Testimonies of Faith| Christian Reflections: I Now Know How to Get Rid of Sin (Part 2)
“As we all know, people late in the Age of Law were corrupted ever more deeply by Satan. None could keep the law or commandments, and no offering could redeem their sins. They all faced the risk of being condemned and put to death by the law. To save those who lived under the law from the threat of death, God personally came in incarnate flesh as the Lord Jesus and did the work of redemption. He did His work on the earth, and was finally crucified on the cross as flesh without sin, serving as the sin offering for mankind, which redeemed mankind from their sin. Any who accepted the Lord Jesus’ work, as long as they confessed their sins to the Lord and repented, would have their sins forgiven, and no longer be condemned and put to death by the law, and they would also enjoy the Lord’s bountiful grace and blessings. To those who lived under the law, this was salvation. So, when we say we are saved because we believe in the Lord Jesus, we refer primarily to the fact that we have escaped the condemnation and cursing of the law. But, does believing and being saved mean that we are purified? Even though, after we believe in the Lord, we outwardly do some good deeds, are able to bear suffering and hardship, make offerings and do service, do the Lord’s work, and so on, our corrupt dispositions are still rooted deeply within us. Satanic natures like arrogance, selfishness, cunning, greed, and evil have already become our lives. We are controlled by these satanic natures, we are still capable of involuntarily sinning and resisting God, and we cannot practice the Lord’s teachings at all. In our daily lives, for example, when the words of others injure our pride, although we may not say anything, we develop biases in our hearts, and can even condemn others. We aren’t tolerant or patient at all, much less do we love our enemies. We also often lie and deceive, thereby failing to be honest people, to protect our own reputation, status, and interests. Also, when God blesses us, we thank and praise God, and have greater motivation to expend for God, but when disaster befalls us, we complain against and misunderstand God, are unwilling to expend for God, and in serious cases betray God. The list goes on. There is still so much corruption within us, so how could God possibly lift us up into His kingdom? Quite clearly, the fact that our sins are forgiven because we believe does not mean we have been purified, because the Lord Jesus only redeemed our sins, not our satanic natures. If we don’t resolve our satanic natures, even if our sins are forgiven a thousand or ten thousand times over, we still cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. So, based on our needs, in the last days God has again appeared incarnate to do the further work of judgment and purification, expressed all the truth we require to be purified, revealed the true fact of our corruption by Satan, revealed the root of our sin and resistance to God, and pointed out the path for us to change our corrupt dispositions. If we accept the judgment and chastisement in God’s words, diligently read God’s word, and earnestly pursue the truth, our corrupt dispositions will gradually be purified and changed, and finally we will become people who genuinely obey and love God. By doing so, we will become people who are fully saved by God, and only then can we enter God’s kingdom.”
After hearing Almighty God’s words and Brother Zheng’s fellowship, I understood that the Lord Jesus had only forgiven our sins, and that being saved because we believe only means that we are not condemned or put to death by the law, but does not mean that we are purified. I thought of how, despite the fact that at church I could be tolerant and control my feelings, at home I was capricious and self-important. Especially when my family said or did things that went against my wishes, I could lose my temper. Even though I confessed my sins and repented to the Lord each time I lost my temper, the next time it would happen again. I couldn’t change it. I finally realized this was because the sinfulness within me had not been expunged. In Revelation 21:27 it says, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defiles, neither whatever works abomination, or makes a lie.” Sinners cannot enter God’s kingdom. How could someone like me, who was full of corrupt dispositions, ever gain God’s approval and be directly brought into the kingdom of heaven? I now realized that God returning in the last days to do the work of judgment and purify man was very necessary! Once I understood these things, I was quite excited, but I still didn’t understand very well how God judges and purifies people. I realized that, with so many impure things within me, if God is doing the work of judgment, wouldn’t I be condemned? So, again I explained my confusion, and asked Brother Zheng for fellowship.
When he finished listening to me, he smiled and said, “The reason we have such thoughts is because we lack knowledge of God’s work of judgment! In the last days, God has expressed words to do the work of judgment not because He condemns our sins, but to purify, save us, allow us to see the true fact of our corruption by Satan through the revelations in His words, allow us to recognize our natures and essences of resisting and betraying God, and at the same time to allow us to know that God’s righteous disposition brooks no offense, to allow us to develop hearts that fear God, to allow us to loath and curse our satanic natures from the depths of our hearts, to allow us to escape our satanic corrupt dispositions, to allow us to live out a true human likeness, and to attain full salvation from God. The truth is that God’s work of judgment in the last days is His greatest love and salvation yet for mankind! So, how does God do the work of judgment and purify people? Let’s read God’s word to learn more about this aspect of truth.”
