How are we supposed to free ourselves from the spiritual emptiness and the degenerate life and find a genuine life? I was so lost and befuddled before, but now I’ve found the answer.
God’s Utterance “God Himself, the Unique V God’s Holiness (II)” (Part Four)
E. How Satan Uses Social Trends to Corrupt Man
Are social trends a new phenomenon? (No.) So when did they begin? Could one say that social trends came to be when Satan started corrupting people? (Yes.) What do social trends include? (Style of clothing and makeup.) This is something people often come into contact with. Clothing style, fashion, and trends, this is a small aspect. Is there anything else? Do the popular sayings that people often talk about count too? Do the lifestyles that people desire count? Do the music stars, celebrities, magazines, and novels that people like count? (Yes.) In your minds, which aspect of these trends is able to corrupt man? Which of these trends is most enticing to you? Some people say: “We’ve all reached a certain age, we are in our forties, fifties, sixties, seventies or eighties where we can’t fit in with these trends and they don’t really hold our attention anymore.” Is this correct? (No.) Others say: “We don’t follow celebrities, that’s something youngsters in their teens and twenties do; we also don’t wear fashionable clothes, that’s something image-conscious people do.” So which of these is able to corrupt you? (Popular sayings.) Can these sayings corrupt people? Here’s one, and you can see whether or not it corrupts people, “Money makes the mare go”; is this a trend? Isn’t this a much worse thing compared to the fashion and gourmet trends you mentioned? (Yes.) “Money makes the mare go” is the philosophy of Satan and it prevails among every human society. You could say that it is a trend because it has been imparted to everyone and is now affixed in their heart. People went from not accepting this saying to growing used to it so that when they came into contact with real life, they gradually gave tacit approval to it, acknowledged its existence and finally, they gave it their own seal of approval. Is this right? (Yes.) Isn’t this process that of Satan corrupting man? Perhaps those of you sitting here do not understand this saying to the same degree, but everyone has different degrees of interpretation and acknowledgment of this saying based on things that have happened around them and their own personal experiences, right? Regardless of how much experience someone has with this saying, what’s the negative effect that it can have on someone’s heart? (People would think money can do anything, and they would esteem money.) Something is revealed through the human disposition of the people in this world, including yourselves sitting here. How is this interpreted? It’s the worship of money. Is it hard to get this out of someone’s heart? It is very hard! It seems that Satan’s corruption of man is thorough indeed! Can we say that? (Yes.) So after Satan uses this trend to corrupt people, how is it manifested in them? Don’t you feel that you couldn’t survive one day in this world without any money, that even one day would just be impossible? (Yes.) People’s status is based on how much money they have as is their respectability. The backs of the poor are bent in shame, while the rich enjoy their high status. They stand tall and proud, speaking loudly and living arrogantly. What does this saying and trend bring to people? Don’t many people see getting money as being worth any cost? Don’t many people sacrifice their dignity and integrity in the pursuit of more money? Don’t many more people lose the opportunity to perform their duty and follow God for the sake of money? Isn’t this a loss for people? (Yes.) Isn’t Satan sinister to use this method and this saying to corrupt man to such a degree? Isn’t this a malicious trick? As you progress from objecting to this popular saying to finally accepting it as truth, your heart falls completely under Satan’s grasp, and therefore you unwittingly come to live by it. What degree has this saying affected you? You might know the true way, you might know truth, but you are powerless to pursue it. You might clearly know the word of God, but you are unwilling to pay the price, unwilling to suffer to pay the price. Instead, you would rather sacrifice your own future and destiny to go against God to the very end. No matter what God says, no matter what God does, no matter how much you realize that God’s love for you is deep and great, you would still stubbornly stay the course and pay the price for this saying. What this means is that this saying already controls your behavior and your thoughts, and you would rather have your fate controlled by this saying than give it all up. People do this, they are controlled by this saying and manipulated by it. Isn’t this the effect of Satan corrupting man? Isn’t this the philosophy and corrupt disposition of Satan taking root in your heart? If you do this, hasn’t Satan achieved its goal? (Yes.) Do you see how Satan has corrupted man in this way? (No.) You didn’t see it. Can you feel it? (No.) You didn’t feel it. Do you see Satan’s evil here? (Yes.) Satan corrupts man at all times and at all places. Satan makes it impossible for man to defend against this corruption and makes man helpless to it. Satan makes you accept its thoughts, its viewpoints and the evil things that come from it in situations where you are unwitting and when you have no recognition of what’s happening to you. People fully accept these things and take no exception to them. They cherish and hold these things like a treasure, they let these things manipulate them and toy with them, and this is how Satan’s corruption of man becomes deeper and deeper.
