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By Cedric, Canada
When I was young, my father explained baptism to me. He said, “When someone is being baptized, they are fully submerged in water. That means they have ‘died’ with the. After being pulled from the water, they are reborn, and they have completely broken away from the sins of the past, starting to have a new life. They will live for the Lord Jesus until they die. The Lord Jesus said, ‘He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned’ (Mark 16:16). The Lord Jesus was crucified for mankind as a sin offering. Only after we are baptized can our sins be forgiven by the Lord Jesus and are we under the name of the Lord Jesus with a new life. So, Christians must get baptized.” From then on, I believed that through baptism, Christians can be completely changed, reborn, saved, and be compatible with Christ.
However, I found that the people around me were baptized when they were young, but what was strange to me was that they had not cast off their old life and they still lived like unbelievers. Like my father, he was baptized in a Catholic church when he was still a baby, and he was baptized again when he converted to Christianity, but he still couldn’t get rid of the bondage of sin. For example: When my little brother forgot to place his things in the right place, he would scold him; if anyone in the family did things he didn’t like, he would lose his temper. Although he often fasted and prayed until late at night for family harmony, he couldn’t control his anger. He didn’t act like a person who was reborn. Looking at those people who still lived in sin after baptism, I thought, “I should only get baptized when I’ll sin less.”
Many years passed, but I still often sinned. In real life, I couldn’t adhere to the Lord’s words. I only picked at others but I didn’t reflect on my actions and see that the biggest problem actually lay within myself. When my father raged at me, I would have hatred toward him and start to argue with him, showing no patience or forbearance. I also often competed with others, wanting to be the best. I would even look down upon those inferior to me, and when I saw people that were better than me, I would get jealous. Furthermore, I liked to show myself off, I wanted others to think highly of me, and I would become very proud when others praised me. I remembered watching a Christian movie during a meeting. The pastor in the movie often brought up the verse, “And whoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). I kept this verse firmly in mind, because I wanted to practice according to the Lord’s words, learn to be humble and not show myself off or be proud. However, in real life, I still wanted to be the best among skateboard players, so I trained for 8 hours a day, trying to become the best as soon as possible, and be looked upon by others; during a church camp, I performed on stage not for glorifying God but for fame. Although I knew my behaviors were at odds with God’s will, and I tried fasting and praying, I still sinned uncontrollably.
Afterward, I saw these verses in a Christian movie, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). “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). “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). Pondering these verses, I came to know that God is holy and that those who live in sin cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. I reflected on my actions and realized that I couldn’t get along with others. For instance, I would argue with my relatives over trifling matters; when others hurt me, I would have hatred toward them, and although outwardly I forgave them after praying to the Lord Jesus, in my heart, I still hated them. I also thought of how my father had been baptized twice, believed in God for many years, organized many meetings, and preached the gospel, but he could still rage over trifling matters. He even sincerely told us that he knew he shouldn’t rage and also wanted to turn over a new leaf, but he just couldn’t control his temper. Actually, my father and I knew the Lord’s requirements, but we just couldn’t help sinning. Thinking of this, I was at a loss. I thought, “God is holy, and so filthy and corrupt people are unfit to see God. Although we have been baptized, if we still often sin and can’t put God’s words into practice, can we see the Lord? Nevertheless, doesn’tsay, ‘He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned’ (Mark 16:16)? So why do we still sin after being baptized and not gain new life?” I couldn’t find the answers to these questions.
By chance, I got to know some brothers and sisters in the Lord on the internet. They had unique insights into the Bible and also helped me solve my confusions. They also recommended me some gospel websites. Once, I saw a passage of words in a gospel movie, “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.”
After reading these words, I felt enlightened. I came to know that our being reborn through baptism only means that we were redeemed. As long as we prayed to the Lord to confess and repent, we would gain grace and blessings from the Lord, our sins would be forgiven by Him, and we would no longer be convicted by laws; this is only being saved. However, we are still filthy and corrupt. Even if outwardly we strive to restrain ourselves, fast and pray, and we don’t commit serious sins through our behaviors, our sinful nature is still deeply rooted in us. That’s why we still live in a state of sinning and confessing. Aren’t all of us like this? As for myself, when someone said things that harmed my interests, I would get angry, and sometimes even though I didn’t lose my temper on the outside, I still had grievance against them in my heart; when I was together with my family or classmates, I always wanted all of them to listen to me and think highly of me; although I tried hard to put myself aside and be humble, in my heart I still thought I was better and I even looked down on those inferior to me. I knew I was committing sins, and I also often came before the Lord to pray and repent, but afterward I didn’t change. My father and other brothers and sisters were all like this as well. We lived in a vicious cycle of sinning in the day and confessing at night. Living a life like this showed that I was not truly reborn and saved, nor did I gain a new life. I once thought that I would be reborn and saved through baptism. Only now did I understand that only after our rebellion and resistance toward God have been eliminated, can we truly gain new life and be truly reborn.
