32. Holding Fast to the “Bible” Cannot Gain Me God’s Approval
Xinyang City, Henan Province
I had considered myself very faithful to the Lord. To safeguard the “true way” and the dignity of the “Bible,” I once disowned my younger sister and wantonly attacked and blasphemed Almighty God. When I, a watchdog of the Bible, became subject to Almighty God, I discovered that it was a great mistake to believe that I could be saved through the Bible.
In June of 1998, my younger sister came to preach God’s work of the last days to me. She said, “The Bible is just a historical record of God’s first two stages of work. Now in the last days, God has come back in the flesh and done a work of chastisement and judgment. He leads and supplies people by His word. So, there is no need to read the Bible.” I condemned what she said by saying, “Absolute nonsense! How do you believe in God without the Bible? Belief without the Bible is a heresy, a cult!” After that, I told every brother or sister I met that my sister had believed in a false Christ, an evil spirit, she had forsaken the Bible and even torn off the picture of the cross pasted on the wall, and she had tried to deceive me but failed. I was unkind to my sister like this, yet she was still warm to me. One day, she came to my home again and said to me patiently, “Sister! You should accept it quickly, otherwise it will be too late. God’s work is drawing to an end, and all those who don’t believe or accept His work will be punished…” But I was very stubborn and couldn’t understand her kind intention at all…
In July of the same year, I went to take care of my father, who was seriously ill, and my sister also went there. I pretended not to see her, but she came to me and said, “Sister, you’re here too.” I ignored her, turned and walked away. I thought, “Humph! You believed in a false Christ, a cult. I won’t talk to you.” She followed me and said, “Sister, come to my home and listen to God’s word!” But I still ignored her.
During the Spring Festival of 1999, I went to pay a New Year call to my parents. My sister happened to be there too. She said to me, “Sister, would you like to come to my home to meet our guest? My husband’s nephew came. She’s also from the Three-Self.” As I heard she was from the Three-Self, I agreed readily. Arriving there, I saw a young sister. She asked me a question, “Auntie, was there the Bible first or God first?” I immediately replied, “Of course there was God first and then the Bible.” She continued, “Do you know when the Bible came into existence?” “No,” I answered. And she said, “Did Adam and Eve read the Bible? Did Noah, Abraham, and Moses read the Bible? No. Because at that time there wasn’t the Bible at all. They followed God under the guidance of His own word. It’s written in Genesis 3:9-10, ‘And the LORD God called to Adam, and said to him, Where are you? And he said, I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ And Genesis 12:1 says, ‘Now the LORD had said to Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.’ Genesis 6:13 says, ‘And God said to Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.’” In Exodus 3:4-6, it is recorded, ‘And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the middle of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not near here: put off your shoes from off your feet, for the place where on you stand is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look on God.’ And in Exodus 3:12, it says, ‘And he said, Certainly I will be with you; and this shall be a token to you, that I have sent you: When you have brought forth the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.’ These verses show us that they followed God under the guidance of His own word, not by reading the Bible.” I thought to myself as the sister talked, “Yes! These verses have made it very clear. How come I didn’t know it?” I considered her fellowship very good and was sincerely convinced by it.
To help me have a correct knowledge of the Bible, the sister read me these words of God: “For centuries, conventional religious belief (belief of Christianity among the world’s three major religions) has emphasized reading the Bible. Departing from the Bible amounts to not believing in the Lord; to do so is cult, heresy. Any other book that one reads must be one that explicates the Bible. That is to say, if you claim to believe in the Lord, you must read the Bible, must eat and drink it, and not venerate any other books that do not pertain to it; otherwise, you are betraying God. For as long as the Bible has existed, belief in the Lord has been synonymous with belief in the Bible. Rather than believing in the Lord, people believe in the Bible. Rather than starting to read the Bible, people have started to believe in the Bible. Instead of returning to the Lord, people have returned to the Bible. And so people have come to worship the Bible as if it were God, to see it as their own lifeblood; without it, they seem to have no life. People put the Bible on an equal footing with God—or even higher. They can live without the work of the Holy Spirit, without a sense of God’s presence; but if they were to lose the Bible, or its well-known passages and phrases, it would be tantamount to losing their life.” “Every day they seek traces of Me in the Bible, and find ‘suitable’ passages at random that they read endlessly, and which they recite as ‘Scripture.’ They do not know how to be compatible with Me, do not know what it means to be in enmity of Me, and merely read ‘Scripture’ blindly. They constrain within the Bible a vague god that they have never seen, and are incapable of seeing, and take it out to look at during their spare time. They believe in Me only within the scope of the Bible. For them, I am the same as the Bible; without the ‘Bible’ there is no ‘Me,’ and without ‘Me’ there is no ‘Bible.’ They pay no heed to My existence or actions, but instead devote extreme and especial attention to each and every word of Scripture, and many of them even believe that I should not do anything I wish to do unless it is foretold by Scripture. They attach too much importance to Scripture. It can be said that they see words and expressions as too important, to the extent that they use verses from the Bible to measure every word I say, and to condemn Me. What they seek is not the way of compatibility with Me, or the way of compatibility with the truth, but the way of compatibility with the words of the Bible, and they believe that anything that does not conform to the Bible is, without exception, not My work. Are such people not the dutiful descendants of the Pharisees? The Jewish Pharisees used the law of Moses to condemn Jesus. They did not seek compatibility with the Jesus of that time, but diligently followed the law to the letter, to the extent that they ultimately nailed the innocent Jesus to the cross, having charged Him with not following the law of the Old Testament and not being the Messiah. What was their essence? Was it not that they didn’t seek the way of compatibility with the truth? They obsessed over each and every word of the ‘Scripture,’ while paying no heed to My will and the steps and methods of My work. They were not people who sought the truth, but people who rigidly followed the words of Scripture; they were not people who believed in God, but people who believed in the Bible. In fact, they were watchdogs of the Bible. In order to safeguard the interests of the Bible, and uphold the dignity of the Bible, and protect the reputation of the Bible, they went so far as to nail the merciful Jesus onto the cross. This they did merely for the sake of defending the Bible, and for the sake of maintaining the status of each and every word of the Bible in people’s hearts. So they preferred to forsake their future and the sin offering to condemn to death Jesus who did not conform to the doctrine of Scripture. Were they not lackeys to each and every word of Scripture?” “And what of people today? Christ has come to release the truth, yet they would rather expel Him from among man in order to gain entry into heaven and receive grace. They would rather completely deny the coming of the truth in order to safeguard the interests of the Bible, and would rather nail the Christ returning to flesh the second time to the cross in order to ensure the everlasting existence of the Bible.”
God’s words and the sister’s fellowship broadened my views. I realized that my holding fast to the Bible not only didn’t gain me God’s approval but instead made me a sinner who resisted and condemned God. So I really became afraid. “I was so blind and ignorant and disobedient to God. But God’s love is still with me, and He had my sister preach to me again and again and brought me to Him. His love for man is really great! I won’t grieve His heart anymore and won’t worship the Bible anymore. I will keep up with God’s footsteps. Because God’s words say: “… the words of books do not count as life, the records of history cannot be feted as the truth, and the doctrines of the past cannot serve as an account of words presently spoken by God. Only that which is expressed by God when He comes to earth and lives among man is the truth, life, God’s will, and His current way of working.”