What It Means to Pursue the Truth (2) Part Two
Believing in God is not about gaining grace or God’s tolerance and pity. What is it about, then? It is about being saved. So, what is the mark of salvation? What are the standards required by God? What does it take to be saved? The resolution of one’s corrupt disposition. This is the crux of the matter. So, at the end of the day, when all is said and done, no matter how much you have suffered or how great a price you have paid, or however much of a true believer you proclaim yourself to be—if, in the end, your corrupt disposition has not been resolved at all, it means that you are not someone who pursues the truth. Or it can be said that because you do not pursue the truth, your corrupt disposition has not been resolved. This means that you have not embarked at all on the path of salvation; it means that all that God says and all the work that He does to save man has achieved nothing in you, it has led to no testimony from you, and it has borne no fruit within you. God will say, “Because you have suffered and paid a price, I have given you the grace, blessings, care, and protection that you deserve in this life and this world. But you have no part in that which man deserves after being saved. Why is that? It is because I have already bestowed upon you that which you deserve in this life and this world; as for what man deserves after salvation, there is nothing for you, because you did not set off on the path of pursuing the truth.” You are not among those who will be saved, you have not become a true created being, and God does not want you. God does not want those who merely work, run about, suffer, and pay a price for Him, who somewhat truly believe and have a bit of faith, and nothing more. Such people can be found everywhere within groups of His believers. In other words, there are just so many of them, those who work and render service for God, in numbers beyond reckoning. If they are a person who God has predestined and chosen, who has been led back to God’s house by God, then none of them would be unwilling to work and render service for Him. Why is that? Because it is just so easy to do. This is why there are so many people who render service and labor for God. There are even antichrists and evil people who are able to do this too, like Paul. Are there not too many people like Paul? (There are.) If you went into a church and preached in this way—“So long as you are willing to run about, suffer, and pay a price for God, then a crown of righteousness will be waiting for you”—do you think a lot of people would respond to your call? So many would. But unfortunately, in the end, these are not the people whom God will save or who can be saved. Such people just linger at the stage of rendering service; they are only willing to render service to God. In other words, these people are merely willing to trade their labor for God’s good fortune, for His grace and blessings. They do not wish to change their methods of survival, or their ways of living, or the foundation that they rely on to survive; they do not want to accept God’s judgment and chastisement in order to change their corrupt dispositions or pursue the truth to achieve salvation. Naturally, you could also say that these people are only willing to suffer and pay a price, that they are only willing to abandon and offer up everything they have, that they expend all that they can, no matter what the cost, and that they are willing to labor in any way possible—yet if you ask them to know themselves, to accept the truth, to resolve their corrupt dispositions, to forsake the flesh, to practice the truth, and to set down their evil and turn back toward God, as the Ninevites did, and heed His words, and live by His words, it would be extremely difficult for them. Is that not so? (It is.) Is this not quite troublesome? God has done so much work and spoken so many words, so why do people feel that pursuing the truth is so hard? Why are they always apathetic toward it? Even after hearing years of sermons, they still have no intention of changing. They have never sincerely repented to God in the depths of their hearts, nor have they ever truly acknowledged or accepted the fact that they have corrupt dispositions. In both their views on things and actions, they have never let go of their own outlooks and sought the truth; they do not approach every matter with an attitude of reversing their outlooks and repenting to God. So, there are many people who have experienced a lot and done much work, who have been at their duties for quite a while, but still cannot produce any testimony. They still have no knowledge or experience of, and when they talk of their experience and knowledge of God’s words, they are very embarrassed and helpless, and they appear extremely inept. The reason for this is that they have no knowledge of the truth or they are uninterested in it. Laboring, on the other hand, is so simple, so easy. So, everyone is willing to render service for God, but they do not choose to pursue the truth.
