Chapter 20. Only the Pursuit of the Truth Is the True Belief in God
In people’s belief in God, they can all speak of doctrines, saying, “Our views on belief in God must be pure,” “We should obey God,” “We should love God,” “We should loyally perform our duties,” “We must not rebel against God,” and “We must understand ourselves.” Though you have often spoken of these things, you do not understand them. You only understand the words on the surface, but not the spiritual meaning or inner content of the words. Therefore, you have no truth in your hearts. You may have a little understanding, but it is too facile. For those who have believed in God for a long time and have some experiences, they understand in their hearts some simple things, yet they cannot express or apply their understanding. For those who have believed in God for a short time, they can only speak of some doctrines and preach the gospel, but they do not understand the truth at all. Now none of you understand the truth. Do not regard your understanding of doctrines or literal meanings to be an understanding of the truth. Some of those who have believed in God for a long time, who are of good caliber and understand the spirit relatively well, may have a little experience of the truth, but one still cannot say that they understand it. When you speak of understanding, out of ten sentences you utter perhaps two contain true understanding. The rest of what you say is doctrinal, but you feel as though you can now make it—you can preach constantly for several days no matter where you go, always having something to say. When you are done, you want to arrange them into a book and distribute it, to make a “celebrity’s biography” that, once issued, would allow people to eat and drink these words and that would bring benefits to all. People cannot grasp the truth at all, at best understanding the literal meaning. When they have equipped themselves to a certain degree, they feel that they themselves are in possession of the truth, that they are abundant with it, because they are smart and have a good memory, because they often speak about the truth of these aspects such as the work of God, the significance of the incarnation, the mystery of the incarnation, and the methods and steps of God’s work. This is so senseless! In actual fact, you do not understand the truth. Why is it said that you do not understand the truth? One aspect is that you cannot resolve others’ actual problems in their experience, you cannot find the source of these problems, nor can you see through to their essence. Another aspect is that, whatever the problem or issue is, your knowledge of it is only half-baked and ambiguous, and you cannot connect it with the truth.
How do you explain the words “belief in God”? How do you understand this truth? As for one’s view of belief in God, what kind of attitude shows that one’s view is correct, what kind of attitude shows that it is incorrect, and how people should believe in God—have you ever considered these things? In the things you come into contact with in your daily lives, which of them are to do with belief in God and which of them have nothing to do with belief in God—can you speak about these things clearly? Do you understand what kind of person has a real belief, or what kind of person is a real believer? Do you understand the meaning of created beings believing in God? This involves views on belief in God. Some people say: “Belief in God is a good thing and it is the right way. Belief in God is better than any business or career. Belief in God is the greatest thing in the life of man.” “Performing one’s duty for God while believing in God is a practical expression.” “Belief in God is in order to be saved.” “Belief in God is to satisfy His will.” You have all said these things before, haven’t you? Do you really understand these words? No, you haven’t really understood them. A true belief in God is not about believing in Him in order to be saved and is even less about being a good person. It is also not just about believing in God in order to possess a human likeness. In fact, people should not see faith as just a belief that there is a God; it is not that you should merely believe that God is the truth, the way, the life, and nothing more. Nor is it just so you acknowledge God and believe that God is the Ruler over all things, that God is almighty, that God created all things in the world, that God is unique and supreme. It is not merely to have you believe these facts. God’s will is that your whole being and your heart should be given to God and submit to God; that is, you should follow God, allow God to make use of you, be happy to do service for Him, and you should do anything for God. It is not that only those predestined and chosen by God should believe in Him. Actually, all of mankind should worship God, heed Him and obey Him, because mankind was made by God. This now touches on the issue of essence. If you always say, “Don’t we believe in God in order to gain eternal life? Don’t we believe in God in order to be saved?” as though your belief in God is like some kind of peripheral matter, believing merely in order to gain something, then this is not the view you should have of your belief in God. With regard to each and every truth, people should seek, try to figure out and investigate what the inner meaning of the truth is, how to practice that aspect of the truth, and how it can be entered into—these are things people should possess. In all the aspects of truth that you should now possess, you only understand the literal meaning and doctrine, the external appearance, and you do not understand the essence of the truth, as you have not experienced it. For example: There is much truth contained within the aspect of performing one’s duty, there is also much truth contained within the aspect of man’s loving God, and to know themselves, people must understand much truth. There is much truth of the significance and mystery of the incarnation that must also be understood. There is much truth contained within the issues such as how people should conduct themselves, how they should worship God, how they should obey God, what they should do to conform with God’s will and how they should serve God. How do you consider or try to figure out the questions of all these aspects of the truth? There is truth that is especially deep within each and every aspect, and they require people to experience them. If you do not experience them and only ever talk about the surface of the words, never figuring them out from their depths, you will forever live on the surface of the words, and will be incapable of change.
