NOTHING BEING ABLE TO SATISFY US BESIDES CHRIST HIMSELF
In addition to the concept of obtaining material blessings and the thought of improving our behavior, the third reason that religion came into existence is man’s need for inner satisfaction. A person who seeks for inner satisfaction is a person with more depth; this kind of person seems to be more noble. However, besides Christ Himself there is nothing which can satisfy our inner being. These three things—seeking for material blessings, pursuing the improvement of behavior, and searching for inner satisfaction—are the three main reasons why man produced and practices religion. Even up to now we still may not have freed ourselves from these three things. This is a very pitiful and serious matter.
PAUL BEING AN EXAMPLE
The life of Paul prior to his salvation may be considered the best illustration of this. Paul was one hundred percent a religionist. As a religionist, he did not pay much attention to being prosperous; rather, he was a person with ideas, wisdom, a future, and accomplishments. He paid attention not to prosperity but to two other matters. One matter was behavior improvement. He exerted great effort in this matter; hence, he dared to boast that he was blameless according to the law of the Old Testament (Phil. 3:6) and that he was more zealous for the God of the Jews and for their traditions than anyone else (Gal. 1:14). No one could find fault in him. By this we can see the extent of his behavior improvement. However, as such a one, Paul was an opposer of Christ and a person who persecuted and devastated the church of God.
One day on the road to Damascus Christ met him and said to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads” (Acts 26:14). As a person chosen by the Lord, Paul should have taken the way of the Lord; instead, he took the way of religion. He was a religionist in the Jewish religion, and he was opposing the Lord. He thought that he was serving God; little did he know that he was actually offending God. Paul was not a person who did not believe in God and who did not fear God. On the contrary, he believed in God with all his heart and kept the law of God. He was actually very zealous for God. However, such a man who was so zealous for religion was one who opposed Christ. Besides being a person pursuing improved conduct, Paul was also a person who sought for the satisfaction of his inner being, yet ultimately he was a person who offended and opposed Christ.
RELIGION OFFENDING CHRIST AND OPPOSING CHRIST
A person might be zealous for religion, fear God and pursue God, keep the law of God as Saul did, and be very zealous for God, yet he may be the person who offends Christ the most. Never think that to fear God, to seek after God, and to be zealous for God is to be a Christian. Although as Christians we fear God and are zealous for God, our living might not be the living of a Christian because we might actually be merely a religionist. We may have proper conduct, we may be zealous, and we may do our best to keep the teaching and commandments in the Scriptures, but can we be more zealous than Saul was in those days? Can we be more earnest in keeping the words of the Scriptures than Saul was in his time? Even if we were able to do it, we still would not be a Christian. Instead, we would be those who offend Christ.
Often when atheists oppose Christ, their opposition is obvious and easily seen. But very often those who are apparently zealous Christians are actually enemies of Christ in the eyes of God; they are opposing Christ every day. We have to see that anything that is not Christ is against Christ. Whether zeal, good deeds, or the righteousness of the law, as long as it is not Christ, it is against Christ. Please remember that everything outside of Christ, everything that is not Christ Himself, is against Christ.
(Dead to Law but Living to God, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)