How to Identify the Nature Essence of Paul (Part One)

You have fellowshipped for quite a long time on the section of God’s words titled “Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks.” What issues does it discuss, and what truths does it concern? (It concerns the path man walks as a believer.) The topic mainly revolves around the paths Peter and Paul took, am I right? After fellowshipping for such a long time, I am sure you have gained something from it—probably many things. You must summarize the gist of the sermons you have listened to during this period of time, then sort out the main threads of this, and go experience in line with this way of thinking, and the important things and threads you have summarized. This will help you with how to experience God’s work, how to perform your duty properly, and how to testify well in real life. I hope that after you finish summarizing, your life entry and spiritual stature will take a big step forward. So, when you summarize the truth realities that you were supposed to understand from that chapter, will you begin with Paul’s experience, or Peter’s? (Paul’s.) Why? (By reflecting on ourselves based on the reasons that Paul failed, we will know whether we are on Paul’s path. Then, we will look at what sort of path Peter was on, so that we have a goal and a direction in which to pursue.) Actually, that is how it should be. Draw lessons and summarize the experiences from everything Paul went through and the road he followed. Understand what road he was on, why God demands believers to follow the right path, and what the right path is. If you can follow the path of pursuing the truth, you will be able to avoid walking astray in real-life situations, as well as while you are experiencing God’s work during the performance of your duty. You will also be able to avoid disrupting God’s work, mistakenly falling onto the wrong path, or ultimately ending up bringing punishment upon yourself, like Paul did.

Now, in light of Paul’s experiences, let’s sum up the characteristics of the road he took, the way he believed in God, and the goals and direction he pursued. We will first look at the quality of Paul’s humanity and his disposition from these angles. Judging from Paul’s life and the stories about what happened to him, there are a few aspects to his disposition: arrogance, self-righteousness, deceitfulness, hatred of the truth, wickedness, and ferocity. No matter how many main aspects of Paul’s disposition people are able to see or summarize, if you only talk about these aspects of his disposition, you will probably feel it is quite hollow, am I right? When you mention these aspects of his disposition, are they tied to his pursuits, the direction of his life, and the path he followed as a believer? When you talk about his arrogance, do you have any facts to back it up? What makes you see him as arrogant? What makes you see him as deceitful? What makes you see him as having hatred of the truth? If you only summarize the essence of these aspects of his disposition and do not talk about his pursuits, the direction of his life, and the path he followed as a believer, then they are hollow words, and will not have any positive or beneficial use for people now. It is better to speak from the perspective of Paul’s pursuits and his path. It is no simple matter to understand a person’s essence. A person’s nature essence cannot be deduced when they do nothing, or just do a few unimportant things. You must look at how they regularly reveal themselves and the intention and motivation behind their actions, that is, look at their pursuits, desires, and the path they follow. An even more important aspect, is to look at how a person handles it when they are faced with a situation that God has designed for them, or when God does something to them personally, like trying them, refining them, and pruning them, or when God personally illuminates and guides them. God mainly looks at these aspects. What do these aspects pertain to? They pertain to the principles by which a person acts, lives, conducts themselves and interacts with the world, as well as the goals and direction they pursue, the path they follow, how they live, what they live by, and the foundation of their existence. This is what they pertain to. That is why I say that if we avoid all these things and just talk about Paul’s nature essence, no matter how much we say or how comprehensive we are, they are just hollow words. If we want to look at Paul’s essence from every aspect of who he is, and help people today, or give them a mirror in which to view themselves, then we must first summarize the path that Paul followed, the goals he pursued, the foundation of their existence, and his attitude toward God. If we dissect every aspect of his disposition by approaching it from these angles, then do we not have a basis? Fellowshipping and summarizing in this way, is partially so that you will be able to see Paul more clearly, but mainly so that when people today face God’s salvation and sovereignty, they will know how to approach it, and how they should pursue the truth, so that they can avoid following in Paul’s footsteps and avoid ending up being punished like him. This is the most effective method.

