5. How Must You Believe in God in Order to Be Saved and Made Perfect?
Relevant Words of God:
In summary, taking Peter’s path in one’s faith means to walk the path of pursuing the truth, which is also the path of truly getting to know oneself and changing one’s disposition. Only by walking the path of Peter will one be on the path of being perfected by God. One must be clear on how, exactly, to walk Peter’s path, as well as how to put it into practice. First, one must put aside one’s own intentions, improper pursuits, and even family and all things of one’s own flesh. One must be wholeheartedly devoted; that is, one must completely devote oneself to the word of God, focus on eating and drinking of God’s words, concentrate on the search for the truth and the search for God’s intentions in His words, and try to grasp God’s will in everything. This is the most fundamental and vital method of practice. This was what Peter did after seeing Jesus, and it is only by practicing in this way that one can achieve the best results. Wholehearted devotion to the words of God primarily involves seeking the truth, seeking God’s intentions within His words, focusing on grasping the will of God, and understanding and obtaining more truth from God’s words. When reading His words, Peter was not focused on understanding doctrines, much less was he focused on obtaining theological knowledge; instead, he concentrated on comprehending the truth and grasping God’s will, as well as achieving an understanding of His disposition and His loveliness. Peter also attempted to understand the various corrupt states of man from God’s words, as well as man’s corrupt nature and actual shortcoming, thus meeting all aspects of God’s requirements of man in order to satisfy Him. Peter had so many correct practices that abided by the words of God; this was most in line with God’s will, and it was the best way a person could cooperate while experiencing God’s work. When experiencing the hundreds of trials from God, Peter examined himself strictly against every word of God’s judgment of man, every word of God’s revelation of man, and every word of His demands of man, and strived to fathom the meaning of those words. He tried in earnest to ponder and memorize every word that Jesus said to him, and achieved very good results. Through this manner of practicing, he was able to achieve an understanding of himself from God’s words, and he not only came to understand the various corrupt states of man, but also came to understand man’s essence, nature, and various shortcomings. This is what it means to truly understand oneself. From God’s words, Peter not only achieved a true understanding of himself, but from the things expressed in God’s words—God’s righteous disposition, what He has and is, God’s will for His work, His demands of mankind—from these words he came to know God completely. He came to know God’s disposition, and His essence; he came to know and understand what God has and is, as well as God’s loveliness and God’s demands for man. Although God did not speak back then as much as He does today, results in these aspects were nevertheless achieved in Peter. This was a rare and precious thing. Peter went through hundreds of trials, but did not suffer in vain. He not only came to understand himself from the words and the work of God, but he also came to know God. In addition, he particularly focused on God’s requirements of mankind within His words. In whichever aspects man should satisfy God to be in line with God’s will, Peter was able to put forth great effort in these aspects and achieve full clarity; this was extremely beneficial with regard to his own entry. No matter what God spoke of, as long as those words could become life and are the truth, Peter was able to carve them into his heart to ponder and appreciate them frequently. After hearing the words of Jesus, he was able to take them to heart, which shows that he was especially focused on God’s words, and he truly achieved results in the end. That is, he was able to freely put the words of God into practice, accurately practice the truth and be in line with God’s will, act entirely in accordance with God’s intention, and give up his own personal opinions and imaginations. In this way, Peter entered into the reality of God’s words. Peter’s service came in line with God’s will primarily because he had done this.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. How to Walk the Path of Peter
To seek to be made perfect by God, one must first understand what it means to be perfected by Him, as well as what conditions one must meet in order to be perfected. Once one has a grasp of such matters, then one must search for a path of practice. To be perfected, one must be of a certain quality. Many people are not innately of high enough quality, in which case you must pay a price and work hard subjectively. The worse your quality, the more subjective effort you must put in. The greater your understanding of God’s words and the more you put them into practice, the more quickly you can set foot upon the path of perfection. Through prayer, you can be made perfect in the area of prayer; you can also be perfected by eating and drinking of the words of God, grasping their essence, and living out their reality. By experiencing God’s words on a daily basis, you should come to know what is lacking in yourself; moreover, you should recognize your fatal flaw and your weaknesses, and pray and supplicate to God. By doing so, you will gradually be made perfect. The path to perfection is: praying; eating and drinking of God’s words; grasping the essence of God’s words; gaining entry to the experience of God’s words; coming to know what is lacking in yourself; submitting to God’s work; being mindful of God’s burden and forsaking the flesh through your love for God; and joining in frequent fellowship with your brothers and sisters, which can enrich your experiences. Whether it be communal life or your personal life, and whether it be large assemblies or small ones, they can all allow you to acquire experience and receive training so that your heart can be quiet before God and return to Him. All of this is part of the process of being made perfect. Experiencing the words of God, as mentioned earlier, means being able actually to taste them and allowing yourself to live them out, so that you will gain greater faith and love for God. In this manner, you will gradually shed your corrupt, satanic disposition; free yourself of improper motivations; and live out the likeness of a normal person. The greater the love for God within you—which is to say, the more of you that has been made perfect by God—the less you will be possessed by Satan’s corruption. Through your practical experiences, you will gradually set foot upon the path of perfection. Thus, if you wish to be made perfect, then it is especially important to be mindful of the will of God and to experience His words.