Almighty God Led Me Onto the Path of Obtaining Cleansing
By Gangqiang, USA
In 2007, I came to Singapore by myself to work to make a living. All year round, the climate in Singapore is very hot, so every day I would sweat profusely when I was working. It was so rough that I suffered an unspeakable amount, and on top of that it was an unfamiliar life without any relatives or friends, so I thought it to be boring and tedious. One day in August, I received a gospel leaflet on my way home from work which read: “But the God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you” (1Pe 5:10). I felt warmth in my heart on reading these words. After that I followed a brother into the church. The enthusiastic reception from the brothers and sisters, asking after my well-being, made me feel the warmth of my family which I hadn’t had in a long time. My eyes suddenly filled with hot tears, and I had a sensation as if I had come home. From that time, every Sunday the church became the place where I had to be.
I was baptized in December, and formally entered the path of believing in the Lord. Once, in church, I heard the preacher reading from the chapter 18, verses 21–22 of Matthew: “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus said to him, I say not to you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” After I heard this, I thought to myself: “How can the forgiveness and patience of the Lord Jesus be so great? His forgiveness for people is seventy times seven. If men could really do this, then there would be no fighting between men, there would only be love, and warmth!” I was very moved by the Lord’s words, and determined that I would act in accordance with the Lord’s teachings.
Two or three years later, my boss put me in charge of managing a construction site, so I put all my energy into my work and gradually stopped attending meetings. Afterward, at the introduction of a friend, I met a boss Mr. Li, and with him established a construction company. I was very happy, and made up my mind to put forth a big effort. At that time, I had gotten totally sucked into the vortex of money, and stopped going to church for gatherings. In order that the project could be well done and I could win others’ praise for my competence, my demands of workers became more and more severe. If I saw that they did something inappropriately, or not according to my demands, I would reprimand them, and the team leader was often brought to tears with my abuse. The workers were afraid whenever they saw me, and they would even hide from me. Even good friends of old were indifferent toward me, and no longer wanted to confide in me. When I saw this situation, I was very distressed! The Lord Jesus instructs us to forgive others seventy times seven, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. However, I had not put this into practice in the slightest, I had not even done it once. How was this being a Christian? I knew that I had sinned, and I often prayed to the Lord confessing my sins and repenting. I resolved to change myself. But whenever something came up, in spite of myself I would sin. I was very distressed.
In August of 2015, we suspended business operations because the company was not doing well, and I returned home. Because my mood was oppressed and miserable, I drank all day and played cards. When my wife told me I should stop drinking, I would horribly abuse her by saying: “It’s my money, I earned it, and I’ll spend it however I want….” My wife could do nothing to me but sit to the side and cry. Each time that I gave vent to my anger, I felt remorseful, and I hated myself, but I could not restrain myself. By that time I had completely lost all Christian propriety. In my behavior and how I conducted myself I was the same as a nonbeliever.
When I was helpless and suffering, I went again to the church for a gathering. In that period, I constantly prayed to the Lord Jesus: “Oh, Lord! I’ve done a lot of things I did not want to do, I’ve said many things that hurt people. I have often lived in sin and rebelled against You. Each time that I sin, I’m remorseful and particularly hate myself, but I can never restrain myself! In the evening I confess my sins, but in the daytime I fall back on old ways and sin again. Oh, Lord! I beseech You to save me, what should I do to be able to break away from sin?”
On New Year’s Day of 2016, I set foot on American soil, having come to make a living in New York. In my free time, I went to church for a gathering. As well, I took part in a witnessing group, reading the Bible and praying together with the brothers and sisters. There, I became acquainted with a sister called Qinglian. One day, Sister Qing Lian gave me a phone call to say there was some good news she wanted to tell me. I said, “What’s the good news?” She said, “A missionary has come here. Do you want to go hear her speak?” I said, “Great! Where is it?” She then arranged a time for me to go to her house.
