Sins and Being Cleansed of Sins, What Does the Bible Say

Sins and Being Cleansed of Sins, What Does the Bible Say?

By Xiaorui Regarding salvation, many brothers and sisters say with confidence: “The Bible says: ‘That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation’ (Romans 10:9–10). We have received salvation at the cross of the Lord Jesus and if we only believe in our hearts and confess our sin with our mouths, we will be forgiven—we are already saved, so we have full salvation and when the Lord comes, we will definitely enter the kingdom of heaven.” Is this viewpoint of ours actually correct? Does having our sins forgiven and being saved really mean we have full salvation? We really need to communicate this issue clearly, because it is directly connected to our entering the kingdom of heaven, a great matter. First, we need to recognize the fact that we have undeniably received the redemption of the Lord Jesus; however, has our sinful nature been resolved? Does God forgiving our sins mean that we are now purified? As for us, if we take a look at ourselves and how most of our brothers and sisters around us live out their lives, we see that the vast majority of us follow the ways of the world; when we encounter an issue we lack tolerance and patience, and are unable to put the words of the Lord into practice. We live our old lives of sinning by day and confessing by night. Can those of us who sin so frequently really already be fully saved? Will we really get into the kingdom of heaven in the future? In the Bible, it has been recorded: “Jesus answered them, 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). “For I am Jehovah your God: you shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44). “Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). From these verses we see that God is holy, His kingdom is holy and God will not allow unclean people to enter His kingdom. Even though our sins are forgiven, our sinful nature is still within us and we are not free from the bondage of sin. We live within a vicious cycle of sinning and confessing and are not at all purified. Frequent sinning makes us servants of sin. How could a servant of sin enter the kingdom of God? Therefore, the argument that having our sins forgiven means attaining full salvation and getting into the kingdom of heaven does not hold up. What does “being saved” mean here? We all know that under the Age of Law, God issued the law and the commandments through Moses to lead the Israelites in their life on earth. In those days, the Israelites only had to keep the law and commandments and they would not be condemned. Any offenders had to offer a sacrifice to atone for their sin, or they would be punished. Therefore, the people of those days abided scrupulously by the law and no one dared to violate it. Toward the end of the Age of Law, people sinned more and more as their corruption by Satan grew deeper and deeper. There were no longer enough sacrifices to atone for their sins and everyone was at risk of being put to death in accordance with the law. God could not bear to see the people He had created so devoured by Satan, so God became flesh and came to earth to act as man’s sin offering by being nailed to the cross, thus rescuing man out from living under the law. Since then, if we only believe in the Lord Jesus our sins can be forgiven. We no longer suffer condemnation for failing to uphold the law; that is, we are saved by the Lord’s redemption. It is clear, then, that “being saved” is us believing in the Lord Jesus, being forgiven of our sins by repenting before the Lord, and no longer being subject to being put to death by the law. Not only that, but it also means being able to enjoy the peace, joy and abundant grace bestowed upon us by the Lord Jesus. This is what we commonly refer to as the true meaning of “being saved” by faith. Let’s read a couple of passages together: “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.” “The sins of man were forgiven through the agency of the incarnate God, but this does not mean that man no longer…

Christian Worship in church,pray to God

Incapable of Getting Rid of Sin, How Can We Be Called Righteous?

