Can We Enter the Kingdom of Heaven If We Frequently Commit Sins? How Can We Rid Ourselves of Sin?
Q: Can WeIf We Frequently Commit Sins?
A: There are some brothers and sisters who think, “The’ sin offering is effective forever. No matter what sin we commit, as long as we confess and repent to the Lord, then we can obtain the Lord’s forgiveness and ultimately we will enter the kingdom of heaven.” But is this view really correct? Is there a basis for this view in God’s words? According to this view, it seems as though, once we believe in the Lord, there is nothing to worry about no matter how we may sin, for the Lord will always forgive us and the Lord Jesus’ sin offering is effective forever. If this is true, then how can the following verses be explained? “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). Besides, it is mentioned in Revelation, “Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12). When the Lord returns, He will reward the good and punish the wicked depending on the actions and behavior of each individual. The Lord Jesus also prophesied that He will come in the last days to separate the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the tares, and the good servants from the wicked servants, and whether we will ultimately go to heaven or hell in our belief in God is directly linked to whether or not we practice the Lord’s words and follow the Lord’s way. According to our views, however, it seems as though we’re saying that the Lord will forgive us whether we follow His way or not and regardless of the sins we commit. Wouldn’t that make the Lord Jesus’ words “to give every man according as his work shall be” meaningless? Because they cling to this kind of view, many brothers and sisters pay no attention to putting the Lord’s words into practice or following the Lord’s commandments. They even become more and more degenerate, they shun the Lord more and more, and they live in a state of sinning and confessing from which they cannot escape. Does it accord with to go on that way? God says, “You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45). “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). The Bible also says, “For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and fornicators, and murderers, and idolaters, and whoever loves and makes a lie” (Revelation 22:15). “For this you know, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of and of God” (Ephesians 5:5). We can understand from this that God is holy and that His righteous disposition brooks no offense. If we can never cast off the shackles of sin and frequently knowingly commit sin, then God will detest and reject us for sinning and resisting Him. We will forever be unable to enter the kingdom of heaven.
The Lord Jesus forgave us our sins, but what exactly is meant by “sins” here? Mostly, it means sinful deeds in violation of the laws and commandments of God and which go against God’s words. It was precisely because people were capable of violating God’s laws and commandments and of being condemned and punished by the laws that the Lord Jesus came to perform the work of redemption and was crucified for all mankind, taking upon Himself all our sins. Thereafter, as long as someone prayed in the Lord Jesus’ name, confessed and repented, then their sins were forgiven and they were no longer subject to the condemnation and punishments of the laws. God would also no longer regard that person as a sinner, and they would be able to pray to and call on God directly and enjoy God’s bounteous grace and blessings. This was the salvation people gained during the Age of Grace. Just as God’s words say, “At the time, Jesus’ work was the work to redeem all mankind. The sins of all who believed in Him were forgiven; as long as you believed in Him, He would redeem you; if you believed in Him, you were no longer of sin, you were relieved of your sins. This is what it meant to, and to be justified by faith. Yet in those who believed, there remained that which was rebellious and opposed God, and which still had to be slowly removed. Salvation did not mean man had been completely gained by Jesus, but that man was no longer of sin, that he had been forgiven his sins. Provided you believed, you would never more be of sin.” “For all that man may have been redeemed and forgiven of his sins, it can only be considered as God not remembering the transgressions of man and not treating man in accordance with his transgressions. However, when man, who lives in a body of flesh, has not been set free from sin, he can only continue to sin, endlessly revealing his corrupt satanic disposition. This is the life that man leads, an endless cycle of sinning and being forgiven. The majority of mankind sin in the day only to confess in the evening. This way, even though 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, for man still has a corrupt disposition.”
We can understand from this passage that the work the Lord Jesus did in the Age of Grace was the work of redemption which only forgave the sins of man which violated the laws, and did not absolve man of his inner sinful nature. Under the control of our satanic, sinful nature, we are filled with all manner of satanic dispositions, such as arrogance, conceitedness, crookedness, deceitfulness, selfishness and ignobility. All the things we enjoy and live out are things that oppose God, and not one of them is compatible with God. Take our inner selfish and despicable disposition, for example. When we speak and act, we only ever do so by considering and making plans for our own interests, and we even suffer and expend ourselves in our faith in God just to get blessings. When everything is comfortable and easy in our environment and all is well at home, we thank God, but the moment we are struck by illness or adversity, we begin to blame God, and some people may even go so far as to abandon God. In our interactions with others, we live by our arrogant dispositions and we always want others to listen to what we have to say, but when others don’t listen to us, we become angry and reproach them. Because we have a malicious nature, we get jealous when we see someone better than us, and can even exclude them and attack them. These are just a few examples. It is evident that our inner satanic dispositions, such as arrogance, conceitedness, selfishness, greed, crookedness and deceitfulness are things deeper and more entrenched than sin, and they are the root cause of us committing sins and resisting God. If these satanic corrupt dispositions are left unresolved, then we will be capable of frequently sinning, resisting God and betraying God, until finally we won’t be able to enter the heavenly kingdom. Just as the Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
Q: How Can We Rid Ourselves of Sin?