Now, with that said, what does it mean, exactly, to pursue the truth? We have said so much; should we not define what it means to pursue the truth? Can you define it? It should be a pretty simple definition, no? Will it come to you if you just ponder, ruminate, and deliberate on the words? There may be some who would say, “Pursuing the truth is a big topic. It can’t be expressed clearly in just a few sentences. I don’t know what to say about it. What words can describe it? Pursuing the truth is a great matter, and nothing short of the grandest words could describe and define it appropriately—that’s the only way to really impress everyone!” Do you think that is how it has to be? (No.) Well then, define pursuing the truth, in everyday language. (Pursuing the truth means using the truth to resolve our corrupt disposition.) Does that qualify as a definition? Are you drawing a conclusion with this? Is pursuing the truth easy to define? Defining it is no easy task; you need to put some effort into contemplating it. What does it mean to pursue the truth? Let us try defining it, shall we? The best of all human language is that which is simple, colloquial, and true-to-life. We will not speak in an alien language or with some grand words. We will speak the everyday language of ordinary people, in a way that is fluent, colloquial, and easy to comprehend, so that people can understand what we have said immediately. Apart from minors, or those too simple or mentally unwell to understand it, any adult who thinks normally will be able to understand the language we have used as soon as they hear it. That is what it means for language to be colloquial; that is what is called everyday language. So, what does it mean to pursue the truth? To view people and things, and to comport oneself and act based on God’s words, according to God’s words, with the truth as one’s criterion—that is what it means to pursue the truth. That is what an accurate definition of pursuing the truth sounds like. Question: What does it mean to pursue the truth? Answer: To view people and things, and to comport oneself and act according to God’s words, with the truth as one’s criterion. That is the definition of pursuing the truth. Simple, no? Some of you may say, “You’ve been fellowshiping all this time on what it means to pursue the truth, when its definition is just that one sentence. It’s as simple as that?” Yes, it is as simple as that. It is such a simple definition, yet it touches on so many related topics—and those related topics all touch on the topic of pursuing the truth. These topics include man’s difficulties, and man’s thoughts and outlooks, as well as all the myriad excuses, justifications, methods, and attitudes man has toward pursuing the truth. There is also the topic of man’s resistance to pursuing the truth and refusal to do so, which are brought about by man’s corrupt dispositions. Of course, the things that I have told you about—the several paths and steps for pursuing the truth, the way in which one pursues the truth, the results that are achieved by pursuing the truth, and the reality of the truth that can be seen in people who are living it out—these also touch on the topic of pursuing the truth. The final result of this is the experiential testimony to God’s words and God’s work of saving man that arises when people pursue the truth and practice and experience His words. This is the greatest result. One feature of such testimony is that it bears witness to the results of God’s work; another is that it bears witness to the positive effects that can be seen in people who have pursued the truth, which is that their corrupt dispositions have been resolved, to a greater or lesser extent. For instance, someone who used to be very arrogant, who was arbitrary, reckless, and a law unto themselves in their actions, learns that this is a corrupt disposition through reading God’s words, and then goes on to accept this and acknowledge it. Gradually, they come to know the harm that this corrupt disposition brings upon others and themselves: From a smaller perspective, it is harmful to people, and from a larger perspective, it disturbs, disrupts, and damages the work of the church. This is one part of the results; it is something that a person learns when they understand God’s words. Furthermore, on the basis of the revelation of God’s words, they acknowledge their corrupt disposition, and then, in situations arranged by God, they gradually come to repent, and they let go of the lifestyles and the outlooks of their comportment and actions that they once held to. They find principles and paths of practice among God’s words and they handle matters according to the principles of practice that God has given them. This is true repentance and truly turning oneself around. They are able to comport themselves and act based on God’s words, and ultimately, they come to seek the principles of the truth whenever they act, and they live out part of the reality of taking God’s words as their basis. This is an example of resolving an arrogant disposition. The final result achieved by this is that this person no longer lives out arrogance; instead they have a conscience and reason, they are able to seek the principles of the truth, and they truly submit to the truth; what they practice and live out is no longer dominated by their corrupt disposition, instead they take the truth as their criterion, and they live out the reality of God’s words—that is the result. Is this result not achieved by pursuing the truth? (It is.) This is the kind of result that pursuing the truth brings about in a person. And to God, living in this way is true testimony to Him and His work; it is a result that is achieved when a created being undergoes the judgment, chastisement, and exposure of God’s words. It is true testimony, and that is a glorious thing to God. To man, of course, it is not a glorious thing; it could only be called an honorable and proud thing, and it is the testimony that a created being ought to have and live out after experiencing God’s work. It is a positive effect that is achieved in a person who pursues the truth. God also regards such experience and knowledge, and what these people live out as results achieved by His work. To Him, it is testimony that strikes back at Satan with great force. This is what God loves and what He treasures.