By Bai Xue Some Christians think that they are no longer sinners, but are justified by believing in the Lord Jesus, and that they will be taken into the kingdom of heaven when the Lord returns. It is written in the Bible, “Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus” (Romans 3:25-26). So they consider that, with Jesus Christ acting as their sin offering, as long as they repent to the Lord, their sins can be forgiven, and thus they can be justified through the redemption of Jesus. However, whether or not we have ever thought: It is true that our sins have been forgiven through our faith in the Lord Jesus, but does this mean that we are righteous men and are no longer of sin? First, we might as well see what the apostle John said about this, “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous” (1 John 3:7). The apostle John warned us not to be enticed by people’s exteriors, and that without doing righteousness, a preacher of righteousness isn’t necessarily righteous only by promoting righteousness, whereas the one doing righteousness as well is sure to be righteous. It is perceived that neither promoting righteousness nor doing righteousness can be absent. However, with neglecting to put righteousness into practice, we only think, as long as we endure to the end, we will be justified by faith and will not be counted as sinners, and also we will surely enter the kingdom of heaven. This viewpoint above doesn’t accord with God’s will, nor is there any proof in the Bible. Next, looking at us, believers in the Lord Jesus today: Although we have some good deeds outwardly after accepting the redemption of the Lord Jesus, such as giving alms and helping others, yet these deeds are still far from proving that we are doing righteousness—merely standing for a good behavior, which can still not correspond to the Lord Jesus. It is because that we, having many corrupt dispositions within, can’t avoid committing sins and resisting God yet. For instance, when we encounter things in our real life, we can’t walk in God’s way or live out His words, filled with selfishness and baseness, crookedness and craftiness, but often reveal corrupt dispositions of arrogance and self-conceit without a heart of reverence for God; when we shepherd the church and suffer hardships to do some work for the Lord’s sake, we can exalt and testify ourselves to be venerated and looked up to; when we serve God, we can attack against each other and raise jealousy and strife between one another to compete for status; in addition, when our labor and sacrifice beget no God’s blessings, we can complain about and misunderstand God; when God’s work is not in accord with our notions, we can judge God; and so on. Aren’t these manifestations above the revelation of corrupt dispositions? With so many sins existing within us, can we be called the righteous? Let’s see what is written in the Bible, “If so be that you have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:21-24). These verses also tell us: Since we have accepted the way of the Lord, we must cast off our former corrupt behaviors, live out the likeness of a new man, and ought not to do abominations any more. We should know the ones God finally will get are those who can live out God’s words and righteousness from the inside out, instead of those who only have a few good behaviors on the surface but are still bound by sins within. We, however, have lots of corrupt satanic dispositions, full of sins. How can we be called righteous people for this reason? It is also recorded in the Bible, “But when the righteous turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All his righteousness that he has done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he has trespassed, and in his sin that he has sinned, in them shall he die” (Ezekiel 18:24). As can be seen from the verse, although we can be justified because of the redemption of the Lord Jesus and our faith in Him, nevertheless this does simply mean that we get an opportunity of being justified from the Lord, rather than represent that we are righteous people. If we can’t seize this opportunity to do righteousness, but live in sin and give free rein to the spread of sin, then how can we become righteous? So faith is inseparable from practice. If we only have faith but no living out in our behaviors, then we can’t receive God’s approval. Thus, the saying of being justified by faith is invalid. Now that we can’t truly be justified by faith, how can we be justified then? In fact, the Lord Jesus has already set the standard of righteous people. It is said in Revelation 19:7-8, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” From this we see that what God says about the…

prayer,The Difference Between Being Saved and Attaining Full Salvation

The Truth About Sin: The Difference Between Being Saved and Attaining Full Salvation

By Zeng Xin Whenever the difference between being saved and attaining full salvation is mentioned, there are perhaps some brothers and sisters who will say, “Is there any difference between being saved and attaining full salvation? Doesn’t being saved mean attaining full salvation? We have been saved through our faith in the Lord Jesus, so have we not attained full salvation? When the Lord comes, we will immediately be raptured up into heaven.” But are things really this simple? It would be well for us to seek and discuss this matter. 1. What Does It Mean to Be Saved? Are We Without Sin After We Have Been Saved? First, let’s read a passage of God’s words: “At the time Jesus’ work was the redemption of all mankind. The sins of all who believed in Him were forgiven; as long as you believed in Him, He would redeem you; if you believed in Him, you were no longer a sinner, you were relieved of your sins. This is what it meant to be saved, and to be justified by faith. Yet in those who believed, there remained that which was rebellious and opposed God, and which still had to be slowly removed. Salvation did not mean man had been completely gained by Jesus, but that man was no longer of sin, that he had been forgiven his sins: Provided you believed, you would never more be of sin.” From God’s words, we can see that we are saved through our belief in the Lord because the Lord Jesus performed the work of redemption. The Lord gave Himself up as a sin offering and was nailed to the cross, and He thereby redeemed us from sin. Therefore, by believing in the Lord, we are no longer sinners and are no longer bound by the law. Now when we sin, we are able to come directly before God to pray to Him, and we can ask the Lord to forgive us. This is what it means to be saved. So are we then without sin after we have been saved? We can see from our own experiences that, although we may toil and work hard, and we may do some external good deeds, we are still capable of frequently sinning, and we have not cast off the bonds of sin. Our life dispositions are the same as they’ve ever been, and the moment we encounter something at odds with our own notions or something that infringes upon our own interests, we reveal many corrupt dispositions and, as a result, we rebel against God and resist God. For example, within the church, whenever someone else gives a sermon that shows them to be more gifted than us, we then feel jealous of them or we try to undercut them in secret; when someone else infringes upon our interests, we hate them and, in serious cases, we can become angry and retaliate against them; whenever we abandon something or expend ourselves a little in our work for the Lord, we flaunt our accomplishments and lay conditions on God, or else we disdain and disparage other people; whenever we have the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit in our work and sermons and we reap results, we become very pleased with ourselves and we usurp God’s glory; after we have suffered and paid a price and we get nothing in return and our personal interests go unsatisfied, we blame God and misunderstand Him, believing that God is not protecting us or blessing us; when we do something that violates God’s commandments, we are afraid that others will find out, and we tell lies to deceive others and to deceive God; when we have believed in God for many years and we think that God has not bestowed sufficient grace on us, we follow the ways of the world and we betray God, and so on. Such behaviors and expressions are enough to prove that we still live in sin and we live under Satan’s power; they prove that our nature is still a satanic nature, that our thoughts and views pertain to the world, and that we have the capability to arbitrarily betray God and return to our worldly lives because of any situation that does not accord with our own ideas. 2. What Does It Mean to Attain Full Salvation? What Behaviors Do Those Who Attain Full Salvation Possess? First, let’s read a passage of God’s words: “When people cast off the filthy, corrupt things of Satan, they gain God’s salvation. But if they still do not divest themselves of filth and corruption, then they are still living under the domain of Satan. People’s conniving, deceitfulness, and crookedness are all things of Satan. Saving you is allowing you to escape from these things. God’s work cannot be wrong; it is all in order to save people from darkness. … When you live under Satan’s domain you are incapable of manifesting God, you are something filthy, and cannot receive God’s inheritance. Once you have been cleansed and made perfect, you will be holy, you will be a proper person, and you will be blessed by God and delightful to God.” From God’s words, we can see that attaining full salvation means to cast off sin and be purified. That is to say, those who attain full salvation do not just do some external good deeds, but their arrogant, selfish, deceitful and wicked inner nature has changed, and they are able to live by God’s words, completely submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements and, even when faced with the threat of imminent death, they are still able to fear God and shun evil. They would rather die than return to live under Satan’s power, and they can no longer rebel against or resist God. Only people like this are those who have been completely gained by God. Those who attain God’s full salvation are those who understand the truth, who know God and who can obey God;…

