How Can Christians Stay Away From Sin? I Found the Way
By Kemu, Myanmar
Editor’s Note: As a Christian, do you often feel distressed because you can’t free yourself from the shackles of sin? Are you looking high and low for the way to be free of sin? Sister Kemu used to feel sorrowful and distressed that she couldn’t find the way to be free from sin, and she worried that the Lord would abandon her. Now, however, she has welcomed the return of the Lord and has found the way to be free from sin. By reading the article below, you too will find this way.
Because of a sickness I was suffering with in 2005, I began to believe in the Lord Jesus. A few years later, my husband was suddenly sent to prison for illegal dealings in his business, and he was looking at imprisonment for life. I felt as though the sun was suddenly obscured by thick clouds and I was at a loss as to what to do. Feeling helpless, I often fasted and prayed to the Lord. The Lord heard my prayers, and my husband was released just over two months later. Through this personal experience, I saw that the Lord was my help and support at need, and I was resolved to serve the Lord in earnest. Thereafter, I often went into the village to preach the gospel and bear testimony, I never missed a weekly meeting, and I donated a tithe of my monthly salary to the church. Because our family was reasonably well-off, my younger brother, my nephew, my niece and some other relatives, as well as some orphans from the village, came and lived in our house. I led them to believe in the Lord, and I often held meetings, prayed and read the Bible with them. I also tried hard to practice the Lord’s teachings in my life, and I hoped that I could bring my entire family along with me by using how I was living my life as an example, so that they too would believe in and follow the Lord in earnest. I believed that, as long as I kept up my enthusiastic pursuit, expended myself and worked hard for the Lord and stuck it out till the end, then the Lord would certainly raise me up into heaven when He returned.
In 2016, however, without knowing why, my faith began to cool, and I often felt dispirited and spiritually weak. I had a strong feeling that the Lord wasn’t by my side, nor was I able to practice the Lord’s words. Whenever I saw someone in my family doing something I didn’t like, I couldn’t help but get angry at them, and I often got into arguments with my husband over household chores. Whenever I got angry or argued with someone in my family, I would feel terrible and would hurriedly pray and confess my sins to the Lord. Afterward, however, I would just repeat the same old mistakes. What made me even more distressed was that my family lost interest in meeting together and reading the Bible because of the effect I was having on them. I saw that not only was I not bringing my family along with me in my faith, but on the contrary, I was causing them to fall by the wayside. This pained me a great deal, and all I could do was pray frequently to the Lord: “O Lord! I always grieve You and disappoint You. I clearly state not to do anything that displeases You, and yet I can’t control myself, and I can never stop myself from sinning and causing You grief. O Lord! I really don’t want to live in such a state, I don’t want to influence my brothers and sisters with the way I’m living, and I really don’t want to be someone You abandon. Please help me to get through this predicament….”
So as to rid myself of this depressing situation, I stepped up my reading of the Bible, and I even went into the mountains to fast and pray. But sometimes I would only read a few lines of scripture before I got tired, and I would only be able to say a few words of prayer before falling fast asleep. I visited a few churches in the local area, hoping to find a church that had the work of the Holy Spirit. To my surprise, however, every church was the same: The believers were all dispirited and spiritually weak, their faith was weak also, they coveted worldly pleasures and they could not free themselves from the shackles of sin. I felt very disappointed, and I asked my pastor whether or not we would be able to get into heaven by living in such a state as this. He told me that the Lord doesn’t see our weaknesses, and that we will definitely be able to get into heaven so long as we never depart from the Lord’s way, expend ourselves and dedicate ourselves for the Lord, and stick it out to the very end. What the pastor said sounded right, but I always had this uneasy feeling in my heart.
