The way that people believe in God, love God, and satisfy God is by touching the Spirit of God with their heart and thereby obtaining His satisfaction, and by using their heart to engage with God’s words and thus being moved by the Spirit of God. If you wish to achieve a normal spiritual life and establish a normal relationship with God, then you must first give your heart to Him. Only after you have quieted your heart before Him and poured your whole heart into Him will you gradually be able to develop a normal spiritual life. If in people’s belief in God, they do not give their heart to Him and if their heart is not in Him and they do not treat His burden as their own, then everything they do is an act of cheating God, an act typical of religious people, and cannot receive God’s praise. God cannot gain anything from this kind of person; this kind of person can only serve as a foil to God’s work, like a decoration in the house of God, something superfluous and useless. God does not make use of this kind of person. In such a person, not only is there no opportunity for the work of the Holy Spirit, there is not even any value in their being perfected. This type of person is, in truth, a walking corpse. Such people have nothing that can be used by the Holy Spirit, but on the contrary, all of them have been appropriated and deeply corrupted by Satan. God will weed these people out. Currently, in making use of people the Holy Spirit not only employs those parts of them that are desirable in order to get things done, He also perfects and changes their undesirable parts. If your heart can be poured into God and remain quiet before Him, then you will have the opportunity and the qualifications to be used by the Holy Spirit, to receive the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and even more, you will have the opportunity for the Holy Spirit to make good your shortcomings. When you give your heart to God, on the positive side, you can attain deeper entry and attain a higher plane of insight; on the negative side, you will have more understanding of your own faults and shortcomings, you will be more eager to seek to satisfy God’s will, and you will not be passive, but will actively enter in. Thus, you will become a correct person. Assuming your heart is able to remain quiet before God, the key to whether or not you receive praise from the Holy Spirit, and whether or not you please God, is whether you can actively enter in. When the Holy Spirit enlightens a person and makes use of them, it never makes them negative but always makes them actively progress. Even though this person has weaknesses, they can avoid basing the way they live their lives on those weaknesses. They can avoid delaying growth in their life, and continue to seek to satisfy God’s will. This is a standard. If you can attain this, it is sufficient proof that you have obtained the presence of the Holy Spirit. If a person is always negative, and if, even after receiving enlightenment and coming to know themselves, they remain negative and passive and unable to stand up and act in concert with God, then this type of person just receives the grace of God, but the Holy Spirit is not with them. When a person is negative, this means that their heart has not turned to God and their spirit has not been moved by God’s Spirit. This should be understood by all.Continue reading “It Is Very Important to Establish a Normal Relationship With God”
Category: Daily Bread
The Last Christ Is the Lord of the Judgment and the One Who Opens the Scroll. (Part Three)
- “The Bible records that only the Lamb can break the seven seals. In the past generations, there were many Bible expositors among the great men. Then can you say that they were all the Lamb? Can you say that their expositions were completely from God? They were only ‘Bible expositors,’ and they did not have the identity of the Lamb. How could they be qualified to break the seven seals?”
from “A Statement About Address and Identity” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
- “In the end time, when I open my scroll (the scroll refers to all the words of my mouth, the words I speak in the last time, which are all the content of my scroll), I will tell you this.”
from “The One Hundred and Tenth Piece of Word” in The Word Appears in the FleshContinue reading “The Last Christ Is the Lord of the Judgment and the One Who Opens the Scroll. (Part Three)”
Daily Words of God | “The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud'” | Excerpt 44
“Jehovah” is the name that I took during My work in Israel, and it means the God of the Israelites (God’s chosen people) who can take pity on man, curse man, and guide the life of man. It means the God who possesses great power and is full of wisdom. “Jesus” is Emmanuel, and it means the sin offering that is full of love, full of compassion, and redeems man. He did the work of the Age of Grace, and represents the Age of Grace, and can only represent one part of the management plan. That is to say, only Jehovah is the God of the chosen people of Israel, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of Moses, and the God of all the people of Israel. And so in the current age, all the Israelites apart from the tribe of Judah worship Jehovah. They make sacrifices to Him on the altar, and serve Him wearing priests’ robes in the temple. What they hope for is the reappearance of Jehovah. Only Jesus is the Redeemer of mankind. He is the sin offering that redeemed mankind from sin. Which is to say, the name of Jesus came from the Age of Grace, and existed because of the work of redemption in the Age of Grace. The name of Jesus existed to allow the people of the Age of Grace to be reborn and saved, and is a particular name for the redemption of the whole of mankind. And so the name Jesus represents the work of redemption, and denotes the Age of Grace. The name Jehovah is a particular name for the people of Israel who lived under the law. In each age and each stage of work, My name is not baseless, but holds representative significance: Each name represents one age. “Jehovah” represents the Age of Law, and is the honorific for the God worshiped by the people of Israel. “Jesus” represents the Age of Grace, and is the name of the God of all those who were redeemed during the Age of Grace. If man still longs for the arrival of Jesus the Savior during the last days, and still expects Him to arrive in the image He bore in Judea, then the entire six-thousand-year management plan would stop in the Age of Redemption, and would be incapable of progressing any further. The last days, furthermore, would never arrive, and the age would never be brought to an end. That is because Jesus the Savior is only for the redemption and salvation of mankind. I took the name of Jesus for the sake of all the sinners in the Age of Grace, and it is not the name by which I shall bring the whole of mankind to an end. Although Jehovah, Jesus, and the Messiah all represent My Spirit, these names only denote the different ages in My management plan, and do not represent Me in My entirety. The names by which people on earth call Me cannot articulate My entire disposition and all that I am. They are merely different names by which I am called during different ages. And so, when the final age—the age of the last days—arrives, My name shall change again. I shall not be called Jehovah, or Jesus, much less the Messiah, but shall be called the powerful Almighty God Himself, and under this name I shall bring the entire age to an end. I was once known as Jehovah. I was also called the Messiah, and people once called Me Jesus the Savior because they loved and respected Me. But today I am not the Jehovah or Jesus that people knew in times past—I am the God who has returned in the last days, the God who shall bring the age to an end. I am the God Himself that rises up at the ends of the earth, replete with My entire disposition, and full of authority, honor and glory. People have never engaged with Me, have never known Me, and have