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

Paul has another famous phrase—what is it? (“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).) He did not acknowledge the identity of the Lord Jesus Christ, that the Lord Jesus Christ was the incarnate God living on earth, or the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ was the embodiment of God. By contrast, Paul saw himself as Christ. Isn’t that revolting? (It is.) It is revolting, and the essence of this problem is very severe. In Paul’s mind, who exactly was Christ? What was His identity? How could Paul be so obsessed with being Christ? If, in Paul’s mind, Christ was an ordinary person with corrupt dispositions, or an insignificant person who played an unremarkable role, who had no power, no noble identity, and no abilities or skills that surpassed those of ordinary people, would Paul still want to be Christ? (No, he would not.) He certainly would not. He thought of himself as well-educated, and did not want to be an ordinary person, he wanted to be a superhuman, great man, and to surpass others—how could he wish to be a Christ that other people considered humble and insignificant? Given this, what status and role did Christ have in Paul’s heart? What identity and status must someone have, and what authority, power, and bearing must they display in order to be Christ? This exposes what Paul imagined Christ to be, and what he knew about Christ, that is, how he defined Christ. This is why Paul had the ambition and desire to be Christ. There is a certain reason why Paul wanted to be Christ, and it is partly revealed in his letters. Let us analyze several matters. When the Lord Jesus was performing work, He did some things which represented His identity as Christ. These things are symbols and concepts that Paul saw the identity of Christ as possessing. What things were these? (Performing signs and wonders.) Exactly. Those things were Christ healing people of their illnesses, casting out demons, and performing signs, wonders, and miracles. Even though Paul admitted that the Lord Jesus was Christ, it was just because of the signs and wonders that He performed. Therefore, when Paul spread the gospel of the Lord Jesus, he never talked about the words the Lord Jesus spoke, or what He preached. In the eyes of Paul, a nonbeliever, the fact that Christ could say so many things, preach so much, perform so much work, and get so many people to follow Him, lent a certain honor to the Lord Jesus’ identity and status; He had limitless glory and nobleness, making the Lord Jesus’ status among men particularly great and distinguished. This is what Paul saw. From what the Lord Jesus Christ manifested and revealed while performing work, as well as His identity and essence, what Paul saw was not God’s essence, truth, way, or life, nor God’s loveliness or wisdom. What did Paul see? To use a modern turn of phrase, what he saw was the glitter of fame, and he wanted to be a fan of the Lord Jesus. When the Lord Jesus spoke or performed work, so many people listened—how glorious must that have been! This was something that Paul had long-awaited, he coveted the arrival of this moment. He longed for the day when he could preach without end like the Lord Jesus, who had so many people looking at Him in rapt attention, with admiration and longing in their eyes, wanting to follow Him. Paul was bowled over by the Lord Jesus’ impressive bearing. Actually, he was not truly bowled over by it; rather, he envied having an identity and bearing which people looked up to, paid attention to, idolized, and thought highly of. This is what he envied. So how could he achieve it? He did not believe the Lord Jesus Christ achieved these things through His essence and identity, but believed that it was because of His title. Therefore, Paul longed to be a personage, and to have a role, where he could bear the name of Christ. Paul put a lot of effort into getting himself into a role like that, didn’t he? (Yes.) What efforts did he go to? He preached all over the place, and even performed miracles. Ultimately, he used a phrase to define himself which satisfied his inner desires and ambitions. What phrase did he use to define himself? (“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”) To live is Christ. This is the main thing he wanted to accomplish; his chief desire was to be Christ. What connection does this desire have to his personal pursuits and the path he walked? (He revered power, and sought to have people look up to him.) This is a theory; you should speak about some facts. Paul manifested his desire to be Christ in practical ways; My definition of him is not just based on a single phrase that he said. From the style, methods, and principles of his actions, we can see that everything he did revolved around his goal of becoming Christ. This is the root and essence of why Paul said and did so many things. Paul wanted to be Christ, and this influenced his pursuits, his path in life, and his belief. In what ways was this influence manifested? (Paul showed off and testified to himself in all of his work and preaching.) This is one way; Paul showed off at every turn. He made it clear to people how he had suffered, how he did things, and what his intentions were, so that when people heard this, they thought he resembled Christ to a tee, and truly wanted to call him Christ. That was his goal. If people truly did call him Christ, would he have denied it? Would he have rejected it? (No, he would not.) He definitely would not have—he would certainly have been elated. This is one way the influence it had on his pursuits manifested. What other ways were there? (He wrote letters.) Yes, he wrote some letters so that they would be passed down through the ages. In his letters, work, and throughout the process of him shepherding churches, he never once mentioned the Lord Jesus Christ’s name, or did things in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, or exalted the Lord Jesus Christ’s name. What negative effect did him always working and