77. A Confession by a Son of Sin
Daqing City, Heilongjiang Province
Your kind attention and your last admonition awake me from my deep sleep for years
My unatonable transgressions are a painful memory for me striking my conscience
Being at a loss I pray to you with trembling searching my heart with bitter repentance
Whenever I hear the hymn “A Repentance,” tears gush out from my eyes. My feelings of pain, remorse, and self-reproach are beyond expression. I bitterly hate myself for being so blind and foolish that I did not know God’s work and became a ferocious wolf which hindered the lambs from entering into the kingdom and became the foremost of sinners who resisted Almighty God’s work. I bitterly hate myself for being so numb and obtuse that although I was disciplined by God many times, I did not examine myself but instead stepped up efforts to resist Almighty God. If it had not been for Almighty God’s extremely great mercy and salvation, I would have long since died an unnatural death. Here, to make up for the pain and grief I have brought to God and for my indebtedness to God, I cannot but expose my taint and evil deeds to you brothers and sisters so that you can take warning from them and therefore break free from being bound by the rumors and come before Almighty God soon.
I was formerly one of the eminent co-workers of the Pentecostal Church and was in charge of many churches in Daqing area, such as the church in No.3 Factory, the church in No.7 Factory, and so on. In early 1999, the leader above gathered us several eminent co-workers together and said, “Search in the Bible immediately and write material for refuting ‘the Eastern Lightning,’ the more terrible and the more frightening the better. As long as it can stop people from believing in Almighty God, it will be fine, however you fabricate it. No matter what, we should stop people from joining ‘the Eastern Lightning,’ because it has departed from the Bible and is a sect, a cult. Our doing so is to protect the flock faithfully for the Lord. After you compile the material for resisting ‘the Eastern Lightning,’ print it and then distribute it to the churches.”
To prevent the brothers and sisters from being taken captive by the “sect,” I became very zealous and searched in the Bible day and night and compiled the material sentence by sentence and item by item with several other co-workers. After seven days and nights of elaborate fabrication, a “collection of lies” entitled On the Eastern Lightning Being a Cult finally came out. In obedience to our leader’s words, we added a large number of alarmist words to the material, for example, “Those people of ‘the Eastern Lightning’ are extremely brutal. They are specially trained. They are an underworld gang and have knives and guns. Once you join them, you cannot withdraw. If you try to, they will make your eyes blind, cut off your ears, break your legs, or hack off your arms. …” Those bloodcurdling rumors and fallacies quickly spread among the brothers and sisters, and they all believed them to be true and no longer dared to contact the people of “the Eastern Lightning.” Our publicity against it achieved the expected “result” very soon, and I felt elated as if having made a great contribution. Although I had spent over one thousand yuan of my savings printing the material (including traveling expenses and telephone charges), I considered that the money was worth spending and the Lord would remember my “contribution.” From then on, I bustled about tirelessly on the path of resisting Almighty God.
One day, I heard that two believers in Almighty God came to one of the meeting places nearby, so I immediately took the booklet we had compiled, got on my bike, and went to stop them. When I was crossing a street, somehow my bike suddenly leaned to one side and lost its balance. I fell all at once from the bike and it fell on me. My arm was bruised outright, and a piece of skin on my right calf was scraped off by the pedal and blood oozed out. “O Lord, I’m doing the work for you. It’s because I worry that the lambs will be taken captive by ‘the Eastern Lightning’ that I go there in a hurry. How come you let me fall? Oh, it must be satan’s disturbance. The Lord will definitely not treat me in this way.” As I thought, I stood up. Because the bicycle chain was broken, I had to push the bike and hobble there. The moment I entered the room, I saw one of the sisters preaching. Extremely angry, I roared, “Who told you to come? How shameless! You even dare to steal the sheep openly. How dare you! I’ve got to teach you a lesson today!” As I reviled, I grabbed the jacket of the sister who was preaching and slapped her on the left cheek. Seeing me striking that sister, the other sister immediately came up and shielded her. At the time, I had lost my reason already. I punched her on the chest, and she was sent reeling against the door, almost falling. Before she had regained her footing, I hustled them out of the door. Even so, my anger was not slaked. And I shouted at them, “If you dare come again next time, I’ll break your legs!” Seeing that they left sadly in tears, I did not have the slightest compassion for them, nor did I feel that I had gone too far. Instead, I rejoiced in my heart: I had finally kept the Lord’s sheep.
