One Cannot Be Saved by Believing in Religion or Engaging in Religious Ceremony (Part Two)

What, exactly, is faith in God? Is belief in religion equivalent to faith in God? To believe in religion is to follow Satan; to believe in God is to follow God—and only those who follow Christ are those who truly believe in God. Someone who does not accept the words of God as their life in the slightest is not a genuine believer in God. They are a nonbeliever, and no matter how many years they believe in God, it is of no use. If a believer in God merely engages in religious rituals but does not practice the truth, then they are not a believer in God, and God does not acknowledge them. What do you need to possess, if God is to acknowledge you as His follower? Do you know the standards by which God measures a person? God evaluates whether you do everything according to His requirements, and whether you practice and submit to the truth based on His words. This is the standard by which God measures a person. God’s measurement isn’t based on how many years you have believed in Him, how far you have traveled, how many good behaviors you have, or how many words and doctrines you understand. He measures you based on whether you pursue the truth and what path you choose. Many people verbally believe in God and praise Him, but in their hearts, they do not love the words God says. They are not interested in the truth. They always believe that living according to the philosophies of Satan or various worldly theories is what normal people do, that this is how one can protect themselves, and that this is how to live with value in the world. Are these people who believe in God and follow Him? No, they are not. The words of great and renowned people sound particularly sagacious and can easily mislead others. You may hold onto their words as truths or mottos to abide by. But if, when it comes to the words of God, to an ordinary requirement He has for people, such as being an honest person, or amenably and scrupulously keeping one’s place, performing their duty as a created being and having a steady and honest comportment, you cannot put these words into practice and do not regard them as truths, then you are not a follower of God. You claim to be practicing the truth, but if God asks you, “Are the ‘truths’ you’re practicing God’s words? Are the principles you uphold based on God’s words?”—how would you account for yourself? If your basis isn’t God’s words, then it’s Satan’s words. You’re living out Satan’s words and yet you claim to be practicing the truth and satisfying God. Isn’t that blaspheming against God? God instructs people to be honest, for example, yet some people do not ponder over what being an honest person really entails, how to practice being an honest person, what things they live out and reveal are dishonest, nor what things they live out and reveal are honest. Instead of pondering the essence of the truth in God’s words, they turn to the books of unbelievers. They think, “The sayings of unbelievers are pretty good, too—they also teach people to be good! For example, ‘The good have peaceful lives,’ ‘Guileless people ever prevail,’ ‘Forgiving others is not foolish, it brings benefits afterward.’ These statements are right, too, and align with the truth!” So, they adhere to these words. What kind of person can they live as by abiding by these adages of unbelievers? Can they live out the truth reality? (No, they cannot.) Aren’t there many people like this? They acquire some knowledge; they’ve read a few books and a few famous works; they’ve gained some perspective, and heard a few famous sayings and folk proverbs, then they take these as the truth, acting and performing their duty according to these words, applying them to their lives as believers in God and thinking they are satisfying God’s heart. Isn’t this substituting falsehood for the truth? Isn’t this dealing in deception? To God, this is blasphemy! These things manifest in every person, in no small number. For someone who treats the pleasing words and correct doctrines from among the people as truths to uphold, while putting God’s words to one side and disregarding them, failing to internalize them no matter how many times they are read, or to consider God’s words as the truth, are they a believer in God? Are they a follower of God? (No.) Such people believe in religion; they are still following Satan! They believe that the words spoken by Satan are philosophical, that they are greatly profound and classic. They consider them to be famous sayings of utmost truth. No matter what else they give up, they cannot let go of those words. To abandon those words would be like losing their life’s foundation, like hollowing out their heart. What kind of people are these? They are followers of Satan, and that is why they accept Satan’s famous sayings as the truth. Can you dissect and recognize the various states you find yourself in within different contexts? As an example, some people believe in God and often read His words, but when things befall them, they always say, “My mother said,” “My grandfather said,” “So-and-so famous person once said,” or “Such-and-such book says.” They never say, “God’s word says this,” “God’s requirements for us are like that,” “God says this.” They never speak these words. Are they following God? (No, they are not.) Are these states easy for people to discover? No, they’re not, but their existence in people is to their great detriment. You may have believed in God for three, five, eight, or ten years, yet still not know how to submit to God or practice God’s words. No matter what happens to you, you still take satanic words as your basis; you still seek a basis in traditional culture. Is that faith in