speaking in this way have? How did it influence those who followed the Lord Jesus? It made people deny the Lord Jesus Christ, and Paul took His place. He longed for people to ask, “Who is the Lord Jesus Christ? I’ve never heard of Him. We believe in Paul the Christ.” That way he would be happy. This was his goal, and one of the things he sought after. One way that influence manifested was the way he worked; he rambled on about hollow ideas, and talked endlessly about empty theories to make people see how capable and compelling he was in his work, how much he helped people, and that he had a certain bearing, as though the Lord Jesus Christ had reappeared. Another way that influence manifested was that he never exalted the Lord Jesus Christ, and he certainly did not exalt His name, nor did he testify to the Lord Jesus Christ’s words and work, or how people benefited from them. Did Paul preach sermons about how people should repent? He certainly didn’t do that. Paul never preached about the work the Lord Jesus Christ performed, the words He spoke, or all the truths He taught people—Paul denied these things in his heart. Not only did Paul deny the words the Lord Jesus Christ said and the truths He taught people, but he treated his own words, work, and teachings as the truth. He used these things to replace the words of the Lord Jesus, and made people practice and adhere to his words as though they were the truth. What prompted these manifestations and revelations? (His wish to be Christ.) They were prompted by his intention, desire, and ambition to be Christ. This was closely connected to his practice and pursuits. This is Paul’s sixth sin. Is it a serious one? (Yes, it is.) Actually, all of his sins are serious. They all spell death.

Now I will fellowship on Paul’s seventh sin. This one is even more serious. Before Paul was called by the Lord, he was a believer in Judaism. Judaism is the belief in Jehovah God. What concept do those who believe in Jehovah God have of God? It is of the things their forefathers experienced when Jehovah God led them out of Egypt to the good land of Canaan: how Jehovah God appeared to Moses, how He sent ten plagues down on Egypt, how He used pillars of cloud and fire to lead the Israelites, and how He gave them His laws, and so on. Did those who believed in Judaism at the time think all these things were just fantasy, notions, and legends, or did they think they were facts? At the time, God’s chosen people and those who were true followers believed and acknowledged that God in heaven existed and was real. They thought, “The fact that God created humankind is true. No matter how long ago it happened, this fact remains true. Not only must we believe it, but we must be certain, and share this fact. This is our responsibility and our obligation.” However, another group of people who were nonbelievers felt that these things were likely just legends. No one tried to verify the stories or research whether they were real or fictional, they just half believed them. When they needed God, they hoped He was real and could grant them what they pursued, prayed, and yearned for; when they prayed to God hoping to get something, they hoped this God existed. By doing this, they were just treating God like a psychological crutch. They did not see the fact that God saves man, nor did they accept the truths God expressed. This was not true belief in God; they were already nonbelievers. How did the most inferior type of person manifest themselves? All they did was serve God at church, make offerings to Him, follow all the rituals, and even believe all sorts of legends. However, God was not in their heart, and the God of their notions and imaginings was vague and hollow. What did a person like this believe in? Materialism. They only believed in things they could see. In their eyes, the stuff of legends, vague things, and anything in the spiritual realm that they could not touch with their hands, see with their eyes, or hear with their ears did not exist. Some people say, “Then, do they believe in the existence of things they cannot see, like microorganisms?” They absolutely believe in those things. They absolutely believe in science, electrons, microbiology, and chemistry. Nonbelievers believe those things are true more than anything. They are true materialists. We are talking about this in order to analyze these three types of people: true believers, those who half believe, and materialists who do not believe in the existence of God at all. Some people say, “Is there really a God? Where is He? What does He look like? I heard that God is in the third heaven. So, how high up is the third heaven? How far away is it, and how big is it? People also say there is a heaven, and that it is paved with gold bricks and jade tiles, and that the walls are gold too. How could there be such a wonderful place? It’s nonsense! I heard that in the Age of Law, God gave His laws to His chosen people, and that the tablets of the laws still exist. That’s probably all just legend, something the ruling class uses to control the masses.” Does this group of people have true belief in God? (No, they do not.) They do not believe that God really exists, or the fact that He created humans and has led humankind up until the present day. So, why do they still serve in the church? (Because they treat serving God as a job and a meal ticket.) That’s right. They see it as a job and a meal ticket. So, which type of person was Paul? (The third type.) This is connected to his nature essence. Paul liked to ramble on about empty theories. He liked empty things, vague things and things which are fantasy. He liked things which are deep and hard to grasp, and which can’t be laid out in concrete terms. He liked to overthink things, he was prejudiced and stubborn, and he had a distorted understanding. People like this are not human. This is the sort of person he was. Looking at Paul’s disposition and nature essence, as well as his preferences, hopes, pursuits, and aspirations, although he served in the church and