always been ignorant of My disposition. From the creation of the world until today, not one person has seen Me. This is the God who appears to man during the last days but is hidden among man. He resides among man, true and real, like the burning sun and the flaming fire, filled with power and brimming with authority. There is not a single person or thing that shall not be judged by My words, and not a single person or thing that shall not be purified through the burning of fire. Eventually, all nations shall be blessed because of My words, and also smashed to pieces because of My words. In this way, all people during the last days shall see that I am the Savior returned, I am the Almighty God that conquers all of mankind, and I was once the sin offering for man, but in the last days I also become the flames of the sun that burn all things, as well as the Sun of righteousness that reveals all things. Such is My work of the last days. I took this name and am possessed of this disposition so that all people may see that I am a righteous God, and am the burning sun, and the flaming fire. It is so that all may worship Me, the only true God, and so that they may see My true face: I am not only the God of the Israelites, and am not just the Redeemer—I am the God of all creatures throughout heavens and earth and seas.Continue reading “Daily Words of God | “The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud’” | Excerpt 44″
How to Enter Into a Normal State
The more people accept the words of God, the more enlightened they are, and the more they hunger and thirst in their pursuit of knowing God. Only those who accept the words of God are capable of having richer and more profound experiences, and they are the only ones whose lives can continue to grow like sesame flowers. All who pursue life should treat this as their full-time job; they should feel that “without God, I cannot live; without God, I can accomplish nothing; without God, everything is empty.” So, too, should they have the resolution that “without the presence of the Holy Spirit, I will do nothing, and if reading the words of God has no effect then I am indifferent to doing anything.” Do not indulge yourselves. Life experiences come from the enlightenment and guidance of God, and they are the crystallization of your subjective efforts. What you should demand of yourselves is this: “When it comes to life experience, I cannot give myself a free pass.”Continue reading “How to Enter Into a Normal State”
Daily Words of God | “It Is Very Important to Establish a Proper Relationship With God” | Excerpt 406
God’s Word “Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks”
Most people believe in God for the sake of their future destination, or for temporary enjoyment. For those who have not undergone any dealing, belief in God is for the sake of entering into heaven, in order to gain rewards. It is not in order to be made perfect, or to perform the duty of a creature of God. Which is to say that most people do not believe in God in order to fulfill their responsibility, or to complete their duty. Rarely do people believe in God in order to lead meaningful lives, nor are there those who believe that since man is alive, he should love God because it is heaven’s law and earth’s principle to do so, and is the natural vocation of man. In this way, although different people each pursue their own goals, the aim of their pursuit and the motivation behind it are all alike, and, what’s more, for most of them the objects of their worship are much the same. Over the last several thousand years, many believers have died, and many have died and been born again. It is not just one or two people who seek after God, nor even one or two thousand, yet the pursuit of most of these people is for the sake of their own prospects or their glorious hopes for the future. Those who are devoted to Christ are few and far between. Many devout believers have still died ensnared in their own nets, and the number of people who have achieved success, moreover, is pifflingly small. To this day, the reasons why people fail, or the secrets of their success, are still unknown. Those who are obsessed with seeking after Christ have still not had their moment of sudden insight, they have not gotten to the bottom of these mysteries, because they simply do not know. Though they make painstaking efforts in their pursuit, the path they walk is the path of failure once walked by their predecessors, and not the one of success. In this way, regardless of how they seek, do they not walk the path that leads to darkness? Is what they gain not bitter fruit? It is hard enough to predict whether the people who emulate those who succeeded in times past will ultimately come to fortune or calamity. How much worse are the odds, then, for the people who seek by following in the footsteps of those who failed? Do they not stand an even greater chance of failure? What value is there to the path they walk? Are they not wasting their time? Irrespective of whether people succeed or fail in their pursuit, there is, in short, a reason why they do so, and it is not the case that their success or failure is determined by seeking however they please.
The most fundamental requirement of man’s belief in God is that he have an honest heart, and that he fully devote himself, and truly obey. What is hardest for man is to provide his whole life in exchange for true belief, through which he can gain the entire truth, and fulfill his duty as a creature of God. This is what is unattainable by those who fail, and is even more unattainable by those who cannot find Christ. Because man is not “good at” wholly devoting himself to God, because man is not willing to perform his duty to the Creator, because man has seen the truth but avoids it and walks his own path, because man always seeks by following the path of those who have failed, because man always defies Heaven, thus, man always fails, is always taken in by Satan’s trickery, and ensnared in his own net. Because man does not know Christ, because man is not adept at understanding and experiencing the truth, because man is too worshipful of Paul and too covetous of heaven, because man is always demanding that Christ obey him and ordering about God, thus those great figures and those who have experienced the vicissitudes of the world are still mortal, and still die amid God’s chastisement. All I can say of such people is that they die a tragic death, and that the consequence for them—their death—is not without justification. Is their failure not even more intolerable to Heaven? The truth comes from the world of man, yet the truth among man is passed on by Christ. It originates from Christ, that is, from God Himself, and is unattainable by man. Yet Christ provides only the truth; He does not come to decide whether man will be successful in his pursuit of the truth. Thus it follows that success or failure in the truth is all down to man’s pursuit. Man’s success or failure in the truth has never had anything to do with Christ, but is instead determined by his pursuit. Man’s destination and his success or failure cannot be heaped upon the head of God, so that God Himself is made to bear it, because this is not a matter for God Himself, but is directly related to the duty that the creatures of God should perform. Most people do have a little knowledge of the pursuit and destination of Paul and Peter, yet people know nothing more than the outcome for Peter and Paul, and are ignorant of the secret behind Peter’s success, or the deficiencies that led to Paul’s failure. And so, if you are completely incapable of seeing through to the substance of their pursuit, then the pursuit of most of you will still fail, and even if a small number of you will be successful, still they will not be the equal of Peter. If the path of your pursuit is the right one, then you have a hope of success; if the path you tread in pursuit of the truth is the wrong one, then you will forever be incapable of success, and will meet the same end as Paul.