A: In relation to this question, let’s take a look at a couple of verses in the Bible: “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” (Hebrews 9:28). “Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). We can see from these verses that God prepared for us His salvation in the last days so that we might rid ourselves of sin, and that this salvation in the last days is the crucial salvation that will resolve our sinful nature. So what is this salvation in the last days? The Lord Jesus once 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). And 1 Peter 4:17 says, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.” God’s words say, “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.” “By means of this work of judgment and chastisement, man will fully come to know the filthy and corrupt essence within his own self, and he will be able to change completely and become clean. Only in this way can man become worthy to return before the throne of God. All the work done this day is so that man can be made clean and be changed; through judgment and chastisement by the word, as well as through refinement, man can purge away his corruption and be made pure. Rather than deeming this stage of work to be that of salvation, it would be more apt to say it is the work of purification. In truth, this stage is that of conquest as well as the second stage in the work of salvation. It is through judgment and chastisement by the word that man arrives at being gained by God, and it is through the use of the word to refine, judge, and disclose that all of the impurities, notions, motives, and individual aspirations within man’s heart are completely revealed.” God’s words speak very clearly. In order to enable us to cast off the shackles of our satanic nature once and for all, God will launch a stage of work in the last days to judge and purify man. He will express many aspects of the truth to expose the corrupt dispositions hidden within us so that we may come to know our satanic nature and thereby come to hate our corrupt dispositions, practice in accordance with God’s words and gradually achieve change. When that happens, we come to have discernment of these unrighteous things, and we learn what delights God and what disgusts God; we come to have true knowledge of God, our satanic nature is no longer able to control us, our inner corrupt dispositions are supplanted by the truth, we become able to live by God’s words, we no longer rebel against or resist God, and we become able to truly submit to and revere God. These are the effects achieved in us by God performing His work of judgment in the last days. For example, when a child makes a mistake, the child’s parents will want to rectify their mistake. They will therefore need to speak to the child a great deal and sometimes even speak sternly to chasten and discipline their child. Their ultimate goal in doing so will always be to make the child aware of their mistake and what they should do to avoid making that mistake again, and so on. This is also how God’s work in the last days is. By expressing more words to judge and purify man, God saves man from the influence of Satan once and for all and makes man into people after His own heart, and in the end such people will be led into God’s kingdom and will arrive at the beautiful destination God has prepared for man.
Some people may ask, “Can our satanic nature only be resolved through the work of judgment in the last days? Can we not resolve our satanic nature by suffering, paying a price, exercising self-restraint and restraining our own wills?” Of course we cannot. If it were not for God expressing the truth to judge and expose our nature and substance, none of us would be able to truly know the root cause of why we resist God and none of us would be able to uproot our satanic dispositions. Throughout history, many apostles have paid many a price and exercised self-restraint, all in the hope of casting off the shackles and constraints of sin and transcending the flesh. But who among them were ever able to defeat their satanic nature, stop sinning, and become truly obedient to God? Even Paul said, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24). “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me” (Romans 7:18–20). It is clear from this that by performing the work of redemption, the Lord Jesus was paving the way for the work of judgment and purification in the last days. Only God in doing the work of judgment in the last days is able to expunge our sinful nature and cleanse us of our sins so that we no longer commit sins—this is why the Lord Jesus promised to return in the last days to do the work of judgment. We must accept and experience God’s judgment, trials and refinement, for only by doing so will our satanic nature be uprooted once and for all, our corrupt dispositions will be cleansed away and changed, we will live out a true human likeness, we will come to truly revere and obey God, we will be able to be considerate of God’s will, and we will love and satisfy God. This is the one and only path to ridding ourselves of sin and attaining God’s salvation.
In relation to God’s judgment in the last days, the Book of Revelation mentions, “And I saw another angel fly in the middle of heaven, having the everlastingto preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come” (Revelation 14:6–7). God’s work of judgment in the last days is the everlasting gospel bestowed on us by God. This “everlasting gospel” is the gospel of God coming in the last days to utterly purify and save mankind; it is the gospel which brings the entire age to an end. So when you hear someone preaching the gospel of the work of judgment in the last days, what will you choose to do?