was a student of a famous teacher, the knowledge he learned was just a tool for him to satisfy his own desires, ambitions, and vanity, and to get himself a meal ticket, status, and standing in society. Looking at Paul’s nature essence and pursuits, how much faith did he have in Jehovah? His faith was not a promise, just empty words. He was a nonbeliever, an atheist, and a materialist. Some people ask, “If Paul was a nonbeliever, why did he become the Lord Jesus Christ’s apostle and spread the gospel of the Age of Grace?” Tell Me, how was he able to walk this path? What prompted him? What was the turning point for him that made him take up this role, and made a nonbeliever like him able to walk a path like this, and make a turnabout? What am I referring to when I talk about a “turnabout”? It was when Paul was struck down on the road to Damascus—that was the turnabout of his life. He experienced two kinds of turnabouts: One is that he went from not believing in God to believing that God definitely exists because the Lord Jesus who he had initially been persecuting appeared to him on the road to Damascus. Paul exclaimed, “Who are You, Lord?” Actually, deep down inside, Paul did not believe that this Lord and God existed, but he couldn’t help himself from calling out, “Who are You, Lord?” What did the Lord Jesus say? (“I am Jesus whom you persecute” (Acts 9:5).) The moment the Lord Jesus said that, Paul was convinced of a fact: A Lord had appeared who he had never seen before, was incapable of imagining, and who was more powerful than he could imagine. How was he convinced that the Lord was more powerful than he could imagine? Because when Paul least expected it, the Jesus who he absolutely did not believe to be God appeared right in front of him. How powerful is the Lord Jesus? Paul was convinced of the magnitude of His power when his eyes were blinded by His light. Then, could he be convinced that the Lord Jesus is God? (No.) Why not? (Because Paul didn’t believe God existed in the first place.) That’s right, because he didn’t believe in God’s existence at all. Right now, you all have faith and a foundation in your hearts, so if God were to appear to you, even if it was just His voice or His back, and if He spoke to you or called your name, you would be convinced of a fact: “This is the God I believe in. I have seen Him and I have heard Him. God has approached me.” You would be convinced because you have faith in your heart, you have dreamed of this moment, and you are not afraid. But is this what Paul thought? (No.) He never had faith in his heart. What was his first thought? (Fear.) He was afraid because this entity was capable of striking him down and killing him! This scared and terrified him more than hell, which he couldn’t see. He was scared out of his mind. His heart had no faith in God at all—you could say he had no concept of God. Therefore, when the Lord Jesus did His work, whether it was performing signs and wonders or preaching sermons, no matter how many people followed Him, how impressive He was, or how big a scene it was, in Paul’s mind, the Lord Jesus was nothing more than an ordinary person. He looked down on the Lord Jesus and had no regard for Him. But now, the ordinary Son of man that he looked down on was standing right in front of him, no longer in the body of an ordinary person, and with not just a voice, but a column of light! For him, it was a moment he would never forget in a million years. The light was blinding! How did God strike Paul down? When God approached Paul, Paul was blinded in an instant and fell to the ground. What was going on? Did he fall willingly and of his own volition, or was he already prepared for it? (No, he just couldn’t bear it.) Man’s body is just flesh; it cannot bear it. When God truly approaches you, He will not be in the ordinary physical body that you saw the Lord Jesus in—so pleasant and approachable, so humble and ordinary, made of flesh and blood, someone who seems unremarkable to you, and who you give no second thought. When God truly approaches you, even if He does not strike you down you will not be able to bear it! Deep in Paul’s heart, the first thing he felt was, “I have been approached by the Lord Jesus who I used to persecute and look down on. This light is so powerful!” Did God tell him to bow down? Did He say, “You should bow down”? (No, He didn’t.) Then why was Paul face-down on the ground? (He was scared.) No. Humankind was created by God, and they are so small and weak that when God’s light touches their flesh, they cannot help but fall to the ground. God is too big and strong; He is too much for their capacities and nerves to handle. Paul did not acknowledge the Lord Jesus as God, or as Lord, so why would he bow down of his own accord? He had fallen down flat on his face; he was completely incapacitated and paralyzed. His initial pride, arrogance, cockiness, self-righteousness, and self-importance disappeared in that instant. God did not even appear to Paul in His real person; it was just His light that shone on him, and when Paul saw it, this was the result; this was how much of an impact it had on him. This was Paul’s turnabout. If there was no unique context behind this turnabout, or it was not a special case, then to an ordinary person with humanity and a conscience, who pursues positive things and who pursues the truth, it would be a good thing because when a person sees God, it influences the pursuit of their entire life. Judging from what is recorded in the Bible, throughout the centuries it was rare for a person to hear God speak. Job heard God speak to him in a whirlwind after testing him. Job spent his whole life seeking to submit to God’s arrangements, and to understand God’s sovereignty, but Job never saw God until he was seventy years old; he only experienced His sovereignty, yet Job had the faith that he did. When he heard God speak to him with his own ears, was it not a huge turnabout in his faith? (Yes, it was.) This turnabout was an elevation, a point at which his faith was increased