We have just defined what it means to pursue the truth. Through this definition, has your view of what it means to pursue the truth come closer to reality? (Yes.) Now that we have defined pursuing the truth in a way that you understand, how should you regard your former pursuits? It is possible that the vast majority of you are not people who pursue the truth. This may be a bit upsetting for you to hear, no? Read the definition once more. (What does it mean to pursue the truth? Answer: To view people and things, and to comport oneself and act according to God’s words, with the truth as one’s criterion.) You can now say it accurately. On further consideration, is it correct? (It is.) If you measure your former pursuits and practices based on this definition, what will the result be? You will be able to learn whether or not you currently possess the reality of the truth, and you will be able to verify whether your current conduct is the pursuit of the truth. This is not an abstract way to put it, is it? It is quite colloquial language, is it not? (It is.) It is ordinary language that any ordinary person can understand. Though it may seem quite easy to understand, people have a problem. What problem is that? That once they have understood the definition, they feel uncomfortable and upset. Why are they upset? Because they feel that their past sufferings and the prices they have paid have been condemned, that they have given them forth in vain, and this makes them feel out of sorts. Some people, having heard this, will say, “Oh—so that’s the definition of pursuing the truth. If we go by that definition, then weren’t all the prices we paid and all of our past expenditures wasted? If You hadn’t defined what it means to pursue the truth, we’d have gone on thinking that we were doing well in our pursuits; now that You’ve given it this definition, haven’t our pursuits and the prices we paid all gone down the drain? Haven’t all of our dreams of being crowned and rewarded been ruined? When we understand the truth, we should be blessed and our dreams should come true, so why are we being judged now that we understand the truth? Why are we living hopelessly in darkness? Our pasts and presents have been condemned, and there’s no telling what the future will be like. It seems like we have no hope of being blessed.” Is that how it is? Is it correct for people to think about it in this way? (No.) So, should people think about it in this way? (No.) They should not. But there is one good thing about this: You can repeatedly pray-read this definition of pursuing the truth, then look back at your past, look at your present, and look forward at your future. You may feel upset, but that feeling means that you are not numb. You know to consider your past, present, and future, and you know to make plans for your prospects, and to think about them, to worry about them, and to get agitated about them. That is a good thing. It proves that you are still alive, that you are a living person, and that your heart has not died. What is worrying is when someone remains apathetic no matter what is said to them or how clearly the path of pursuing the truth is fellowshiped to them. They think, “This is just who I am; who cares whether I get blessed or disaster befalls me? Judge me, condemn me—do whatever You like!” No matter what is said to them, they are numb to it. That spells trouble. What do I mean by trouble? It means that however you fellowship about the truth to them, they will not understand it; they are a dead person that has no spirit. They do not have a clue about things like believing in God, pursuing the truth, being saved, or God’s work of saving man, and they do not understand such things. It is like trying to teach a tone-deaf person to sing, or teaching a color-blind person to blend colors: It is just not feasible. Fellowshiping on these things is devoid of any significance or value for them, because no matter what you say, be it deep or shallow, be it specific or broad, it will make no difference—they will feel nothing in any case. They are like a blind person wearing glasses, whether they wear those glasses or not has no effect on their vision. Some people often say, “When winter’s already here, how far off can spring be?” and “I’m not afraid of dying, so why be afraid of living?” and “I flick my hands, not even a wisp of cloud will I bring away.” These are all words of spiritless, dead people who think themselves to be very clever. To put it in spiritual terms, they lack spiritual understanding. Those who lack spiritual understanding are dead people, even when they are alive. Can dead people understand the words of the living? They think, “All this talk about pursuing the truth, and one’s views on people and things, and one’s comportment and actions—what does it have to do with me? I’m not afraid of dying, so why be afraid of living?” Whoever thinks like this is done for. They are one of the dead. That is how it is with the definition of pursuing the truth. No matter what intentions or plans you have for your future path after reading this definition, or how you will change, it all comes down to your personal pursuit. These are the words that I need to say and the work that I need to do. I have said everything that I needed to, and I have said all that I have to say. If you really love the truth and have the will to pursue it, you would do well to adopt the definition of pursuing the truth that I have given as the goal and direction for your pursuit when it comes to how you usually view people and things, and comport yourselves and act, or adopt