94. Why is it that believers must pursue the truth to achieve salvation and be perfected?
The Answer from God’s Word:
Many people say: “I believe in God and I follow in this way, so I’m bound to obtain something. I do not seek the truth but I follow until the end, and I use all my strength to expend effort and to abandon things in the course of my duties. Even if I commit some transgressions, I can still obtain something.” They do not know what they are saying. With so much corruption within people, how can they change if they do not seek the truth? With the degree of corruption man has, if there is no protection from God, then one can falter and betray God at any time. Do you believe that? Even if you force yourself, you still cannot make it to the end because the final stage is to make a group of overcomers; can it be as easy as you imagine? In the end it is not necessary for people to change 100 percent or 80 percent, but at least there needs to be a 30 or 40 percent change; at the very least you must dig out the things that are embedded deep inside you and change them, and you can reach God’s requirement of 30 to 40 percent, or better yet reach a 60 to 70 percent change, meaning that you possess some truth within you, that you have some things that are compatible with God within you, and that when you encounter some issues it will not be easy for you to resist God, and it will not be easy to offend God’s disposition. In this way, in the end, you will be perfected, and be commended. Some people always think: “Isn’t believing in God just attending meetings, singing songs, listening to the word of God, praying, doing some duties? Isn’t that what it’s like?” No matter how long you have been believers in God, you still haven’t understood thoroughly the significance of belief in God. In fact, the significance of belief in God is incredibly deep, and people have not thought thoroughly about it. In the end, the things within people that are of Satan, and the things of their nature must change, and must become compatible with the requirements of the truth; only this is truly achieving salvation. If you are like what you were in the religion—just shouting some words of doctrine or shouting some slogans, and then doing some actions and good behaviors, and not committing certain sins, not committing the obvious sins—this still does not mean that you have entered onto the right track of believing in God. Just because you can abide by the rules, does that mean you are walking the correct path? Does this mean you have chosen correctly? If the things within your nature have not changed and in the end you are still resisting God and offending God, then this is the largest of problems. If you believe in God but do not resolve this problem, then can you be considered as having been saved? What does it mean, Me saying this? It is to make you all understand in your hearts that a belief in God cannot be separated from God’s words, from God, or from the truth. You must choose your path well, put effort into the truth and put effort into God’s words. Do not just have some half-baked knowledge and then consider yourself done, or just understand them more or less. If you go about things in a slapdash way, you will only hurt yourself.
from “Those Who Have Lost the Work of the Holy Spirit Are Most at Risk” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Some people say: “In my belief in God, I don’t drag my feet in my church life, performing my duty, spreading the gospel, reading God’s word, or my spiritual life. This is all enough—what truth do I need to pursue! I don’t usually commit sins or resist God; I am not an antichrist and stay far away from the wicked. I don’t need to pursue the truth. I just need some simple, regimented things to guide me, to help me, and that will be fine. I don’t need to go too deeply into pursuing the truth.” Is this perspective right or wrong? (It’s wrong.) What’s wrong with it? (Because only by gaining the truth can one gain everything, be saved by God, and be blessed by Him.) Now some people have some vague awareness of this in their hearts. They have realized how important the truth is to mankind’s salvation. However, can this awareness take root? It depends on how your pursuit is in the future. It’s a good thing that you have this awareness now, that you have recognized pursuing the truth is very important. For example, when you are negative, when you are weak, if you do not have the truth to hold you up, can you become strong? Can you overcome your weakness? Can you recognize and dissect why you are weak and why you are negative? (No.) You certainly can’t! For example, when you perform your duty and muddle through it, if you do not seek the truth, are you able to resolve that aspect of your corruption? Can you be faithful to God? You can’t, right? If people want to understand themselves and resolve their own corruption and arrogance, are they able to achieve resolution if they do not seek the truth? They can’t. People always have notions about God and they use their own notions and imaginations to measure Him. Can this be resolved without the truth? It cannot be resolved that way. So, when we encounter many things, including things in our lives, if we are not equipped with the truth and do not seek the truth, and even more lack understanding of the truth and do not know what the truth or His will that God has expressed are in this aspect, how will we face the things that happen around us? A slightly better person might rely on some words that they grasp during normal times, or some rules or human methods that they have learned to resolve this. Can this replace using the truth to resolve problems? It can’t, right? If we don’t seek the truth, one could say that in everything in our lives, we will have no principles, no paths, particularly no goals or any direction. If that is the case, every single thing we do in our lives will be in resistance to God and will be betrayal of Him. When we are in resistance to and betrayal of God, then what will everything we do be like? Won’t they be cursed by God? Won’t they be disgusted by God? Won’t they be things that God judges and chastises?
from “The Importance and the Path of Pursuing the Truth” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Only by seeking the truth can you obtain changes in your disposition: This is something you must understand and understand thoroughly. If you do not understand the truth enough, you will easily slip up and go astray. … If you really understand the truth about the life of man, if you understand the truth of what kind of person to be, how to be an aboveboard and straightforward person, an honest person, how to be someone who bears witness for God and serves Him, then you can never again do evil things that defy God or play the role of an antichrist or a false shepherd. Even if someone were to entice you, you still couldn’t do it; even if they forced you, you still couldn’t act that way. This is because you have the truth inside you, you are able to loathe evil, to feel disgust within for negative things, and it would be difficult to do these things, because your disposition has changed. If you really have the truth within you, the path you walk will naturally be the correct path. Without the truth, it is easy to do evil and you would not be able to help yourself. For example, if you have arrogance and conceit inside you, it will be impossible to not defy God, but instead you would be made to defy Him. You wouldn’t do it on purpose; you would do it under the domination of your arrogant and conceited nature. Your arrogance and conceit would make you look down on God, it would make you see God as being of no account, it would make you exalt yourself, it would make you constantly put yourself on display and finally it would make you sit in God’s place and bear witness for yourself. In the end you would make your own ideas, your own thinking and your own conceptions into truths to be worshiped. See how much evil is done by people under the dominance of their arrogant and conceited nature! To resolve their doing of evil, one must first resolve the problem of their nature. Without a change in disposition, it is not possible to fundamentally resolve this problem. When you have some understanding of God, when you can see man’s corruption and recognize the arrogance and conceit that is contemptible and ugly, you will then feel disgusted, sickened and distressed. You will be able to consciously do some things to satisfy God and in doing this will feel gratification. You will be able to consciously bear witness for God and in doing this will feel enjoyment. You will consciously unmask yourself and expose your own ugliness, and by doing this you will feel well within yourself and your state of mind will be bettered. So the first step to seeking a change in your disposition is to seek to understand God’s word and to enter into the truth. Only by understanding the truth can you have discernment; only with discernment can you understand things thoroughly; only by understanding things thoroughly can you forsake the flesh and, step by step, you will walk the right track of belief in God. This is connected with how resolute man is when seeking the truth. If someone has a true resolution, after six months or a year they will begin to enter onto the right track, they will see results within three or five years, and they will feel that they are making progress in life. If you believe in God but do not seek the truth, then you can believe for 10 years and not experience any change, in the end saying, “Believing in God is like this, there is no great meaning to it; it is pretty much the same as my life in the world before. There is no interest in living.” This really shows that without the truth, life is empty. You may be able to speak some words of doctrine, but you will still feel uncomforted and unsure. If you have some understanding about God, if you know how to live a meaningful life, if you can do some things that satisfy God, then you will feel that this is real life, that only by living in this way does your life have meaning, that one must live in this way to be able to satisfy God a little and to feel gratified.
from “Only by Seeking the Truth Can You Obtain Changes in Your Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks