By Wen Ying, Japan
louds drifted in the blue sky, while some birds were alighting in a tree near the meeting place, chirping like playing a vivid song. In the meeting place of a house church, preacher Li Xun invited her classmate Yang Min (a co-worker works in another area) to attend the co-worker meeting, and they were talking about the topic of “being saved” and “entering into the kingdom of heaven”…
Li Xun said seriously, “My fellow co-workers, 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’ (Roman 10:9-10). Since the Lord has forgiven our sins, we are no longer sinners! We confess sins and repent according to the teachings of the Lord, and we’ve been saved by His salvation. Therefore, we surely will be raptured into the kingdom of heaven when the Lord returns. This is the view I’ve held to for a long time. But I’m a little confused recently. The Lord is holy, but we still live in the situation of sinning in the day and confessing in the evening, how can we finally enter into the kingdom of heaven with such behaviors? So, let’s talk about this topic ‘Can we enter into the kingdom of heaven once we are saved?’”
After he has just finished his words, co-worker Niu said right away, “The Lord Jesus said, ‘For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved’ (John 3:17). ‘He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned’ (Mark 16:16). The Lord Jesus said obviously that believers in Him have been saved, as His blood has already forgiven all our sins. That means we’ve been saved by faith, and when the Lord comes, we’ll enter into the kingdom of heaven, of which there is no doubt!”
Ma Jian chimed in, “Amen! I agree with Brother Niu. The salvation is once and for all, and thus we can enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Wang Shuqin stood up and questioned, “The Lord Jesus has never said people who believe in Him can enter into the kingdom of heaven. And if it is true, why did Jesus say: ‘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)? The Lord clearly told us that only those who obey the will of the heavenly Father can enter into the kingdom of heaven. But we still can’t help committing sins every day. We are not the men who obey the heavenly Father’s will, then how can we be qualified to enter into the kingdom of heaven?”
At this time, Yang Min smiled, saying humbly and kindly, “Brothers and sisters, we’re no longer sinners because of the Lord Jesus’ salvation, but this doesn’t mean we don’t have sins and stains. This is because we still live a corrupted life, sinning in the day and confessing in the evening. And we have no way to escape from the bondage of sins. This is the common situation among all believers in the Lord. It’s just like what Paul said, ‘For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do’ (Romans 7:18-19). Though Apostle Paul were forgiven of his sins by the salvation of the Lord Jesus, he still had a biggest trouble that he was bound by sins and couldn’t help committing sins, resisting God and humiliating God. Thus, he spoke his heart out helplessly, ‘O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?’ (Romans 7:24). Brothers and sisters, Paul’s trouble is just our trouble! We’re fully filled with arrogance, selfishness, deceit, greed, evils and many other satanic dispositions. We follow the trend of this world, pursue the position, fame, fortune, money, and rejoice in the sins. We haven’t gotten rid of the bondage of sins yet, how can we be qualified to enter into the kingdom of heaven?”
Li Xun asked incomprehensibly, “Although we still live in sins, the Bible records, ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit’ (Romans 8:1). Based on this, we will not be condemned by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, and we can indeed enter into the kingdom of heaven!”
Yang Min explained, “We think that as long as we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we’re in Him. Is this after God’s will? The Lord Jesus once said, ‘Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity’ (Matthew 7:22-23). Weren’t these people who prophesied, cast out devils and did many wonderful works still condemned by God? So, ‘believing in Jesus Christ’ and ‘being in Christ’ are two different things, and not all who believe in God can enter into the kingdom of heaven. Like people who steal the offerings, who deny God, who betray God, who don’t practice the truth, the fearful, and the fornicators, they cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven but will be condemned and eliminated. Moreover, they’ll be punished if they do many evil things. Just as the Bible says, ‘For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries’ (Hebrew 10:26-27). Only those who truly believe in God, love and pursue the truth and obey God’s commandments, submit to Christ and have true knowledge of Christ, have no notion, no disobedience, and no resistance against Christ, can make Christ’s heart his own and can do God’s will are the ones who are in Christ, who are approved by God, and who can enter God’s kingdom.”
Nodding her head, Li Xun said, “Hmm, what you have said sounds reasonable.”
Co-worker Liu opposed, “The Lord Jesus’ sin offering is forever effective. He will forgive our sins as long as we confess, and then we’ll surely enter into the kingdom of heaven! Sister Yang, do you dare deny the Lord Jesus’ salvation? Then, how do you understand about being saved by faith? Talk about this!”