What Does Faith Refer to?

What Does Faith Refer to?

By Anxin With regard to faith, it is said in Scripture: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). From this verse we can see that faith involves the belief that everything we hope for shall be realized, and the confidence that things we cannot see shall be achieved. In the course of following God, faith is particularly important because it represents one’s true dependence on and admiration of God. Only those who possess true faith can witness God’s wondrous deeds and be made perfect by Him. So what does faith refer to? Let’s look at some biblical records to find the answer. It is recorded in the Bible, “And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried to Him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, You Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and sought Him, saying, Send her away; for she cries after us. But He answered and said, I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, help me. But He answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said to her, O woman, great is your faith: be it to you even as you will. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour” (Matthew 15:22–28). These verses tell a story about a Canaanite woman who asked the Lord Jesus to heal her demon-possessed daughter, and how her daughter was cured because of her faith. So why did the Lord Jesus commend her that her faith was great? What exactly showed her faith? Was it her willingness to be a dog? As for this question, let’s look at a passage of words and then we will understand: “Why did the Lord Jesus praise the faith of this person? It was not because she was willing to be a dog, nor was it because she was willing to eat bread crumbs. This is all secondary. What was it that the Lord Jesus praised her for? It was that she didn’t care whether the Lord Jesus saw her as a dog, as a person, or as the devil Satan. She didn’t care what He saw her as. The most important point was that she regarded the Lord Jesus as God, and that she affirmed the Lord Jesus to be the Lord, and to be God. This is a truth and a fact that is eternally unchanging. The Lord Jesus was God, was the Lord, was the One affirmed as such in her heart, and that was enough. Irrespective of whether the Lord Jesus saved her or didn’t save her, whether He saw her as someone to eat with together at table, or as a disciple, or a follower, or whether He saw her as a lapdog or guard dog, it was all fine, she didn’t care. In any case, it was enough for her to acknowledge that the Lord Jesus was the Lord of her heart; this was her greatest faith.” It can be seen from this passage that the Lord Jesus praised the faith of the Canaanite woman not because she was willing to be a dog, but because she affirmed the Lord Jesus to be the true God in her heart no matter how He treated her or what He saw her as. She believed that He had authority and power and regarded Him as her God, her Lord. From the perspective of our notions, the Lord Jesus could have granted that woman’s plea and cured her daughter, given that He had displayed so many signs and miracles, and had healed the sick and cast out demons many times, yet the Lord Jesus spoke something that didn’t conform to our notions. The Canaanite woman, however, didn’t become disheartened and walk off, nor did she doubt or blame the Lord. Instead, she acknowledged the Lord Jesus as the Lord and God irrespective of whether He would save her daughter or not, and in her heart this is a fact that is eternally unchanging. Having seen her true heart, the Lord Jesus praised the Canaanite woman that her faith was great. There is another story in the Bible: “And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came to Him a centurion, beseeching Him, And saying, Lord, my servant lies at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus said to him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it. When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to them that followed, Truly I say to you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say to you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said to the centurion, Go your way; and as you have believed, so be it done to you. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour” (Matthew 8:5–13). This is a story about how a centurion asked the Lord Jesus to heal his servant. So why did the Lord say his faith was great? What is…

Do You Know the Real Meaning of Easter?