Several days later, I carried the booklet and went to the church in No.7 Factory to preach. While I was walking along the roadside, a Xiali car suddenly rushed toward me. Scared and at a loss, I suddenly slipped and fell into a hollow by the roadside, lying on my back. That car brushed past the hollow, crashed into a tree at the roadside, and stopped. Although I did not get hurt, I had been scared out of my wits. And I got a long cut on my new down-jacket with a branch. Distressed and angry as I was, I did not regret at all what I had done. Instead, I thought, “It’s all the fault of this gang of people of ‘the Eastern Lightning.’ They almost made me lose my life. I’ll give them a good beating wherever I see them. I must have my revenge!” Failing to go to No.7 Factory, I could only go home. When I got home, I who was depressed still did not recover from the fright. I threw myself headfirst onto the bed and burst into tears. I cried out in my heart, “O Lord, it’s for your sake that I go to guard the flock, but how come there are always accidents happening to me and I’m haunted with fear every day? O Lord, is it because I don’t have enough faith? O Lord, you know I’m faithful to you. Please keep me and give me strength.”
One Sunday afternoon, I heard that over twenty people in the church in No.3 Factory had been “taken captive” by people of “the Eastern Lightning,” so I immediately carried the booklet and got to the church in No.3 Factory in a hurry. After my much preaching, threatening, and coercing, I finally got those over twenty people back. This time I felt extremely happy, thinking that the Lord must have heard my prayer and helped me. So, I hummed a hymn and took a Gangtian three-wheeler to go home. “I have finished the race; I have fought the good fight. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness…” Just when I was singing happily, a big truck suddenly dashed like crazy toward the three-wheeler I was riding on. Then, with a crash, the three-wheeler was hit seven or eight meters away, and I felt dizzy all of a sudden and then was thrown out of the three-wheeler. When passersby helped me up, I was unaware of whether I was dead or alive, standing there dumbly like a wooden chicken. “Fortunately, she’s not hurt.” “She narrowly escaped death.” “Heaven has eyes!” The passersby all started talking at once. Then, I regained my senses gradually and staggered home. Having lost the Lord’s care and keeping, I felt empty in my heart. I collapsed before the Lord and cried out tearfully, “O Lord, where are you? Why have you left me? O Lord, please tell me why accidents never keep away from me. What should I do?” After that accident, I felt very confused and lost, not knowing wherein I had offended the Lord. I became less active in resisting Almighty God than before. And I fell into an extremely weak state, eagerly expecting the Lord to give me clear guidance.
In the twinkling of an eye, late fall came. At a host home of our church, I met one brother and two sisters. Since they were all relatives of the host family, I was off my guard and naturally began to chat with them. I found that they spoke modestly and behaved naturally, and that they not only had good humanity, but also had rich experiences of life and deep knowledge of God. I began to admire them in my heart, so I decided to fellowship with them for a few more days so that I could gain more to supply the brothers and sisters after I went back.
With that in mind, I had a very harmonious fellowship with them. They fellowshipped about the truths that believers in God should know God and understand God’s intention, and so on, from which I received great supply. So five or six days passed in a flash. When they said that the Old Testament recorded the work of the Age of the Law done by Jehovah and the New Testament recorded the work of the Age of the Grace done by Jesus, I vaguely sensed that they seemed to be of “the Eastern Lightning,” for I had long since heard that “the Eastern Lightning” specially preached the three stages of works. I became alert instantly and thought to myself, “If only they are not of ‘the Eastern Lightning.’ If they are, then there must be one more stage of work that they have not spoken out. I’ll hear them out and then decide. If they don’t speak of the third stage of work, they are not of the Eastern Lightning.”
