So let me ask another question: What is the way that man is perfected by the Holy Spirit? It is attained by establishing a normal relationship with God. When you establish a normal relationship with God, your path of communing with God will open up; once this path is opened, the benefits you gain become greater and greater, the provision you receive becomes more and more, and the quality of your communion with God becomes more and more real, pure, and closer to the truth and life. You will then begin to enter into the path to being perfected. At this time, your communion with God will have become perfectly normal and will be a matter of any time or place. When a person’s relationship with God has become completely normal, there is no impurity: First, there is no transaction; second, it is not a relationship of exploiting God; third, it is not only asking for bread from God to eat one’s fill, but is seeking the truth from God as well as seeking to know God. In this way, a man’s relationship with God will become perfectly normal. When his relationship with God has become normal, how does God look upon this person? If someone’s relationship with God is not normal, how does God look upon and treat this person? Can you see into this matter? When man’s relationship with God has become normal, isn’t his intention in believing in God correct and normal? Is there still anything impure in his prayers to and communion with God? There is nothing impure. Then what is the principle in his prayers to and communion with God? What is his intent? What is his purpose? He communes with God, seeks God’s perfection, and seeks God’s guidance entirely for the sake of seeking the truth, for the love of God, and for obeying God and following God’s will in order to live out a meaningful human life. In this way, his prayers to and his communion with God receive God’s blessing and God’s praise. Isn’t this the case? Tell me, what type of prayer to God are the prayers of religious people, and what kind of relationship do they have with God? Is it a normal relationship? They do not have a normal relationship with God, they are making deals with God and exploiting God to gain blessings. They want to gain blessings from God, so they have adopted many kinds of hypocritical manners, using man’s exertions and spreading the gospel, man’s suffering, and the price man pays to enact business deals with God. Relying on this price and suffering to make demands on God, they say, “You must treat me with righteousness, and You must bestow the crown of righteousness upon me. I have paid such a high price, as You have seen, so there’s no way You won’t bestow the crown upon me and reward me. If You don’t let me enter into the kingdom of heaven, then You are not righteous!” Wasn’t the relationship of Paul with God like this? Paul did have such a relationship, which is why he said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day …” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). These words of Paul have become the motto of many religious people, and they do not see how in saying this Paul revealed his nature. They are unable to see into whether this is true testimony to God. If Paul, when he was about to die as he was spending for the sake of God, had said, “I was able to suffer so much hardship in spreading the gospel, and actually it was all to make atonement, to redeem the heart of God. Before, I broke God’s heart. Now I have suffered much hardship in spreading the gospel, so it seems I should receive the crown, and that I should enter into the kingdom of heaven and obtain the blessings of God, but I feel I am undeserving! My prior sins are too great, and I am unfit to enter the kingdom of heaven. I’m such a filthy person; even if I am met with the curse of God and die in hell after I have completed my service, I will have no complaint or regret, because God is righteous.” If Paul had been able to write such a letter when he was at the end of his life, what do you think would have happened? If Paul had spoken these words, it would show that he was truly repentant and he had finally spoken conscientious and reasonable words in the presence of God, and spoken some true words. But Paul did not say any such words, and what does this demonstrate? Paul had spent so much for the sake of the Lord, and suffered so many hardships, but why did he not know the Lord’s righteousness and disposition in the end? Why did he not have true repentance? Why did he still desire the crown and to be rewarded? He even threatened the Lord, saying, “If You are the righteous Judge, then You must bestow the crown of righteousness upon me. If You don’t bestow it upon me, then You are not the righteous Judge!” In saying these words, he was threatening the Lord! Isn’t this of a very serious character? Doesn’t it reveal the nature of the antichrist? What is believing until the very end and saying words such as these sufficient to demonstrate? This kind of person has not known the Lord! They resist the Lord even when on the brink of death, and demand the crown from the Lord! There are many religious people who say, “If the Lord were to come one day and not carry us up to the kingdom of heaven, then we would dispute this with Him! We would go up into the third heaven and dispute this with the Lord!” Isn’t this what religious people say? Doesn’t this have a hint of rebelliousness? How am I able to hear that this is the sound of rebelliousness? Have you felt it? Isn’t this the voice of the antichrist? Isn’t it the voice of Satan the devil? Are you now able to distinguish them? Can you hear which is the voice of the antichrist and Satan, which is the voice of a man who sincerely loves God and obeys God? If you really are able to differentiate between them, then you truly have stature.