it as a reference, so that you may thereby gradually enter into the reality of God’s words and the truth. If you do, then in the near future, you will certainly gain something on the path of pursuing the truth. Some may say, “It’s never too late to pursue the truth.” This is inaccurate—if you do not pursue the truth until after God’s work has ended, that will be too late, indeed. How is that idea to be explained? The pursuit of the truth must take place before God’s work has ended. In other words, this statement holds true before God has rung the bell to show that His work has come to a close. But when God’s work has finished, and He says, “I will do no more of the work of saving man, and I will speak no more words to help people achieve salvation or that involve man’s salvation. I will speak no more of such things,” then His work will truly have ended. If you wait until then to pursue the truth, it will truly be too late. No matter what, if you begin to pursue the truth now, you will still have time—you still have a chance of attaining salvation. From now on, do your absolute utmost to gradually view people and things, and to comport yourself and act according to God’s words, with the truth as your criterion. Strive to read and understand all of God’s words that expose man’s corrupt dispositions in a short period of time, and practice reflecting on yourself and knowing yourself. Doing so is of enormous benefit to your life entry. Take, for instance, among God’s words that expose mankind’s corrupt dispositions, those that touch on the disposition of antichrists. Are those not the most fundamental words? (They are.) And what should you do with those words as your basis? Condemn yourself? Curse yourself? Dispossess yourself of your future and destiny? No—you are to use them to know your corrupt disposition. Do not try to escape this. This is a juncture that every person must pass through. What does it mean that every person must pass through it? It is just like how every person is born to a mother and father, then grows up, then grows old, then dies. These are junctures that every person must pass through one by one. How important is pursuing the truth? It is as important as man’s daily food and drink. If you stopped eating and drinking each day, your flesh could not survive; your life could not continue. “According to God’s words” means that you must view people and things, and comport yourself and act according to the words of God, which in turn gives rise to your outlooks, methods, and practices. Of course, “according to God’s words” is equivalent to “with the truth as one’s criterion.” So, in the definition of pursuing the truth, “according to God’s words” is sufficient on its own. Why must “with the truth as one’s criterion” be added? Because there are some specific problems that are not addressed in God’s words. In such cases, you should seek the principles of the truth, and view people and things, and comport yourself and act, within those principles. By doing so you will definitively achieve absolute accuracy. Before achieving absolute accuracy, one must know their corrupt disposition and acknowledge their corrupt outpourings and corrupt essence. After that, they must sincerely repent, and thus genuinely turn themselves around. Each of the processes in this series is indispensable, just like when a person eats: The food must be put in their mouth, and then it must pass through their esophagus into their stomach, after which it is digested and absorbed. Only then can it gradually enter their blood and become the nutrition their body requires. People pursue the truth and come to take it as their criterion, they can then put the truth into practice, and live it out, and enter into its reality. Each of the normal processes in this sequence is indispensable; they are mandatory steps that every person who pursues the truth must take in pursuit of any element of the truth. Some may say, “I don’t need those steps and processes to pursue the truth. I’ll just seek the truth directly and then put it into practice and make it my reality.” That is a simplistic understanding, but if it can yield results, then of course it is a better way. It shows that you have already amassed a certain amount of knowledge and success while regularly coming to know your corrupt disposition, so you can dispense with the processes of examining, knowing, accepting, repenting, and so on, and go straight to seeking the principles of the truth. For a person to go straight to seeking the principles of the truth, they must be possessed of a certain stature. What does having such stature mean? It means that they have true knowledge of their corrupt disposition, and that when they do not understand the truths about something that befalls them, they no longer need to know themselves, or repent, or reverse their course. All they need to do is directly attain an understanding of the principles of the truth, and then go on to practice according to them. That is enough. This is not the stature of an ordinary person. A person with such stature has at the very least experienced the process of being harshly judged, chastised, disciplined, and tested by God. They have submitted to Him and are already on the road toward being made perfect. Such people do not need processes such as knowing their corruption, then acknowledging it, repenting, and turning themselves around. So, what about you, then? Do most of you need to begin with knowing yourselves? If you do not know yourselves, you will be unconvinced, and it will not be easy for you to accept the truth, nor will you be capable of true repentance. If you do not truly repent, can you submit to the truth? Can you submit to God? Certainly not, and in that case, you are not a person who will be saved.