Do You Know the Real Meaning of Easter?

By Hanxiao What Is Easter? The Origins of Easter Easter, or Resurrection Sunday as it is also called, is a holiday which celebrates the Lord Jesus’ resurrection that occurred three days after He was crucified upon the cross. Its exact time falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox every year. In order to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus and to remember the salvation and hope Jesus brought to mankind, each year from March to April, Christians all over the world hold celebrations on the day of Easter. So while us Christians are commemorating the resurrection of Jesus, do we know why He returned from the dead and appeared to man despite having already finished His work of redemption? And what is the meaning behind His resurrection and His appearance to man? The Meaning of the Lord Jesus’ Resurrection and of His Appearance to Man God’s words say: “The first thing that the Lord Jesus did after His resurrection was to allow everyone to see Him, to confirm that He exists, and to confirm the fact of His resurrection. In addition, it restored His relationship with the people to the relationship He had with them when He was working in the flesh, and He was the Christ they could see and touch. This way, one outcome is that the people had no doubt that the Lord Jesus had been resurrected from death after being nailed to the cross, and there was no doubt in the Lord Jesus’ work to redeem mankind. And another outcome is that the fact of the Lord Jesus appearing to people after His resurrection and allowing people to see and touch Him firmly secured mankind in the Age of Grace. From this time on, people could not return to the previous age, the Age of Law, because of the Lord Jesus’ ‘disappearance’ or ‘desertion,’ but they would continue forward, following the Lord Jesus’ teachings and the work He had done. Thus, a new phase in the work in the Age of Grace was formally opened up, and the people who had been under the law formally came out from the law from then on, and entered into a new era, with a new beginning. These are the manifold meanings of the Lord Jesus’ appearance to mankind after the resurrection” (“God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III”). “After the Lord Jesus was resurrected, He appeared to the people He thought necessary, spoke with them, and made requirements of them, leaving behind His intentions, and His expectations of people. That is to say, as God incarnate, it doesn’t matter if it was during His time in the flesh, or in the spiritual body after being nailed to the cross and being resurrected—His concern for mankind and requirements of people did not change. He was concerned about these disciples before He was up on the cross; in His heart, He was clear on the state of every single person, He understood every person’s deficiency, and of course His understanding of every person was the same after He had died, resurrected, and become a spiritual body as it was when He was in the flesh. He knew that people weren’t entirely certain of His identity as Christ, but during His time in the flesh He did not make strict demands of people. But after He had been resurrected He appeared to them, and He made them absolutely certain that the Lord Jesus had come from God, that He was God incarnate, and He used the fact of His appearance and His resurrection as the greatest vision and motivation for mankind’s lifelong pursuit. His resurrection from death not only strengthened all those who followed Him, but also thoroughly put His work of the Age of Grace into effect among mankind, and thus the gospel of the Lord Jesus’ salvation in the Age of Grace gradually spread to every corner of humanity. Would you say that the Lord Jesus’ appearance after His resurrection had any significance? … His appearance allowed people to have another experience and feeling of God’s concern and care while also powerfully proving that God is the One who opens up an age, who develops an age, and He is the One who ends an age. Through His appearance He strengthened the faith of all people, and through His appearance He proved to the world the fact that He is God Himself. This gave His followers eternal confirmation, and through His appearance He also opened up a phase of His work in the new age” (“God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III”). From God’s words, we can see that there is a profound meaning to the Lord Jesus appearing many times to His disciples after He had returned from the dead, and God’s painstaking care and thought is also hidden behind it! Jesus knew that, although those who followed Him at the time had listened to many of His teachings and had seen many miracles performed by the Lord, and they claimed that Jesus was their Lord and that He was the Son of God, yet they had no true understanding of the fact that Jesus was Christ and that He was God Himself. When Jesus was captured by the Roman authorities and was flogged and mocked by the soldiers, many of those who followed Him began to have doubts about His identity, and their faith in the Lord grew weaker and weaker. Especially when the Lord Jesus died after being nailed to the cross, many people were utterly disappointed in Him, and what had begun as doubt became denial of the Lord Jesus. Against such a context as this, if the Lord Jesus had not appeared to man after His resurrection, many of those who had followed Him would no longer have believed in Jesus Christ and they would have turned back to the Age of Law and continued to observe the law of the Old Testament. God scrutinized…

