Xiao Liu Hefei City, Anhui Province
It is only right for people to pursue to gain the truth when believing in God, but to truly gain the truth is not so easy a matter. Some think that they have gained the truth because they can preach some messages and resolve some difficulties of the brothers and sisters. Some think that they have gained the truth because they can receive some revelation and enlightenment when reading God’s word and have gained some knowledge of the truths of a certain aspect. Some think that they have gained the truth because now they can fellowship three or four days without running out of words when having a meeting, while in the past they would have nothing to say after fellowshipping only one day. Still others think that they have gained the truth because they are very familiar with God’s word and can immediately find in the book of God’s word any words they speak about when preaching or fellowshipping. Then, do such states and manifestations prove that they have gained the truth? What are the states of having truly understood the truth and gained the truth?
Let us first read a passage in The Fellowship of the Man: “Whether a person has gained the truth has nothing to do with how many experiences and how much knowledge of God’s word he can speak. Rather, it has to do with whether what he does meets God’s requirements and is according to God’s will, that is, whether he has entered into the reality that God requires man to enter into. If one has entered into the reality required by God and has lived out the reality of God’s word, he is a person who has gained the truth.” “Being able to speak letters and doctrines but unable to speak about the substance of the truth clearly is not equivalent to having understood the truth. Only those who have understood the truth and who can also practice the truth and live out the truth are the ones who have gained the truth.” From these words we can see that having gained the truth means that one can understand the truth and can also practice the truth and live out the truth, and that what he does can meet God’s requirements and be after God’s heart, that is, he has entered into the reality that God requires man to enter into. If a person has truly gained the truth, undoubtedly he is one who knows God, and his work and service can become a true testimony. Those who have gained the truth are the ones who have gained the transformation of their life disposition, and they absolutely can be compatible with God and can express God and glorify God. Those who have gained the truth are the ones who have succeeded in their belief in God and also the ones who have been perfected by God. Such people seldom commit sins or have notions to resist and disobey God. They can fully rely on the truth in God’s word to overcome satan and transcend the influence of darkness. However, we can only speak some knowledge of the truths of a certain aspect, and have only received a little bit of revelation and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, but have not lived out the reality of God’s word. This shows that we have not truly understood the truth and gained the truth at all. Actually, anyone who has some will to pursue the truth can receive some revelation and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit during his pursuit and can speak some knowledge. This is especially true of us who have worked for some years. As we have read much of God’s word, have heard much fellowship, and have had some working experience, it is natural that when encountering some common problems, we know what words of God we should fellowship about to resolve them. However, we regard the working of the Holy Spirit as our own entering in and regard our working experience accumulated over the years as the sign of having gained the truth.
Let us then look at a few examples so that we may have a concrete knowledge of ourselves and form an objective and accurate judgment about ourselves.
For example, having followed God for several years, we had somewhat understood the truths concerning the vision such as the three stages of God’s works, the mystery of God’s incarnation, the differences between God’s work and man’s work, etc., and could also speak a lot of knowledge of them. So, we thought that we had gained these truths and would never be deceived or have notions and resist God. However, not long ago, when the above asked us how we should view it if the matter rumored in the Western world that Jesus took a wife and begot a child was true, most of us directly denied it and circumscribed God by God’s word, and some even said that if Jesus really did so, he was not God. From our reactions and words, it can be seen that we are as bold and assured as the Pharisees were when they rejected and condemned the Lord Jesus. This is sufficient to show that we still do not know God and that even today we still do not know the principle of God’s doing things: God does not consult with man, nor is he restricted by man. God has his own freedom and he does not need man to supervise him. When doing things, God does not need man to decide for him what to do, much less need man to check on the things he does. God does whatever he wants to do, and this is determined by God’s dignity and God’s disposition. As we are created beings, unconditionally obeying the Creator is the sense we should have. We are not qualified to participate in God’s work, and even less should we interfere in anything God does. Besides, even if Jesus really took a wife and begot a child, it would in no way change his substance of divinity. We believed in Jesus because he had the substance of God and he was Christ, the redeemer of mankind. None of us believed in Jesus because he did not take a wife or beget a child. Then, how could we say such word as “If Jesus really took a wife and begot a child, he was not God”? Such a manifestation of ours shows that we have neither the sense of a created being nor the true knowledge of God. How then can we say that we have gained the truth?
Another example, some time ago, God’s family required us to refute the fallacies of the false christs and antichrists. In the face of those fallacies, we were at a loss and were unable to see their substance clearly and did not know where their errors lay. As a result, the refuting articles we had written missed the point and could not resolve the fundamental problems, and we even agreed with some of the rumors and fallacies. This also shows that we have not yet truly understood the truth and gained the truth.
Still another example, at ordinary times we often fellowship with the brothers and sisters about the truth concerning obeying God. We know that obeying God means obeying God’s work and word, obeying the work arrangements from the above, and obeying the revelation and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, that we should absolutely obey everything from God without any choice of our own, and that any obedience in which there is our own choice cannot be called obedience. Moreover, we are also able to list many states and manifestations of obeying God. However, when we encounter a matter that does not fit our notions or an unpleasant circumstance in the real life, we simply cannot obey and even become passive and utter complaints. This shows that although we can speak much knowledge of the truth of obeying God, we cannot truly obey God in the real life and still do not have the reality of obeying God. This means that we have not yet gained this truth.