After this fellowship, do you now have a bit of a path for pursuing the truth? Do you have the confidence to pursue it? (Yes.) That is good; it would be worrying if you had none. There may be some of you who feel negative after the sermon. “Oh, no—I have poor caliber. I listened to the sermon, but I can’t understand any of it; I just understand a bit of doctrine. It seems I don’t have much spiritual understanding. I feel listless about pursuing the truth. In performing my duty, all I can do is labor a bit. I have too many shortcomings and I’m full of corrupt dispositions. I guess this can’t be changed. That’s just how it’ll be. Just being a service-doer is enough for me.” Can someone with negative thoughts such as these set out on the path of pursuing the truth? It seems a bit dangerous, as it is these negative thoughts that form a great barrier to one’s pursuit of the truth. If one does not resolve them, then they will not be able to embark on this path, however good it is. Some people have failed and fallen many times on the road of pursuing the truth, and they end up discouraged: “That’s it—I don’t need to pursue the truth anymore. It’s not my fate to be blessed. Did God not say it Himself: ‘Do you have the face of one who could gain blessings?’ A look in the mirror shows me that I’m of average appearance, with spiritless eyes and poorly proportioned features, without the least bit of refinement. However you slice it, I just don’t look like someone who’s blessed. If God didn’t preordain it to be so, people can pursue as much as they like, it won’t be of any use!” Look at these people’s mentality: With so many hideous things in their hearts yet to be resolved, how can they embark on the road of pursuing the truth? Pursuing the truth is the greatest matter in life, and the worst thing you can do is always link it to gaining blessings. One must first resolve their intent to gain blessings. After that, pursuing the truth will go a bit more smoothly. When it comes to the pursuit of the truth, the most critical thing is not to look at whether there are many people on this path, and to not follow what the majority chooses, but to focus only on striving to meet God’s requirements, emulating Peter. The most important thing is to see the present clearly and to live in it, to know what corrupt disposition it is that currently pours forth from you, and to immediately and at once seek the truth to resolve it, first analyzing it and knowing it thoroughly, and then repenting to God. When you repent, putting the truth into practice is of the utmost importance—it is the only way to achieve real results. If you just say to God, “God, I am willing to repent. I am sorry. I was wrong. Please, forgive me!” and think that this is all you need to do in order to gain God’s approval, will that work? (No.) If you are always willing to say to God, “God, I’m sorry. I was wrong,” hoping, as you do, that God will say, “It’s okay. Carry on”—if you always live in this kind of condition, you will be unable to enter into the truth. So, how should you pray and repent to God? Is there a path? Whoever has experience of this may speak a bit about it. No one? It appears that normally, you never make prayers of repentance, nor do you confess your sins and repent to God. So, how should you let go of your own wishes and intents? How should you resolve your corruption? Do you have a path of practice? To give an example, if you have no path for resolving an arrogant disposition, you should pray to God like this: “God, I have an arrogant disposition. I think that I’m stronger than others, better than others, smarter than others, and I want to make others do as I say. This is so devoid of sense. Why can’t I let go of it, even though I know it is arrogance? I beg that You discipline and reproach me. I am willing to let go of my arrogance and my own will to seek Your will instead. I am willing to listen to Your words, and to accept them as my life and the principles by which I act. I am willing to live out Your words. I beg that You guide me, I beg that You help me and lead me.” Is there an attitude of submission in these words? Is there a wish to submit? (Yes.) Some may say, “Just praying once doesn’t work. When something befalls me, I still live by my corrupt disposition, and I still want to be in charge.” In that case, continue praying: “God, I am so arrogant, so rebellious! I beg You to discipline me, to stop my evildoing in its tracks, and to restrain my arrogant disposition. I beg You to guide me and lead me, so that I may live out Your words, and act and practice according to Your words and Your requirements.” Come before God more in prayer and supplication, and let Him work. The more sincere your words are, and the more sincere your heart is, the greater your wish to forsake your flesh and yourself will become. When this overwhelms your wish to act according to your own will, your heart will gradually turn itself around—and when that happens, there will be hope for you to practice the truth and act according to its principles. When you pray, God will not say anything to you, or indicate anything to you, or promise you anything, but He will examine your heart and the intent behind your words; He will observe whether what you say is sincere and true, and whether you are supplicating and praying to Him with an honest heart. When God sees that your heart is honest, He will lead and guide you, as you asked and prayed for Him to do, and, of course, He will also rebuke and discipline you. When God fulfills that which you have supplicated for, your