by Gangqiang, United States
In 2007, due to the pressure of life, I came to Singapore to carve out a career by myself. As the temperature was very high all year round in Singapore, every day I was streaming with sweat while working, which was a real torture. Also, being a stranger without family or friends, I felt my life awfully dull and boring.
One day in August, on my way back from work, I received a gospel leaflet on which was written, “But the God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you” (1 Peter 5:10). These words warmed my heart. Then a brother led me to a church, and the brothers and sisters there brought me a savory food warmly. The warmth of home and tasty food that I had not enjoyed for over half a year since I left home immediately moved me to tears. At that time, I, a lonely and drifting man, felt myself like a human and as if I had been back home. From then on, the church became the place that I must go to every Sunday.
In December, I received baptism and formally walked on the way of confession and repentance. One time in the church, I heard a pastor read the verses of Matthew 18:21–22, “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus said to him, I say not to you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” After hearing that, I thought: Why did the Lord Jesus have so great tolerance and patience? If people really can do what the Lord Jesus said — forgiving others seventy times seven, there will be love and warmth among men. So much was I touched by these words that I made up my mind to practice the Lord’s teachings.
During the two or three years after believing in the Lord, I was active in attending the gathering and listening to the preaching. Later, my boss put me in charge of a construction site, and I put my heart into it. Gradually, I didn’t go to the gathering often.
Later, I was introduced to Mr. Li, an owner, by a friend, and we jointly registered a construction company. Joyful, I decided to throw myself into my career. At that time, I had totally immersed myself in making money, and no longer went to the church. In order to do a good job on the project and win others’ praise for my ability, I was very strict with the employees, and showed no more love and tolerance to them. Instead, I often rebuked the workers, and the group leaders were frequently scolded into crying by me. The workers were all afraid to see me and avoided me. Even my good friends became cold toward me, no longer willing to speak their mind to me. I felt greatly distressed. The Lord Jesus taught us to forgive others until seventy times seven, but I failed to do it even once. I knew I had not done well and wanted to change myself, but I had no way. Every time when I felt depressed, I could only pray to the Lord. Only then did I felt somewhat relieved.
In August 2015, my company shut down because of mismanagement. So I had to stay at home. During that time, I was so depressed that I indulged myself in drinking and playing cards all day. When my wife tried to persuade me not to drink, I would shout abuse at her, “The money is earned by me; I can spend it any way I like….” So fiercely did I scold her each time that my daughter was frightened into silence, just standing aside and watching us nervously. Every time after I hurt my families I regretted very much, but I still could not control myself the next time. At that time, I had entirely lost the decency of a Christian, and lived and acted like an unbeliever.
Thereafter, I came back to the church. I kept praying to the Lord, “Oh Lord! I have done many things that I don’t want to do, and often live in the situation of committing sins and then regretting. I hate myself, but I can’t control myself. Even though I pray to confess my sins in the evening, I will sin again in the day once encountering some matters. Today, everyone keeps away from me and alienates me. Oh Lord, please help me. What should I do to break free from sin?”
On the New Year’s day of 2016, I set foot on the land of the United States, continuing to struggle for my career in New York. Soon after, I came to a church to listen to sermons, where I made the acquaintance of Sister Qinglian.
One day, Sister Qinglian phoned me and said, “I’ve got some good news for you!” I asked, “What’s that?” She answered, “A preacher came to our neighborhood. Would you like to listen to his preaching?” I said, “Yeah! Where?” She told me to go to her home at the appointed time.
At the time of the appointment, I came to Sister Qinglian’s house, and Sister Zhao was there as well. I saw the TV playing a passage of words, “And so I say that man’s sense has lost its original function, and that man’s conscience, too, has lost its original function. … Man’s disposition should be changed starting from the knowledge of his substance and through changes in his thinking, nature, and mental outlook — through fundamental changes. Only in this way will true changes be achieved in the disposition of man. Man’s corrupt disposition stems from his being poisoned and trampled upon by Satan, from the egregious harm that Satan has inflicted upon his thinking, morality, insight, and sense. It is precisely because these fundamental things of man have been corrupted by Satan, and are utterly unlike how God originally created them, that man opposes God and does not understand the truth. Thus, changes in man’s disposition should begin with changes in his thinking, insight and sense that will change his knowledge of God and his knowledge of the truth” (“To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God”). Seeing these words, I was quite touched: Am I not like what these words say? I have always looked down on others, rebuking this person and scolding that one, without morality or the decency of the saints. However, I could not change myself, and even fasting and praying didn’t work. Now these words have touched my heart deeply, but I have never seen them anywhere else, nor have I ever listened to any priest talking about them before. I felt strange: These words are so wonderful; who wrote them?
