Liu Yan Wuhu City, Anhui Province
None of us who pursue the truth does not want to be delivered from satan’s corruption and affliction, and none is willing to be directed by the satanic nature and resist God. For most of us have tasted enough of the bitterness of living under the influence of darkness and being fooled and tortured half dead by satan, and we have also suffered a lot and been refined a lot for countless times of involuntarily disobeying and resisting God. For example, we bustled about and struggled and worked ourselves to the bone for the sake of family, money, food, clothing, enjoyment, fame, position, future and destiny, and so on. It can be said that we have suffered all sufferings. Also, because we often have notions about God’s work and word and are unable to obey in the circumstances God has arranged, we always have complaints, judgment, and demands, and feel extremely distressed for that. And so on. Although most of us yearn for being delivered from satan’s corruption and affliction, when satan’s schemes come upon us in the real life, we can never see through them and often fall into the temptations involuntarily and be used by it. And we can even do things loathsome and detestable to God and indelible to us. The cause of it is that we have not gained the truth and do not possess the ability to overcome satan and surpass the influence of darkness.
God says: “People who live in so filthy a land have been badly contaminated by the society and influenced by feudal ethics and have been educated in the ‘institutions of higher learning.’ Backward thoughts, corrupt morals, low outlook on life, contemptible philosophies of life, worthless existence, and debased customs and life, these things all have been seriously harassing their heart and seriously damaging and attacking their conscience. Consequently, they become further and further from God and increasingly resist God.” “…no one thinks about transcending it or thinks about going to an ideal world, but they just live their life lawfully and properly: bearing and raising children, laboring, sweating, and working, and dreaming of having a comfortable and happy family, enjoying connubial love and filial piety from children, living a happy old age, and passing their life in peace…. For decades, thousands of years, tens of thousands of years, and even today people are still wasting their life in this way. No one has created a most beautiful life, but all have been fighting against one another, scrambling for fame and gain, and intriguing against one another in the dark world. …” “Men live under satan’s domain all their life, and no one can break free from satan’s influence by himself. They all live in the filthy world, live in corruption, and live in emptiness, without any meaning or worth. They are all living for the flesh, for lust, and for satan in such a carefree way, without any value of existence.” From the exposing of God’s words, we can see that the land where we were born is a place inhabited by satans and devils and is a place of filthiness and licentiousness. We have been living in satan’s dwelling since childhood, and all that we constantly see and hear are poisons from satan and all that we follow are the roads of life of our ancestors. We simply do not know in our heart that there is a God, much less know that we come from him and to worship him is our bounden duty. Instead, we consider this right and natural: to live is to eat good food, wear fine clothes, get fleshly enjoyment, find a suitable match and set up a happy family after growing up; to live is to acquire literacy and knowledge so as to obtain some decent post and distinguish ourselves; to live is to have a good reputation and be highly regarded by others, or later make a name in history; to live is to consider our own interests in everything, otherwise we are fools; and so on. Because of the infiltration of satan’s various poisons, we have completely lost the likeness of a man and lost the pursuit and life that we should have. We have inherited the customs from our “ancestors” without any opposition, and we struggle for fame, for gain, and for selfish desires with all our might, living in the emptiness of scrambling for fame and gain, and living in the cruel reality of using and deceiving each other. We also feel that it is too bitter and tiring to live in this way, and we have also seen that it is too painful and worthless for people to, throughout their life, get married and settle down, bear and raise children, and after that busy themselves with running about for their children, put their heart and soul to them, undergo all kinds of sufferings for them, and finally close their eyes and die. At the same time, we have also experienced that we have been so much bound and oppressed by the worldly entanglements and the customary practices of interpersonal relationship that we can hardly breathe and suffer unspeakably. We have also seen with our own eyes people’s contemptible behavior—for money, fame and gain, and position, they disown all their relatives and friends, and everywhere they swindle, bluff, steal, rob, pillage, betray friends, and sell their bodies, and so on. Although we have seen that it is all utilization and deception among people, and that in the world there is no existence of light, fairness and righteousness, nothing less than the rule of darkness and evil, we have no courage and power to free ourselves from it. We can only fall deeply into it and go with the tide, surrendering ourselves to its influence and affliction, and getting more and more deeply trapped and corrupted. Eventually we completely become satan’s captives, yielding ourselves entirely to its manipulation and fooling, and to its corruption and trampling. Thus we live miserably, without a true life at all.
