By Chen Liang, United States
Editor’s note: How can we break free from the bondage of sin? I believe that many brothers and sisters in the Lord are troubled by this issue, and maybe you personally have tried many ways but have still failed to shake off the fetters of sin. The author of the following article once had the same trouble. But after seeking for many years, he finally found the root of his sin and learned the way of getting rid of it.
Being bound by sins, I felt perplexed and had nowhere to turn.
I was born in a Catholic family, and when I was thirteen years old I began to study the doctrines of Catholicism and received baptism. Later, I saw the faith of some of my church friends become colder and colder. They busied themselves with making money and followed the trends of the world, becoming ever more distant from the Lord. Seeing this, I felt that it was truly not easy to walk the path of the cross, and that without faith in the Lord it was impossible to enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, I resolved to consecrate myself to the Lord, and sought to become a priest in service of the Lord.
At the age of 22, I entered a monastery to study. Every day, I got up at 5:30 a.m., did meditation, prayed the Rosary and praised the Lord from 6 a.m., studied the Bible and the doctrines of Catholicism from 8 a.m., and prayed for over an hour at night. But after studying for a period of time, I didn’t feel that I was getting closer to the Lord, but on the contrary I felt that that kind of life was boring and tedious. Moreover, during that period, filthy and evil thoughts often appeared in my mind, and even though I confessed and repented to the Lord, these thoughts still popped up from time to time and I was unable to control myself. I once made a vow to the Lord that I would remain chaste, but now I wanted to break it. Was this not committing a sin and deceiving the Lord? Then how would I be able to enter the kingdom of heaven? Thus I constantly prayed to the Lord every day, asking Him to help me get rid of my sins and make me serve Him wholeheartedly. But this brought no changes, which made me suffer and feel anxious. After studying for ten years, I graduated from there. Then, in order to solve the problem of my desire to commit sins, I went to a secluded monastery in Indonesia for advanced study. But I still couldn’t help thinking about those unclean things. For this reason, I felt extremely discouraged and disheartened, and a year later I chose to return to the USA.
Later, the church arranged for me to go to Beijing for advanced study. During the time I studied there, I often recalled that over those years of believing in the Lord, I constantly prayed to Him and asked Him to change me, and I also continually sought to establish a close relationship with Him. But despite years of efforts, I still had no knowledge of the Lord and my sinful nature hadn’t been eliminated either. I thought: “How could I do a good job in leading my brothers and sisters in the church under such circumstances? If I become a priest, won’t I end up ruining them?” After I finished my studies, the bishop came to me and said that he wanted to consecrate me as a priest. It was the dream that I had pursued for many years, but by that time my previous passion and enthusiasm had gone. Therefore, I declined, and chose to be an ordinary believer. Afterward, I went back home and got married. After that, I committed sins more frequently, often losing my temper and quarreling with my wife over trivial things. I was just unable to put patience and acceptance into practice. Because of this, I often confessed my sins and repented to the Lord, but afterward I still sinned. Later, I tried to recover my relationship with the Lord by attending more gatherings; whenever there were gatherings or training classes in my church, I would put aside my work to attend them. But this still didn’t solve my problem. Due to the withering of my spirit and the pressure of work, I was exhausted, both physically and mentally. I felt very perplexed, and didn’t know how to continue on the road ahead. It was as if I had been thrown into the wilderness. There was an unspeakable disappointment and helplessness in my heart.
The news of the Lord’s return brought me hope.
Just when I had no more faith to go on, God’s salvation came upon me and led me out of misery. One day in January of 2018, after attending Mass, I met Brother Li by chance, and then through his introduction I got acquainted with Brother Liu. From then on, we talked about belief together whenever we had time. I felt that they both had unique insights into the Bible, so I enjoyed communicating with them. One time, when we were sharing our knowledge of the scriptures with each other, Brother Liu said: “A co-worker whom I got acquainted with in China was pious and good at preaching sermons, but he now believes in Eastern Lightning. Not long ago, two co-workers of mine, who had meetings with me in my church, also started to believe in it. What type of a church is Eastern Lightning? Why have so many brothers and sisters who pursue the truth converted to it?” Hearing that, I frowned slightly. I remembered that a devoted church trustee who I knew before had also converted to Eastern Lightning. I thought to myself: “What are they preaching in Eastern Lightning? Why is it able to attract so many devout Christians? I’ve heard that people in that church always talk about Revelation. Most people don’t dare to talk about Revelation, and even the priests seldom talk about it. Could it be that they have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit? Why don’t I go and listen to Eastern Lightning to see what’s so special about their sermons? Maybe they will be beneficial to my spiritual devotions and help me know the Lord.” Thinking like this, I became curious about that church, so I said to them: “Why don’t we go to investigate Eastern Lightning to see what’s different about it?” They all nodded in agreement. Later, Brother Liu contacted some brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God and scheduled a meeting with them.