even more. It confirmed to him even more that all the work the God he believed in and submitted to did in people was right and good, and that people should submit to Him. It was not a small turnabout like the average person experiences, where they gradually move from a doubtful faith to true faith free of doubt. Rather, it was an elevation, through which his faith reached a higher plane. With regard to Paul, what turnabout was it that God’s appearance in the form of striking him down should have brought about? Certainly not elevation, because he never believed in God before that, so it couldn’t be called elevation. So, what impact did it have on him? This is yet again connected to his pursuits. Tell Me. (In order to preserve his life, Paul wanted to labor by sharing the gospel to atone for his sins.) That is exactly right. He was afraid of death, too, and he was very slippery. When he found out that the Jesus he had persecuted was actually God, he was scared out of his wits, and thought, “What should I do? All I can do is listen to the Lord’s orders, otherwise I will die!” From that point on, he accepted God’s commission and started to labor by spreading the gospel in order to atone for his sins. He thought, “If I am actually successful in spreading the gospel and the Lord Jesus is satisfied, I might even get a crown and reward!” Those were the calculations deep in his heart. He thought he had finally found a better chance at obtaining blessings. Paul accepted the Lord’s commission in order to atone for his sins and save his life; that was the intention and goal behind him believing in and accepting the Lord. Ever since he met the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus and was struck down, he made a turnabout which marked a new start for his pursuits and life of belief in God. Was this new start positive or negative? (It was negative.) He did not recognize God’s righteousness, and he accepted the Lord Jesus’ commission using a method of transaction that was even more slippery, unspeakable, and underhanded just because he feared God’s majesty and being struck down. This is even more disgusting. However, that is not the point of My fellowship today. From Paul’s turnabout after encountering God’s great light, and the various ways he manifested himself, we can clearly see what path Paul was on, and what sort of a person his nature essence showed him to be. These things are completely clear.

Ever since being struck down, Paul believed that the Lord Jesus Christ existed, and that the Lord Jesus Christ was God. The God he believed in had instantly switched from God in heaven to the Lord Jesus Christ—it had switched to God on the earth. From that moment on, he could not refuse the Lord Jesus’ commission, and began to labor for the incarnate God—the Lord Jesus—unyieldingly. Of course, the goal of his laboring was partly to absolve him of his sins, but it was also partly to satisfy his desire to be blessed, and to obtain the destination he wanted. When Paul said “through the will of God,” did “God” refer to Jehovah or Jesus? He became a bit confused, and thought, “I believe in Jehovah, so why was I struck down by Jesus? Why didn’t Jehovah stop Jesus when He struck me down? Exactly which one of Them is God?” He couldn’t figure it out. Either way, he would never see the Lord Jesus as his God. Even if he acknowledged Him verbally, there was still doubt in his heart. As time went on, he gradually went back to believing that “only Jehovah is God,” so in all of Paul’s letters after that, when he wrote “through the will of God,” “God” likely referred mainly to Jehovah God. Because Paul never clearly stated that the Lord Jesus is Jehovah, always saw the Lord Jesus as God’s Son, referred to Him as the Son, and never said anything like “the Son and the Father are one,” it proves that Paul never recognized the Lord Jesus as the one true God; he was doubtful and only half believed it. Looking at this view he had of God, and his method of pursuit, Paul was not someone who pursued the truth. He never understood the mystery of incarnation, and never recognized the Lord Jesus as the one true God. From this, it’s not hard to tell that Paul was someone who worshiped power and was slippery and crafty. What does the fact that Paul worshiped wickedness, power, and status show us about what his belief was? Did he have true belief? (No.) He had no true belief, so did the God he defined in his heart actually exist? (No.) Then why did he still travel around, expend himself, and do work for the Lord Jesus Christ? (He was controlled by his intention to be blessed.) (He was afraid of being punished.) We have circled back to this point again. It was because he was afraid of being punished, and because he had a thorn in his flesh that he could not remove, so he always had to travel around and do work, lest the thorn in his flesh hurt more than he could bear. From these manifestations of his, from his words, his reaction to what happened on the road to Damascus, and the effect being struck down on the road to Damascus had on him after the fact, we can see that he had no belief in his heart; one can more or less be sure that he was a nonbeliever and an atheist. His perspective was, “Whoever has power, in them I will believe. Whoever has power and can subdue me, for them I will run errands and do my utmost. Whoever can give me a destination, a crown, and satisfy my desire to be blessed, that is who I will follow. I will follow them to the end.” Who was the God in his heart? Anyone could be his God, so long as they were more powerful than him and could subdue him. Was this not Paul’s nature essence? (Yes.) So, who was the entity he eventually believed in who was capable of striking him down on the road to Damascus? (The Lord Jesus Christ.) “The Lord Jesus Christ” was the name he used, but the entity he really believed in was the God in his heart. Where is his God? If you were to ask him, “Where is your God? Is He in the heavens? Is He amongst all created things? Is He the One who is sovereign over