Just when I was feeling lost, I met Sister Qin, who was in Germany, on Facebook in November 2017. I spoke with her about my state of spiritual darkness and pain, and I told her that I really wanted to recover my faith and love for the Lord. Sister Qin listened to me and then sent me this passage: “If you are unable to summon the strength within you to love God, then how can you pray? You should say: ‘O God! My heart is incapable of truly loving You, I wish to love You but I lack the strength. What should I do? I wish for You to open the eyes of my spirit, I wish for Your Spirit to touch my heart, so that before You I am divested of all passive states, and unconstrained by any person, matter, or thing; my heart I completely lay bare before You…. Now, I pursue the love of You, and regardless of whether You let me love You, regardless of how Satan interferes, I am determined to love You.’ When you encounter such things, you pray in this way. If you do so every day, the strength to love God will gradually rise up” (“Concerning the Practice of Prayer” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
After I’d read this passage, tears fell from my eyes. I felt that these words were so wonderful and that they were talking precisely about my current state; I knew I had to have this kind of open-hearted prayer with God! As I contemplated this passage, I felt in my heart as though I were drawing close to God, and I felt stronger. Sister Qin then said to me, “Sister, if we believe in the Lord but we do not feel Him beside us, then we will be unable to obtain His commendation. Therefore, we cannot just allow ourselves to become mired in a state of negativity and weakness, but instead we have to actively seek the appearance and work of the Lord. Only when we find the wellspring of life and obtain the work of the Holy Spirit can our parched spirits be watered and nourished, and only then can we recover our faith and love. We are now in the last days and the prophecies in the Bible concerning the Lord Jesus’ return have basically all been fulfilled. At the crucial moment of welcoming the Lord, we must fellowship more about the Lord’s words with brothers and sisters who are in pursuit of the truth and we must seek the appearance of the Lord, for only by doing this is it possible to find the Lord’s footsteps and avoid being abandoned by the Lord!”
Sister Qin then introduced me to Sister Lucy and Sister Xiling. When we held meetings together, I heard them say that God’s name always changes along with His work, and that when God comes to work in the last days, He will not be called Jesus any longer, but will be called Almighty God. I still believed, however, that only by praying in the name of the Lord Jesus could we be saved, and so I didn’t make much effort to seek the truths the sisters had spoken of. One morning, I felt empty and listless, so I went onto YouTube and typed in the words “The Church of Almighty God” which the sisters had mentioned. Unexpectedly, many gospel movies and videos leapt out at me from the webpage, and I clicked on the two movies, Awakening in the Adversity of Persecution and Sweetness in Adversity, and I watched them both. The experiences of the protagonists in the videos really drew me in and they moved me deeply. They faced cruel torture and torment at the hands of the CCP government, and yet they were still able to keep their faith in God and love for God. This kind of faith and love was precisely what I was yearning for, and I cried as I watched the videos. What was even more wonderful was that the passage Sister Qin had sent me before about how to pray also appeared in the videos, and I finally realized that those words were the words of Almighty God. I remembered it saying in the words Sister Qin had read to me: “I was once known as Jehovah. I was also called the Messiah, and people once called Me Jesus the Savior because they loved and respected Me. But today I am not the Jehovah or Jesus that people knew in times past—I am the God who has returned in the last days, the God who shall bring the age to an end. I am the God Himself that rises up at the ends of the earth, replete with My entire disposition, and full of authority, honor and glory” (“The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud’” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). It looked to me now as though Almighty God was indeed the second coming of the Lord Jesus! I immediately sent Sister Qin a message, arranging a time for us to hold our next meeting. At that meeting, I asked the sisters directly whether or not what they had testified to me previously was the work of Almighty God. I also told them that, through watching those movies online, I had come to understand that Almighty God was the Lord Jesus returned in the flesh. Sister Lucy then said excitedly, “Sister, let us give thanks to the grace of God that you have come to understand this today!” At that moment, I felt both happy and ashamed. From that day on, I attended meetings online with my sisters three or four times a week and I watched The Church of Almighty God’s movies and hymn videos every day. The more I watched, the more light pervaded my heart, and I didn’t feel sleepy or fatigued in the slightest. Moreover, I felt my faith in the Lord and my love for the Lord return; I felt as though I had returned once again into the Lord’s embrace, and I felt happy.
In the next meeting, I sought the answer from my sisters as to why I could never free myself from the shackles of sin. Sister Lucy gave me fellowship, saying, “This is a good question. The Bible says, ‘For the wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23). While we are still capable of frequently sinning and resisting God, we are unable to enter into God’s kingdom. Understanding this question, therefore, has a direct bearing on whether or not we can enter into heaven in our faith in God. First, let’s read a few passages of Almighty God’s words. God says: ‘At the time Jesus’ work was the redemption of all mankind. The sins of all who believed in Him were forgiven; as long as you believed in Him, He would redeem you; if you believed in Him, you were no longer a sinner, you were relieved of your sins. This is what it meant to be saved, and to be justified by faith. Yet in those who believed, there remained that which was rebellious and opposed God, and which still had to be slowly removed. Salvation did not mean man had been completely gained by Jesus, but that man was no longer of sin, that he had been forgiven his sins: Provided you believed, you would never more be of sin’ (‘The Vision of God’s Work (2)’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘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). ‘And so, after man was forgiven his sins, God has returned to flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment, and this work has brought man into a higher realm. All those who submit under His dominion shall enjoy higher truth and receive greater blessings. They shall truly live in the light, and shall gain the truth, the way, and the life’ (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh).”