Yang Min said mildly, “Brothers and sisters, by fellowshiping this, I don’t mean to deny the Lord Jesus’ salvation, but hope we can have a pure understanding of His salvation. And I’d like to share my understanding about it! In the Age of Law, we know God set forth the law through Moses for the Israelites to keep, and that people only need to abide by the Law, then they wouldn’t be condemned. But at the end of the Age of Law, the Israeli people couldn’t keep the Law and lost the reverence to God. They even devoted the blind or lame oxen, sheep and pigeon to Jehovah God’s altar. People were committing more and more sins and there were not enough sacrifices for their sins, so they faced with the danger of being condemned by the Law. To redeem man from the law, God incarnated into flesh and did a redemption work. Since then, if people accepted the name of the Lord Jesus and confessed their sins and repented, their sins would be forgiven and they would no longer be executed by the law. Therefore, the salvation here means people won’t be condemned by the law.
What being saved means is also mentioned in a spiritual book, ‘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 these words, we can see that when we receive the salvation of the Lord Jesus and are forgiven our sins by the Lord, we are no longer sinners and are saved. But that doesn’t prove we’re entirely gained by the Lord, because the sinful nature is still embedded in our minds and we still oppose God and rebel against God in all things. So We still don’t achieve the standard of entering into the kingdom of heaven! Those who are in the kingdom of heaven, can practice God’s words and obey His commandments, can gradually be freed of sins and get purified.”
Li Xun nodded, and said heartfeltly, “Thank the Lord, Sister Yang has fellowshiped reasonably. We’ve now just gotten the redemption of the Lord but still live in sins. It is also the fact that we still can’t help resisting and rebelling against God. So, we indeed haven’t been entirely obtained by God, nor do we have the qualification to enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
“Yes!” Yang Min nodded slightly, and said, “The Bible says, ‘because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy’ (1 Peter 1:16). ‘Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord’ (Hebrew 12:14). In John 8:34-35, Jesus said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin. And the servant stays not in the house forever: but the Son stays ever.’ God’s requirements of us is to let us be freed of sins and get purified! We’re now only redeemed but not purified. So we indeed are not worthy of entering into the kingdom of heaven to meet God.”
All the co-workers nodded to show their acknowledgement and agreement!
At this moment, Wang Shuqin stood up and asked, “Sister Yang, we can understand what you’ve just fellowshiped. We are only redeemed but not purified and we really cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. It’s obvious to see how important our attaining purification is if we want to enter God’s kingdom! Thus, I’d like to ask how can we get purified to enter into the kingdom of heaven? Could you share your views?”
Yang Min seriously said, “It was said in the Bible that, ‘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’ (Hebrew 9:28). And the Lord Jesus also told us, ‘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). So, we can’t get fully rid of sins to be saved only by relying on ourselves. We still need God to come in person to do judgement work so that we can get purified.
I remember there are also words recorded in a spiritual book, ‘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 dispositions. 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.’ ‘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.’ The Lord Jesus just did the work of redemption and He hasn’t fully resolved man’s sins. Only the work of judgement and chastisement in the last days can purify us and rid us of our corrupted dispositions, save us from Satan’s influence. Only in this way, can we be gained by God and enter into the kingdom of God! This just fulfills the prophecies in Revelation, ‘And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God’ (Revelation 14:5). ‘Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city’ (Revelation 22:14). People who do their commandments and who are without fault can enter into the kingdom of God. This is the true salvation. It’s obviously to see God’s work in the last days is the only way to forever being saved!”
After hearing these words, Wang Shuqin stood up and said happily, “Through sister’s fellowship, I understand that though we’ve been saved by grace, we still have the sinful nature inside. If we want to be entirely purified to enter into the kingdom of heaven, we still need the Lord Jesus to come to do the judgement work in the last days!”
Other co-workers agreed with her too!
Li Xun stood up and spoke loudly and pleasantly, “Brothers and sisters, through today’s discussion, we understand being saved does not represent entering into the kingdom of heaven, they’re two different conceptions. Thanks for God’s guidance! Now, our first priority thing is to understand how to seek God’s judgement work in the last days to get purification and enter into the kingdom of heaven. As for this important question, we’d like to continue to fellowship in tomorrow’s meeting and I hope sister Yang could also fellowship with us together!”
“Thank God! Great!” said excitedly Sister Yang.
At this moment, the whole meeting room was filled with joy, and warm applause was ringing out. …