Sunday, December 23, 2007

No americans, no Jews, no Chinese, no Muslim, no Spanish, no Hindus but...

Once a person believes in a Creator , who made the microscopic world, and the Universe, he will also understand the interaction between , both of them, a plant needs the Sun, and the Sun needs the others Galaxies , all interacts, and humans have one need that is deep inside of all of us, is deeper that our minds, our pleasures, our knowledge, regardless have we denied him to the utmost , the one who made us is waiting for us even we feel he is running for us to forgive us and deposit his life in us. We have pointed the he has use the Bible as a means to converse with us, and subject as well the outline of the book is the person of Jesus through whom we become the many sons of God.
In some blogs , the issue of being a Muslin or a Jews has been raised up, in reality, Americans, Spanish , Hindus, Chinese, we all are deferments, yet the only one in ancient history who claim to be the son of God has abolish all distintions, there is no Greek or Jews, no barbarian, no free man, neither man or woman(this is the reason why man must respect all woman, and woman should respect man).


After a new believer has received Christ, he has to see the oneness of believers in the Body of Christ. In other words, he has to realize the abolishment of all distinctions. This means that there should be no distinctions among believers who have become one in Christ.
First Corinthians 12:13 says, "For also in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free." The word whether signifies the removal of distinctions. There are no worldly distinctions in the Body of Christ. Verse 13 continues, "And were all given to drink one Spirit." We were all baptized in one Spirit into one Body and were all given to drink one Spirit.
Galatians 3:27-28 says, "For as many as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There cannot be Jew or Greek, there cannot be slave nor free man, there cannot be male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Here it says that in Christ we all are one. We are those who have put on Christ. The words put on are just one word in the original text. It does not mean "wearing" as much as it does "covering up." We were all baptized into Christ and have all put on Christ. There cannot be Jew or Greek, slave nor free man, male and female, for in Christ we all have become one. This means that our oneness in Christ has abolished all of our former distinctions.
Colossians 3:10-11 says, "And have put on the new man, which is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all and in all." This passage also says that there are no more distinctions among believers. Galatians 3:28 says, "There cannot be," and this verse also says, "There cannot be." There cannot be distinctions because we have put on the new man. We have received and been incorporated into the new man, which was created according to the image of God. In this image there cannot be Greeks or Jews, circumcision or uncircumcision, barbarian or Scythian, slave or free man, for Christ is all and in all. Therefore, all the believers are one; they have become a single entity.
From these three portions of the Scripture, we see that all believers are one in Christ, and all of their distinctions have been abolished. This is the basis upon which the church is built. If we bring all our earthly distinctions into the church and into the Lord, we will corrupt the church and spoil the relationships among the brothers and sisters.
We must see that we have all been made one in Christ. Our past distinctions no longer exist among us when we are in the Lord. There are no distinctions in the new man and in the Body of Christ. At least five distinctions are spoken of in the verses above. We see five contrasting pairs, but actually there are six differences. First, there is the difference between Greek and Jew. Then there is the difference between free man and slave. Following this there are differences between male and female, barbarians and Scythians, and circumcision and uncircumcision. According to the apostle Paul, no matter what differences there are among men, we all have been made one in Christ.
In this world, the most important thing to a person is his position, that is, his status. If I am a certain kind of person, I have to live up to my position or my status. But if we are to be Christians at all, these considerations must go. If we bring our personal status and position into the new man, we will make the new man old because these distinctions belong to the old man. Therefore, when we come to the church, we must give up all these things.

A. There Being No Distinction between Jews and Greeks
In the world the greatest distinction is based on nationality. The Jews and the Greeks are two very distinctive races. The Jews are very nationalistic. They are the descendants of Abraham, the chosen people of God; they are the only nation established by God on earth. They are separated from other nations and are a peculiar people unto God. But instead of humbling themselves before God and exalting Him, they are proud and boast of themselves before other races. Their pride carries their nationalism to an extreme degree. They despise all Gentile nations. In their eyes the Gentiles are animals, dogs. They do not recognize the Gentiles in any way.
This is why it is rather difficult to put a Gentile next to a Jew and ask them to be fellow Christians. A Jew may believe in the Lord Jesus and call himself a Christian, but it is very difficult to persuade him to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. The book of Acts tells us that the gospel was preached first to the Jews on the day of Pentecost. Later, when the gospel reached Samaria, it was the Jews who were saved. In order to bring the gospel to the Gentiles, the Lord had to rise up Paul and charge him with the preaching. Even then, it did not immediately begin in Antioch. Peter had to make a start in Caesarea first. It was quite hard for Peter as an apostle to the Jews to go to the Gentiles. Therefore, he needed to see a vision three times and had to hear the Lord say three times, "Rise up, Peter; slay and eat!" Without this, Peter would never have dared go to the Gentiles. This was the first time the gospel was preached to the Gentiles, and it shows how reluctant the Jews were to preach to the Gentiles.
In Acts 15 a problem arose in the matter of circumcision and the keeping of the law. Some advocated that the Gentile believers needed to be circumcised and keep the law. They were, in effect, saying that in order for a Gentile to be a Christian, he had to be a Jew first. How strong was this nationalistic barrier! The Gentiles had to wait until Acts 15 before they were exempted from circumcision and from keeping the law. Peter and the others told Paul and Barnabas to go freely to the Gentiles and assured them that they would all remain in the same fellowship.
Galatians 2 tells us that Peter went to Antioch and ate with the Gentiles. But when certain people came from James, he shrank back and separated himself, fearing those of the circumcision. Paul openly rebuked Peter for not walking according to the truth of the gospel. The cross had already broken down the middle wall of partition, and there should be neither Jews nor Gentiles.
We may be a Jew or a Gentile. But may the Lord bless us to see that in Christ we all have been made one. Our nationality has been abolished and our national distinctions no longer exist. Whether one is a Chinese believer, an English believer, an Indian believer, or a Japanese believer, he has become a brother or sister in Christ. We cannot separate God's children by nationality. We cannot have Chinese Christianity. If it is Chinese then it is no longer Christ. It is either "Chinese-ity" or "Christian-ity"; there is no such thing as Chinese Christianity. These two terms contradict one another. We are all brothers and sisters in the Lord. There cannot be any national distinctions. This is quite obvious. In the Body of Christ, in the new man, we are fully one; there are no national distinctions of any kind. Even nationalism as strong as that of the Jews has been annulled by the Lord.
B. The Cross Breaking Downthe Middle Wall of Partition
Ephesians tells us about a wall between the Jews and the Gentiles. The two are separated. But the cross has broken down the middle wall of partition. There is no longer any distinction or separation. If we meet someone who is in Christ, we should not say that he is Chinese; he is a person in Christ. We should not say that someone is an Englishman; we should say that he is in Christ. We have all become one in Christ.
Never think of having a Chinese church or a Chinese testimony. This is a great mistake, and the idea should not even cross our mind. Please remember that in Christ, there is no distinction between Greeks and Jews. There is no such thing. If a brother or a sister introduces such a thing among us, it means that he or she is bringing in a foreign element. The result will be corruption within. We do not have any distinction between Jews and Greeks. In Christ we are all joined together. We have to eradicate all nationalistic notions from our heart. The moment we bring such a thing into the church, the church becomes an organization of the flesh and no longer the Body of Christ.
Some people are so strong in their nationalistic feelings that they cannot be Christians in a proper way. Though we are Chinese and under the jurisdiction of our country, this relationship ceases when we are in Christ. Whenever we come before the Lord, we do not come as a Chinese person. Such a consciousness should be kept outside the door. We hope new believers will see from the very beginning that we are linked together in the life of Christ. I have received the life of Christ, and a brother in England or a brother in India or Japan has also received the same life of Christ. We are united according to the life of Christ, not according to our nationalities. We must have a very clear vision about this. In the Body, in Christ, and in the new man, nationality does not exist. That distinction has been totally abolished.
