Can We Enter the Kingdom of Heaven Now That Our Sins Have Been Forgiven
He Jun, Sichuan
Sunday August 5th, 2018. Cloudy.
After the meeting today, a brother came seeking me, his face filled with worry. He said that God requires people to be sanctified, but that he often involuntarily commits sin, and if he always lives like this in sin, then will he be able to enter into the kingdom of heaven when the Lord comes? I told him that thewas crucified and that He took upon Himself all our sins, paying the price with His life. I said that our sins had been forgiven because of our faith in the Lord Jesus, and that the Lord no longer saw us as sinners, and that as long as we could give up everything and expend ourselves, work hard for the Lord, and endure till the very end, then we would be raptured up into the kingdom of heaven when the Lord returned. After the brother heard me say this, he looked as though he hadn’t gotten the answer he’d wanted, and he left looking somewhat disappointed. As I watched him walk away, I felt some very complex emotions. To tell the truth, didn’t I have the same worries as this brother did? Thinking of how I had believed in the Lord for many years but had often been bound by sin, and had been living in a condition whereby I sinned in the daytime and confessed in the evening, I didn’t wish to keep living that way either. But I really wasn’t capable of overcoming sin, and so I often prayed to the Lord and strengthened my reading of the scriptures. And yet I never resolved the problem of my sins. The Lord is holy, so would He commend someone like me, so filled with sin?
Tuesday August 7th, 2018. Cloudy.
Today I had a quarrel with my wife over a trivial matter, and I feel both self-reproach and distress. How come I’m repeating past mistakes again? This evening, I wept as I prayed to the Lord and confessed my sins, and after I’d prayed, I still felt upset. I thought of the Lord’s teachings: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). These words are primarily asking us to love God with all our hearts and all our souls, and secondly that we have to love others as we do ourselves; brothers and sisters should encourage each other, be tolerant and patient with each other and give each other comfort and consolation. This is something we should do as Christians, and only in this way can we live lives which glorify the Lord and testify to Him. But over the past years of my belief in the Lord, I haven’t even met this one requirement: When at home, sometimes my wife and I quarrel over small matters; when at church and brothers and sisters say things that cause me to lose face, I start to feel prejudiced against them, and sometimes even ignore them. Most of the time, I pray saying that I wish to love the Lord, but when something unpleasant happens at home or some accident happens, I still misunderstand and blame the Lord, thinking “I’ve expended myself for the Lord so why doesn’t He protect me? …” Oh, nothing I do meets the Lord’s requirements nor conforms to the Lord’s will. Although I often pray to the Lord, I still sin often, and I cannot control it no matter how much I may want to. I often think: “Although my sins have been forgiven because of my belief in the Lord, I still always sin and displease the Lord. If I carry on this way, will I be able to enter into the kingdom of heaven when the Lord comes? How can I stop committing sins?”
Recently, I’ve frequently consulted the Bible, and sought the pastors and elders out many times, but I’ve never gotten a satisfactory answer. This issue is directly linked to the important matter of whether or not I will be able to enter into the kingdom of heaven, and I can’t let it go no matter what. The Lord said: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). I believe that, as long as I have a seeking heart, then the Lord will surely enlighten me.
Sunday August 12th, 2018. Overcast.
This morning, after saying an earnest prayer to the Lord, as usual, I opened up the Bible and began my spiritual devotions. I then read a verse in Revelation that stirred my heart: “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defiles, neither whatever works abomination, or makes a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27). The Bible is telling us clearly that those of us who haven’t been cleansed cannot enter into it, and doesn’t this “it” refer to the kingdom of heaven? Then I read chapter 7, verse 21 in the Gospel of Matthew: “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.” And also John 8:34-35 say, “Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin. And the servant stays not in the house for ever: but the Son stays ever.” As I contemplated these verses of Scripture, I thought that, although I’ve prayed to the Lord and read the Bible every day over all these years of my belief in the Lord, and have often spread the gospel and worked, given things up and expended myself for Him, I still knowingly commit sin, I sin and then confess, and I can’t adhere to the Lord’s teachings or practice what the Lord requires. I’m clearly not someone who does the will of the Father which is in heaven, much less am I someone who has been cleansed, so will I still be able to enter into the kingdom of heaven? The kingdom of heaven is God’s kingdom and God is holy, so how could someone who is covered in filth and who always sins ever be qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven and live together with God? It seems as though entering the kingdom of heaven is not as simple as we imagined!
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