all humankind?” he would say, “No, my God is on the road to Damascus.” That’s who his God really was. Is the reason Paul was able to go from persecuting the Lord Jesus Christ to working, expending himself, and even sacrificing his life for the Lord Jesus Christ—the reason he was able to make such a big turnabout—because there was a change in his belief? Was it because his conscience had awakened? (No.) Then what caused it? What changed? His psychological crutch changed. Before, his psychological crutch was in the heavens; it was an empty, vague thing. If it were replaced with Jesus Christ, Paul would think He was too insignificant—Jesus was just a regular person, He couldn’t be a psychological crutch—and Paul had even less regard for famous religious figures. Paul just wanted to find someone he could rely on, who was capable of subduing him and making him blessed. He thought that the entity he encountered on the road to Damascus was the mightiest, and that that was the one he should believe in. His psychological crutch changed at the same time as his belief changed. Based on this, did Paul truly believe in God or not? (No.) Let’s summarize, now, in one sentence what influenced Paul’s pursuits and the road he was on. (His psychological crutch.) Then, how should we define Paul’s seventh sin? In all respects, Paul’s belief was a psychological crutch; it was empty and vague. He was a nonbeliever and an atheist through and through. Why didn’t an atheist and nonbeliever like him leave the religious world behind? For one thing, in his vague imagination there was the issue of destination. For another, there was the issue of him having a meal ticket in life. Fame, gain, status, and a meal ticket were his pursuits in life, and the idea of having a destination after death was a comfort to him. These things constitute every root and crutch behind what people like this pursue and reveal, and of the path they walk. From this perspective, what was Paul? (A nonbeliever. He believed in a vague God.) (An atheist.) It is accurate to say he was an atheist, and that he was a nonbeliever and an opportunist who lurked in Christianity. If you just call him a Pharisee, isn’t that an understatement? If you look at the letters Paul wrote, and see that on the surface they say “through the will of God,” you might assume that Paul viewed the God in heaven as the highest, and that it was only because of people’s notions, or because they were ignorant and didn’t understand God, that they divided God into three levels: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and that that is just man’s foolishness, and it is not a very serious problem, because the entire religious world thinks that way, too. However, now, after analyzing it is this the case? (No, it’s not.) Paul didn’t even acknowledge the existence of God. This is an atheist and a nonbeliever, and he should be put under the same umbrella as atheists and unbelievers.

I have finished summarizing Paul’s seven sins. Give Me a brief summary of what they are. (The first sin, is that Paul treated the pursuit of a crown of righteousness and the pursuit of blessings as appropriate objectives; the second, is that Paul treated his imaginings and the things he thought were right in his own notions as the truth, and preached them everywhere, misleading people; the third, is that Paul treated his gifts and knowledge as life; the fourth, is that Paul denied the identity and essence of the Lord Jesus Christ, and denied the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption; the fifth, is that Paul preached “There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,” and openly incited and misled people, making them try to force God’s hand, clamor against Him, and oppose Him; the sixth, is that Paul believed that for him to live was Christ. He denied the truths that the Lord Jesus expressed, replaced the Lord Jesus’ words with his own, and made people practice and adhere to them. Paul’s seventh sin, is that he treated belief in God as a psychological crutch, and was an atheist and a nonbeliever through and through.) Our analysis of these issues Paul had is so detailed, that it can make everyone who worships Paul come to their senses. This is meaningful. Out of these dispositions and essences that Paul revealed and manifested, and his personal methods of pursuit, which of them has obvious correlations to you? (All of them do.) The first sin is treating the pursuit of a crown of righteousness and the pursuit of blessings as appropriate objectives. Why do I say this is wrong, and that people should reflect on it and change it? When Paul pursued a crown of righteousness, pursued blessings, and sought to enter the kingdom of heaven, he considered the pursuit of these benefits as appropriate. So, what revelations and manifestations do you have in real life that match this state? (Sometimes I seek to do important work and make contributions to God’s house. I think that by pursuing these things, God will ultimately perfect me. I treat the work I do and the duties I perform as a list of achievements.) This is one part of it. Treating the duties you perform as a list of achievements is the same as pursuing a crown of righteousness; it is the same sort of thing; it is the same state. That is what you work and suffer for. That is what directs the source of your suffering, and the motivation for your suffering. If you did not have these things directing you, you would not have any energy; you would be utterly spent. Does anyone have anything else? (Treating past instances when I gave things up, expended myself, suffered, was arrested and spent time in jail, and things like that as personal capital, and as a basis and reason for being blessed.) This is just a description. What is the underlying state, here? What sort of situation makes you fall into this state? You wouldn’t think this way for no reason. There’s no way you’d always be thinking this when you’re eating, sleeping, or doing things in the day-to-day. You need to know what backgrounds and situations