“And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, ‘For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.’ And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the LORD.”
In today’s Scripture passage, it is written that when Seth had Enosh, mankind finally began to call on the name of Jehovah. Why did people begin to call on the name of the Lord at this particular time? Because it was only then that human beings finally saw their weaknesses. They recognized, in other words, that they were all insufficient beings, inevitably bound to die for their sins and weaknesses. They finally saw their true selves, realizing that they had neither virtue nor any merit in their flesh, but were only weak and feeble. Because they realized their human weaknesses, they had no choice but to rely on God, and that is why the Bible says here that they finally began to call on the name of the Lord, Jehovah.
Only someone who can see his own feebleness comes to call on the name of Jehovah. The fundamental condition of all human beings is such that they cannot avoid but be put to death for their sins. What is mankind? What is life? Human beings have no choice but to be destroyed and cursed for their sins. They have no merit whatsoever, in both body and spirit.
People often say that mankind is the master of all creation, and that it is the most precious creature among all. However, mankind has absolutely nothing that is better than any other creatures. Indeed, all human beings are descendants of Adam, a brood of evildoers that cannot avoid but die for their sins. That is why the Bible declares, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).
When looked at before God, we, too, are all insufficient. Of all the people in this world, no one can claim to be perfect, not even one person. Human nature is such that everyone lives in this world like a bloodthirsty wolf, committing all kinds of sins according to one’s carnal instincts, and that is precisely why the Bible says here those who realized their completely worthless selves finally came to call on the name of the Lord.
After Abel’s death, God had given Adam and Eve another son named Seth to continue on with the lineage of faith, and this Seth bore a child and called him Enosh. The name Enosh is “Enos” in Greek, meaning a “mortal man.” Therefore, this name Enosh means the very fact that man cannot avoid but die for his sins.
Who among us would ever give a bad name to one’s own child? Yet Seth gave his son a hopeless and yet very fitting name, for when he saw himself and his son, he realized that they were both bound to die before God. This is why it is written here that when Enosh was born to Seth, people finally began to call on the name of the Lord. It means that when they saw their feeble selves, they recognized that God was alive, and they called on the Lord to rely on Him. Unless human beings know their own frailty, there is no need for them to rely on God. However, once they discover themselves, realizing that they are too feeble and therefore destined to die both physically and spiritually, then they also come to realize that they have no other choice but to call on the name of Jehovah God and live by trusting in Him.
Those who cannot see their true nature do not call on the name of God, nor do they try to rely on Him. Just as Sakyamuni tried to solve everything by himself, declaring, “Holy am I alone throughout heaven and earth,” those who cannot see their fundamental nature do not even try to look for God, but they live in arrogance before His presence. But what merit do human beings have? In reality, everyone is a mortal being, to whom death is simply inevitable. Yet people in this world do not realize that they are just like Enosh, and that is precisely why they are exalting their own self-esteem. If we could see our own feeble selves—that is, if we realize that we commit countless sins driven by our own lusts of the flesh, do not practice virtue as God wants, but in contrast only practice evil against God’s desire—then we would come to call on the name of the Lord. When one calls on the name of Jehovah God, it means that he is now relying on God.
Even we, who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, must not forget the fact that in our flesh, we are still like Enosh. We should never forget that by nature, we had been bound to be cursed for our sins and destined to the everlasting fire of hell. Everyone, no matter how virtuous and how famous he is, is inevitably bound to die for his sins. All the people of great renown, heroes, and distinguished religious leaders who ever lived on this earth, and who are now living, are merely mortal beings alike, all destined to die for their sins. It is only when we know ourselves properly that we come to look for God and call on His name.
Our true substance as human beings is the same as that of Enosh. But what about you? Do you know that you are such a being? Yet all too often, as we carry on with our lives, we forget about our true selves. It’s only because the Lord has saved people like us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we have been saved; had our Lord not done so, we would have remained completely worthless. What merit whatsoever do we have on our own? How are we any better than beasts, and what is more virtuous about us? Every human being is exactly like Enosh.
The Bible says here that it wasn’t until Enosh was born that mankind finally began to call on the name of Jehovah God. Why was it only then that people finally called on the name of the Lord? Who would have taught them the name of Jehovah? It was Adam who taught them. That’s because Adam and Eve knew very well who God was, for they had been with Him. Even after Enosh was born in this world, Adam and Eve continued to give birth to more children. Since Adam died after living for 930 years, he had a long time to have more children. So just how many more children would he have had over all those years?
We humans should never forget not even for a moment that we cannot help but commit sin because of our weaknesses and that we cannot avoid but die because of this sin. Socrates left a famous dictum, “Know yourself.” If he knew today’s Scripture passage, he would have pointed out more specifically, saying, “Know yourself, that you are Enosh.” Perhaps he would have left the following words: “You are indeed inevitably destined to die for your sins, for you are a brood of evildoers. No one has any virtue whatsoever.”