How to Do Devotions to Achieve Good Results

How to Do Devotions to Achieve Good Results

By Xun Qiu Every Christian knows that believing in God requires a normal spiritual life, namely spiritual devotion. It is the foundation of establishing a proper relationship with God and the way of practice that is absolutely necessary in the growth of our spiritual life. Then, how should we practice spiritual devotion to achieve good results? Today, let’s communicate this aspect of the truth together. 1. We should focus on quieting our hearts before God in our spiritual devotions, which is the precondition for obtaining the work of the Holy Spirit. Many of us can regularly practice spiritual devotion every day but we often can’t quiet our hearts during that time, for sometimes we are preoccupied with some family matters or work stuff, or are anxious to deal with these problems quickly. As a result, our spiritual devotions are just abiding by a rule, because our bodies are here while our hearts are elsewhere. The Lord Jesus said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). This is God’s requirement of us. Obtaining the work of the Holy Spirit and achieving good results in spiritual devotions require worshiping God with an honest heart. During our spiritual devotions, if we are distracted by outward matters, such as our work or lives, and thus we go through the motions and wait for the end of spiritual devotions, then we can only understand the literal meaning of God’s words and gain no enlightenment. In this case, after spiritual devotions, we won’t feel enriched at all. Spiritual devotions like this won’t produce any results. God’s words say, “Every one of you must take time away from every person, matter, and object for your personal spiritual devotionals, where you will be able to bring peace to your heart and quiet yourself before God. You should have your own individual devotional notes where you can record your knowledge of God’s word and how your spirit has been moved, regardless of whether what you write down is profound or superficial. Quiet your heart before God with intention. If you can dedicate one or two hours to a true spiritual life during the day, then your life that day will feel enriched and your heart will be bright and clear. If you live this kind of spiritual life on a daily basis, then you will be able to give your heart to God more and more, your spirit will become stronger and stronger, your condition will become better and better, you will become more capable of walking the path led by the Holy Spirit, and God will bestow more and more blessings upon you.” From these words we know that if we want to achieve good results in spiritual devotions and gain the work of the Holy Spirit, we should spend one or two hours a day in practicing putting away family or work matters with intention, quieting our hearts before God and praying for Him to lead us to understand His words in a quiet place. Only in this way can we be able to pour our whole hearts into God’s words. When God sees our hearts of seeking the truth, He will enlighten and guide us. This way, not only will we be able to have some understanding of God’s will, we will also come to know our own shortcomings and deficiencies. In addition, we should take our devotional notes every day, recording at any time how our spirits have been enlightened, so that we can read and ponder over these notes at ordinary times. By practicing quieting our hearts before God like this every day, we will be spiritually keen and be able to seek God more when encountering matters. This being so, we will grow closer and closer to God and our life will grow quickly. 2. We should not read God’s words in an aimless way; we should read God’s words pertaining to our practical difficulties and shortcomings. Spiritual devotion should focus on solving practical problems and difficulties. Only thus can we be able to better understand God’s will and requirements and bring God’s words into real life to solve our practical problems. Only spiritual devotion that achieves such a result is true spiritual devotion. However, most of the time, we just keep to the outward practices in our spiritual devotions. When we open up the word of God but have no idea what to read, we just aimlessly flick through the book and read what we see. As a result, because we read God’s words without any objectives and don’t seek the truths after that, our problems still remain as before. This kind of spiritual devotion won’t achieve any results. God’s words say, “When you eat and drink the words of God, you must measure your own real state against them. That is, after you discover the shortcomings in yourself during your real experiences, you must be capable of finding a path to practice, and turning your back on your incorrect motivations and notions. If you always try hard in this and you always pour your heart into these things, you will have a path to follow, you will not feel empty, and thus you will be able to maintain a proper state. Only then will you be someone who carries a burden in your own life, and only then will you be someone who has faith.” From these words, we can see that we should purposefully read God’s words, that is, consciously find and read some relevant parts of God’s words according to our practical states and difficulties. God’s words will reveal our wrong motivations and notions and point out to us the right path of practice. Then we should put aside our own incorrect motivations and opinions and act based on God’s requirements. By doing so, our problems will be solved, our states will be more and more normal and we will become clearer about God’s will. This…

What Is True Faith?

What Is True Faith?