Peter was a man who was made perfect. Only after experiencing chastisement and judgment, and thus gaining a pure love of God, was he fully made perfect; the path he walked was the path of being made perfect. Which is to say that, from the very beginning, the path that Peter walked was the right one, and his motivation for believing in God was the right one, and so he became someone who was made perfect. He trod a new path that man had never walked upon before, whereas the path that Paul had walked upon since the beginning was the path of opposition to Christ, and it was only because the Holy Spirit wished to use him, and to take advantage of his gifts and all his merits for His work, that he worked for Christ for several decades. He was merely someone who was used by the Holy Spirit, and he was not used because Jesus looked favorably upon his humanity, but because of his gifts. He was able to work for Jesus because he was struck down, not because he was happy to do so. He was able to do such work because of the enlightenment and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the work he did by no means represents his pursuit, or his humanity. The work of Paul represents the work of a servant, which is to say that he did the work of an apostle. Peter, though, was different: He also did some work, yet it was not as great as the work of Paul; he worked amid the pursuit of his own entry, and his work was different from the work of Paul. Peter’s work was the performance of the duty of a creature of God. He did not work in the role of an apostle, but during the course of his pursuit of a love of God. The course of Paul’s work also contained his personal pursuit: His pursuit was for the sake of nothing more than his hopes for the future, and his desire for a good destination. He did not accept refinement during his work, nor did he accept pruning and dealing. He believed that as long as the work he did satisfied God’s desire, and all that he did was pleasing to God, then a reward ultimately awaited him. There were no personal experiences in his work—it was all for its own sake, and not carried out amid the pursuit of change. Everything in his work was a transaction, it contained none of the duty or submission of a creature of God. During the course of his work, there occurred no change in Paul’s old disposition. His work was merely of service to others, and was incapable of bringing about changes in his disposition. Paul carried out his work directly, without having been made perfect or dealt with, and he was motivated by reward. Peter was different: He was someone who had undergone pruning, and had undergone dealing and refinement. The aim and motivation of the work of Peter were fundamentally different to those of Paul. Although Peter did not do a large amount of work, his disposition underwent many changes, and what he sought was the truth, and real change. His work was not carried out simply for the sake of the work itself. Although Paul did much work, it was all the work of the Holy Spirit, and even though Paul cooperated in this work, he did not experience it. That Peter did much less work was only because the Holy Spirit did not do that much work through him.
The quantity of their work did not determine whether they were made perfect; the pursuit of one was in order to receive rewards, and that of the other was in order to achieve an ultimate love of God, and fulfill his duty as a creature of God, to the extent that he could live out a lovely image in order to satisfy God’s desire. Externally they were different, and so too were their substances different. You cannot determine who of them was made perfect based on how much work they did. Peter sought to live out the image of one who loves God, to be someone who obeyed God, to be someone who accepted dealing and pruning, and to be someone who fulfilled his duty as a creature of God. He was able to devote himself to God, to put the entirety of himself in the hands of God, and obey Him until death. That was what he resolved to do and, furthermore, that was what he achieved. This is the fundamental reason why finally his end was different to that of Paul. The work that the Holy Spirit did in Peter was to make him perfect, and the work that the Holy Spirit did in Paul was to use him. That is because their natures and their views toward pursuit were not the same. Both had the work of the Holy Spirit. Peter applied this work to himself, and also provided it to others; Paul, meanwhile, only provided the entirety of the work of the Holy Spirit to others, and gained nothing from it himself. In this way, after he had experienced the work of the Holy Spirit for so many years, the changes in Paul were close to non-existent. He still remained almost in his natural state, and was still the Paul of before. It’s merely that after enduring the hardship of many years of work, he had learned how to “work,” and had learned endurance, but his old nature—his highly competitive and mercenary nature—still remained. After working for so many years, he did not know his corrupt disposition, nor had he rid himself of his old disposition, and it was still clearly visible in his work. In him there was merely more work experience, but such little experience alone was incapable of changing him, and could not alter his views about existence or the significance of his pursuit. Though he worked many years for Christ, and never again persecuted the Lord Jesus, in his heart there was no change in his knowledge of God. Which means that he did not work in order to devote himself to God, but was, rather, compelled to work for the sake of his future destination. For, in the beginning, he persecuted Christ, and did not submit to Christ; he was inherently a rebel who deliberately opposed Christ, and someone who had no knowledge of the work of the Holy Spirit. At the conclusion of his work, still he did not know the work of the Holy Spirit, and merely acted of his own accord pursuant to his own nature, without paying the slightest attention to the will of the Holy Spirit. And so his nature was in enmity to Christ and did not obey the truth. Someone like this, who had been forsaken by the work of the Holy Spirit, who did not know the work of the Holy Spirit, and who also opposed Christ—how could such a person be saved? Whether or not man can be saved does not depend on how much work he does, or how much he devotes, but is instead determined by whether or not he knows the work of the Holy Spirit, whether or not he can put the truth into practice, and whether or not his views toward pursuit are in conformity with the truth. Although natural revelations did occur after Peter began to follow Jesus, in nature he was, from the very beginning, someone who was willing to submit to the Holy Spirit and seek after Christ. His obedience of the Holy Spirit was pure: He did not seek fame and fortune, but was instead motivated by obedience to the truth. Though there were three times when Peter denied knowing Christ, and though he tempted the Lord Jesus, such slight human weakness bore no relation to his nature, and did not affect his future pursuit, and cannot sufficiently prove that his temptation was an act of antichrist. Normal human weakness is something shared by all people in the world—do you expect Peter to be any different? Do people not hold certain views about Peter because he made several foolish mistakes? And do people not so adore Paul because of all the work he did, and all the epistles he wrote? How could man be capable of seeing through to the essence of man? Surely those who truly have sense can see something of such insignificance?
