When I first started believing in the Lord, I heard the pastor said, “When we believers are baptized in the name of theChrist, then we are reborn. So from that day, we will be different from our old self and formally become the Lord’s children. And eventually, we will enter into the kingdom of heaven. Just as the Lord Jesus says in : ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said to you, You must be born again’” (John 3:5-7). Hearing these words, I got extremely excited and was then baptized. Thereafter, I always followed the Lord’s words, and preached the Lord’s with full confidence. When I saw so many people accepted the gospel and was baptized, I felt so happy, believing that we were all reborn, and that in the future, we would definitely attain that which the Lord has promised and enter into the kingdom of heaven.
With a twinkle of an eye, I have believed in the Lord for over 10 years. But somehow, now my original faith and love gradually lessened and I was increasingly unable to keep the Lord’s way. I began to covet wealth, became selfish, self-interested, and haggled over every penny. Even when interacting with my brothers and sisters, I also had no patience or tolerance for them and was unable to live in harmony with them. Moreover, I would always reveal my wildly self-important, arrogant disposition and put others down to raise myself up, and would even often lie and deceive God, deceive other people. Unknowingly, some questions came into my mind: With such a living out, have I truly been reborn? Why do I feel that my living out today is no different from that of unbelievers? Can I, who am full of sin, really enter into the kingdom of heaven?
Once, I left a message online to Sister Xiaodong, whom I got acquainted with on Facebook, and told her about my confusion. Before long, she replied:
“Hello, sister! I used to also have this kind of confusion. Until one day I read these words in the Bible: ‘You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy’ (Leviticus 11:45), and ‘Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord’ (Hebrews 12:14). I couldn’t help but think: Since God Himself is pure and holy, His kingdom is then holy and cannot be defiled. So how can we who always sin enter God’s kingdom? Afterward, I read such a passage in a book: ‘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.’ From this passage, I knew that the Lord Jesus’ work was limited to redemption alone. He brought us the way of repentance, taught us to be tolerant and patient, to love others as ourselves and to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind, etc. As long as we are baptized, accept the Lord Jesus’ salvation and come before the Lord to repent and confess our sins, we can gain His pardon, and enjoy the grace as well as blessings that He has bestowed upon man. But this doesn’t mean that we are no longer of sin. Although we could obey the teachings of the Lord, and outwardly had some good behaviors, such as having tolerance and patience toward others, not assaulting others and not cursing others, the sinful nature of us was not taken away and still deeply rooted in us. So we are still capable of frequently expressing corrupt disposition: being arrogant, conceited, crooked, deceitful, selfish, and self-interested, as well as being envious and hateful toward others, etc. What’s worse, we still sin and resist the Lord with regularity. When encountering events which do not align with our notions, we will judge and complain against the Lord, and when facing trials and refinements, we even become full of resentment toward the Lord. With such a God-resisting nature, how can we be people who have been reborn? Since we can’t be reborn by accepting the Lord Jesus’ salvation, then how on earth should we do to achieve rebirth?
“The Lord Jesus once prophesied: ‘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). From these words we can see that the Lord had left a lot of words unspoken during the time when He worked because the people at that time were so small in stature that they could not receive them. For that reason, in, God will bring more truth to man upon the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ redemption work. Only if we embrace all of God’s truths as our life and live based on them will we have the chance to get our corrupt disposition purified. Next, I’d like to share a passage of words with you.”
Subsequently, Sister Xiaodong sent me a passage of words: “‘If one can truly enter into the reality of God’s words from the matters and the words required by Him, then he will be a person perfected by God. It can be said that the work and the words of God are completely effective for this person, that God’s words become his life, he obtains truth, and he can live according to God’s words. After this the nature of his flesh, that is, the foundation of his original existence, will shake and collapse. After one has the words of God as their life they become a new person. The words of God become his life; the vision of God’s work, His requirements of man, His revelation of man, and the standards for a true life that God requires man to achieve become his life—he lives according to these words and these truths, and this person becomes perfected by the words of God. He experiences rebirth and becomes a new man through His words.’ Through these words, we can know the true rebirth refers to man breaking away from the old life of committing sins and obeying the new life of Christ. So only when we gain the words God expresses from His own mouth, and get our sinful nature completely removed, which is to say that, only when we no longer live in the bonds of sin, thoroughly get rid of our satanic corrupt disposition, live by God’s words, obey and love God, and thereby can be completely compatible with God, have we achieved true rebirth. Like it says in the Bible, ‘Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new’” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
From the above fellowshiping, I finally understood the reason why I always lived in sin without release. “As it turns out, the Lord Jesus only did the work of redemption rather than the work of cleansing, so we still cannot help but always sin, and thereby it cannot be said that we have been reborn. The only way for us to be reborn is accepting the truths expressed by God in the last days.” When I realized this, my heart became so enlightened. Then I began to hit the keyboard and reply to her: “Thank you! Through your fellowship today, I’ve known why I am living all along amid sin. I’ve also understood what the true rebirth is: Only when we accept the truths expressed by God in the last days and thus have the root of our sin completely removed are we genuinely reborn.”
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