By Yang Jing
Most of the brothers and sisters in the Lord believe that thehas absolved our sins through our faith, and that we are no longer of sin because the Lord has sanctified us, so we are qualified to enter the heavenly kingdom. Well, is this view correct? Is it based on the Lord’s words?
Actually, the main reason that we hold this view is because we do not understand the true meaning of the forgiveness of sins. Although we are forgiven of our sins due to the Lord’s redemption, it merely means that God no longer regards us as sinners, but it does not represent that we have been freed from sin. For example, when a man is caught and sent to prison after he committed a crime, his family spends a huge sum of money bailing him out. Can you say that he, who has been bailed out, is not guilty? The answer is definitely no! It’s just the same with all of us who have accepted the Lord Jesus’ redemptive work. The Lord Jesus, through being nailed on the cross as our sin offering, merely redeemed us from the hands of Satan. By coming before the Lord, we are only cleansed of the sins from our behavior, but our sinful nature within hasn’t yet been cast away. So we still live in the situation of sinning by day and confessing by night, unable to extricate ourselves from it. If this continues, we will only become more and more corrupt. Ultimately, we, all mankind will be devoured by Satan, becoming a captive of it. Thus, the forgiveness of sins does not mean being purified, which should draw our very close attention. But how can we have our sinful nature resolved and have our sins cleansed? This must become a topic of utmost concern to us.
What Truths Do We Need to Seek to Eliminate Our Sinful Nature?
First of all, we need to know God’s work as well as His management plan to rescue humanity. Since the progenitors of mankind committed sins, sin entered into man. The wages of sin is death, so God started His six-thousand-year management plan of saving mankind. First, in the Age of Law, Jehovah God issued forth laws for man to obey, and taught the Israelites at that time how to live, how to get along with others, how to worship God, and so forth, so that they could receive His care and protection by keeping the law. On the contrary, if they disobeyed His laws, they would be stoned to death, or burnt by the fire from heaven. At that time, Jehovah God also required man to offer sacrifices. Whoever committed other sins outside the Ten Commandments would have to offer sin offerings to God, using the firstborn sheep, cattle, and doves to cleanse his sins. In this way, man could keep himself from being put to death. Therefore, God’s work in the Age of Law achieved the result of enabling man to know sin. As mankind became ever more deeply corrupted by Satan, they could no longer keep the law, and more people were put to death because of their violations. God could not bear to see the people He created with His own hands be devoured by Satan like that. So He was incarnated to do the work of redemption under the name of Jesus, and was crucified to bear mankind’s sins, serving as a sin offering. From then on, whoever committed sins, as long as he came before the Lord Jesus to confess and repent, his sins would be forgiven. Thus, mankind enjoyed peace and joy from God. However, although the people of the Age of Grace are no longer of sin because of the salvation of God, it does not mean that they are without sin. This is because man’s sinful nature has not yet been resolved, and thus we men can still sin and resist God often, living in the cycle of sinning in the day and confessing in the evening without being able to extricate ourselves. Our corrupt satanic disposition, such as arrogance, self-conceit, selfishness, contempt, crookedness, craftiness, and so on, still persists and controls us, as a result of which there is no true forbearance and patience among us but so much hate and jealousy in our heart. How can we, such a humanity who lives out nothing but Satan’s image, achieve compatibility with God, and how can we be saved and enter into the kingdom of heaven? It is said in, “holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). And the Lord Jesus also said, “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” (John 8:34-35). Since our sinful nature hasn’t been cast off and cleansed thoroughly, we are not yet qualified to enter God’s kingdom. Therefore, God’s work of saving mankind will not stop.
What Work Does the Lord Jesus Need to Do to Make Man’s Sinful Nature Purified and Transformed When He Returns in?
It was discovered that a greater number of prophecies in the Bible concern God’s judgment work in the last days. There are at least 200 verses in the Bible mentioning that God will come to execute judgment. The following are some of those scriptures that prophesy God’s coming to do the judgment work of the last days:
“… behold, the judge stands before the door” (James 5:9).
“for He comes to judge the earth: with righteousness shall He judge the world, and the people with equity” (Psalms 98:9).