The several previously described methods that Satan uses to corrupt people are obvious and everyone has experienced them; Satan uses them and they are inescapable. Man has knowledge and some scientific theories, man lives with the influence of traditional culture, and everyone is an inheritor of traditional culture. Man is bound to carry on the traditional culture given to him from Satan as well as acts in concert with the social trends Satan provides to mankind. In spite of being inseparable from Satan, cooperating with all Satan does at all times, accepting its craftiness, arrogance, malice, and evil—after possessing these dispositions of Satan—is man happy or sorrowful in living among this mankind and in this world? (Sorrowful.) Why would you say that? (He is tied down by these things and his life is a bitter struggle.) Hmm. You might see someone who is bespectacled and who has the very appearance of wisdom; he might never shout, always be eloquent, reasonable, and moreover, because of his great age, he might have gone through many things and be very experienced; he might be able to speak in detail about matters great and small and have a solid foundation for what he says; he might also have a set of theories to assess the authenticity and reason of things; and people might look at his behavior, his appearance, and see how he conducts himself and see his integrity and his character and find no fault with him. People like this particularly cater to the current social trends and are never thought of as being outdated; he is instead avant-garde and stylish. Even though this person might be older, he is never behind the times and he is never too old to learn. On the surface, no one can find fault with him, yet inside he is utterly and completely corrupted by Satan. On the surface nothing is wrong, he is gentle, refined, possesses knowledge and a certain morality; he has integrity and the things he knows are comparable to what young people know. However, in regard to his nature and substance, this person is a full and living model of Satan, he is the spit and image of Satan. This is the “fruit” of Satan’s corruption of man. What I have said may be hurtful to you, but it is all true. The knowledge man studies, the science he understands, and the road he takes to fit in with social trends, without exception, are tools of Satan’s corruption. This is absolutely true. Therefore, man lives within a disposition that is completely corrupted by Satan and man has no way of knowing what God’s holiness is or what God’s substance is. This is because on the surface one cannot find fault with the ways Satan corrupts man; one cannot tell from someone’s behavior that anything is amiss. Everyone goes about their work normally and lives normal lives; they read books and newspapers normally, they study and speak normally; some people have even learned to have the facade of morality so that they can say their greetings, be polite, be courteous, be understanding of others, be friendly, be helpful to others, be charitable, and will avoid being fussy with others and avoid taking advantage of others. However, their corrupt satanic disposition is rooted deep within them; this substance cannot be changed by relying on external effort. Man is not able to know God’s holiness because of this substance, and despite the substance of God’s holiness being made public to man, man doesn’t take it seriously. This is because Satan has already come to completely possess man’s feelings, ideas, viewpoints and thoughts through various means. This possession and corruption is not temporary or occasional; it is present everywhere and at all times. Therefore, many people who have believed in God for three or four years—even five or six years—they still cling to the thoughts and views Satan has instilled in them as if they are clutching a treasure. Because man has accepted the evil, arrogant, and malicious nature of Satan, inevitably in man’s interpersonal relationships there is often conflict, often arguments and incompatibility, which is created as a result of Satan’s arrogant nature. If Satan had given mankind positive things—for example, if the Confucianism and Daoism of traditional culture that man accepted were considered good things—similar types of people should be able to get along with one another after accepting those things, right? So why is there such a great divide between people who have accepted the same things? Why is that? It’s because these things come from Satan and Satan creates division among people. The things Satan provides, no matter how dignified or great they appear on the surface, bring to man and bring out in man’s life only arrogance, and nothing more than the craftiness of Satan’s evil nature. Isn’t that right? Someone who could disguise themselves, possess a wealth of knowledge, or have good upbringing would have a hard time concealing their corrupt satanic disposition. No matter how many ways this person cloaked themselves, if you thought of them as a saint, or if you thought they were perfect, or if you thought they were an angel, no matter how pure you thought they were, what would their life be like behind the scenes? What substance would you see in the revelation of their disposition? Without a doubt you would see the evil nature of Satan. Could one say that? (Yes.) For example, say you know someone close to you who you think is a good person, or you have thought of as a good person, perhaps someone you idolized. With your current stature, what do you think of them? First, you look at whether or not this type of person has humanity, whether they are honest, whether they have true love for people, whether their words and actions benefit and help others. (No.) The so-called kindness, love or goodness being revealed here, what is it really? It is all a facade, it is all false. This behind-the-scenes facade has an ulterior evil purpose: It’s to make that person adored and idolized. Do you see this clearly? (Yes.)