After the First World War, a few brothers from England went to Germany for a conference. During the conference, a brother stood up and introduced the British brothers with the words, "The war is over, and some English brothers are here to visit us. We warmly welcome them." After this introduction, a brother from England stood up and said, "We are not English brothers; we are brothers from England." This is a marvelous word. There are no English brothers; there are only brothers from England. How can there be an English brother, an American brother, a French sister, or an Italian sister in the house of God? Thank God, there are no national distinctions in Christ.
Brothers and sisters, we are all part of the church. We have received the laying on of hands already. Now we must see that all distinctions between Greeks and Jews have been abolished. There are no longer any such distinctions in Christ. This is a glorious fact, a truly glorious truth. In the church there is only Christ. Christ is all and in all. There is nothing besides Christ.

Another intransigent relationship in human society is class distinctions. We do not experience national distinctions too much unless we meet foreigners. However, we come across the problem of class distinctions daily. The apostle tells us that there is no class distinction between the free man and the slave. In Christ, there is no free man or slave. Such distinctions no longer exist.
Our generation has probably never experienced the sharp class separation which exists between the free man and the slave. However, Paul wrote his Epistles during Roman rule when the practice of slavery was at its zenith. At the time of the Roman Empire, there was a cattle market, a sheep market, and a human market. This can be compared to the textile exchange, the commodity exchange, the stock exchange, and the gold exchange in Shanghai. At that time in Rome, there was a human exchange. The Romans fought many wars and captured many people. They put these captives in the market for sale. If a master felt that the children of a slave were eating too much, he could bring the children to the market and sell them. Such a practice was very common in Rome. Human beings were bought and sold like goods. Profitability was measured by the number of children one produced; those who produced more were sold for a better price. At that time there was a great distinction between the free man and the slave.
Although the idea of democracy came from Rome, and although civil rights, suffrage, and voting began from Rome, these rights belonged to free men only; the slaves had nothing. If one killed a slave, he merely needed to negotiate the monetary worth of the slave with the master and pay accordingly. The slave had no civil rights; he was not considered a human being. Killing a slave was like killing a cow. The most one had to do was pay for the cow; there was no need to pay for the life. Children of slaves were slaves automatically, and they belonged to their master. For their whole life, they had no freedom of their own unless their master chose to release them. If they ran away, they would be crucified.
This kind of class distinction is many times harsher than that between masters and servants, employers and employees, and bosses and subordinates of today. Such distinctions no longer exist anywhere on earth. But long before the world abolished this practice, God's Word already had abolished such class distinctions. In the three Epistles to the Corinthians, Galatians, and Colossians, Paul stated that there was no distinction between the free man and the slave. Such a distinction is abolished in Christ.
In the New Testament the book of Philemon speaks of a slave of Philemon by the name of Onesimus. Philemon was a co-worker of Paul. When Onesimus believed in the Lord, he too became a brother. When they were at home, Onesimus was the slave and Philemon was the master. But if Philemon brought Onesimus to the meeting of the church, one would call Onesimus Philemon's brother, not his slave. In the church, relationships between masters and servants cease. When they knelt down to pray together, Onesimus was Philemon's brother. But when they rose up to do their work, Onesimus was Philemon's slave. In the Lord they were one, in the new man they were one, and in the Body they were one. Please pay attention to this: In Christ the master-slave relationship does not exist, in the new man this relationship does not exist, and in the church this relationship does not exist. In Christ all class distinctions are totally abolished. There is no more class consciousness or class struggle.
Before God we must see that today we may be a servant, a subordinate, or an employee. We should take our stand in the workplace and learn to submit to our superior or master. However, when we come before God, we should not yield to someone just because he is our master or boss. In our discussion over spiritual matters, we should not consider our master or our superior to be always right or his reasoning to be always correct. There is no such thing. Whenever we kneel down to pray or discuss spiritual matters, our status is changed, and there is no class distinction between us. We cannot introduce any class relationship into the church, because such a relationship does not exist in the church.
This fact is especially important when we come to the church meetings. Recall how James condemned such a sin. He said when a rich man comes, he is given a better seat, and when a poor man comes, he is told to stand or be seated at the footstool. James condemned such an act as a sin. Whenever we come to the meeting to fellowship with God's children, we must be clear that our standing is in Christ, in the new man, and in the Body. Our standing is not based on any class distinction.
Only Christians can break down all class distinctions, and only they can do it thoroughly. Only Christians can hold hands together and greet each other as brothers because only they have love. Only Christians—those who are in Christ—can remove all class distinctions. A young person must realize that as long as he is a believer in Christ, his Christian boss is his brother and his Christian subordinate is also his brother. His Christian master is his brother, and his Christian slave is also his brother. The distinction between the free man and the slave is annulled entirely; this distinction no longer exists. We can only fellowship with our brothers and sisters based on the little that the Lord has given us. We are all brothers and sisters. If we do this, we will be greatly blessed by the Lord, and the church will be filled with the Lord's love.
Several Christians in Chungking once wanted to build a church for the government officials. They came and asked me for my opinion. I said, "What name are you going to give to this church? I think you should name it `The Church of the Civil Officers.'" If it is a church of officers, surely it is not something in Christ, because there is no such thing in Christ. There is neither free man nor slave in Christ. If a free man wants to be saved, he has to receive the Lord's life. If a slave wants to be saved, he also must receive the Lord's life. There is no difference between the two. We cannot add anything to Christ or subtract anything from Christ. Man cannot build a church for officers, because there is no such thing in Christ. Everyone has to learn to be a brother or a sister.

The fourth distinction that has been abolished in Christ is that of gender, that is, the distinction between male and female. In this world the male occupies one role and the female occupies another role. In church administration the male also has his place and the female her place. Within the family the husband has his place and the wife has her place. However, in Christ and in the new man, both the man and the woman have the same stand; there is no distinction between them.
In Christ, the man does not occupy a special place, nor does the woman, because Christ is all and in all. In this respect a man is no different from a woman. Please remember that in spiritual matters there is no distinction between male and female.
We have mentioned that the sisters' place in some areas of service is different from that of the brothers. But this pertains only to the matter of authority. Today, in Christ, there is no difference between the two. A brother is saved through the life of Christ, the life of God's Son. In the same way, a sister is saved through the life of Christ, the life of God's Son. Every case in the Bible where the Chinese version translates "sons and daughters," the original word is children. This word does not differentiate between male or female (even though its usage is masculine). I am born a child of God and grow up to be a son of God. A son is male. Yet this description fits both the brothers as well as the sisters.
In the whole New Testament, only 2 Corinthians 6:17-18 speaks of sons and daughters. "Therefore `come out from their midst...and I will welcome you'; `and I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me.'" After we have believed in God and are delivered and separated from the world and its polluted and unclean influence, God will receive us like a Father, and we will be His sons and His daughters. This is a matter between God and an individual; it is not a matter of what a person is in Christ. This is why it says sons and daughters. When a person suffers for God, incurs loss for His sake, and experiences hardship because of Him, God will become a Father to such a one as an individual. If you are male, God will receive you as a son. If you are female, God will receive you as a daughter. God will receive you as His sons and daughters. He is the all-sufficient Lord. He has everything. This is a matter of what a person is before God. It has nothing to do with what he or she is in Christ. In Christ, we are all God's children, and there is no distinction between male and female. This distinction does not exist at all.
Once I asked a certain craftsman in Shanghai, who was a brother in the Lord, "Brother, how are the brothers in your place doing?" He replied, "Are you asking about the male brothers or the female brothers?" This answer could not have been put better. It is one of the truest words ever spoken. Male brothers are brothers and female brothers are also brothers; there is no distinction in Christ. What this brother said was absolutely correct; he was simply stating the biblical truth. When we come to the Lord and touch Him, we transcend all male and female distinctions. We are beyond gender. Before the Lord and in Christ, there is no distinction between male and female.