put you into this state. Tell Me. (When I am slightly effective in my duties, I think I have traveled around for God, expended myself for Him, labored and done a lot for Him. Just like Paul, I think I have fought the good fight for God, and made a contribution. This is when my ambitions and desires rear their heads.) Actually, you were not originally without ambitions and desires; they were hidden inside your heart right from the beginning, and now they are coming to the surface and revealing themselves. When this happens, you are no longer humble, your words are not indirect, and you become cocky. Paul’s incorrect views were at the root of everything he did. Because the views underlying his belief in God were wrong, it ensured the root of his actions was wrong. He didn’t realize this, however, and even thought it was appropriate, so he pursued in an incorrect direction. This caused the result of his pursuits to be the opposite of what he intended; they did not have a good result, and he did not gain the truth. People now are the same way. If the views and direction guiding your pursuit are always wrong, but you still treat them as correct methods of pursuit, then what will you ultimately gain? It will likely disappoint you or inflate your nature. For example, if God blesses you in a special way, or bestows something upon you alone, you will think, “Look, God is gracious toward me. This proves that God approves of everything I have done. God has accepted it. My sacrifices and effort were not in vain. God does not treat people unfairly.” This is how you understand God not treating people unfairly, His blessings, and acceptance, but this understanding is wrong and distorted. The key, now, is how to transform these wrong and distorted intentions, views, and pursuits into correct and pure views and thoughts. Only doing things according to correct thoughts and views constitutes practicing the truth, and it is the only way you can gain the truth. This is the key.

By listening to sermons frequently, people are now beginning to reflect on themselves, and compare themselves to God’s words. They are starting to recognize problems they have performing their duties, and are able to detect abnormal states, extravagant desires, and revelations of corruption within themselves. They are not completely unperceptive. The only problem, is when they detect they are in the wrong state, or are revealing corruption, they don’t have the ability to restrain it, and do not seek the truth to resolve it. Sometimes they live according to satanic philosophies, not offending anyone, and think they’re pretty good. However, they haven’t changed in any real way; they have muddled about wasting their days, and as a result, have no real experiential testimony to speak of even after believing in God for a decade, and feel ashamed. The key problem that needs to be resolved now, is how to change the incorrect direction of your pursuits. You are clear that the path of pursuing the truth is correct, yet you insist on pursuing fame, gain, and status. How can this problem be turned around so that you are able to get onto the path of pursuing the truth? This is a real problem that believers must resolve. You should fellowship often about how you experience God’s work, and see who has experiential testimony of pursuing the truth, and whose experiential testimony is good, then accept it and follow suit, so that you benefit from it and break free from the constraints of your corrupt disposition. It is no easy thing to walk the path of pursuing the truth—you must understand yourself, and not just understand your transgressions; the most important thing is to understand your corrupt disposition, what is wrong about your preferences and pursuits, and what consequences could result. This is the most crucial thing. The majority of people pursue fame, gain, and status. Every day, they think about how to become a leader, how to make other people look up to them, how they can show off, and how to live a dignified life. If people are incapable of reflecting on these things, cannot see the essence of living this way clearly, and keep muddling along until who knows how many years later when they hit a brick wall, stumble and finally come to their senses, won’t it delay the important matter of their life’s growth? Only by taking a clear look at their own corrupt disposition and the path they have chosen can people step onto the path of pursuing the truth. If this is the effect they want to achieve, isn’t it crucial to understand themselves? Some people don’t understand themselves in the slightest, yet have crystal clear insight into the smallest detail of others’ issues, and are particularly discerning. So, when they discern others, why don’t they use it as a mirror to examine themselves? If you always say other people are arrogant, self-righteous, deceitful, and don’t submit to the truth, but cannot see that you are the same way, then you are in trouble. If you never perceive your own problems, and no matter how many sermons on the truth you hear, while you understand what you hear, you don’t compare yourself to it, are not willing to examine your state, and are incapable of seriously handling and resolving your own problems, then you will have no life entry. If people are always incapable of entering into the truth realities, will they not have an empty feeling in their hearts? They will not sense what work God has done in them, as though they had no perception. They will always be in a foggy state, and their pursuits will not be aimed toward a correct objective or direction. They will just pursue according to their own preferences, and walk their own path. This is just like Paul, only putting importance on pursuing rewards and a crown, and not accepting or practicing the truth at all. If your mind is always in a vague state, and you do not have a correct path of pursuit, then you have not achieved any effect after listening to sermons for several years, and the true way has never taken root in your heart. Although you may