Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Pastor’s Spiritual Confession

Christopher    the Philippines
My name is Christopher. I’m a pastor of a house church in the Philippines. I was fortunate to turn to the Lord through baptism in 1987. Then in 1996, I became a pastor of my local church. At that time, in addition to working in many places in the Philippines, I preached overseas, such as Hong Kong and Malaysia. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I felt an unfailing strength all over to work for the Lord. I always supported brothers and sisters when they were weak and passive. Sometimes, their unbelieving family were unfriendly to me, and even took offense at me, but I could forbear them and be patient with them. I always had faith in the Lord and believed that the Lord would change them. I felt that I had been changed a lot after believing in the Lord. However, since 2011, gradually, I hadn’t had such strength from the work of the Holy Spirit, nor new enlightenment in preaching. I lived in sins and was unable to break away. At home, when my wife and daughter did something contrary to my will, I couldn’t help losing my temper to lecture them on rash impulse. But later I very much regretted: Why can’t I love or tolerate them?  How come I commit sins again? I felt very distressed. In order to be free from the life of sinning and confessing, I spent more effort studying the Bible, fasting and praying to the Lord, bearing my cross and subduing my body. I also found many spiritual pastors to seek and talk with, yet all my efforts were of no avail, and I had no way to practice.

That was until the day in March of 2016 I wanted to get some information about South Korean pastor, Kim. So I searched for it on the Internet. Then I saw the website: I opened this website, and some words in it attracted me, “Man received much grace, such as the peace and happiness of the flesh, the blessing of the entire family upon the faith of one, and the healing of sicknesses, and so on. The rest were the good deeds of man and their godly appearance; if man could live based on such, he was considered a good believer. Only such believers could enter heaven after death, which means that they were saved. But, in their lifetime, they did not understand at all the way of life. They merely committed sins, then made confession in a constant cycle without any path toward a changed disposition; such was the condition of man in the Age of Grace. Has man received complete salvation? No!” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). These words are so true. I couldn’t help but continue reading, “Therefore, after that stage was complete, there is still the work of judgment and chastisement. This stage makes man pure through the word so as to give man a path to follow. This stage would not be fruitful or meaningful if it continued with the casting out of demons, for the sinful nature of man would not be cast away and man would only stop upon the forgiveness of sins. Through the sin offering, man has been forgiven his sins, for the work of the crucifixion has already come to an end and God has prevailed over Satan. But the corrupt disposition of man still remains within them and man can still sin and resist God; God has not gained mankind. That is why in this stage of work God uses the word to reveal the corrupt disposition of man and asks man to practice in accordance with the right path. This stage is more meaningful than the previous one and more fruitful as well, for now it is the word that directly supplies life for man and enables the disposition of man to be completely renewed; it is a stage of work more thorough…” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). When I read these, I felt so excited. Though I couldn’t understand all the words and was even confused about some of them, I saw the hope of getting rid of the condition of committing and confessing sins without being able to pull myself out. I felt that I could find the way to be purified and transformed here. Deep from my heart, I thanked God for His listening to my prayer. I was always distressed for living in sin but unable to save myself, worrying that I could not enter the kingdom of heaven. I saw the Lord 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), and “…you shall be holy; for I am holy”  (Leviticus 11:44). It makes me realize that one has to meet certain standards if he wants to enter God’s kingdom. It’s not that, as we thought, we’ll be saved with the confession in words that Jesus is the Lord and the belief in the heart that He was raised from the dead, and whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. No, that’s not so easy. The Lord is holy. We’re unable to practice His words and still often resist Him; how can people like us be directly taken into the kingdom of heaven? Only those who are renewed, transformed, and do God’s will can enter the kingdom of heaven! The content displayed on this website was very good and practical. I read something else on the site. There were many articles written by Christians about their testimonies of experiencing God’s judgment to be purified, having my thirsty heart shepherded and watered. This was the very way to be purified I was looking for. So without hesitation, I sent a message on their website and left my telephone number and email address by email.
