Kang Rong Anqing City, Anhui Province
Now, brothers and sisters generally have such states: Those who lead the church only care to go around the church without being idle; those who preach the gospel only pay attention to gaining people; those who do general affairs only busy themselves with doing them properly; those who do hosting only think of hosting the brothers and sisters properly; those who cannot perform duties just keep attending meetings regularly without leaving God’s family. In short, those who perform duties only desire to get things done, and those who cannot perform duties are content merely with attending meetings; none pays attention to eating and drinking God’s word, to pursuing the truth, and to their personal life entering in. People all think in their notions that pursuing the truth is not important, and that as long as they perform their duty properly and do not leave God’s family, they can be saved and left.
The fundamental reason why people have such states is that they do not know the importance of pursuing the truth and do not know that only if one pursues the truth can he follow God to the end and can he be saved. The fellowship from the above says: “Only those who pursue and gain the truth are the ones saved by God. … If you do not pursue the truth, the Holy Spirit will not work on you and God will not pay attention to you; if you pursue the truth, the Holy Spirit will work on you and God will grace you. The kingdom of heaven is taken by forcefully pursuing the truth…. Only if one pursues the truth, and when experiencing God’s work to the end, he truly gains the truth and is full of testimonies of victory, will he be truly saved and be able to receive God’s care and keeping. God comes to end the age by first making complete those who pursue the truth and then sending disasters to destroy the world. Those who are saved by God will undergo refining and be purified in the disasters, and be left in the end. Those who fail to gain the truth, however, when they encounter trials of natural disasters, will collapse and die in the disasters; this is the end of those who do not pursue the truth.” “God’s work of saving man is to purify and transform man through his word. The more one thirsts for God’s word and pursues the truth, the more he will be truly purified, and his life disposition will be transformed accordingly. Man’s transformation from disobeying and resisting God to obeying and worshiping God is a process of enjoying God’s word, experiencing God’s word, and gaining the truth. Man’s being saved while believing in God is achieved through his reading God’s word and gaining the truth, and his being perfected by God is also achieved through his enjoying God’s word and gaining the truth. … God’s end-time work is a work of saving man and perfecting man. If one does not spend effort on God’s word to gain the truth, he will achieve no results.” These two passages clearly tell us that God’s end-time work is to save all the pursuers of the truth. Only if one pursues the truth can he receive the working of the Holy Spirit, receive God’s care and keeping, and finally be saved. If a person does not pursue the truth, he is one forsaken by God, is one outside God’s work of salvation, and is certainly one who will be eliminated and punished by God in the end. We, who have been corrupted by satan for several thousand years, are full of satanic poisons within and have been completely controlled and occupied by satan. By ourselves we have no way to free ourselves from satan’s influence at all. Today God has expressed many truths through being incarnated. These truths contain God’s will and God’s disposition, and contain God’s disclosing and dissecting of mankind’s corrupt substance, the ways God points out for man to be transformed and purified, and so on. These truths are the way, are the life, and are God’s salvation for man. Only if one pursues to gain these truths will he have the power to overcome satan and transcend sin, and can he break away from satan’s influence and be saved. Otherwise, he will only live under satan’s domain, be completely devoured by it, and end in perdition. From this we can see that the process of pursuing to be saved while believing in God is the process of pursuing to gain the truth. Only gaining the truth can make us be saved. It is so important and so crucial to pursue the truth while believing in God.
In our practical experience, most of us have such understanding—whichever aspect of truth we have gained a knowledge of, in that aspect we can transcend satan’s influence, without being lured or bound by satan. For example, if we have in God’s word known God’s almightiness and wisdom and known that everything is in God’s hand and that there is God’s good purpose in everything we encounter, then no matter whether we are persecuted by our families or oppressed by the great red dragon, we will have the truth and the vision as our foundation, have strength within, and be able to be kept and stand. Again, for example, if we are clear about the truths concerning the vision such as God’s work and the significance of God’s incarnation, then when false christs, antichrists, or other deceivers appear, we will be able to see through all kinds of schemes and fallacies of satan with the truths and will not be devoured by satan or evil spirits. Again, for example, if we have in God’s word seen through worldly fame, gain, position, money, and enjoyment, and understood that only pursuing the truth and pursuing to perform the duty of a created being to satisfy God is the most meaningful life, then when we encounter the temptation of money, fame, gain, or position, we will be able to see through satan’s schemes and stand the testimony.