When you look at all the ways Paul presented himself, you should be able to see his nature essence, and be fully capable of concluding that the direction, goals, source, and motivation for his pursuits were wrong, and that these things were rebellious and resistant to God, displeased Him, and were loathed by God. What is the first main way Paul presented himself? (He labored and worked in exchange for a crown.) Where did you see him present himself in this way, or see that he was in this state? (Through his words.) Through his famous sayings. Usually, famous sayings are positive, and are helpful and beneficial to those with resolution, hope, and aspiration; they can encourage and motivate such people, but what was the function of Paul’s famous sayings? He had many. Can you recite one of his more famous ones? (“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:7–8).) What aspect of his nature essence do these words represent? How should we define it according to the truth? (Arrogant, self-righteous, and making a deal with God.) It was his arrogant nature that prompted him to say these words—he would not run the race, work, or even believe in God if there was not a crown at the end of it. After listening to so many sermons, people now should be able to recognize this manifestation and this state that Paul revealed, but can you define it? When we say “summarize,” we mean to define something; the words you use to define something are true understanding. When you can accurately define something, it proves that you see the matter clearly; when you cannot define something and only copy other people’s definitions, it proves you do not truly understand it. What mindset or state prompted Paul to speak those words at that moment? What intention made him do it? What is the essence of his pursuits that these words show you? (To gain blessings.) He ran hard, expended himself and gave so much of himself because his intention was to gain blessings. That was his nature essence, and what resided in the innermost place of his heart. Just now, while you were dissecting the issue, you said that Paul was making a deal with God. What attitude in Paul does this represent? Right now we are trying to summarize Paul’s truest attitude toward a crown, getting blessings, and believing in God; we are not trying to summarize whether Paul was making a deal with God and whether he was a true believer. Tell Me again. (He did not love the truth and was disdainful.) This is not an attitude; it is part of his disposition. Right now we are talking about his attitude. (He was greedy.) This is an aspect of his nature essence, just like his intention to gain blessings, and his desire. What is an attitude? For example, I say that eating spicy things all the time is bad for the stomach, and someone replies, “I know that eating spicy food is bad, but I like to eat spicy food! What can I eat if I don’t eat spicy food?” I respond, “For the sake of your health, so long as you don’t eat anything spicy, I will give you five dollars every meal to buy something else to eat.” Then, they are really happy, and say, “Okay then, I won’t eat spicy food!” A deal has been struck and they keep to it. But why are they able to keep themselves from eating spicy food? It is actually because of the money. If I did not give them money, they would not be able to control themselves; they would keep eating spicy food just like before. They’ve stopped eating spicy food only because there is something to gain from it—money. This is their attitude. This is what is concealed deep within their heart. Have they stopped eating spicy food because they are practicing the truth, doing as they were told, or doing it in order to please God? (No.) No, it is for none of those reasons. They have not restrained themselves from eating spicy food because they are practicing the truth, or with an eye to their health; their attitude is perfunctory and superficial; they view it as a transaction, and are doing it to curry favor. If they do not achieve their objective and do not receive the money, they will go back to eating what they want, and may even eat more than before. This may not be the most fitting example, but what similarities are there when we compare it to Paul? (It is similar to how Paul was motivated by obtaining blessings and struck a deal with God.) Paul saw fighting the good fight, running the race, working, expending himself, and even watering the church as chips he could use in exchange for the crown of righteousness, and as paths toward it. So, no matter whether he suffered, expended himself, or ran the race, no matter how much he suffered, the only goal in his mind was to obtain the crown of righteousness. He treated pursuing the crown of righteousness and pursuing blessings as the appropriate objective of believing in God, and suffering, expending himself, working, and running the race as paths toward it. All of his outwardly good behavior was done for show; he did it in exchange for getting blessings in the very end. This is the first of Paul’s major sins.

