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Gospel Reader

The Road to Purification

292

Christopher, Philippines

My name is Christopher and I am a pastor from a family church in the Philippines. In 1987, I was baptized and returned to the Lord Jesus. By the Lord’s grace, in 1996 I became a pastor of the local church. At that time, apart from preaching in many places around the Philippines, I also preached in places like Hong Kong and Malaysia. Because of the work and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I felt that I had inexhaustible energy in my work for the Lord and an unceasing flow of words in my sermons. I would often go to support brothers and sisters when they were negative and weak. Sometimes members of their family who did not believe in the Lord were unfriendly toward me, yet I could be tolerant and patient and not lose faith in the Lord and I believed that the Lord could change them. So I felt like I had changed a great deal since believing in the Lord. However, since 2011, I have not felt the work of the Holy Spirit as strongly as before. Slowly, I have had no new enlightenment for my sermons and have not had the strength to break free from living in sin. I could not help getting angry at my wife and daughter and teaching them a lesson through my temper when I saw that they were not doing as I desired. I knew that this was not in keeping with the will of the Lord, but often I could not help myself. I felt particularly distressed about this. In order to free myself from a life of sin and confession, I put more effort into reading the Bible, fasting and praying and found spiritual pastors everywhere to seek and explore this together. But all of my efforts were useless and made no difference to me living in sin and to the darkness in my soul.

The Road to Purification

Then one evening in spring 2016, my wife asked me, “Christopher, I’ve noticed you’ve been very troubled recently. What is on your mind?” After hearing my wife ask this, I told her what was troubling me, “I’ve been wondering these last few years why I cannot break free from living in sin despite being a pastor and having believed in the Lord for many years. I cannot touch the Lord now. It is as if the Lord has forsaken me. Although I preach everywhere, as soon as I have free time, especially in the dead of night, I always feel a kind of emptiness and anxiety and this feeling just gets stronger and stronger. I think about how I have believed in the Lord for many years and how I have read the Bible a great deal and often resolved to bear the cross and conquer myself, but yet I am always bound by sins and am capable of telling lies and not abiding by ‘And in their mouth was found no guile’ (Revelation 14:5) in order to protect my own interests and face. When facing tribulations and refinement, although I know I have the Lord’s consent, I still cannot stop myself from complaining to the Lord and misunderstanding Him and I am completely unable to willingly deny myself. I am afraid that when the Lord comes, I will not be able to enter the kingdom of heaven because of living in sin like this!”

Upon hearing this, my wife said, “Christopher, how can you think like this? You must have faith; you are a pastor! Although we live in sin and have not broken free from the binds of sin, 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’ (Romans 10:9), ‘For whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved’ (Romans 10:13). As long as we persist in reading the Bible, meeting, and praying for the Lord, and bear the cross and always follow until the second coming of the Lord, we shall be able to enter the kingdom of heaven and receive the Lord’s blessing.”

I then said to my wife, “I thought so before, but in Peter 1:16 it says: ‘Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy.’ I have believed in the Lord for thirty years, yet I cannot keep the Lord’s way and, living in sin, I am still capable of often resisting the Lord; this is not holy in the slightest. Ugh! How many times did I resolve to obey the teachings of the Lord, yet I could not practice the word of the Lord. How could I be worthy of entering the kingdom of heaven under such circumstances? The Lord Jesus 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). According to the Lord’s words, it is not as simple as we think to enter the kingdom of heaven. The Lord is holy, so how can people who cannot practice the word of the Lord and who often resist Him be raptured into the kingdom of heaven? Only those who have changed and who abide by God’s will can enter the kingdom of heaven!”

My wife thought for a moment and said, “What you are saying makes sense. The Lord is holy and we are still sinful. We are not worthy of God’s kingdom. It’s just that … I suddenly remember … didn’t Pastor Liu invite a Korean Pastor Kim for the church? How about this time we seek on this issue?” I said: “Well, that’s ok too. The Lord Jesus said: ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you’ (Matthew 7:7). As long as we seek, I believe that the Lord shall lead us. As a pastor, I must consider the lives of our brothers and sisters. I must not muddle-headedly believe in God or I shall put brothers and sisters in a quandary and also entrap myself. So let’s wait until the Korean Pastor Kim arrives and then seek from him regarding this issue.”

The Road to Purification

Because I wanted to seek Pastor Kim, I wanted to know a little about Pastor Kim’s background. So I searched for the Korean Church on the Internet. On the pages that popped up, I saw the website https://www.holyspiritspeaks.org. I opened the website and some words on it drew me in: “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 were so good that I couldn’t help continuing to read onwards: “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 man’s life 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). Reading this, I was extremely excited. Although I could not completely understand these words and some words even puzzled me, they gave me hope. I felt that here I could find a way to purify and change myself. I thanked God from the bottom of my heart for listening to my prayer. I read some of the content again and felt that the words were so well written that they watered and shepherded my thirsty soul. When I saw it written on the website: “If you can’t find the Gospel Hotline in your country or region, please leave us a message and we will contact you as soon as possible,” I quickly looked, but there was no Philippines Gospel Hotline and so I immediately left a message and did not hesitate to write down my contact number and email address.

After returning home that evening, I told my wife this news and after hearing what I said, my wife was willing to seek as well. I really thank the Lord that the next day they responded to my message and arranged to speak to us online that afternoon. That afternoon, we spoke to Sister Liu and Sister Su. From the conversation, I felt that they spoke simply, deftly and with insight. My wife was even more anxious than me and said, “I have something I would like to ask you. Is that ok?” They enthusiastically said, “Of course.” My wife said, “On your church’s website it says, ‘God of the last days has done a stage of judgment and chastisement work.’ My husband and I know that without holiness no one shall see the Lord because the Lord is holy, but in Romans it 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’ (Romans 10:9) ‘For whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved’ (Romans 10:13). If we believe in the Lord Jesus then we are already saved and can enter the kingdom of heaven, so why does God of the last days undertake a stage of work of judgment and chastisement? I don’t understand this issue and hope that you can talk about it.”

Liu Yumei replied, “Thanks be to God! Let’s fellowship together and let God guide us. Let’s first take a look at what ‘being saved’ means here. In the latter period of the Age of Law, people had all shunned God and lost their respect for God. They became more and more sinful and went so far as to offer up blind, lame and diseased cattle, sheep and pigeons for sacrifice. People of that age no longer upheld the law and they were all in danger of being condemned to death for breaking the law. Under such circumstances, in order to save people under the law from certain death, God personally was incarnated and undertook the work of redemption and was in the end crucified to redeem the whole of mankind from sin. Man was forgiven his sins because he believed in the Lord Jesus and was thus eligible to come before God and pray to God and enjoy the blessings of God’s grace. This is the true meaning of ‘being saved’ in the Age of Grace. In other words, ‘being saved’ is merely a forgiveness of man’s sins. That is, God does not regard people as being sinful, although this does not mean that people themselves do not have sins. Therefore, being saved does not mean that we are completely purified and saved. If we want to be purified, we have to accept God’s judgment work of the last days.”

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