On the day we had arranged, I went to Sister Qing Lian’s house. Several brothers and sisters were there, and after we’d greeted each other, everyone introduced themselves and began to discuss the Bible. I listened to Sister Zhao give a very enlightening fellowship and I felt greatly benefited by it. I then told Sister Zhao about my constant sinning and confessing, and the pain of being unable to rid myself of sin, and I sought her help. She then gave fellowship, saying that, even after we have begun to believe in the Lord, we still often commit sins, and that living a life in which we spin around a cycle of sinning in the daytime and confessing in the evening and never being able to rid ourselves of it, was not a problem that afflicted me alone, but rather it was a problem shared by all who believe in the Lord. Sister Zhao then let us watch a video of some recitals of God’s words. These words were spoken in the video: “And so I say that man’s sense has lost its original function, and that man’s conscience, too, has lost its original function. … Man’s disposition should be changed starting from the knowledge of his substance and through changes in his thinking, nature, and mental outlook—through fundamental changes. Only in this way will true changes be achieved in the disposition of man. Man’s corrupt disposition stems from his being poisoned and trampled upon by Satan, from the egregious harm that Satan has inflicted upon his thinking, morality, insight, and sense. It is precisely because these fundamental things of man have been corrupted by Satan, and are utterly unlike how God originally created them, that man opposes God and does not understand the truth. Thus, changes in man’s disposition should begin with changes in his thinking, insight and sense that will change his knowledge of God and his knowledge of the truth” (“To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
I was very moved upon hearing these words, thinking, “Isn’t it me they are talking about? I always look down on others, trying to teach them this or curse them for that, without any morality or reason, and have lost the decorum of the saints.” These words all pierced me to the core of my being. I had never before read words such as these, nor had I heard any preacher speak like that. All along, I was distressed because of often committing sins, but had never been able to break out of being controlled by sin. These words showed me the path to leaving sin behind, and I marveled: These words were spoken so well, but who could have written them?
Sister Zhao told me that this was the word of God and that the Lord Jesus had already returned in the flesh, doing the work of judging and cleansing people through His word in the last days. When I heard this news, I could barely believe my ears. Who among the believers in the Lord does not expect for Him to return? Now I was unexpectedly hearing the news about the Lord’s return. I was so excited that I was somewhat at a loss: Had the Lord truly returned? I had to get the sister to quickly fellowship to me about this. Sister Zhao said, “The Lord Jesus has truly returned, and He is Almighty God—the incarnated Christ in the last days. He has expressed the truth about purifying and saving people, and has started to do the work of judgment beginning with the house of God. He will thoroughly save us from the domain of Satan, us who have been bound up by our satanic nature and living in sin from which we could not extricate ourselves, and in the end we’ll be saved and obtained by God. In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus only performed the work of redemption, redeemed us from sin, and absolved our sins so that we would not be convicted under the law. Although the Lord absolved our sins, He had not pardoned our satanic nature and our satanic disposition. The arrogance, craftiness, selfishness, greed, maliciousness, and other corrupt dispositions still exist within man. These are things which go deeper and are more stubborn than sin. It is precisely because these satanic dispositions and satanic nature have not been resolved that we still commit sins despite ourselves, and we even commit sins that are more serious than violating the law. As for the Pharisees back then, wasn’t the reason why they resisted and condemned the Lord, to the point where they even crucified Him, that man’s sinful nature had not been resolved? In fact, we all have a deep appreciation of this because we are ourselves controlled by these corrupt dispositions. So, we often tell lies, act deceitfully, are arrogant and conceited, and reprimand others in a condescending attitude. We know clearly that the Lord demands that we pardon others, and love our neighbor as ourselves, and yet we do not put this into practice. People amongst themselves scheme against each other, scramble for fame and gain, unable to live together in harmony. When we fall ill, or during natural disasters or man-made misfortunes, we can still blame God, and even deny God, betray God. From these facts we are able to see that if we do not resolve our satanic nature, and satanic disposition, then we will never be able to rid ourselves of this circular life of sinning and confessing, of confessing and sinning. Therefore, to thoroughly save man from sin, it is necessary for God to perform a stage of His judgment and cleansing work to resolve our sinful nature. It is only in this way that we are able to obtain cleansing and be saved by God, and be obtained by God. After reading some sections of the word of Almighty God, we will naturally understand.”