He opened a book of God’s word and read, “In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, to expose the essence of man, and to dissect the words and deeds of man. 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 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, the 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 a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth of which man is utterly bereft. Only methods such as these can be called 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” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
With a smile, he fellowshiped, “God’s words state very clearly that in the last days, He expresses many aspects of the truth to judge and purify people. God reveals the essence of our corrupt nature, our many notions of God and fallacies buried deep within our heart regarding belief in God, as well as all manner of our satanic dispositions, and much more. In God’s word, we see that we are corrupted too deeply by Satan, and that satanic toxins, philosophies, and logic have become our lives. In our words and deeds we practice such satanic logic, principles, and evil sayings such as ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,’ ‘I am my own lord throughout heaven and earth,’ ‘Those who toil with their minds govern others, and those who toil with their hands are governed by others,’ ‘Man will do anything to get rich,’ and ‘Men should always strive to be better than their contemporaries.’ We put our interests, wealth, reputation, and status above all else, and in our interactions with others, we always want them to obey us. No matter what we are doing, we always scheme for our interests. Where there is something to be gained, we race to be first to do it, while attempting to put off or get out of things from which we gain nothing. Even when we believe in God, we forsake and expend to gain gifts and crowns, hoping to exchange a small price for great blessings. There are many such examples. All of our words and deeds expose corrupt dispositions like arrogance, self-importance, selfishness, baseness, evil, greed, cunning, and crookedness, and we lack any true human likeness. At the same time as we experience the judgment and chastisement in God’s words, God also arranges various circumstances to prune, deal with, chasten, and discipline us. At times, we live by satanic philosophies and do not practice the truth, so we fall into darkness and are unable to feel God’s presence, causing us to feel agony and torment. When we come before God, pray, and turn around, God uses His words to blame us, make us know ourselves, and find appropriate truth to practice. At times, God will mobilize people, matters, and events to remind and deal with us, to make us know that God’s righteous disposition brooks no offense, and reflect on ourselves, so that we come to know our own rebelliousness and resistance. At times, God’s word consoles and encourages us, allowing us to understand His good intentions in saving mankind, and allowing us to not be negative or weak, have the determination to pursue the truth, and pursue dispositional change. When we experience God’s judgment and chastisement, we develop discernment of positive and negative things, and we also know what kind of people God likes and dislikes, and what kind of people He saves and eliminates. We develop ever more fear and obedience for God, and we begin to loathe our own satanic natures, betray satanic logic, and comport ourselves and do things according to God’s requirements. Our views on things begin to change, our life dispositions gradually change, and we begin to live out a human likeness. We can truly feel that God’s work of judgment is practical, that it actually can purify and change our corrupt dispositions, and that only by accepting God’s work of judgment in the last days can we completely free ourselves from the bondage of sin, attain full salvation from God, and be brought into the kingdom of heaven by God.”
Through his fellowship on Almighty God’s word, I learned that my understanding of God’s work of judgment in the last days was mistaken. It was based on my own notions and imaginings. In the Bible, it says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, said Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8–9). God is the Lord of creation, His deeds are miraculous, inscrutable, and full of His wisdom, and they are not things we can understand with our own minds. I finally understood that the purpose of God’s work of judgment is not to condemn or punish, but instead to purify and change our corrupt dispositions, and to allow us to be fully saved by God. Once I understood these things, I was no longer afraid. Instead, I wished more to follow God, and I rejoiced that I was able to hear God’s voice and find a path to escape sin. I happily accepted God’s work of the last days.
Living in the Light, Pursuing the Truth
After I accepted God’s new work, I often listened to hymns in praise of God and watched films, crosstalk, and comedy skits on The Church of Almighty God’s website, and I also participated in church life with my brothers and sisters. I enjoyed the watering and shepherding of God’s word, drank the water from the river of life that flows from the throne, my spirit was quenched, and I no longer thirsted. Through continuously reading God’s word, I came to understand some aspects of the truth, such as the aim and significance of God’s three stages of work, the significance of God’s name, the mystery of God’s incarnation, and how to attain full salvation and be purified. I also came to know more about God’s disposition, I saw that God’s disposition is not only merciful and loving, but also righteous and majestic, and I saw that the righteous disposition expressed by God in the last days is better able to change and purify our corrupt natures and enable us to attain full salvation. Now, in my own life, I have also started to focus on knowing my own corrupt dispositions, practicing the truth, and being tolerant and patient with my family. That I’ve been able to understand these things is all thanks to God’s enlightenment and guidance. Thanks be to God!
Gospel of The Descent of The Kingdom