What do the methods Satan uses to corrupt people bring to mankind? Is there anything positive about it? (No.) First, can man differentiate between good and evil? (No.) You see, in this world, whether it’s some great person, or some newspaper, or on some radio station, they’ll say that this or that is good or evil, is that accurate? (No.) Is that correct? (No.) Are their assessments of events and people fair? (No.) Is there truth in it? (No.) Does this world or humanity assess positive and negative things based on the standard of truth? (No.) Why don’t people have that ability? People have studied so much knowledge and know so much about science, aren’t their abilities great enough? Why can’t they differentiate between positive and negative things? Why is this? (Because people don’t have truth; science and knowledge aren’t truth.) Everything Satan brings to humanity is evil and corruption and it lacks the truth, the life, and the way. With the evil and corruption Satan brings to man, can you say that Satan has love? Can you say that man has love? Some people might say: “You’re wrong, there are many people around the world who help the poor or homeless people. Aren’t those good people? There are also charitable organizations that do good works, isn’t all the work they do for good?” So what do we say about that? Satan uses many different methods and theories to corrupt man; is this corruption of man a vague concept? No, it is not vague. Satan also does some practical things, which includes a variety of false things masquerading as good things, as well as very deceitful actions, which Satan does with its own intention and purpose. Corrupted people and Satan are the same; they are also in this world and in society promoting a viewpoint or a theory. In every dynasty and in every epoch they promote a theory and instill some thoughts into men. These thoughts and theories gradually take root in the hearts of people, and then people begin to live by these theories and thoughts; don’t they unwittingly become Satan? Aren’t people one with Satan? When people have become one with Satan, what is their attitude toward God in the end? Isn’t it the same attitude Satan has toward God? No one dares to admit this, right? It’s very frightening! People are Satan, and their nature is the very nature of Satan. Why do I say that Satan’s nature is evil? This is determined and analyzed based on what Satan has done and the things Satan has revealed; it’s not without merit to say Satan is evil. If I just said Satan was evil, what would you think? You would think, “Obviously Satan is evil.” So I’ll ask you: “What aspect of Satan is evil?” If you say: “Satan’s resisting God is evil,” you still won’t be speaking with clarity. Now we’ve said the specifics this way; do you have an understanding about the specific content of the substance of Satan’s evil? (Yes.) Now that you’ve had this understanding of Satan’s evil nature, how much do you understand about yourselves? Are these things linked? (Yes.) Does this link hurt you? (No.) Is it helpful to you? (Yes.) How helpful is it? (A very big help!) Let’s talk specifics; I won’t hear ambiguous words. How much does this “very big” refer to? (We know the things that God hates, which things go against God; our hearts are a bit clear about these things.) Mm, is there anything else to add? When I fellowship about the substance of God’s holiness, is it necessary that I fellowship about the evil substance of Satan, what’s your opinion? (Yes, it is necessary.) Why? (Satan’s evil sets God’s holiness in high relief.) Is this how it is? This is partially right in that without Satan’s evil, people won’t know of God’s holiness; this is correct. However, if you say that God’s holiness only exists due to its contrast with Satan’s evil, is this right? This argument is wrong. God’s holiness is the inherent substance of God; even though God reveals it or God acts, He possesses this inherent substance and it is naturally revealed, it is intrinsic to God Himself and it has always existed, but man cannot see it. Man lives among the corrupt disposition of Satan and among its corrupt substance, and man does not know about holiness or about the specific content of God’s holiness. Is this right? So, do you think it is necessary that we fellowship first about Satan’s evil substance? (Yes, it is.) You see, we have fellowshiped about several aspects of God’s uniqueness and we didn’t mention the substance of Satan, right? Some people may express some doubt such as, “You are fellowshiping about God Himself, why are You always talking about how Satan corrupts people and how Satan’s nature is evil?” Have you put these doubts to rest? (Yes.) How did you put them to rest? (Through God’s fellowship, we differentiated that which is evil.) When people have discernment of evil and when they have an accurate definition of it, when