Can Believers Absolved of Sins Enter the Kingdom of Heaven?
Han Song opened the Bible and read: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). After reading this, he could not help but think back on his belief in the Lord over many years: Though he had been preaching and working everywhere, he was still living a sinful life. In leading the church, he always wanted his brothers and sisters to think highly of him and look up to him after doing a little work; in interacting with his family, he would get hot-blooded and have no tolerance or patience for them when they didn’t listen to his viewpoints which he thought were correct; … He often lived in a sin-and-confess state, unable to put the Lord’s words into practice. Just as Paul said, ‘For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not’ (Romans 7:18). After realizing his own real state, Han Song wondered: “I’ve been redeemed from my sins by believing in the Lord. Why is it that I can’t break free from the bondage of sin but commit sins constantly? The Lord is holy. Can a person such as I who frequently sins enter the kingdom of heaven?”
Later, Han Song told Brother Li about his confusions and sought out him for fellowship.
Brother Li replied, “The questions you’re bringing up are what most brothers and sisters desire to figure out. After accepting the’ redemption, we are no longer sinful, but why do we often commit sins and fail to rid ourselves of the bonds of sins? It’s true that the Lord Jesus has forgiven our sins through His crucifixion, but what does ‘sin’ really refer to here? It refers to anything that violates God’s laws, commandments, or words. As we all know, the Lord Jesus made Himself the sin offering for mankind. As long as we pray, confess and repent to the Lord, He will then forgive our sins and no longer treat us as sinners, and thus we will be able to enjoy His grace. This is the true meaning of ‘Sins are forgiven.’ However, this means only that we will no longer be condemned or put to death by the law, that is to say, the Lord Jesus no longer remembers our sins of violating the law. Nevertheless, our sinful natures have not been resolved, so we are still in the cycle of sinning and repentance and are capable of resisting and rebelling against God. In this way, how could we be saved and enter the heavenly kingdom? The Lord Jesus 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). ‘Be you holy; for I am holy’ (1 Peter 1:16). God is holy and righteous, so He won’t allow the impure or corrupt into His kingdom. This is decided by His righteous disposition. As is clear, if our sinful nature is not resolved and we cannot cast off sin and be cleansed, then we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Listening to Brother Li’s fellowshiping, Han Song nodded thoughtfully.
Brother Li turned on his computer and said: “I saw a passage on a gospel website. It’s very beneficial to us. Let’s read it: ‘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 essence 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.’”
Then Brother Li continued fellowshiping: “From these words, we can see that the Lord Jesus’ redemptive work was just to pardon our sins, but our corrupt satanic dispositions remain deeply rooted within us, such as being arrogant and conceited, selfish and greedy, crooked and deceitful, jealous and disputatious, and so on. These corrupt natures are deeper and much more tenacious than sin and are also the source that leads us to sin and to resist God. Because they have yet to be disposed of, we still often sin and oppose God. For example, while we are working hard for the Lord, we frequently do things according to our own will and preferences, but do not focus on carrying out the Lord’s words or keeping His commandments; since we sacrifice, expend and labor for the Lord, we believe ourselves to love and satisfy God, and we thus begin to rely on our arrogant disposition to capitalize on our seniority and trot out our old achievements; some even lust for fame and status, exalt and bear witness to themselves; when encountering persecution and tribulation, we can even deny and betray God; when God’s work does not fit our notions, we carelessly judge and condemn God; at the same time we follow God, we worship and follow men; etc. It can therefore be seen that, if our satanic dispositions within remain unresolved, we will be capable of doing defiant and rebellious things against God at any time and in any place. How could we, who are full of corrupt satanic disposition, enter God’s kingdom?”
Hearing this, Han Song came to a sudden realization and said: “Now I finally understand the reason why I still resist God in spite of myself and often live in a state of sinning and confessing. It turns out it is because my satanic dispositions have not yet been resolved. However, how can we escape sin to receive cleanness?”
Brother Li continued: “The Lord Jesus once said, ‘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). These words tell us that there are still many things the Lord Jesus has not said. When He returns He will express more truths that are the way by which we can attain salvation. Only by accepting these truths can we throw off our corrupt dispositions and obtain cleansing.
“Recently, through studying the Bible, I have found that there are over two hundred places relating to God’s work of judgment in the last days, such as: ‘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’ (John 12:47). ‘For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God’ (1 Peter 4:17). ‘Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come’ (Revelation 14:7). And so on. We can see from these verses that the Lord Jesus will probably do a stage of the work of judgment and purification when He returns in the last days. If we want to break free of sin and attain purification, we have to accept God’s work in the last days. Only in this way can we be saved and enter the heavenly kingdom. Now is a key time for welcoming the arrival of the Lord. The Bible says: ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (Revelation 2:7). Therefore, only if we listen closely to God’s voice and accept God’s work of judgment in the last days will we have hope of entering the kingdom of heaven. I’ve seen a lot of fellowship regarding this aspect on this gospel website. …”
While they were browsing this website, they were talking enthusiastically …