Everything Paul said and did, what he revealed, the intention and goal of both his work and the race he ran, as well as his attitude toward both—is there anything about these things that is in keeping with the truth? (No, there is not.) There is nothing in him that is in keeping with the truth, and nothing he did was in line with what the Lord Jesus instructed people to do, but did he reflect on this? (No, he did not.) He never reflected on it at all, nor did he seek, so what basis did he have for assuming his thinking was correct? (His notions and imaginings.) There is an issue with this; how could he make something he imagined the goal that he would pursue for his entire life? Did he ever give it any consideration or ask himself, “Is what I think correct? Other people do not think this way, just me. Is this a problem?” Not only did he not have these doubts, but he wrote his thoughts in letters and sent them to all the churches, so that everyone could read them. What is the nature of this behavior? There is a problem with this; why did he never question whether his thinking was in line with the truth, seek the truth, or compare it to what the Lord Jesus said? Instead, he treated what he imagined, and what he thought was right in his notions as the goals he should pursue. What is the problem here? He treated what he imagined and what he thought was right as the truth, and as a goal to be pursued. Is this not exceedingly arrogant and self-righteous? Did God still have a place in his heart? Was he still able to treat God’s words as the truth? If he was unable to treat God’s words as the truth, then what would be his attitude toward God? Did he want to be God as well? If not, he would not treat what he imagined in his own thoughts and notions as goals which he should pursue, nor would he pursue his notions or what he imagined as if they were the truth. He believed that what he thought was the truth, and that it was in line with the truth and God’s will. He also shared what he thought was correct with the brothers and sisters in the churches, and instilled it in them, making everyone abide by the ridiculous things he said; he replaced the Lord Jesus’ words with his own, and used these ridiculous words of his to testify that for him to live is Christ. Is this not the second major sin that Paul had? This problem is extremely severe!

There have been many people throughout the ages that resemble Paul, so why do we use Paul as a classic example? Because he is recorded in the Bible, and the heresies and fallacies he said, as well as he himself, have a huge impact on all Christians. You could say that the harm he has caused is too great. There are so many people who have been misled and poisoned by him. Not only has he poisoned many generations of people, but the poison goes deep. How deep? (All Christians see him as a role model and imitate him; they practice his words as if they were God’s.) If you fellowship on Christ’s words and God’s words, no one makes much of a deal about it. But when you fellowship on Paul’s words, they immediately sit up and listen. What does this mean? (That they treat Paul like Christ.) When people treat Paul like Christ, he has taken the Lord Jesus Christ’s place in their hearts. Is this not a sin of extreme proportions? (It is.) Paul is the biggest antichrist in history! The intention of his words is exceedingly obvious; his goals and insidiousness are clearly on display; his essence is exceedingly insidious and poisonous. The nature of this is severely problematic! That is why I had to bring it up and dissect it. If I did not, people would continue to be misled by him. However, if I was going to dissect Paul’s issues, I’d to make him serve a better purpose for people today, as an example of what not to do. Just now we summarized two of Paul’s sins. What was the first? (Paul treated work and running the race as chips that he could trade in for a crown. He viewed obtaining blessings and a crown as an appropriate goal that he should be pursuing.) That is correct. Paul’s biggest problem was that he treated these things as goals he should pursue. From the start, it was a transaction that carried with it rebelliousness and a wicked nature, but Paul treated it as an appropriate goal to pursue. This is the most severe problem. What was the second? (Paul treated the things he imagined, and that he thought were right in his notions, as the truth. He never reflected on this or sought concerning it; instead, he misled people, and made the brothers and sisters adhere to his words and absurd theories, making people treat him like Christ.) This is a particularly serious issue. Make accurate note of these issues; after we are finished summarizing them, you should compare yourselves to them. When we discuss a topic, we must first talk about that particular aspect of the truth, then make comparisons. Dissecting how Paul displayed himself serves as a warning to everyone, as well as tells people that they should choose the correct path, then find an accurate path of practice and avoid following in Paul’s footsteps. Then, you will be completely effective.

