Editor’s Note: Are you still struggling in the agony of sin? Are you discouraged and disappointed because you live trapped in a cycle of sinning and repentance? What must we do to escape the bondage of sin? I hope reading this article will be of some help to you.
Weeping in Sin
In 2001, I followed my mother in believing in the Lord, and not long after, I joined the church and began my service. I saw that my brothers and sisters were able to love one another, just like a family, which made me feel especially close to them. I enjoyed attending meetings and singing hymns in praise of the Lord with my brothers and sisters, and in my heart, I thought of the church like my own family. After that, I tested into a theology institute and began studying the Bible.
Gradually, I discovered more and more unlawful things in the church. Many brothers and sisters lived in sin and were unable to practice the Lord’s teachings. The principal of the Sunday school and his wife often schemed to benefit themselves. When humanitarian organizations donated aid, they would immediately pick out some of the best items for themselves, and even the pastor took part in this behavior, but the poor families in the church would rarely get anything. Small group leaders were also especially prideful and arrogant. They often exalted themselves in our presence and placed constraints on others. The church members served the Lord for the sake of their own status and interests, and they often condemned other churches as bad and belittled others. While their words and actions within the church seemed pious, what they lived out in their lives was arrogance, cunning, and selfishness, as if they were entirely different people. I was the same. In church I behaved very well, and even when others asked me to do things I didn’t like, I would do my best to bear it, overcome my discomfort, and not expose my displeasure, but at home I was arbitrary, self-important, and at times I even shouted at my mother. After I got married, when my husband and child didn’t do as I asked, I would lose my temper at them. I thought of how at Sunday school I taught children to carry out the Lord’s teachings and be loving and tolerant toward others, but I couldn’t practice those things in my own life, and I realized I was living in sin. I often prayed for the Lord’s forgiveness for this, but nothing changed. I felt distraught and confused, “The apostle Paul said, ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death’ (Romans 8:1–2). We believe in theChrist, and the Lord forgives our sins. Our sin is removed, which ought to mean that we no longer sin, but why do I still live in sin? Why can’t I practice the Lord’s teachings? When will I finally be able to stop sinning?”
I asked the preachers about my confusion, but they had no answers. They simply told me to have faith in the Lord. Their answers left me without a path. Church meetings were no longer any help to me, so I stopped going to meetings. Afterward, I often watched Christian movies on YouTube, seeking the spiritual sustenance of life. I watched many sermons and lectures by many pastors and elders, but none of these could help me change, nor could they provide me any spiritual life growth. I still lived in a state of sinning during the day and confessing my sins at night. I didn’t know when I could stop sinning, and over this I often prayed, cried, and begged the Lord for help.
A Light Appears As God Hears My Prayers
One day in 2018, as I was searching for Christian movies, a film called Where Is My Home caught my eye, so out of curiosity, I clicked and watched it. In the film, I saw that the protagonist and preachers weren’t reading the Bible, but instead were reading the book. I had never seen this book before, but the words in the book contained truth and were able to resolve people’s practical difficulties. The film’s protagonist, Wen Ya, had experienced her parents divorcing as a child, after which she endured the torment of her mother becoming seriously ill and her father passing away. Yet when she felt discouraged and hopeless, it was God who saved her. The words in The Word Appears in the Flesh allowed Wen Ya to understand that we, as humans, have been corrupted by Satan, and we all live in misery with no hope of escape, and that only by coming before God can we find protection and live happily. Later, Wen Ya was able to emerge from her torment and find her true home. From the film, I saw that the words in The Word Appears in the Flesh truly were wonderful. They were able to give me strength. I thought, “Just who could allow us to know God’s disposition? Who could clearly explain the sinfulness and evil of mankind? Who could understand the reason mankind is in torment? And just who could resolve the problem of people living in torment?” I felt that these words had authority, and couldn’t have been spoken by any person. I was very interested in this book, because I felt these words could improve my relationship with God.