people can clearly see the specific content and manifestation of evil, the source and substance of evil—when God’s holiness is discussed now—people will then clearly realize, or clearly recognize it as God’s holiness, as true holiness. If I don’t discuss the evil of Satan, some people will mistakenly believe that something people do in society and among people—or something in this world—may be related to holiness. Isn’t this viewpoint wrong? (Yes.) I have thusly fellowshiped on Satan’s substance. What sort of an understanding of God’s holiness have you achieved through your experiences in recent years, from your seeing the word of God and from experiencing His work? Go ahead and speak about it. You don’t have to use words pleasing to the ear, just speak from your own experiences, is God’s holiness just His love? Is it merely God’s love that we describe as holiness? That would be too one-sided, right? Wouldn’t that be one-sided? (Yes.) So besides God’s love, are there other aspects of God’s substance that you have seen? (Yes.) What have you seen? (God detests festivals and holidays, customs, and superstitions; this is God’s holiness.) You merely said that God detests certain things; God is holy so therefore He detests things, is that what it means? (Yes.) At the root of it, what is God’s holiness? God’s holiness has no substantial content, only that He detests things? In your minds are you thinking, “Because God hates these evil things, therefore one can say that God is holy”? Isn’t this speculation here? Isn’t this a form of deduction and judgment? What is the greatest taboo when it comes to understanding God’s substance? (To leave reality behind.) It’s when we leave reality behind to speak of doctrines, this is the most taboo thing to do. Anything else? (Speculation and imagination.) Speculation and imagination, these are also very strong taboos. Why are speculation and imagination not useful? Are things that you speculate about and imagine things you can truly see? (No.) Are they the true substance of God? (No.) What else is taboo? Is it taboo to just enumerate a bunch of nice sounding words about God’s substance? (Yes.) Isn’t this boastful and nonsensical? Judgment and speculation are nonsensical, as is just picking out nice sounding words. Is there anything else? Empty praise is also nonsensical, right? (Yes.) Does God enjoy listening to people talk this kind of nonsense? (No, He does not.) What’s a synonym for “not enjoying” something? (To feel uncomfortable.) He feels uncomfortable hearing it! God leads and saves a group of people, and after this group of people hear His words they never understand what He means. Someone may ask: “Is God good?” and they’d respond, “Good!” “How good?” “So, so good!” “Does God love man?” “Yes!” “How much?” “So, so much!” “Can you describe God’s love?” “It’s deeper than the sea, higher than the sky!” Isn’t this nonsense? Isn’t this nonsense similar to what you just said about, “God hates Satan’s corrupt disposition, therefore God is holy”? (Yes.) Isn’t what you just said nonsense? Where do the majority of nonsensical things that are said come from? (Satan.) They come from Satan. Nonsensical things that are said primarily come from people’s irresponsibility and irreverence to God. Could we say that? (Yes.) You didn’t have any understanding yet still talked nonsense, isn’t this being irresponsible? Isn’t this disrespectful to God? You have studied a bit of knowledge, understood a bit of reasoning and a bit of logic, which you have used here and, furthermore, done so in knowing God. Do you think God feels uncomfortable hearing that? How can you know God using these methods? Doesn’t that sound awkward? Therefore, when it comes to the knowledge of God, one must be very cautious; where you know God, speak only of that. Speak honestly and practically and do not adorn your words with routine compliments and do not use flattery; God does not need it and this sort of thing comes from Satan. Satan’s disposition is arrogant and Satan likes to be flattered and hear nice words. Satan will be pleased and happy if people list all the nice sounding words they have learned and use these words for Satan. But God does not need this; God does not need adulation or flattery and He does not require that people speak nonsense and praise Him blindly. God abhors and will not even listen to praise and flattery that is out of line with reality. So, when some people blindly praise God and what they say doesn’t match what’s in their heart and when they blindly make vows to God and carelessly pray to Him, God does not listen at all. You must take responsibility for what you say. If you don’t know something, just say so; if you do know something, express it in a practical way. Now, as to the actual content of God’s holiness, do you have a specific understanding of it? Now you won’t dare say