God? Aren’t you following Satan? You live by satanic words and live by satanic dispositions, so aren’t you resisting God? Since you don’t practice or live by God’s word, don’t follow God’s footsteps, can’t heed whatever God says, and can’t submit no matter what God orchestrates or requires, you are not following God. You are still following Satan. Where is Satan? Satan is in people’s hearts. The philosophies, logic and rules, and the various devilish words of Satan have long since taken root in people’s hearts. This is the most serious problem. If you cannot resolve this problem in your faith in God, then you will not be able to be saved by God. Therefore, you must often hold up all you do, your thoughts and views, and your basis for doing things against God’s words for comparison, and dissect the things in your thoughts. You must know which of the things inside you are philosophies for worldly dealings, popular adages, traditional culture, as well as which have come from intellectual knowledge. You must know which of these you always believe to be right and in accordance with the truth, which you abide by as if they were the truth, and which you allow to take the place of the truth. You must dissect these things. In particular, if you treat the things you believe are right and precious as the truth, it is not easy to see through them—but if you do see through them, you will have broken through a major obstacle. These things are impediments to people’s understanding God’s words, practicing the truth, and submitting to God. If you spend all day bewildered and at loose ends, and don’t consider these things or focus on solving these problems, then they are the root of your malaise, poison in your heart. If they are not removed, you will be incapable of truly following God, and unable to practice the truth or submit to God, and have no way to attain salvation.

Now that we’ve fellowshipped about these things, have you thought of the states, ideas, or biased viewpoints within yourselves that contradict God’s intentions, God’s requirements, and the truth, yet which you have regarded as truth and practiced and upheld as such? (I had a point of view that as a person, one should strive to be good, someone whom everyone likes and wants to associate with. When I didn’t understand the truth, I thought this pursuit seemed justified and correct. But now, measuring it with the truth, I realize that a person like that is a people pleaser. Especially after reading God’s exposure about deceitful people, I discerned that I had deceitful intentions in doing this, trying in all things to maintain my own reputation and status by catering to others, giving them false impressions and misleading them. Sometimes, I even sacrificed the interests of God’s house to please others. I was not a good person at all, nor did I possess the likeness of a genuine person. When I discovered these things, I desired to seek the truth, to be an honest person according to God’s requirements, rather than being a people pleaser. I wanted to be someone who speaks factually and truthfully, who is straightforward in everything, for this is in alignment with God’s will.) (I’ve noticed over this period that I focused on changes in outward behavior. For example, when some brothers and sisters told me I was arrogant and not easy to cooperate with, I would try to be accommodating and discuss things with them in a gentle, friendly way. I did whatever they told me, and if I saw anyone make a mistake while performing their duty, I would not point it out, instead maintaining peace and harmony. While listening to God’s fellowship just now, I saw that I was not acting by God’s words. I was acting by Satan’s philosophies for worldly dealings. I was using my good outward behavior to mislead others, when in fact, my corrupt disposition had not been cast off. I wasn’t one who pursued the truth, and I wasted a lot of time.) You are now able to perceive and be aware of a few wrong viewpoints and practices from the past, but it’s taxing for you when you practice the truth. Having recognized and perceived these states, what are your thoughts and feelings about the plight of corrupt mankind? Have you sensed that this corrupt mankind is firmly and tightly controlled by Satan? Have you become aware of this? (Yes.) When did you become aware of it? (When I wanted to practice the truth, Satan’s nature controlled and imprisoned me within. I struggled in my heart but could not practice the truth, as if I were wearing a kind of shackle. It was agonizing.) Did you feel then that Satan is extremely hateful? Or did you become numb over time and unable to muster hatred anymore? (I could feel that Satan is hateful.) Have you realized the extreme necessity of God’s work of saving mankind? Can you perceive that the words and truths God expresses, including those that expose mankind, are all realities, without a single phrase that isn’t real, and that they all completely correspond to the facts and are the words that mankind needs most in order to receive the truth and be saved? Mankind is in desperate need of God’s salvation! If God had not come incarnate to do His work, if God had not expressed so many truths, where could mankind find the path to salvation? All reliance on Satan and evil spirits for signs and wonders will lead to ruin. People who live by Satan’s philosophies, logic, and laws are all targets for destruction. Are you now aware of this? If you are merely aware of it, that is not enough. That is merely a heart yearning for God’s salvation. But whether you can accept the truth, and can accept judgment and chastisement, and can cast off your corrupt disposition—these are the crucial questions. Those who believe in God must love the truth and