Day Is At Hand: A Letter to the Class of 2022 (Part 2)

Editor’s note: Western China Covenant College is a Christian liberal arts college started by Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu. In June, Li Yingqiang, an elder of Early Rain, wrote a letter to this year’s graduating class.

In this second half of Li’s letter; the first half can be found here. In this letter, he encourages these young believers to clothe themselves in the armor of light and to prepare well for the battles ahead. This excerpt has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.


“Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

Romans 13:11-14

Cast off the works of darkness; put on the armor of light.

Dear students, the night is far gone and the day is at hand. All who are sons of light and of the day should not think only about how to avoid being attacked in darkness. Jesus said, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” Instead, children of the day ought to take on the armor of light to resist the devil’s attacks. They should even take the initiative and attack the devil’s camp.


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“Children of the day ought to take on the armor of light to resist the devil’s attacks. They should even take the initiative and attack the devil’s camp.


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The simplest list of the armor of light tells us to “put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.” (A more complete list is found in Ephesians 6.)

The verses in Romans remind us that the armor of light is not useful if we do not cast off the works of darkness. You cannot worship God and mammon; you cannot pursue a safe and comfortable life and hope to be holy and serve with strength; you cannot live a life filled with emptiness and lust and preach the gospel that delivers men from sin and death. If you actually were able to bring “works of darkness” in harmony with the “armor of light,” then you might become the devil’s vessel to destroy the church.

I am not saying you can achieve complete sanctification. But if you cannot “cleanse yourself from what is dishonorable,” then you will not “be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house.” John Sung Shang Chieh once said, “The holier the heart is, the more powerful the preaching will be…I have received power because I always repent and confess my sins to God.”

Let the world hate you.

In addition to thorough repentance and striving for holiness, there is another secret to spiritual growth: let the world hate you. If you “walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy,” the world of darkness will hate you, because you are not running with them on the path of debauchery.

Dear students, the world is most unable to tolerate Christians because they “walk as in the daytime.” The night is deep indeed, but Christians live like they are in the light. Christians “walk in beautiful dresses at night.” [This Chinese idiom refers to people who have great wealth, but do not let their riches be widely known.] What is more, Christians hold up torches and lanterns so all may see. While crowds “cross the river by feeling the stones,” Christians tell the people that a bridge overhead leads to the other side. While crowds applaud the emperor’s new clothes, Christians speak the truth: he is wearing nothing. When crowds think we are good people, Christians point to the cross and explain the reason for their hope.

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“‘To live as in the daylight’ means to measure the value of all things by the standards of daylight and to discipline one’s speech and behavior by the norms of daylight — although doing so is bound to result in hatred and attacks from the world of darkness.

These believers live under an authoritarian dictatorship, but they live as if they were in a free and democratic country, as if there were no restrictions on speech or persecution of faith. These Christians live out their faith openly and preach the gospel actively. If their freedom is restricted, they take the gospel to police stations, detention centers, jails and prisons.

“To live as in the daylight” means to measure the value of all things by the standards of daylight and to discipline one’s speech and behavior by the norms of daylight — although doing so is bound to result in hatred and attacks from the world of darkness.

Have your put on your iron suit?

To break through the world’s blockade of crossfire, you need to wear a special suit of iron: the Lord Jesus Christ.

Although Iron Man can destroy anything while wearing his battle suit, Christians who put on Christ become gentle and compassionate. Putting on Christ does not make you more powerful in this world, but gradually changes you into what you will be like in another world. Today, Christ is already in that world. He will surely bring you and me there as well. Put on Christ so you may “walk as in the daytime” when the night is already deep. Put on Christ so you will no longer need to boast of your own strength, but of your weaknesses. By putting on Christ, you will become more and more like Christ.

Christ once put on flesh and blood and became like us, fully human. He gave up his power as God and willingly humbled himself until death on the cross.

Putting on Christ means that his resurrection power enters your life, so you “may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.”

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“Christians are not to become enviable elites in this transitional China, which is full of deep suffering. Instead, we are to suffer with those who suffer and weep with those who weep. The resurrected Christ is the only true hope for sinners.

Christians are not to become enviable elites in this transitional China, which is full of deep suffering. Instead, we are to suffer with those who suffer and weep with those who weep. The resurrected Christ is the only true hope for sinners. He is the only one on whom we can rely. Only Christians who suffer alongside their countrymen can preach and testify to them the gospel that “all suffer under sin” and “Christ suffers for sinners.”

Dear students, I hope many of you will become vessels the Lord will use. May he send you to be soldiers of his kingdom in the future revival of the church in China, and in the future gospel movement in China.

For this reason, I pray for you. May the Lord give you heaven’s wisdom, so you may search all things and know this present age. Night is far gone, and day is at hand. May you remain spiritually alert, striving for holiness. May the Lord help you resist the love of the world, and make you willing to accept its enmity and hatred. May you put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and die and rise with him every day. May the Lord be with you from the time you leave this college until the day you return to the heavenly city!

Your brother, who desires to strive with you to “live with Christ whether we are awake or asleep,”

Li Yingqiang

June 23, 2022 from Deyang, Sichuan

 


Elder Li Yingqiang is an elder of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu. He and his wife have two children.

 

FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION

Pray for believers to clothe themselves in the armor of light and to prepare well to face the trials of a world that opposes them.

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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

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ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

About Shenyang

Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

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Stories from Shenyang

About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

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About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

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About Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

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About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.

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About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

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About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.

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About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.

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About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

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Stories from Chengdu

About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.

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About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.

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