Sister Zhao opened up the book of the word of God and began to read: “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” (“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” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh). “The sins of man were forgiven, and this is because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live within the corrupt satanic disposition of old. This being so, man must be completely saved from his corrupt satanic disposition, so that his sinful nature may be completely extirpated, never to develop again, thus enabling the disposition of man to be transformed. This would require man to grasp the path of growth in life, to grasp the way of life, and to grasp the way to change his disposition. Furthermore, it would require man to act in accordance with this path, so that his disposition may gradually be changed and he may live under the shining of the light, so that all that he does may be in accord with the will of God, so that he may cast away his corrupt satanic disposition, and so that he may 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). Sister Zhao said in fellowship: “After we have read these words of God, we become clear about why we are always bound by our satanic nature and unable to rid ourselves of sin, right? During the Age of Grace, God only performed the work of redemption, this was not the last-days work of judging people, cleansing people, and thoroughly saving people. So no matter how much we confess our sins and repent, and overcome our own selves, or fast and pray, we will not be able to attain a condition of not sinning. That means if we want to break free of the bondage and control of our sinful nature, only experiencing the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption is still not enough. We need to accept the work of judgment done by the returned Lord Jesus. This is because in doing His judgment work of the last days, God expresses many aspects of truth to judge and expose man’s satanic nature of resisting and betraying God. It makes clear to man God’s disposition of righteousness, holiness, and not tolerating offense, leading man to see clearly in the judgment and chastisement of God’s words the truth of his own profound corruption by Satan, to truly know God’s disposition of righteousness that does not tolerate man’s offense, to produce a heart that reveres God, and as result of this to change and purify man’s satanic disposition, and to save man from Satan’s influence. In God’s majestic, wrathful judgment and chastisement we see God as if face-to-face, we see the great light coming from heaven. Like a double-edged sword, God’s word pierces our hearts, it reveals our satanic nature of resisting and betraying God and even our corrupt dispositions in the deepest recesses of our hearts which we have no way of discovering, and it makes us see that the essence of our nature is filled with such satanic dispositions as arrogance, conceit, selfishness, baseness, evasiveness, and craftiness, that we are simply without a shred of human likeness, and are completely the embodiment of Satan. It is only then that we prostrate ourselves before God, and begin to hate ourselves, and to curse ourselves. At the same time, we also sense profoundly that God’s word is the truth, it is all the revelation of God’s disposition and what the life of God is. We see that God’s righteous disposition does not tolerate offense, and that the essence of God’s holiness does not tolerate blemishes. The result is that a heart that reveres God is born, and we begin to seek the truth with all our might, and to behave according to the word of God. Following our gradual understanding of the truth, we know more and more the satanic nature and satanic disposition of ourselves, and become more and more discerning about them. We also know God more and more. The corrupt disposition within us gradually obtains cleansing, and we rid ourselves of the bonds of sin, and live before God in genuine release and freedom. This is precisely the outcome that is arrived at through God’s last-days work of judgment on men. It can therefore be seen that the work of ‘redemption’ in the Age of Grace and the work of ‘taking away sin’ in the last days are two different stages of work. ‘Redemption’ was just the Lord Jesus taking on man’s sins in their stead and allowing man to escape the punishment they should have suffered for their sins. This did not demonstrate that man was without sin, however, much less that man would never again commit sin or that they were totally purified. Whereas ‘taking away sin’ is to expose utterly man’s sinful nature, enabling man to live without relying on their corrupt nature anymore, to achieve a change in their life disposition and become totally purified. Therefore, only by accepting God’s work of judgment in the last days can our corrupt dispositions be thoroughly resolved, can we rid ourselves of Satan’s influence and be saved, be led into the kingdom of God and attain God’s promises and blessings.”
Hearing the word of God and what the sisters fellowshiped, I felt that it corresponded very closely with the truth and was very practical. I thought back on my own belief in the Lord over these many years: I not only often lied and cheated, but I was also arrogant and unrestrained, rude and unreasonable, and willful. Workers in my work unit were afraid of me, and distanced themselves from me, and in my own home my wife and daughter were a little scared of me as well. No one wanted to lay their heart bare to me and I couldn’t even find a close friend to confide in. It was painful. I often read the Bible and prayed, confessed my sins to the Lord, and even despised myself, but later I resumed sinning again, I could not change myself at all. A person such as I who frequently sins and resists the Lord is in great need of God’s salvation! Now the Lord Jesus has already returned as Almighty God incarnate. Today I can have the good fortune to hear the voice of God and to know that the Lord Jesus has come again to deliver the truth and to undertake the work of judging man, cleansing man, and saving man, I really am extremely fortunate! The sister saw that I was filled with longing, and she gave me a copy of the book of God’s word God’s Sheep Hear the Voice of God. I happily took the book and became determined to keep good faith in Almighty God!
After I accepted Almighty God’s work in the last days, I read many of God’s words. Regarding the three stages of God’s work, the mystery of the incarnation, the meaning of God’s name and the inside story of the Holy Bible, as well as how the overcomers are made, how the kingdom of Christ is realized, how the final outcome and destination of each category of man would be differentiated, these and other aspects of the truth I gradually understood a little. I also had better faith in God.
