In the evening, Xiaoruo sat in front of the computer browsing the comments left by brothers and sisters in the groups. She saw a sister’s comment, “I’m often distressed for failing to keep the Lord’s teachings and committing sins unknowingly. Though I confess my sins to the Lord and repent every day, I’m still unsure in my heart: Can I really gain the Lord’s pardon if I sin and confess like this all the time? I’m worried that I will be abandoned by the Lord if I continue on like this.”
Xiaoruo slid the mouse and saw there were some replies of brothers and sisters below.
Someone replied: “Sister, don’t worry. The Lord has become the sin offering for us. As long as we confess our sins to the Lord and repent, the Lord will pardon us.”
Another replied: “The Lord is merciful and loving and He has become the sin offering for us. Even if we commit sins, He won’t remember that and will forgive us. When the Lord returns, we can be brought into the kingdom of heaven just the same.”
Looking at these replies, Xiaoruo felt somewhat uneasy. She couldn’t help thinking of her own words and actions in life: When she saw some of her classmates, whose appearances and diplomas were not as good as hers, earned more money and enjoyed a better life than her, she would be envious, jealous, and feel hatred unintentionally, and would live in complaint about that; when her family did things or spoke not according to her will, she would lose her temper uncontrollably, making them listen to her; when someone affected her interests, she would be petty, would not let it go, and even wanted an opportunity to seek revenge on him …
Thinking of these, Xiaoruo thought: Is the Lord’s absolution still effective on someone like me who doesn’t despise the sins, but often lives in a situation of sinning and even gives free rein to the spread of sin? Will I be abandoned by the Lord? Xiaoruo was somewhat thrown into a panic. She sent a message on the Internet right away: “It is clearly stated in the Bible, ‘For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins’ (Hebrews 10:26). Now we often commit sins and betray the Lord’s teachings. Even if we confess our sins to the Lord and repent, we still sin continually. If things continue like this, will the Lord’s sin offering still be effective on us? Now I’m very confused about this question. If any brothers or sisters have some insights, please reply to me. Thanks a lot!”
After sending the message, Xiaoruo waited anxiously. Not long after, she heard the computer beeping. She took a close look and found the message was sent by a sister named Qingxin, which said, “Sister, I’d like to talk about my view with you. The Lord becoming our sin offering just has saved us from the bondage and condemnation of laws and decrees so that we are qualified to come before God to pray to and worship Him and enjoy all the grace from God, but it doesn’t mean we can sin without hesitation. That is to say, the viewpoint we hold on to that as long as we believe in the Lord, no matter how we sin, the Lord will pardon us and that the sin offering is forever effective on us is not in accordance with the Lord’s will and demands.
Ananias, who was recorded in the Bible, kept back part of the price stealthily after selling his land. As a result, he suffered God’s punishment for deceiving the Holy Spirit, falling down and giving up the ghost. (See Acts 5:5.) There was also Judas who sold out the Lord. Because of lusting thirty pieces of silver, he did the thing that betrayed the Lord and offended the Holy Spirit, and died with his body bursting open due to God’s curse. (See Acts 1:18.) From these facts we can learn that if the Lord’s absolution were forever effective on man just due to man’s believing in the Lord, then Ananias and Judas would not have been annihilated by God’s punishment. The Lord Jesus also said, ‘Why I say to you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven to men. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whoever speaks against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come’ (Matthew 12:31-32). The Lord’s sin offering is indeed effective, but not on all people. If the believers in the Lord do something that resists God and blasphemes the Holy Spirit, they not only will lose the Lord’s salvation, but will receive God’s curse and punishment. Therefore, that we think the sin offering is effective on all the believers in the Lord is not in line with the Lord’s will, is erroneous.”
Looking at the reply of Sister Qingxin, Xiaoruo nodded her agreement and replied, “Sister Qingxin, what you said just now makes sense. The Lord’s absolution is not effective on all people. Then what kind of people is the sin offering effective on? I want to listen to your opinion.” Xiaoruo pondered in her heart: I must figure this question out; otherwise, it’ll be late when I have done things that resist God.
At that moment, the computer beeped again. Sister Qingxin replied, “I also had such a confusion in the past about what kind of people the sin offering is effective on. Later, during the progress of seeking the way, I understood a bit about it. If we want to know the answer, we should first know what kind of person the Lord approves, pities and tolerates. Let’s read some passages of the scriptures and then we’ll understand it. As recorded in the Bible, there was a publican, Zacchaeus, who longed to meet the Lord, so he confessed his sin to the Lord sincerely, and was willing to give the half of his goods to the poor and restore fourfold to those whom he had taken things from by false accusation. The Lord saw his true heart of repentance, and then said to all people, ‘This day is salvation come to this house, as much as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost’ (Luke 19:9-10).