Paul has another serious sin, and that is that he did his work completely on the basis of his mental caliber, academic knowledge, theological knowledge and theory. This is something which pertains to his nature essence. You should summarize this, and then examine what his attitude is toward these things. This is a very crucial and important sin, and one that people must understand. Ponder for a moment on which of Paul’s manifestations this sin involves; look at what his nature essence is through these manifestations, and get a clear picture of what he placed importance on deep down inside, what his goals are. His intention and goals are at the root of why he started down the wrong path. These are the most important things for you to understand clearly. What gifts did Paul have? (Paul had a good grasp of a lot of biblical knowledge from the Age of Law.) Only the Old Testament existed at that time. Paul was familiar with these scriptures, and was very knowledgeable about them, like the theological teachers, pastors, preachers, and fathers of today. His theological knowledge may even have been broader than theirs, but he learned it after he was born into the world. What did Paul possess from birth? (His innate abilities.) Paul was naturally smart, good at speaking, expressed himself well, and did not get stage fright. Let us focus now on talking about his innate abilities, gifts, intelligence, capabilities, as well as the knowledge he learned throughout his life. What does the fact that he was good at speaking mean? In what way did he reveal and present himself? He liked to ramble on about lofty theories; he constantly talked about profound spiritual doctrine, theories and knowledge, and his famous texts and sayings that people often mention. What is one word that sums up Paul’s words? (Empty.) Are empty words constructive for people? When they hear those words, they feel emboldened, but after a while their gusto fades away. The things Paul talked about were vague and illusory, things you cannot really lay out in concrete terms. In the theories he talked about, you cannot find any path to practice, or direction in which to practice; you cannot find anything you can accurately apply to real life—whether theories or foundations, none are applicable to real life. That is why I say that the religious theories and spiritual doctrine he talked about were empty, impractical words. What was Paul’s goal in talking about these things? Some people say, “He always talked about these things because he wanted to suck more people in, and make them revere and look up to him. He wanted to take the place of the Lord Jesus and win over more people, so that he would be blessed.” Is this the topic that we want to talk about today? (No, it is not.) It is exceedingly normal for a person who has not been pruned, has not been judged or chastised, has not gone through trials or refinement, who has gifts like his, and has the nature essence of an antichrist to show off like this and exhibit the behavior he did, so we will not delve into this matter. What are we going to delve into? The essence of this problem of his, the root cause and motivation behind him doing these things, and what prompted him to act this way. No matter whether people today would view all the things he talked about as doctrine, theories, theological knowledge, innate gifts, or his own interpretation of things, generally speaking, Paul’s biggest problem was that he treated things that came from human will as the truth. That is why he had the guts to use these theological theories decisively, boldly, and openly to suck people in and teach them. This is the essence of the problem. Is this a serious problem? (Yes, it is.) What things did he treat as the truth? The gifts he was born with, as well as the knowledge and theological theories he learned throughout life. His theological theories were learned from teachers, from reading the scriptures, and also generated from what he understood and imagined. He treated the notions and imaginings of his human understanding as the truth, but this was not the most serious problem, there was one even greater. He treated those things as the truth, but did he think at the time that those things were the truth? Did he have a concept of what the truth was? (No, he did not.) Then what did he treat those things as? (As life.) He treated all of those things as life. He thought that the more sermons he could preach, or the more lofty, the greater his life would be. He treated those things as life. Is this a serious matter? (Yes, it is serious.) What impact did this have? (It had an impact on the path he followed.) This is one side of it. What else? (He thought that obtaining these things would bring him salvation and allow him to enter the kingdom of heaven.) It still has to do with obtaining blessings; he thought that the greater his life was, the greater his chances of entering the kingdom of heaven and ascending to heaven. What is another way of saying “ascending to heaven”? (To reign and wield power alongside God.) His purpose in entering the kingdom of heaven was to reign and wield power alongside God, but this was not his ultimate goal, he had one more. He talked about it. How did he put it? (“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).) He said for him to live is Christ, and to die is gain. What does this mean? That he will turn into God after he dies? His ambition knows no limits! His problem is so severe! So, is it wrong for us to dissect Paul’s case? Not at all. He should never have treated his gifts and the knowledge he learned as life. This is his third major sin. You can see Paul’s nature essence in any one of these three sins. The characteristics of his nature essence are exposed in each of the sins; nothing is hidden or left out. His nature essence is represented in all of them.