In the Bible there is another distinction between Greeks and Jews. The Jews are a very religious race, whereas the Greeks are a race that embraces philosophy and wisdom. Historically, when one speaks of religion, he thinks of the Jews, and when one speaks of philosophy, he thinks of the Greeks. All branches of sciences and philosophy in their primitive form come from the Greeks. Today, all scientific terms have their root in Greek. Hence, the Greeks symbolize wisdom. If one wants to talk about science and philosophy, he has to go to the Greeks. If one wants to talk about religion, he has to go to the Jews. These are distinctions in ethnicity.
People living in various parts of the world often have their own ethnic characteristics. For example, those who grow up in the south are more affectionate, while those who grow up in the north are more reserved. Southerners are generally more easygoing, while Northerners are generally more serious. People living in tropical regions like to dance and sing all day long, while Northerners, especially the northern Europeans, do not like to even jump. Instead they appear reserved and conservative. But the Southerners can be Christians as much as the Northerners can. Jews can be Christians, and Greeks also can be Christians. The wise can be Christians, and the religious can be Christians also.
In Christ, there is no distinction between Jew and Greek. Some people like to reason; they want to explain everything. Other people like to talk about the conscience. Does that mean that these are two different types of Christians? According to the flesh, these two are totally different. One walks by the intellect and the mind. Another walks impulsively by feelings. But in Christ, there is no distinction between the Greeks and the Jews. Not only are national distinctions gone; even ethnic distinctions are gone. A reserved person can be just as good a Christian as a warm person. Those who walk according to the mind can be Christians, and those who walk according to feelings can also be Christians. All kinds of people can be Christians.
Since all kinds of people can be Christians, one must learn to drop ethnic characteristics when he comes into the church. There is no such thing in the church life. Many problems arise in the church today because people bring their ethnic flavor into the church; they try to bring in their own distinctive characteristics. When the non-talkative people meet, they become a non-talkative group. When the talkative people meet, they become a talkative group. When those who are reserved come together, they become a reserved group. When those who are affectionate come together, they become an affectionate group. In this way, many distinctions are built up among God's children.
Please remember that ethnicity does not exist in the church, in Christ, or in the new man. Do not condemn a person just because he has a different temperament than yours. You have to realize that others may not appreciate you that much either. You may feel that you always speak affectionately and wonder why others are so cold. But others may think you are talking too much; they may find your disposition intolerable.
Whether you are quick or quiet, cold or warm, intellectual or sentimental, as soon as you become a brother and enter the church life, you have to drop your disposition. Such things do not belong to the church. As soon as you introduce these natural elements into the church, they become standards for judgment and separation, and brothers will be divided. You will become the standard, and all those who are up to your standard will be considered good Christians, while all those who are not up to your standard will be considered poor Christians. You will become the standard. You will introduce your own nature, character, and temperament into the church. All confusion in the church issues from different human temperaments. Your silence is not necessarily good, nor is your talkativeness. Your reservation is not necessarily good, nor is your warmth. Your strong intellect may not necessarily be good, nor are your intense emotions. All these are distinctions outside of Christ. They are represented by the Greeks and the Jews. None of these natural dispositions can be brought into the church life.
A new believer must learn from the beginning to reject anything that comes from the old man. He should not say, "This is the way I was." Many brothers shamelessly speak this way. We must tell them that we do not want their old person. They should not bring in their old person. That is not something in Christ, and we cannot create distinctions based on that. Such distinctions have to be totally abolished. In Christ, in the Body, and in the new man, these distinctions are totally annulled.
No brother or sister should carry his or her natural disposition into the church. As soon as you are saved, you have to leave these things behind. If you come to the church and contact the brothers and sisters, approving only those who agree with you and are up to your standard and disapproving those who disagree with you or are not up to your standard, you will bring confusion and division into the whole church. Throughout the years, the church has suffered damage through differences in dispositions. Never bring your dispositional differences into the church. Some people have a quick disposition, and they may say, "I am quick, and I do not like anyone who is slow. God does not like those who are slow." Some people are slow by nature, and they may say, "I am steady by nature, and I do not like anyone who is quick." But neither quickness nor slowness should be in the church life to divide God's children. The moment you bring these things in, you make yourself the standard. The Greeks want the Jews to repent, and the Jews want the Greeks to repent. But God wants to set both aside. There is nothing else but Christ.
If a new believer upholds this principle from the very beginning, the church will be spared much hardship. We must never discriminate according to our character. We must reject the things that belong to the old man. We should walk in the same footsteps as all the other children of God.

The book of Colossians speaks of two kinds of peoples—barbarians and Scythians. These two names have posed a problem to Bible scholars. In English a barbarian means a savage, an uncivilized person. But what is a Scythian? This word comes from the Greek word Zema, which became Zecotha, then Zecothia, and then Zecothian.
Mr. Wescott said that Zecothia was the name of a place. In ancient Greek literature, Zecothians and Galatians were often mentioned together. Hence, the Zecothians were a respectable people. Like the names of many cities, the word Zecothians brings a certain image to mind as soon as it is mentioned. For example, when Shansi is mentioned, one thinks of those who deal with money because most of the people from Shansi are businessmen. When Shao-Shing is mentioned, one thinks of court secretaries during the Ching dynasty. The name of a place often conjures up associated images.
If you consult Greek literature, you will see that the Scythians were a respected people, while the barbarians were a despised people. This is a matter of culture. Culture creates a big distinction in the world. If you put a typical English gentleman beside an African native, the difference in culture will become very obvious. However, Paul tells us that barbarian and Scythian alike must abolish all distinctions.
This cultural distinction has brought in frustration for many people. Once I met two Jews. Because I knew both of them quite well, I asked them frankly, "Why do so many people in the world hate Jews?" One said, "Our Jewish culture does not conform to the standard of others." That was the first time I heard such an answer. I did not understand what he meant. He went on to explain, "Consider the case of an American Jew. Honestly speaking, if I were a non-Jewish American, I would not like American Jews either. I would despise the Jewish culture. If an American earns two hundred dollars a month, he spends a certain portion of it on food and rent. He polishes his shoes and changes his shirt daily. Once every two months he buys a pair of new shoes and keeps his house neat and clean. He is happy if he has ten dollars left in his pocket at the end of the month. But the Jews are different. A Jew who makes the same amount of money spends only ten dollars a month and saves the rest. He calculates how much he can save if he does not polish his shoes or buy new ones. He can tolerate a dirty shirt to save on soap. Unlike the American who is so particular about his creature comfort, the Jew is not particular about food or lodging. All he wants is an ever-growing savings account in the bank. We Jews look down on Americans because they are so poor. Americans look down on us because they think we do not care for personal grooming and living conditions." He went on to say, "We Jews are good at making money. We are good with our brains but not with fashion. We cannot get along too well with others. This is why no one likes us." That was the first time I heard such an answer.
It is difficult for a person with a polished culture to see eye to eye with one who has a seemingly unpolished culture. This is a matter not of class, intellect, or financial status, but of culture. From a Scythian's point of view, nothing about a barbarian is right. A barbarian is wrong in the way he dresses, eats, and lives. From a barbarian's point of view, a Scythian is too hedonistic. He is too particular about food and clothing. These two persons have two totally different perspectives. If both of them come to the church, each will bring his own opinion along and consider the other wrong. When they come together, there is bound to be a clash. They can never be one with each other.