positive things, and they must also hate evil and anything that comes from Satan. They must focus on self-reflection and understanding themselves, and on discerning revelations of their own corrupt disposition. They must see clearly that their nature essence is hideous and wicked, in opposition to God and detested by God, and be capable of feeling repulsed by themselves and detesting themselves from their hearts. Only then can they have the determination and strength to break free from and cast off the bondage and constraints of Satan’s nature, and practice the truth and submit to God. Without this determination, you will find it difficult to practice the truth, even if you’re required to do so. People must struggle half to death amid such states as bondage, manipulation, torture, ravaging, and abuse of their corrupt disposition. Only when one feels the pain of this can they hate Satan and have the resolve and determination to change all of this. Only when they have endured enough suffering can they develop determination and have the motivation to pursue the truth and break free from all of this. If you feel that the things of Satan are pretty good, that they can satisfy the flesh and fulfill people’s notions and imaginings, their extravagant desires, and their various preferences, without feeling any pain or sensing how Satan brutalizes people, then are you willing to break free from all of this? (No.) Suppose a deceitful person is aware that they are deceitful, that they are fond of lying and dislike telling the truth, and that they’re always concealing things in their dealings with others, but they revel in this, thinking to themselves, “Living like this is great. I’m constantly pulling the wool over others’ eyes, but they can’t do the same to me. I’m nearly always satisfied as far as my own interests, pride, status, and vanity go. Things go according to my plans, flawlessly, seamlessly, and no one can see through them.” Is that sort of person willing to be honest? They aren’t. This person believes deceitfulness and crookedness to be intelligence and wisdom, to be positive things. They treasure these things and cannot bear to do without them. “This is the perfect way to behave, and the only nourishing way to live,” they think. “It’s the only valuable way to live, the only way to live that causes others to envy me and look up to me. It would be foolish and idiotic for me not to live by satanic philosophies. I’d always be losing out—getting bullied, discriminated against, and treated like a lackey. There’s no value in living like that. I’ll never be an honest person!” Will this kind of person give up their deceitful disposition and practice being honest? Absolutely not. No matter how long they’ve believed in God, how many sermons they’ve heard, and how many truths they’ve understood, such people will never truly follow God. They will never gladly follow God, for they feel that in order to do so, they would have to give up so much, forsake so much, and suffer pain and losses. This, they just won’t accept. They think, “Believing in God is believing in religion. Being a believer in name only, having a few good behaviors, and having something for spiritual sustenance, that’s all. There’s no need to pay a price, suffer, or forsake anything. So long as one believes in their heart and says that they acknowledge God, then that kind of faith in God will allow them to be saved and enter into the kingdom of heaven! How great faith like that is!” Will such people be able to gain the truth in the end? (No.) What is the reason that they will be unable to gain the truth? They have no love for positive things, they do not yearn for the light, and they do not love the way of God or the truth. They like to follow worldly trends, they are enamored with fame, gain, and status, they love standing out from the crowd, they worship fame, gain, and status, and they venerate the great and famous, but in actual fact, they venerate demons and Satans. What they pursue at heart isn’t the truth or positive things; instead, they revere knowledge. In their hearts, they do not approve of those who pursue the truth and testify to God; instead, they approve of and admire people who have special talents and gifts. In their faith in God, they do not walk the path of pursuing the truth, but that of pursuing fame, gain, status, and power; they strive to be someone of great guile, who win with brilliant stratagems; they try to integrate themselves into the upper echelons of society to become a great and renowned person. They want to be greeted with adoration and welcome on all occasions they happen to attend; they want to be an idol to people. That’s the kind of person they want to be. What sort of way is this? It is the way of demons, the path of evil. It is not the way taken by a believer in God. They use Satan’s philosophies, its logic, they use its every ploy, every ruse, in every setting, in order to con people out of their personal trust, to make them worship and follow them. This is not the path that ought to be walked by people who believe in God; not only will such people not be saved, but also meet with God’s punishment—of this there cannot be the slightest doubt. What is the basis for whether a person can be saved or not? It is based on whether they can accept the truth, submit to God’s work, and walk the path of pursuing the truth. It is determined based on these factors. What is the path by which one can attain God’s salvation in faith? They must follow God, heed His words, submit to His orchestrations and arrangements, and live according to His requirements and the truth. This is the only path by which one may attain salvation.

January 4, 2018

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