Sister Zhao told me they were the words of God, expressed by the returned Lord Jesus. “Has the Lord Jesus come back?!” I could hardly believe my ears when I heard this news. I was quite excited. Among the believers in the Lord, who is not looking forward to the Lord’s return? Now when I suddenly heard the news, I was somewhat at a loss what to do. “Has the Lord really come back?” I asked the sisters to tell me about that quickly.
Sister Zhao said, “The Lord Jesus has already come back indeed. The incarnate Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus. He has expressed words to do the work of judgment beginning with the house of God. For the Lord Jesus only did the work of redemption, and this was not the last-days work of judging people, cleansing people, and thoroughly saving people. We all know that although the Lord has forgiven our sins, we are still living in sin and cannot get rid of it even though we want to. This is because, after being corrupted by Satan, man’s disposition has become the same as Satan’s; the satanic corrupt dispositions such as arrogance, conceit, craftiness, selfishness, maliciousness, and so on have been deeply rooted within man; therefore people intrigue against each other, scramble for fame and fortune, are unable to get along with each other, and what’s more have been resistant to God. The Bible says, ‘… holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord’ (Hebrews 12:14). This shows us that man cannot see the Lord without being purified. In order to be saved from sin thoroughly, we need God’s further work of removing man’s sinful nature; otherwise we cannot be purified. Let’s read God’s word.” Sister Zhao opened the book of God’s word and began to read, “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)”).
“Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering, and did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to take on the sins of man as the sin offering, but also required God to do greater work to completely rid man of his disposition, which has been corrupted by Satan” (“Preface”).
“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)”).
Then Sister Zhao fellowshiped, “From God’s words, we know that only when man understands the way of life and the way to change his disposition from the truths expressed by the second incarnate God, and acts in accordance with God’s demands, can his sinful nature be completely cast away and can he be saved. Thus we can see that the work of redemption and the work of removing sins are two different stages of work. In the work of redemption, the Lord Jesus merely took on man’s sins and spared man from the punishment which man should have received. This doesn’t mean that man no longer has sins, much less does it mean that man doesn’t sin anymore and is completely purified. In the work of removing sins, the root of man’s sin will be removed, so that man will sin no more and be purified. Only then can we win God’s approval and get into the kingdom of heaven and receive God’s promise.”
After listening to the words of God and Sister Zhao’s fellowship, I felt they fully accorded with the reality of the situation. During the past years, because of my arrogance and haughtiness, in my company, the workers were afraid of me and stayed away from me, and at home, my family feared me. I felt very distressed about that and even hated myself, but I was unable to change myself. Hearing the sister’s fellowship about the Lord Jesus’ return to do the work of expressing the truths and purifying man so that man can be changed, I felt very fortunate to meet the return of the Lord. That day before I left, Sister Zhao gave me a book entitled “Believe in God for Being Saved.” She said that she had used to live in sin and be unable to get rid of it like me, but later, she found the way to practice after she read that book. Happily, I received the book and was resolved to believe in Almighty God seriously.
After I accepted the work of Almighty God in the last days, I gradually understood the truths about God’s three stages of work and the mystery of His incarnation. When I first read the words with which God judged the satanic nature of man, I was very upset. But later I came to understand that I could only know my corruptions through the revelation of God’s severe words. If I did not know my corrupt disposition, how could I be changed? Later I read these words of God, “In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, expose the essence of man, and dissect his words and deeds. 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 the 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, those 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 just a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes it over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth that man does not possess at all. Only methods of this kind are deemed 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” (“Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth”).