At the appointed time, we got to the meeting place. As soon as we entered the door, the brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God, who had arrived early, came up and greeted us very warmly. After introductions, a sister played a video The Origin and Development of The Church of Almighty God. After watching the video, I felt very surprised: Its content was all in line with the Bible and revealed the mysteries in Revelation. For example: The Bible says, “For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:27). Although I had read the Bible for years, I didn’t know what this scripture meant. Only when I watched the video did I understand that the verse has been fulfilled by the work of God incarnate of the last days. Later, a brother played for us a gospel movie The Bible and God. After watching the movie, my spirit was shaken to the core. It turned out that there are so many mysteries about the Bible. I felt that the truth fellowshiped in the movie couldn’t be uttered by any theologian or pastor in the world. I had read so many spiritual books and yet I had never seen anyone fellowship the production of the Bible and its essence so clearly and plainly. I really gained great provision from it.
Following that, the three of us listened to Brother Wang’s fellowshiping more carefully. When hearing that God is doing a step of judgment work in the last days, I was a bit suspicious and thought: “That’s not right. The Lord Jesus has already completed His work, so how could He become flesh to do the work of judgment? What’s this all about?” I became more interested in what Brother Wang was saying and wanted to know more about it to ascertain whether or not Almighty God was the returned Lord Jesus. However, it was already late. Thus we made an appointment with them for the next day so we could continue listening to their fellowshiping. On the way home, we were discussing what was fellowshiped in the videos and I said: “I understood a lot from today’s meeting. I feel that it has brought me closer to the Lord.” Saying this, I felt somewhat excited and thought: “If the Lord really has returned to be among us, then am I not like Peter, who also lived in the same age as the Lord? If so, then I am truly blessed! And I believe that the Lord will surely help to resolve my problems.” Thinking of this, I looked forward to the next day’s meeting even more.
My confusion was resolved and I understood the reason why God does judgment work and what the root of my sinfulness was.
The next day, I hurried to the meeting place as soon as I got off work. On arriving there, I saw the brothers and sisters were all waiting for me. I felt a little embarrassed, and rapidly walked forward and sat down. At that time, a sister who had met me the day before asked me with a smile: “How do you feel about our last meeting? If you have anything you still don’t understand, just say it. We can seek together through fellowshiping.” Hearing her invitation, I immediately asked: “Sister, yesterday you said that the Lord Jesus has already come and He is doing the work of judgment. But on the cross the Lord Jesus clearly said, ‘It is finished.’ Doesn’t this prove that God has completed His work? So why does He still need to do His work of judgment? What is really going on here?”
The sister said: “Brother, you think that when the Lord Jesus was crucified and said before He expired ‘It is finished,’ proves that God’s work of salvation was entirely done, and there would be no more work. But is this way of thinking really correct or not? Let’s fellowship about it. We all know, that ever since mankind was corrupted by Satan God has been doing the work to save mankind. He will thoroughly save us from Satan’s domain and let us recover our original sanctity. But now we are still living in a state of sinning and confessing our sins, and we haven’t attained sanctity. This proves that God’s work of salvation hasn’t been entirely completed. Actually, if we study the Bible closely, it’s not difficult to find that in it there are many prophecies about God’s work of judgment in the last days. For example, chapter 4, verse 17 in the First Epistle of Peter says: ‘For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.’ Chapter 14, verse 7 in Revelation says: ‘Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.’ And chapter 16, verses 12-13 in the Gospel of John says: ‘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.’ From these verses, we can see that in the last days, God will do a step of judgment work and the Spirit of truth will guide us into truth. Let’s read some of Almighty God’s words so we can understand things better.”