The Chinese eat with chopsticks, while the Indians eat with their fingers. Put them together at the same table for a few meals and both will feel uneasy at heart. They may not say much. But leave them together for two days and they will not be able to stand each other; they will start to quarrel. One may feel that chopsticks should be used because it is unsightly to eat with one's fingers, and the other may feel that eating with chopsticks is merely for show and that one can truly enjoy his meal when he eats with his fingers. One will say that the other is wrong and vice versa. This is a difference in culture. Such cultural differences present a real barrier. But even this is abolished in Christ. Those who are in Christ should be the most accommodating persons. They can tolerate all kinds of human differences. A man in Christ does not set up a standard and demand that everyone else to come up to his standard. He does not respect only those who come up to his standard and despise those who do not. This is not how a person in Christ should behave. This kind of behavior does not belong in the church or in the new man. Suppose some brothers among us come from India or Africa. Their cultures are different from ours. But we should ask only one question: Are they in the Lord or not? They should ask us the same question: Are we in the Lord or not? If we are in Christ, all problems will be settled immediately. When we contact each other in Christ and love one another in Christ, there is nothing that cannot be tolerated. We should not allow anything to come between God's children, to differentiate the brothers and sisters in Christ from one another.
We cannot group the sophisticated brothers and sisters together to form a church. We cannot group the unsophisticated ones together to form another church. That would not be the church. Such things are not in the church. They belong outside the church, outside the Body, and outside the new man. We must never bring such problems into the church. All cultural differences have been abolished in the church.
However, we must learn to "live as Romans among Romans" and be under the law among those who are under the law. Whatever kind of culture we are in, we do as others do. If some African brothers come to China, and they have the knowledge of God, they should use chopsticks. If we go to Africa, we may have to eat with our hands. We do not want to come into conflict with the local brothers and sisters. When we go to them, we must learn to live among them. When they come to us, they must learn to live among us. When we go to England, we must learn to behave like the Englishmen, and when an Englishman comes to China, he must learn to behave like the Chinese. If we do not do this, we will stumble others, and they will not be won to Christ. If God's children have a good start in this matter, they will avoid much trouble later on.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

In the bible good man goes to hell


Mr dawkins and his arrogance on the subject of God's moral standards are very naive yet subtle , and his advocates do not fall far from the tree.
“Dawkins later talks to Reverend Michael Bray, who speaks out in defence of his friend Paul Hill, who was sentenced to death after murdering an abortion doctor and his bodyguard. Although Bray was actually quite articulate and in some ways more serious and intellectual in defence of his beliefs, he was still blinded by his faith, which leads him directly to the justification of murder.
And Bray doesn’t stop there; here’s Bray, who Dawkins describes as “fighting to reverse centuries of human progress”, talking to Dawkins about adultery:Bray: “I think that execution for adultery is not rejected…”
Dawkins: “Not rejected by whom, by you?”
Bray: “No, by the New Testament…”Dawkins: But what about you, do you favour execution for adultery?”
Bray: “I think it’s fair to say that it’s still a proper punishment that the state ought to prosecute.”
Who wants to put their hands up and agree, and say that this biblical inspired morality is one you’d like to sign up to? Religion doesn’t seem to doing much good in a moral sense, especially among those that take it really seriously. But what about the message in the printed book? Doesn’t that say what’s right, and provide a map for a moral life?”

Is the bible, not religion , that does not have as a subject moral standards, neither good ethics, or holiness. Is higher than theese.
Please before you judge God and the bible on the grounds of morality, think before you speak or at the least read what you call the text book.


Please read the this:
This portion of the Bible is a parable told by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He said that two men went up into the temple to pray; one was a Pharisee, one of the best of persons, and the other was a tax collector, one of the worst of persons. The Lord Jesus said that as a result of their prayers, the wicked tax collector was justified and the good Pharisee was not justified. What does "to be justified" mean? To be justified is to be declared innocent in a law court. To not be justified is to be declared guilty and to receive punishment. "Justified" is what believers usually mean by "saved." Making it more plain, "to be justified" is to go to heaven. To not be justified is to perish and go to hell. The Lord Jesus said that a good person goes to hell and a wicked person goes to heaven. A good man goes to hell! And a wicked man goes to heaven! Yes, this is what the Lord Jesus said.We all think that the good person should go to heaven and the wicked to hell, but the Lord Jesus said that the good person would go to hell and the wicked person to heaven. Do not be surprised and think that this is new or strange. If any person is going to heaven, he must be a sinner. In heaven you cannot find a good person. In heaven everyone is a sinner! What about hell? There are plenty of good people in hell! Do not think that you will not go to hell because you are good. Let me say that there are plenty of people in hell just like you! Some are even better than you! By themselves, those who are both wicked and good should go to hell. By believing in the Lord Jesus, however, good men can go to heaven and wicked men also can go to heaven. In this parable, our Lord Jesus Christ told a story of a good man going to hell and a wicked man going to heaven. Those who label themselves as a righteous person and think of themselves as an excellent man among men, please listen to the Lord Jesus' words: good men may go to hell! Those who humble themselves and confess that they are sinners, judging themselves not worthy to be saved, should not be discouraged because wicked men may go to heaven!We need to consider the good man, whom the Lord talked about, who was perishing. We want to see how good he was, and if he was a good man, why he would still go to hell.Verse 10 says that he was a Pharisee. Very often we think that Pharisees were hypocrites, the worst people. But this was not always true; they had many good qualities. Pharisees zealously kept the law (Phil. 3:5). They were not like the modernists, the Sadducee's, who did not believe this or that. They believed in God's Word and kept God's law and dared not doubt one word. Even so, the Lord Jesus said this Pharisee perished!Christians, when coming to revival conferences and walking on the street, often feel shameful when they are seen carrying a big heavy Bible. We would rather leave it at home and come to the meeting without a Bible or with a small New Testament to avoid men's eyes. We are afraid that people will call us superstitious. We are afraid of being ridiculed. But it was not so with the Pharisees: they wrote Scripture on the fringes of their garments, they were not afraid of being ridiculed, and they were bold to confess to everyone that they believed in God.I know of many Christians who dare not pray and give thanks for the meal before men when they go to an unbeliever's home or an unbelieving friend comes to their home for a meal! Since their consciences bother them if they do not give thanks, they pray to God in their heart with open eyes! How shy they are! How timid! They dare not admit that they are Christians before others. This was not the situation with the Pharisees. They would pray at the crosswalk. Let us not mention what kind of motive they may have had; their outward performance alone was much higher than that of ordinary Christians. However, the Lord Jesus said that this Pharisee was fallen and would go to hell. Pharisees were high class people in the society of those days. They were a very gentle, noble, and cultured people. But God does not care for social status. He is righteous; He will not regret sending you to hell if you deserve it. Do not say in your heart, "Is it possible for people like me—so fine, so gentle, so smart with a Ph.D. degree, and so rich—to go to hell?" Let me say that there are plenty of people just like you in hell, even some wiser, prettier, richer, and gentler than you! A person is never too good to go to hell! The Lord Jesus said that this Pharisee would perish. Although he was one of the high class, he would perish. So please do not depend on your social status. When this gentle Pharisee came to pray at the temple, he prayed, "God!" (Luke 18:11). Please listen to this word, "God." He was neither an atheist nor a fool, since he did not say that there was no God; neither was he a wicked person doing evil and abominable deeds (Psa. 14:1). He believed that there was a God. Even though he could not see Him, he knew that God is clearly seen since the creation of the world (Rom. 1:19-20). He was not an nonreligious person; he believed that there was a God. In spite of this, he still was not saved. He could not avoid going to hell and perishing. He was a very pious and religious man; he came to God's presence and prayed. He was a good man. Nevertheless, the Lord said that this pious, good man was going to hell. Please remember that a good man, who even believes that there is a God, can go to hell! What will happen to those who do not believe!The Pharisee prayed, "God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men," and