Though the many years of painful experiences of Peter are not recorded in the Bible, this does not prove that Peter did not have real experiences, or that Peter was not made perfect. How can the work of God be fully fathomed by man? The records in the Bible were not personally selected by Jesus, but compiled by later generations. In this way, was all that was recorded in the Bible not chosen according to the ideas of man? Moreover, the ends of Peter and Paul are not expressly stated in the epistles, so man judges Peter and Paul according to his own perceptions, and according to his own preferences. And because Paul did so much work, because his “contributions” were so great, he won the trust of the masses. Does not man only concentrate on superficialities? How could man be capable of seeing through to the essence of man? Not to mention, given that Paul has been an object of worship for thousands of years, who would dare to rashly deny his work? Peter was just a fisherman, so how could his contribution be as great as that of Paul? Based on contribution, Paul should have been rewarded before Peter, and he should have been the one who was better qualified to gain God’s approval. Who could have imagined that, in His treatment of Paul, God merely made him work through his gifts, whereas God made Peter perfect. It is by no means the case that the Lord Jesus had made plans for Peter and Paul from the very beginning: They were, rather, made perfect or put to work according to their inherent natures. And so, what people see are merely the outward contributions of man, whereas what God sees is man’s essence, as well as the path that man pursues from the beginning, and the motivation behind man’s pursuit. People measure a man according to their conceptions, and according to their own perceptions, yet the final end of a man is not determined according to his externalities. And so I say that if the path that you take from the beginning is the path of success, and your point of view toward pursuit is the right one from the beginning, then you are like Peter; if the path that you tread is the path of failure, then whatever the price you pay, your end will still be the same as that of Paul. Whatever the case, your destination, and whether you succeed or fail, are both determined by whether the path you seek is the right one or not, rather than your devotion, or the price that you pay. Peter’s and Paul’s substances, and the goals that they pursued, were different; man is incapable of discovering these things, and only God can know them in their entirety. For what God sees is the essence of man, whereas man knows nothing of his own substance. Man is incapable of beholding the substance within man or his actual stature, and thus is incapable of identifying the reasons for the failure and success of Paul and Peter. The reason why most people worship Paul and not Peter is because Paul was used for public work, and man is able to perceive this work, and so people acknowledge the “accomplishments” of Paul. The experiences of Peter, meanwhile, are invisible to man, and that which he sought is unattainable by man, and so man has no interest in Peter.
Peter was made perfect through experiencing dealing and refinement. He said, “I must satisfy God’s desire at all times. In all that I do I only seek to satisfy God’s desire, and whether I am chastised, or judged, still I am happy to do so.” Peter gave his all to God, and his work, words, and entire life were all for the sake of loving God. He was someone who sought holiness, and the more he experienced, the greater was his love for God deep within his heart. Paul, meanwhile, did only outward work, and though he also worked hard, his labors were for the sake of doing his work properly and thus gaining a reward. Had he known that he would receive no reward, he would have given up his work. What Peter cared about was the true love within his heart, and that which was practical and could be achieved. He did not care about whether he would receive a reward, but about whether his disposition could be changed. Paul cared about working ever harder, he cared about outward work and devotion, and the doctrines not experienced by ordinary people. He cared nothing for changes deep within him and a true love of God. The experiences of Peter were in order to achieve a true love and a true knowledge. His experiences were in order to gain a closer relationship to God, and to have a practical living out. The work of Paul was because of that entrusted to him by Jesus, and in order to obtain the things that he longed for, yet these were unrelated to his knowledge of himself and God. His work was solely for the sake of escaping chastisement and judgment. What Peter sought was pure love, and what Paul sought was the crown of righteousness. Peter experienced many years of the work of the Holy Spirit, and had a practical knowledge of Christ, as well as a profound knowledge of himself. And so, his love of God was pure. Many years of refinement had elevated his knowledge of Jesus and life, and his love was an unconditional love, it was a spontaneous love, and he asked for nothing in return, nor did he hope for any benefits. Paul worked for many years, yet he did not possess a great knowledge of Christ, and his knowledge of himself was also pitiably small. He simply had no love for Christ, and his work and the course that he ran were in order to obtain the final laurel. What he sought was the finest crown, not the purest love. He did not seek actively, but did so passively; he was not performing his duty, but was compelled in his pursuit after having been seized by the work of the Holy Spirit. And so, his pursuit does not prove that he was a qualified creature of God; it was Peter who was a qualified creature of God who performed his duty. Man thinks that all those who make a contribution to God should receive a reward, and that the greater the contribution, the more it is taken for granted that they should receive God’s favor. In essence, man sees such contributions as a transaction, and does not actively seek to perform his duty as a creature of God. For God, the more that people seek a true love of God and complete obedience to God, which also means seeking to perform their duty as a creature of God, the more they are able to gain God’s approval. God’s viewpoint is to demand that man recover his original duty and status. Man is a creature of God, and so man should not overstep himself by making any demands of God, and should do nothing more than perform his duty as a creature of God. The destinations of Paul and Peter were measured according to whether they could perform their duty as creatures of God, and not according to the size of their contribution; their destinations were determined according to that which they sought from the beginning, not according to how much work they did, or other people’s estimation of them. And so, seeking to actively perform one’s duty as a creature of God is the path to success; seeking the path of a true love of God is the most correct path; seeking changes in one’s old disposition, and a pure love of God, is the path to success. Such a path to success is the path of the recovery of the original duty as well as the original appearance of a creature of God. It is the path of recovery, and is also the aim of all of God’s work from beginning to end. If the pursuit of man is tainted with personal extravagant demands and irrational longings, then the effect that is achieved will not be changes in man’s disposition. This is at odds with the work of recovery. It is undoubtedly not work done by the Holy Spirit, and so proves that pursuit of this kind is not approved of by God. What significance has pursuit that is not approved of by God?