As I saw my true self through the Word of God, I realized that I was a man absolutely devoid of any merit to raise my own self-esteem before God, and bound to die for my sins. That is why I came to thank God for Jesus Christ. I have nothing on my own to exalt myself before God. Are you also like me? Indeed, for you and me alike, we have nothing on our own that can exalt us. After I believed in the gospel of the righteousness of the Lord and was born again, as I began to follow the Lord by faith, I discovered even more that I had indeed been bound to bear God’s condemnation and die, just as the Word said. That is why I am so much more profoundly thankful to God for saving someone like me through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Our existence had been worthless, with our feet quick to commit only sin, and yet the Lord has saved such people like us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit; and every time I affirm this by faith, I feel even more deeply grateful.
Had I believed in the worldly Christianity that has turned into a mere religion, I would have never realized this Truth. It has been 30 years since I first believed in Jesus. Anyone who has led a religious life for this long should have by now become a holy person worthy of respect in other people’s eyes—that is, if I had believed in Jesus like any other religionists of the world, I should have become a man of virtue by now—but when I look at myself, I see nothing that has been made holy, nor do I see any great improvement in my character. On the contrary, as more and more days go by since my being born again, when I look at myself, I am even more compelled to admit that I had lived so ignorant of my true self and so ungrateful to God. I had indeed been destined to die, and yet the Lord has saved me by bestowing me with His gospel grace of the water and the Spirit, and for this, I have no one else but God to thank. From the perspective of a worldly religion, though, it makes no sense that only one’s shortcomings should be exposed more with passing time. However, all those who call on the name of Jehovah God are those who see their feeble selves, and those who faithfully follow the Lord are also those who admit their frail selves.
When doing God’s work, someone who does not know his true self only tries to deceive God with a sham. In contrast, people who truly follow the Lord faithfully without hypocrisy are fully aware of their feebleness. Only such people thank the Lord for saving them even though they were all bound to die for their sins, and they are grateful to Him for using them as instruments for His righteous work, to be made into someone who follows the Lord faithfully. Like Enosh, anyone who knows his fundamental self gives all his thanks to God again and again.
God’s servants, too, should clearly grasp their frailty. Rather than considering themselves as someone special, they should realize that they were completely worthless beings all destined to die, but God still came looking for such people and met them. It is precisely because our existence is so feeble that the Lord has saved us from all our sins, curses, and weaknesses. In other words, it is not because you are any better than the other brothers and sisters of faith that God has raised you each as a leader in your church.
Our bothers and sisters should also be well aware of their feeble nature. It takes a long time for you to unite with God’s Church and follow your church leaders after receiving the remission of your sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Even so, someone who can see himself eventually comes to unite with God’s Church. It is because we come to see our worthless nature that we try to unite with the Church and live by the grace of God.
However, what happens until one reaches such an understanding? Most people usually think that they were saved because of their own merit, and that they are also making a marvelous contribution to God’s Church. Sometimes, I even feel like telling such people not to bother to come to church. Of course, I shouldn’t say such a thing. I, too, am such a weak man, and yet the Lord met me and has saved me from all my sins. That is why every soul must humble his heart before God and recognize his fundamental frailty. If we really know our true selves, then we can all live in peace by trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit before God. And we can truly serve the Lord. We are grateful that God has made us serve the Lord, even though we have nothing to boast of before God. We must serve the Lord faithfully with a willing heart, without any prosperous sense of carnal superiority before God.
What is there to be so dissatisfied about, when God has saved us and made us His servants, despite the fact that we had no choice but to die for our sins? If God makes us do His work, then we should be thankful and do His bidding as commanded, and we should still be grateful even if God were to ignore us. This is what a servant is supposed to do, for how can a slave rise up against his own master? We should keep in mind that man is an inevitably mortal being. No human being can raise himself any higher than his own mortality. If a servant of God knows that he is Enosh, then he would only work faithfully for his Master to the best of his abilities, not exalt himself before God. This is how the righteous live, exalting the will of their Master. The righteous should be grateful for the very fact that they are able to believe in the gospel of the Lord and serve it. Since God has saved mortal beings inevitably bound to die for their sins, how much more should they be thankful for allowing them to serve their Savior? This is who God’s servants are.
In general, when someone has only recently been saved from his sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, he usually tries to exalt himself. However, when he comes to recognize how God has saved someone so completely worthless like himself, then he begins to serve the Lord with gratitude, realizing just how wonderful it is that he is doing God’s bidding. It is only proper that God’s servants should strive to exalt Him in whatever way possible. It means that they have absolutely no ground to raise themselves high. Why? It is because they know their own mortality. Given the fact that they are all mortal beings, how high would they reach even if they were to raise themselves? We have nothing on our own to exalt ourselves. How are we of any worth, when we are mortal beings inevitably destined to die, no matter how we might exalt ourselves? We should exalt someone who deserves to be exalted. It is Jesus Christ, who came by the water and the Spirit, whom we should exalt with our faith.