Then the sister began to read Almighty God’s words, “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.’ ‘By means of this work of judgment and chastisement, man will fully come to know the filthy and corrupt substance within his own self, and he will be able to change completely and become clean. Only in this way can man become worthy to return before the throne of God. All the work done this day is so that man can be made clean and be changed; through judgment and chastisement by the word, as well as through refinement, man can purge away his corruption and be made pure.”
After reading these words, the sister continued with her fellowshiping: “From Almighty God’s words, we can see that the Lord Jesus saying ‘It is finished’ meant that God’s work of redemption was finished; it did not mean that God’s work of saving all mankind was complete. It is written in the Bible, ‘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). God is holy, so filthy and corrupt people are unfit to witness the face of God, nor fit to enter God’s kingdom. In believing in the Lord, we are merely forgiven of our sins; through coming before the Lord Jesus and confessing and repenting, we can enjoy grace and blessings from God, and He no longer sees us as sinners. But our satanic dispositions have not been pardoned by God, and our sinful nature still exists. We go on living cyclical lives of sinning in the daytime and confessing at night, with no way to shed the bonds of sin. For example, in order to protect our personal interests, we still lie and deceive God; when we see others doing things in a way not in keeping with our own thoughts, we often lose our temper and chide them; sometimes we cannot overcome the temptations of the evil trends of the world, and so we follow them and commit sins; when the work of God is not in line with our notions, we are still capable of judging and condemning God, and resisting His work according to our notions and imaginings. Therefore, we need God to do judgment work to purify and change our corrupt dispositions. Only when our corrupt dispositions are cleansed and we become people who truly revere, obey and love God will God’s work of saving mankind be completely finished. Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days is built on the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption in the Age of Grace. Because of the Lord Jesus’ redemption, we are qualified to come before God to receive His salvation, but if in believing in God we do not experience God’s judgment work in the last days, then we cannot truly arrive at salvation.”
The sister’s fellowshiping made me suddenly see the light. Before, I thought that we who believed in the Lord had been graced with salvation and that when the Lord came we would be directly raised into the heavenly kingdom. But now through the sister’s fellowshiping, I came to realize that my view was wrong. Our faith in the Lord brings us forgiveness of our sins, but our sinful nature still exists, so we need to accept God’s work of judgment of the last days. Only when our corrupt dispositions are purified and changed can we be brought by God into the kingdom of heaven. In retrospect, I studied in the monastery for ten years and then went into a religious order for advanced study, but I still couldn’t help but sin, and although I confessed my sins and repented to the Lord, later I repeated the same sins. My state showed I was indeed not a person who had been purified and that I was utterly unqualified to be raised into the kingdom of heaven. I also understood that it was because of my corrupt dispositions that I always lived in a cycle of committing sins and confessing them. Thanks be to the Lord! The sister’s fellowshiping was so good that it solved my confusion.
I finally found a way to cast off my corrupt dispositions.
Then, I asked the sister anxiously: “So, how does God purify us? How can my corrupt disposition be dispelled? I have always strived to restrain myself in order not to sin and have also prayed to the Lord, asking Him to help me. However, so many years have passed, yet I haven’t changed.” Hearing this, she smiled and fellowshiped with me patiently: “Brother, about this question, Almighty God’s words make it very clear. Let’s read a passage together.
Almighty God says, ‘In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, expose the essence of man, and dissect his words and deeds. These words comprise various truths, such as man’s duty, how man should obey God, how man should be loyal to God, how man ought to live out the normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and the disposition of God, and so on. These words are all directed at the essence of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, those words that expose how man spurns God are spoken in regard to how man is an embodiment of Satan and an enemy force against God. In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with just a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes it over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth that man does not possess at all. Only methods of this kind are deemed judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced into submission to God, and moreover gain true knowledge of God. What the work of judgment brings about is man’s understanding of the true face of God and the truth about his own rebelliousness. The work of judgment allows man to gain much understanding of the will of God, of the purpose of God’s work, and of the mysteries that are incomprehensible to him. It also allows man to recognize and know his corrupt substance and the roots of his corruption, as well as to discover the ugliness of man. These effects are all brought about by the work of judgment, for the substance of this work is actually the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life of God to all those who have faith in Him. This work is the work of judgment done by God.’
