8. The Correct Pursuit and Principles of Practice for Believing in God
Many people who believe in God just focus on enthusiastically working for God and keeping to religious ceremony. They believe that this is the correct way of truly believing in God and that only by doing so can they get God’s salvation and blessing. It seems that these people do not know that they have been deeply corrupted by Satan and that they have reached a stage at which they should be destroyed already and that what they need is God’s salvation. They think that believing in God is to get blessings and engage in trade with God so as to get God’s reward and blessings and that it has nothing to do with salvation. This kind of muddled belief is a complete deviation from God’s will and has lost the meaning of belief in God. God’s twice incarnation work is just to redeem and save man. God letting people believe in Him and obey Him is entirely to make people obey God’s work and achieve salvation. Believers do not understand God’s will but believe in God with their imagination, adopting all kinds of man’s ways to earn God’s favor and be rewarded by God but they do not get God’s salvation. It’s no wonder that after believing in God for many years, people suddenly ask what they actually get from working hard “for God” for many years? This question is indeed thought-provoking. If paying the price of working hard in believing in God is not for the pursuit of the truth and to achieve God’s salvation, then besides enjoying some of God’s grace, there is indeed nothing to gain. Believing in God but not being able to get the truth and God’s salvation is the greatest failure. Believing in God in order to seek interests and advantages is the act of a despicable nonbeliever. God comes in the midst of people to do work saving people and what people should get from God’s work is the truth and salvation. If people believe in God for many years but do not get the truth, then this is enough to prove that they have not been saved by God and that their only ending can be perdition. This is the tragedy that results from muddled belief. It is a consequence entirely due to people’s wrong ways of believing in God. God cannot be blamed and nor can other people. One can only blame oneself for having muddled belief and therefore not taking the right track of believing in God and achieving salvation.
God’s work is entirely to save corrupt mankind. What corrupt mankind needs most is God’s salvation, so the pursuit of correctly believing in God is the pursuit of the truth and achieving God’s salvation. Only by pursuing the truth can one recognize mankind’s corrupt essence and only by pursuing the truth can one truly be cleansed. If corrupt mankind believes in God but cannot get the truth, then people’s corrupt disposition will not change, and they will never get true salvation. Because only the truth can resolve mankind’s corruption and only by possessing the truth can corrupt mankind be victorious over Satan and transgress evil. If they cannot get the truth, then corrupt mankind cannot resolve the fundamental problem of committing sin. So believing in God and pursuing the truth is the key to achieving God’s salvation. In fact, what is expressed during God’s work of judging and chastising people is the truth. God uses the truth to judge and chastise mankind’s corruption and people who believe in God should accept all God’s judgment and chastisement in order to get all the truth that corrupt mankind needs. Only in this way can they resolve the corruption of mankind itself and eventually achieve the objective of salvation. It could be said that one will not achieve God’s salvation by believing in God but not pursuing the truth and that this completely loses the meaning of believing in God. All those people who believe in God but do not pursue the truth are engaging in muddled belief and are all deceiving themselves. They won’t get anything in the end and will be eliminated by God’s work. Unfortunately some people are still enjoying their own spiritual sustenance and dreams, which they will regret one day when disaster comes, when it will be too late.
What exactly is believing in God? If people who believe in God cannot figure out this question, then they cannot enter the right track of believing in God. God’s coming to work and save people is not only to appear to people and to prove to mankind that there is a God and to make people admit and believe in God. It is to practically redeem and save people. God came to practically do work conquering and changing people. In this way, people believing in God should understand God’s will, obey God’s work in a well-disciplined manner and experience God’s judgment and chastisement, to get all the truths that corrupt mankind needs to achieve God’s salvation and to take the right way of human life. Only by believing in God in this way can people be after God’s will. If people who believe in God understand the meaning of belief in God, then they will know what the purpose of believing in God is, and what should be pursued and got when believing in God. If people who believe in God truly understand that what corrupt mankind needs the most is God’s salvation and that corrupt mankind must possess all the truths that God has expressed, then they can be cleansed and saved and break free from Satan’s corruption and evilness. In this way, people who believe in God will know how they should read God’s words, how they should pray to God and how they should pursue the truth, obey God’s judgment and chastisement, trials and refinement and how they should do their duty. If people who believe in God can pursue the truth for salvation, then they have truly entered the right track of believing in God. Those who even now still do not understand the true meaning of believing in God cannot enter the right track of believing in God and can only take the wrong path of believing in God based on their imagination.
