How to Understand One’s Own Corrupt Essence
Five Manifestations of Man’s Nature of Betraying God
We ought to understand well how men manifest their nature of betraying God. Each of us should first examine ourselves and understand how we have responded to God, His word, and the truth over the years. We should have a summary assessment of our real conditions. Do you think that you have sincerely given your heart to God when you have believed in God? Is it true that your heart has been occupied by God’s words? Is your heart really able to worship God and love Him at all times? It’s not, is it? Despite your faith in God, you have not really surrendered your hearts to God. Isn’t it true that your hearts still contain Satan’s venom and that they are still controlled by the deeply corrupt mankind? This means that your hearts still belong to yourselves and not to God, for God has no control over you. There are many things in which you are not possessed by God’s words. Instead, you are possessed and controlled by Satan’s philosophy of life and survival rules. This is why I say that you have not surrendered your hearts to God. In other words, your hearts have only the slightest desire and longing for God. Since your desires and longing are so slight, it means that such desire has not completely taken over your hearts. When you live your own lives, when you choose your path or living style, you still follow Satan’s rules. An observation may be made here. Those who have the nature of betraying God will live independently according to their own agenda and stray away from God. Isn’t this true? It means that your faith in God is only defined by your church attendance and how you spend your spare time. Your life, existence, and way of life remain under your control and are for you to decide. God has no control of how you live your life and survive, and what you choose. God has not taken control of your heart. ... When a person has surrendered only a part or a small part of his heart to the truth and to God, do you regard him as someone who belongs to God? No, he does not belong to God. Why not? Because he is still capable of rebelling against God, and relying on his own strengths to get things done rather than submitting himself to the authority of God’s word. In many respects, he is still living under Satan’s domain. He spends too little time and effort in God’s presence. Such observations show that he does not really belong to God, for his heart has not been possessed by God’s word or the truth. He does not belong to God because there is too little place for God in his heart. This demonstrates that such a person still has the nature of betraying God, and he can still stray away from God and live independently. Since he lives his life and survives according to his own strengths, he cannot live for God. God’s word has not taken control of him or occupied him except on occasions and in some trivial matters. God’s word plays no part when he deals with major events and critical times. Therefore, such a person has not been gained by God. This is the first manifestation of people’s nature of betraying God, that is, one can rely on himself and live independently from God. The second manifestation is that a man with the nature of betraying God often revolts against and resists God. He lives in a rebellious condition but he is unaware and feel no rebuke of conscience, nor does he feel anything is wrong. As you may notice, many appear to be zealous and have great faith in God. However, when trials and tribulations come, they do not know how to stand firm and bear witness for God. They have no idea how to satisfy God and humiliate Satan, or what truth to hold on to. Can such people be witnesses for God? They cannot. Won’t they belong to Satan when they encounter major matters or big trials? Absolutely. Such people cannot be a witness for God, and they are not claimed by God. They still belong to Satan. This is the second manifestation. The third manifestation is that a person who does not have the truth always thinks that they are right. They are arrogant and submit themselves to no one, not even to the truth. Look at those arrogant and conceited people, they don’t obey anyone. How do you think such a person might react when you try to fellowship about the truth with them? They might not dispute the truth but they will first take a look at you. They’d pay scant attention to the truth you talk about if you don’t look like someone they could admire, right? What do they consider the truth? They don’t take it seriously, do they? … People who rebel against God have neither taken the truth seriously nor respected it. They only care about influence and power, for they themselves are snobs. We may recall that in the Age of Law God did not make a personal appearance but He rescued the Israelites out of Egypt by the hands of Moses. During that time, the Pharaoh never gave much regard or paid much attention to Moses. In his eyes, Moses was not a person of status or influence, even though he was reared in the court and had acquired some education. This was why, when Moses acted upon God’s word and demanded to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, the Pharaoh rejected Moses’ demand. Eventually the Pharaoh had no choice but reluctantly granted Moses’ demand when God had Moses perform miracles and send down plagues. The Pharaoh had no choice, did he? People will only give in and satisfy God’s demand when no alternative is available to them. If they have options or alternatives, they surely would not choose to subject themselves to God’s way. This is because mankind has a nature of betraying God. As a result, no one can submit themselves to God, and no one is willing to submit to God. When it comes to man’s submission, it all depends on how much power and influence one has. “I will not submit myself to you unless you have power. I will not listen to you unless you are powerful. I will not accept what you say—not even the truth—if you have no power. I accept nothing but power. If you are very powerful, I will listen to what you say, even if it may not be true. On the other hand, if you are just an ordinary citizen with no power, I will never listen to you even if what you say is true.” Such is the rule of life and of submission among corrupt humankind. ... People can sit here listening to my fellowship, but honestly speaking, are they really interested in the truth? Are they really willing to seek the truth and be perfected by God? Not necessarily. Some show real interest, while others only do so for a little while. The latter consider themselves experts after they understand a little truth, but they never get to practice the truth, because they give up as soon as they encounter difficulties. Eventually they lose interest and stray away from it. What do people think? “If I tried to figure out the truth, I would understand a little. After that, it would become part of my life at once. I would be able to live out the truth without trying. I would be able to practice it without paying a price for it. It would soon bring significant changes to my life disposition, and then I would be able to submit myself to God and worship Him. How nice that would be!” However, this is not what God does. He works the truth and His word into