Later, I recalled some verses I studied during a Bible study session, “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” (John 16:12–13). He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:29). “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). Pondering these verses, I felt that the Lord would come in the last days to speak His words, and tell us the truths we have never heard before, judging and cleansing us. 1 Peter 4:17 says, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.” This shows that the Lord will return to do the work of judgment and cleansing. Through this work, we can get rid of our corrupt dispositions, gain new life, and be truly reborn.
Thinking of this, I was overjoyed. Thank the Lord for His enlightenment! It turns out that if we want to gain new life and be truly reborn, we need the Lord to do the work of judgment. Only then can we get rid of our sinful nature, become newly-created mankind, and be brought into the kingdom of heaven.
Rapture in the air is not in accordance with Jesus’ words. What is the meaning of rapture? Through fellowship, she understood that the true meaning of rapture is to follow God’s footsteps.
By Zhang Yan Now is the end of the last days when the prophecies of the Lord Jesus’ return have all come true, and we expect to be taken into God’s kingdom and obtain eternal life more eagerly, because the Lord Jesus once said, “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God stays on him” (John 3:36). All these years we have been repenting our sins, preaching the gospel, and bearing fruits, just as the Lord Jesus asked. Thus, we all feel ourselves most approved by God, and that as long as we hold on to the Lord Jesus’ way, we will surely obtain eternal life. Then, is the opinion, after all, in accordance with God’s will? Regarding this question, let’s think back on what the Lord Jesus did in the Age of Grace.At that time, the Lord Jesus incarnate came among us mankind and brought forth the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, saying, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). From the Lord’s word, we clearly know that what He brought man was the way of confession and repentance. And, in addition to these teachings, He also gave all his mercy and love to His followers, bestowed sufficient grace upon man, healed the sick, cast out demons, raised the dead…, until eventually He was nailed to the cross for redeeming mankind, thus completing the work of redemption. However, in spite of having received forgiveness of sins from the Lord, we man still live in the vicious cycle of committing and confessing sins. We can still express these corrupt dispositions anywhere and anytime, such as greed, selfishness, arrogance, deceit, and so on, so that we commit sins at any time and any place. For instance, when we labor hard for the Lord for years, we feel we have the capital to flaunt ourselves. Meanwhile, we all enjoy being in a lofty position to have others worship us, and always exalt and testify ourselves. Isn’t this the behavior of our arrogant nature? Such substance is exactly the substance of the Pharisees, with which we always talk big, try every means to be exalted and admired by others in sermons. Not only this, we also have treacherous nature. So, in order to secure our fame and status, we usually act one way in public and another in private, and unwittingly tell lies to deceive and blind man on sundry occasions so as to satisfy our personal desires. This proves that our sinful nature is still deeply rooted within us and thus we can still sin and resist God, that is, we have yet to achieve eternal life, since those who have eternal life are someone whose sins have been cleansed. God’s kingdom is holy, and only those who have been purified are worthy to enter His kingdom. How can we, who often sin, be qualified to enter it? The Lord Jesus never said that man could enter the kingdom of heaven with his sinful nature; while we often absurdly think that as long as we labor, sacrifice for the Lord, and keep the Lord’s name at all times, we will enter it and gain eternal life. However, never have we realized that only pursuing to be purified by the Lord and thereby being thoroughly cleansed is the precondition of being approved by the Lord and raptured into the kingdom of heaven. The Lord Jesus said clearly, “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). He also demanded, “And said, Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). The Lord Jesus told us plainly that if we man don’t become as simple and honest as children, and don’t break away from sin to be purified, we won’t be able to enter the kingdom of heaven or obtain eternal life. Then, how will the Lord Jesus’ promise that we will have eternal life be accomplished since we still often commit sins now and have yet to obtain eternal life? When studying the Bible carefully, I read the words of the Lord Jesus, “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). “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). Also, I saw some man’s words of enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin to salvation” (Hebrews 9:28). “Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). From the above verses, we know that when the Lord Jesus was first incarnated to do the work of redemption, He took on all the sins of man as the sin offering and thereby redeemed man from the law, so that man would be no longer condemned or cursed by the law and had the qualification and opportunity to come before God to get close, pray, confess, and repent to Him. Nevertheless, we man haven’t gotten free from our sinful nature and can’t enter God’s kingdom yet. Therefore, in the last days the Lord Jesus will come