If people do not pursue the truth when believing in God it is most likely that they will take all kinds of wrong paths. Because mankind has been too deeply corrupted by Satan, before getting the truth it is easy to follow one’s own ideas and deviate from the intended road. This is beyond one’s control. Although no one is willing to take the wrong path, it is easy for people to take the wrong path because they do not love the truth. People are not on the right path because they do not understand the truth. During every person’s faith, everyone will deviate, a little or a lot, and if they do not have God’s own shepherding and leadership and do not have the help of those who understand the truth then it is very dangerous indeed. Like when people go out and want to go to a destination, and because they do not know the way they need to ask, but very few people tell the truth so they are often deceived and their journey delayed. There are so many people among the corrupt mankind who do not know the road of salvation, but pretend to understand the truth to deceive others. Obviously they are blind yet still want to be a teacher and lead the way, resulting in the blind leading the blind into the pit. There are too many people who have been deceived and taken the wrong path in believing in God. When believing in God if one does not pursue the truth it is too easy to take the following four wrong paths:
The first type is obstinately keeping rules, not letting go of notions and never pursuing the truth and entering the words of God. This is the wrong way. It seems that this kind of people believe in God with simple minds. They understand some letters and doctrines and produce some rigid rules as the secret to believing in God and hold on tight to these things which they treat as “the truth,” stubbornly holding onto people’s notions, believing that they have got life. They never think that their hands are actually empty and that they have not even got a little of the truth, resulting in no changes to their life disposition at all after believing in God for many years and being eliminated by the work of the Holy Spirit. When they face disasters or trials, this kind of people will be full of complaints resulting in hostility and betrayal of God and ending up with being punished in the end. People who do not pursue the truth have failed in this way. This way of believing in God is actually the wrong way.
The second type is believing in God by enthusiastically engaging in external practice, being very busy with no actual results, believing oneself to be loyal to God and exchanging God’s rewards and blessings at this cost. This is the wrong way. This kind of person’s enthusiasm for believing in God is too high. They place particular emphasis on external practice, some are keen to preach the gospel, some are keen to do the hosting and some are keen to work for God. They do not understand the truth and have no reality and just busily do things for God to please Him, yet they neglect the pursuit of truth and life entry, resulting in them believing in God for many years yet not getting the truth, nor seeing changes in life disposition. All that is revealed is Satan’s corrupt disposition and rebellion against God everywhere. They serve God yet resist God and become more and more arrogant and conceited and ultimately can only be condemned and eliminated by God as Paul was. Spending for God to do one’s duty is naturally a matter of adhering to God’s will, but one should pursue the truth and focus on life growth at the same time in order to adhere to God’s will. If one only enthusiastically engages in external practice and keeps very busy but does not pursue the truth, often rebels against and resists God, and still lives in corruption, then how can they achieve God’s salvation? People who do not pursue the truth are enemies of God in the end and cannot escape being eliminated in the end. This way of believing in God is the wrong way.
The third type is the pursuit of gifts and focus on the supernatural, believing in signs and wonders but being confused by evil spirits’ work, resulting in being possessed by evil spirits and serving them. This is the wrong path. This kind of people believes in God but only bases this on their imagination, pursues gifts and focuses on supernatural signs and wonders. They believe that if it is God there are bound to be signs and wonders to follow and if there are no signs and wonders, then it is not God. These people who believe in God place a lot of importance on gifts. It seems as if if there are no gifts, especially “tongues,” then there is no mark of the Holy Spirit and it is not the Holy Spirit’s work. If they get “tongues” and “revelations” then they are ones who belong to God and someone that has a grasp on salvation. Thus they have been deceived and confused by the evil spirits’ work and treat the evil spirits’ work as the Holy Spirit’s work, resulting in not being able to understand the truth after believing in God for many years and hardly having any changes to life disposition; on the contrary, their nerves and sense become abnormal. Some are evidently possessed by demons, some are frequently disturbed by evil spirits yet still treat it as the work of the Holy Spirit. It really is very dangerous, and the consequences are really unimaginable. If you do not pursue the truth in believing in God then you will be eliminated by the Holy Spirit’s work and will return to Satan’s domain to let the evil spirits trample you. This kind of believing in God is the wrong way.