Sister Lucy then went on with her fellowship, saying, “Almighty God’s words speak very clearly. The Lord Jesus was crucified and performed the work of redeeming humankind. He forgave us our sins and made it so that we were no longer subject to the condemnation and punishment of the Law. God no longer regarded us as sinners, either, and we can now pray to God and call on God directly, and we can enjoy God’s abundant grace. But the work performed by the Lord Jesus was just the work of redeeming humankind and was not the work of judging and purifying humankind that God performs in the last days. What the Lord Jesus absolved us of was just our sins, and He did not absolve us of our sinful nature—we are still filled with all manner of satanic dispositions, such as being arrogant and conceited, selfish and contemptible, crooked and deceitful, greedy and wicked, and we often cannot help but commit sin and resist God. In life, for example, even though we may be able to show a little tolerance, patience or forgiveness to others, and can compassionately do some things to help other people, this is just temporary good behavior. The moment someone does something which infringes upon our own interests, we judge them and chide them, and we expose our hot-bloodedness. What’s more, we appear on the outside to rush about and work for the Lord, and to give alms and donations, but inside us, however, we are filled with defilements and thoughts of making deals with God, and we do all these things in order to receive rewards and blessings from God and to share in the bliss of heaven; we don’t do these things because we genuinely love the Lord. The Lord is holy, and when we always live in sin, always confessing and then sinning again, then we are simply not fit to enter into God’s kingdom.
“The Lord Jesus knows our actual situation and has returned in the flesh in the last days to express His words and to perform the work of judgment beginning in God’s house. He does this to utterly uproot the cause of humankind’s sins and then lead those who have been purified into His kingdom. This precisely fulfills the Lord Jesus’ prophecies: ‘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). ‘And if any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 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 12:47–48).”
Through the revelations of God’s words and Sister Lucy’s fellowship, I came to understand that our belief in the Lord meant only that our sins were forgiven, but that within us there still remained our satanic nature and satanic dispositions, and these things were the root cause of our sins. Only by accepting God’s work of judgment in the last days will we be able to cast off our corrupt dispositions, attain purification, and be fit to enter into God’s kingdom.
I then sought with the sisters the answer to how Almighty God judges, purifies and changes people in the last days. The sisters first read to me two passages of God’s words: “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). “God has many means of perfecting man. He employs all manner of environments to deal with the corrupt disposition of man, and uses various things to lay man bare; in one regard He deals with man, in another He lays man bare, and in another He reveals man, digging out and revealing the ‘mysteries’ in the depths of man’s heart, and showing man his nature by revealing many of his states. God perfects man through many methods—through revelation, dealing, refinement, and chastisement—so that man may know that God is practical” (“Only Those Who Focus on Practice Can Be Perfected” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Sister Xiling then gave fellowship, saying, “God works in the last days to judge and purify us corrupt human beings, and to do this He uses all aspects of the truth to judge and expose our satanic nature and satanic dispositions which are the things that make us rebel against and resist God. He reveals His holy and righteous disposition which brooks no offense to enable us to see clearly the truth of our own corruption by Satan, to know God’s holy essence and righteous disposition, and so that there may arise within us a God-fearing heart. When we encounter issues in our lives, we begin to forsake our flesh and put God’s words into practice. By training and practicing in this way, little by little, we begin to remove ourselves from the shackles and bonds of sin, we attain purification and we receive the salvation of God. When we work together with others, for example, we always consider our own views to be correct and we don’t accept any difference in opinion from anyone else. We just keep on giving reasons why we are correct until other people end up feeling constrained and they no longer dare to make a suggestion. Through the revelations and judgment of God’s words, we see that we live by Satan’s axiom of logic of ‘I am my own lord throughout heaven and earth,’ and our disposition becomes incredibly arrogant and self-important, and we don’t listen to anyone. We always regard our own ideas to be the absolute truth and then we make others follow and submit to us; we have not a bit of a God-fearing heart, and much less do we have any sense of reason. We human beings should magnify God as the greatest, as the most high, but instead we always magnify ourselves as the greatest and we always think ourselves to be amazing people. By doing this, are we not trying to make others worship us as though we were God? And are we not promoting Satan and shaming God? When we come to this realization, we cannot help but feel deeply afraid, we perceive God’s disposition which brooks no offense, and we become willing to confess and repent our sins to God. When we make a conscious effort to forsake our arrogant disposition, we begin to downplay ourselves a lot more. Then, as long as a suggestion accords with the truth, we become able to accept it no matter who makes it, and we are able to get along with other people much more harmoniously.”