then he named many types of sinners. He told the Lord that he was not evil like the rest of men, that he had not committed as many sins as others and that he was among the best of men, unlike others. Indeed, this Pharisee was a good man! He was rare among men! Yet the Lord said that this unusually good man would go to hell and perish forever. You may think, "Perhaps this Pharisee was going to hell because he was a hypocrite. If he was genuinely good, he would surely go to heaven." But there is no indication that he was a hypocrite. I can tell you that he was indeed rare among men, yet there are other people who are also moral. He was truly a morally perfect man. He prayed saying that he did not sin as others and had many good points. The Lord did not deny this; He did not say that the Pharisee's words were false. For this reason we know that he must have been a good person. Furthermore, in verse 9 the Lord indicated that he was "righteous." This proves that he was an ideally good man. But good men go to hell, and good men should go to hell!We should remember that he said to God, "I am not like the rest of men." Many times when I preach the gospel, I ask, "Do you know that you are a sinner and that you need a Savior as a substitute to redeem you?" Many have replied, "I have never killed anyone and burned down buildings. In what way have I sinned? I do everything according to my conscience. I am much better than my friends and neighbors. I am better than all." An unbeliever might add, "I am even better than many Christians! I am better than they without even believing in Jesus." Yes, maybe you can say this to me, but can you say to the Lord, "God, I thank You that I do not sin like the rest of men. I am better than all others"? I am afraid you can only utter self-justifying words to me but not to God. You dare to boast before men of your virtues. But you would not dare to say before God that you are better than all others. You may deceive men but not God. You may boast to me. You may deceive parents, husband, wife, children, relatives, friends, and the world. But you cannot deceive God. What you dare to say before men, you dare not say before God because God examines your inward parts. The Pharisee acted according to his conscience. He not only boasted to men that he was a perfect and righteous man, unlike others who had committed sins, he dared to say even to God, "God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers." His conscience did not even slightly condemn him; he could boldly declare his righteous acts before God. Truly, he was better than others, better than you and I. But the Lord said that this good man, who was rare among men, would go to hell. If such a good man will go to hell, then what will happen to those who are not as good as he, who do not come up to his standard, and who have sinned as the rest of the world? Should they go to hell and receive more punishment? "If they do these things with the tree full of sap, what will happen with the one that is dry?" (Luke 23:31) If an extremely good person goes to hell, what will happen to us sinners? Do not be so self-confident. Although you are good, you cannot escape the fire of hell. Oh, you who are self-righteous, please do not be at peace. Your own righteousness cannot save you.He was not an extortioner. Extortion is taking what should not be taken by force or by power. This Pharisee did not extort others, even though he had the power. I wonder how many of you reading this message have extorted someones riches by your own power. You know it; God also knows it. What a common thing it is to dominate others by means of your power! But this Pharisee did not do this; he did not extort. Yet the Lord said that he could not be spared from going to hell. Good men go to hell. If a good man like this Pharisee was going to hell, then what about extortioners?Furthermore, he was not unjust. Whatever is not fair is unjust. Being unjust is the most common sin today. Not only is there much unjust conduct, but there are many unjust objects. In your home, bedroom, classroom, living room, and office is there anything that is not yours, but has become yours? Please search your bedroom, living room, closet, pocket to see if there are items that were obtained in an unjust way. Please check your own heart, and ask yourself if there is anything that you have gained in an unjust way. It is still unjust, even if it is only one dress or one penny. To put it politely, we acquired these things in an unjust way; putting it frankly, these things were stolen from others! To be unjust is to steal! Did you ever steal any money from others? Did you ever steal any article? Did you borrow from others and never return the borrowed thing? All this is unjust!Once I held a meeting at Changchow. A young student who had stolen five dollars from her teacher was there. After she attended the meeting, she realized that what she had done was a sin. The Spirit urged her, and she confessed to her mother and returned the money to her teacher. Another young girl student who had stolen two loquats from her supervisor was also there. Her supervisor was a very strict person; the students were afraid to talk to her. After this young student received the Lord's grace, she realized that she should clear up this unjust matter; she went to her supervisor and boldly confessed her sin.Two weeks later I went to the Kulangsu Bible Association. The manager told me that he had received a letter and dictionary from Changchow. In the letter the writer stated, "I took this book from the Association without paying for it. I now know that this is unjust so I am returning it." Oh! Brothers and sisters, I do not know if there is any injustice among you; I hope that there is none among you, but I am afraid that there are some unjust ones among us, and I am also afraid that there are some unjust things among you! This Pharisee was not unjust. He dared to say to the Lord that he was not unjust. But the Lord said that even though he was a good man and not unjust, he was not justified and could not be saved! A good man can go to hell! If a just man can perish, how much more will unjust ones perish and go to hell? Needless to say, you and I should go to hell.He did not commit adultery. I do not know how many reading this message have committed adultery. You know and God knows. The sin of adultery is filthy! But many have defiled their beds through their flesh! If we agree that lusting in the heart is committing a sin, then there will be very few perfect people in the world! The Lord said, "That every one who looks at a woman in order to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matt. 5:28). Today few keep their bodies clean; even fewer keep their minds clean. God surely will punish those who commit this kind of sin. He has to punish sin. This Pharisee was a moral person; he did not do anything unclean. He never committed adultery. But the Lord said that the good Pharisee, who did not commit adultery, would perish and go to hell. The destination of a good man is hell! If such a good person is going to hell, then what about evil ones and adulterers? Will not adulterers, all the more, go to hell?The Pharisee not only abstained from many evil things on the negative side, but did many commendable things on the positive side. He "fast[ed] twice a week" (v. 12). I am afraid that many people have never fasted once since they became a Christian! They may not even know what it means to fast! But this Pharisee was very strict; he mastered his body and did not give in to the passion of his lust. He was a self-disciplined person. He served God in a godly and dedicated way. The law did not require a man to fast twice a week. He had even fulfilled what the law did not require of him. Despite all this, the Lord said that he would perish and go to hell. Surely those who are worse than he will receive a more severe punishment. If this is the case, how can one hope to be saved?He gave tithes of all that he had acquired. He was not a miser; he was a very generous person. His principle was to tithe. Very few Christians today give even one percent, much less ten percent. When offering time comes, many think that a silver dollar is too big and a silver dime too small. But a copper coin is neither too big nor too small, so they offer it! This was not the case with the Pharisee. He was full of thoughts about accumulating wealth in heaven. Yet the Lord said that he would go to hell. A person who gives his labor and money still can suffer perdition! If a good man can go to hell, what kind of punishment will miserly ones receive?From these points we can see that the Pharisee was a good and perfect man. Not only was he good in men's eyes, but he was also perfect and without blemish in his own eyes. We cannot say that he was a saint, but he was a very rare and good man in this world. Nevertheless, the Lord declared that he was not justified, that he was not saved, and that he was going to perish! If we think that we can be saved by doing good or that we are saved because we are good, we should realize that even if we are as good as this Pharisee, we still cannot be saved. How can we be saved by doing good? How could the Pharisee possibly have been saved just by being a good man? Therefore, good people should not be complacent! We should not think that we can be saved because we are good. We have to realize, according to the Lord's judgment, that we still belong to hell! Sinners, do not think that we should improve ourselves gradually and then be saved after we have been good. Let me tell you that this is Satan's gospel. Not only are we incapable of doing good, even if we could do as well as this Pharisee, we would still go to hell! What use is it to do good? The Lord purposely chose this ideal and good person and said that he was still going to perish in order to disappoint those who rely on their self-righteousness and let them know that their self-righteousness cannot save them. The way of salvation has nothing to do with ourselves (Eph. 2:8-9). If anyone wishes to be saved, they should not look to the way of self-improvement. In order to be saved, one