We can see from God’s words that in the last days, God judges and purifies our corrupt dispositions through expressing the truth. On the one hand, God uses His words to expose and dissect our nature and substance and the actual truth of how we have been corrupted by Satan so that we can truly know, in the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, that we are full of satanic disposition—arrogance and self-importance, crookedness and cunning, selfishness and baseness. We can also know that living on the basis of our corrupt dispositions, we do not have a reverent heart for God, we judge and resist Him in accordance with our own notions and imaginings, and we have completely become the people of Satan who rebel against God and oppose Him. On the other hand, God uses His words to tell us explicitly His will, demands and standards, as well as the proper ways of practice, thus giving us a path to follow. For instance, God tells us He likes honest people and loathes deceitful people, that only honest people can enter the heavenly kingdom, and also tells us how to cast aside our treacherous dispositions and be honest people. Meanwhile, God also arranges practical situations to try, refine, prune and deal with us. We have been corrupted by Satan for thousands of years, and the corrupt, satanic disposition is deeply rooted in us and can’t be changed all at once, so we need to accept the long-term judgment, chastisement, trials and refinement of God’s words, as well as the chastening and discipline from encountering reality. Only in this way can we clearly see our true corrupt nature, come to truly know and detest ourselves, regret our sinful actions, have true knowledge of God’s holy, righteous and good substance, and in the end develop a heart that reveres God and be willing to practice the truth to satisfy Him.”
Listening to the sister’s fellowshiping, I had a sudden flash of insight and said to her with delight: “Thank the Lord. In the past, to restrain myself to not sin, I studied the Bible hard and observed the monastic rules, but I still constantly sinned. Through your fellowshiping about God’s words, I’ve come to know that only the truth expressed by God in the last days can resolve my sinful behavior.” Brother Liu also said excitedly: “Thank the Lord! Now we’ve finally found the way to get rid of sin.” Hearing this, the sister nodded her head, smilingly. Then, she showed us a video of witnessing called The True Light Appears. The protagonist of this video used to be like me, living in the midst of sin and being extremely miserable, but later by experiencing the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, he came to know his corrupt disposition. After that, when he exposed his corruption, he would rely on God to forsake his flesh and act according to God’s words. Gradually, he was not so constrained by his corrupt disposition and lived out a bit of the likeness of a genuine human being. After watching this video, I saw more clearly that Almighty God’s words are so authoritative and powerful, and I believed that as long as I accepted and experienced the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, I would be able to gain knowledge of my corrupt disposition and gradually gain purification and transformation. Thank God! I had a clearer path to get rid of my sins.
I understood the truth and my spirit got released.
During the following meetings, the sister fellowshiped with me many truths to do with the inside story and essence of God’s three-stage work, the meaning of God’s names, the mysteries of God’s incarnation, and other aspects of the truth. After hearing all that, I had some new knowledge of God, felt that I was closer to God, and felt spiritually sated. I confirmed from my heart that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus, for only God can express the truth and reveal the mysteries in the Bible. I felt grateful to the Lord for letting me hear the voice of God and feast with the Lamb.
Hereafter, whenever I was free at home, I read Almighty God’s words and watched the gospel movies and dance and song videos produced by The Church of Almighty God. The more I watched them, the more I loved watching them and the more released my spirit was. In addition, I participated in church life at The Church of Almighty God. During meetings, we brothers and sisters shared with each other our knowledge of God’s words and experiences of undergoing the judgment of God’s words. After a while, I had some knowledge of God’s work as well as my corrupt nature, and I no longer treated people impatiently as before. When what my wife said was disagreeable to me, I would pray to God and seek His will. With the guidance of God’s words, I could put aside my ego and not treat her impatiently. Now my relationship with her is a bit better than it used to be. Thank God! Although I have believed in Almighty God for only a few months, I truly see that His words are truth and are indeed able to change my corrupt disposition. From now on, I am willing to experience more judgment and chastisement of God’s words so that I will be able to cast off my corrupt disposition earlier, live out the likeness of a genuine human being, and attain God’s salvation.