At first, when I read God’s words severely judging man, and revealing man, I felt distressed and uncomfortable. I had some notions within me, I felt that God’s words were too severe. Could He not be a little gentler? If God judges man in this way, is man not then condemned? How can he then be saved? Later, I read in the word of God: “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” (“Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Through what is God’s perfection of man accomplished? Through His righteous disposition. God’s disposition primarily consists of righteousness, wrath, majesty, judgment, and curse, and His perfection of man is primarily through judgment. Some people don’t understand, and ask why it is that God is only able to make man perfect through judgment and curse. They say that if God were to curse man, wouldn’t man die? If God were to judge man, wouldn’t man be condemned? Then how can he still be made perfect? Such are the words of people who do not know the work of God. What God curses is the disobedience of man, and what He judges are the sins of man. Although He speaks harshly, and without the slightest sensitivity, He reveals all that is within man, and through these stern words He reveals that which is essential within man, yet through such judgment, He gives man a profound knowledge of the essence of the flesh, and thus man submits to obedience before God. The flesh of man is of sin, and of Satan, it is disobedient, and the object of God’s chastisement—and so, to allow man to know himself, the words of God’s judgment must befall him and there must be employed every kind of refinement; only then can God’s work be effective” (“Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I understood from God’s words that God performs His work of judgment in the last days through expressing the truth and that He severely judges, exposes and condemns man’s corrupt dispositions, satanic nature and man’s wicked deeds of resisting God. He does this to make us see clearly the truth of our own corruption, to understand thoroughly the essence of our corrupt dispositions and to know our own satanic nature and the source of our corruption, for only in this way can we hate ourselves and forsake our flesh. At the same time, it is only because God shows His righteous, majestic and wrathful disposition in His judgment and chastisement, that we are able to see His righteousness and holiness and see clearly our own filthiness, ugliness and wickedness. God does this also so that we may know our own satanic nature and the truth of our corruption. If God did not judge man so severely, if God did not expose man’s corruption by striking right at the heart of the matter, and if He did not reveal His righteous and majestic disposition, then we humans, who have been corrupted so deeply by Satan, would be unable to reflect on ourselves or know ourselves, and we would be incapable of knowing the truth of our own corruption or our satanic nature. If that were the case, then how would we rid ourselves of our sinful nature and be purified? From the results achieved by God’s stern words we can see that hidden within are God’s true love for man and the painstaking efforts He goes to to save man! The more I read God’s words, the more I feel that God’s work of judgment is so great! God’s work is so practical! Only God’s severe judgment can purify man, change man and save man. God’s work of judgment in the last days is truly what we need!
Because my nature was arrogant and conceited, as well as terribly self-righteous, I usually lectured others in a condescending way whenever I spoke, I was a law unto myself whenever I did anything, I always loved getting others to listen to me and I showed off before other people. Several times at gatherings, I gave fellowship about how I had handled problems in my work unit, how I had rebuked disobedient personnel and subdued them, and how my wife and daughter at home always obeyed me in everything. Especially when I fellowshiped about God’s words, I would often say things like, “I believe this passage of God’s words means this,” and “this is what I think.” A brother saw that I was always expressing an arrogant and self-righteous disposition without knowing it myself, and he pointed this out to me at a gathering, saying that speaking and acting in this way was an expression of arrogance and self-righteousness, and of being without reason. If in the past anyone had exposed me in this way, and in front of so many people, I would certainly have argued my own case, and I would soon have refuted them. But at the time, I chose to be silent without arguing and justifying myself, because I thought of the words of “Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life”: “If you always say ‘I think’ when it comes to any subject you encounter, well, it is best that you let go of your opinions. I urge you to let go of your opinions and seek the truth. See what the words of God say. Your ‘opinion’ is not the truth! … You are too arrogant and self-righteous! In the face of the truth, you cannot even let go of and deny your own conceptions and illusions. You do not want to obey God in the slightest! Of those that truly seek the truth and truly have a heart that reveres God, who still says ‘I think’? This saying has already been eliminated. This is the revealing of the satanic disposition.” These words in fellowship reminded me that, normally, whenever I encountered some issue, I always had on my lips such words as “I think,” “I maintain,” “I believe,” always starting with the word “I,” and myself always having the final say with everything. I believed that I could see through things myself, and could deal with problems. I always made others do as I said, and obey me. By always regarding myself so highly, was that not precisely exposing an arrogant disposition? What the brother said to me when he pointed out my disposition was all true, and I should accept it. What I believed emanated from my notions and imaginings, they came from Satan, and they were certainly not the truth. I thought about how, regardless of whether at home, or at the work unit, amongst my colleagues, I was always behaving as number one. If anyone disobeyed me, or did something not in line with my views, I would get angry and tell them off. The fact that I was able to reveal these things explains that there was no place for God in my heart, that I did not honor God as great but rather that I honored myself as great. I was able often to say such things and behave in this way, and this proves how greatly arrogant my disposition was!