When regular people make comments about those of you who are leaders, you say: “Humph, what makes you qualified to make comments about me? How many sermons can you give? How many people can you lead? What can you do?” It is as if you are qualified. If you carry on this way you will be in trouble; you may serve for a while, but then you will go wrong. As far as all of you are concerned, if the churches in an area were handed over to you and there was no one overseeing you for six months, you would start to go astray. If no one oversaw you for a year, you would lead them away and astray. If two years passed and still no one was overseeing you, you would bring them before you. Why is this? Have you ever considered this question before? Could you be like this? Your knowledge can only provide for people for a certain period of time. As time goes on, if you keep saying the same things, some people will discern that; they’ll say you’re too superficial, too lacking in depth. You’ll have no option but to try and deceive people by preaching on doctrines. If you always carry on like this, those below you will follow your methods, steps, and model of faith and of experiencing and putting into practice those words and doctrines. Ultimately, as you keep on preaching and preaching, they’ll all come to use you as an exemplar. In your leadership of others you speak of doctrines, so those below you will learn doctrines from you, and as things progress you will have taken the wrong path. Those below you will take whatever path you do; they will all learn from you and follow you, so you will feel: “I am powerful now; so many people listen to me, and the church is at my beck and call.” This nature of betrayal within man unconsciously makes you turn God into a mere figurehead, and you yourself then form some sort of denomination. How do various denominations arise? They arise in this way. Just look at the leaders of every denomination—they are all arrogant and self-righteous, and they interpret the Bible out of context and according to their own imagination. They all rely on gifts and erudition to do their work. If they were incapable of preaching anything, would those people follow them? They do, after all, possess some knowledge, and can preach on some doctrine, or know how to win over others and how to use some artifices. They use these to bring people before themselves and deceive them. Nominally, those people believe in God, but in reality they follow their leaders. If they encounter someone preaching the true way, some of them say, “We have to consult our leader about our faith.” Their faith has to go through a human being; is that not a problem? What have those leaders become, then? Have they not become Pharisees, false shepherds, antichrists, and stumbling blocks to people’s acceptance of the true way? Such people are of the same ilk as Paul. Why say this? The epistles written by Paul are almost two thousand years old and they pervaded the entire Age of Grace. People all read these words of his and took his words as the norm, such as suffering, disciplining one’s own body, and receiving the final crown of righteousness. People believed in God in accordance with his words and his doctrines. Wasn’t this a deviation? How much of God’s will could people understand during the Age of Grace? After all, those who followed the Lord Jesus at that time were in the minority, and those who knew Him were even fewer—even several of His disciples did not really know Him. One cannot say that a little light man sees within the pages of the Bible represents God’s will. Much less can it be said that a little enlightenment means an understanding of God. People are arrogant and conceited and they do not hold God in their hearts. With a little doctrinal understanding, they set up for themselves and form many denominations. Fortunately, that was the Age of Grace and God was not strict with man; all the denominations in Jesus’ name were worked on by the Holy Spirit, and all was done by the Holy Spirit apart from occasions where the work of evil spirits was done, so the majority of people still enjoyed God’s grace.
In people’s belief in God, whether they used to follow others or they did not satisfy God’s will, they must ultimately come before God during this final stage. If you have the foundation of having gone through this stage of work, yet you continue to follow others, then you will be unforgivable, and will end up just like Paul. From the start, I used Paul and Peter as examples. Why? These are two distinct paths. If someone in their belief in God doesn’t walk the path of Peter, then they walk the path of Paul. These are the only two paths. No matter whether you are a follower or a leader, it is all the same. If you don’t embark on Peter’s path, then you are walking Paul’s path. It is unavoidable, and there is no third path to walk. If people do not understand the will of God, do not know God, do not seek to understand the truth and cannot obey God absolutely, then in the end they must end up the same as Paul. If you do not seek to know God, do not seek to understand God’s will, but only seek to speak and equip yourself with doctrines, then you can only defy and betray God, because the nature of man is to defy God. Those things that do not conform to the truth are guaranteed to have arisen from the will of man. One cannot say they are still not too bad, despite them not conforming to the truth. Some say: “Although these things are not done in accordance with the truth, I still don’t think they defy God.” If you do anything that is not in accordance with the truth, then it is guaranteed to defy God. If it is not done in accordance with the truth, then it is done in accordance with doctrines and with the will of man. It will have arisen from Satan or from the will of man. This is in defiance of God. Those who do not seek the truth, though they believe in God, are incapable of obeying God and are only capable of defying Him.