When I heard the sister give fellowship in this way, I couldn’t help but nod in agreement. I thought about how very arrogant and self-important I was, and whenever an issue arose, I could never help but reveal my corruption. It looked as though we ourselves are incapable of changing these corrupt dispositions, and that they can only be changed by undergoing God’s judgment and chastisement!
Sister Xiling then went on with her fellowship: “Furthermore, we give things up and expend ourselves, we suffer and we pay a price, and so we consider ourselves to be people who love God and who are qualified to enter into heaven and share in the bliss. But when we are struck by a serious illness or our lives become mired in adversity, we begin to complain to God, so much so that we become dispirited, we slack off, and refuse to do anything more for God. When the facts are revealed to us, we see that our love for God is false and deceptive. Satan’s axiom of logic, ‘Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost’ has already become our life and it has made us become incredibly selfish and self-interested. Whatever we do, we do it for the sake of our own fleshly interests, and even our worship of God—the most heavenly of decrees—is filled with our own motives and defilements, and we are completely devoid of conscience and reason. We then feel judged and reproved, and we feel remorse for our conduct. We no longer wish to make deals with God, but instead wish only to fulfill the duty of a created being with a God-loving heart. Through experiencing God judging and chastising us in this way, we truly come to see that, unless our satanic dispositions are uprooted, we are able to engage in rebelliousness and defiance toward God at any time and in any place. At the same time, we come to have some true understanding of God’s righteous disposition, and we see that God hates it when we live by the poisons of Satan, and that God blesses and takes delight in those who pursue the truth and who put His words into practice. We comprehend that the truths God expresses are His judgment and chastisement of humankind and that, even more than this, they are a purification of humankind, and there then arises within us a God-fearing heart. When we encounter issues thereafter, we focus on seeking the truth and practicing the truth, we obey God, and gradually we begin to live out a true human likeness.”
From the sisters’ fellowships on God’s words, I saw that the work of judgment God performs in the last days is the work of purifying and changing humankind. If we do not accept this stage of God’s work, then we human beings will be incapable of ever being free from the shackles and bonds of sin, and we will never attain true freedom and release. I also saw that my idea, that “as long as I pray and read the Bible lots, dedicate myself and expend myself for the Lord more, and stick it out till the very end, then I will be raised up into heaven” was so incredibly preposterous! We still possess many satanic corrupt dispositions, and unless we undergo God’s work of judgment in the last days and attain purification and change, then we will definitely not be fit to enter heaven!
From then on, I read Almighty God’s words every day, and I often reflected on and came to know my own corruption in the light of God’s words. Through the revelations of God’s words, I came to recognize that my frequent outbursts of temper were the expressions of my arrogant disposition, and that I was promoting Satan and shaming God. I no longer wished to live by this kind of corrupt disposition, and I became resolved to forsake my satanic dispositions, practice the truth and satisfy God. Afterward, whenever I saw someone in my family behaving in a way I didn’t like and I was about to get angry, I would consciously forsake myself and patiently have a conversation with them. I no longer constrained my nephew and niece like I used to, but instead allowed them a certain amount of freedom, and whenever I saw them do something wrong, I would calmly and gently help them to see the right thing to do. I was no longer always losing my temper with my husband, either. Sometimes, when I saw my husband chiding the children, I would speak with him patiently, and tell him that getting angry and hot-blooded were the expressions of a satanic arrogant disposition, that Christians had to live in the likeness of a true human being, and that we had to show the children love and understanding. My relationship with my family also became closer when they saw how I had changed. My husband said to my nephew, “How come your aunt has become so soft and gentle? I just can’t believe it!” My nephew replied, “Since auntie started believing in Almighty God, she’s like a whole different person. It’s unbelievable!” When I heard this, I felt so glad and happy, and I offered up my genuine thanks to Almighty God! It was Almighty God who had saved me from the tribulations of sinning and confessing, and it was He who had shown me the way to be free of sin and enabled me to live in the light!
Later on, together with my brothers and sisters in the church, I bore testimony to my family of God’s kingdom gospel and my whole family accepted it gladly. Thanks be to God for showing my family such kindness! Amen!