In The man’s fellowship attached to Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers, it says: “Mankind himself has no power to overcome satan and has no way to transcend sin, so corrupt mankind needs to be saved by God incarnate. So, God is incarnated the second time and judges and chastises people with his word, working into them all the truths they need, so that they will gain the transformation of their life disposition and truly know God and obey God. Only then will God’s entire management plan be accomplished. At that time, mankind will have gained many truths from God and had God’s word as his life. From then on, mankind will have the ability to overcome satan and transcend sin, and satan will have no way to deceive or corrupt this mankind again who has equipped himself with the truth. All mankind will live by the word of God, truly obey and worship God, and have the true human life. This is what it means to be truly saved.If people have not gained the truth, then they are certainly still living under satan’s domain and being bound by their corrupt flesh, often committing sins and living in sin. The purpose of God’s doing the work in the end time is to transform people’s disposition, so that they will no longer commit sins and finally gain the truth and the transformation of their disposition so that they themselves can overcome satan and transcend sin by the truth. People themselves can live by God’s word and completely obey God; this is what it means to truly overcome satan and transcend sin.” From the fellowship we see that corrupt mankind has no power to overcome satan, surpass sin, and has no way to free himself from satan’s corruption on his own. Corrupt mankind needs the salvation of the incarnated God. Only God can defeat satan, and only God’s work can save mankind. In the end time, God is incarnated and expresses many truths just for the purpose of saving us from satan’s corruption so that we can live in the light. So, if we want to be delivered from the influence of darkness of satan, to have good wishes alone is not enough, and the key is to accept God’s words and pursue the truth. For the truths expressed by God are all directed at our current states and the extent to which we have been corrupted by satan, and they are fully what we need and what we must possess to be delivered from satan’s corruption and step onto the right path of human life. That is to say, God’s word has clearly exposed the origin of mankind’s corruption, and how and by what means satan has corrupted people, and so on, so that we can see clearly satan’s ugly face, and thus hate and forsake it, and are willing to submit under God’s dominion. God’s word like a two-edged sword cuts open our evil soul, so that we can see clearly the truth of our being corrupted by satan, and thus hate ourselves and feel remorse and are willing to repent and change and start a new life. God’s word has clearly explained to us all the truths, so that we know how to distinguish right and wrong, what truth is and what fallacy is, what justice is and what evil is, and what light is and what darkness is, and thus can see through satan’s schemes at any time and no longer be fooled by it. God’s word has showed us the right paths of our life, so that we know how to live, how to conduct ourselves, and thus have direction for life. God’s word bears authority and power and can correct our thoughts and transform our soul, so that we completely cast off satan’s poisons and free ourselves from its corruption. God’s word, the truth, is the best weapon for us to triumph over our corrupt flesh and is the miracle antidote to satanic poisons. It is sufficient to make us cast off corruption and be purified. Only when we understand and gain the truth from God’s word can we really be delivered from the influence of satan, have a life of a normal person, and have a true human life.