has to believe on the Lord Jesus (Acts 16:31).Since this Pharisee was such a good man, why did he end up going to hell? What are the reasons? Now we will see the reasons why this good man would go to hell.First, he was one like those who "trusted in themselves that they were righteous" (Luke 18:9). He was an outstanding person according to moral standards. He was very content and thought that he could be saved. It seemed that no one else could go to heaven if he could not go. To "trust" means to depend upon. He depended upon his own righteous works and thought his righteous works could justify or save him. He did not realize that "all of us became like him who is unclean, / And all our righteousness are like a soiled garment" (Isa. 64:6). None of these things can cover our shame and shelter us from God's condemnation. He did not know that in God's eyes, "there is none righteous, not even one" (Rom. 3:10). He thought that he was "not like the rest of men," that he was the one and only righteous man on earth! He thought that he conducted himself according to the law and even did more than what the law required. Therefore, he thought he would surely be justified. He is just like many others who think that they can be saved by good works. But the Bible says, "Out of the works of the law no flesh shall be justified before Him" (Rom. 3:20). It also says, "For we [the apostles] account that a man is justified...apart from the works of the law" (Rom. 3:28). "A man is not justified out of works of law...we might be justified...not out of the works of law, because out of the works of law no flesh will be justified" (Gal. 2:16). "By law no one is justified before God" (3:11). "Not out of works in righteousness which we did...He saved us" (Titus 3:5). "The works of law" mean good works. Not being justified by the works of the law means that one cannot be saved by doing good works. This has been repeatedly made clear in the Bible. Although the Pharisee had righteous works, he did not realize that his righteous works could not save him. He was one of those who "trusted in themselves that they were righteous." He wanted to go to heaven, but eventually he ended up in hell. How pitiful! He thought his own righteousness was sufficient and did not seek the righteousness which was prepared by God in Christ Jesus. As a result, he fell into perdition. Man's righteousness does not satisfy God; He will not save anyone unless He sees His own righteousness. Because this Pharisee was "ignorant of God's righteousness and sought to establish [his] own righteousness, [he was] not subject to the righteousness of God" (Rom. 10:3). To not be subject is to rebel. This man was a rebel in the face of God. How could he have any hope of being saved?Oh, how numerous are the descendants of this Pharisee today! Many still think that they are a good man, that they are therefore saved. Many think that they should do good in order to be saved. But the Lord said that good men go to hell. If you are this type of person, please turn back quickly and believe in the Lord Jesus because your good works cannot save you. Nothing in this world is less dependable than your own righteousness. The righteous Pharisee who depended upon his own righteousness has already gone to hell and has become a pattern to those who want to be saved through doing good works. Why should you suffer by following in the same footsteps?He not only was one who "trusted in themselves that they were righteous" but also "exalt[ed] himself" (v. 14). Self- exalting ones go to hell. As a preacher, I have never seen a proud person become saved. If a man wants to be saved, he must admit that he is a helpless and hopeless sinner, unable to save himself and unable to trust himself. He must admit that he deserves hell. He needs to prostrate himself before the cross to beg for grace and believe in Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified in a shameful way to be his vicarious Savior. How humbling this is! Without humbling ourselves, who can do this? There is nothing under heaven more humbling than to believe in the Lord Jesus as the Savior! Worldly people are very unwilling to confess that they cannot do good! Self-exalting ones are not willing to come to the despised cross to seek grace. A self-exalting man cannot be saved. He likes to say that he can do good and can patch up all his wrong doings with his own good works. Even if he cannot, he will try to bear his own responsibility. It is hard for him to confess that he is a sinner and that Jesus Christ is his Savior! Oh, proud one, please do not be so proud anymore. Humble yourself before God. Otherwise, your pride will cause you to go to hell!Moreover, the Pharisee did not ask God for grace. He thought that a person as qualified as he was did not need to ask God for grace. If a righteous man like the Pharisee is sufficiently qualified to be saved, why ask God for grace? Since he already has done good works, why is there a need for him to lose face by asking for grace? Although he went up to the temple to pray, the Lord said that he "prayed these things to himself." Please read verses 11 and 12 again and see whether or not he prayed. He did not come to the temple of God saying, "God, I have this and that shortage. Please fill me." He did not say, "God, I cannot save myself. Please save me." Rather, he said, "God, I thank You, because I can be good without Your help. I never did this or that evil thing. On the contrary, I have done many good things." He did not pray! He did not beseech God! He thought that he was the top person and that he was good to the uttermost. He did not come to pray; he came to give a report! He came before God just to give Him a report and to let Him know all his merits. He seemed to be saying, "God, I thank You, I did not do many sinful things; instead, I did many good things. I am afraid that You do not know about it, so I came to give You a report." He did not ask God for grace. He was truly a good man, according to his own estimate and others' evaluation. But he was an outsider to God's holiness. He had never seen God; he did not know God. So he dared to boast before the God of all holiness and all goodness! If the eyes of his heart had not been completely blinded, he would not have been so foolish. Even though he and all the others thought he was a good person, in God's eyes he was still a sinner. He was not justified, and he needed to be saved. If he would not be saved, he would perish and go to hell. In the same way that a great sinner needs a Savior to redeem him and suffer the penalty of sin for him, this so-called righteous person needs the same in God's eyes. But he was blind to this need. He never knew God or God's grace. Therefore, he did not know that he was also a sinner before God. He also needed a Savior. He was too self-content and too proud! He thought that he was capable and able! When he arrived in hell, he surely was shocked and thought he had gone to the wrong place! Little did he realize that this very place was his real home!The Pharisee had already perished. We need to take this case as a warning. He made two great mistakes regarding salvation: (1) he thought that in order to be saved he should do good, and (2) since he was good, he was surely saved. He did not know that these thoughts were absurd. When we read Ephesians 2:8-9, we can see that we are not saved by our good works but by believing in the grace of the Lord Jesus. "He who believes into Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe has been condemned already" (John 3:18). Whether a person will be saved or will perish depends on whether or not he believes and receives the salvation that has been accomplished by the Lord Jesus on the cross. It does not depend on our own goodness or badness. Since we are not saved by doing good, someone who is just good cannot be saved. Dear readers, do not think that you can be saved by accumulating good works little by little. I know and God knows that you are unable to do good. Even if you are able, the God of all goodness does not consider your goodness as good. Good works can never save you. You cannot buy God's salvation by doing good. You should first be saved, then do good works. Do not change the order, thinking that first you should do good works, and then you will be saved. Please come now and receive the Lord Jesus as your Savior and be saved.Now we are going to see the wicked person who was saved, and find out how wicked he was and why he could go to heaven. He was a tax collector (Luke 18:10). According to the situation in Jewish society at the time, a tax collector was the most despised among all classes of people. The Chinese consider a robber to be the worst man and a harlot to be the worst woman. We have a saying, "a man-robber and a woman-harlot." For the Jews, the lowest, most ignoble, wicked, and dirty profession for a man was to be a tax collector! For a male to be a tax collector and a female to be a harlot is the most despicable thing! But the Lord Jesus said that even though he was despised by men, he was justified by God; he was saved and could go to heaven!In those days the Jews were under the dictatorship of the Roman government, and the Romans taxed the Jews by the system of collecting tribute money. The government would set the amount of tax in a certain place and then hire people to collect it. These tax collectors collected tribute for the Roman government. When they took the job of collecting tribute, they would extort a tribute of their own choosing, so that the excess tax would be theirs. As a group, they helped evildoers do evil and cared for even the smallest, trifling amounts. They only cared for their own gain; therefore, they were considered by society as the most low and despised of men. This was the tax collector in the eyes of the world. If you asked a Jew which kind of person was the worst, he would certainly answer, "a tax collector." But the Lord Jesus said that the tax collector would go to heaven. Wicked men can go to heaven! If the sinful and wicked, such as this tax collector, can be saved, what is possible for those who are less sinful!He was a sinner (v. 13). His