By Li Xin What is faith? Under comfortable environments, with our works going well and family lives being peaceful, many of us will have the faith to follow the Lord, actively reading the Bible and attending meetings; however, once something unpleasant happens, we will become weak immediately. For example, when we are facing living difficulties because of losing our jobs, when our families lose peace due to something against our wishes happening, or when we are always refused a new job in spite of our praying, we begin losing our faith in God. Then, in consideration of all these things, what is real faith exactly? As for this question, there are two passages of words that speak clearly, “What does faith refer to? Faith is the genuine belief and the sincere heart that humans should possess when they cannot see or touch something, when God’s work is not in line with human notions, when it is beyond human reach. This is the faith that I speak of. People are in need of faith during times of hardship and refinement, and along with faith comes refinement. These are inextricable. No matter how God works or what kind of environment you are in, if you are able to pursue life, seek to have God’s work carried out within you, and pursue the truth, and if you have an understanding of God’s actions and are able to act according to the truth, then this is your genuine faith and this shows that you have not lost hope in God. Only if you are still able to pursue the truth through refinement, you are able to truly love God and do not develop doubts of Him, if no matter what He does you still practice the truth to satisfy Him and you are able to deeply seek out His will and be considerate of His will, then this means you have true faith in God.” “When you face sufferings you must be able to not consider the flesh and not complain against God. When God hides Himself from you, you must be able to have the faith to follow Him, to maintain your previous love without allowing it to falter or disappear. No matter what God does, you must submit to His design, and be more willing to curse your own flesh than to complain against Him. When you are faced with trials you must satisfy God in spite of any reluctance to part with something you love, or bitter weeping. Only this can be called true love and faith.” From these words, we see that true faith is the belief that we should possess when God’s work is not in accordance with our notions. When we face suffering and hardships, we do not lose our faith in God or complain against God and are able to follow God as always, and even if we can’t see His actions after praying, we still completely believe in His work and words without any doubts and have an obedient heart to seek out His will. This is true faith. To better understand this aspect of truth, let’s look at the experiences of Job and Moses. True Faith in Suffering and Trials Job was the richest man in the east; however, in the trials, in a very short time, all his possessions were robbed by bandits and his sons and daughters were crushed to death in the collapse of his house. Facing all this, Job didn’t complain against God, because he had seen a lot of God’s deeds through all things and thus deeply understood that everything he owned was bestowed by God. Therefore, even though God took away everything from him, he never lost his faith in God because of losses in his own interests, and instead he said, “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). Afterward, Job was covered with sores. When his wife advised him to curse God, he said, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). Because of his true faith, Job was able to obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements in the trials, thus bearing resounding witness. In the end, he saw the back of Jehovah God and heard His voice. True Faith in Refinement Moses, as everyone who has read the Bible knows, before leading the Israelites out of Egypt, was exiled by Pharaoh to the wilderness because of his killing an Egyptian. Moses was originally an Egyptian prince and led an extravagant life in the palace; however, he had to raise sheep to make a living when in the wilderness, and moreover, what he would face every day was only animals, with nobody to talk to. We may wonder how he lived such a life. To everyone’s surprise, in those tough years, Moses, through praying to God and relying on Him, survived in the wilderness at last. What’s more, after forty years of refinement, not only his hot blood and natural personality were ground away, but also he developed true faith in God, being a man after God’s heart. Thus, after that, Jehovah God formally used him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. When God called him, Moses didn’t make any personal choices, refuse or falter but instead accepted God’s commission. It is through forty years of refinement that Moses achieved this kind of faith. In summary, it can be seen that true faith reveals itself in trials and refinements. Though the circumstances that Job and Moses encountered were not the same, they were similar in that when faced with adversities, they still prayed to and praised God and maintained their faith in Him, no matter what He did. Therefore, in the end, they received God’s approval and blessings. We can see from these facts that every environment we encounter is arranged specifically for each of us by God, and that…