heart will be enlightened and somewhat changed. Conversely, if your prayers and supplications to God are insincere, and you have no true wish to repent, but are merely trying to perfunctorily appease God and fool Him with your words, then when God has examined your heart, He will do nothing for you, and He will detest and reject you. Under these circumstances, you will also not feel that God says anything to you, or does anything, or takes any action at all, but God will not do any work in you, because you are dishonest at heart. And when God does no work, what will happen? Just like you intended, your heart will lack the desire to repent, and it will not have turned around at all. And so, in that environment and in the event that has befallen you, what you do will still be dictated by human will and corrupt dispositions, rather than being based in the principles of the truth. You will still be acting and practicing according to what you want and desire. The outcome of your prayers to God will be the same as before you prayed; there will be no change. You will still do whatever you like, without turning yourself around at all. This means that, in the process of pursuing the truth, people’s subjective efforts are important, as is whether they understand the truth. At the same time, when people understand the truth and wish to practice it, but find it difficult to do so, they must rely on God, and offer up their hearts and their sincere prayers. That is also very important; these things are all indispensable. If all you do is pray to God in a cursory, superficial way, saying: “God, I was wrong. I’m sorry,” and if you are as perfunctory with God in your heart as you are in the words of your prayer, then God will do no work, nor will He pay attention to you. If you say, “God, I’m sorry. I was wrong,” God certainly will not say: “It’s okay.” Because of the cursory, superficial words you have spoken to Him, God will ask you: “In what way were you wrong? What do you intend to do? Will you repent? Will you abandon your evil and turn yourself around? Will you let go of your own will, intentions, and interests, and rush to turn yourself around? Can you make a resolution to turn yourself around?” You may not hear God asking you anything as this is happening, but if you say to God, “God, I’m sorry. I was wrong,” from God’s perspective, His attitude will be as I just said: He will question you with these words. How will He question you? He will go on to watch what you do and the choices you make after saying: “God, I’m sorry. I was wrong.” He will look to see if you have genuine repentance that is born from truly acknowledging and hating your own corruption. God will look to see what your attitude toward Him is, what your attitude toward the truth is, how you regard your own corrupt disposition and what views you have on it, and whether you intend to let go of your mistaken views and mistaken ways; He will look at your choices, at whether you choose to walk the road of pursuing the truth, at how you should act and the principles you ought to uphold going forward, at whether you can practice the truth and submit to Him. God will survey your every move, your every intention and choice, and as He does, He will look to see whether the things that you do after making those choices really are actions of repentance and you turning yourself around. That is the crucial issue.
Once people have chosen to repent, how are they to go about turning themselves around? By letting go of your wishes, your thoughts and views, and your old ways of doing things to practice the truth, and to truly change. That is what it means to truly turn yourself around. If you just claim to be willing to turn yourself around, but at heart, you are still clinging to your own wishes, abandoning the truth, and continuing with your old ways, then you are not truly turning yourself around. If all you say to God when you pray is “God, I’m sorry. I was wrong,” yet in all your behavior that follows, you still make choices, act, practice, and live according to your own will, running counter to the truth in all of these things, then from God’s perspective, how should you be defined? You have not turned yourself around. At the very least, He will say that you do not mean to turn yourself around. You may say to God, “God, I’m sorry. I was wrong,” but these are just cursory words, they are not repentance and confession that comes from the depths of your heart. They do not reflect an attitude of admitting fault and repenting; they are just empty words. God does not listen to what you say—He looks at what you are thinking, planning, and plotting. And when God sees that the basis and principles for your actions are still contrary to the truth, He will pass a true, real, and accurate verdict on you. He will say, “You have not turned yourself around, and you are not turning yourself around.” And when God says this, when God passes this verdict on you, He will no longer concern Himself with you. And when God does not concern Himself with you, your heart will be dark in the ensuing days, and you will lack enlightenment and illumination in all that you do, and you will not be at all aware when you pour forth a corrupt disposition, nor will you be disciplined for it. You will go on, numb and dull, and you will feel hollow, and that you have nothing to rely on. Worst of all, you will continue to indulge in your arbitrary, reckless behavior, and you will continue to let your corrupt disposition swell and grow unchecked. That is what will happen. What will be the ultimate consequence of a person acting in this way? When a person forsakes the truth, the consequence they bring