own conscience accused him. Everything he did was against God's laws. He could not keep God's commandments. His thoughts were filthy. His eyes beheld things that should not be seen. His mouth spoke things that should not be spoken. His hands did evil and his feet walked in wickedness. He was totally filled with lusts and all things of ungodliness. He only knew how to take advantage of others. He was a miser; he only cared to fill his own bag. He did not care for anything, much less righteousness or morality. He turned his ear away from the cries of orphans and widows. As long as he accumulated thousands and tens of thousands for his wealth, he did not care whether others were sinking in the mire. He did not worship God. His deeds, behavior, and motives were all against God. In brief, he was a sinner. But the Lord Jesus said that this tax collector was justified and that sinners can go to heaven.O sinners of this world, you know that you are a sinner. You think that you are incurable and not worthy to be saved. When you examine your own thoughts and behavior, your conscience condemns your sins and convinces you that you deserve to perish. Dear sinners, let me say that you do not have to be disappointed or worry. The Lord Jesus said that the wicked can go to heaven. Oh, distressed ones, you do not have to be discouraged. Here is the gospel. Even though you are a sinner, sinners can obtain eternal life. You cannot save yourself, but you can be saved. The way of salvation is in the Lord Jesus. Come and receive His salvation! The Pharisee said he was "not like the rest of men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector" (v. 11). From this statement, we can deduce that this tax collector was an extortioner, an unjust person, an adulterer, and one with all kinds of sins. This tax collector usurped power to oppress and extort people. Everything he did was full of injustice. In his house there were articles which he owned illegally; he had used crafty methods to obtain them. He committed adultery, sinning against his own body. He got involved in all kinds of unclean things and committed all kinds of sins. Nevertheless, the Lord Jesus judged and said that this tax collector could go to heaven.From a worldly point of view, this type of sinner deserves more than perdition. According to worldly judgment, nice people should go to heaven and evil ones to hell. If we made the decision, only good people would be saved and wicked people would perish. If we made the decision, the Pharisee would certainly receive eternal life, and the tax collector would be sentenced to condemnation. Fortunately, there is no room for men to say anything regarding salvation and perdition. Fortunately, it is our Lord Jesus Christ who set the rule by saying that good people should go to hell. Since the evil ones can go to heaven, we have a chance to be saved. There are very few good people in the world; all are sinners (Rom. 3). If only good people can be saved, then how many will be saved? Will not all perish? Fortunately, the Lord Jesus made the rule that sinners can go to heaven. Therefore, we sinners have the hope of being saved. Praise the Lord!Once I took the Lien Shien Steamer from Shanghai back to Fukien. I shared the gospel with a well-known businessman from Fukien. I told him the gospel of the Lord Jesus' vicarious death and His redemption. He answered by saying, "What Confucius said was the best: `One who sins against heaven shall not be forgiven.' " I asked him, "Sir, according to what you have heard and seen, how many people have not sinned against heaven?" He was silent for a while and answered, "I am afraid that there is not one!" I asked, "Very well then, since all have sinned against heaven, can anyone be forgiven? If this is so, what else can be said? We are all here waiting to be sentenced." He could say nothing. Yes, we all are sinners and should perish. But God is full of grace; He has the gospel. Although everyone thinks that they have sinned against heaven and cannot be forgiven, God has bestowed grace upon everyone who has sinned against heaven. He has prepared a Savior to die for them to redeem them so all sinners can have a chance to be saved and go to heaven. Therefore, sinners, come quickly and receive God's salvation. The evil can go to heaven; this is the gospel.This tax collector was a most wicked person. Yet he was saved. Does this mean that we should commit sins and become evildoers in order to be saved? Does this mean that we can sin as we please in order to obtain salvation? No, absolutely not! The Lord Jesus said that sinners can be saved. He did not say that sinners would be saved because they commit sins. By himself, a sinner will perish. If he relies on a third party, he can be saved. Now we want to see the reason why this tax collector, who had committed such sins, could actually be saved. In this way we, who are sinners like him, can learn from him and obtain salvation, so that evildoers like us can also go to heaven.Although he was sold to sin, he was not proud before God and did not presume that he had anything. The Lord Jesus said that he humbled himself before God. The Scriptures say that "God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). He knew his own deeds. He knew he had nothing to boast about. He saw his many defects. He knew he deserved to be condemned. So he humbled himself before God. When he came to the temple of God, he stood "at a distance, [and] would not even lift up his eyes to heaven." He knew that God is most holy and most righteous and that a person like him was unworthy of coming close to God or looking to Him. He had no good works to report to God. He knew he could not save himself, so he came to God for grace." grace to the humble." If you are proud, thinking you have everything and are short of nothing, may the Spirit open the eyes of your heart so that you will see all your shortcomings and come to God for grace. If you know your shortcomings, I hope you will not be proud and deceive yourself and end up perishing. Pride has misled many to not believe in the Savior, and therefore, they perished. I hope that pride will not mislead you! He prayed before God, "God, be propitiated to me, the sinner!" (v. 13). He was not like the Pharisee who despised "the rest," speaking about the sins of others. He confessed that he himself was a sinner: "me, the sinner!" How hard it is for men to utter these words! Men are willing to admit that "all have sinned" (Rom. 3:23), but are not willing to say "I have sinned." Men are willing to admit and say that all are sinners (Rom. 3:10-12), but they are not willing to say "me, the sinner!" Saying this is very shameful! This tax collector put himself in the position of a sinner. This is the position that everyone who wants to go to heaven should and must put himself. Let me say, if there is a saved person in this world, that person must be a sinner. No one who is not a sinner can go to heaven. If you go to heaven and ask those who are already there about their past qualifications, they will unanimously answer and say that they all were sinners in the past. Everyone who is in heaven is a saved sinner who has received grace. They have nothing special. Heaven is specifically prepared for sinners. If one does not confess himself that he is a sinner, he has no qualification to enter into heaven! Heaven only welcomes tax collectors and harlots. All the sinners who believe in the Lord Jesus may come!The Lord Jesus said, "For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (Matt. 9:13). He also said, "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost" (Luke 19:10). If you are a righteous man, His coming is not to call, seek out, and save you. But He will save you if you admit that you are a sinner and are lost. Putting yourself in the position of a sinner is the first step in salvation. Although this tax collector was a sinner, who should have perished, he was saved because he did not pretend to be a person without sin. He admitted that he was a sinner.The renowned British preacher Spurgeon had a dream one night. In the dream he saw himself standing outside the gate of heaven, and a group of bright and glowing saints were standing in a line holding banners of victory, singing and marching through the gate of heaven. As soon as they entered through the gate, Spurgeon heard many joyful voices and praises welcoming them. Then he asked one angel, "Who are these ones who are so welcomed by heaven?" The angel answered, "They are the ancient prophets." Spurgeon said, "Alas, I am not a prophet, I am not worthy to enter in with them." Later, another group also marched through the gate and received a great welcome. He asked the angel again, "Who are they?" The angel answered, "They are the ancient saints." Spurgeon knew that he was not one of the ancient saints and felt unworthy to enter through the gate with them. A little later, another group came; they were the ancient martyrs. Spurgeon dared not join in with them either. Finally, another group with a multitude much greater than the first three came. Among this group Spurgeon recognized two people. One was the woman who anointed the Lord with ointment; the other one was the robber who was crucified with the Lord. Spurgeon thought that when this group entered into heaven it would be quiet, but to his great surprise, the welcome and applause was seven times greater than the welcome for the first three groups. Spurgeon asked, "Who are they?" The angel answered, "They are ones who were dead in sin and were made alive by the Lord Jesus." Then Spurgeon rejoiced and said, "Praise be unto the Lord Jesus forever! The people in this last group are my companions." Then he woke up. Although this was a dream, it was real! The Lord of heaven welcomes sinners.The first step the Holy Spirit takes in the heart of a man is to make him realize his sin. The first step God takes in saving a sinner is to send His Spirit to work in his heart and convict him of his sins. I once held a meeting in a certain place, and some grade-school girls were deeply moved by the Holy Spirit. They deeply realized that they were sinners. After the meeting they