The work done by Paul was exhibited before man, but how pure was his love for God, how much was his love for God deep down in his heart—these are unseeable by man. Man can only behold the work that he did, from which man knows that he was surely used by the Holy Spirit, and so man thinks that Paul was better than Peter, that his work was greater, for he was able to provide to the churches. Peter only looked to his personal experiences, and gained but a few people during his occasional work. From him there are but a few little-known epistles, but who knows how great was his love for God deep within his heart? Day in, day out, Paul worked for God: As long as there was work to be done, he did it. He felt that in this way he would be able to gain the crown, and could satisfy God, yet he did not seek ways to change himself through his work. Anything in Peter’s life that did not satisfy God’s desire made him feel uneasy. If it did not satisfy God’s desire, then he would feel remorseful, and would look for a suitable way by which he could strive to satisfy God’s heart. In even the smallest and most inconsequential aspects of his life, still he required himself to satisfy God’s desire. He was no less exacting when it came to his old disposition, ever rigorous in his requirements of himself to progress deeper into the truth. Paul sought only superficial reputation and status. He sought to show off himself before man, and did not seek to make any deeper progress in life entry. What he cared about was doctrine, not reality. Some people say, Paul did so much work for God, why was he not commemorated by God? Peter carried out but a little work for God, and did not make a great contribution to the churches, so why was he made perfect? Peter loved God to a certain point, which was required by God; only such people as this have testimony. And what of Paul? To what degree did Paul love God, do you know? What was Paul’s work for the sake of? And what was Peter’s work for the sake of? Peter did not do much work, but do you know what was deep within his heart? The work of Paul pertains to the provision to the churches, and the support of the churches. What Peter experienced were changes in his life disposition; he experienced a love of God. Now that you know the differences in their substances, you can see who, ultimately, truly believed in God, and who did not truly believe in God. One of them truly loved God, and the other did not truly love God; one underwent changes in his disposition, and the other did not; one was worshiped by people, and was of great image, and the other served humbly, and was not easily noticed by people; one sought holiness, and the other did not, and though he was not impure, he was not possessed of a pure love; one was possessed of true humanity, and the other was not; one was possessed of the sense of a creature of God, and the other was not. Such are the differences in the substances of Paul and Peter. The path that Peter walked is the path of success, which is also the path of achieving the recovery of the normal humanity and duty of a creature of God. Peter represents all those who are successful. The path walked by Paul is the path of failure, and he represents all those who only submit and expend themselves superficially, and do not genuinely love God. Paul represents all those who do not possess the truth. In his belief in God, Peter sought to satisfy God in all that he did, and sought to obey all that came from God. Without the slightest complaint, he was able to accept chastisement and judgment, as well as refinement, tribulation and lack in his life, none of which could alter his love of God. Is this not the ultimate love of God? Is this not the fulfillment of the duty of a creature of God? Chastisement, judgment, tribulation—you are capable of achieving obedience unto death, and this is what should be achieved by a creature of God, this is the purity of the love of God. If man can achieve this much, then he is a qualified creature of God, and there is nothing which better satisfies the desire of the Creator. Imagine that you are able to work for God, yet you do not obey God, and are incapable of truly loving God. In this way, not only will you not have fulfilled the duty of a creature of God, but will also be condemned by God, for you are someone who does not possess the truth, who is incapable of obeying God, and who is disobedient to God. You only care about working for God, and do not care about putting the truth into practice, or knowing yourself. You do not understand or know the Creator, and do not obey or love the Creator. You are someone who is innately disobedient to God, and so such people are not beloved by the Creator.
Some people say, “Paul did a tremendous amount of work, and he shouldered great burdens for the churches and contributed so much to them. The thirteen epistles of Paul upheld 2,000 years of the Age of Grace, and are second only to the Four Gospels. Who can compare with him? No one can decipher the Revelation of John, whereas Paul’s epistles provide life, and the work that he did was of benefit to the churches. Who else could have achieved such things? And what work did Peter do?” When man measures others, it is according to their contribution. When God measures man, it is according to his nature. Among those who seek life, Paul was someone who did not know his own essence. He was by no means humble or obedient, nor did he know his substance, which was in opposition to God. And so, he was someone who had not undergone detailed experiences, and was someone who did not put the truth into practice. Peter was different. He knew his imperfections, weaknesses, and his corrupt disposition as a creature of God, and so he had a path of practice through which to change his disposition; he was not one of those who only had doctrine but possessed no reality. Those who change are new people who have been saved, they are those who are qualified in pursuing the truth. People who do not change belong to those who are naturally obsolete; they are those who have not been saved, that is, those who have been detested and rejected by God. They will not be commemorated by God no matter how great their work. When you compare this with your own pursuit, whether you are ultimately the same kind of person as Peter or Paul should be self-evident. If there is still no truth in what you seek, and if even today you are still as arrogant and insolent as Paul, and are still as glibly self-aggrandizing as him, then you are without doubt a degenerate who fails. If you seek the same as Peter, if you seek practices and true changes, and are not arrogant or proud, but seek to perform your duty, then you will be a creature of God who can achieve victory. Paul did not know his own substance or corruption, much less did he know his own disobedience. He never mentioned his despicable defiance of Christ, nor was he overly regretful. He only offered a brief explanation, and, deep down in his heart, did not completely submit to God. Though he fell on the road to Damascus, he did not look deep within himself. He was content merely to keep working, and did not consider knowing himself and changing his old disposition to be the most crucial of issues. He was satisfied with merely speaking the truth, with providing to others as a salve for his own conscience, and with no longer persecuting Jesus’ disciples to console himself and forgive himself for his past sins. The goal that he pursued was nothing more than a future crown and transitory work, the goal he pursued was abundant grace. He did not seek sufficient truth, nor did he seek to progress deeper into the truth which he had previously not understood. And so his knowledge of himself can be said to be false, and he did not accept chastisement or judgment. That he was able to work does not mean he possessed a knowledge of his own nature or substance; his focus was on outward practices only. What he strived for, moreover, was not change, but knowledge. His work was completely the result of the appearance of Jesus on the road to Damascus. It was not something