So, I continued to watch movies from. I watched the film Salvation, in which the protagonist enthusiastically expends for God, forsakes everything to fulfill his duties, and even though the CCP arrests and tortures him, he resumed his duties after being released. He thought that because he had suffered, traveled far, understood much of the truth, and was someone who had knowledge of God, he ought to be qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven. But later, a sudden trial comes to him. His wife is captured and tortured to death by the CCP police, and when he learns of this, he complains against God, blames God, misunderstands God, and loses his . In his torment, through ’s words, he comes to reflect on himself, and realizes that he believes in God and performs his duties to gain blessings, and that when trials come, he is still capable of misunderstanding and blaming God. After that, by reading Almighty , he understands that he can still rebel against and resist God, and that he has not truly gained salvation. Only those with sincere love and obedience for God can attain full salvation. As he undergoes this trial, his fallacious view and mistaken notions about belief in God are changed, he develops new faith in God, and he continues to serve God. Watching that movie made me see that my own love for God was far from sufficient. If I were in the same position as the protagonist, I didn’t know if I would remain loyal to God. The experiences of the film’s protagonist gave me confidence that I should strengthen my faith, continue to follow God, and experience similar circumstances so that God could purify my corrupt dispositions, because only then would I have a chance to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Later, when I watched movies on the arrests, torment, and torture suffered by brothers and sisters in The Church of Almighty God at the hands of the CCP, I noticed that as they experienced persecution and trials, the words of Almighty God were the basis of their faith. I wanted very much to read these words, because I felt these words were the truth, or it would be very difficult for these brothers and sisters to remain loyal and follow God while being so cruelly persecuted by the CCP government. I deeply admired their immovable faith and desire to serve God, and I felt that this was the result achieved by the work of , because it was impossible for people to produce such testimony. After seeing all these things, I was even more curious about The Church of Almighty God.
My Heart Rejoices As I Find the Path to Get Rid of Sin
Finally, I visited The Church of Almighty God’s website and made contact with brothers and sisters from the church. At our first meeting, Brother Zheng fellowshiped to me, “There are more and more unlawful things happening in churches. Sermons by the pastors and elders are cliched, stale, and lifeless, church meetings provide no sustenance, and believers almost universally live in a cycle of sinning and repenting. The reason for this is that the Holy Spirit’s work has moved. God has again come incarnate to conclude the Age of Grace, begin the Age of Kingdom, and do the work of judging and purifying mankind. The Holy Spirit has already left the Age of Grace churches and moved to the Age of Kingdom churches, and it now works upon all those who accept God’s work of the last days. So, because the Age of Grace churches now lack , they are unable to provide a source of the living water, people are trapped in darkness, and thereby become ever more depraved. This fulfills Jehovah God’s prophecy, ‘And also I have withheld the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain on one city, and caused it not to rain on another city: one piece was rained on, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered’ (Amos 4:7). Only by keeping up with God’s footsteps can we receive the work and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and only with the provision and watering of God’s words can our thirsty spirits finally be quenched.”
Only then did I understand that our church lacked the work of the Holy Spirit because God had come to do a new stage of work, and the Holy Spirit’s work had moved. I felt that Brother Zheng’s fellowship had light, that it had God’s guidance, but I was also somewhat confused, “I believe that the Lord Jesus may well have returned, but the Lord Jesus already saved us. When the Lord returns, He ought to directly rapture us into the kingdom of heaven. Why does He have to do the work of judging and purifying people? What’s going on here?” So, I explained my confusion.
After he heard me, Brother Zheng fellowshiped, “Many brothers and sisters hold this view. They believe that as long as we accept the Lord Jesus as our Savior, our sins are forgiven, we are redeemed, and that once the Lord returns, we will be directly raptured into heaven. But, have we considered whether this kind of view accords with the truth? Did the Lord Jesus say that if our sins are forgiven, we can enter the kingdom of heaven? Did the Holy Spirit ever say such a thing? Jehovah God said, ‘You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy’ (Leviticus 11:45). The Lord Jesus said, ‘Not every one that said to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven’ (Matthew 7:21). God is righteous and holy, so only those whose corrupt dispositions are purified and who can do God’s will can enter the kingdom of heaven. We are full of filth, and can still rebel against and resist God. If He were to directly bring people such as us into the kingdom of heaven, how would God’s righteousness and holiness be expressed? So, our notion that ‘we can enter the kingdom of heaven if our sins are forgiven’ doesn’t accord with the Lord’s words, nor with the Lord’s will. Only those who rid themselves of their corrupt dispositions and become people who can do God’s will can enter the kingdom of heaven. Let’s read a few passages of Almighty God’s word and you’ll understand more clearly. Almighty God says, ‘At the time Jesus’ work was the redemption of 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 a sinner, you were relieved of your sins. This is what it meant to be saved, 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’ (‘The Vision of God’s Work (2)’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘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 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’ (‘The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“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.”