people not by force or manipulation. Rather, He lets you follow your heart to seek, accept, and practice the truth voluntarily. In your practice the Holy Spirit sheds light upon you to further your understanding. Then, through your choices and obedience, God allows the life and the truth to rule in you. Such outcomes are accomplished by people’s own effort as well as their pursuit and practice. Such a process not only beats those who do not love the truth, but it also reveals all people for what they are. For some people, whenever they understand a little bit of the truth, they are able to put it into practice, pay a price for it, and renew and change their lives before God, as well as allow the truth to take control of themselves. Others are unable to do so. They regard understanding the truth as a personal interest. They are eager to share it with others once they understand a little bit of the truth. They love to show their great knowledge off to people in order to make others think highly of them. In their own lives and personal conduct, however, they have long forgotten the truth. Isn’t this relying on one’s self and living independently from God’s word? Aren’t they still being controlled by the nature of Satan? The way a person treats the truth can best reveal whether or not they really seek the truth. Their attitude toward the truth corresponds to their attitude toward God. If you do not respect the truth, do not treasure it with all your heart, do not love or practice the truth you understand, and do not treat it as your life or a basic principle of survival, then you are disrespecting God and you are not submissive to God. In other words, if you can rebel against the truth, then you can rebel against God. The fourth manifestation is that men who have the nature of betraying God are ready to do so at any time. When men face daunting trials or Satan’s temptations, or when they decide their own paths, they will betray God and live according to their way of life and to Satan’s rules of survival. As you may recall, the Lord Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit to the wilderness to be tempted by Satan after He was baptized. How did Satan tempt Him? Satan told Him that it would give Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory. How did the Lord Jesus respond? He rejected it, saying that all should worship God, the Creator. Satan tempted the Lord Jesus a few times and He overcame all of its temptations. Here, we can see that the Lord Jesus does not have the nature of betraying God. Since He was not a man who was corrupted by Satan, He did not need to experience God’s work or seek the truth. He was ready to stand witness for God. He was ready to submit Himself to the heavenly Father and to the direction and guidance of the Spirit. He was able to defeat Satan and overcome its challenges of all sorts. On the other hand, as corrupt humans, we are unable to do so. We are in the process of putting our faith in God and seeking the truth. We may still rebel against God and run away from Him when we face Satan’s temptations. Even though we understand the truth to some extent, we cannot stand firm in trials. We may still resist God and rebel against Him, so we are still not secured now. One day when we have fully attained the truth and have been perfected by God, we will then be able to defeat Satan and overcome its temptations and challenges, and able to stand witness for God. Such is the biggest difference between God incarnate and us. God incarnate is void of Satan’s corrupt disposition, while we corrupt humankind share it and have a satanic nature ruling within us. Therefore, if we do not seek the truth, we cannot be perfected by God, and we will continue to rebel against God. In other words, no-one is secure in his faith before he is perfected by God. When a person is seeking the truth and receiving salvation, he may still betray God and stray away from Him at any time. Therefore, God said that there is still a hundred percent chance that you will betray God before being perfected by Him. We should take note of such matters. No one should dare to say: “I am standing firm. Now, no matter how Satan may tempt me, I will be fine. I will never betray God.” We should hear no one make such statements. If anyone puts it like that, then that person is too arrogant and without any sense. They do not understand themselves. Don’t you think so? The fifth manifestation is that men who have the nature of betraying God are tired of the truth and are quick to turn away from it. They particularly enjoy freedom, and love to decide things by themselves. They love to exercise control, without restraint from anyone, and they like to follow whatever lifestyle they choose. This manifestation also demonstrates that people have the nature of betraying God. They will live any way they like, and in fact they are already doing that. Now, those of you, regardless of who you are and how long you have believed in God, take a look at yourself. How much do you love the truth? Would you say that you love the truth more than you feel fed up with it? Some have 50 or 60 percent hate and 40 or 50 percent love for the truth, while others have 20 or 30 percent love and 70 or 80 percent hate for it. Still others have 30 percent love for the truth when they are happy, while less than 10 percent when they are unhappy. When facing major events or crises in their lives, they have no love for the truth at all. They are completely tired of the truth and are completely taken over by Satan’s devilish nature. People have too little motivation to love or seek the truth. They devote a lot more attention to their love for freedom, power, and to whatever their hearts’ desire. There are way too many cases of men rebelling against God, and too few cases of living in obedience to God. Such is a realistic depiction of the corrupt mankind. People have the nature of betraying God, so they have these five different manifestations. It is undeniable that a person indeed has the nature of betraying God when these five manifestations are found in them. Now let’s examine ourselves by asking ourselves which ones of the manifestations may apply to our own situations. Honestly speaking, all five of these apply to each one of you, don’t they? So won’t you admit that you have the nature of betraying God? Some may say that only the first three apply to them, so their nature of betraying God may not be so evident. They only have a slight inclination to betray God. However, this does not make sense. Men’s nature is absolutely that of betraying God. It is one hundred percent sure, not sixty percent. Therefore, each one of us, once we have realized our corrupt nature of betraying God, we should clearly understand that you and I, and all people could betray God at any time. We are all leading a rebellious life against God in some ways even before we openly rebel against Him or experience severe trials and temptations. Do you know what is meant by leading a rebellious life against God? It means that when God has no place in your heart, when His word plays no part in your life, and when you live according to your own notions and imaginings, and according to Satan’s philosophy of life, you are living in situations of betraying God. This is the truth.