What is the meaning of the apostle Paul’s words “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)? This article will tell you the answer and how to pray without ceasing.
Why Should We Believe in God? How Do We Believe in God?
By He Yixun, United States
The phrase “believing in God” is familiar to Christians. Every believer in God hopes to attain God’s praise and finally be taken into the kingdom of heaven. Yet why should we humans believe in God? How should we believe in Him to obtain His praise?
Why should mankind believe in God?
1. Man’s life comes from God, so believing in and worshiping God is righteous and just.
It says in Genesis 2:7, “And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
God’s words say, “God created all things, and so He makes all creation come under His dominion, and submit to His dominion; He will command all things, so that all things are in His hands. All creation of God, including animals, plants, mankind, the mountains and rivers, and the lakes—all must come under His dominion. All things in the skies and on the ground must come under His dominion. They cannot have any choice, and must all submit to His orchestrations. This was decreed by God, and is the authority of God. God commands everything, and orders and ranks all things, with each classed according to kind, and allotted their own position, according to God’s will. No matter how great it is, no thing can surpass God, and all things serve the mankind created by God, and no thing dares to disobey God or make any demands of God. And so man, as a creature of God, must also perform the duty of man. Regardless of whether he is the lord or ruler of all things, no matter how high man’s status among all things, still he is but a small human being under the dominion of God, and is no more than an insignificant human being, a creature of God, and he will never be above God. As a creature of God, man should seek to perform the duty of a creature of God, and seek to love God without making other choices, for God is worthy of man’s love.”
The above two passages show us that, the lives of us humans originated from God. In the beginning, God created our ancestor Adam out of the dust, then breathed breath into Adam, and as a result Adam became a living man with a spirit. God gave us humans breath and life, so it’s natural for us to believe in and worship God, and this is what a person with conscience and reason should do. Besides, before making mankind, God had created everything necessary for mankind’s survival, such as light, air, water, all kinds of fruits, vegetables, and poultry and livestock, and a suitable living environment, and so on. Moreover, God rules over, manages and provides for all things. His purpose of doing so is for mankind to normally live and multiply, and lead a peaceful life on earth. From what God does, we can see God’s meticulous love toward mankind. So, as created beings, who enjoy everything God provides, it’s right and proper for us to believe in and worship God.
2. For we humans, who live in sin after being corrupted by Satan, can only be saved by God through belief in Him and following His way.
God’s words say, “Adam and Eve created by God in the beginning were holy people, which is to say, whilst in the Garden of Eden they were holy, untainted with filth. They were also faithful to Jehovah, and knew nothing of the betrayal of Jehovah. This is because they were without the disturbance of the influence of Satan, were without Satan’s poison, and were the purest of all mankind. … In the beginning, man had the breath of Jehovah, and was not the slightest bit disobedient, and had no evil in his heart. At that time, man was truly human. After being corrupted by Satan, man became a beast: His thoughts were filled with evil and filth, without good or holiness. Is this not Satan?”
From God’s words we can see that, after being corrupted by Satan, mankind lost God’s care and protection, and thus live under Satan’s domain, being trampled and toyed with by it. Since all kinds of poisons of Satan were planted within us, we are arrogant and self-righteous, obedient to no one; we’re especially selfish and deceitful, and our mouths are full of lies; for money, fame and fortune, and status, we scheme, struggle, cheat and slaughter each other; to achieve our own individual goals, we stop at nothing, doing any terrible thing and committing any sin. Like this, we lead a painful and miserable life.