In contrast, from those failures around us, we can see the consequences caused by not pursuing the truth. Among them, many had followed God for many years. They had expended, paid, and given up a lot outwardly, but because they were content merely with working and outward expending and yet paid no attention to pursuing the truth and the transformation of their disposition, they fell involuntarily when God’s work did not fit their notions or when various kinds of trials or temptations came upon them. Some of them left God because they lost their position; some dropped out because God’s day was slow in coming; some gave up the truth for fear that their family might be broken up; some dropped out midway and got married because they longed for a marriage life; some could not continue their belief because they saw a certain worker in God’s family did something against the truth; some got extremely bored and left God because they saw that God’s family always talked about pursuing the truth and about the transformation of disposition; some lost their interest and left God when they saw that this time God worked completely for transforming man’s disposition and did not bestow more grace upon man; some thought there was no love in God’s family and thus left God when they saw that God’s family didn’t give them any profit; some lost their faith and left when they saw that some “great heroes” fell or their relatives were eliminated; some sought gifts and paid attention to the supernatural and thus were deceived by evil spirits or antichrists; and so forth. A host of facts show us that if one does not pursue the truth, he will not be able to follow God to the end, and even a trivial matter can cause him to leave God so that he will have no more opportunity to be saved and will only wait for God’s final punishment. God’s word says: “In the tribulation, many people will not easily stand. Only those who know the way of life and those who have equipped themselves with the truth can continue progressing and become holy. … In your opinion, now you eat and drink in a mindless way and you will be able to stand at that time. Not so! If you do not know these substantive things, cannot grasp the crux, and do not have any way of practice, at that time you will be at a loss when encountering things, and will not be able to withstand satan’s temptation or withstand the coming of refining. If you have no truth and lack the vision within, at that time you will collapse involuntarily.…” So, we should not think that since we have not fallen now, we will be able to follow to the end, or think that as long as we do not leave God’s family and can perform some duty, we will be gained by God and have the hope of being saved. This is merely our imagination. From those failures, we can fully see that although performing duty is very important, pursuing the truth cannot be neglected, and that only pursuing the truth and paying attention to entering into life while performing duty is after God’s heart. Only if one pursues the truth, understands the truth, and has the vision, will he be able to discern people and discern things. With the truth, one has discernment; without the truth, he is blind, and he may be captured by satan and fall a sacrifice to it at any time. With the truth, one has strength and can rebel against the flesh and transcend sin, without being overcome by transgressions. Now, we still do not have a knowledge of God, do not have much knowledge of our corrupt nature, do not understand various aspects of the truth, and do not know how to discern various kinds of satan’s schemes. It means that every one of us is on the verge of danger. For example, when seeing that God’s day has not come, we become discouraged, disappointed, weak, and passive, and even do not want to perform our duty anymore; when seeing that others go everywhere as a couple, we wish to have such a life; when seeing that others have a family reunion, we want to throw up our duty and go home; when losing our reputation or position, we have complaints in our heart and are full of disobedience; when seeing that others eat, dress, enjoy, and live better than us, we feel envy and longing in our heart; when being dealt with and pruned, we become passive and slack in work. All these are hidden dangers existing in us. Besides, there are many more hidden dangers in us which we have not yet discovered. If we do not pursue the truth to resolve them, the next ones to fall in trials may be us. This is because without the truth, we have no foundation and are unstable.