“When the Lord Jesus was crucified, all people were condemning and ridiculing Him. A prisoner also followed others to ridicule the Lord Jesus, but another prisoner blamed him right away, ‘Do not you fear God, seeing you are in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man has done nothing amiss’ (Luke 23:40-41). From the second prisoner’s words, we can see that because he believed that the Lord was a righteous man and came from God and because he feared making an offense against God in his heart, he could stand on the side of the Lord and speak for the Lord when all people were laughing at the Lord Jesus. He said moreover to the Lord, ‘Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom’ (Luke 23:42). The Lord Jesus saw that his heart was heavy with true repentance and that he had the attitude of fearing God, so the Lord forgave his sins and said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, To day shall you be with me in paradise’ (Luke 23:43). Also, Matthew 15 mentions a woman of Canaan. When she asked the Lord to cure her demon-possessed daughter, regardless of what attitudes the Lord Jesus had toward her—ignoring her or saying, ‘It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs’ (Matthew 15:26), she revealed no complaint or exasperation and had no the slightest doubt of the Lord’s substance being God. Instead, she said, ‘Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table’ (Matthew 15:27). She treated the Lord Jesus as her Lord and her God. Because God is examining the innermost hearts of people, the Lord saw the woman of Canaan truly believed in Him and honored God as great. Therefore, He said to her, ‘O woman, great is your faith: be it to you even as you will.’ (Matthew 15:28). Her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
“From these passages of scriptures we can see: In God’s eyes, the publican Zacchaeus, the second prisoner, and the woman of Canaan were all sinners, but because they revered God in their hearts, could honor God as great, and were willing to truly believe in the Lord, they received the Lord’s mercy and salvation. These show that what the Lord approves are those who truly believe in God and can confess their sins to God and repent sincerely. The Lord’s sin offering is effective for such people.”
“Sister Qingxin, I’ve read these Bible passages in the past, but why did I not comprehend these light? What the Lord redeems are indeed this kind of person. You saying this has made me think of the people of Nineveh. After hearing God’s word conveyed by Jonah, the people of the whole city repented their sins to God in sackcloth and ashes hurriedly. God saw their true hearts of repentance, and then pardoned them, not bringing the catastrophe to destroy them. From this we can see that God bestows His salvation on those who truly believe in Him and repent their sins sincerely after committing sins.” Xiaoruo typed with her nimble fingers and then pressed the enter key.
Sister Qingxin sent an approving expression and said, “Yes. What God pities are those who truly believe in God and honor God as great in their hearts and those who can seek and study humbly after hearing God’s voice, such as Peter, John, Nathanael, the Samaritan woman and the eunuch having the charge of treasure. The Lord’s absolution is effective on these people. Sister, I’ve just extracted several passages of words while I was listening to the preaching a couple of days ago. I’d like to share them with you.”
“Great!” Xiaoruo responded in a hurry.
A moment later, Sister Qingxin sent two passages of words: “Man’s evil conduct incurs God’s wrath, whereas God’s mercy and tolerance are bestowed upon those who listen to God and truly repent before Him, upon those who can turn away from their evil ways and abandon the violence in their hands. God’s attitude was very clearly revealed in His treatment of the Ninevites: God’s mercy and tolerance are not at all difficult to obtain; He requires one’s true repentance. As long as people turn away from their evil ways and abandon the violence in their hands, God will change His heart and change His attitude toward them.”
“Whether it’s the question of how you seek after God or how you treat God, it’s your own attitude that is the most important thing. Don’t neglect God like He is empty air in the back of your head. Always think of the God of your belief as a living God, a real God. He’s not up there in the third heaven with nothing to do. Rather, He’s constantly looking into everyone’s hearts, looking at what you’re up to, into every little word and every little deed, looking into how you behave and what your attitude toward God is. Whether you’re willing to give yourself to God or not, all of your behavior and your innermost thoughts and ideas are before God, being looked upon by Him. It’s according to your behavior, according to your deeds, and according to your attitude toward God, that His opinion of you, and His attitude toward you, is constantly changing. … And so I remind you to be careful and prudent in your approach to everything around you, and learn how to follow the principle of walking in God’s way in all things—fearing God and shunning evil. You must develop a firm understanding on matters of God’s will and God’s attitude; find enlightened people to communicate it to you, and seek earnestly. Don’t view the God of your belief as a puppet—arbitrarily judging, arriving at arbitrary conclusions, not treating God with the respect He deserves. In the process of God’s salvation, when He defines your outcome, no matter if He grants you mercy, or tolerance, or judgment and chastisement, His attitude toward you is not fixed. It depends on your attitude toward God, and your understanding of God. Don’t let one passing aspect of your knowledge or understanding of God define Him in perpetuity. Don’t believe in a dead God; believe in a living one.”
After Xiaoruo finished reading these words carefully, Sister Qingxin continued to say, “From these two passages of words, referring to the content we’ve just fellowshiped about, we can understand: God’s disposition is righteous and is also holy; God’s tolerance and mercy truly exist, but His disposition doesn’t allow anyone to commit offense. As for those who can obey God, honor God as great, and can follow His way, God is love, mercy, and tolerance; while as for those who don’t revere God in their hearts, but resist God and don’t follow His way, God is majesty, wrath, and even is condemnation and curse. God’s attitude toward us changes according to our attitudes toward God and His words. If we believe in God sincerely, we can honor God as great and follow Him with a cautious and God-fearing heart at all times. When we are aware that what we do is not in accordance with God’s will, we should repent and confess to God at once and act according to God’s word, and then God will decide whether to tolerate and forgive our transgressions relying on our attitudes toward Him. However, if we don’t understand God’s righteous disposition, considering that God’s disposition is merely merciful and loving and that God will forgive our sins without limits, we will lose our God-fearing hearts and will easily do things that resist God like what Ananias and Judas did. If so, not only will there be no more sin offering but we will be cursed and punished by God.”
Xiaoruo nodded and replied quickly, “Yes! These two passages of words have given me a lot of benefits. We indeed can’t define God’s disposition. God is a practical, real and vivid God. God doesn’t forbear and forgive us repeatedly, but has His principles in the way He treats us. What God cares about is not what we are like on the surface but our attitudes toward Him, whether God has a place in our hearts, and whether we can honor God as great and live out the Lord’s demands of us according to His teachings. This is the most important. Sister Qingxin, today’s fellowship has deeply benefited me. These words not only have solved the confusion in my heart, but allow me to know how to practice in my life in the future. Thank God!”
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