How to Be Free From Sin: I Found the Path
By Meng’ai, Taiwan
Editor’s Note: Meng’ai is a third-generation Christian who has consistently served within the church, but in recent years she discovered that in spite of her resolute faith and service for the Lord, she was still constrained by the bonds of sin to the point that she wasn’t even able to be tolerant or forgiving of her own husband. When she read the word of God that says “You shall be holy; for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44), she realized that if she continued to frequently sin she wouldn’t be qualified to see the Lord’s face. This was really vexing for her. However, now she has found the path to being free of sin, and her relationship with her husband has also become harmonious. How did Meng’ai find this path to freedom from sin? Let’s take a look at her experience.
Living in Sin, in Terrible Pain
I’ve been going to church since I was little and I’ve always loved having fellowship with brothers and sisters on the Lord’s words. After getting married my husband and I still put the work of the church first, and we were actively engaged in service for the church, in things large and small.
But over time I discovered that my brothers and sisters were all living in sin and were unable to adhere to the Lord’s teachings. For example, the pastors’ sermons were devoid of light, plus they were always trying to get us to make offerings, and their concern for money was far greater than their concern for our lives; the pastors and elders were constantly infighting and squabbling for their personal status and benefit; brothers and sisters attended church services less and less frequently, and some of them would just engage in small talk or discuss entertainment if they came at all, and some even fell asleep during sermons. It was how they relieved their stress from work.
I myself was also unable to sense the guidance of the Lord; going to work and participating in service for the church was always really tiring. What was really painful for me was that I was living within a vicious cycle of sinning and then confessing; every time I saw my husband come home and get lost in online games and neglect the things he should be doing I couldn’t help but lose my temper with him and tell him to do this or that with an imperious tone. When I saw that he seemed to have no regard for my existence and didn’t take what I said seriously I’d become even angrier and would yell at him really harshly. There were even times when I would see him doing something really slowly and I wasn’t able to be tolerant or patient with him, but would complain about how inefficiently he did things. For these reasons, my husband would often reprove me for being a believer all those years without making any changes.
I felt guilty in the face of my husband’s reprobations and I thought of these words from the Lord Jesus: “And why behold you the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull out the mote out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3–4). The Lord taught us not to always look at others’ faults and shortcomings, but to look more into our own inadequacies. But whenever my husband said or did something I didn’t like I just couldn’t be tolerant of him, plus I would frequently lose my temper and gripe about him; this created a rift between us. Thinking over this was really painful for me. God said, “You shall be holy; for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44). God is holy and those who are not holy cannot see the Lord. I, however, was constantly sinning and could not adhere to the Lord’s teachings. Could a sinner like me get into the kingdom of heaven? I was constantly ruminating over this question and I felt really unsettled.
In my pain I cried out to the Lord. “Oh Lord, I don’t want to sin but I really can’t control myself. Living in sin is really painful for me, but I don’t know how to escape it. Lord, what can I do? If I go on this way will You cast me out?”
The Pastor Can’t Answer the Question of Sinning
In my pain and helplessness, I reached out to the pastor to pursue this question, but he said, “Don’t worry. Even though we sin a lot now, the Lord Jesus has already forgiven all of our sins, so at any time all we need to do is pray and confess to the Lord, when He returns we’ll be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. You’re having a hard time with your husband and feel that he has too many faults—we should practice more tolerance and patience….” The pastor’s response was hard for me to accept. If we can’t adhere to the Lord’s teachings and are constantly sinning, could we really enter the kingdom of heaven when He returns? I later read these Bible verses: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26). I understood the Lord’s will from these two verses—all those who have sinful natures cannot gain the Lord’s approval and they’re not at all worthy to see His face. If a person knows that something is a sin but still does that intentionally, there will be no sacrifice for sins. Based on what the pastor said, those who frequently sin, who sell out the Lord and their friends, pilfer offerings, engage in licentiousness, lie and cheat, and pursue evil trends could really just pray and confess to the Lord and get into the kingdom of heaven? These doubts never left me.
I didn’t know what to do to free myself from sin, but to improve my relationship with my husband I tried to follow what the pastor said about being tolerant and patient, but nothing changed between us. In my suffering I once again reached out to the pastor, but he just shook his head in frustration and said, “I don’t have a good solution to the problem of always sinning and confessing. The Bible says, ‘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’ (Romans 7:18–19). We can’t help but sin, so just repent and confess to the Lord more often and I’ll pray for you as well.” Hearing him say this I completely lost hope. All I could do was pray and ask the Lord to guide me to a path of freedom from sin.