Next, we will look at Paul’s most crucial and severe problems, which are most representative of him. In the letters Paul wrote, what words did he often use? Go and look at what the original text of the Bible says, and we will analyze and dissect it, see what was actually in his mind, and why God loathed and hated him. Why did someone as famous and instrumental to the work of the early churches as Paul end up being punished? How did God evaluate Paul in His mind? How did God see him? Why did God evaluate him in this way, and pass the verdict that He did? On what basis did God ultimately define Paul and determine his outcome? List all of these things out so that people can see the facts of how he resisted God, so they will not think he was wrongfully condemned. When people do not understand the truth, they are the most prone to defining people based on outward appearances. What is people’s basis for defining others according to their outward appearance? Part of it is traditional culture and societal teachings. Another part is education in the home, black-and-white ideas and concepts, and ideas and concepts of right and wrong. Yet another part is the education in schools. Together, these things constitute an entirely satanic system of education. The consequence of Satan instilling these things in people is that people define this as good, that as bad, this as right, and that as wrong according to their own notions and preferences. What is the basis for all these definitions people have? In actuality, they are based on satanic theories and philosophies; these bases that people have absolutely do not come from God or from the truth. That is why corrupted humans are wrong no matter how they define a person or event—it has no connection with the truth, and is not in line with God’s will; it has nothing to do with God or His words. God passes verdicts on people and events according to His disposition and essence. What is God’s disposition and essence? It is the truth. The truth is the expression of all positive things, and the reality of all positive things. God passes verdicts on everything in existence, and all the people, events, and things that people come into contact with, in accordance with the truth. God bases His verdicts about people on their nature essence, what motivates their actions, the path they are walking, and their attitude toward positive things and the truth. This is the basis for God’s conclusions. God’s verdicts on all things accord with the truth. What is Satan’s basis for defining all things? (Its own logic.) Satanic philosophy and logic, which is exactly opposite to the truth. All of humanity is corrupted by Satan. Humans do not have the truth; they represent Satan and embody it. They define all things in accordance with satanic philosophies and logic. Therefore, what conclusions do they reach when they define things? Conclusions that are exactly opposite, and in opposition, to the truth. Have you found the words that Paul often used in his letters? Read them out. (“Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God” (1 Corinthians 1:1).) See? This is how Paul ranks God and Christ: “Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God.” Where is Paul in this ranking? (Third.) In Paul’s mind, who is number one? (God.) And number two? (The Lord Jesus.) Jesus Christ. Who is third? (Paul himself.) It is himself. “Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God.” Paul used this phrase often, and it is a loaded phrase. For starters, we know that Paul is an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. So, from Paul’s perspective, who is the Lord Jesus Christ? He is the Son of man, and second to the God in heaven. No matter whether he called the Lord Jesus Christ Master or called Him the Lord, from Paul’s perspective, the Christ on earth was not God, but rather a man who could teach people and get them to follow Him. What was Paul’s function as an apostle of a man such as this? To share the gospel, visit churches, preach sermons, and write letters. He believed he was doing these things on behalf of the Lord Jesus Christ. In his heart, he thought, “I will help You by going where You are not able to go, and I will take a look on Your behalf at the places You do not want to go.” This was Paul’s concept of an apostle. The ranking in his mind, was that both he and the Lord Jesus were regular people. He saw himself and the Lord Jesus Christ as equals, as human beings. In his mind, there was essentially no difference between their positions, nor was there a difference in their identities, let alone their ministries. Only their names, ages, family circumstances and backgrounds were different, and they had different external gifts and knowledge. In Paul’s mind, he was the same as the Lord Jesus Christ in every other way, and could be called the Son of man, too. The only reason he was second to the Lord Jesus Christ was because he was the apostle of the Lord Jesus; he exercised the Lord Jesus Christ’s power, and was sent to visit churches and do church work by the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what Paul believed his position and identity was as an apostle—this is how he interpreted it. Also, the second word at the beginning of the phrase, “Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ” is “called.” From this word we can see Paul’s mindset. Why did he use the six words “called … through the will of God”? He did not think that he was called by the Lord Jesus Christ to be His apostle; he thought, “The Lord Jesus Christ does not have the power to order me to do anything. I am not doing as He commanded; I am not doing anything for Him. Rather, I am doing these things through the will of God in heaven. I am the same as the Lord Jesus Christ.” This indicates another thing—Paul thought he was a Son of man, just like the Lord Jesus Christ. The six words “called … through the will of God” reveal how Paul denied and doubted the identity of the Lord Jesus Christ in the depths of his heart. Paul said he was an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ through the will of God, that God told him to, he was ordained and established by God, and that he became an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ because God called him and willed it. In Paul’s mind, that was the relationship