Christian Experience: The Path to Escape Being a Slave to Sin Is Found
By Sara, United States
- My Inability to Cast Off Sin Causes Me Much Distress
- Will the Lord Perform New Work When He Returns?
- Does Good Behavior Demonstrate That Our Dispositions Have Changed?
- So, This Is How God Judges and Purifies Man
- I Recognize the Voice of God and Joyfully Welcome the Lord’s Return
My Inability to Cast Off Sin Causes Me Much Distress
I am a Christian. As a young woman, before I began believing in the Lord, I always had such a strong drive to excel over others. I always felt that I was more educated than my mom and I always disregarded my mom’s suggestions. My mom was also very self-opinionated, always trying to get me to do what she said, and so the two of us were often at loggerheads because of our differing opinions. I felt very upset about this awkward relationship with my mom, but I felt like there was nothing I could do to change it. After I began to believe in the Lord, my brothers and sisters gave me fellowship, saying, “Thewas crucified upon the cross in order to redeem us and He forgave us our sins that we could enjoy His abundant grace. The Lord loves us and teaches us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Therefore, we must learn to love other people….” The Lord Jesus’ love moved me greatly and I wished to practice according to the Lord’s teachings and love my family and those around me. Afterward, whenever I disagreed with my mom about anything, I would let my mom speak first and try my best not to argue with her. If I couldn’t stand to hold my peace at the time and we ended up arguing about something, I would later go to her and admit fault. After a while, I felt as though my temper had improved a great deal, and my relationship with my mom became somewhat easier.
I’d thought then that my relationship with my mom would get better and better, but things didn’t quite turn out that way. As time went on, I was still unable to control my hot-headedness and I started arguing with my mom again. Even though sometimes I wouldn’t say anything to her, I would still be feeling disgruntled inside. My mom also rebuked me, saying, “You believe in the Lord now, so how come you still have such a bad temper?” Hearing her say this made me feel bad and I felt like all my hard work and all the changes I had gone through had come to naught. Thinking about it, however, this was exactly what had happened. Although I wanted to change, I just couldn’t restrain myself from losing my temper all the time. At that time, I inevitably came to have some questions: “Why am I still having frequent arguments with my mom? Why can’t I keep to the Lord’s words? How can I cast off the bonds of sin?”
Later on, I spoke to my brothers and sisters in the church about this matter, and some of them said to me, “You have to learn self-restraint. As our relationship with the Lord becomes closer and closer, we become more and more tolerant of our family members.” And some said to me, “This stage of ups and downs is totally normal, but our change always spirals upward, and what is certain is that we get better the more we change, so don’t have any doubts. The Lord’s salvation is wholly complete and He will begin His work in our lives so that we become newly-created people.” I also comforted myself by thinking, “Perhaps I just don’t work hard enough at it. What’s more, I haven’t believed in the Lord for long and my stature is small, and that’s why I can’t control my temper. When I have believed in the Lord for a long time, I should then be able to put the Lord’s words into practice.” Afterward, whenever I argued with my mom over our differing opinions, I did all I could to restrain myself from getting angry. Practicing in this way did occasionally have some effect, but I was never able to restrain myself for long before I lost my temper again. In my pain, all I could do was come before the Lord to pray: “O Lord! I can never stop myself from getting angry and I cannot restrain myself. I don’t know what to do. Please can You help me? …”
Will the Lord Perform New Work When He Returns?
A fortuitous chance led me to get acquainted with several brothers and sisters online. We often studied the Bible and attended gatherings with each other and would discuss with each other our understanding and knowledge of Bible verses. In particular, the fellowships of Brother Lin were particularly illuminating and enlightening; I reaped much benefit from them and understood many truths I had never understood before. I really enjoyed attending gatherings with these brothers and sisters.
At one gathering, we discussed the topic of the Lord Jesus’ return. Brother Lin sent us two verses from 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). He then gave us fellowship, saying, “We can see from these two verses that, when the Lord Jesus returns in the last days, He shall perform a new work to save us utterly from the bonds of sin so that we may be purified and attain the true.”
Listening to Brother Lin’s fellowship, I felt like I could not totally accept what he was saying, so I told him my opinion: “Although we are still capable of committing sin, the Lord Jesus’ crucifixion has redeemed us and He no longer regards us as sinners. What’s more, the Lord said, ‘It is finished’ when He was upon the cross, which shows that God’s salvation is already complete and His work to save mankind is finished. So how can you say that God still has new work to do in the last days?”