upon themselves is that God will not concern Himself with them. Though God may not say anything or clearly indicate anything to you, you will be able to feel it. Based on your thoughts and ideas, your real states, and your attitude toward the truth, it will be clear that your overall condition is one of numbness, dullness, intransigence, and other such manifestations. These things are reflected in people. So, after comparing your real lives and the things that you practice to this, you may want to study or investigate the following: When you have not turned back toward God at all, you may say a great deal of nice-sounding, sweetened words to Him, but what sort of state and condition are you in when you do so? And when you have truly turned yourself around, though you may not pray to God with sweetened or nice-sounding words, and just speak a little from your heart, what sort of state and condition are you in then? The two states are entirely different. God may not clearly indicate anything to people in their daily lives or speak to them in obvious words, but people should be able to feel the work of the Holy Spirit, and everything that He does, and every will that He wishes to express, in their daily lives. Naturally, observers can detect these things, too. A person who was numb and dim-witted may suddenly become smart, or a person who is usually smart may suddenly become numb, dim-witted, and useless. These two conditions or states can occur at the same time in one person, or in different people—this is something that happens quite often. From this, one can see that in many cases, a person being smart or foolish is not about their brain, thoughts, or caliber; it is determined by God. Is that clear? (Yes.) You will never understand these things until you have experienced them. Once you have experienced them, you will know—the deeper your experience of them, the more thorough your understanding will be, and the deeper your appreciation of them will be. God’s will is in His actions; He will not give you an obvious indication of it, nor will He explicitly tell you about it or speak of it to you, but this does not mean that He has no stance on you. It does not mean that God has no views on any of the thoughts, ideas, states, or attitudes that you have. When somebody harbors their own personal intentions and plans when something befalls them, when they clearly pour forth a corrupt disposition—these are exactly the moments when they need to reflect on themselves and seek the truth, and these are also critical moments when God examines that person. Therefore, whether you are able to seek the truth, accept the truth, and truly repent—these are the moments that most reveal a person. At such times, you should admit that you have a corrupt disposition and be willing to truly repent. You should make a sincere declaration to God, rather than being offhanded with Him by saying, “God, I’m sorry. I was wrong.” What God needs from you is not your offhandedness, but an attitude of sincere repentance. If you have difficulties, God will help you, guide you, and lead you step-by-step in turning yourself around, toward the path of accepting and pursuing the truth. Of course, if your repentance merely exists in words, or if you intend to repent and wish to let go of your intents and desires, but you are not sincere about it and do not have the will to do so, God will not force you. When it comes to God, there is no “must” in His attitude toward man; God gives you freedom and God gives you a choice, and He is waiting. What is He waiting for? He is waiting to see what choice you end up making and whether you intend to repent. If you intend to repent, when are you going to do it? How will your repentance manifest? If you intend to repent and are willing to do so, yet you still try to protect your own interests when you act, and you still do not wish to lose your status, then it is clear to see that you are not genuinely repentant, that you are not sincere about it. You just slightly wish to repent, but you are not truly repentant. Will God work in you if you merely intend to repent but are not genuinely repentant? He will not. He will say, “Well, when do you intend to repent?” You will not know. Will God ask you again? No—He will say, “So, you are not genuinely repentant, then. I’ll just wait, then.” You may not intend to repent, you may be unwilling to repent, or to let go of your status and your interests. Fine, then. God gives you freedom, and you can make any choice you like. God will not force you. But there is one fact for you to consider, like the Ninevites, if you do not turn yourself around and repent, what will come of it? You will be destroyed. If, at present, you merely intend to repent, but have taken no real action toward repenting, then God will not concern Himself with you. Why will He not concern Himself with you? God says, “You are not genuine, you do not declare where you stand, and your heart is still wavering.” After a moment’s thought, you may say that you are willing to repent, but that is just a thought of yours, a hollow statement, without any action or any concrete plan. That is why God says, “I will just brush people like you to the side. You are of no concern to Me. Do as you will!” When one day, you realize, “Oh no, I need to repent,” how should you go about it? God will not be fooled by those words of yours and go blindly to work, saying, “He intends to repent, so now I have to bless him, don’t I?” God will not do that. What will He do? He will examine you. You intend to repent, you wish to repent, and your demand for it is a bit stronger than before, but who knows how long it will be before you