between himself and the Lord Jesus Christ. However, this is not even the worst part of it. What is the worst part? That Paul thought he was the Lord Jesus Christ’s apostle through God’s will, not the Lord Jesus Christ’s, that it was not the Lord Jesus who called him, but God in heaven who made him do it. He thought no one had the power or qualifications to make him an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, that only God in heaven had that power, and that he was being guided directly by God in heaven. So, what does this indicate? That deep in Paul’s heart, he believed that God in heaven was number one, and he himself was number two. So where did he put the Lord Jesus? (In the same position as himself.) This is the problem. With his lips, he proclaimed that the Lord Jesus was the Christ, but he did not recognize that Christ’s essence was that of God; he did not understand the relationship between Christ and God. It was this lack of understanding that caused such a severe problem. In what way was it severe? (He did not admit that the Lord Jesus was God incarnate. He denied the Lord Jesus.) Yes, that is really severe. He denied that the Lord Jesus Christ was God become flesh, that the Lord Jesus Christ was the flesh of God when He had come down from heaven to earth, and that the Lord Jesus was God’s incarnated flesh. Does this not imply that Paul denied the existence of the God on earth? (Yes, it does.) If he denied the existence of the God on earth, then could he acknowledge the Lord Jesus’ words? (No, he could not.) If he did not acknowledge His words, then could he accept it? (No, he could not.) He did not accept the Lord Jesus Christ’s words, teachings, or identity, so could he accept the Lord Jesus Christ’s work? (No, he could not.) He did not accept the work the Lord Jesus Christ did, or the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ was God, yet this was not the worst part. What was the worst part? Two thousand years ago, the Lord Jesus came to earth to do the biggest work of all—the work of redemption in the Age of Grace, where He was incarnated and became the likeness of sinful flesh, and was nailed to the cross as a sin offering for all mankind. Was this a big work? (Yes, it was.) It was the work of redeeming all mankind, and it was done by God Himself, yet Paul stubbornly denied it. He denied that the work of redemption the Lord Jesus did was done by God Himself, which was denying the fact that God had already accomplished the work of redemption. Is this a serious problem? It is extremely serious! Not only did Paul not seek to understand the fact of the Lord Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, but he did not admit it, and to not admit it is to deny it. He did not admit that it was God who was crucified and redeemed all mankind, nor did he admit that God served as a sin offering for all mankind. This implies that he did not admit that all of mankind was redeemed after God did His work, or that their sins were pardoned. At the same time, he thought that his sins had not been pardoned. He did not admit the fact that the Lord Jesus redeemed mankind. From his standpoint, that had all been erased. This is the most serious issue. Just now, I mentioned that Paul was the biggest antichrist in the past two thousand years; this fact has already been revealed. If these facts had not been recorded in the Bible, and God said that Paul defied God and was an antichrist, would people believe it? They absolutely would not. Thankfully, the Bible kept a record of Paul’s letters, and there is factual proof here in those letters; otherwise, there would be nothing to back up what I am saying, and you may not accept it. Now, when we bring Paul’s words out and read them, how did Paul view all the things the Lord Jesus said? He thought the things the Lord Jesus said were not equal to even one of Paul’s own religious doctrines. So, after the Lord Jesus had left this world, although Paul spread the gospel, worked, preached, and shepherded churches, he never preached the Lord Jesus’ words, let alone practiced or experienced them. Instead, he preached his own understanding of the Old Testament, which was out-of-date and empty words. For the last two thousand years, those who believe in the Lord do so in accordance with the Bible, and everything they accept is Paul’s empty theories. As a result, people have been in the dark for two thousand years. If you say to a group of religious people today that Paul was wrong, they will protest and will not accept it, because they all look up to Paul. Paul is their idol and their founding father, and they are Paul’s filial sons and descendants. To what extent have they been misled? They are already standing on the same side as Paul in opposition to God; they have the same views as Paul, the same nature essence, and the same method of pursuit. They have been thoroughly assimilated by Paul. This is Paul’s fourth major sin. Paul denied the Lord Jesus Christ’s identity, and he denied the work God did in the Age of Grace after the Age of Law. This is the most serious thing. Another serious thing is that he put himself in the same league as the Lord Jesus Christ. In the age Paul lived in, he met the Lord Jesus Christ but did not see Him as God; instead, he treated the Lord Jesus Christ as a regular person, as though He was just another member of the human race; a man who had the same nature essence as corrupted humans. In no way did Paul treat the Lord Jesus as the Christ, let alone treat Him as God. This is a very serious matter. So why would Paul do this? (He did not recognize that God incarnate possessed the essence of God, so he did not treat the Lord Jesus Christ as God.) (He did not see the Lord Jesus’ words as the truth, nor see that the Lord Jesus Christ was the embodiment of the truth.) (On the surface, Paul professed to believe in the Lord Jesus, but what he actually believed in was a vague God in heaven.) (He did not seek the truth, so he was incapable of realizing that Christ was the truth and the life.) Keep going. (Paul said that for him to live was Christ. He wanted to become God and replace the Lord Jesus.) Everything you have said lines up with the facts. Each of the ways in which Paul manifested himself, and each of his sins, were more severe than that which came before.