know how to talk about a lot of doctrine, it is incapable of resolving your negative state or corrupt disposition at all. When you encounter any sort of difficulty, the doctrine you understand will not help you overcome it, or smoothly go through it; it will not help you change or correct your state, let you live with a sense of conscience, give you freedom and liberation, or stop you from being constrained by anything. You have never been in a state like this before, so it proves that you fundamentally have not entered into the truth realities. If you want to enter into the truth realities, understand God’s words, achieve true faith in God, know God, and be sure that God truly exists, then you must compare your state to God’s words, and then find a path to practice and entry in God’s words. Some people read God’s words and want to compare themselves to it, but no matter how hard they try, they aren’t able to. For example, when God exposes that man’s disposition is too arrogant, they think, “I’m very humble and stay in the background. I’m not arrogant.” What is this arrogance God talks about? It is a kind of disposition, not the manifestation of a haughty personality, or speaking in a loud voice or in a particularly cocky way. Rather, it refers to something in your disposition—it is a disposition where you do not yield to anything, and are disdainful of, look down on, and care nothing for everything. You are arrogant, conceited, self-righteous, always think you are capable, and do not listen to anyone. Even if you hear words of the truth you care nothing for them and see the truth as unimportant. You don’t think it’s a problem when you reveal a corrupt disposition, and even think that no one can match you, always thinking you are better than everyone else, and demanding that others listen to you. This is an arrogant, self-righteous person. People like this have no life entry, and no truth realities.

How should one evaluate whether a person has truth realities? Of course, an accurate appraisal must be made according to God’s words. First, look at whether you truly understand yourself, and whether you truly understand your corrupt disposition. For example, is your disposition arrogant? Do you reveal an arrogant disposition when doing things? If you don’t know, then you are someone who does not understand themselves. If a person cannot see their state clearly, hasn’t the slightest understanding of the corruption they reveal, does not base their words and actions on the truth, is not discerning in situations they encounter, and blindly applies the regulations when looking at every matter, but does not know if it’s right or wrong, then they are someone who has no understanding of the truth. If you understand the truth, you will be able to understand yourself, know that you have an arrogant disposition, be able to discern your true state, truly repent and change, and know how to practice the truth. However, if you do not pursue the truth, have no understanding of the practical side of the truth of God’s words, do not reflect on people’s corrupt essences which God exposes, or compare yourself to them, then you will forever be a muddleheaded person. Only the truth can make you discerning, and make you able to differentiate between right and wrong, and black and white; only the truth can make you smart and rational, give you wisdom, and give you the ability to clearly distinguish between what positive things are and what negative things are. If you cannot clearly distinguish between these things, you will forever be a muddleheaded person; you will always be in a muddled, clueless, and mixed-up state. People like this have no way of understanding the truth, and no matter how many years they believe in God, they are still unable to enter into the truth realities. If their laboring is not up to standard, then all that is left for them is to be eliminated. For example, a highly renowned person does something, and most people see it as a good thing, but if someone who understands the truth looks at it, they will have discernment, and determine that evil intentions are concealed within their actions—that it is fake goodness, tricks, and deception, and that only an evil person or a devil king could do something like that. What is the basis for saying this? The essence of this “good thing” was determined according to the truth. No matter what other people say, only by using the truth to evaluate it can you see its essence clearly: If it’s good, then it’s good; if it’s bad, then it’s bad. Evaluating it according to God’s words will absolutely be accurate. However, if you do not understand the truth, notions will arise in you, and you will say, “Why are they being exposed and condemned for doing something good? They’re not being treated fairly!” This is how you will evaluate it. The truth is not your basis for evaluating this matter, but rather things imagined up by your mind. If you always view things according to human notions and imaginings, you will never be able to see the essence of problems clearly; you will only be misled by outward appearances. When you don’t have the truth, no matter what you are looking at, your view will always be muddled, hazy, foggy, and unclear, yet you think you have insight and depth of thought. This is a lack of self-knowledge. For example, if God says a person is evil and should be punished, but you say they are a good person and have done good things, aren’t your words in exact opposition and contrary to God’s words? This is what happens when people do not understand the truth, and do not have discernment. Some people have believed in God for many years, but do not understand the truth. They are not meticulous in any matter, and there are many matters which they cannot see clearly. They are easily misled by false leaders and antichrists; no matter what situation arises, so long as there is an evil person causing a disturbance, they get all mixed up and speak as the evil person would without realizing it. It is only when the evil person is exposed and