As the saying goes, “Nothing is to be afraid of but the most unlikely.” However, what came to me was exactly the most unlikely. My concern unfortunately came true. They eventually spoke out that God had done a new work, that is, the third stage of work—the work of judging and purifying man with the word. They also said that it was the fulfillment of Revelation. Hearing that, I collapsed all at once. “I’m finished! How could I have delivered myself to them? Actually, I’ve been in the tiger’s mouth all these days, but how come I didn’t realize it at all? They are exactly of ‘the Eastern Lightning.’ What should I do now?” At that time, my legs began to shake, and my hands also trembled. I thought to myself, “This time, I’ll have to die here. They definitely won’t let me off, because I beat their people some time ago. They are cultists after all, so how could they not take revenge? But it’s already late now, and even if I want to leave, there is no bus. O Lord, I didn’t die in those accidents but will die at the hands of these people. Could this be your will? Am I really going to be martyred for this?” When I still felt terrified, the brother suggested a break. “Now it’s the opportunity for me to escape. Go while the going is good!” I intended to take the chance of going to the latrine to run away, but those two sisters wanted to go with me. I thought, “Now I won’t make it. They are to keep an eye on me. It will be even worse if I fail to escape and get caught by them. I’d better pretend to be well-behaved for the time being, and try to run away by taxi after getting through the night.”
After I went back into the room, I simply refused to sit inside but insisted on sitting at the door, so that I could observe their actions, and once anything happened that was unfavorable to me, I would run away even at the risk of my life. I planned so in my heart. At the same time, I watched intently every act and move of theirs. When I saw that the brother took a fruit knife about half a foot long from the kitchen, I went pale at once. “I’m finished! I’m finished! Could it be that they have known it’s me who made up the material against them, and therefore will really cut off my ears? Or maybe they have noticed that I’m not as attentive as I was in the past days when listening to the message, so they want to frighten me into obedience. O Lord, please save me from the jaws of death!” Unexpectedly, the brother picked up an apple from the table and began to peel it. Then, I felt relaxed a bit. “Sister, have an apple!” the brother said to me with a smile. Looking at the brother’s acts, I thought to myself, “They don’t seem to be that cruel!” But then I thought, “No, I should stay alert. This gang of people are too crafty. Maybe they are just disguising themselves. I must not fall for it.” I put the apple cautiously on the table but did not move my eyes away from the brother’s hand. At that moment, the brother put his hand into his pocket. And I became nervous again. “Alas! He is drawing a pistol. This time he’s really going to take action. O Lord, I’ll indeed be martyred for you today!” I was so scared and nervous that my heart almost flew up into my mouth. However, the brother took a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped his hands. Then, my heart fell back into place. “It seems that they won’t take action tonight, for I didn’t contradict them. I’ve pretended obedience, saying yes to whatever they said. Maybe I could escape this misfortune.” Just when I was feeling restless, one of the sisters passed me a glass of water. My nerves which had just been somewhat soothed became frayed again. “I’m finished again. Stabbing me with a knife might cause me to shout; shooting me with a pistol will produce a sound. So, they’re simply going to poison me to death, as no sound will be made. This gang of people are really wicked! I can’t drink. There must be poison in it. I can’t be fooled.” Thinking of that, I said firmly, “No.” The sister seemed to have read my mind. She said, “Oh, it’s too hot. Let me cool it for you.” As she said that, she poured the water in and out of two glasses and left some in one. Then, she gently took a sip of it and said, “It’s not hot anymore. Now you can drink, sister.” This time I took the glass but did not drink immediately, for I wanted to see if the sister would die or not. “I’ll drink it if nothing happens to her. Underworld men are extremely cruel and merciless. Maybe it’s nothing unusual for them to have one die with me.” As I considered, I observed the sister. After a while, nothing happened; then I felt relieved and drank it up in two or three gulps. Actually, I already felt parched because I had been sweating profusely from fear.