I desperately waited for a response after giving the message, for I had many questions to communicate. I did a further reading on their website the next two days, including testimonies of Christians’ experience in the Church of Almighty God. The testimonies recounted how Almighty God led Christians out of sin. I knew in my heart that there was indeed the way to be purified and Almighty God’s words have authority. Thank the Lord! Two days later, two sisters from the Church of Almighty God contacted me. So, we got together and communicated with each other through Skype. The meaning of the work of judgment was beyond me. My wife and I had a debate over this subject but failed to reach a conclusion. I asked Sister Liu, “It is said in Romans, ‘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’ (Romans 10:9). ‘For whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved’ (Romans 10:13). The scriptures tell us that since we believe in the Lord Jesus and rely on Him, we’ve received His full salvation. Why is there still a stage of work of judgment and chastisement?”
Sister Liu answered, “At the end of the Age of Law, as man got far away from God and lost their reverence for God, they committed more and more sins, and even offered the blind, lame or sick oxen and sheep as sacrifices. They were unable to keep the law. As a result, they were in danger of being condemned or put to death for violating the law. Under such circumstances, in order to free man from the threat of death, God was personally incarnated on earth to do a stage of redemptive work, and at last was nailed to the cross to redeem man from sin. So, man was forgiven of their sins due to belief in the Lord Jesus, and would no longer be condemned or executed as they broke the law. They were qualified to come before God, pray to God, and enjoy the grace and blessings from God. This is the true meaning of being saved in the Age of Grace. People are just forgiven of their sins, and God no long regards them as sinners, but it doesn’t mean there’s no sin within them or they no longer sin. So, being saved doesn’t mean people are fully saved and purified. To be purified, people must accept God’s work of judgment and chastisement in the last days, which is also the work of purification and salvation.”
Through their fellowship, I got to understand that being saved means that one has received Jesus’ salvation, and will no longer be condemned or executed for violating the law. It doesn’t mean that he has been completely purified as man imagines. Their fellowship makes sense. Such explanation of being saved is very practical and not contradictory to our condition of sinning and confessing. It seems that the Lord’s work hasn’t been finished. I felt a need to seek the truth about this, so I decided to continue listening to their fellowship.
Then, Sister Su sent me a few passages of Almighty God’s words, 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” (“The Vision of God’s Work (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Man was … forgiven his sins, but the work for just how the corrupt satanic dispositions within man could be cast away was not done in him. Man was only saved and forgiven his sins for his faith, but the sinful nature of man was not taken away and still remained within him. The sins of man were forgiven through God incarnate, but it does not mean that man has no sin within him. The sins of man could be forgiven through the sin offering, but man has been unable to resolve the issue of just how he can no longer sin and how his sinful nature can be cast away completely and be transformed. The sins of man were forgiven because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live in the old, corrupt satanic disposition. As such, man must be completely saved from the corrupt satanic disposition so that the sinful nature of man is completely cast away and never again develops, thus allowing the disposition of man to be changed. This requires man to understand the path of growth in life, the way of life, and the way to change his disposition. It also needs man to act in accordance with this path so that the disposition of man can gradually be changed and he can live under the shining of the light, and that he can do all things in accord with the will of God, cast away the corrupt satanic disposition, and break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” 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. And so, after man was forgiven his sins, God has returned to flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment, and this work has brought man into a higher realm. All those who submit under His dominion shall enjoy higher truth and receive greater blessings. They shall truly live in the light, and shall gain the truth, the way, and the life” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Sister Su said, “The Lord Jesus has forgiven man’s sins, not man’s sinful nature. Thus, man has been forgiven of his sins, but is still dominated by the sinful nature and often sins and resists God in spite of himself. If man holds on to merely the work of redemption God did in the Age of Grace, but refuses to accept God’s work of judgment in the last days, the root of his sin and his satanic nature will not be resolved. In the last days, Almighty God has come and done a stage of work of judging and purifying man on the basis of the redemptive work. By expressing the truth, He has revealed the true fact of man’s corruption and judged man’s satanic nature, so that man’s sinful nature can be thoroughly resolved, his satanic disposition can be changed, and he will be completely free from Satan’s influence and saved by God, and finally become ones who truly obey God and worship God. So, Almighty God’s work of judgment and purification in the last days is the most crucial and fundamental work to save man and perfect man.