However, now, because we have not yet gained all the truths needed, we have no ability to overcome sin and are still often corrupted and fooled by satan. Take the practices of common customs for example: most of us have known from God’s word that he detests all those worldly ceremonies and feasts arranged for wedding, funeral and birthday, and all kinds of holidays and a great variety of ornaments and playthings during holiday periods, and so on. None of them should appear in our normal life, as they are the means and ways by which satan corrupts us. But because we have not truly understood and gained the truths on this aspect, have not had our viewpoints transformed and still view things from these old ones, we involuntarily live by the lifestyles and manners and customs passed down by our ancestors. Directed by satan’s philosophy of life that “face is as important to man as the bark is to the tree,” we would rather be fooled by satan. And even though we are disgusted with them, we are unwilling to offend people and let them look down on us and damage our face; we still maintain them. Thus, for the sake of our fame and face, we have been utterly exhausted by the worldly entanglements and fooled by satan so much that we suffer unspeakably. For another example, we all know that we are arrogant and conceited by nature, and because of that we have done lots of things loathed and hated by God. But because we do not possess the truth and have no true knowledge of the substance of our arrogant and conceited nature, we cannot see that our expressions of arrogance and conceit have been so much loathed and hated by God and disgusted and nauseated by others, and cannot see clearly what kind of outcome and consequence living by this nature will bring us in the end, let alone forsake ourselves. So we are still directed and controlled by it when things come upon us, and we always, in spite of ourselves, exhibit ourselves, exalt ourselves, testify ourselves, and make others listen to us and follow us around. Once others do not listen to us or do not take seriously what we have said, we will feel terribly humiliated and dramatically undervalued, becoming passive and weak and discouraged in satan’s fooling. Again, for example, we especially pay attention to family, eating, dressing, and fleshly enjoyment. When we see others eat better, dress better, and have better enjoyment than us, we feel it unfair. When seeing others enjoy family warmth, we are greatly disturbed in the heart, always expecting that we could enjoy happiness with our families too. When seeing a couple devotedly attached to each other, we also want to have a partner caring for ourselves and to have the same enjoyment. When we fail to gain these, we feel regretful and distressed and even lose our faith to pursue the truth. Sometimes we feel so distressed that we even wish that God could take our life. Isn’t it all because we have no truth that we are afflicted and fooled by satan? I believe most of us have had a deep experience of it and will admit this fact. Thus it can be seen that if we do not possess the truth, we cannot even free ourselves from our thoughts and ideas, not to mention overcoming the disturbance and temptation from the people and matters and things around us. We will live in corruption, feeling extremely distressed. Therefore, without the truth, we will inevitably be attacked by satan often and are unable to withstand them. Without possessing the reality of the truth or understanding the real meaning of the truth, we cannot but exhibit satan or pursue for the sake of the flesh. It can be said that up till now, few matters in our life have been dealt with by the principles of God’s word, the truth. We are still living by various satanic poisons, without taking any word of God as the foundation at all. How can we free ourselves from satan’s corruption in this way? If the old foundation does not collapse, we will not possibly have the likeness of a new man, our words and deeds, thoughts and ideas will be forever under the direction of satan’s nature, and we naturally will not escape satan’s corruption, either. Therefore, only by possessing the truth and living by God’s word, will we be freed from satan’s corruption.
As a matter of fact, we have more or less learned from our experiences that so long as we have understood and gained some truths in one aspect, we will in that aspect be able to forsake the flesh and live by those truths, and to see through satan’s schemes and no longer be fooled by satan. Satan will be unable to attack us there, and we will no longer be corrupted by it. Take our attitude to the futures of our children for example: it used to be the notion of most of us that the true future is to possess a high degree and a rich knowledge, obtain some decent post in the world, and rise head and shoulders above others. So we racked our brains to make money and pull strings to enable children to get a higher and better education. Although it worried us day and night and ran us ragged, we still felt justified and contented, believing that people living in the world all pursued like this and no one could get away from such a “normal” law of life. But when we have understood the relevant truths in God’s word, we will see some things clearly, will no longer be dominated by such a “normal” law of life, and will know that no matter how high one’s position and prestige is, how much knowledge he has, and how many people he is supported by, if he does not come before God to receive God’s salvation and does not come to worship God, he not only will not receive God’s blessing and keeping, but on the contrary, he will be loathed by God. Besides, in God’s eyes, such a person is trying hard to push away God’s keeping for mankind with human knowledge and human power and is denying God’s blessing. And, in retrospect, the poisons of “atheism” and others like learning science, making use of science, and how to serve the motherland when grown up, etc, which have been instilled into us since childhood, have afflicted us deeply. Today, because of God’s salvation, we then wake up and find that our previous views and knowledge are absolutely wrong. We realize that only pursuing the truth and pursuing to know God and be saved is the real life, and is the valuable and meaningful life. With such knowledge, we are no longer willing to run about constantly for the sake of the so-called futures of our children. And in this aspect, we will not be corrupted or fooled by satan, and will be released and free. For another example, in the past we had a strong desire for fame and cared about our face and fame in particular. No matter on what occasions, no matter what we did, we always cared about our face and image, and were often refined and tortured half dead because of that. But by pursuing the truth, we have seen it clearly from the exposing of God’s word, that fame and face are of no value, and pursuing them is too worthless. Through many times of exposing by God, we have seen our corruption and seen that we are devoid of humanity. Judging by our nature and our actions and behavior, we are not good people ourselves; how can we even seek a good reputation or opinion? We have truly seen that it was so stupid and ignorant of us to worry about gains and losses in fame and face. It was nothing less than self-torture. Having realized these, we do not care about fame and face so much. Even though we still have expressions of this aspect when things come upon us, we will not fall into satan’s schemes again and suffer from them and become passive. Thus it can be seen that whether we can free ourselves from satan’s corruption mainly depends on whether we have gained the needed truths.
