Bible Reading Made Easy

How Can We Escape the Bondage of Sin and Enter the Kingdom of Heaven?

By Zhang Rui

Can we enter the kingdom of heaven if our sins are forgiven?

Sin, as a Christian, is something I couldn’t be more familiar with. It hovers around me every day, it’s always close, and I can’t get rid of it! The constant cycle of sinning and confessing had always troubled me, because if the Lord ever returned, could I enter the kingdom of heaven like this? In my torment, I thought of Paul’s words, “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies. Who is he that condemns?” (Romans 8:33–34). “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Yes, I am one of the Lord’s elect, the Lord has already forgiven all my sins, and no matter whether they are past, present, or future sins, He forgives them all. He no longer sees me as a sinner, and when the Lord comes, I will be able to enter the kingdom of heaven!

Later, coincidentally, a friend in the church posed this question to me, “The Lord Jesus has forgiven our sins, but we still sin, we can’t keep the Lord’s way, and in our daily lives, we still deceive, lie, act in crooked, cunning ways, scheme and plot, become envious and squabble amongst ourselves, and are arrogant and self-righteous. We live in a cycle of sinning every day and confessing our sins every night, and we have not escaped our sinful natures and become purified. The Lord Jesus said, ‘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). In 1 Peter 1:16, He also says, ‘Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy’” In these words we can see that people like us who haven’t escaped from the bondage of sin can’t enter the kingdom of heaven. God is holy and righteous, so only those who have escaped from sin are qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven. We should believe in the Lord according to the Lord’s words, not according to man’s words. Paul was only a disciple, nothing more than a corrupt man. Wouldn’t you say so?”

My friend’s question couldn’t help but make me think: He was right about this. God is holy and righteous, so sinners are unqualified to remain in God’s kingdom. God holds the key to the gate of the heavenly kingdom, while Paul is merely a corrupt man. How could his words be the standard for entry into the kingdom of heaven? If we want to enter the kingdom of heaven, we need to determine the way based on God’s words, not the words of a man.

I am a sinner, and God is holy, which is a wide gulf between myself and God. How could I ever hope to enter the kingdom of heaven while it exists? To think I could was only deceiving myself. After that, each time I saw the Bible verses such as “Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14) and “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), my heart was pierced with torment. I often involuntarily sinned and resisted God, I was in bondage to sin and lacked the strength to escape, and this meant I would never be worthy to see God. Entering the kingdom of heaven was merely a dream for me.

I tried several methods to escape the bondage and constraints of sin. Once, I fasted, climbed to the top of a mountain, and prayed before the Lord to confess my sins, but afterward, I still sinned. I also strived to practice the Lord’s words and be an honest person and to stop myself from lying, but the moment something touched on my interests, I still involuntarily lied and deceived God as well as other people. Not only that, when I saw my brothers and sisters preaching better sermons or fellowshiping more clearly than myself, I became jealous, refused to submit, and secretly tried to compete with them. I clearly knew that being jealous of others is something God loathes, and I prayed many times to God and tried to control myself to stop myself from sinning, but each time I saw my brothers and sisters praised, I couldn’t stop myself from feeling jealous of them…. This troubled me deeply, and I don’t know how many tears I wept before the Lord as I cried out to Him, “Lord, how can I escape the bondage of sin and enter the kingdom of heaven?”

Christian prayer

How to escape the bondage of sin and enter the kingdom of heaven

Perhaps the Lord heard my prayers. One day, I wrote a letter to a friend from church in another region to tell her my troubles. In her answer, she said, “Sister, we are created beings. By ourselves, we are powerless to overcome sin. If we want to escape the bondage of sin and be purified, we must beg God to work upon us and save us. Those who lived late in the Age of Law, because they were corrupted ever more deeply, didn’t have enough sacrificial offerings to redeem their sins, and they were always in danger of being condemned to death for violating the law. They could only cry out to God and beg God to save them. God heard their prayers, and to redeem people from the laws, God became the incarnate Lord Jesus, granted people rich and bountiful grace, taught people to confess their sins and repent, and allowed Himself to be nailed to the cross for man, to redeem mankind from sin. As long as people accepted the Lord Jesus’ salvation, they would no longer be condemned to death by the law for their sins. Instead, they could simply pray to God, enjoy the Lord Jesus’ grace and blessings, and have their sins forgiven. But our sinful natures are rooted deeply within us, and because the time had not yet come, the Lord hadn’t done the work of ridding of our sin. We must await the Lord’s return to continue the work of salvation, for His further work to purify and save mankind, before we can completely rid ourselves of sinful nature. Just as the Lord Jesus prophesied, ‘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). ‘And if any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 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 12:47–48). From this, we can see that the Lord will return in the last days to express many truths, as well as judge and purify our sins. We must accept all the truths expressed by Christ in the last days to escape from our sinfulness, completely purify ourselves of our satanic natures, and be completely saved by God to enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Having read to this point, I understood that the reason I couldn’t escape the bondage and control of my sinfulness was that the Lord Jesus only did the work of redemption, not of purifying and changing our dispositions. The Lord only redeemed people from the laws, and gave people the opportunity to come directly before God, pray to Him, and receive His salvation. For those of us who hear the Lord’s words but cannot practice them, and who live trapped helplessly in a cycle of sinning and repenting, the Lord does not judge or condemn us. In the last days, the Lord will return, speak many new words, as well as judge, purify, and change us, allowing us to completely escape the bondage of sin and live out a true human likeness. At this moment, I felt suddenly enlightened, “Lord, thank You for leading and guiding me, and helping me understand how to escape the bondage of sin.”

Then, I read the following passage in her letter, “In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, expose the essence of man, and dissect his words and deeds. These words comprise various truths, such as man’s duty, how man should obey God, how man should be loyal to God, how man ought to live out the normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and the disposition of God, and so on. These words are all directed at the essence of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, those words that expose how man spurns God are spoken in regard to how man is an embodiment of Satan and an enemy force against God. In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with just a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes it over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth that man does not possess at all. Only methods of this kind are deemed judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced into submission to God, and moreover gain true knowledge of God. What the work of judgment brings about is man’s understanding of the true face of God and the truth about his own rebelliousness. The work of judgment allows man to gain much understanding of the will of God, of the purpose of God’s work, and of the mysteries that are incomprehensible to him. It also allows man to recognize and know his corrupt substance and the roots of his corruption, as well as to discover the ugliness of man. These effects are all brought about by the work of judgment, for the substance of this work is actually the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life of God to all those who have faith in Him. This work is the work of judgment done by God” (“Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth”).

She continued her letter by writing, “When God comes in the last days to do the work of judgment and chastisement, He will primarily use the expression of these words to reveal our satanic natures, as well as analyze the words and deeds by which we resist God and betray the truth. He will also point out a path for us to escape the bondage of sin, as well as reveal each and every one of the truths of life to us. With the guidance in these words from God, we will finally be able to have true knowledge of our own corrupt dispositions and sinful natures, and we will also know that God is righteous and holy, we will know what God likes and detests, and we will know how we must practice to gain God’s approval. That way, no matter how much rebelliousness or resistance to God there is within us, as long as we accept God’s work in the last days, we will be purified by Christ’s last-days words of judgment, ultimately be completely saved by God, and enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Finally, my friend from church said she would return in a few days, and would continue to fellowship with me on this aspect of the truth. I was delighted, and I couldn’t but sigh and think, “Thanks to God’s guidance, there is finally hope for me to escape the bondage of sin!” All the glory belongs to God! Amen!

How to Enter the Kingdom of HeavenFree From Sin

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