he had resolved to do originally, nor was it work that occurred after he had accepted the pruning of his old disposition. No matter how he worked, his old disposition did not change, and so his work did not atone for his past sins but merely played a certain role among the churches of the time. For someone such as this, whose old disposition did not change—that is to say, who did not gain salvation, and was even more without the truth—he was absolutely incapable of becoming one of those accepted by the Lord Jesus. He was not someone who was filled with love and reverence for Jesus Christ, nor was he someone who was adept at seeking the truth, much less was he someone who sought the mystery of the incarnation. He was merely someone who was skilled in sophistry, and who would not yield to any who were higher than him or who were possessed of the truth. He envied people or truths that were in contrast to him, or in enmity with him, preferring those gifted people who presented a great image and possessed profound knowledge. He did not like interacting with poor people who sought the true way and cared for nothing but the truth, and instead concerned himself with senior figures from religious organizations who only spoke of doctrines, and were possessed of abundant knowledge. He had no love of the new work of the Holy Spirit, and cared not for the movement of the new work of the Holy Spirit. Instead, he favored those regulations and doctrines that were higher than general truths. In his innate essence and the entirety of what he sought, he does not deserve to be called a Christian who pursued the truth, much less a faithful servant in the house of God, for his hypocrisy was too much, and his disobedience too great. Though he is known as a servant of the Lord Jesus, he was not at all fit to enter the gate of the kingdom of heaven, for his actions from beginning to end cannot be called righteous. He can merely be seen as one who was hypocritical, and did unrighteousness, yet who also worked for Christ. Though he cannot be called evil, he can suitably be called a man who did unrighteousness. He did much work, yet he must not be judged on the quantity of work he did, but only on its quality and substance. Only in this way is it possible to get to the bottom of this matter. He always believed: I am capable of working, I am better than most people; I am considerate of the Lord’s burden as no one else, and no one repents as deeply as I, for the great light shone upon me, and I have seen the great light, and so my repentance is deeper than any other. At the time, this is what he thought within his heart. At the end of his work, Paul said: “I have fought the fight, I have finished my course, and there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.” His fight, work, and course were entirely for the sake of the crown of righteousness, and he did not actively forge ahead; though he was not perfunctory in his work, it can be said that his work was merely in order to make up for his mistakes, to make up for the accusations of his conscience. He only hoped to complete his work, finish his course, and fight his fight as soon as possible, so that he could gain his longed-for crown of righteousness all the sooner. What he longed for was not to meet the Lord Jesus with his experiences and true knowledge, but to finish his work as soon as possible, in order that he would receive the rewards that his work had earned him when he met the Lord Jesus. He used his work to comfort himself, and to make a deal in exchange for a future crown. What he sought was not the truth or God, but only the crown. How can such a pursuit be up to the standard? His motivation, his work, the price he paid, and all of his efforts—his wonderful fantasies pervaded them all, and he worked wholly according to his own desires. In the entirety of his work, there was not the slightest willingness in the price he paid; he was merely engaging in a deal. His efforts were not made willingly in order to perform his duty, but were made willingly in order to achieve the objective of the deal. Is there any worth to such efforts? Who would commend his impure efforts? Who has any interest in such efforts? His work was full of dreams for the future, full of wonderful plans, and contained no path by which to change human disposition. So much of his benevolence was a pretense; his work did not provide life, but was a sham of civility; it was the doing of a deal. How can work such as this lead man to the path of recovering his original duty?
All that Peter sought was after God’s heart. He sought to fulfill God’s desire, and regardless of the suffering and adversity, still he was willing to fulfill God’s desire. There is no greater pursuit by a believer in God. What Paul sought was tainted by his own flesh, by his own conceptions, and by his own plans and schemes. He was by no means a qualified creature of God, was not someone who sought to fulfill God’s desire. Peter sought to submit to God’s orchestrations, and although the work he did was not great, the motivation behind his pursuit and the path that he walked were right; though he was not able to gain many people, he was able to seek the way of truth. Because of this it can be said that he was a qualified creature of God. Today, even if you are not a worker, you should be able to perform the duty of a creature of God, and seek to submit to all of God’s orchestrations. You should be able to obey whatever God says, and experience all manner of tribulations and refinement, and though you are weak, in your heart you should still be able to love God. Those who take responsibility for their own life are willing to perform the duty of a creature of God, and such people’s viewpoint toward pursuit is the right one. These are the people that God needs. If you did much work, and others gained your teachings, but you yourself did not change, and did not bear any testimony, or have any true experience, such that at the end of your life, still none of what you have done bears testimony, then are you someone who has changed? Are you someone who pursues the truth? At the time, the Holy Spirit used you, but when He used you, He used the part of you that could work, and He did not use the part of you that could not work. If you sought to change, then you would gradually be made perfect during the process of being used. Yet the Holy Spirit accepts no responsibility for whether or not you will ultimately be gained, and this depends on the manner of your pursuit. If there are no changes in your personal disposition, then that is because your viewpoint toward pursuit is wrong. If you are granted no reward, then that is your own problem, and because you yourself have not put the truth into practice, and are unable to fulfill God’s desire. And so, nothing is of greater importance than your personal experiences, and nothing is more critical than your personal entry! Some people will end up saying, “I’ve done so much work for You, and though there may not have been celebrated achievements, still I have been diligent in my efforts. Can’t You just let me into heaven to eat the fruit of life?” You must know what kind of people I desire; those who are impure are not permitted to enter into the kingdom, those who are impure are not permitted to besmirch the holy ground. Though you may have done much work, and have worked for many years, in the end if you are still deplorably filthy—it is intolerable to Heaven that you wish to enter My kingdom! From the foundation of the world until today, never have I offered easy access to My kingdom to those who curry favor with Me. This is a heavenly law, and no one can break it! You must seek life. Today, those who will be made perfect are the same kind as Peter: They are those who seek changes in their own disposition, and are willing to bear testimony to God and perform their duty as a creature of God. Only people such as this will be made perfect. If you only look to rewards, and do not seek to change your own life disposition, then all your efforts will be in vain—and this is an unalterable truth!
