Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), by Watchman Nee

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We have seen the matters of sin, sins, and the sinner. By birth, we are sinners, and our walk matches our birth. Because we are sinners, our conduct matches our title sinner. There are many "gentlemen" in this world who cover up their sins and will not admit that they are sinners. But this does not mean that they are not sinners. It only means that they have disguised themselves as ones without sins. We are sinners by birth, and our profession and walk is to commit sins. Let me repeat that it is not because we have sinned that we have become sinners; rather, it is because we are sinners that we have sinned. The fact that we are sinners causes us to sin. Those who can sin prove that they are sinners.

Tonight we have a few Western friends here with us. Perhaps they all speak the Shanghai dialect. The Shanghainese can of course speak the Shanghai dialect. But we cannot say that everyone who can speak the Shanghai dialect is Shanghainese. Many have put a lot of effort into learning the Shanghai dialect, but they are not Shanghainese. There also may be some Shanghainese who do not speak the Shanghai dialect. We cannot say that because they do not speak the Shanghai dialect, they are not Shanghainese. They are still Shanghainese, but they are Shanghainese who cannot speak the Shanghai dialect. However, there are very few Shanghainese who do not speak the Shanghai dialect. Generally speaking, all Shanghainese speak the Shanghai dialect. It is a natural thing for them to speak the Shanghai dialect. In the same way, it is all but unavoidable for those with a sinner’s life to live a sinner’s living.

Concerning the sins that sinners commit, I prefer not to list them in detail, as many have done. I would just like to briefly prove man’s sin. Both in the New Testament, as well as in the Old, there are a few sins that are especially prominent. In the Old Testament, one sin which is particularly striking is the failure to love God. In the New Testament, there is also one sin that is particularly striking, the refusal to believe in the Lord. When the Bible says that man is condemned and has become a sinner in the eyes of God, it does not mean that he has committed a multitude of sins that incur God’s wrath, such as murder, arson, fornication, pride, debauchery, prostitution, gambling, or other kinds of filthy and secret sins. This is not what the Bible emphasizes. What the Bible considers serious is the problem that has arisen between man and God. The end of the law is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength (Matt. 22:36-37; Mark 12:30). Hence, at issue is not whether one has stolen from others, or whether one has murdered or plotted arson. At issue are not personal lusts or thoughts or words. Rather, at issue is the problem of one’s relationship with God.

(Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)