Where Man Ends, God Begins: Finding the Root of Sin
I met Sister Susan online on May 28, 2018. We often shared fellowship on Bible passages and she had very unique insight into Scripture. Her fellowship was full of light and she was able to explain the root of the church’s desolation. It was something I had never heard within the church. I later shared the question that had been perplexing me for years with Sister Susan. “Sister, I’ve been a believer for a number of years but I’m still always living in sin. I can’t even practice patience and tolerance. The Bible says, ‘You shall be holy; for I am holy’ (Leviticus 11:44). ‘For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins’ (Hebrews 10:26). The Lord is holy, so can people such as us who always live in sin and haven’t been cleansed enter the kingdom of heaven? I’ve asked the pastor about this but he just says that even though we frequently sin, the Lord has forgiven our sins and as long as we confess and repent to the Lord, when He comes He’ll take us into the kingdom of heaven. I have my doubts about this. Sister Susan, can you tell me what you think about this?”
Sister Susan shared this fellowship with me: “This is a really important question that you’ve raised and it’s directly relevant to the critical issue of us being fully saved and entering the kingdom of heaven. Pastors and elders in the religious world generally believe that the Lord Jesus was crucified to atone for all of our sins, so as long as we pray and confess to Him frequently, when He comes we’ll be able to get into the kingdom of heaven as expected. But is this understanding in line with the truth? As believers in the Lord, our sins have been forgiven, but does this mean that when He comes we’ll be able to directly enter the kingdom of heaven? The Lord Jesus never said that we could enter the kingdom of heaven just because our sins have been forgiven. On the contrary, He told us: ‘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). And Jehovah God clearly told us ‘You shall be holy; for I am holy’ (Leviticus 11:44). God is righteous and holy and detests all things of filth; He absolutely would not bring people who frequently sin and oppose Him, who are completely sullied, into the kingdom of heaven. Only if we fully cast off our corruption and are cleansed, and become people who genuinely worship, submit to, and love God can we be qualified to get into the kingdom of God.” This fellowship deeply resonated with me. I thought, “It’s true. How could we get into the kingdom of heaven, being so sullied? How could God’s righteousness and holiness be manifested that way?”
Sister Susan continued to share this fellowship: “Even though we usually do offer heartfelt prayers and confessions to the Lord and do our absolute best to put His teachings into practice, no matter how hard we work, we still can’t escape the confines of sin. We live in a vicious cycle of sinning by day and confessing by night that we just can’t extricate ourselves from. What’s going on here? Reading a couple of passages will elucidate this issue for us.” Sister Susan opened up a book and read aloud: “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). “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).
After reading these words, Sister Susan continued on with her fellowship: “Now that we’ve read these two passages, isn’t the reason we’re never able to escape from the constraints of the shackles of sin a bit clearer? It’s primarily because we’ve been so deeply corrupted by Satan, so even though we’ve been redeemed by the Lord Jesus, our satanic natures that make us sin are still deeply entrenched. That’s why we can’t help but frequently commit sins and oppose God. We all know that the Lord Jesus became flesh in the Age of Grace and did the stage of work of redemption, saving mankind from sin and allowing us to escape the condemnation and strictures of the law—this way we could become qualified to come before God. The Lord Jesus forgave our sins, but He didn’t redeem us of our satanic dispositions such as arrogance, selfishness, deceitfulness, and evil. We still live within a vicious cycle of sinning and confessing, and we can’t find release. For example, our natures are incredibly tricky, deceitful, selfish, and despicable, and no matter what we do it’s for the sake of our own benefit. In our interactions with others we can’t help but lie and behave deceptively to protect our own interests, status, and face. We’re unable to live out what the Lord requires: being simple and honest just like little children. Our natures are incredibly arrogant, and in everything we face we always want others to act according to our own wishes. As soon as someone does something that displeases us we lose our tempers, scolding and controlling them. Plus, even though we believe in the Lord we don’t focus on putting His words or requirements into practice. Instead, we prefer to follow the evil trends of the world; we pursue fleshly comforts and pleasures like money, name, and status just as nonbelievers do. The list goes on. Our satanic dispositions are really deeply rooted, so we just can’t help but violate the Lord’s teachings, and even though we confess really often, our very natures are still in opposition to God—we still can’t get into the kingdom of heaven. God is expressing more truths in the last days so that He can fully save us from sin; He’s judging our corrupt dispositions to get rid of our incorrect motives and our adulterations to completely cleanse and transform us. Only by accepting God’s work of judgment of the last days and gaining the truths that He expresses can we fully cast off our corrupt dispositions and be qualified to enter into God’s kingdom.”
After hearing what Sister Susan read and her fellowship, I understood that the reason I couldn’t hold back my temper when my husband did something I didn’t like, no matter how hard I tried to restrain myself, was all because of my sinful nature. The Lord Jesus did the work of redemption and that was just to absolve our sins, but He did not absolve us of our sinful natures. We’re still controlled by sinfulness, so we frequently sin and oppose God; we can’t be compatible with God, and so we’re still unworthy of entering His kingdom. So what can we do to cast off our sin? When this occurred to me, I shared my quandary with her.