actually do it. If you haven’t made concrete steps or have no concrete plan to practice repentance, that is not true repentance. You must take real action. Once you have taken real action, God’s work will follow. Are there not principles to God’s work and to His treatment of people? When God goes to work, a person gains enlightenment, their eyes shine, they are able to understand the truth and enter into its reality, and their gains multiply by a hundredfold, a thousandfold. Once this happens, you are truly blessed. So, what foundation must people build upon in order to achieve these things? (The ability to truly repent.) That is right. When people truly let go of their own interests and desires, when they genuinely repent to God—meaning that they stop their evildoing in its tracks; and let go of their evil, and their desires and intentions; and confess to God; and accept God’s requirements and His words—they will then begin to enter into the reality of turning themselves around. Only this is true repentance.
We just fellowshiped on problems that are frequently found in the course of man’s pursuit of the truth, and problems that those who pursue the truth can recognize and come to know. They are the very problems that ought to be resolved. We may not have explained or dissected these problems too much in the past, we may not even have come to any clear conclusions about them, but regarding each of the steps that man experiences in the process of pursuing the truth, and the different behaviors and states that they have during this process, God has corresponding words and work, and He has relevant ways and methods of approaching and resolving them. People can experience and understand a bit of all these things; they should not misunderstand God, or harbor any notions or imaginings about God that do not fit with reality. Moreover, God gives people sufficient freedom and sufficient agency to make choices regarding every step, every way of acting, and every way of practicing that is involved in the pursuit of the truth—He does not compel people. And though these words and requirements are printed in text and spoken of in clear, precise language, still, it is up to every person to make their own free choice as to how they will approach these truths. God does not force people. If you are willing to pursue the truth, then you have hope of being saved. If you are unwilling to pursue the truth, if you do not care about these truths and dismiss them, if you are not interested at all in these ways of practicing the pursuit of the truth—that is fine, too. God will not force you. It is fine, too, if you are merely willing to labor for God. So long as you do not violate the principles, God’s house will let you make your own choice. Although the pursuit of the truth is inextricably linked to attaining salvation and closely connected to it, there is still no shortage of people who are uninterested in pursuing the truth, who have no thoughts about it or intention to do it, nor any plans to. Are these people condemned, then? Not exactly. If these people meet with the requirements of God’s house in the performance of their duties, they can continue performing their duties there. God’s house will not strip you of your right to perform a duty because you do not pursue the truth. But performing one’s duty in this way has, to this day, been classified as “laboring.” “Laboring” is a nice way of putting it, it is the term that God’s house uses, but in fact, it could also simply be called “performing a job.” Some of you may be saying, “When you do a job, you get paid wages.” Yes, you can get wages for doing a job. So, what are your wages? All of the graces that God has given you—those are your wages. And as for the pursuit of the truth, whatever you intend to do, or plan to do, or wish to do, I can tell you clearly now that you are free. You can pursue the truth, that is fine; if you do not, that is fine, too. But the last thing I will tell you is that one can only be saved through pursuing the truth. If you do not pursue the truth, your hope of being saved is nil. That is the fact I would tell you. You must be told this fact, so that it is clearly, expressly, precisely, and distinctly seared into your hearts—so that you may know clearly in your hearts what foundation it is that hope of salvation is built upon. If you are content just to labor, thinking, “Things are fine if I can just perform my duty and not get expelled from God’s house; I don’t have to bother myself with something as hard as pursuing the truth,” will this view of yours stand? Although you still believe in God now, or perform a duty, are you confident that you can follow God unto the end? No matter what, pursuing the truth is a great matter in life, it is more important than marrying and having children, than raising your sons and daughters, than living your life and making your fortune. It is even more important than performing a duty and pursuing a future in God’s house. When all is said and done, pursuing the truth is the most significant thing on a person’s life path. If you have not as yet developed an interest in the pursuit of the truth, no one will pass a verdict on you and say that you will not pursue the truth in the future. I, too, will not pass a verdict on you and say that if you do not pursue the truth now, you will never do it in the future. That is not what is happening. There is no such logical relationship; this is not the fact. No matter what, I do hope that in the near future, or even in this very moment, you can embark on the path of pursuing the truth, and become people who pursue the truth, and number among those who have hope of salvation.