It’s a fact of history that to truly live the religious life is very, very difficult. Each person finds himself in the fallen realm with the blood of Satan flowing through his veins. Everyone has to be conscious of that, continually aware that Satan’s influence touches everything we do and that we apt to do everything centering around our baser self. Just shrugging and admitting, “Maybe that is so,” is not good enough. We have to clearly understand how this is the reality surrounding us. How we can change this bad blood into good is the problem facing us.
Let us see in further detail what the characteristics are of a man with fallen blood lineage. The one characteristic most easily discerned is that of ignoring the whole and trying to elevate oneself instead. This is not difficult to do because it was this very self-centeredness that motivated the fall. Thus we find that this is the most noticeable characteristic of a fallen man.
How deeply rooted is this self-centered nature? It is very deep because all the world surrounding us is composed that way and compels us in this direction. We can easily imagine how difficult it was under these circumstances to establish religion, through which mankind could continue advancing toward heaven. The satanic lineage has extended throughout history and there is nothing around us that is not connected to Satan. This is not a concept but the reality, and is the reason why many religious leaders appeared on earth to teach people and try to lead them away from this bad realm.
Putting aside the world for a moment, let’s think about the self. Has anyone been successful at any time in history in overcoming himself, even just one small individual? We know there was no one like that except Jesus. God has never seen one individual reach perfection, although through 6,000 years He has invested all His energy into restoring one man into the original position of Adam. Just restoring one person has taken all this time, and at the same time he has been the only one thinking about saving the bigger things, or even just improving the world. So far most individuals have been struggling just to get themselves out of the fallen realm and haven’t really had concern for what happens to others.
God realized that it would be impossibly difficult for each individual in a population, no matter how small, to overcome the fall in his own way. God thought that instead He would establish one model, and through becoming completely one with that model everyone could overcome himself and go beyond the realm of the fall.
When can we say that we are totally rid of satanic blood and call ourselves good? Which level do we have to reach before we can say that? We can say we are rid of the fallen blood when without exception we never think about ourselves and we live for the whole of mankind. We have to have a clear concept of what this is. It’s very much like the situation of a man who would travel in space; he has to get beyond the earth’s gravity just to get started. As long as he is still influenced by gravity, he will always come down again, no matter how high he goes. Once we get beyond the pull of fallen nature, there will be no force pulling us one way or the other and we can travel in the direction we know is right, eventually to be pulled by the gravity of goodness.
Why are we religious? We want to know how the man in the position of evil can come to the position of goodness. Many people have taught different ways to make a life of goodness and to completely change, but in essence they are all rather simple-to change from self-centeredness to always thinking first about God and others. That’s the essential teaching of many religions, and even though we may not yet be in that selfless position, we can be called truly religious when we at least know the direction in which to go.
It is human desire to meet the one man who will save us and give us new birth. This one man is the Messiah. Because he is completely different from all others, we can be absolutely sure that every hour and 365 days a year he does not live for himself but for the sake of God, the whole world and all things. If he is confident to live that way then we may say that he qualifies as the Messiah. How can you distinguish Jesus from anyone else and say with confidence that he is the Messiah who came to save the world? By knowing this standard, we are sure from what he taught and from what he did in his life that he was the Messiah.
Jesus sometimes taught in a seemingly contradictory way. At one time he said, “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.” What kind of statement is that? It’s not just 90 degrees different from all others, but 180 degrees different. We have come to understand that in order to change our satanic blood we must change completely, not just a little. In order to do that there is no other way except for our fallen selves to die; then our original selves will live. Changing 179 degrees is not good enough because in moving at that angle we will eventually arrive back at the same place we started from. If we go away 180 degrees from the starting point, however, there is no way to go but in the opposite direction.
Sometimes temptations and trials are difficult, but what is the best way to overcome them? Immediately to say, “I have to forget about myself.” That is a very effective way to go directly to God. It may be easy to say, but how impossible it is to do! When Jesus was crucified, even the people who opposed him knew it was totally wrong, but still he prayed that they would be forgiven since they didn’t understand. How is it possible to feel that way? What do you suppose Jesus was thinking when he was crucified? Did he feel sorry for himself because he was dying? Certainly not. Even as the blood was dripping out of his body, he thought about how the blood he shed represented all mankind who would have to shed their satanic blood. Many people before and since Jesus have shed blood, but how different those deaths were in this crucial point. Jesus shed his blood for the sake of mankind, as the representative of mankind.
If one man is this good, is there any compatible place for him to live on earth? Can he find even a small area to live in? Certainly there was not such a place for Jesus; even religious people at the time were thinking about how they would prosper one day and have great influence on the world. They were centered on their own religion and never thought about the entire world, so there was no place that was adequate for someone like Jesus.
I Proclaim That I Know
Reverend Sun Myung Moon
April 1, 1978