However, God cherishes mankind, because mankind was created by Him. So, in order to save man from Satan’s domain and harm, God started His management plan of saving mankind. Just as God’s words say, “Earliest mankind was in the hands of God, but because of Satan’s temptation and corruption, man was bound up by Satan and fell in the hands of the evil one. Thus, Satan became the object to be defeated in the work of God’s management. Because Satan took possession of man, and because man is the stock of all God’s management, if man is to be saved, then he must be snatched back from the hands of Satan, which is to say that man must be taken back after having been held captive by Satan. Satan is defeated through changes in man’s old disposition that restore his original sense, and in this way, man, who has been taken captive, can be snatched back from the hands of Satan. If man is freed from the influence and bondage of Satan, Satan will be shamed, man will ultimately be taken back, and Satan will be defeated. And because man has been freed from the dark influence of Satan, man will become the spoils of all of this battle, and Satan will become the object that will be punished once this battle has finished, after which the entire work of mankind’s salvation will have been completed.” From God’s words we understand, only by believing in God, experiencing God’s work, and thus having our corrupt disposition purified, can we be saved by God. As is known to us, in the Age of Law, God proclaimed the laws to lead the newborn mankind to live on earth, so that they could know their sins and confess sins. In the Age of Grace, the Lordwas crucified to redeem man from sin. However, although we have been pardoned of our sins, our sinful nature remains unresolved, and we still live in the condition of sinning and confessing. So, we need God to appear a second time to completely cleanse and save us (see Hebrews 9:28). According to our needs, in the last days, God does the work of judgment by His words. So, if wanting to obtain God’s salvation, we still need to accept God’s work of judgment. Through reading God’s words, we will understand all aspects of the truth, understand God’s will, see through the fact of our corruption by Satan, discern what satanic things exist in us, and know what kind of people God praises and blesses; then we will be more willing to pursue the truth, practice according to God’s words, and do things that God commends. This way, we can gradually cast off Satan’s deception and shackles, shun all sorts of evil, return before God, and thus be saved by God.
How should one believe in God in order to obtain His praise?
God’s words say, “Though many people believe in God, few understand whatmeans, and what they must do to be after God’s heart. This is because, though people are familiar with the word ‘God’ and phrases such as ‘the work of God,’ they do not know God, much less do they know His work. No wonder, then, that all those who do not know God are possessed of a muddled belief. … ‘Belief in God’ means believing that there is a God; this is the simplest concept of faith in God. What’s more, believing that there is a God is not the same as truly believing in God; rather, it is a kind of simple faith with strong religious overtones. True faith in God means experiencing the words and work of God based on a belief that God holds sovereignty over all things. So you shall be freed of your corrupt disposition, shall fulfill the desire of God, and shall come to know God. Only through such a journey can you be said to believe in God.”
This passage reveals the truth and mystery of faith in God. From these words, “True faith in God means experiencing the words and work of God based on a belief that God holds sovereignty over all things. So you shall be freed of your corrupt disposition, shall fulfill the desire of God, and shall come to know God. Only through such a journey can you be said to believe in God,” we know the true meaning of faith in God. Believing in God actually means believing in God’s words, that is, practicing His words and experiencing His work. Only in this way can we understand the truth and have true knowledge of God. This is true faith in God. Only such faith in God can obtain His approval. When we gain true knowledge of God, no matter what trials we encounter, even if the environment that is most incompatible with our conceptions comes upon us, we won’t complain to God, because we have true faith in Him. Instead, we will submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements, and stand witness to God.
Take Peter for example: When he followed the Lord Jesus, he focused on listening to God’s words, often contemplated them, and paid attention to understanding God’s requirements of man within them. And he rigorously compared himself to God’s words that exposed and judged man, and thus he gained true knowledge of the essence and truth of his corruption, and also came to know God’s righteous and holy disposition. Besides, in daily life, he focused on practicing and experiencing God’s words. Thesays, “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? to him, I say not to you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21–22). After knowing the Lord’s requirement, Peter began to practice according to the Lord’s teaching. For instance, once, Paul didn’t understand Peter’s behavior when Peter met the Jews in Antioch, so he rebuked Peter openly. Yet Peter didn’t hate or retaliate against Paul, nor did he hold it against Paul. Instead, he still called Paul “brother,” and got along with Paul harmoniously. And in his old age, he highly recommended Paul. All this proves that Peter practiced the Lord’s words, forgiving Paul. Moreover, when experiencing hundreds of trials, he focused on seeking to understand God’s will and practicing in accordance with God’s words, and thus developed true knowledge of and obedience toward God. Finally, he was crucified upside down and managed to achieve an ultimate love for God and obedience unto death, creating a beautiful and resounding testimony to God, and thus he attained God’s approval. Clearly, only true faith in God can satisfy God’s will and obtain God’s approval.
Now, we understand, as created beings, it’s right and proper for us to believe in and worship God, and that’s what people with conscience and reason should do. Only by believing in and following God, experiencing God’s work, practicing God’s words, and thus developing true faith in God, can we receive God’s salvation and enter God’s kingdom.
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