesus’s words instead of jumping to a conclusion based on man’s thoughts. Let’s look at the Lord Jesus’ words: “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” (John 8:34–35). And thesays: “and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26). From the Lord Jesus’ words and the two verses, we can see that if we live in sin and are not purified, it’s impossible for us to see the Lord’s face. This is absolute for the Lord is holy. The Bible records that in the time of Noah, people fought against and killed each other, and did not repent at all. Therefore, God destroyed them with the flood. Likewise, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah lived in evil and immoral sin without repentance, so the two cities and all their residents were burnt to nothing by the fire from heaven. It can be seen that if we humans sin and commit evils without repentance, God’s wrath will come upon us. So how could the Lord allow a sinner to see His glorious face and enter His kingdom? God’s words say: “Those who are impure are not permitted to enter into the kingdom, those who are impure are not permitted to besmirch the holy ground. Though you may have done much work, and have worked for many years, in the end if you are still deplorably filthy—it is intolerable to the law of Heaven that you wish to enter My kingdom! From the foundation of the world until today, never have I offered easy access to My kingdom to those who curry favor with Me. This is a heavenly rule, and no one can break it!” We can see from these words that the filthy and corrupt people cannot enter God’s kingdom. This is what God’s righteous and holy disposition dictates. Only if we achieve transformation, separate ourselves from sin and become pure can we and be with the Lord.
So, how can we be freed from sin and be cleansed? The Bible records: “Who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us” (2Corinthians 1:10). From this verse, it’s easy to see that God’s work of saving the whole mankind cannot be done in one or two stages. After the Lord Jesus completed the work of redemption, He needs to perform another stage of His work of salvation. The Lord initiated the Age of Grace and completed the work of redemption through being nailed to the cross for the sake of us humans. We have only to confess our sins and repent to the Lord, and He will absolve us of sin, and show us mercy, patience and tolerance, as well as bless us with grace and peace and joy. However, though the Lord does forget our sins, our sinful nature still exists, and so we are still able to pursue evil worldly trends, advocate status and power, scramble for fame and profit, fight and scheme against each other, and so on. Thus, we still live the life of sinning in the daytime and confessing in the evening.
God’s words say: “The majority of men sin in the day only to confess in the evening. This way, even if the sin offering is forever effective for man, it will not be able to save man from sin. Only half the work of salvation has been completed.” “The sins of man were forgiven, and this is because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live within the 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 understand that the Lord Jesus’s salvation of the cross enables our sins to be forgiven but the source of our sin is still deeply embedded in us because the Lord Jesus did the work of redemption instead of the work of eliminating sin. If we are to get rid of sin completely and become cleansed and changed, we need to experience a stage of work of casting out sin and receive God’s thoroughgoing salvation. The Bible predicts that the Lord will return and it says: “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). “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (See Revelation Chapters 2–3). We can see from these prophecies that when the Lord Jesus comes again, He will speak again and lead us to enter much deeper truth. And this truth is what the Holy Spirit says to the churches. God’s words are the source of life for us humans, so only by enjoying the words the Lord Jesus speaks when He returns and continuing to be watered and fed, can we grow in our spiritual life continuously and thus break free from sins and get purified. God’s work advances, and our spiritual life can only grow through us following God’s work. Without God’s leading or the watering and supply of the living water of life from God, our spiritual life will come to a standstill, never to grow, and we can never cast off the bonds of sin.
The Bible says: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1Peter 4:17). And the Lord Jesus also said: “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” (John 12:48). From these scriptures, we can see that when the Lord Jesus returns, He will judge our sinful nature with the truth that He expresses. So, only if we accept the Lord’s judgment in the last days, seek the words the Holy Spirit says to the churches, accept the words expressed by the returned Lord Jesus as our lives, cast off the sinful nature within us, and thus achieve compatibility with God, can we be brought into the kingdom and really see the Lord’s face in the end.
I sincerely hope that my fellowship will bring you some help.