God’s Judgment Is Our Only Path to Freedom From Sin
Hearing my question, Sister Susan smiled and shared more fellowship. “In fact, this is something that was prophesied in the Bible long ago. The Lord Jesus said, ‘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). ‘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 12:48). In 1 Peter 4:17 it says, ‘For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God,’ and then in 1 Peter 1:5 it is written, ‘Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.’ These Bible verses show us that after accepting the Lord Jesus’ salvation, even though we’ve been freed from the condemnation and the bonds of the law, and we’re able to come before God to confess and repent at any time, our stature is still too small. If God had provided us with all the truths to change our dispositions so we could be cleansed and fully saved by God at the time the Lord Jesus was working, we would have been totally incapable of accepting or understanding it. This is why God has expressed all truths in the last days so that we may undergo dispositional change and be completely saved, and why He is doing the stage of work of judgment beginning with the house of God in order to judge and cleanse our satanic dispositions so that we can be completely gained by God and ultimately be brought into His kingdom.”
Sister Susan then said enthusiastically, “Sister, the truth is that the Lord Jesus, who we have been eagerly awaiting, has already returned. He is Christ of the last days, Almighty God, and He has already appeared and is working among us. He has come to judge and cleanse our corrupt dispositions, and to ultimately make us into people who truly obey and love God to bring us into God’s kingdom. If we only accept the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption but do not follow Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days, we’ll never be freed of the bonds of sin and will not be able to achieve dispositional change. And even more, we won’t be qualified to enter God’s kingdom.”
Sister Susan’s fellowship made a lot of sense and I was in complete agreement. When I heard her say that the Lord Jesus had already returned and was doing the work of judging and cleansing mankind I felt particularly excited. At the same time, I realized that my husband and I were living in sin because we hadn’t yet accepted God’s work of judgment in the last days, but instead I just kept seeking out the pastor thinking that he had believed in the Lord for a long time so had to have greater understanding, so he should be able to resolve my problem. But to my surprise, the pastor himself was living in sin, so how could he fellowship the path to freedom from sin with me? I had been so foolish! Only Christ is the truth, the way, and the life, and only God can point out our path, our direction. As I thought through this, I felt like I had just caught hold of a lifeline—I was overflowing with joy and so thankful that the Lord had not cast me aside. I could finally escape from the shackles of sin and get away from a life of such pain! I hurried to ask Sister Susan how Almighty God carries out His work of judgment in the last days.
She then read another passage of Almighty God’s words for me. “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).
After reading this Sister Susan continued her fellowship. “In the last days, God has expressed a variety of aspects of the truth in accordance with the needs of corrupt humanity, exposing and dissecting our satanic natures and dispositions. He has also expressed God’s own disposition so that we may understand it, and He’s pointed out the path to free ourselves from all sorts of corrupt dispositions and achieve full salvation. Through the judgment and chastisement of God’s words we can gradually gain true understanding of our corrupt natures and the truth of how we’ve been corrupted by Satan. We see how deeply we’ve been corrupted by Satan and that we’re full of arrogant, deceptive, tricky, selfish, and despicable satanic dispositions without a shred of a human likeness. Even though we believe in God and expend ourselves for Him we’re always thinking of the grace and blessings we can get from Him without any of the conscience or reason a human being should possess. When God’s work is not in line with our notions, when troubles befall our family or other undesirable things occur, we develop notions about God and judge His work. We completely lack hearts of reverence for God. Through revelations of the truth we develop genuine disgust for our own satanic natures while also gaining some true understanding of God’s righteous disposition and holy essence. We also know that we should seek to be honest people, unselfishly work and expend ourselves for God, and that we should stand in the position of a created being, submitting to God and obeying His arrangements whether or not His work and words are in line with our notions. Then over time we gain more and more understanding of God’s disposition, and we gain more and more clarity on our own corruption, deficiencies, and the path of practice we should enter into. Then a heart of reverence for God gradually develops within us and we begin to place importance on repenting, seeking the truth, and consciously forsaking the flesh and putting the truth into practice. By always experiencing the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, and practicing and entering into His words, our corrupt dispositions will change to varying degrees and we’ll gain some genuine reverence and obedience of God—we’ll start to have a bit of a human likeness. All the brothers and sisters who have experienced a few years of Almighty God’s judgment work of the last days have learned that we, corrupt humans, must accept God’s judgment work of the last days if we want to be cleansed. This is our only path to freedom from sin and being fully saved by God in our faith!”