The man’s fellowship says: “If corrupt mankind believe in God yet cannot gain the truth, their corrupt disposition cannot be transformed and they will never be truly saved. Only the truth can resolve mankind’s corruption, so only by grasping the truth can corrupt mankind overcome satan and transcend sin. If corrupt mankind cannot gain the truth, they cannot resolve the root of sin. Therefore, pursuing the truth while believing in God is the most important to their being saved by God. In fact, all that God expresses in doing his work of judging and chastising man is the truth. It is with the truth that God judges and chastises mankind’s corruption. Believers in God should accept all the judgment and chastisement of God in order to gain all the truths that corrupt mankind need, and only this can enable them to achieve the purpose of resolving their own corruption and finally being saved by God.” Hence, only through pursuing the truth will we be freed from satan’s corruption and affliction. This is because only if we possess the truth coming from God, will we see clearly the intrigues and tricks by which satan corrupts people, see things clearly, and have discernment, and will we see through satan’s schemes, firmly stand on the side of God, and no longer be tempted and afflicted by it. Only if we possess the truth will we see clearly our corrupt ugly self, see clearly the substance of our corruption, see clearly our ugliness and baseness and lowness of striving to seek blessing and joy for the flesh, and therefore forsake our various selfish desires of the flesh. Today, although we have God’s caring and keeping while following him, satan will not give up. It is corrupting and devouring us every moment through various kinds of people, matters and things. We are confronted with temptations in all aspects of the life—money, position, handsome men and beautiful women, fleshly enjoyment, and so on—all these are laid before us. Without the truth, once we slightly relax vigilance against them, we will fall into temptations and cannot extricate ourselves from it. Also, as to our own corrupt disposition such as craftiness, arrogance, self-rightness, selfishness, baseness, evil, and the like, if without the truth, we cannot see clearly their substance and consequences, and cannot forsake ourselves and act according to the truth. Therefore, it is crucial to possess the truth.
Of course, to understand the truth and gain the truth is not an easy matter. It requires us to honestly accept all the judgment and chastisement of God, spend more effort on the word of God, read more of it, and fellowship more about the truth. In addition, it is also necessary for us in the real life to practically forsake the flesh, practice the truth, and exercise to view things and do things in accordance with God’s word. If we can always consciously practice the truth, forsake the flesh, and often live within the limits of God’s word, we will receive more of the working of the Holy Spirit, will have the power to break away from the bondage of the influence of satan’s darkness, and will no longer be fooled and corrupted by satan. Some day when we will be able to completely live by God’s word and possess all the truths needed for being saved, the system of satan within us will completely collapse and the bastion of the flesh will completely break down as well. Then we will be entirely released and free and will have the likeness of a real man. As God’s words say: “Just pursue the truth hard, and any problem can be resolved. … One day when one experiences to an extent that his outlook on life, the meaning of his existence, and the foundation of his existence have all changed, that is, he has been thoroughly remolded and has become a new man, this will be amazing! This will be a great change, a tremendous change. For the worldly fame and gain, position, money, pleasure, and wealth and honor, you feel it makes no difference to you whether you have them or not, and you can easily drop these things. Then you will be a person who has human likeness.”