I trust that every brother and sister in the Lord will have experienced this kind of situation: When we associate with other people and their words and actions do not accord with our own ideas, we can easily lose our temper and begin to chide them, and we are unable to practice tolerance and patience. Another example is when our own interests are affected, and we are then capable of lying and cheating, and are unable even to say one honest word. Sin is like an invisible chain that tightly binds us, and it makes us feel deeply indebted to the Lord yet powerless to free ourselves from it! Are you also distressed about the question of how to be free from sin? Sister Zhenyi will use her experiences to tell us how we can be free from sin, so let’s read on together.
In 2002, I married and moved from Vietnam to Taiwan. Because of the differences in language and culture between us, plus the fact that my husband and I had very different characters, we often got into arguments during which neither one of us would be willing to back down, and we both felt very pained.
In 2011, I began to believe in the Lord Jesus, and from His words I saw that the Lord requires us to be tolerant, patient and loving with other people. I therefore began to conduct myself toward other people in accordance with the Lord’s teachings. At first, I was able to be tolerant and patient with my husband, and we very seldom argued. It didn’t last, however, and we once again recommenced our life of constant arguing. When I’d been at work all day and had dragged my exhausted self back home only to see my husband just sitting there watching TV, completely unaware that the housework needed doing, I couldn’t stand it anymore and would lose my temper with him; whenever I bought some things for the home and was blamed by my husband for wasting money, I would feel defiant and would feel that I’d done nothing wrong and that he shouldn’t be criticizing me. The arguing between me and my husband also took a toll on our two children. In the end, when our children saw me coming home, they hid in their room and would not come out; my husband and I didn’t speak to each other at all week after week. We were drifting further and further apart, and I felt very distressed.
I later went to a preacher and told him of my pain in the hope that he would be able to help me. After listening to my woes, the preacher read to me a passage of scripture: “Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus said to him, I say not to you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21–22). He then told me that believers in the Lord had to keep the Lord’s teachings, that we must be loving, tolerant and patient toward others, and that we must have a forgiving spirit. So as not to commit sin, he said, we also had to fast and pray, and confess our sins and repent to the Lord.
And so, I began to fast and pray, and to confess and repent to the Lord, and I became determined to change myself. A while later, however, not only had my temper not changed for the better, but it was instead getting worse and worse. My husband also reprimanded me and said that, despite reading the Bible and praying every day, I still hadn’t changed at all. Faced with this censure from my husband, I felt a great sense of self-reproach, and I couldn’t help but wonder: “I’ve been fasting and praying, I’ve made donations, I perform my spiritual devotions at set times and attend regular church gatherings. So why can’t I stop myself from sinning?” I was a Christian, but in reality, I was simply incapable of glorifying the Lord in my life. On the contrary, I only shamed the Lord, and this pained me a great deal. Every day, I couldn’t eat or sleep, and I wasn’t able to concentrate at work. In particular, when I read in the Bible, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14), I would feel even more anxious. The Lord is holy, and He requires that we attain purification, and yet I was constantly committing sins and couldn’t even be tolerant or patient with my own family—how then could I deserve to meet the Lord and get into the heavenly kingdom? And how could I possibly stop sinning? I often knelt on the floor and prayed to the Lord, tears streaming down my face: “O Lord! I can never stop myself from losing my temper and I’ve said many hurtful things. I live in a state of sinning and confessing, and I am powerless to free myself from it. O Lord! Please help me to be free of this predicament.”
In 2017, I met Sister Zhang online, and we would often read the Bible together and fellowship about our own experiences. Sister Zhang’s fellowships were always so enlightening, and they helped me a lot. I therefore told her all about my pain of living in sin. After listening to me, Sister Zhang said, “Sister, there are in fact many brothers and sisters who truly believe in the Lord who are just like you, who are confused about why, after they’ve accepted the Lord Jesus’ redemption, they are still capable of frequently committing sins. They also wonder, if they can never free themselves from the bonds of sin, whether or not they will be able to get into the heavenly kingdom in the end, and they ask how exactly they can free themselves from the bonds of sin. I have seen some passages in a book that explain these issues very clearly. We’ll understand once we’ve listened to these passages.”