I calmed my heart down a little bit. Thinking back to what had happened just now, I couldn’t help blushing at my oversensitive reactions. They had been so sincere, but I had guarded against them like that. I was in no way like a believer in God! Wasn’t it that I believed in God but had no God? At that time, it was already late, so we all went to bed. Lying in bed, I could not fall asleep but was lost in a myriad of thoughts. The scenes of these days appeared in my mind one by one like a film. “I haven’t seen anything odd in their behavior during these days. Instead, I find that they are very reasonable, gracious in speaking, and sincere in treating others. To be frank, my living out really cannot compare with theirs. During the fellowship, whenever I came across something that I did not understand, they always guided me patiently and never got angry. The songs they sang these days are so moving and can really evoke the love for the Lord. Their fellowship about the knowledge of God is indeed helpful. Besides, in these days, they gave me care in every possible way. Such real love does not seem to be pretended. Isn’t love from God? What is this all about? Have I resisted wrongly? Not likely. The salvation of the Lord Jesus’ cross has perfected everything, and we only need to wait for the Lord to return and take us to heaven. How could he do another stage of work?” Thinking of that, I was at a loss. “O Lord, I really don’t know what to do now, but I believe that you will surely guide me. These days, I’ve been too scared and only relied on my own brain rather than on you. O Lord, I am wrong. I’m willing to commit myself to you. Please lead me to know whether it’s right or wrong. And show me the way I should go,” I prayed silently in my heart.
The next day, as I had quieted my heart before God, my fear was all gone. Then, I decided to get the fact straight. I said to the brother and sisters, “What you have fellowshipped during these days makes some sense to me, but I want to ask a question. If you can fellowship about it clearly, I’ll accept.” They said gladly, “Sister, go ahead.” I said, “We have already been saved through faith in Jesus. The salvation of Jesus’ cross has perfected everything. How come there is the third stage of work of the word?” With regard to my question, the brother began to fellowship, “Sister, the salvation you mentioned refers to the fact that Jesus has already redeemed us from sin, that is, he has redeemed us through the crucifixion and saved us from the cross. We do not belong to sin because the Lord has borne it for us. But before we were redeemed, satanic poisons had been planted in us. Now, we have only been redeemed, but those filthy things still exist in us. Without undergoing transformation, such filthy men are not qualified to see God. The Scripture says: ‘…holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.’ Let us think about the condition that we are in. No one dare say that he himself has been completely holy, because even today we are still living in the condition of committing sins in the day and confessing them at night. We haven’t become holy but only been justified through faith and forgiven of our sins. This only means that God does not treat us according to our transgressions. However, we men who live in the flesh have no proper ways to break away from sin at all. The root of sin can in no way be removed through only practicing patience and bearing the cross. So, it is necessary for God Godself to do a work of taking away men’s sins. The work of the word that God does today is to disclose all the corrupt disposition in men through the judging, refining, and disclosing of the word so that they are convinced in heart and in mouth. And on the basis of that, God points out to them more ways to practice, thereby completely taking away their sins.” After listening to the brother’s fellowship, I was convinced inwardly. Thinking of my own condition, I was more clear that I could not be freed from sin by relying on my own patience. Then, the brother continued, “It’s the truth expressed by God Godself that enables us to have such knowledge today. It’s because God does the third stage of work of the word, which has unlocked all the mysteries, that we have understood that the ‘three stages of works’ are the greatest vision in God’s six-thousand-year management plan and are the center of God’s saving mankind. These three stages of works are the work of the Age of the Law, the work of the Age of the Grace, and the work of the word of the Age of the Kingdom. The work of the Age of the Law was to lead the Israelites to live and make them conscious of their sins by issuing the law. The work of the Age of the Grace was that the Lord was crucified and became men’s sin offering so that their sins were borne and forgiven. The work of the Age of the Kingdom is to take away men’s sins through the judgment of the word. These three stages of works complement each other, and none of them is dispensable. They comprise the entire work done by one God. Also, the three stages of works have fulfilled the words in the Scripture: God is the Beginning and the End; God is the