“And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people …” (Isaiah 2:4).
“… for when Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9).
“Because He has appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He has ordained …” (Acts 17:31).
“And has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is” (John 5:27).
“For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22).
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1Peter 4:17).
The Lord Jesus also said, “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). From these verses we can see clearly that in the last days God will surely come down to earth to carry out the work of judgment.
Thank the Lord for His guidance. One day, I was chatting with Sister Jiayin on Facebook about how we can have our sinful nature cleansed. The more we talked about it, the more we felt that we were enlightened by the Holy Spirit. I also gained knowledge of how God cleanses people in His work of the last days. Sister Jiayin also read a passage of God’s words for me, “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. In truth, this stage is that of conquest as well as the second stage in the work of salvation. It is through judgment and chastisement by the word that man arrives at being gained by God; and it is through the use of the word to refine, judge, and disclose that all of the impurities, notions, motives, and individual aspirations within man’s heart are completely revealed. 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. … running deeper than sin, it is something planted by Satan and deeply rooted within man. It is not easy for man to become aware of his sins; he has no way of recognizing his own deeply rooted nature, and must rely on judgment by the word in order to achieve this result. Only thus can man gradually be changed from this point onward” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)”).
After reading this passage we understand that man cannot completely cast away his sinful nature and get purified by relying only on the grace and the redemption on the cross of the Lord Jesus. This is because what the Lord Jesus did in the Age of Grace was the work of redemption. According to the stature of the people at that time, He gave them only the way of repentance, and taught man some rudimentary truths and practices, such as how to confess and repent, how to bear the cross, to be patient, humble, and loving, to forgive others, etc. He never expressed the truths that can judge and cleanse man, transform man’s satanic dispositions, and be man’s. To put it another way, the Lord Jesus did not express the way of truth that involves changing life disposition, how to break free of our sinful nature and to be cleansed and saved. Hence, through accepting the salvation of the Lord Jesus, we are only forgiven of our sins, but the corrupt dispositions like arrogance, conceit, crookedness, deceit, selfishness, despicableness, greed, and evil still remain within us. As a result, we are often bound by sins, living in the cycle of committing sins only to confess them and then to continue on to sin again. We still follow the world trends, pursue fame, fortune, and status, and covet the comforts of the flesh, living helplessly in sin. Besides, we can still harbor deceit in our heart, and often lie to deceive God and other people. When we are faced with disasters, persecution and tribulation, we can still misunderstand, blame, and even betray God. Though having believed in the Lord for many years, we can still, be directed by the intention to obtain blessings, conduct transactions with God while working and expending ourselves, and toil only for the crown and the blessings of heaven. This kind of opposition against God truly shows that a stubborn sinful nature still remains within us, that is, the satanic nature, which directly opposes God and the truth. Because our nature of resisting God has not been resolved, so it is utterly impossible for us to live out a normal humanity, and even less attain genuine obedience to God, worship God, and love God. So although we have experienced the Lord Jesus’ work in the Age of Grace and our sins have been forgiven, we have not yet gained the truth as our life. This is a fact. We have to experience God’s work of judgment and chastisement by the word in the last days and get the various kinds of corruption and filth within us revealed in the light. Only through this can we actively know our own corrupt dispositions, and furthermore, under God’s guidance, gradually rid ourselves of various desires and intentions for believing in God, resolve our corrupt dispositions, and achieve knowledge of God and of ourselves. Finally, we can follow the way of God and be capable of fearing God and shunning evil, obey God’s sovereignty and arrangements, and become of the same mind as God. Only then can we be utterly cleansed by God and can we ultimately gain God’s full salvation. So the forgiveness of sins doesn’t mean that we can enter the kingdom of heaven. If we always hold on to this mistaken viewpoint that we have become sanctified after being forgiven of sins and as a result, refuse God’s judgment and cleansing work in the last days, then we will miss in the last days. We all know that unsanctified people cannot see the Lord. God is holy, therefore, He commands us to seek to escape sin and become pure. So, we have to experience the work of judgment that God does in the last days and get purified in order to be qualified to enter God’s kingdom.
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