Almighty God’s words and Sister Su’s fellowship left me enlightened inside and solved the questions puzzling me for a long time. It turned out that God only did the work of forgiveness in the Age of Grace and did not do the work of casting off the root of man’s sinning, while the work of judgment done by God incarnate in the last days through expressing the truth is that which completely purifies man and saves man. No wonder regardless of how hard we tried, subduing our body or forsaking our flesh, we still did not attain purification but instead lived in the cycle of sinning and confessing. But then, how does God cleanse and change man to make him be fully saved? They mentioned God has become flesh again to save us from the bondage of sin. Did what they spoke of accord with the Bible? I wanted to ask them for an explanation. But one passage of words I saw on their website came to my mind, “When you do not know how to understand, handle, and experience these problems, what attitude should you adopt to show your intention, your desire, and your reality of submitting to God’s sovereignty and arrangements? First you must learn to wait; then you must learn to seek; then you must learn to submit” (“God Himself, the Unique III” in A Continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh). I thought I should be rational. Regarding the problem which had long confused me, I have found the way. So I should allow them time to resolve this problem that I urgently needed to understand, and then I could raise other questions. If it really came from God, I believed that all my doubts shall be erased. So, I couldn’t wait to ask, “I am already clear about what you have talked about. I have understood that only when the Lord comes to do the work of judgment can man attain purification. This is indeed that which I have long yearned for. Now I very much want to know how Almighty God does the work of judgment to purify and save man.”
Sister Su sent the words of Almighty God to me through Skype, and I began to read Almighty God’s words excitedly, In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, reveal 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 disposition of God, and so on. These words are all focused on the essence of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, those words that reveal how man spurns God are spoken in regards to how man is an embodiment of Satan and an enemy force against God. When God does the work of judgment, He does not simply make clear the nature of man with just a few words, but carries out revelation, dealing, and pruning over the long term. Such manner of revelation, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words but with the truth that man does not possess at all. Only such manner of work is deemed judgment; only through such judgment can man be persuaded, be thoroughly convinced into submission to God, and 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 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 could not be understood by man. 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 such work is actually the work of opening up the truth, way, and life of God to all those who have faith in Him. This work is the work of judgment done by God” (“Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Then Sister Su continued with her fellowship, “From Almighty God’s words, we see that in the last days, God judges and purifies man mainly through expressing the truth directed at man’s corrupt disposition and satanic nature of resistance to God. Almighty God has expressed a variety of truths, such as how Satan corrupts man, how God saves man, what is to follow man, what is to obey God, what viewpoint believers should hold, what is the path of success in the belief in God, what is the path of failure in the belief in God, how to know man’s nature, what kind of person God perfects, the way to have one’s life disposition changed, and so on. christian-read-almighty-gods-wordThese truths all carry authority and power, can supply man with life, and are the way of life for man to be cleansed and transformed. Almighty God has revealed thoroughly all aspects of man’s corrupt disposition. While reading Almighty God’s words, we sometimes feel God is as loving as a mother, amiable and adorable; sometimes we feel He is like a severe father. Especially when we read Almighty God’s words that judge, chastise, and reveal man, we feel they, like a double-edged sword, disclose our disobedience, corruption, resistance, wrong intentions, notions and imaginations. Moreover, they even disclose the unknown satanic poisons hidden deep within our hearts. We realize what we’ve lived out is the ugliness of Satan. For example, we’re arrogant and self-conceited, crooked and crafty, selfish and