Can Those Who Live in Sin Lose Their Salvation? My Confusion Is Released
By Adi, Indonesia
Editor’s Notes: Regarding salvation, some Christians believe that since they recognize the Lord’s name, they are then saved and will be raptured up to the kingdom of heaven when the Lord returns. Some, however, maintain that the Lord is holy and that those who live in sin are unable to attain true salvation and enter the heavenly kingdom. So can those who have been saved enter the kingdom of heaven? Can those who live in sin lose their salvation? The experiences of the author will explain to you the mystery of “salvation.”
In 2013, a Christian friend shared with me the gospel of the Lord Jesus. He told me that we all used to be sinners and that it was because the Lord Jesus redeemed us through crucifixion that our sins were forgiven. Moved by the Lord Jesus’ love, I happily accepted the gospel of the Lord Jesus. At that time, the elder often talked about these Bible verses to us: “That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation” (Romans 10:9–10). I was so happy to hear this and felt I had something to look forward to in my faith in the Lord. I believed that since I recognized the Lord’s name, I had been saved and would be taken into the kingdom of heaven when the Lord returned. My wife, however, strongly opposed me because of our different beliefs, and she asked me to make a choice between the Lord Jesus and her. I thought: I have already been saved through my faith in the Lord. I mustn’t leave Him. So in the end I chose the Lord and my wife left me. Despite this, I didn’t become depressed but continued pursuing the truth and living my life in accordance with the creed of Christianity, and I also attended the fellowship and Bible study classes of our church. Not long after I started to believe in the Lord, I overcame my drinking problem which had beset me for years, and I felt very grateful to the Lord. In my free time from work, I would go everywhere praying for the sick with the elder, and visit and serve the brothers and sisters who were in need.
Can those who live in sin gain salvation and enter the kingdom of heaven?
But over time I discovered that many brothers and sisters in the church pursued the worldly things, lusting after wealth and fleshly enjoyment, and that they did not read the Bible earnestly but only believed in the Lord for their own personal benefit. I really disliked them and disdained them. The pastor, however, taught the brothers and sisters that they could pray to the Lord for whatever they were doing, and he even encouraged them to pursue professional success and progress and be people who are educated and have successful careers. Seeing this, I thought: If we do not pray for our spiritual lives, but instead pray for our flesh, will we then become more and more greedy? The Lord required that we enter the narrow gate, but if we pursue worldly things, we are actually taking the wide road. Besides, the Lord Jesus said that if we love our children, parents, lands and houses more than Him, then we are unworthy of being His disciples. So why doesn’t the pastor lead the brothers and sisters to live out what the Lord asks of us? I felt the pastor’s teachings were against the Lord Jesus’ words and that they would lead us down the wrong path just like the blind led the blind into a pit in the Bible. I felt very sad about this, but I had no idea what to do to be in accordance with the Lord’s will. Later I asked the pastor: “If we all pursue worldly things, we will then become more and more greedy. Can we gain salvation by believing in the Lord this way?” The pastor said that the Lord Jesus had taken all our sins upon Himself, and that as long as we believed in the Lord’s redemption, we were saved. I said, “The Lord Jesus said: ‘And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come on you unawares’ (Luke 21:34). If we are completely free of sin by believing in the Lord Jesus’ name, then why did the Lord say these words to warn us? And why would we fall into darkness after committing sins?” But the pastor just told me perfunctorily that as long as we believed in the Lord’s name, then we would be saved. I was not satisfied with his answer and felt what he said conflicted with the Lord Jesus’ words and was definitely not in accord with the truth. So I silently prayed for this matter: “My Lord, I am earnestly begging You. I really want to gain the truth and have my confusion solved. Please help me find the truth.”