If a person believes in God for many years and yet has not been able to establish a normal relationship with God, then can this kind of man be considered to have gained success in believing in God? This is the mark of having failed in believing in God! If one believes in God for many years and yet does not have normal communion with God, does not have true prayer, and is not able to open his heart to God, then this is a person who stands outside the gate. He is someone outside the gate of the kingdom of heaven! Christ is the gate of the kingdom of heaven, and this person is outside of Christ, outside of the word of God. Why does one have to establish a normal relationship with God when seeking to enter into life through belief in God? Because what we rely on in believing in God is the guidance and perfection of the work of the Holy Spirit. If one doesn’t have the guidance and perfection of the work of the Holy Spirit, then no matter how he believes it is all in vain and of no use. Some religious people may not understand, and say, “If we don’t have the guidance, enlightenment, illumination, and work of the Holy Spirit, then no matter how much we believe it is all still in vain? In relying on ourselves to eat and drink the word of God we would not be able to understand the truth? I don’t believe this! I’ll rely on myself and still be able to understand the word of God, and still be able to understand the truth!” Tell me, do these words make any sense? Most people say they make no sense. Some people still hold some refusal in their hearts, and say, “The word of God is all spoken plainly and clearly, so that people understand it as soon as they read it. If they read a lot of it, then they understand a lot. How can you deny this fact?” This fact is true, and I am convinced of these words of his. The word of God is like the bright moon, spoken very plain and clear, and people do understand it as soon as they read it. I can’t deny this fact. But there’s one thing, that without the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, is what you understand of the word of God able to reach up to the standard? That is on the surface, just the outer skin; if you understand the word of God, are you truly able to compare it to your own state? Are you truly able to see into your own corrupt condition in the word of God? Are you truly able to understand the will of God and God’s requirements of man in the word of God? Furthermore, are you truly able to understand the word of God and put the word of God into practice? You cannot attain these results. If you only understand the outside, then you have taken the first step in a long march of ten thousand miles. And what about the problems that still remain? What about the problems that follow afterward? Can you solve or achieve them? This is just your blind boasting and arrogance. Will it work for people to be without the work of the Holy Spirit in their belief in God? Relying only on human brainpower and knowledge, can people achieve an understanding of the truth and an entry into reality? Relying on themselves, people can’t even carry out the truth, to say nothing of other things. This is all vacuous and even more useless! Isn’t that so? If they can’t carry out the truth, then can they even achieve a state of not telling lies through reliance only on themselves? Are they capable of attaining a state in which there is no cunning in their hearts? Can they do their duty up to the standard? If they don’t understand the truth, are they able to have principles in handling affairs? They can’t attain any of this. So, if they are not able to have the work of the Holy Spirit in their belief in God, then it is all in vain, and they will not be able to obtain anything, they’ll just get some dried-up words and doctrines, which are all without use.
