Hello brothers and sisters of Our Daily Devotionals,
I have believed in the Lord for many years. I always think I have believed in the Lord and been baptized, so I have been reborn and saved, and I am qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven. However, some brothers and sisters have questioned this belief lately. They said: “Although we have been baptized, the sinful nature is still in us, and only by accepting God’s end-time work of judgment and chastisement can we enter the kingdom of heaven.” What I want to seek is this. We that believe in the Lord have been reborn and saved and become an entirely new being because we have been baptized, so we are qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven and have, and we don’t need God to do the work of judgment in the last days to cleanse us. Is my understanding correct? So what do you think? I’m looking forward to your reply.
Hello Sister Xunqiu,
Good day! Thanks to the Lord’s guidance, your question could be resolved last time. And I am glad that you can write to communicate with us again today. Your question is also confusing for many brothers and sisters in the Lord. Today, I want to share some experiences and understanding of my own. I hope to bring some help to you.
In the past, I always thought: He that believes and is baptized has already been saved, and he can enter the kingdom of heaven and have eternal life. But one day, when I was practicing spiritual devotions, I saw the following words of: “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). I realized with a start and recalled that though I had been baptized, I still lived in a sin-and-confess state and couldn’t practice the word of the Lord. For example, the Lord asked us to forgive others seventy times seven times and to love our neighbors as ourselves, but I was unable to do this, and even I couldn’t forgive my husband, my son and daughter. Sometimes I practiced patience outwardly, but I had the thought of hatred in my heart. I thought of these words of the Bible: “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15). Whoever hates others is a murderer. I knew that I failed to practice the Lord’s word, but I couldn’t control it myself. My love to brothers and sisters also was only reflected orally; once things involved my pride, status and interests, I was unable to love brothers and sisters and people around me. What’s more, sometimes in order to protect my image and position in men’s minds, I would show off and testify myself in front of people, revealing arrogant and boastful disposition; sometimes having a bias against someone, I would judge him behind his back; even sometimes I used my status to lecture and restrict others, and I demeaned and looked down on others; besides, sometimes when I was confronted with things, I was so arrogant that I didn’t discuss them with anyone, and so on. The Bible says: “Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). I thought: God is holy, and God’s kingdom cannot be defiled. But I have been sinning and confessing every day; how can I enter into the kingdom of heaven? It seems that he that believes and has been baptized still cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Thinking of these things, I was not happy anymore.
One day, I told a sister about my perplexities. Through listening to her fellowship, I finally understood this question. At that time, the sister read these words for me: “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.” “Through this work of judgment and chastisement, man will fully come to know the filthy and corrupt substance within him, and he will be able to completely change and become clean. Only in this way can man be worthy to return before the throne of God.”
Through her fellowship, I finally understood: Though thehas forgiven our sins, it doesn’t mean we don’t have sins, or we have broken free from the shackles of sin and been cleansed, or God’s work of saving us is over. Because the sinful nature inside us still remains. We are still compelled by our satanic nature to resist and betray God. And we have no knowledge of God and can’t fear God and shun evil, even less can we reach complete obedience to and compatibility with God and become people who accord with God’s heart. We all know God is holy and righteous. The Bible says: “… holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). God won’t allow the impure or corrupt into His kingdom. This is decided by His holy and righteous disposition. If we really want to be reborn and be saved, we must accept God’s end-time work of judgment and chastisement with His word to be cleansed. After we undergo the judgment and purification of God’s word, we’ll have God’s word as our life. Thus we’ll no longer live according to Satan’s philosophy, but according to the word of God. When God’s work doesn’t match our notions, we won’t make judgments and have notions and complaints, and even won’t resist God and betray God. That is, we will have God’s word as our life and become an entirely new being. This is being perfected by God’s word. Such person can overcome all the dark influences of Satan in all kinds of trials and stand testimony for God. Only such person is qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven and have eternal life.
I finally understood: Our baptism only means we accept the salvation of the Lord Jesus and that we would like to return to the Lord. When we confess our sins to the Lord and repent, He will forgive our sins, and we will not be condemned for violating the Law. Though the Lord Jesus has forgiven our sins, our sinful nature still remains and we are not a new being and not qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven since God hasn’t done the work of eliminating man’s sinful nature. If we want to be a new being and be gained by God, we must accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s word in the last days to eliminate the sins in our heart. Only thus can we have hope of attaining salvation, entering the kingdom of heaven and obtaining eternal life. The Bible says: “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. He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:47–48).
Sister Xunqiu, I hope that today’s fellowship can bring some help to you. If you have any more questions, you can write to communicate with us.
our Daily Devotionals,
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