Job's trials

A Brief Talk About the 3 Differences Between Temptations and Trials

By Kelly, United States It’s said in the Bible, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts He any man” (James 1:13). So, some brothers and sisters wonder the difference between temptations and trials. Below, I’d like to share a bit of my understanding of this issue. First, distinguish from the source. Matthew 4:3 records, “And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If You be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” This verse clearly states that Satan is “the tempter.” As we all know, when the Lord Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness after baptism, He was tempted three times by Satan. Job lost his vast wealth and all his children because of Satan’s temptation. And so on. It can be seen that temptations come from Satan and that God never tempts people. Just as the Bible says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts He any man” (James 1:13). As for trials, they come from God. Just as Jehovah God said, “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried” (Zechariah 13:9). God appropriates Satan’s tests to try people. For example, when Satan made accusations of Job before God, God permitted it to tempt Job. As a result, Job lost all his property and his children in an instant, and later he was covered in sores head-to-toe. God used these things to try Job in order that he could bear testimony for Him before Satan and the worldly people. Second, distinguish from the substance and the effect. The substance of Satan is evil and malicious, so its temptations are also evil and malicious. For instance, when Satan tempted Adam and Eve, they listened to its enticements and ate the forbidden fruit. As a result, their spirits died, and they were driven out of the Garden of Eden by God and lived a cursed life of sweating and laboring. There is another example, concerning Job. When Satan first tempted him, his livestock, enough to cover a mountain, was carried off by the robbers, and his children were crushed to death by the collapsing house. When Satan’s second temptation befell Job, it raked his flesh, smiting him with sore boils from head to toe and causing him unbearable pain. The substance of God is righteous and holy, so God’s trials are beautiful and good. God’s words say, “He is almighty, holy, and righteous. So likewise, His flesh is also supreme, almighty, holy, and righteous. Flesh such as that is only able to do that which is righteous and beneficial to mankind, that which is holy, glorious, and mighty, and is incapable of doing anything that violates the truth or morality and justice.” When God subjected Job to trials, although he lost all his livestock, sons and daughters, and he developed terrible boils all over his body, and suffered the censure of his friends and even the abandonment by his wife, these trials brought him great benefit: He felt God’s care for him, his faith and obedience toward God were perfected, and his knowledge of God was heightened. Most importantly, because Job stood firm and bore testimony for God before the worldly people and Satan, he thoroughly got rid of Satan’s accusations, becoming a free person who worshiped God. Just as Job said, “But He knows the way that I take: when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). Besides, after Job had undergone God’s trials, God blessed him, bestowing him with double the fortune and lifespan he had originally had, and ten beautiful children. And God appeared and spoke to him out of the whirlwind. Third, distinguish from Satan’s motives and God’s intentions. Temptations come from Satan. By means of them, Satan intends to harm and corrupt man, and wreck the relationship between us and God so that we will blame, leave and even betray God. But as for trials, they come from God. Through them, God wants us to learn to rely on Him to see His deeds during our experiences, thereby increasing our faith in Him; meanwhile God aims to purify the contamination within us and make us have more knowledge and obedience of Him. Next, I’d like to share some experiences of a sister of our church with you. When she was doing church work, one day her son called and said that her husband needed to be hospitalized because of illness. Hearing this news, she wanted to go to the hospital to look after her husband. But she was tied up with some important work in the church. At that time, she thought of God’s words, “In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements, or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God.” God’s words allowed her to realize that this thing was a spiritual battle. That was Satan’s temptation befalling her and Satan wanted to disturb her from maintaining the work of the church. Meanwhile, God was testing her to see what she would choose at the crucial time, personal benefit or the benefit of the church. Feeling that God and Satan were watching her, she didn’t want to disappoint God. Thus, she determined to deal with the church work first and then go to care for her husband in the hospital. When she made this decision, to her surprise, her son rang up to say that her husband had gotten better. After experiencing such things several times, she gradually understood…

the Heavenly Kingdom

Can People Really Enter the Heavenly Kingdom By Having Good Behaviors?

By Jingjie To gain salvation and enter the heavenly kingdom is the common hope of all believers in the Lord. Many of them think that as long as they enthusiastically expend and work hard for the Lord and do good deeds, they can obtain the Lord’s approval and be taken into the heavenly kingdom when the Lord comes. Is that really the case? Did the Lord Jesus ever say anything to this effect? How can we enter the heavenly kingdom? The Lord Jesus said, “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). And Jehovah God said, “You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45). According to God’s words, we can be sure that those who enter the heavenly kingdom must do God’s will, that is, they follow God’s way, obey God, love God and worship God. They are the ones who have been freed from sin and been cleansed. Take a look at us. Although we practice outward good behaviors, and have cast aside everything to labor for the Lord, it’s undeniable that we are still controlled by our sinful natures and live helplessly in the vicious cycle of sinning and repenting, and that what we reveal is satanic corrupt disposition such as arrogance, selfishness, despicableness, and deception. For example, though we believe in the Lord, we still give in to our fleshly desires to lie, commit fraud, deceive, pursue vanity, covet money, and follow evil worldly trends; while we follow God, we worship and follow men; when encountering tribulations and trials that harm our personal interests, we blame and even betray God; our work and preaching is merely to barter with the Lord and ask for His blessings; we scramble for fame and profit with our co-workers, and even establish our own kingdoms by engaging in jealousy and disputes; when God’s work and words don’t accord with our notions, we carelessly judge, resist, and betray God. This is just like what the Jewish chief priests, scribes and Pharisees did. On the outside they appeared humble and patient, donated and helped others, and even traveled far and wide to spread the gospel—exhibiting some seemingly good behaviors. But when the Lord Jesus came to work, they frantically condemned and opposed Him in order to protect their own status and livelihood. They even colluded with the Roman government to nail Him to the cross, committing a grave sin and thus being cursed and punished by God. 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). God’s words say, “You must know what kind of people I desire; those who are impure are not permitted to enter into the kingdom, those who are impure are not permitted to besmirch the holy ground. Though you may have done much work, and have worked for many years, in the end if you are still deplorably filthy—it is intolerable to the law of Heaven that you wish to enter My kingdom! From the foundation of the world until today, never have I offered easy access to My kingdom to those who curry favor with Me. This is a heavenly rule, and no one can break it!” God’s words make it clear. God is holy and righteous. The kingdom of God is under His dominion. He will never allow the impure or corrupt into His kingdom, and this is decided by His righteous disposition. As for us, our sinful natures have not been resolved and our satanic dispositions have not been cleansed. For instance, we act based on our own desires instead of God’s words; when confronted with things that are not in line with our notions, we have no obedience to God; when we sacrifice something, we start asking God for blessings. So, no matter how much we suffer or work, and no matter how many good deeds we appear to do, how can we become people who do God’s will and enter God’s kingdom? Those who follow God’s will are undoubtedly those who obey God absolutely. They are definitely of the same mind as God. They surely will not disobey or resist God. These people are the ones who are qualified to enter the heavenly kingdom and receive God’s promise. As the word of God says, “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.” 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”…