revealed that they come to their senses. People like this often live in a clueless frame of mind, and their essence is that of a muddleheaded person. People like this haven’t an ounce of caliber; not only do they not understand the truth, but they can be misled at any time, and so they have no way of entering into the truth realities. Every church has some people like this—when a false leader does work, they follow them; when an antichrist is misleading people, they follow them. In short, they will follow the leader whoever that person is; they are like a woman who follows her husband in whatever he does. If the leader is a good person, then they follow a good person; if the leader is a bad person, then they follow a bad person. They do not have their own opinions or standpoints. Therefore, don’t expect this sort of person to be able to understand the truth or enter into reality. It’s already good if they can labor a little. The Holy Spirit works in people who love the truth. People who love the truth are all people of caliber who are at least able to understand God’s words, and understand the sermons and fellowship of God’s house. No matter how many heresies and fallacies the religious world disseminates and spreads, and no matter how the wicked force of antichrists defames, condemns, and persecutes the church, people who love the truth are still convinced that God’s words are the truth, and believe that the sermons, fellowship, and experiential testimony of God’s house are in line with the truth and are real testimonies. That is what it means to have comprehension ability. If you realize that all the words God speaks are the truth and the life realities that people should possess, this realization proves that you already understand part of the truth. If you comprehend that all of the truths God expresses are positive things and are truth realities, and you are positive this is the case and acknowledge one hundred percent that this is the case, then you have understanding of God’s work. It’s no easy thing to understand the truth; it is something only people enlightened by the Holy Spirit can achieve. Those who truly understand the truth already acknowledge deep in their hearts that everything God has done is positive, that it is all truth, and that it is all so precious to humankind. People who truly understand the truth can clearly see that everything in the world of unbelievers is negative, and goes against the truth. No matter how good their theories sound, they mislead and harm people. Everything God does is positive, is the truth, and is salvation for people. Everything Satan and devils do is negative, erroneous, and absurd, and misleads and harms people; it is the exact opposite of what God does. If you are completely clear on this, then you have discernment. If you are also able to pursue the truth, accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, understand yourself through God’s words and compare yourself to them, see your corruption as it truly is, resolve the corrupt dispositions you reveal in every circumstance God creates for you, and are ultimately able to not just understand yourself, but also to be discerning toward others, and can discern between who truly believes in God, who is a nonbeliever, who is a false leader, who is an antichrist, and who misleads people—if you are able to accurately evaluate and discern these things—it means you understand the truth and have some reality. Say, for example, that your relatives or parents are believers in God, and because of evildoing, creating disturbances, or not having any acceptance of the truth, they are cleared out. However, you are not discerning toward them, don’t know why they were cleared out, feel extremely upset, and are always complaining that God’s house has no love and is not fair to people. You should pray to God and seek the truth, then evaluate just what kind of people these relatives are based on God’s words. If you truly understand the truth, you will be able to accurately define them, and you will see that everything God does is right, and that He is a righteous God. Then, you will have no complaints, will be able to submit to God’s arrangements, and will not try to defend your relatives or parents. The point here is not to sever your kinship; it is just to define what kind of people they are, and make it so that you are discerning toward them, and know why they were eliminated. If these things are truly clear to you in your heart, and your views are correct and in line with the truth, then you will be able to stand on the same side as God, and your views on the matter will be fully compatible with God’s words. If you are not able to accept the truth or view people according to God’s words, and still side with relationships and perspectives of the flesh when viewing people, then you will never be able to cast off this fleshly relationship, and will still treat these people as your kin—closer even than your brothers and sisters at church, in which case there will be a contradiction between God’s words and your views toward your family in this matter—a conflict, even, and in such circumstances, it would be impossible for you to stand on the side of God, and you would have notions and misunderstandings about God. Thus, if people are to achieve compatibility with God, first of all, their views on matters must be in line with God’s words; they must be able to view people and things based on God’s words, accept that God’s words are the truth, and be able to put aside the traditional notions of man. Regardless of what person or matter you are faced with, you must be able to maintain the same perspectives and views as God, and your perspectives and views must be in harmony with the truth. This way, your views and the way you approach people will not be hostile to God, and you will be capable of submission to God and compatibility with God. Such people could never possibly resist God again; they are the very people that God wishes to gain.

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