And one more example, when we preach in the meetings at ordinary times, we feel that we can resolve some problems in light of the brothers and sisters’ difficulties. But when God’s family requires us to write sermons, we find that we are quite hazy about how to resolve our own states and the actual problems existing among the brothers and sisters, and that we half understand the truths of any aspect and are unable to explain it clearly or clarify it though we want to. As a result, what we write are all letters and doctrines, which contain no reality and have no value. This also shows that we have not gained the truth. If we had truly gained the truth, we would have true experience and knowledge of the truth and would be able to write sermons of real value.
The above states and manifestations all show that we have not yet truly gained the truth. We can still have notions about God, circumscribe God, and pass judgment on God, and we still cannot see through or expose the various fallacies of satan, and we can even be deceived and rebel against God. Therefore, our being able to speak or talk about or being able to occasionally practice some truths does not represent that we have truly understood the truth and gained the truth. Only when we are able to speak about the substance of the truth clearly does it mean that we have truly understood the truth. Only when we are able to practice the truth and have possessed the reality of the truth can we say that we have gained the truth.
Then, how can we truly understand the truth and gain the truth?
Let us read a passage of God’s word: “…if you have not understood God’s will, God’s intention in speaking the words, what purposes and results he wants to achieve, and what he wants to accomplish and perfect in people through speaking the words, if you have not understood these, it proves that you still have not understood the truth. Do you understand why God’s words are spoken in this way, why he speaks in that tone and his every word is so earnest, and why he uses such words? If you cannot tell, it is proof that you have not understood God’s will, God’s intention, and the background of God’s speaking the words. Since you have not understood these, how can you gain the truth? For you to gain the truth means that you can understand God’s meaning from every word that comes from his mouth, and you put it into practice after having comprehended it, so that God’s word can be lived out in you and become your reality. Only this means that you have understood the truth. Only if you have understood and grasped the meaning of God’s word have you truly understood the truth. … Those who pay attention to letters and doctrines and who always like to speak high-sounding words will not gain the truth. Such people are all the ones who fool themselves. … Still some only go through the motions when eating and drinking God’s word. When they have only understood some letters and doctrines, they think they have gained it. This is so foolish. That you eat and drink God’s word does not mean you can all understand the truth. Though you read the truth, you are not necessarily able to understand the truth. God’s word is the truth, but after reading it, you are not necessarily able to understand it or gain it. When eating and drinking God’s word, you either gain the truth or gain the letters. If you do not know what gaining the truth is, although you hold God’s word, you will not understand God’s will after reading it, and you will only gain some letters and doctrines after reading it. You should first understand that God’s word is not that simple. God’s word is very profound. How can you understand God’s word without experiencing it for several years? Simply one word is enough for you to experience a whole lifetime. You read God’s word, but you do not understand God’s will and do not understand the intention and the cause of God’s speaking it, what results God wants to achieve, and what God wants to accomplish. You do not understand these; how can it be said that you have understood the truth? You have paged through the book many times, you have read it many times, and perhaps you can recite a lot of words and sentences, but you have not gained any transformation and have not made any progress. Your relationship with God is still as distant as before, and you are still estranged from God and suspicious of God as before. You do not understand God and can still resist God, and you can even blaspheme God, can reason with God, and still have notions about God. How can this mean that you have gained the truth?” From God’s words, we see that to understand the truth and gain the truth, we must first spend effort on God’s word. When eating and drinking God’s word, we should not be content with understanding its literal meaning but should pay attention to pondering its inner meaning: Why does God speak his words in this way? What are God’s will and God’s intention in speaking these words? What results does God want to achieve? What are God’s requirements for people? What does God want to accomplish and perfect in people through speaking these words? Besides, we should bring what we have understood into the real life to taste, to experience, and to practice. Through constantly experiencing and practicing God’s word in this way, we will gradually understand the substance of God’s word and gain the truth. Secondly, we must know that it is by no means an easy matter to understand the truth and gain the truth, because the truth is extremely profound and is beyond the reach of man’s mind, thinking, and qualities. Without the working of the Holy Spirit, without the revelation and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, and without experiencing God’s work or experiencing suffering and refining, man, only by his unilateral endeavor and cooperation, can at most understand a little bit of the literal meaning of God’s word and cannot at all understand the substance and the true meaning of God’s word. As The Fellowship of the Man says: “To gain the truth, one has to experience God’s work and experience the refining of sufferings, and besides, he has to have the working of the Holy Spirit. To gain doctrines is much easier. Anyone who has brains can understand many doctrines within a year and can also become an outstanding preacher. Only those who have gained the truth are able to fellowship about the knowledge of the truth and thus supply the needs of others’ life, which is beneficial to others as well as to themselves.” Therefore, when eating and drinking God’s word, we must have a godly and sober attitude. Every time we read God’s word, we should quiet our heart before God and seek the revelation and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. In addition, we should not be over-anxious for quick results in pursuing to understand the truth and gain the truth. This is because understanding the truth and gaining the truth cannot be achieved within a day or two or within half a year or a year, and we can only gain the truth by accumulating day by day and month by month in experience during ordinary times. This requires us to have faith and perseverance and be able to cooperate with God persistently. Only by doing so can we eventually become a person who has the truth.
In conclusion, if we want to gain the truth, firstly, we need to spend effort on God’s word, eating and drinking and pondering it seriously, so as to receive the revelation of the Holy Spirit and understand the true meaning of the truth. Secondly, we need to pay attention to experiencing God’s word and practicing God’s word in our daily life so that God’s word will become our reality. And thirdly, we need to have a persistent and indomitable spirit in pursuing the truth. God is righteous, and the truth does not treat anyone unfairly. So long as we have faith and have will and are willing to practice the truth, we will definitely gain a lot. May we all be able to pursue the truth, understand the truth, and eventually gain the truth.