The forebears of faith in the Bible were very good at naming their children with fitting names that carried important implications. For instance, the name “Enosh” means a “mortal man,” that is, a “weak being.” In other words, it implies that human beings cannot help but sin. The name “Abel,” on the other hand, means “breath,” and it shares the same etymology with such words as “vanity,” “emptiness,” and “mist.” This means that although we humans are futile beings, soon to disappear like a cloud of mist, by believing in Jesus Christ who has come by the water and the Spirit, and therefore by giving the offering of our faith in the Lamb of God, we have received the remission of our sins.
Nowadays, the concept “servant” is being misused in today’s Christianity. The description “God’s servant” is widely used as an honorary title. But the word servant originally means a slave. It refers to someone who is lowly and looked down. What kind of people are the real servants of God? What kind of heart must God’s servants have? God’s servants are those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, fully cognizant of the fact that they had been bound to die for their sins, and that their lives had been completely worthless. A servant of God is someone who knows his feeble self, and because of this realization, believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and lives by his faith in God. He is someone who cannot live if forsaken by his Master, and who knows his status very well, realizing that he has nothing to say even if the Master were to take away his life. This is who God’s servants are, and this is the heart that every servant of God must have.
However, the term “God’s servant” is being abused in today’s Christianity. Those who are no more than mortal beings, who cannot avoid but die for their sins, are exalting themselves so much. It’s an unbearable sight to see them raising themselves up so high. For whom should a servant live? Whom should a servant exalt? Should he exalt himself? No, a servant is supposed to exalt his master. The Apostle Paul said, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Paul also lived by the belief that it did not matter what happened to him, as long as it benefited the gospel. That is why he said, “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Philippians 4:12).
Of course, God’s servants may very well be rich. However, if they live too wealthy a life in an extremely destitute country, then it’s easy for greed to come into the hearts of the local people wishing to hear the Word of God, and God’s servants themselves might be at the risk of being robbed. To the question on how we should then live, the simple answer is that we should all live for the benefit of the gospel. God’s servants should never forget that by nature, they are completely worthless, and that they are now working for the Master. A servant of God must first know exactly what it is that his Master desires. He must lend his ears to the will of the Master. And he must faithfully carry out his assigned duties, even when the Master is not looking.
How, then, can one become such a servant? This is achieved only when one realizes his inevitable mortality, and knows and believes in the Lord who has saved even such a fragile person like himself. It is people like this who become God’s servants and call on the name of Jehovah God. Putting on a pompous spectacle, stirring up all kinds of commotions, raising hands and screaming out as fanatics—this is not what a real servant does. A real servant knows his Master’s desire, reads His mind, listens to His Word, obeys His command, and exists solely to please his Master.
A servant of God must know his true self. Anyone who does not know himself cannot become God’s servant. Someone who is oblivious to his true nature and considers himself quite meritorious is very difficult for God to make him work to His heart’s content. In contrast, God finds it much easier to use someone who knows his limits. Why? Because those who know their inadequate selves do what God orders them, and so it’s easy to put to them to work; however, those who have too much of their own merit consider it an insult when God asks them to do something difficult, and so they refuse to do His bidding. That one is a servant of God does not mean that he is meritorious. If he were so meritorious, why would he be a servant, instead of a ruler as he could be? When people receive the remission of sins, many of them think that they are quite commendable, but in fact, they are no more than mortal beings. We have no merit whatsoever on our own. You and I alike, there is absolutely nothing commendable to us. That is why we are only too pleased to follow the Lord today and tomorrow, serving Him in joy and giving thanks to God for using such insufficient people like us.
All of us must know our fundamental nature properly. In contrast to Mencious who argued human nature to be inherently good, the Scriptures of Truth clearly teach us that by our very nature, we humans are sinners who cannot avoid but face condemnation. It is those who know themselves properly, and who call on the name of the Lord, that truly believe in God properly. We, too, must realize that we ourselves are Enosh. All of us human beings are “Enosh”; we are destined to die as “mortal beings.” Realizing this, we should call on the name of Jehovah God and rely on Him—this is the proper thing to do. Without knowing this, none of us can follow the Lord to the end.
When we want to believe in God and follow and serve Him, we must start our lives of faith from knowing ourselves. Only then are our hearts humbled, and only then can we give thanks to God, follow Him to the end, and serve Him faithfully. Since the Lord has saved us when we had all been bound to die, we should be thankful to Him whenever He makes us participate in the work of saving souls, in whatever position He may have put us. If anyone does not realize this, then he has no qualification as a servant of God, nor is he qualified to preach the gospel, but he is ultimately living only for himself. Even though we were all mortal, God has glorified us; and so in light of this, what benefit could we possibly obtain if we were to seek after only our own interests?
I give all my thanks to the Lord for saving us, who had indeed been all bound to our certain death. And I thank Him for allowing us to serve Him. No matter where He might have put us, I thank Him for the very fact that He has made us serve Him. I thank God for taking us in as His own servants, not as the servants of the world.