God answered my prayers. One day in November, 2018, when I was browsing Facebook, I came across many words, hymns and movies posted by Sister Anny. After watching the movie The Bible and God, I felt greatly edified because it exposed my erroneous knowledge of the Bible and enabled me to have a correct understanding about the relationship between the Bible and God. The words the brothers and sisters read in the movie enlightened my heart and I had the feeling that they were the truth I had been looking for. I believed those words were from God, for not a single person was able to explain the relationship between the Bible and God so clearly. Besides, this movie testified that the Lord Jesus had already returned and was doing new work. Both shocked and curious, I was eager to know which truths the returned Lord had expressed, for I thought if I found those truths, then my perplexity would be solved. Therefore, I got in touch with Sister Anny, through whom I made the acquaintance of Sister Jean. They fellowshiped with me many truths I had never heard before, such as what a wise virgin is, how to welcome the Lord’s return, how to distinguish good servants and evil servants, and so on, from which I really gained a lot.
I understood the mystery of “salvation.”
One day, I asked Sister Jean, “The Bible says: ‘That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation’ (Romans 10:9–10). The pastor says that since we believe in the Lord and recognize His name, the Lord has forgiven our sins and we have been saved, and that when the Lord returns, we will be raptured into the kingdom of heaven. So why are we still bound by sin and living in darkness? Are those who live in sin really able to gain salvation and enter the kingdom of heaven?”
Sister Jean patiently fellowshiped with me, saying, “In fact, being saved by the Lord Jesus’ grace in our belief in Him means that our sins are absolved and that we won’t be condemned or sentenced to death by the law for committing sins. It does not mean, however, that we have escaped from evil and been purified, much less does it mean that we are able to enter the kingdom of heaven. Let’s look at what 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.’ ‘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.’ From God’s words we understand that the work the Lord Jesus did was that of redemption. After the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross as our sin offering, as long as we confessed and repented to Him, then our sins were forgiven and we were saved by faith. But being saved doesn’t mean that our sinful nature has been eliminated; it’s just that we will no longer be bound or condemned by the law. This is because the Lord Jesus only forgave our sins but did not absolve us of our sinful nature. Therefore, we are constantly living in a state of sinning and confessing and frequently reveal corrupt satanic dispositions such as arrogance, selfishness, deceitfulness, evil and greediness. For example, some people, even though they are able to make sacrifices and expend themselves for the Lord, vie with each other and scheme against each other for fame and profit in the church; some attend meetings on the outside, but they do not love the truth and still crave worldly things and seek out secular glory and wealth; some appear to be pious and loving of others, but whenever someone infringes upon their interests, they develop hatred for that person. … There are a great many expressions showing that we are living in sin. Regardless of whether it is pastors, elders or ordinary believers, we haven’t seen any of them who have broken away from the bondage and constraints of sin. This shows that the sinful nature still remains within us, which is the reason why we are unable to escape sin. The Lord is holy and He controls who enters the kingdom of heaven. Since we are still controlled by our sinful nature and live in sin every day, so deplorably filthy, how can we ever be qualified to enter into the kingdom of heaven?”
After listening to the sister’s fellowship, I came to understand that what the Lord Jesus did was redemptive work, that being saved referred to the Lord taking on and forgiving whatever sins we committed and we no longer being condemned by the law, and that we hadn’t cast off our corrupt dispositions and attained purification and were unqualified to enter the kingdom of heaven. At the same time, I also understood the reason why we were unable to cast off the shackles of sin even though we had been saved. Thank God. Almighty God’s words made it crystal clear as to what salvation was. As my years of perplexity had finally been resolved, I felt very bright in my heart.
I found the way to cast off the bonds of sin.
Then I went on to ask, “The Lord Jesus only did the work of redemption, not the work of ridding us of our sins, so how can we escape sin?”
