By Li Xue
I was tightly bound by sins.
When I was 17, I became a believer in the Lord. Every day I enjoyed His lovingkindness and mercy, living free of anxiety and cares; meanwhile, I dreamed of how beautiful the heaven was, hoping that the Lord would return and take me up there. To this end, I started to pursue my faith in great earnestness and before long I began to lead brothers and sisters to study the Bible and sing hymns in the church. A few years later, I got married. However, my husband was an idle loafer, and we frequently had quarrels and got into fights about it. I knew what I did didn’t bring glory to the Lord, but at the sight of my husband being so lazy I couldn’t control my temper. Every time after quarreling with him, I felt my sins grew deeper. I often prayed and admitted my sins in tears to the Lord, and prayed the Confiteor, and besides this, as a penance, I prayed ten Our Fathers, fifty Hail Marys, and the Rosary, by which I hoped to attain the Lord’s forgiveness and pardon. I also looked forward to the priest’s quick coming in order that I could confess to him to expel my sins and get cleansed, and could also take communion, thereby letting the Lord Jesus reign in my heart and strengthen my faith, hope, love, so that I wouldn’t sin any longer. However, although I confessed and took communion before the priest, I still couldn’t stop myself from sinning again and again. I thought, “Seeing my actions and behaviors the Lord will certainly grow weary of me. How could I have the nerve to always confess my sins to Him? Remember the Bible says: ‘ For if we sin wilfully after having the knowledge of the truth, there is now left no sacrifice for sins’ (Hebrews 10:26). And in the Book of Revelation it is said, ‘Blessed are they that wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb: that they may have a right to the tree of life’ (Revelation 22:14). Since the Lord is holy, how could people like me enter heaven who sin every day and are covered all over with filth?” Every time I thought of this I felt so distressed, not knowing when I could no longer sin.
Surprising News: The Lord Has Returned.
Three years later, at one gathering, Sister Wang said to me, “Have you heard the news? There are some people who are saying that the Lord has returned.” Sister Liu said immediately, “Yes. Some of them even came to my house and gave a sermon. I had never heard such a brilliant communion.” Brother Zhao also said, “Yes. They said that this time God has come to perform a new stage of work to utterly purify mankind.” Hearing this, I thought, “Is this true? Will we really be able to be cleansed of our sins and stop committing them?” So I couldn’t wait to ask, “What else did they say?” At that time the church leader came in. Hearing what we were talking about, he said unhappily, “Since ancient times, has there been anyone who doesn’t sin? Anyway, the Lord Jesus has absolved our sins, so after committing sins, as long as we pray and confess our sins and repent to the Lord, we will be fine.” Brother Zhao said, “We’re always sinning at home and expressing remorse at gatherings. When will it end? Now that they say there is a way out of our sins, then we should listen.” But the church leader was firmly opposed to us listening to sermons from other churches, and as a result, we parted on bad terms.
After returning home, I pondered over what we talked about in the gathering, thinking, “Has the Lord come or not? I have been longing for the Lord to return to save us from sins, but the church leader restricts and prevents us from listening to the sermons of people who are preaching the Lord’s return. If what they say is true, won’t I miss the Lord’s return? It isn’t in line with the Lord’s will for the church leader to do this.” Later, because attending meetings in the church couldn’t enable me to obtain provision for my life, I left the church to work outside. But in my heart I often looked forward to meeting those who preached the Lord’s return, so that I could know from them how I should seek to cast off sin and be purified.
My Wish Came True: I Have Found the Way to Cast off Sin.
A few years later, I came across a Priest Pan at my friend’s house. After a short chat, he asked about my spiritual condition. I thought about how I had felt in my spirit these years: I only paid attention to my business and making money, and I committed sins but didn’t confess — I had been too far from God. Then I said sadly, “Alas, I always sin and offend the Lord, and this makes me feel very distressed.” Seeing me in this state he said, “Sister, now there is no need to worry. The Lord has returned to help us rid ourselves of sin and brought us the gospel of the kingdom!” On hearing this, I immediately remembered that in the past, in gatherings brothers and sisters said that those people preaching the Lord’s return gave a good message. I never thought that today I had run into one of them. I must listen carefully. I couldn’t miss the opportunity anymore.