The fourth type is worshiping celebrities, having blind faith in religious knowledge and doctrines, following evil servants and antichrists and becoming Satan’s accomplice. This is the wrong way. This kind of people believes in God but worships and follows people. They follow whoever has religious knowledge, fame and status and blindly have faith in whoever speaks eloquently and with knowledge. They cannot tell whether or not they possess the truth and whether or not they truly have reality. They blindly worship celebrities and follow anyone in a position of power around, not thinking that those they follow are all evil servants and antichrists, so becoming an accomplice of Satan. This type of person’s nature is not good. They advocate evil forces, follow evil servants and do bad things in resistance to God. Not only have they not been awakened but they are also arrogant and conceited, do not obey anyone, are self-righteous and only possibly repent when faced with God’s punishment. This completely proves that the wicked are walking the path of the God-resisting antichrist. People who do not love the truth will inevitably love evil. They worship and follow people and take the path of the antichrist. This way of believing in God, not attending to one’s duty, going astray, believing in God yet worshiping and following people is the wrong way.
The above four ways of believing in God are all wrong paths. They are all “easy roads” that people who are not in pursuit of the truth most like to take. Because their faith is not for pursuing the truth to gain salvation and live out a real life, but a pursuit of fame and fortune and status or pursuit of God’s rewards and blessings to satisfy personal desire. This is completely contrary to God’s will and taking the road of following Satan and continuing to betray God. People who believe in God should understand that if they take the wrong road in believing in God then they will lose the opportunity of salvation and once God’s work is over, they can only be eliminated and punished in the end. This is a permanent regret. Besides the four wrong ways of believing in God, there is also a kind of “opportunistic” way of believing. This kind of people just believes in God for blessings, never being concerned about how they should pursue the truth and achieve salvation, but they hope every day that God’s day will come. If God’s day could come immediately, they would still only do a little of their duty reluctantly. If God’s day wasn’t coming for several years, they would think they might as well enjoy these years in the world and wait for God’s day to come and then return to God’s family to do their duty and do a little something in exchange for God’s salvation. This is the way of believing in God by being opportunistic for blessings. This kind of people believes in God and pays attention to “economic and material benefits.” They intend to exchange for God’s blessings at the lowest price. If they can sit on a sedan chair to enter the kingdom then that would be the most wonderful sight. Getting blessings without suffering, surviving storms, escaping catastrophes and stepping into the eternal kingdom, this is all that they could wish for. People’s extravagant desires are too great! Could it be said that they want to deceive God? Believing in God is not a case of trading with people and being able to win by deceitful means. One must know that this is God working to save people and that God is almighty and omniscient. God keeps watch over everything and God’s disposition is intolerant of offenses. One cannot be saved if one disobeys God’s work and one is destined to be eliminated by not pursuing the truth. People who believe in God by always hoping for the “day” but not obeying God’s work are nonbelievers and fantasists. This kind of person is destined to be the target of elimination. Now some people see the day of God hasn’t arrived and they cannot wait anymore, like ants on a hot pan knowing not what to do, hard to decide where to go. There really is a fine line between life and death.
People who believe in God can only develop the correct target to pursue by truly understanding the meaning of believing in God. If they have the correct target for believing in God, then they should have the correct pursuit and practice for believing in God. God’s greatest demand of believers is to ask people to get the truth, the way and the life that they need whilst experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement and to live a true life. Mankind is too deeply corrupted by Satan and needs to understand and get many truths to be able to be cleansed and saved. So the pursuit of the truth is the correct pursuit and practice of believing in God. In this way, reading God’s words is the first major event every day in a Christian’s life. One must read God’s words to be cleansed, to get the truth and to be saved. Plus praying to God to understand God’s words, to understand God’s intentions and to do one’s duty well. These are the two major things in the lives of Christians. When people read God’s words and achieve a certain result, when they begin to gradually understand and enter into God’s words, people begin to experience putting God’s words into practice. All Christians’ correct practices come from reading God’s words. The amount of practice they get depends on however much truth they understand from God’s words. If people do not understand any truth from God’s words then they will not have correct practice. If people understand a lot from God’s words then they will get a lot of practice; if they understand little, they will practice a little. I often hear some people say: “How should I practice while I believe in God? What should I do to adhere to God’s will in all things?” This proves that they have not yet understood the truth from God’s words. You can see that they have not yet got results from reading God’s words, so they have no way for their practice. If people have not got illumination, real understanding and the way for practice from reading God’s words, then how will they practice correctly? People who do not understand the truth can only hold on to religious regulations. Therefore, people who believe in God but do not know how to practice must make an effort to read God’s words well and fellowship about the truth more. Only by doing this can they solve the real problem of how to enter into the reality of God’s words.
July 4, 2006