base, mercenary, and show no reverence for God at all. That is, we have already been corrupted by Satan so that we no longer have any likeness of man; Our actions and deeds, thoughts and ideas are also filthy, corrupt, and hideous. We feel so humiliated and ashamed. When we read Almighty God’s words, we feel as if God were judging us face to face and we can see that God loathes and hates man’s satanic disposition, and God’s disposition is righteous and holy, and allows no offense. If we still live by such corrupt dispositions without any change, we’ll be doomed to be eliminated and punished. When we practice according to the path to salvation God has pointed out for us, there is the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and then our corrupt disposition will gradually change. I always thought that man revealed the satanic disposition involuntarily and practicing the truth was too hard. As our experience of the judgment and chastisement of God’s work accumulates, I realize that practicing the truth is an easy thing. When we reveal the satanic corrupt disposition, we feel disgusted, harbor detestation and hate of ourselves. Then we can have fewer and fewer corrupt disposition and practice the truth more and more. Gradually, we will tread the path of fearing God and shunning evil, enter into the reality of truly obeying God and worshiping God, and live out normal humanity. This is indeed the result achieved by God’s word of judgment and chastisement. Almighty God’s work of judgment and chastisement in the last days is the work that completely purifies, saves, and perfects man. This can be appreciated by all those who accept the work of God in the last days and experience God’s judgment and chastisement. If man thinks he is lucky and can rely on the grace to be saved and thinks the forgiveness of sins is being fully saved, and doesn’t accept the judgment work before the seat of Christ of the last days, he won’t be able to be purified and change his life disposition, and in the end he is surely to be abandoned and eliminated by God, thus perishing, being destroyed, and forever losing the opportunity to be saved by God and enter the kingdom of heaven. This is absolute.
I said with excitement, “Yes, this is what I have been looking for. God has given me the answer. Hallelujah!”
Thank the Lord! After hearing their fellowship, I felt my heart brightened. I have believed in the Lord for so long, often gave sermons to believers, disciplined my body, yet I could not keep the Lord’s way, living in sin and being unable to get rid of it, and feeling agonized and distressed day after day. I finally understood at that time if people don’t experience God’s work of judgment and chastisement in the last days, they can never get rid of the bondage and shackles of sin on their own. Now I have beheld the path of achieving purification and reaching the true salvation. I am so grateful to God for His mercy and salvation upon me. According to the communication through these few days, I realized that the stage of work done by Almighty God is upon the foundation of the forgiveness of sins in order to fully change and purify man and cause man to gain the full salvation until man becomes cleansed and has the qualification to enter God’s kingdom and enter into eternal rest with God. God’s work is so practical.
Later we set the time for gatherings of every week. As times went by, many of my doubts have been worked out through Almighty God’s words. I provided for the church with the light of the truth from my understanding of Almighty God’s words and the brothers and sisters’ fellowship. Five weeks later, I have finished the preaching about the three stages of God’s work and the path to get rid of the bondage of sins. My wife and brothers and sisters in the church have all been conquered by Almighty God’s words. They all wished to accept the work of God of the last days to be purified and to finally enter God’s kingdom. This made me appreciate that God’s word is mightier than the manifestation of signs and wonders. I gave great thanks to Almighty God’s love and salvation upon me. Especially when I read How Should You Attend to Your Future Mission expressed by Almighty God, I was deeply moved. As a pastor, it is my duty and obligation to bring other pastors, brothers and sisters I know before God. After cooperating to preach the gospel for some time, I brought a pastor and all the brothers and sisters of another house church before Almighty God. Seeing that so many brothers and sisters have been raptured before God’s throne and found the way to be purified and saved, I’m very happy. I know all the results are achieved by Almighty God’s work. May all the glory be to Almighty God!
The End.
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