nonsensical things, right? You’re not talking nonsense, but can’t stop speaking, so you should have some understanding, right? Are you thinking about it? You are handling it conscientiously, right? You may say a few things now. (When I revealed rebelliousness, when I had transgressions, I received God’s judgment and chastisement, and therein I saw God’s holiness. And when I fell into situations and environments that didn’t conform to my expectations, I prayed about these things and I sought God’s intentions and as God enlightened and guided me with His words, I saw God’s holiness.) Hmm, this is from your own experience, right? (When God leads people all along the way, and as He has dominion over people, in that I see God’s holiness. Actually, in what God just talked about how Satan corrupts man and man has been living under the corruption and affliction of Satan, man has no control over this, I truly see God’s holiness through God’s work in man.) (I have seen from what God has spoken that man is corrupted and harmed by Satan like this. Nonetheless, God has given everything to save us and from this I see God’s holiness.) This is a realistic manner of speaking and it is true knowledge. Are there any different takes on this? (I don’t know whether or not my understanding is correct. In the fellowship God just had with us, I see Satan’s evil in the things Satan says and does. In the first fellowship, it said that God told man what he could and could not eat, and that God’s words revealed cleanliness and directness; from this I see God’s holiness. That’s what I can add.) Mm. In what you have heard from these people say, whose words do you say Amen to the most? Whose speech, whose fellowship was closest to our fellowship topic today, whose was most realistic? How was the fellowship of the last sister? (Good.) You say Amen to what she said, what did she say that was right on target? You may be direct, say what you have to say and don’t worry about being wrong. (In the words the sister just spoke, I heard that God’s word is straightforward and very clear, it is not at all like Satan’s roundabout words. I saw God’s holiness in this.) Hmm, this is part of it. Did you all hear what was just said? (Yes.) Was it right? (Yes.) Let’s give the sister a round of applause. Very good. I see that you have gained something in these two recent fellowships, but you must continue to work hard. The reason you must work hard is because understanding the substance of God is a very profound lesson; it is not something one comes to understand overnight or can speak clearly in just a few words.
Every aspect of people’s corrupt satanic disposition, knowledge, philosophy, people’s thoughts and viewpoints, and the personal aspects hinder them greatly from knowing God’s substance; so when you hear these topics, some topics may be beyond your reach, some topics you may not understand, while some topics you may fundamentally not match up with reality. Regardless, I have heard about your understanding of God’s holiness and I know that in your hearts you are beginning to acknowledge what I have said and fellowshiped about God’s holiness. I know that in your hearts your desire to understand the substance of God’s holiness is starting to sprout. But what makes Me even happier? It is that some of you are already able to use the simplest words to describe your knowledge of God’s holiness. Even though this is a simple thing to say and I have said it before, in the hearts of the majority of you this has yet to be approved or make an impression. Nonetheless, some of you have taken these words to heart and this is quite good and this is a very good start. I hope on the topics that you think are profound—or on the topics that are beyond your reach—you will continue to engage in fellowship, and do more and more fellowship. For those issues that are beyond your reach there will be someone to give you more guidance. If you engage in more fellowship regarding the areas that are within your reach now, the Holy Spirit will do His work and you will come to greater understanding. Understanding the substance of God and knowing the substance of God provides immeasurable help to people’s life entry. I hope that you do not ignore this or see it as a game; because knowing God is the very essential basis and foundation for man’s and man’s pursuit of truth and salvation and something that must not be dispensed with. If man believes in God yet does not know God, and if man lives among some letters and doctrines, you will never achieve salvation even if you act and live in accordance with the superficial words of the truth. That is to say, if your faith in God is not based on knowing Him, then your faith means nothing. You understand, right? (Yes, we understand.) Our fellowship will end here for today.
January 4, 2014
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