Later, I read those words of God: “If you really have the truth within you, the path you walk will naturally be the correct path. Without the truth, it is easy to do evil and you would not be able to help yourself. For example, if you have arrogance and conceit inside you, it will be impossible to not defy God, but instead you would be made to defy Him. You wouldn’t do it on purpose; you would do it under the domination of your arrogant and conceited nature. Your arrogance and conceit would make you look down on God, it would make you see God as being of no account, it would make you exalt yourself, it would make you constantly put yourself on display and finally it would make you sit in God’s place and bear witness for yourself. In the end you would make your own ideas, your own thinking and your own conceptions into truths to be worshiped. See how much evil is done by people under the dominance of their arrogant and conceited nature! To resolve their doing of evil, one must first resolve the problem of their nature. Without a change in disposition, it is not possible to fundamentally resolve this problem” (“Only by Seeking the Truth Can You Obtain Changes in Your Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks). Every word spoken by God is the truth and they convinced me completely. I thought of how I used to lecture others condescendingly in the workplace, when around my work colleagues and when I was at home. All of this was me being dominated by my satanic, arrogant nature, and was not brought about by my anger, or because I had a bad temper or because I had no self-restraint. Because I believed myself to have caliber, talents and could make money, I therefore believed myself to be better than other people, I looked down on everyone else, I thought myself better than everyone else and I always thought of myself as superior. It was these thoughts which fed my arrogance and became the currency of my life. I had found the source of my sin and had seen the danger of what would happen if my satanic and corrupt disposition was left unresolved. And so I consciously looked up and read many of God’s words regarding His judgment and revealing of man’s arrogant nature, and reflected on myself against these words. Through God’s words of judgment and revealing and the communications of brothers and sisters in gatherings, I began to have a shallow understanding of my own arrogant nature. I saw that I was not in fact better than anyone else, and that my ability and wealth were all bestowed by God, so I had nothing to boast about. If God hadn’t bestowed on me wisdom and intelligence, if God hadn’t blessed me, what could I have done just relying on myself? There are so many talented people in the world; why do they toil and rush about all their lives and end up empty handed? I also found within God’s words the path to resolve my arrogant nature, which was to accept more of being pruned and dealt with by brothers and sisters, accept more of the judgment, chastisement, trials and refinement of God, reflect on myself in light of God’s words, achieve true self-knowledge and self-hatred, to no longer act by my satanic disposition but to act in accordance with God’s words. I later experienced many instances of being judged and chastised, pruned and dealt with, and I experienced many setbacks and failures, and my knowledge of my satanic nature and corrupt essence was gradually deepened, and I also gained a shallow understanding of God’s greatness, righteousness and holiness. The more I came to know God’s righteousness and holiness, the more I saw my own filthiness, lowliness, insignificance and pitifulness. The things which I thought important before or which I had boasted about, I now felt that they weren’t worth mentioning and, unknowingly, my arrogant disposition began to change. No matter whether brothers and sisters said something correct, or my colleagues said something correct, or my family said something correct, I would accept it, and I no longer spoke condescendingly, I acted humbly and I was no longer a law unto myself. Whenever a matter arose I would discuss it with others, and whoever was correct I would act according to that person’s suggestion. Slowly, my relationship with people around me began to normalize. I had peace and joy in my heart, and I believed that I was living a little more in the likeness of a real person.
Following constant reading of God’s word, and living the life of the church, I felt more and more that it was truly good that I was able to accept God’s work of judgment in the last days. I understood clearly that my corrupt disposition would simply have no way of being resolved by myself. It is the judgment and chastisement of God’s words that has changed and cleansed me. In The Church of Almighty God, I saw many brothers and sisters working hard at seeking the truth, and accepting the judgment and chastisement of Almighty God’s words. Whenever someone reveals some corruption, everyone points it out to each other and helps each other. We all reflect on ourselves and know ourselves in the light of God’s words, we seek the truth to resolve our corruption, everyone practices being honest people and being pure and open, we accept and submit to whatever fellowship is in conformity with the truth and our corrupt dispositions change more and more; the words of Almighty God can indeed purify and change people. God incarnate has come amongst us, He personally expresses His words to judge and purify us, and He leads us to cast off sin and be saved—we are so fortunate! As I thought of all the people who sincerely believe in the Lord and who wait impatiently for His return, who yearn to cast off the bonds of sin and be cleansed, and yet who live in pain without a path to follow, I said a prayer to God and made a resolution: “I wish to preach Your kingdom gospel to even more people so that they can be like me, and so they can follow Your footsteps and embark upon the path to be purified and attain salvation!”