Let us analyze this phrase Paul said: “There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.” These are impressive words. Look at the words he chose: “a crown of righteousness.” Usually, it is quite bold to use the word “crown” itself, but who would dare use “righteousness” as an attributive expression to define a crown? Only Paul would dare to use this word. Why did he use it? This word has an origin, and it was carefully chosen; there are deep connotations behind his words! What connotations? (He was trying to force God’s hand with this word.) Wanting to force God’s hand is one aspect of it. His intention was definitely to make a transaction, and there’s an element of trying to set conditions with God to it too. Besides this, was there a purpose behind why he always preached about this crown of righteousness? (He wanted to misguide people, and make them think that if he did not get a crown, God was not righteous.) There’s an inciting and misleading quality to him preaching about this, and this is connected to Paul’s desires and ambitions. In order to ultimately materialize and fulfill his desire of obtaining a crown of righteousness, he used the tactic of preaching about it everywhere. In part, his goal in preaching these words was to incite and mislead people; it was to instill a particular thought in those listening, namely, “Someone like me who expends so much of himself, who travels around so much, and pursues the way I do will be able to get a crown of righteousness.” After listening to this, people naturally felt that God was only righteous if a person like Paul received a crown. They felt that they must pursue, travel around, and expend themselves like Paul did, that they could not listen to the Lord Jesus, and that Paul was the benchmark, he was the Lord, and he was the direction and the goal toward which people should walk. They also thought that if people did things the way Paul did, they would get the same crown, outcome, and destination as him. In one respect, Paul was inciting and misleading people. In another respect, he had a most sinister goal. Deep in his heart, he thought, “In the unlikely circumstances that I do not get a crown, where it turns out to just have been my own imagining and my own wishful thinking, this will mean that everyone who believes in Christ, including myself, was misguided in their faith. It will mean that no God exists on earth, and I will also deny Your existence in heaven too, God, and You won’t be able to do anything about it!” What he was implying was: “If I do not get this crown, not only will the brothers and sisters deny You, but I will prevent You from gaining all the people I have incited and who know these words. I will also prevent them from gaining You, and at the same time, I will deny Your existence as God in heaven. You are not righteous. If I, Paul, cannot get a crown, no one should!” This was the sinister part of Paul. Is this not the behavior of an antichrist? This is the behavior of an antichrist demon: inciting, misleading, and enticing people, as well as openly clamoring against God and opposing Him. Deep in his heart, Paul thought, “If I do not get a crown, God is not righteous. If I get a crown, only then is it a crown of righteousness, and only then is God’s righteousness truly righteous.” This is the origin of his “crown of righteousness.” What was he doing by this? He was openly inciting and misleading those who followed God. At the same time, he was using these methods to openly clamor against and oppose God. In other words, his behavior was one of revolt. What was its nature? On the surface, the words Paul used seem genteel and proper, and there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with them—who would not believe in God in order to get a crown of righteousness and be blessed? Even people with no caliber, at the very least, believe in God in order to get into heaven. They would be happy even if they were asked to sweep the streets or to guard a gate there. Having this intention and objective in one’s belief in God can be considered proper and understandable. However, that was not Paul’s only objective. He put in a lot of effort, spent a lot of energy, and made a lot of fuss when it came to him preaching about his crown of righteousness. The things Paul said exposed his malicious nature, as well as hidden, dark things deep within himself. At the time, Paul made a big name for himself and there were many people who idolized him. He went around everywhere preaching these theories and high-sounding ideas, his notions and imaginings, as well as the things he had learned in his studies, and the things he had deduced using his mind. When Paul preached these things everywhere, how big of an impact must it have had on people back then, and how severely must it have harmed and poisoned them deep in their hearts? Also, how big of an impact has it had on the people in later generations who learned these things from his letters? People who have read his words cannot rid themselves of these things no matter how long they try—they have been poisoned too deeply! How deep? A phenomenon has appeared, called the “Paul Effect.” What is the Paul Effect? There is a phenomenon in religion where people are influenced by Paul’s thoughts, views, arguments, and the corrupt dispositions he revealed. It particularly affects people whose families have believed in God for several generations—families who have followed Christ for many decades. They say, “Our family has believed in the Lord for