From God’s words, I knew that God uses the truths that man does not possess at all to reveal man’s sins, dissect man’s deeds and words, and carry out long-term revelation, dealing and pruning on man, and that only through such judgment can man be persuaded and be thoroughly convinced into submission. And I also realized: Only by experiencing such judgment personally can I truly feel that God’s work in the last days is to accomplish all with His words. And only if God exposes me with His words, and deals with and prunes me and exposes my satanic nature through the people, matters, and things around me, allowing me to clearly see my ugliness, will I be able to hate myself and achieve a change.
Once in a gathering, when I was sharing my experiences, I repeatedly said such words, “I think” or “I think it should be like this.” A brother pointed out to me that it was arrogant and conceited of me to say so. In the past, if someone criticized me like this, I would certainly reason with him and retort upon him. But I chose to be silent this time, and didn’t argue or justify myself, because I thought of these words in Fellowship and Preaching About Life Entry, “Don’t say ‘I think,’ ‘I feel,’ or something like that anymore. What man thinks is not the truth. Anyone who says these is arrogant and conceited and what he expresses is his satanic disposition.” I thought that the brother’s criticism was right, and that I had no reason to argue. I was utterly convinced and chose to obey, for what man thinks can’t substitute for the truth and it all comes from Satan. Those who always put the word “I” first when speaking are those who don’t have any place for God in their heart and don’t honor God as great.
Later, I read a passage of words in Fellowship and Preaching About Life Entry: “If a person is arrogant, he must have some capital. Look at those who are of good caliber or have some gifts or talents. They believe that they are better than others, so they reveal a very arrogant disposition, having no regard for anyone. This is normal, since they are capable and of ability. If a man really knows himself, feeling himself worthless, will he still be arrogant? He will feel he has nothing that is worth being arrogant about and that he has no capital for being so, and he will not be arrogant anymore. Is this not the case? Someone always thinks that he is better than anyone else, and he can see through anything. What happens one day? He fails in humiliation and suffers great setbacks. Will he still be arrogant? He will feel that he cannot raise his head and dare not see others. Therefore, those with an arrogant disposition will have their arrogant disposition resolved naturally after they have failed several times, been humiliated several times, and received significant dealing and pruning several times. This is what everyone has to go through. After having experienced the judgment and chastisement of God, His dealing and pruning, the discipline of the Holy Spirit, and some failures and setbacks, he will be much more submissive and less arrogant or self-right, and he will seek and ask for others’ advice even on the things he thinks he can see through just in case he is wrong. This is all the result of God’s judgment and chastisement. Therefore, no matter how arrogant or self-right you are, don’t be afraid or worry about it. Just experience the judgment and chastisement of God, accept more pruning and dealing, and especially accept more disciplines of the Holy Spirit, and you will change gradually. No one can help you in this matter, and you have to receive the work of the Holy Spirit by praying to God and seeking the truth yourself. When the Holy Spirit works in you, all the problems will be solved.”
This fellowship was really clear and thorough, through which I realized that it was my arrogant satanic disposition that caused me to stand up high and chide others at home and at the construction site. I had thought that I was capable and could earn money, so I flaunted my seniority and showed respect to no one. I thought that no one was better than me, and I always held myself aloft. After accepting God’s work in the last days, thanks to reading many words of God’s judgment and fellowshiping with my brothers and sisters in the meetings, I had just got some knowledge about my arrogant disposition. Besides, from the fellowship above I also found the way of practice, that is, accepting my brothers’ and sisters’ pruning and dealing, allowing them to point out my problems, and then reflecting on myself according to God’s words and being able to truly hate myself, and ultimately not doing things by my satanic disposition but instead acting according to God’s words. After experiencing being pruned and dealt with and reflecting on myself many times, I would surely have some changes in my arrogant disposition.
As I read more and more of God’s words and constantly live the church life, I become more and more aware that it is really good to accept God’s work in the last days. My brothers and sisters are very warm and sincere toward each other. Everyone is simple and open and communicates his or her own experiences freely. When they express corrupt disposition, they can reflect on themselves according to God’s words. I truly see that Almighty God’s words can change and purify man.
I believe that everyone who truly believes in the Lord is yearning for the return of the Lord Jesus. I will preach God’s kingdom gospel in the last days to my friends and more people. I hope that they can follow the footsteps of the returned Lord like me and see God’s salvation for mankind.