waited for me to fellowship with them. I saw that none of their eyes were dry. Every one of them was sorrowful for her sins. They told me that they were very sorry. They knew that they were sinners but they did not know whether they could be saved. I told them that knowing that they were sinners was proof of the Holy Spirit's working in their hearts. I then read John 3:16 and 5:24 and other promises to them and helped them realize that since they knew they were sinners, they could receive eternal life and be saved if they believed and received the Lord Jesus as their Savior. The Holy Spirit opened their eyes and they experienced the salvation of the cross and the enjoyment of salvation. They are still joyful and rejoicing in the Lord every day. Therefore, if this very hour the Holy Spirit shows you your sins, it is because He wants to save you, not because He wants to condemn your sins.This tax collector not only put himself in the position of a sinner; he was also genuinely grieved because of his sins. He "beat his breast." He hated himself. When he considered how he committed sins in the past, sorrow uncontrollably rose up within him. He was in anguish and beat his breast. Certainly those who overlook their sins and do not feel sorrowful for them will easily commit sins again. "For sorrow according to God works repentance unto salvation, which is without regret" (2 Cor. 7:10). The Bible says that God dwells "with the contrite and lowly of spirit, / To revive the spirit of the lowly / And to revive the heart of the contrite" (Isa. 57:15). "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: / a broken and a contrite heart, O God, / thou wilt not despise" (Psa. 51:17). Therefore, dear sinners, it does not matter how great your sins are; what matters is that you do not want to admit that you are a sinner and feel sorrowful for your sins. If you overlook your sins and refuse to put yourself in the position of a sinner, you will surely not seek after the Savior. Even if the Savior is sent to the door of your heart, you will not receive Him. Actually, humbling yourself is not worth anything. Neither is putting yourself in the position of a sinner or being sorrowful for your sins worth anything. However, unless a man humbles himself, unless he sees himself as a sinner, and unless he feels sorrowful for his sins, he surely will not seek after the Savior of sinners, the Lord Jesus Christ. This tax collector's humbling of himself, acknowledging himself as a sinner, and sorrow for his sins could not save him; it could not give him eternal life. These steps only prepared his heart to receive salvation.The one and only reason this sinner was saved was because he believed the vicarious salvation of the cross. Even though he humbled himself, the humbling could not save him. Even though he was sorrowful, the sorrow could not save him. Even though he confessed himself to be a sinner, the confession could not save him. Even though all these prepared him to receive salvation, these could not save him. Although without these you will perish, these things alone will not save you. A sinner is saved only through the salvation that the Lord Jesus accomplished on the cross and not through anything else.He prayed, "God, be propitiated to me, the sinner!" Other ways to translate this phrase in the Greek text include: "God, make propitiation for me, a sinner!" or "God, allow me, a sinner, to be propitiated." This is the cross. No one can be saved without the cross. Perhaps when the tax collector was standing in the temple praying, the Holy Spirit moved his heart to convict him of his sins. Perhaps he saw from far off the priest in the outer court offering sacrifices. He saw the sacrifices slain on behalf of the sinners. Therefore, he asked God, "Make propitiation for me, a sinner." He knew he was a sinner. He knew that there was a punishment for sins. A sinner could never be justified or go to heaven. He also knew that if there was not a redeeming Savior for his sins, he would perish. His heart looked to the Savior; his heart looked to the sin offering. He cried out to God and was saved. Surely heaven was his.He came to God not to ask God to help him change himself when he went home because he knew that he could not change. He could not improve or correct himself. He knew he had sin. He would perish because he had sins and did not have the One who could substitute for the punishment for sins. He looked to the substitutionary Savior; therefore, he was saved. Dear readers, we all are sinners and cannot save ourselves. Therefore, the Lord Jesus came specifically to save us. He did not come to be our model or to be our pattern, He came to die for us. He came to die for you and me. You and I have sins and deserve to die. The Lord Jesus came to die for your sins and mine. Therefore, you and I do not have to die. "Who Himself bore up our sins in His body on the tree" (1 Pet. 2:24). "For Christ also has suffered once for sins, the Righteous on behalf of the unrighteous" (3:18). "And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 2:2). This matter is most important. Since the Lord Jesus died and propitiated for us, now we do not have to perish but can be saved. If the Lord Jesus did not die and propitiate for us, we would have to bear our own sins and die, that is, perish. It is true that the tax collector was a sinner. But he depended on the Savior who died for him and who propitiated for him. Therefore, he had no sins and did not have to die or go to hell. The tax collector was able to go to heaven not because of his own merit but because of the merit of a third party, the merit of the Savior's saving work. Likewise, all those who go to heaven are justified not because of their own righteous deeds, but because they rely on the work of the cross of the Lord Jesus.The tax collector came before God for the propitiation of sins. "For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call upon Him into whom they have not believed?" (Rom. 10:13-14). The tax collector cried to God because he first believed in God. He was saved because he believed God would propitiate for his sins. Justification is by faith and salvation is also by faith. He knew well the truth concerning salvation: "For by grace you have been saved through faith" (Eph. 2:8). He knew he lacked something. He also knew that except for God's mercy, nothing else could make up for his lack. He asked God to have mercy on him. He knew that salvation was by grace and "not out of works in righteousness which we did but according to His mercy He saved us" (Titus 3:5). He knew God gives grace through the Savior and that he needed a Savior to die for him to propitiate for his sins. He prayed for God's grace and beseeched for God's redemption. He asked by faith, and He believed in his heart. Therefore, he obtained it.The tax collector went to heaven because he obtained God's mercy and received the Savior's propitiation for him, not because he was remarkable and outstanding. For a sinner to go to heaven, there is no need to pay a price because the Lord Jesus has already paid the full price on the cross on our behalf. The Pharisee perished because he did not have a Savior. The tax collector was saved because he had a Savior. Salvation and perdition have nothing to do with you or your behavior. A man as good as the Pharisee could not avoid going to hell, while a man as wicked as the tax collector could go to heaven. One went to hell not because he was wicked, and the other went to heaven not because he was good. The difference between them was whether or not they believed in the Lord Jesus who died for us on the cross. That was all! "He who believes into the Son has eternal life; but he who disobeys the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him" (John 3:36). The decision between eternal life and eternal death depends solely upon whether or not one believes. Today I beg and beseech you to quickly believe in the Lord Jesus' vicarious death, and you will be saved.The good man went to hell and the wicked man went to heaven. The good man did not go to hell because of his goodness, but because he did not believe in the Lord Jesus as his Savior. The wicked man did not go to heaven because of his wickedness, but because he believed in the Lord Jesus as his Savior. Therefore, if you want salvation, you must realize that salvation is not merchandise. You do not have to gradually behave yourself better and earn your salvation as a reward. Salvation is God's free grace, freely given to all sinners who believe. God does not care how wicked you are. If you are willing to receive the Lord Jesus as your Savior and if you believe that His death was for you, you will be saved. The Lord Jesus has already borne all the punishment for your sins; no sin will be able to stand up to accuse you in the day of judgment. You are completely and absolutely saved. God does not care how good you are. If you do not receive the Lord Jesus to be your Savior and if you do not believe that His death was for you, you will surely perish. Your goodness cannot cover your wickedness and cannot redeem your wickedness; you will still perish. God has ordained that those who believe in the Lord Jesus will be saved and that those who do not believe will perish. Good unbelievers will go to hell, but wicked believers will go to heaven.Therefore, good man, please do not be proud, because your goodness will not save you! Therefore, wicked man, do not be discouraged, because your sins will not condemn you. Thank and praise God! How wonderful is His salvation! The people of the world are like this tax collector, helpless and hopeless sinners, and we all deserve eternal punishment in the future. Yet God caused the Lord Jesus to die for us on the cross, so that when we believe in Him and receive Him as our Savior, we will be saved. How great is this grace! So sinner, please follow the tax collector! Humble yourself before God. Confess your sins. Come before God with faith, asking God, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner. Save me by the Lord Jesus' substitutionary death on the cross!" God will surely save you. Thank God that He has such a salvation.