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How to Be Free From Sin: I Found the Path

107

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?”

How to Be Free From Sin

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.

How to Be Free 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.

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