Only if one pursues the truth can he be saved, and only if he pursues the truth can he succeed in believing in God; otherwise, he will only end in failure. This can be confirmed by Paul’s failure and Peter’s success. God’s word says: “From the differences between Peter’s substance and Paul’s, you should know that all those who do not pursue life will pursue in vain.” From Paul’s pursuit and Peter’s, we see that Paul was a person who paid attention only to working but not to spending effort on the truth. He thought that the more and the greater works he did, the more he would be approved by God and the more he would have a good destination. He never pondered what God’s intention and God’s requirements for man were. So, the more works he did, the more arrogant his disposition became, and finally, he brazenly thought that he had finished the race and fought the fight, so there must be in store for him the crown of righteousness. In the end, however, he not only did not receive the crown of glory he had yearned for, but he fell into God’s chastisement. By contrast, Peter was a person who paid special attention to pursuing the truth and pursuing life. The more he pursued the truth, the better he understood God’s intention. He knew that God is the truth, the way, and the life, that God came just to bestow the truths upon people, and that God hoped people would all treasure these truths and gain these truths. So, he treasured every word Jesus had taught him, was willing to spend effort on God’s word, and pursued to know himself and know God. In the course of pursuing the truth, Peter underwent many sufferings because of his corruptions and disobedience. But in the end, he reached the point where he had no demands on God and no terms in his faith and love toward God. He thought that since man believed in God, he should obey God, love God, know God, and consecrate his everything to God. His faith and his pursuit received God’s approval, and he became an exemplar to all who believe in God and pursue God. From this we see that pursuing the truth while believing in God is most after God’s heart and is God’s requirement for man. If one does not pursue the truth while believing in God, even if he believes to the end, it will be in vain and he will only fall into God’s punishment. In other words, it is most crucial to pursue the truth while believing in God; it is directly related to the success or failure of one’s believing in God. If we want to be perfected and gained by God, pursuing the truth is our only way. If we do not pursue the truth, we will only follow in the footsteps of the failures and walk toward the way of no return.
Then, how should we actually practice concerning pursuing the truth? We must, as Peter did, spend effort on God’s word and on all the truths expressed by God. God’s word says: “Man, while believing in God, cannot leave God’s word, cannot leave God, and cannot leave the truth. You must choose your way properly, and spend great effort on the truth and on God’s word. Don’t be content to have a superficial knowledge or be satisfied with having a general knowledge. If you are careless with yourself, it will only harm yourself.” The man’s fellowship says: “Whether one can be saved while believing in God depends on how he reads and practices God’s word. Only by reading and practicing God’s word seriously can one gain the truth and enter into life. If one does not read God’s word seriously, much less practice God’s word, he will never have life entering in; thus, he cannot be saved.” From these words, we see clearly that in pursuing the truth, we must read and practice God’s word seriously, because God’s word is the truth, the way, and the life. Only by spending effort on God’s word can we understand the truth and gain the truth. Actually, our having meetings, doing personal spiritual devotions, and performing duty are all for the purpose of turning more of our heart to God and better understanding and entering into God’s word. So, in our daily life, every time we have a meeting or do our personal spiritual devotions, we should not go through the motions or practice religious rituals but should pay attention to the results. No matter what duty we perform, and no matter how busy we are, we should find time to eat and drink God’s word. Moreover, we should never skim the surface, but should touch God’s will in God’s word and ponder its inner meaning, so that we can, in God’s word, know God, know God’s work, know our corrupt nature and various corrupt states, know our lacks and deficiencies, and understand God’s various requirements for man. When being with the brothers and sisters, we should fellowship more about God’s word, so as to receive more revelation of the Holy Spirit and understand the truth. Besides, we should also pay attention to practicing God’s word, bringing the truths we have understood and the revelation of the Holy Spirit we have received into our real life and into our performing duty to practice, so that in our performing duty and our living, we will have the guidance of God’s word and have God’s word as our guide. All these are the best practices of pursuing the truth.
God’s word says: “If you do not pursue now, one day you will say, ‘How I regret I did not do my best to follow God and satisfy God at that time, and how I regret I did not pursue to have my life disposition transformed at that time. I really regret that I could not obey God at that time, and I regret that I did not pursue to know God’s words at that time. God spoke so many words at that time, but why did I not pursue? I was really too foolish!’ You will hate yourself to a certain extent. Now you do not believe or pay attention to the words I speak. One day when this work is spread and you see all of it, you will regret. At that time, you will be dumbfounded. When there are blessings, you do not know to enjoy them, and when there is the truth, you do not pursue it. Aren’t you inviting troubles?” Now is a golden opportunity, also the last opportunity, to pursue the truth. May we all spend a great effort on pursuing the truth and eventually become ones who succeed in believing in God.