Brother Lin said, “Sister, what exactly did the Lord Jesus mean when He said, ‘It is finished’ upon the cross? If we go by our own understanding and say that, by saying, ‘It is finished,’ the Lord Jesus meant that God’s work was completely finished, then how would the Lord’s words be fulfilled, when He 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)? Also, the Lord prophesied that, when He returns in the last days, He shall perform the work of separating the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats and the wise virgins from the foolish virgins. In Revelation 14:6, it says, ‘And I saw another angel fly in the middle of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.’ If the Lord performs no new work in the last days, wouldn’t such prophecies come to nothing? Our belief, therefore, that by saying ‘It is finished,’ the Lord Jesus meant that God’s work to save mankind was totally finished, is surely an understanding that arises from our own conceptions and imaginings, and does not, in fact, accord with the facts of God’s work.”
As I listened to Brother Lin’s fellowship, I couldn’t help but think: “That’s right. If God’s work to save mankind was over already, how then would these prophecies spoken by the Lord Jesus come to pass? The Lord is faithful, and His prophecies cannot possibly come to nothing….”
Brother Lin went on with his fellowship, saying, “In actual fact, when the Lord Jesus said, ‘It is finished’ upon the cross, He meant that God’s work to redeem mankind was completed, and not that His work to save mankind was totally finished. This is because the work of the Lord Jesus was the work of redemption and it was done to absolve us of our sins; it did not, however, remove our sinful nature and satanic dispositions. Therefore, we need God to perform a further stage of work that thoroughly changes and cleanses us. Let’s now read some passages that tackle this issue.” Brother Lin then read: “To man, God’s crucifixion concluded the work of God’s incarnation, redeemed all of mankind, and allowed Him to seize the key to Hades. Everyone thinks God’s work has been fully accomplished. In actuality, to God, only a small part of His work has been accomplished. He has only redeemed mankind; He has not conquered mankind, let alone changed the ugliness of Satan in man. That is why God says, ‘Although My incarnate flesh went through the pain of death, that was not the whole goal of My incarnation. Jesus is My beloved Son and was nailed to the cross for Me, but He did not fully conclude My work. He only did a portion of it’” (“Work and Entry (6)” in). “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 men sin in the day only to confess in the evening. This way, even if 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” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
After he’d finished reading, Brother Lin went on with his fellowship. “These two passages speak very clearly. In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus appeared in the flesh and performed His work, He expressed the way of ‘Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’ (Matthew 4:17), and He taught people to understand many truths. Afterward, He was crucified, thereby completing His work to redeem mankind. When we believe in the Lord, as long as we come before the Lord to repent and confess our sins, then our sins are forgiven. However, we have been so deeply corrupted by Satan that such satanic dispositions as being arrogant and conceited, selfish and contemptible, crooked and deceitful, wicked and greedy, have become our lives; we all crave wealth, status, fame and fortune and, just as worldly people do, we pursue lives of luxury and depravity, and we enjoy the pleasures of sin. When we associate with others, we always think our own views are exceptionally clever and we always try to prevail over others, to make others listen to us, and we have no tolerance or patience for other people. We find it hard even to get along with our own friends and families. Just as the apostle Paul said: ‘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’ (Romans 7:18–19). We are subject to the bonds and fetters of our satanic dispositions and we are frequently unable to stop ourselves from sinning and resisting God. Even were our sins to be forgiven a thousand times, we would remain people who have been deeply corrupted by Satan. Can we then say that God’s work to save mankind is completely finished? If God did not come in the last days to work and save us, how would we—so completely filthy and sordid—be qualified to look upon the face of the Lord and be raised up into the kingdom of heaven?say, ‘You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy’ (Leviticus 11:45). God is holy and His disposition is righteous and inviolable. Consequently, God will not bring filthy and corrupt people into His kingdom. Only by accepting God’s appearance and work in the last days, by thoroughly casting off the bonds and fetters of sin and achieving change in our dispositions will we be able to attain God’s complete salvation and be qualified to look upon the Lord’s face and enter into heaven.”
Why Do Christians Still Sin After Being Saved?
Although our sins are forgiven by the Lord, we have never been able to escape the bondage of sin, we often lie and deceive, we are stuck in the cycle of sinning and confessing, and we cannot keep the Lord’s teachings. So, will we be raptured into the kingdom of heaven? Let's explore the issue together.
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