From the difference in the substances of Peter and Paul you should understand that all those who do not pursue life labor in vain! You believe in God and follow God, and so in your heart you must love God. You must cast aside your corrupt disposition, must seek to fulfill God’s desire, and must perform the duty of a creature of God. Since you believe in and follow God, so you should offer everything to Him, and should not make personal choices or demands, and you should achieve the fulfillment of God’s desire. Since you were created, so you should obey the Lord that created you, for you are inherently without dominion over yourself, and have no ability to control your destiny. Since you are a person that believes in God, so you should seek holiness and change. Since you are a creature of God, so you should adhere to your duty, and keep your place, and must not overstep your duty. This is not to constrain you, or to suppress you through doctrine, but is the path through which you can perform your duty, and can be achieved—and should be achieved—by all those who do righteousness. If you compare the substances of Peter and Paul, then you will know how you should seek. Of the paths walked by Peter and Paul, one is the path of being made perfect, and one is the path of elimination; Peter and Paul represent two different paths. Though each received the work of the Holy Spirit, and each gained the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and each accepted that which had been entrusted to them by the Lord Jesus, the fruit borne in each was not the same: One truly bore fruit, and the other did not. From their substances, the work that they did, that which was outwardly expressed by them, and their final ends, you should understand which path you should take, which path you should choose to walk upon. They walked two clearly different paths. Paul and Peter, they were the quintessence of each path, and so from the very start they were held up to typify these two paths. What are the key points of Paul’s experiences, and why did he not make it? What are the key points of Peter’s experiences, and how did he experience being made perfect? If you compare what they each cared about, then you will know what exact kind of person God requires, what the will of God is, what the disposition of God is, what kind of person will ultimately be made perfect, and also what kind of person will not be made perfect, what the disposition is of those who will be made perfect, and what the disposition is of those who will not be made perfect—these issues of substance can be seen in the experiences of Peter and Paul. God created all things, and so He makes all creation come under His dominion, and submit to His dominion; He will command all things, so that all things are in His hands. All creation of God, including animals, plants, mankind, the mountains and rivers, and the lakes—all must come under His dominion. All things in the skies and on the ground must come under His dominion. They cannot have any choice, and must all submit to His orchestrations. This was decreed by God, and is the authority of God. God commands everything, and orders and ranks all things, with each classed according to kind, and allotted their own position, according to God’s will. No matter how great it is, no thing can surpass God, and all things serve the mankind created by God, and no thing dares to disobey God or make any demands of God. And so man, as a creature of God, must also perform the duty of man. Regardless of whether he is the lord or ruler of all things, no matter how high man’s status among all things, still he is but a small human being under the dominion of God, and is no more than an insignificant human being, a creature of God, and he will never be above God. As a creature of God, man should seek to perform the duty of a creature of God, and seek to love God without making other choices, for God is worthy of man’s love. Those who seek to love God should not seek any personal benefits or that which they personally long for; this is the most correct means of pursuit. If what you seek is the truth, what you put into practice is the truth, and what you attain is a change in your disposition, then the path that you tread is the right one. If what you seek is the blessings of the flesh, and what you put into practice is the truth of your own conceptions, and if there is no change in your disposition, and you are not at all obedient to God in the flesh, and you still live in vagueness, then what you seek will surely take you to hell, for the path that you walk is the path of failure. Whether you will be made perfect or eliminated depends on your own pursuit, which is also to say that “success or failure depends on the path that man walks.”
from The Word Appears in the Flesh
From: Grow in Christ
God’s Word “The Truly Obedient Shall Surely Be Gained by God”
The work of the Holy Spirit changes from day to day, rising higher with each step; the revelation of tomorrow becomes even higher than today’s, step by step climbing ever higher. Such is the work by which God perfects man. If man cannot keep pace, then he may be forsaken at any time. If man does not have an obedient heart, then he cannot follow to the end. The old age has passed; now is a new age. And in a new age, new work must be done. Particularly in the final age where man will be perfected, God will perform new work ever more quickly. Therefore, without obedience in his heart, man will find it difficult to follow the footsteps of God. God abides not by the rules, nor does He treat any stage of His work as unchanging. Rather, the work done by God is ever newer and ever higher. His work becomes more and more practical with each step, more and more in line with the actual needs of man. Only after man experiences this kind of work can he attain the final transformation of his disposition. Man’s knowledge of life grows ever higher, therefore the work of God likewise becomes ever higher. Only in this way can man reach perfection and be fit for God’s use. On one hand, God works this way to counter and reverse the notions of man, while on the other, to lead man into a higher and more realistic state, into the highest realm of belief in God, so that in the end, the will of God is done. All those of a disobedient nature and with a heart of resistance shall be forsaken in this fast and powerful work; only those who have an obedient heart and are willing to be humbled will progress to the end of the road. In such work, all of you should learn how to submit and to put aside your notions. Every step should be taken with caution. If you are careless, you will surely become one of those loathed and rejected by the Holy Spirit and one who disrupts the work of God. Prior to undergoing this stage of work, man’s rules and laws of old were so innumerable that they got carried away, and as a result, they became conceited and forgot their place. These are all obstacles in the way of man accepting the new work of God and are hostile to man coming to know God. It is dangerous for man to have neither obedience in his heart nor a yearning for the truth. If you obey only the work and words that are simple, and are unable to accept any of a deeper intensity, then you are one who keeps to old ways and cannot keep pace with the work of the Holy Spirit. The work done by God differs across periods of time. If you show great obedience in one phase, yet in the next phase show less or none at all, then God shall desert you. If you keep pace with God as He ascends this step, then you must continue to keep pace when He ascends the next. Only such men are obedient to the Holy Spirit. Since you believe in God, you must remain constant in your obedience. You cannot simply obey when you please and disobey when you do not. Such manner of obedience is not approved by God. If you cannot keep pace with the new work I fellowship and continue to hold on to the former sayings, then how can there be growth in your life? In God’s work, He supplies you through His word. When you obey and accept His word, then the Holy Spirit shall surely work in you. The Holy Spirit works exactly in the way I speak. Do as I have said, and the Holy Spirit will promptly work in you. I release a new light for you to see and bring you into the present light. When you walk into this light, the Holy Spirit will immediately work in you. Some may be recalcitrant and say, “I simply will not do as you say.” Then I tell you that now this is the end of the road. You have withered away and have no more life. Therefore, in experiencing the transformation of your disposition, it is most crucial to keep pace with the present light. The Holy Spirit not only works in certain men who are used by God, but even more in the church. He could be working in anyone. He may work in you now, and after you have experienced it, He may work in someone else next. Follow closely; the more you follow the present light, the more your life can grow. Follow those whom the Holy Spirit works in, whatever kind of man he may be. Take in his experiences through your own, and you will receive even higher things. In so doing you will see growth more quickly. This is the path of perfection for man and a way through which life grows. The path to perfection is reached through your obedience to the work of the Holy Spirit. You do not know through what kind of person God will work to perfect you, nor through what person, occurrence, or thing He will bring you profit and enable you to gain some insight. If you are able to walk onto this right track, this shows that there is great hope for you to be perfected by God. If you are unable to do so, this shows that your future is bleakness and one of darkness. When you walk upon the right track, you will be given revelation in all things. No matter what the Holy Spirit may reveal to others, if you continue on in your experience on the basis of their knowledge, then it shall become your life, and you shall be able to supply others because of this experience. Those who supply others by parroting words are those without experience; you must learn to find, through the enlightenment and illumination of others, a way of practice before speaking of your own actual experience and knowledge. This will be of greater benefit to your own life. You should experience in this way, obeying all that comes from God. You should seek the mind of God in all things and learn lessons in all things, creating growth in your life. Such practice affords the fastest growth.Continue reading “God’s Word “The Truly Obedient Shall Surely Be Gained by God””