Hearing her say this, I badly wanted to hear those passages she had mentioned. She then sent me the passages online and she began to read: “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” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in ). “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” (“Concerning Appellations and Identity” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering, and did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to take on the sins of man as the sin offering, but also required God to do greater work to completely rid man of his disposition, which has been corrupted by Satan” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Sister Zhang then gave fellowship, saying, “We can see from these passages that the work of redemption performed by the Lord Jesus absolved us of our sins but did not absolve us of our sinful nature. We have been so deeply corrupted by Satan that, even though our sins have been forgiven and we are no longer subject to being condemned by the law, such satanic dispositions as being arrogant and self-important, selfish and contemptible, crooked and deceitful and so on, are still deeply rooted within us and have become our very lives. Under the dominion of these satanic dispositions, we can never help but commit sin and resist God, and I trust that we both have a profound appreciation for this point. For example, the Lord requires of us that we are tolerant and patient with others and that we love our neighbors as ourselves. In life, however, when we see others acting in a way that is at odds with our own ideas, we lose our temper and begin to chide them. When the speech or actions of others infringe upon our own interests, we can dispute and wrangle with them, and can even become resentful of them and become simply incapable of getting along peaceably with them. The Lord requires that we be honest people, but in order to protect our own prestige and position, we often tell lies and engage in deception. The Lord requires that we love Him with all our heart and mind, but when something unfortunate happens to our family or we encounter a problem at work, we always blame the Lord, and even go so far as to shun and betray the Lord. These are just a few examples of our behavior under the dominion of our satanic dispositions. Although we may often come before the Lord to confess and repent our sins, or we exercise self-restraint or fast and pray, it is all to no avail. This shows us that our satanic nature has not been uprooted and that, even though our sins may have been forgiven, we have no way to ensure that we will not continue to commit sin and resist the Lord!
“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). ‘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). The Lord Jesus tells us clearly that people who commit sin and resist God cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. Only by doing the will of the Father who is in heaven, that is, to cast off our satanic dispositions and be purified, and to achieve true obedience to God and love for God, can we be qualified to enter into the kingdom of heaven. If we wish to free ourselves from the bonds and constraints of sin, we need the Lord to return to perform the work of eradicating sin to enable us to rid ourselves of our corrupt dispositions once and for all and be purified. Only in this way can we attain God’s complete salvation and be led by God into the kingdom of heaven.”
After listening to these passages and the sister’s fellowship, I understood that the reason why I had believed in the Lord for years and yet was still capable of frequently losing my temper and chiding people, why I couldn’t love others and show tolerance to others in accordance with the Lord’s teachings, and why I often lived in a state of rebellion toward the Lord, always displeasing the Lord, was because my sinful nature still existed within me. If I wanted to be free of the bonds and constraints of sin once and for all, then I had to accept the work of purification performed by the second coming of the Lord, as only then would I become qualified to enter into the kingdom of heaven. As I contemplated the words Sister Zhang had read to me which had explained so clearly our real situation and the work of the Lord Jesus, I began to feel very curious, and so I asked Sister Zhang, “Who wrote what you just read to me? Why have I never heard it before?”
Sister Zhang said happily, “Sister, the words I have just read are the words expressed by the second coming of the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus has returned!” I was amazed to hear this news, and I excitedly asked, “Is it true? Has the Lord Jesus truly returned?” With certainty, Sister Zhang said to me, “Yes, Christ of the last days,, is the second coming of Jesus. Almighty God expresses all truths to purify and save humankind and He performs the work of judgment beginning in God’s house so as to eradicate our sinful nature and to save us utterly from the domain of Satan and, ultimately, He will lead those whose corrupt dispositions have been purified into the !” I was overjoyed to hear that the Lord had returned, and I said a silent prayer to the Lord in my heart: “O Lord! If Almighty God truly is Your second coming, then I ask You to guide me and enable me to hear and understand Your words.” Sister Zhang then gave me fellowship on many truths related to the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption. As I listened, my heart filled with light, and I decided that I would investigate Almighty God’s work of the last days in earnest.