Chapter 74. Only Being Truly Obedient Is a Real Belief
Have a think about the most basic issue of what is meant by “belief in God.” Can this issue be considered an issue to you? In theory, it should not be an issue. But practically, is it an issue? Can you explain it? (No.) Why not? (We don’t normally think about it.) So if you don’t normally think about it, what do you do every day? What have you been doing these past few years? Is belief in God at the end of the day a faith, or is it a kind of direction for people’s lives, a kind of objective in people’s lives? In your heart, what exactly are the criteria for belief in God? Why do you believe in God? That is, what are your convictions? What is the basis, the foundation of your belief in God? What do you use for motivation? Said simply, do you have any aim in believing in God? Any intention? This is a fundamental issue and is the most basic issue. (To receive blessings.) Everyone has the intention to receive blessings from the very beginning. This is something that is sought for and yearned for in thought and in spirit when people first start believing in God. But when they come into contact with God’s word, the truth, and these realities after believing in God, that viewpoint changes, doesn’t it? So in what areas is that change in viewpoint implemented? Why do you believe in God? Everyone discuss this, fellowship about it. Then you will be clear about exactly how much of a part you feel the matter of believing in God plays in your hearts and exactly how much understanding you have of it. Don’t you think this matter is easy to talk about? How do you normally think of this matter? The first issues you should think about when you get up every day are: Why do I believe in God? What is my aim in believing in God? Is it pure? Or: What is my motivation for believing in God? What were the aims, desires and aspirations I wanted to achieve when I first believed in God? (When I first believed in God, I had an intention to receive blessings. Afterward, I experienced some of God’s judgment and chastisement and some of my nature was revealed, and I came to see the viewpoint of seeking within myself. At that time I really felt how deeply I had been corrupted by Satan. Then I had a thirst to seek to be someone with conscience and reason, who could genuinely stand before God as a created being and follow Him. I underwent this small transformation.) How did this transformation come about? (I experienced some judgment and chastisement through God’s word and some facts were revealed to me. Afterward, I had some insight into my own nature and my heart gave rise to this thirst.) What does this thirst bring to you? Can it bring to you some positive things? (It made me want to seek the truth, and made me feel that the truth is very valuable and important to us living our lives and conducting ourselves.)
Right from the start, people’s belief in God can be simply the wish to obtain grace, to ask for bread to eat their fill, and the wish to receive blessings and benefits—such simple thinking, selfish motives, and desires. They wish to satisfy all these various requirements and desires of the spirit and the flesh. From this foundation up until now people understand that the significance of belief in God does not stop here but goes further, and a great change has happened in them. The significance of belief in God for them, and their viewpoint, their intention and their motivation in their belief in God have all undergone a great change. And how is this change attained? This change does not come from spending a lot of time on it, or from meeting each day as it comes, much less does it come from someone imposing it upon you. Neither does it come from the edification or influence of any creed of religion or Christianity, much less from you wholeheartedly doing good deeds all day long so that Heaven is moved, then stirs you to change into someone comparatively better, into someone with a relatively more human likeness. These things are all empty. The thing that is most real is that, under the guidance of God’s word, and being watered and shepherded by the truth, people come to understand the truth, understand God’s will, and this makes them unknowingly undergo a great change within themselves. How is this change attained? It is attained one drop at a time from God’s work and from His word. So what do all these changes relate to? They relate to the greatest matter, which is the significance of man’s belief in God, the final significance of belief in God. Actually, everyone’s requirements are not high: They are to obtain grace, pray for peace. And then they transform into wishing to be good people, not bad people. So exactly what issue do all these things touch upon? They touch upon the greatest issue, which is the work God wants to do—God wants to save people. But by what means does He want to save people? People will be saved through them understanding the truth and understanding God’s words. So, in the final analysis now, what exactly is the significance of belief in God? (It is to be saved.) The significance of belief in God is to be saved, so what is the significance of being saved? “Being saved,” “breaking away from the dark influence of Satan”—people talk about these topics often, but they don’t know what being saved means. What exactly will man be like when they are saved? This relates to God’s will. To be saved, in common words, is to continue to live on and to be brought back to life by God. But before that, you can speak, you can breathe, are you dead? (The spirit is dead.) Why do you say people are dead if the spirit is dead? What do you base this on? Before people are saved, they live under the dark influence of Satan, and they live based on their corrupt satanic nature. So a person’s whole being—their flesh, and all other aspects such as their soul and their thought—God sees them as being dead. From the outside, you appear to breathe and blink your eyes, and you appear to think, but what you think about all day long are evil things, things of defying God, rebelling against God, things that God detests, hates, and condemns. God sees all these things as pertaining not only to the flesh, but also entirely to Satan and devils. So what does God see people as? Humans? God sees them as devils, animals, and living Satan! People live based on their essence of Satan and in God’s eyes they are the living Satan wearing man’s flesh. God determines this kind of person as being one of the walking dead, as dead people. God does His work of salvation now to take these people who are the walking dead, who live based on their corrupt satanic disposition, and on their corrupt satanic essence; He will take these so-called dead people and turn them into the living. This is the significance of being saved.