There are some people who, in their belief in God, do not place importance on establishing a normal relationship with God. They always place importance on associating with other people, or on looking up to and admiring other people, or on associating with famous and great people. What kinds of people are they? If, in their belief in God, they do not associate with God, do not speak intimate words with God, and they always speak only with those famous and great idols whom they adore, always wanting to measure up to those people and to listen to what they say, paying attention to whatever comes out of their mouths, and trying every day to imitate the way those people live, then are they people who love the truth? Are they people who sincerely believe in God? Not at all. So, all those who are unable to establish a normal relationship with God, even though they have believed in Him for many years, but instead worship Satan the devil and the antichrist and look up to pastors and elders—these are people who resist God and who stand beside and serve Satan. No matter how many years these people believe, and no matter how much hardship they suffer, they will still be unable to receive God’s salvation. Why? Because these people belong to those who resist God, and those who take Christ as their enemy are courting destruction. Are you able to accept the meaning of these words? It can be fully accepted. Believing in God but taking Christ as one’s enemy is courting destruction! In the Age of Grace, the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees of Judaism believed in Jehovah God, the one true God in heaven, but they never thought that the Lord Jesus would come. The Lord Jesus was the incarnate God, who expressed the truth and did the work of redemption, and this was heaven’s law and earth’s principle! The chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees of Judaism found it objectionable, and they said that the Lord Jesus spoke words of blasphemy. They saw that the words the Lord Jesus spoke had true power and authority, having enacted such great miracles, even greater than the miracles of the prophets in ages past. They were envious of this and hated Him, and because of this they did their utmost in hurling accusations at Him, distorting facts, and defaming the Lord Jesus. To what extent did they blaspheme the Lord Jesus? Even up to today, within all of Judaism there are few who believe in the Lord Jesus. You tell me how great the sins must be that have been committed by these chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees within Judaism! Under the law, they committed sins every day and violated the law, and would all be convicted under the law, they would all be extinguished, and in the end God came to redeem them, and became man’s sin offering. Not only did they not accept Him, but on the contrary they crucified the Lord Jesus. Finally, God became enraged and destroyed the Jewish nation, and caused all the Jews to be reduced to being dispersed into many different countries, leading a wretched and miserable life. In the Second World War, Hitler killed many millions of Jews, and the bitterness of that holocaust is known to all the world. This is what happens when people believe in God but take Christ as their enemy, with the result that they court destruction. Why did such great disasters befall them? The Lord Jesus said, “Woe to you Pharisees! Woe!” They said, “Woe? You say that we are unfortunate, but we haven’t faced any misfortune. You say we are unfortunate, but how do we have food to eat and clothing to wear every day? Every morning, the sun comes up in the East and goes down in the West without us seeing any misfortune.” In the blink of an eye, the great Roman army arrived and annihilated them all, and at that time the word of the Lord Jesus was fulfilled and the temple was completely demolished, without even one stone left standing on another. It was thoroughly destroyed! “You are supposed to worship God. You draw near to God with your lips, but your hearts are far from God, and the most detestable thing of all is that you nailed the incarnate God to the cross. This time, your temples and synagogues were destroyed, and they were utterly destroyed!” Was this not being cursed by God? This was God’s curse. Did you not crucify the Lord Jesus? The Lord Jesus caused your nation two thousand years of destruction, caused you yourselves to be crucified upside down, and this is the end result of taking Christ to be your enemy! That is to say, “Believing in God yet taking Christ to be your enemy is courting destruction.” Do these words make sense? These words are fact.
Now, most of us have turned from believing in the Lord Jesus to this way of Almighty God, because we have seen the utterances of God, which are proof that God has returned. The Lord Jesus has already returned and is none other than Almighty God! According to what is recorded in Revelation, it is God’s promise that the church of Philadelphia will be raptured, the name of the city of God and the new name of God will all be written upon our foreheads, and then we will be people in the book of life and truly belong to God. Because religious people do not accept Almighty God, they also do not accept or acknowledge the second coming of the Lord Jesus. God determines them as people who have betrayed the Lord Jesus. They have betrayed the Lord Jesus. If they do not accept the incarnate Almighty God, then they betray the Lord Jesus, so God says they can only be given over to be dealt with by the Lord Jesus. How are they dealt with when given over to the Lord Jesus? It is when the Lord descends upon white clouds and deals with them, do you understand? Is it important or not to establish a normal relationship with God? If you do not establish a normal relationship with God, then you will never know God! You will never obtain the truth! You will never have life! God will never acknowledge you! To what extent is it important to establish a normal relationship with God? Do you understand? If you have believed in God for many years and have not established a normal relationship with God, God will not acknowledge you! God says you do not belong to Him, and He does not know you! If He determines to say to you, “Away from Me, you evildoers!” then that is trouble for you, and you cannot possibly imagine the consequences! Every one of the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees in religious circles, as well as the pastors and elders, do not have a normal relationship with God, and they all just want to take advantage of God to gain blessings. They act one way before God, and a different way behind His back. They are reading the word of God but not carrying out the truth; they are hypocrites. So, most of the pastors and elders in the religious community are condemned, and this is absolute! These words cannot be said lightly. Remember this, these words must have the basis of the word of God, and man cannot utter them carelessly.