One who sows and also the One who reaps; God is the Almighty who was, and who is, and who is to come.” Then, in regard to my question, the brother read a passage of God’s word: “You only know that Jesus will descend in the end time, but how will he descend? Such a sinner as you who has just been redeemed, could you be after God’s heart without being transformed or perfected by God? It is true that Jesus has saved you, who are an old man now. You are not of sin, and this is because of God’s salvation, but it does not prove that you have no sin or filthiness. You have not been transformed, so how could you be holy? You are still filled with filthiness within, selfish and contemptible, and yet you want to descend with Jesus. Could there be such a good thing? You lack a process in your believing in God. You have only been redeemed but have not been transformed. To be after God’s heart, you need God to personally work to transform and purify you. Otherwise, you, who have only been redeemed, cannot possibly be holy. Then you will not be qualified to enjoy the good blessings with God, because you miss one stage in God’s work of managing man, that is, the crucial stage of transforming and perfecting man. So, you, a sinner who has just been redeemed, cannot directly inherit God’s inheritance.” After hearing the brother’s fellowship and God’s words, I was convinced in heart and in mouth. I lowered my head quietly and could not restrain my tears. There was only one thought in my mind: “I have indeed resisted God!” Then I thought of the things that had happened to me recently: After I compiled the “booklet,” I suffered from either diarrhea or a headache almost every day, and sometimes my head hurt so badly that I kept hitting it against the wall. Besides that, I also had three accidents. Actually all those were not accidental, but the discipline of the Lord. However, I did not wake up but still condemned and resisted God’s work frenziedly. Now, before the truth and the facts, the rumors collapsed by themselves, so I saw with my own eyes that “the Eastern Lightning” I had been slandering, condemning, and resisting was the true way.
At that very moment, my opened heart tightened again. Worry and fear welled up inside me. In retrospect, I had committed numerous transgressions: compiling the rumors into a booklet to attack God, beating and abusing the gospel preachers, and hindering so many souls from turning to God. “Since I am so grievously sinful, will the Lord still want me?” Thinking of that, I really couldn’t help myself and suddenly burst into tears. My cry startled the brother and sisters, and they all anxiously asked me what the matter was. So, I got off my chest how I had resisted Almighty God and been disciplined. “The Lord won’t want a son of disobedience like me anymore!” I cried. “It’s all because of satan’s ravages that man doesn’t know God. It’s satan that has blinded man’s eyes so that man is unable to distinguish good from evil. As long as man can turn back, God’s tolerance is as boundless as the sea and sky, and his forgiveness and mercy are above all the heavens!” the sister said in tears to comfort me. Then, she read me another passage of God’s word: “There are many people who resist God, but among these many people there are many different cases of resisting God. People who believe in God are many and various. Likewise, people who resist God are many and various, different from one another. None of those who do not have a clear knowledge of the purpose of God’s work can be ‘saved.’ No matter how people resisted God before, when they understand the purpose of God’s work and make efforts to satisfy God, God will blot out all their past sins.” After reading these words of God, the sister said, “Actually, God has already spared you. The three accidents coming upon you were only God’s discipline, and God didn’t strike you down. His will is to save all those who can be saved.”
After I heard God’s words and the sister’s fellowship, my eyes brimmed over with tears again. Grateful tears streamed down incessantly. My feelings at that time were beyond expression. I only wished to offer the rest of my life fully to God so as to make up for my past transgressions. I took the book of God’s word in my hands. Then I hugged the sister tightly. Thus, after all these ups and downs, I, a son of disobedience, finally returned to God’s family.
Dear brothers and sisters, through my personal experience this time, I have tasted the boundless love and salvation of Almighty God and also tasted the bitter fruits that my disobedience, resistance, self-rightness, and blindness have brought to me. So, I sincerely hope that the brothers and sisters who are deceived by the rumors can come out of the dense fog soon. Don’t harbor too many misgivings and fears; believe that God is almighty. As long as we rely on him with a sincere heart, he will surely lead us to break through the dominion of all darkness and guide us into all the truth. Dear spiritual brothers and sisters, seek boldly! Run quickly toward Almighty God! This is because Almighty God is the returned Jesus and is the God who provides us with everything.