Sister Jean replied, “Brother, the question you’ve asked is just what I want to fellowship with you. Regarding the way to be free of sin, God’s words make it very clear. Let’s read two passages of God’s words, ‘You only know that Jesus shall descend during the last days, but how exactly will He descend? A sinner such as you, who has just been redeemed, and has not been changed, or been perfected by God, can you be after God’s heart? For you, you who are still of your old self, it is true that you were saved by Jesus, and that you are not counted as a sinner because of the salvation of God, but this does not prove that you are not sinful, and are not impure. How can you be saintly if you have not been changed? Within, you are beset by impurity, selfish and mean, yet you still wish to descend with Jesus — you should be so lucky! You have missed a step in your belief in God: You have merely been redeemed, but have not been changed. For you to be after God’s heart, God must personally do the work of changing and cleansing you; if you are only redeemed, you will be incapable of attaining sanctity. In this way you will be unqualified to share in the good blessings of God, for you have missed out a step in God’s work of managing man, which is the key step of changing and perfecting. And so you, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance.’ ‘Within man still exist filth, opposition, and rebelliousness; man has only returned to God through His redemption, but he has not the slightest knowledge of God and still resists and rebels against Him. Before man was redeemed, many of Satan’s poisons had already been planted within him and, after thousands of years of being corrupted by Satan, he has within him an established nature that resists God. Therefore, when man has been redeemed, it is nothing more than a case of redemption in which man is bought at a high price, but the poisonous nature within him has not been eliminated. Man that is so defiled must undergo a change before becoming worthy to serve God. By means of this work of judgment and chastisement, man will fully come to know the filthy and corrupt substance within his own self, and he will be able to change completely and become clean. Only in this way can man become worthy to return before the throne of God. All the work done this day is so that man can be made clean and be changed; through judgment and chastisement by the word, as well as through refinement, man can purge away his corruption and be made pure. Rather than deeming this stage of work to be that of salvation, it would be more apt to say it is the work of purification.’
“God’s words tell us that if we want to cast off sins and be cleansed, we must accept God’s work of judgment of the last days — it is the key stage of God’s work of saving man and perfecting man. Living under the domain of Satan, we are unable to save ourselves and need God to come to work and save us. Therefore, in the last days, God has done a work of judgment and chastisement on the foundation of the work of the Lord Jesus. His aim is to thoroughly save us from Satan’s influence, to allow us to completely break away from the binds and restrictions of our sins and become people who truly obey, revere, and love God, and in the end to bring us into the eternal kingdom. God does the work of judgment in the last days by expressing many aspects of the truth to reveal our corrupt dispositions. No matter it is the corruption we have revealed on the outside or that within our thoughts and minds, God’s words have laid them all bare. Meanwhile, God has also pointed out to us the ways of practice, such as how to love God, obey God and revere God, how to perform our duties faithfully, how to be honest people, and so on. Only if we accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words can we come to a real knowledge of our various corruptions, truly hate ourselves and develop a heart of repentance. And meanwhile, through the judgment of God’s words, we are able to know what kind of person God loves and blesses and what kind of person He hates and curses, from which we come to see God’s righteous and inviolable disposition and thereby generate a heart that reveres God. We then become even more eager to practice the truth, cast off our satanic corrupt dispositions and live out a true human likeness. Through our own experiences, we are able to appreciate that God’s words indeed can change and purify man. For example, we are all very arrogant by nature after being corrupted by Satan. We consider ourselves as people who love the Lord the most and who are surely approved by the Lord because we have done a lot of work for the Lord and have also abandoned our families and the world. So we often make a show of how much we have suffered for the Lord and how much we have run about. Though sometimes we may not say anything, in our hearts we feel very pleased with ourselves, always thinking that we are better than others. We even look down upon those brothers and sisters who are weak and negative, and when supporting them, we do not have love for them but despise them. Through the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, we come to see that our forsaking and expending are all in exchange for the blessings of the kingdom of heaven and to barter with God. When trials befall, we lose our resolutions to expend for God and even blame God