THE LORD’S SALVATION NOT BEING FOR MATERIAL BLESSINGS
With a little effort, we can easily discover that in every religion there are people with these three types of needs. Generally speaking, in every religion there are crowds of people who are seeking to obtain material blessings. They worship and even fear a supreme being, and in their fear they turn from doing evil to doing good, lest they incur misfortunes or retributions for their evil deeds. Their religious piety is for the purpose of pleasing God in exchange for His blessings. Their religious pursuit is for nothing but happiness, longevity, peace, and prosperity. These people are relatively shallow in that they seek only the outward things.
Those who are a little deeper study their religion to a great extent. The purpose of their study is mostly for the cultivation of their morality. Those who make an effort to meet the need in the deepest part of their being are very few; rarely is there even one among a hundred.
This is religion. Regardless of whether the object of worship is true or false, and regardless of whether the way of worship is right or wrong, the above three points are the main reasons for religious belief. In light of this we can ask, “Do Christians receive a religion or do they receive the Lord’s salvation?” As Christians, do we have a relationship with religion, or do we have a relationship with the Lord Jesus?
Please remember that when the Lord was on the earth, He was not here to give people material blessings. Perhaps some will ask, “Does not the Bible tell us that the Lord healed the sick, cast out demons, and fed people? Are not these things for the welfare and peace of the people?” We can use three portions of Scriptures to prove that the Lord did not come to the earth to provide people with material blessings. The first portion is in Mark chapter one. There we see that one day, when the sun had set, all those who were ill were brought to the Lord (v. 32). Yet the Bible does not say that the Lord healed all of them; it only says that “He healed many who were ill” (v. 34). The next day, rising very early, the Lord Jesus went away to a deserted place, and there He prayed until the crowd came looking for Him. The disciples, out of their good heart, pitied the crowd and went to report to Him, “All are seeking You” (vv. 35-37). How did He react? He went away. The Lord did not heal the sick all the time, and if we think He did, we are wrong. Many times, because of our weakness, the Lord will sympathize a little with us, and He will heal us to demonstrate His power and to prove that He is God. However, if we keep considering Him as a healer and keep asking Him to care for our own welfare, then the Lord will not do it anymore but rather will depart.
It seems that the Lord should not have departed on that morning because that was a rare opportunity. All the crowds had come to seek Him; it was certainly a good opportunity. He should have come out to heal them of their diseases and to save them. Instead, He went away. Why? It is because He came to the earth not to heal people. Even if He had healed them, one day they would be sick again. The Lord did not come to the earth for this.
BELIEVING IN THE LORD FOR MATERIAL BLESSINGS NOT BEING TRUSTWORTHY
The second portion of Scriptures is in John chapter two. Many believed into the name of the Lord because they saw the signs which He did (v. 23). Yet how did the Lord react? The Lord did not entrust Himself to them (v. 24). They believed in the Lord, but the Lord did not trust them. Why? It is because their faith was not a genuine faith but a faith for their own well-being, for their sicknesses to be healed. Hence, it was a faith which was not trustworthy. Therefore, the Lord did not entrust Himself to them. The situation is still the same today. Many have believed in the Lord because they were healed of their sickness. This believing, however, is not reliable. Believing in the Lord due to miracles, blessings, or benefits is not trustworthy. When trials come and those who have this kind of belief do not see any blessing or any answer to their prayer, they may no longer believe.
(Dead to Law but Living to God, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)