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Be Mindful of God’s Will in Order to Attain Perfection
If you believe in God’s sovereignty, then you have to believe that everyday occurrences, be they good or bad, do not happen at random. It is not that someone is deliberately being hard on you or targeting you; this was all arranged by God. Why does God orchestrate all these things? It is not to reveal you for who you are or to expose you; exposing you is not the end goal. The goal is to perfect you and save you. How does God do that? He starts by making you aware of your own corrupt disposition, of your nature and essence, of your shortcomings, and of what you lack. Only by knowing these things and having a clear understanding of them can you pursue the truth and gradually cast off your corrupt disposition. This is God providing you with an opportunity. This is God’s compassion. You have to know how to seize this opportunity. You should not butt heads with God or misunderstand Him. In particular, when faced with the people, matters, and things that God arranges around you, do not constantly feel that things are not as you wish them to be; do not constantly wish to escape them or always blame and misunderstand God. If you are constantly doing those things, then you are not experiencing God’s work, and that will make it very difficult for you to enter the reality of the truth. Whatever you encounter that you cannot fully understand, when a difficulty arises, you must learn to submit. You should begin by coming before God and praying more. That way, before you know it, a shift will occur in your internal state, and you will be able to seek the truth to resolve your problem. As such, you will be able to experience God’s work. As this happens, the reality of the truth will be wrought within you, and this is how you will progress and undergo a transformation of the state of your life. Once you have undergone this change and possess this reality of the truth, you will also possess stature, and with stature comes life. If someone always lives based on a corrupt satanic disposition, then no matter how much enthusiasm or energy they have, they still cannot be considered to possess stature, or life. God works in every single person, and no matter what His method is, what kind of people, matters, and things He makes use of in His service, or what kind of tone His words have, He only has one end goal: saving you. And how does He save you? He changes you. So how could you not suffer a bit? You are going to have to suffer. This suffering can involve many things. Sometimes God raises up an environment around you to lay you bare so that you can come to know yourself, or else you might be directly dealt with, pruned, and exposed. Just like someone on an operating table—only by undergoing some pain and suffering can a good outcome be reached. If every time you are pruned and dealt with, and every time you are laid bare by an environment, it arouses your feelings and gives you a boost, then through this process you will have stature and will enter the reality of the truth.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. To Gain the Truth, One Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Nearby
Peter sought to satisfy God in everything, 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 going without in his life, none of which could alter his love for God. Was this not the ultimate love for God? Was this not the fulfillment of the duty of a creature of God? Whether in chastisement, judgment, or tribulation, you are always 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 for 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.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks
If people wish to become living beings and to bear testimony to God, and to be approved of by God, then they must accept God’s salvation; they must gladly submit to His judgment and chastisement and must gladly accept the pruning of God and being dealt with by Him. Only then will they be able to put all of the truths required by God into practice, and only then will they gain God’s salvation and truly become living beings.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Are You Someone Who Has Come to Life?
Those who are without the slightest obedience to God, who merely acknowledge His name, and have some sense of God’s kindness and loveliness, yet do not keep pace with the steps of the Holy Spirit, and do not obey the present work and words of the Holy Spirit—such people live amid the grace of God, and will not be gained or made perfect by Him. God makes people perfect through their obedience, through their eating, drinking, and enjoying of God’s words, and through the suffering and refinement in their lives. Only through faith such as this can people’s dispositions change, and only then can they possess the true knowledge of God. Not being satisfied with living amid God’s grace, actively yearning and searching for the truth, and seeking to be gained by God—this is what it means to consciously obey God and this is precisely the kind of faith that He wants.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. In Your Faith in God You Should Obey God