Thanks be to God! After hearing Almighty God’s words and Sister Susan’s fellowship, my heart really brightened. I saw that God utters words to judge our corruption so that we can understand our own corrupt dispositions—it’s so practical! I had believed in the Lord for many years but had never been able to escape the bonds of sin; I had been living in so much pain, but I had finally found a path! I came before God and made a heartfelt prayer to Him, willing to focus on experiencing the judgment of His words in my life from that point forward so that my corrupt disposition could be cleansed and transformed someday soon.
In the days that followed, I read the words expressed by Almighty God, plus watched gospel films and listened to hymns by The Church of Almighty God every day on The Church of Almighty God app. I also started regularly attending gatherings with other brothers and sisters, sharing fellowship on Almighty God’s words. I could feel the guidance of the Holy Spirit—I had a great deal of spiritual enjoyment. By reading God’s words I understood how Satan corrupts mankind, how God works to save mankind, and I gained some understanding of the essence of people’s resistance to God and betrayal of Him. Almighty God’s words really possess authority and power and reveal all of our corruption and internal thinking. No human being could say these words; this is because only God can deeply scrutinize our hearts and minds. I became certain from the heart that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus!
Harmony at Home After Practicing God’s Words
Getting home around 11:00 p.m. one evening after work, I saw that my husband was playing video games again. Anger welled up within me and I thought, “I’m working so hard, but you’ve got it easy, just sitting around playing video games at home all day!” I wanted to give him a piece of my mind, but just as it was on the tip of my tongue I suddenly thought of a passage of God’s words I had read a couple of days before. “Once a man has status, he will often find it difficult to control his mood, and so he will enjoy seizing upon instances to express his dissatisfaction and vent his emotions; he will often flare up into rage for no apparent reason, so as to reveal his ability and let others know that his status and identity are different from those of ordinary people. Of course, corrupt people without any status will also frequently lose control. Their anger is frequently caused by damage to their individual benefits. In order to protect their own status and dignity, corrupt mankind will frequently vent their emotions and reveal their arrogant nature. Man will flare up in anger and vent his emotions in order to defend the existence of sin, and these actions are the ways with which man expresses his dissatisfaction” (“God Himself, the Unique II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words very incisively revealed my corrupt disposition; I realized that wanting to lose my cool and scold my husband when I saw he wasn’t behaving the way I wanted him to was entirely caused by my own arrogant nature. My husband and I are both corrupt people, so I shouldn’t scold him as if I stand above him. My temper is something that reveals my satanic disposition; it’s a way for me to air my grievances, and it’s a negative thing. I shouldn’t let my corrupt disposition dictate my actions as I had before, otherwise it could never be changed. As I reflected on myself, I gradually became calmer and didn’t take out my anger on my husband again.
That experience showed me just how necessary God’s work of judgment in the last days is! If it weren’t for the revelations and judgment of God’s words we would never recognize our own corrupt dispositions, and no matter how tolerant, patient, or restrained we were it would just be superficial action that could never resolve the underlying issue of sinfulness. Only now that I’ve really experienced the judgment of God’s words have I seen how serious my arrogant disposition is. It’s something deep within my soul, and only by undergoing judgment and chastisement can it be cleansed and transformed.
After a period of time I started to gain a shallow understanding of my corrupt disposition. I no longer relied on my corrupt disposition in my interactions with my husband, always focusing my gaze on him. When I encountered those sorts of situations I would first quiet myself and pray to God, seeking His guidance and searching for a path from God’s words to consciously forsake the flesh and put the truth into practice. One day my husband said to me out of the blue, “You’ve really changed! Since believing in Almighty God you’re like a different person. You’re not as easily upset anymore; you just talk things out whenever there’s an issue.” Within my heart I gave thanks to God over and over again—I knew that this had been achieved in me through the judgment and chastisement of God’s words. Even more surprising for me was that my husband took the initiative to look into Almighty God’s work of the last days, and he accepted it. Later on he realized from God’s words that video games came from an evil trend given rise to by Satan, that it’s one way Satan lures and corrupts human beings; he gained some understanding of the essence of online games and the harm they do. Through praying, leaning on God, and reading God’s words, he gradually came to feel that playing games was an empty, boring pursuit, and he was no longer lost in them like he had been before.
God’s words are the principle for all our interactions now. When something doesn’t go well we find a path to resolve it in God’s words, and our home is finally filled with the sounds of laughter and joy. Even though the transformation I’ve achieved through the judgment and chastisement of God’s words is still limited, through my experiences I’ve truly felt that the only way to cleanse and transform a corrupt disposition is through the judgment and chastisement of God’s words. God’s work of judgment in the last days is entirely necessary for us to be cleansed and be fully saved. Now that I’ve finally found the path to being purified I have such calm and peace in my heart. I give thanks to God!