generations, and does not follow worldly trends. We have distanced ourselves from the secular world, and given up our families and careers to expend ourselves for God. Everything we do is the same as Paul did. If we do not receive crowns or get into heaven, we will have a bone to pick with God when He comes.” Don’t people make this argument? (Yes, they do.) And this trend is quite significant. Where does this trend come from? (From what Paul preached.) It is the malignant result of the tumor Paul planted. If Paul did not incite people like this, and did not always say, “There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness” and “To me to live is Christ,” then without the backdrop of that era of history, people now would not have any knowledge of those things. Even if they had that way of thinking, they would not have Paul’s gall. It was all due to Paul’s encouragement and incitement. If there comes a day when they are not blessed, these people will have the boldness to openly challenge the Lord Jesus, and will even want to march up to the third heaven and dispute this matter with the Lord. Is this not the religious world revolting against the Lord Jesus? It is clear that the religious world has been severely impacted by Paul! Now that I have talked up to this point, you can conclude what Paul’s fifth sin was, can’t you? When it comes to summarizing the origin of the “crown of righteousness” Paul spoke of, the focus is on the word “righteousness.” Why did he mention “righteousness”? On earth, it was because he wanted to incite and mislead God’s chosen people, so they would think the way he did. In heaven, he wanted to force God’s hand with this word, and clamor against Him. This was Paul’s goal. Although he never vocalized this, the word “righteousness” already completely betrayed his goal and inclination to clamor against God. It was already out in the open; these are all facts. Based on these facts, can Paul’s nature essence be summed up just as being arrogant, self-righteous, deceitful, and not loving the truth? (No.) These terms cannot sum it up. By Me bringing up these facts and dissecting, analyzing, and defining them, you should be able to see Paul’s nature essence more clearly and thoroughly. This is the effect that is achieved by analyzing an essence based on the facts. When Paul clamored against God, he was not having a minor emotional moment, a bit of a rebellious disposition, or an inability to submit, in private. This was not an average problem of revealing a corrupt disposition; rather, it had escalated to openly using all sorts of methods to incite and mislead people through letters and in public settings, so that everyone rose up together in anger to oppose and clamor against God. Not only did Paul clamor against God, but he incited everyone else to come clamor against God too—he was not just arrogant, he was a devil! This sin is more serious than the last. Is it a good thing or a bad thing that we are talking about increasingly serious sins? (It is good.) How is it good? (Because we are gaining more discernment of Paul.) When you have more discernment, you will be able to thoroughly unearth and clearly see Paul’s various manifestations, revelations of corruption, and his true face. By doing this will you have achieved our goal? (No, we won’t have.) You should take all the manifestations of Paul that we have summarized, as well as their main content, themes, and essence, and connect them to yourself and those around you. When you have seen clearly exactly how big a difference there is between the path you walk and your own essence compared with Paul’s, you will have completely achieved results, and you will have achieved our goal of dissecting Paul. There are some who say, “There aren’t any manifestations of Paul’s pursuit of a crown of righteousness in me.” Your manifestations and your essence may not be as severe as those of Paul, but there is some overlap between your essence and his. He possessed manifestations like this, and you possess states like this. It can be said that Paul’s manifestations were a 10 or a 12 on the scale, so what about you? (I’m at a seven or an eight.) Paul revealed these things at all times, and was filled with these things at all times. While you may not reveal these things all the time, you still reveal them often. You probably spend half your life doing these things, and living in these states. Especially when God puts you in trials, when God’s work does not match your notions, when He prunes you, and when the environments He orchestrates for you do not meet your expectations, it may give rise to these sorts of states within you; you might clamor against God and oppose Him. At times like that, our analysis of how Paul incited and misled people could be of use to you. Why? Because now, your mind is aware of how severe Paul’s manifestations were in nature; they were not simple revelations of corrupt dispositions, but rather a devilish nature essence that opposes God. When states like this arise in you, you will know just how serious this problem is. You should then turn back, repent, and abandon this incorrect state. You should walk away from it, seek the truth, and seek a path of submission to God. That is the true path that humans should follow, and the law that created beings should hold to. This fellowship is of help to people.

Would you like to learn God’s words and rely on God to receive His blessing and solve the difficulties on your way? Click the button to contact us.

Connect with us on Messenger