Later, Priest Pan took out a piece of paper, and then said while drawing, “We all know that people first created by God were without sin. Only after they listened to the enticements of Satan and its poisons were planted within them did people have sin. After that, God began to perform three stages of work for the salvation of mankind: the Age of Law, the Age of Grace, and the Age of Kingdom in the last days. In the Age of Law, Jehovah God proclaimed the law and the commandments to let people know what sin is and how to go on living. At that time, people who committed sins had to offer up cattle, sheep and pigeons to atone for their sins, or else they were burned or stoned to death. Toward the end of the Age of Law, people were incapable of keeping the laws and would all die under the laws. For this reason, God incarnated and was nailed to the cross to take on the sins of all mankind. As a result, we avoided being put to death because of being unable to keep the law, and needn’t make sin offerings. As long as we called on the Lord Jesus’ name and confessed and repented to Him, our sins were forgiven. This is the work of the Age of Grace that God carried out.
However, though our sins have been forgiven, the root of our sin hasn’t been dealt with, so we still live in a state of sinning and confessing. For example, when interacting with our family members, as long as they aren’t compatible with our preferences, we will reveal hot-bloodedness, unable to put patience and acceptance into practice; in our interactions with colleagues, we often get into angry arguments with others and live within discord for our personal losses and gains; to protect personal position and fame, many parishioners plot and scheme against and cheat one another; there are also many parishioners who fall for the temptations of money, adultery, or evil trends; and so on. This is all because the root of our sin still remains within us and hasn’t been taken away, so that we still often commit sins. That’s why we mankind need God to perform a stage of work of eradicating sin so as to cleanse our corrupt disposition and completely save us from the bondage of sin.”
Priest Pan’s fellowship drew me in, which I thought very enlightening and I never heard before. Then he continued, “Let’s read a passage of God’s word, and you’ll understand more clearly. God says, ‘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. 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.’ From God’s words we can understand that in the Age of Grace the work of redemption done by the Lord Jesus only completed half of God’s work of salvation. Though the Lord Jesus has forgiven our sins, the corrupt disposition within us remains unresolved. So we need Him to do the work of judging and purifying us, and only then can we thoroughly be saved by God, live in His light, and obtain the greater blessings He bestows upon mankind.”
At this point, I couldn’t help but ask, “Brother, since God has come to do the work of ridding of our sin, then how can we escape sin? I want to get rid of sin as quickly as possible. Could you tell me in more detail?” My friend said she wanted to know this as well. Priest Pan said to us happily, “About this mystery, the Lord has already told us. Let’s look at the scriptures from the Bible: ‘I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you’ (John 16:12–13). ‘For the time is, that judgment should begin at the house of God’ (1 Peter 4:17). These scriptures tell us that when God returns in the last days He will speak and work, that is, God will become flesh to express the truth and do judgment work to save and cleanse mankind. Only through the judgment and chastisement of God’s words can we recognize how deeply we have been corrupted, and know what kind of people God detests and loves, and only in God’s words can we find the standard for how we should be a good person and the path of practice to be cleansed of our sins. Let’s read one more passage of the word of God, and we’ll understand more clearly. Sister Li, why don’t you read?”
I took the book and read, “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.”
After I finished reading these words, Priest Pan fellowshiped, “Today God uses the word to judge and purify mankind. He has very meticulously told us all of the truths that we mankind need to receive salvation and into which we should practice entry. Only through God’s revelation and judgment will we truly discover and recognize the satanic nature, life axioms and views and ideas within us, which cause us to do things that go against the truth and God’s will, and to be unable to love and obey God. By reading God’s words and experiencing His work, we will have understanding of our own corruption and of God’s holy and righteous disposition, see God’s benevolent essence, and see that we are so intolerably dirty and deeply corrupted, so that we will be able to truly hate ourselves and start to be willing to put truth into practice. As we practice the truth more and more, we will be free of our corrupt disposition gradually, and finally be brought by God into His kingdom, receiving the wonderful destination that God has bestowed upon us. Then we will be with God forever, and there will be no sorrow or tears, and no worries or annoyances, which fulfills God’s promise to us in the Book of Revelation, ‘He will dwell with them. … nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more’ (Revelation 21:3–4).”
These fellowships really allowed me to open my eyes wide and made me very excited. I also felt invigorated by understanding so many truths and mysteries. I finally knew the way to cast off sin! Afterward, Priest Pan had three more days of fellowship with us, during which we read many of God’s words: The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word, Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth, Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life, Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of God Become Flesh, and Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God. The more I read, the more I understood, the more I loved reading, and I kept giving thanks for God’s love.
At last, Priest Pan played a song, and after it finished, I went before God, crying, and prayed, “God, I’m very thankful that You again have chosen me and sent brothers and sisters to bring me to Your family. I praise and thank You. I never expect that You haven’t cast me aside though I’ve been away from You all these years. I really am too unworthy. I’ve committed too many sins over these years. Now I’m willing to put myself in Your hands, and accept Your work of judgment in the last days. I want to get rid of my corruption as soon as possible and transform to become a new person!”