in our hearts. It’s at that time that we truly realize we are not people who genuinely love the Lord. Though on the outside we appear to be able to make sacrifices, our lives are not greater than other brothers’ and sisters’ and we still have many satanic dispositions. When we come to know the truth of our corruption, we become less arrogant and self-important, and are able to treat the brothers and sisters who are negative and weak with love — these are all the results achieved by God’s work of judgment. Therefore, as long as we accept God’s judgment work, we can gradually cast off our satanic corrupt dispositions and have hope to enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Through the sister’s fellowship, I came to realize that only if we accept God’s judgment work in the last days can we escape the bondage of sin and be qualified to enter into God’s kingdom. And at the same time, I also saw that God’s work of judgment in the last days is extremely practical — God reveals our corruptions through His words, allowing us to know ourselves so that we can develop a heart of repentance and eventually achieve transformation. I thought of how I had no knowledge of my corruptions at all, how I, just like what the sister had fellowshiped, had always treated my forsaking and expending as capital, believing that I was someone who was after the Lord’s heart, and how I looked down upon those negative and weak brothers and sisters but never had a realization of my own arrogant disposition. Only through the sister’s fellowship did I learn that because we humans all have been corrupted by Satan, we are the same in essence. It was not that I was better than other brothers and sisters, but that I didn’t know my own corruptions, and I needed to accept God’s judgment for them to be resolved. Thanks be to God. It was the truth expressed by God in the last days that showed me the way to cast off the bonds of sin and attain purification. If it were not for God’s words, I would still listen to what the pastor said, just acknowledging the Lord’s name and waiting to be raised up to the kingdom of heaven, and I would ultimately gain nothing and end up being eliminated.
Welcoming the Lord’s return, I have attended the feast of the Lamb.
Later, the sister read me another passage of God’s words, “God created humanity and placed them upon earth, whom He has led to the present day. He then saved humanity and served as a sin offering for humanity. At the end He still must conquer humanity, save humanity entirely and restore them to their original likeness. This is the work that He has been engaged in from the beginning to the end — restoring man to his original image and to his original likeness. He will establish His kingdom and restore man’s original likeness, meaning that He will restore His authority upon earth and restore His authority among all creation. Man lost his God-fearing heart after being corrupted by Satan and lost the function that one of God’s creatures should have, becoming an enemy disobedient to God. Man lived under Satan’s domain and followed Satan’s orders; thus, God had no way to work among His creatures, and was all the more unable to win fear from His creatures. … If He does not save corrupt humanity, the meaning of His creation of man will come to nothing; He will have no more authority among man, and His kingdom will no longer be able to exist upon the earth. If He does not destroy those enemies who are disobedient to Him, He will be unable to obtain His complete glory, nor will He be able to establish His kingdom upon the earth. These are the symbols of the completion of His work and the symbols of the completion of His great accomplishment: to utterly destroy those among humanity who are disobedient to Him, and to bring those who have been made complete into rest.” From this passage I saw God’s determination as well as His plan to save mankind. It turned out that God aims to transform mankind that has been corrupted by Satan into a mankind that truly worships God — God not only was nailed to the cross as the sin offering for us, but He will also completely save us from the domain of Satan, free us from the bonds of sin and purify us, and in the end bring us into His kingdom. Having understood these truths, I felt very brightened in my heart and became more certain that these words are the utterances of God because only God Himself is able to reveal the mysteries of His work. I completely confirmed that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus and joyfully accepted God’s work of the last days.
Now, I read God’s words every day after work and watch the movies, hymn videos, and variety shows of The Church of Almighty God, and meanwhile, I learn to know my own corruptions and seek God’s will in His words. Every day I reap great gains and my heart is filled with joy. I really have attended the feast of the Lamb. I wish to read God’s words more, accept God’s judgment and chastisement, and get rid of my corrupt dispositions as soon as possible so that I can be made complete by God and become a manifestation of God’s glory. All glory be to Almighty God!
We often live in the state of sinning and confessing, and cannot put the Lord’s word into practice. So are we able to enter the kingdom of God? What are the criteria for entering the kingdom of heaven? Click to read the sermon and you’ll find the answer.