Church,Why There Are So Many Denominations in Christianity

Why There Are So Many Denominations in Christianity

By Zhou Tao My Confusion Several years ago, I was often out on business. At all of my stops, I would seek a meeting place on weekends, off my own bat, to share the Lord’s words and pray. But after some of the meetings, the church leaders would ask me, “Brother Zhou, which denomination do you belong to? What are the doctrines of your church?” I was always taken aback and would reply, “I believe in the Lord Jesus, and I don’t belong to any denomination. We all are family in Christ.” But they would answer, “Now there are many churches, but only our church is the true one, only our church encompasses all the others.” Later, what baffled me even more was that when I returned to my hometown church my church friends asked me what doctrines I’d heard in other churches. We got into quarrels over different understandings of Bible verses, and could never reach an agreement. Our meetings often ended bitterly. Many years passed, and no matter where I went, what impressed me was the multitude of denominations and how they were all critical of each other. Seeing this, I thought of the words in the Bible, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph 4:5–6). We all believe in the Lord, read the Bible and the words of the Lord; why are there so many Christian denominations? What is the root of this? Which one is in line with the Lord’s will? Full of confusion and puzzlement, I eagerly wanted to find the answers. Why There Are So Many Christian Denominations Later, I ran into Brother Yuan, an evangelist, at a co-workers’ meeting in the home of one of my relatives. We discussed my confusion. When I asked why there are so many denominations, Brother Yuan talked about the origin and development of Christianity. Then he said, “Over time, influenced by geography, history, and culture, believers understood the scriptures differently. They had many diverging views, and they debated them endlessly. Thus, many denominations came into being, and Christianity fell into chaos. “Now, those who truly thirst for God have seen that people are in control in most denominations. Based on their own imaginings and reasoning, some pastors and elders use belief in God as a cover to try to implement their own management, with the aim of getting more people under their domain or striking down other denominations that don’t follow them. Maybe some people will think this is an exaggeration and will not want to listen. However, we can confirm it from the historical records of God’s work. Let’s think about it: During the Age of Law, God used Moses to directly lead the people of Israel, and Moses set up the priest system. After Moses’ work was completed, there were no more people on earth that were directly appointed by God to lead the Israelites. The priest system of Judaism then began to be organized by elections. Very often, religious circles became corrupted because the wrong priests were elected. By the end of the Age of Law, the priests had completely lost God’s guidance. They did evil without being subjected to any discipline, formed factions, and the temple was turned into a den of thieves. At that time, many denominations were created. When the incarnate Lord Jesus appeared and did work during the Age of Grace, He personally selected the twelve apostles, and the Holy Spirit also did much work in His apostles. All those who followed the Lord were shepherded and led by the people God appointed. No one dared have selfish ideas or ulterior motives. They worshiped the Lord with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the true church was created. The notion of denominations didn’t exist at that time. Around thirty years after the Lord Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascent into heaven, most of the twelve apostles had been martyred, and the church on earth was no longer shepherded by the apostles directly appointed by the Lord Jesus. Then various religious groups started to form, and today there are more than 2,000 denominations in Christianity. So, without the personal guidance of Christ, and without a place for God in their hearts, many people are able to arrogantly boast about themselves, follow their preferences and walk their own path, thus going astray unknowingly. “In addition, most leaders of these denominations are not being used by the Holy Spirit, nor have they been made perfect by the Holy Spirit. They are definitely unable to lead followers to know Christ and obey His guidance. Unlike Moses—who underwent God’s ordeals and perfection—and the disciples—who were called upon by the Lord Jesus personally and did the work God entrusted to them after they were shepherded by the Lord Jesus for a period of time—most religious leaders serve God by relying on their passion and naturalness. All of these are direct causes of the splits in Christianity.” This was the first time I had heard such fellowshiping. It turned out that the occurrence of Christian denominations comes from the will of people and they are ruled by people. But their behavior is not the will of Christ, much less the will of the Holy Spirit, because they have not been made perfect by the Holy Spirit and can’t do the work of leading people. No wonder that without the discipline of the Holy Spirit the denominations attack and reject one another. This made me clearly see why wherever I went people were always a bit guarded when talking with me. These church leaders have treated God’s church as their private property, like the evil tenants who looked after the vineyard. In the last two thousand years, who has seen this clearly? At the time, the Lord’s words crossed my mind, “For as much as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me,…

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