again, express more truths, and do a stage of work of thoroughly judging, purifying, and saving man, in order to solve our sinful nature and have our corrupt disposition completely cleansed and transformed, through which we can obtain eternal life. The Lord Jesus once said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28). “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God stays on him” (John 3:36). We all know that what the Lord Jesus did during the Age of Grace was the redemptive work, and what He preached was the way of repentance. The Lord Jesus is Christ, God Himself, and eternal life. It’s just that only when He comes again, which is to say, the Spirit of truth comes, can the way of eternal life be given to man. Those wise virgins who can recognize the Lord’s voice will obtain it, just as the Lord Jesus said, “And I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish.” Obviously, when He comes again, He will, still in the image of the incarnate Son of man, bestow life upon man through expressing the truth. God says, “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life.” Provided that we merely hold on to the Lord Jesus’ way of repentance yet don’t accept all the truths brought by the returned Lord, then we can’t be called believers in the Son, much less can we obtain eternal life. Instead, only when we believe in the incarnate Son of man in the last days, moreover, accept all the truths expressed by Him, and receive the judgment and purification of these truths to gain life, can our faith accord with the Lord Jesus’ word, and can the meaning of our belief in the Son be complete. Also, this is the only way for us to obtain eternal life and to be raptured into the kingdom of heaven in the last days. All the enlightenment, illumination, and glory be to God! Recommended: To Gain Eternal Life, You Must Know the Source of It Can We Gain the Way of Eternal Life by Believing in Almighty God? Christ of the Last Days Brings the Way of Eternal Life
By Kally Pastors and elders always tell us that all the words in the Bible are God’s words and that the Bible is given by inspiration of God. As the Bible says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16). So, we have been holding the belief that everything in the Bible is the word of God. But today, when studying the Bible together with Sister Qi, I gained a new knowledge of this notion. When we read several passages of the scriptures, Sister Qi said that there are not only the words of God but also the words of man, of the serpent, of Satan, and of an ass in the Bible. And then she showed the following verses to me. Genesis 3:1: “And he said to the woman, Yes, has God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” This is what the serpent said to Eve. Job 2:2: “And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” This is what Satan said to God. Numbers 22:30: “And the ass said to Balaam, Am not I your ass, on which you have ridden ever since I was your to this day? was I ever wont to do so to you?” This is what an ass said to his master. After reading these verses, I couldn’t help but feel confused in my heart: Right, these are not the words of God but are the words of Satan, of the serpent, and of an ass. Then why did Paul say that all scripture is given by God? Why do the pastors and elders say that everything in the Bible is God’s word? Sister Qi seemed to have read my mind and then shared some knowledge with me. She said, “In fact, in the Bible, we find that God never said that everything in the Bible is His word, nor did the Holy Spirit testify it. The saying ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God’ only represents Paul’s personal knowledge instead of God’s will. And the belief pastors and elders hold is just based on the words of Paul, not God. We believers in God should view everything according to God’s words.” Hearing this, I nodded my agreement. She then said, “Now we understand that not all the words in the Bible are God’s words. Then, what parts of the Bible are God’s words? I think it’s necessary for us to clarify this issue.” Thereupon, we continued the discussion. Sister Qi went on, “In the Bible, only the words spoken by Jehovah God, the words Jehovah God instructed Moses to say, the words God asked the prophets to convey, the words said by the Lord Jesus, and the prophecies God revealed to John in Revelation are God’s words; apart from these, the biographies of man and letters of apostles are all man’s words. They only represent their personal experiences and knowledge, not God’s words, and moreover cannot be said to be the word of God. “Let’s take a look at all the words that God enlightened the prophets. To differentiate God’s words from prophets’ words, the words of God conveyed by the prophets are always first marked ‘the LORD has spoken’ or ‘thus said the LORD’ according to God’s will. For example, Exodus 16:23: ‘And he said to them, This is that which the LORD has said …’; Ezekiel 5:8: ‘Therefore thus said the Lord GOD …’; and Jeremiah 7:20: ‘Therefore thus said the Lord GOD …’ etc. Aren’t these all facts? Are you able to accept this?” I nodded and answered, “Yes, I can.” Thank the Lord! Today, I have obtained these gains from studying the Bible together with Sister Qi. Well, brothers and sisters in the Lord, have you also understood these? If you want to know more about the mysteries of the Bible, read more on our God and the Bible page, or in the following articles. Does Believing in the Lord Means to Believe in the Bible What Kind of Book Is the Bible? Who Wrote the Bible?
The Lord Jesus did forgive our sins, but we are still living in a circle of sinning and confessing. Then how can we enter the kingdom of heaven without being purified?