Those Who Love God Will Forever Live Within His Light
The substance of most people’s belief in God is religious conviction: They are incapable of loving God, and can only follow God like a robot, unable to truly yearn for God or adore Him. They merely follow Him silently. Many people believe in God, but there are very few who love God; they only revere God because they fear catastrophe, or else they admire God because He is high and mighty—but in their reverence and admiration there is no love or true yearning. In their experiences they seek the minutiae of the truth, or else some insignificant mysteries. Most people merely follow, they fish in murky waters only to receive blessings; they do not seek the truth, nor do they truly obey God in order to receive God’s blessings. The life of all people’s belief in God is meaningless, it is without value, and in it are their personal considerations and pursuits; they do not believe in God in order to love God, but for the sake of being blessed. Many people act as they please, they do whatever they want, and never consider the interests of God, or whether what they do is in accordance with the will of God. Such people can’t even achieve true belief, let alone the love of God. God’s substance is not just for man to believe in; it is, moreover, for man to love. But many of those who believe in God are incapable of discovering this “secret,” and they don’t dare to love God, nor do they try to love Him. People have never discovered that there is so much that is lovable about God, they have never discovered that God is the God who loves man, and that He is the God who is for man to love. The loveliness of God is expressed in His work: Only when they experience His work can people discover His loveliness, only in their actual experiences can they appreciate the loveliness of God, and without observing it in real life, no one can discover God’s loveliness. There is so much to love about God, but without actually engaging with Him people are incapable of discovering it. Which is to say, if God did not become flesh, people would be incapable of actually engaging with Him, and if they were unable to engage with Him, they also wouldn’t be able to experience His work—and so their love of God would be tainted with much falsehood and imagination. The love of the God in heaven is not as real as the love of the God on earth, for people’s knowledge of God in heaven is built upon their imaginings, rather than upon what they have seen with their own eyes, and what they have personally experienced. When God comes to earth, people are able to behold His actual deeds and His loveliness, and they can see everything of His practical and normal disposition, all of which is thousands of times more real than the knowledge of the God in heaven. Regardless of how much people love the God in heaven, there is nothing real about this love, and it is full of human ideas. No matter how little their love for the God on earth, this love is real; even if there is only a little of it, it is still real. God causes people to know Him through real work, and through this knowledge He gains their love. It’s like Peter: If he hadn’t lived with Jesus, it would have been impossible for him to adore Jesus. So, too, was his loyalty toward Jesus built upon his engagement with Jesus. To make man love Him, God has come among man and lives together with man, and all that He makes man see and experience is the reality of God.Continue reading “Those Who Love God Will Forever Live Within His Light”
The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)
In the Age of Grace, John paved the way for Jesus. He could not do the work of God Himself and merely fulfilled the duty of man. Though John was the forerunner of the Lord, he could not represent God; he was only a man used by the Holy Spirit. Following the baptism of Jesus, “the Holy Spirit descended upon Him like a dove.” He then began His work, that is, He began to perform the ministry of Christ. That is why He assumed the identity of God, for He came from God. No matter the manner of His faith before this—perhaps sometimes it was weak, or sometimes it was strong—that was all His normal human life before He performed His ministry. After He was baptized (anointed), He immediately had the power and the glory of God with Him, and thus began to perform His ministry. He could work signs and wonders, perform miracles, He had power and authority, as He worked directly on behalf of God Himself; He did the work of the Spirit in His stead and expressed the voice of the Spirit; therefore He was God Himself. This is indisputable. John was used by the Holy Spirit. He could not represent God, and it was not possible for him to represent God. If he had wished to do so, the Holy Spirit would not have allowed it, for he could not do the work that God Himself intended to accomplish. Perhaps there was much in him that was of man’s will, or there was something deviant in him; under no circumstances could he directly represent God. His mistakes and erroneousness represented only himself, but his work was representative of the Holy Spirit. Yet, you cannot say that all of him represented God. Could his deviation and erroneousness represent God as well? To be erroneous in representing man is normal, but if he had deviation in representing God, then would that not be a dishonor to God? Would that not be blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit does not allow man to stand in God’s place at will, even if he is exalted by others. If he is not God, then he would be unable to remain standing in the end. The Holy Spirit does not allow man to represent God as man pleases! For instance, the Holy Spirit bore witness to John and also revealed him to be the one to pave the way for Jesus, but the work done in him by the Holy Spirit was well measured. All that was asked of John was to be the way-paver for Jesus, to prepare the way for Him. That is to say, the Holy Spirit only upheld his work in paving the way and allowed him only to do such work, no other. John represented Elijah, the prophet who paved the way. This was upheld by the Holy Spirit; as long as his work was to pave the way, the Holy Spirit upheld it. However, if he had laid claim to be God Himself and come to finish the work of redemption, the Holy Spirit must discipline him. However great the work of John, and be it upheld by the Holy Spirit, his work remained within boundaries. It is indeed true that his work was upheld by the Holy Spirit, but the power given him at the time was limited to his paving the way. He could not, at all, do any other work, for he was only John who paved the way, and not Jesus. Therefore, the testimony of the Holy Spirit is key, but the work man is permitted to do by the Holy Spirit is even more crucial. Was John not greatly witnessed of? Was not his work also great? But the work he did could not surpass that of Jesus, for he was no more than a man used by the Holy Spirit and could not directly represent God, and thus the work he did was limited. After he finished the work of paving the way, none continued to uphold his testimony, no new work again followed him, and he departed as the work of God Himself began.Continue reading “The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)”
Job’s Faith in God Is Not Shaken Because God Is Hidden From Him
Job Has Heard of God by the Hearing of the Ear
(Job 9:11) See, he goes by me, and I see him not: he passes on also, but I perceive him not.
(Job 23:8-9) Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he does work, but I cannot behold him: he hides himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him.
(Job 42:2-6) I know that you can do every thing, and that no thought can be withheld from you. Who is he that hides counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech you, and I will speak: I will demand of you, and declare you to me. I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees you. Why I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.Continue reading “Job’s Faith in God Is Not Shaken Because God Is Hidden From Him”