To believe in God is in order to be saved. The implication of being saved is that you become alive from being dead. That is, your breath is revived and you live. You open your eyes and see God, and you can recognize Him and bow down to worship Him. You no longer resist God in your heart, no longer defy God, attack God or rebel against Him. Only this kind of person is genuinely alive in God’s eyes. If someone just says they acknowledge God and believes in their hearts that there is a God, that God dominates all things and dominates the destiny of mankind, if they believe that God guides man all of their life, that He can change man’s destiny and guide man on the path ahead, with this kind of belief are they then one of the living? (No, they aren’t.) So what kind of people are the living? What kind of reality do the living people have? It is that everything you express, everything you think and everything you do is in fear of God and it shuns evil. To put it more appropriately, your every deed and every thought are not condemned by God or detested and rejected by God, but instead they are approved and commended by God. This is both what the living do as well as what they should do. So what kind of belief do people have that can mean they are truly saved? How can people have this kind of true belief? Write this question down and think about it.
We’re still talking about “belief.” Is there any difference between conviction, faith and the true belief? (Yes.) There is definitely a difference between them, but if you can’t tell what the details of the difference are, and you have a kind of conviction, a kind of vague conviction, then you will think that it is the true belief in God. All you have is some kind of faith, yet you think it is the true belief in God. Then you will have no true belief in God, but instead you use your faith, your conviction as a substitute. If your belief in God is only some kind of conviction, a kind of faith, then you will never be able to come before God and God will not commend you on this kind of belief. Let’s first talk about the difference between conviction, faith and the true belief. What is conviction? What thoughts can be summed up as conviction? You only talk conceptually about conviction, and most of you don’t know the details, yet you still always talk about it this way. Though you talk about it this way all the time, you don’t know the particulars. If you don’t know what they are about, then you cannot move on from being that way and you cannot avoid this issue. Conviction and faith are a little hard to explain. We don’t often talk about this issue. Let’s first talk about the true belief; this should be easy to explain. What is meant by “the true belief in God”? (Believing that all things and all events are dominated by God.) What is this? Is this the true belief or a conviction? (It’s a conviction.) (The true belief in God is experiencing God’s work on the foundation of one’s belief in His words; it is not denying God when one is tested. No matter how God tests you or refines you, you don’t walk away from God.) This is one aspect of practice. (The true belief in God is to be established on the foundation of knowing God. Only when people have knowledge of God can they have this belief, and this belief contains inner qualities.) This is verging slightly on the main point. How can one have the true belief? What expressions show that one has the true belief? With the true belief, can you have any misunderstandings about God? Any complaints? Any opposition? With the true belief, can man rebel against God? With the true belief, can man rely on their own will to do things, rely on their own will and good intentions to be considerate toward God’s will, rely on their own will to do good deeds? Let’s place these three concepts to one side for now.
Do you all know Peter? What did Peter do that is rather well-known? Before he was saved and perfected, what did he do that everyone knows about? (He thrice denied the Lord.) Before he thrice denied the Lord, what else did he do? (He tried to be an obstruction when the Lord Jesus was about to be crucified.) When the Lord Jesus was about to be crucified, what did Peter say? (“Be it far from you, Lord: this shall not be to you” (Mat 16: 22).) Did Peter have the true belief when he said these things? (No.) What is this called? This is man’s good intention, and this is called interrupting. Where did his good intention come from? (His own will.) Why was he able to manifest this kind of self-will? He had a point of view. What point of view? He didn’t understand God’s will, didn’t understand what ministry the Lord Jesus had come to do. His understanding of the Lord Jesus was limited to a kind of good intention and protection. It was “a little bit of affection” and “a little bit of protection” that people would say, which was, “This absolutely cannot befall You! You must not go to suffer that pain! If someone has to suffer it then let me suffer it. I will suffer it in Your place.” He didn’t know God’s will, and he came up with some good intention from his own will, wishing to prevent this event from happening. So how can we describe his way of doing things? What brought it about? Firstly, it was brought about by his hot blood, his will and his not understanding. Secondly, did he have a true belief in God? (No.) If he didn’t have the true belief in God, how could he have this good intention? Did his good intention come from the truth? Was it a kind of good deed? (No.) Then at the very least he was good-willed, and he was well-intentioned and he showed his sincerity, right? (Yes.) So what was the nature of his way of doing things? Was it a kind of behavior, a way of doing things that arose from the true belief? (No.) You see it clearly now; it absolutely wasn’t. Was it a kind of conviction? What is a conviction? Discuss about it using this matter—what is meant by “conviction”? (It means ideas that come from man himself.) (Conceptual things.) It is one’s own concepts, imagination and will. It is having a kind of good yearning, good desires; it is the things that people think of as good, positive and active, it is something that is to people’s taste, that conforms to people’s concepts and to people’s sentiments; it is a kind of good will, a kind of good thinking, a good way of doing things, a kind of good motivation—this is what is meant by “conviction.” It is not the true belief; this is 100 percent certain.
Man’s corrupt disposition hides within their every thought and idea, within the motives behind their every action; it hides in every viewpoint man has about anything and within every opinion, understanding, viewpoint, intention and desire they have in their approach to all God does. And what does God do? How does God approach these things of man? He arranges environments to reveal you; He makes you live in His arranged environments and then He reveals you. He will not only reveal you, but He will also judge you. When you reveal your corrupt disposition, when you have thoughts and ideas that defy God, when you have states and viewpoints that contend with God, when you have states whereby you misunderstand God, resist God and oppose Him, God will punish you, rebuke you, judge you and chastise you, and He will sometimes even discipline you. … He wants you to recognize your corrupt dispositions and satanic essence, for you to be able to be obedient toward the environments God arranges for you and, ultimately, for you to be able to practice in this environment what He requires of you in accordance with His will, and to be able to satisfy God’s will. Won’t you then have passed the ordeal? You will have passed the ordeal.