3. How can one come to fear God and shun evil?
Relevant Words of God:
A genuine created being must know who the Creator is, what man’s creation is for, how to carry out the responsibilities of a created being, and how to worship the Lord of all creation, must understand, grasp, know, and care for the Creator’s intentions, wishes, and demands, and must act in accordance with the way of the Creator—fear God and shun evil.
What is to fear God? And how can one shun evil?
“To fear God” does not mean nameless fright and horror, nor to evade, nor to put at a distance, nor is it idolization or superstition. Rather, it is admiration, esteem, trust, understanding, caring, obedience, consecration, love, as well as unconditional and uncomplaining worship, requital, and submission. Without genuine knowledge of God, humanity will not have genuine admiration, genuine trust, genuine understanding, genuine caring or obedience, but only dread and unease, only doubt, misunderstanding, evasion, and avoidance; without genuine knowledge of God, humanity will not have genuine consecration and requital; without genuine knowledge of God, humanity will not have genuine worship and submission, only blind idolization and superstition; without genuine knowledge of God, humanity cannot possibly act in accordance with the way of God, or fear God, or shun evil. Conversely, every activity and behavior in which man engages will be filled with rebellion and defiance, with slanderous imputations and maligning judgments about Him, and with evil conduct running contrary to the truth and to the true meaning of God’s words.
Once humanity has genuine trust in God, they will be genuine in following Him and depending on Him; only with real trust in and dependence on God can humanity have genuine understanding and comprehension; along with real comprehension of God comes real caring for Him; only with genuine caring for God can humanity have genuine obedience; only with genuine obedience to God can humanity have genuine consecration; only with genuine consecration to God can humanity have requital that is unconditional and without complaint; only with genuine trust and dependence, genuine understanding and caring, genuine obedience, genuine consecration and requital, can humanity truly come to know God’s disposition and essence, and to know the identity of the Creator; only when they have truly come to know the Creator can humanity awaken in themselves genuine worship and submission; only when they have real worship for and submission to the Creator will humanity be able truly to put aside their evil ways, that is to say, to shun evil.
This constitutes the whole process of “fearing God and shunning evil,” and is also the content in its entirety of fearing God and shunning evil. This is the path that must be traversed in order to attain fearing God and shunning evil.
Excerpted from “Knowing God Is the Path to Fearing God and Shunning Evil” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Though God’s essence contains an element of love, and He is merciful toward each and every person, people have overlooked and forgotten the fact that His essence is one of dignity as well. That He has love does not mean that people can offend Him freely, without inciting in Him feelings or a reaction, nor does the fact that He has mercy mean that He has no principles in how He treats people. God is alive; He genuinely exists. He is neither an imagined puppet nor any other object. Given that He does exist, we should carefully listen to the voice of His heart at all times, pay close attention to His attitude, and come to understand His feelings. We should not use human imaginings to define God, nor should we impose human thoughts or wishes on Him, making God treat people in a human manner based on human imaginings. If you do this, then you are angering God, tempting His wrath, and challenging His dignity! Thus, once you have come to understand the severity of this matter, I urge each and every one of you to be cautious and prudent in your actions. Be cautious and prudent in your speech, as well—with regard to how you treat God, the more cautious and prudent you are, the better! When you do not understand what God’s attitude is, refrain from speaking carelessly, do not be careless in your actions, and do not apply labels casually. Even more importantly, do not come to any arbitrary conclusions. Instead, you should wait and seek; these actions, too, are an expression of fearing God and shunning evil.
Excerpted from “How to Know God’s Disposition and the Results His Work Shall Achieve” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
First of all, we know that God’s disposition is majesty and wrath; He is not a sheep to be slaughtered by anyone, much less a puppet to be controlled by people however they want. He is also not a bunch of empty air to be bossed around. If you truly believe that God exists, then you should have a God-fearing heart, and you should know that His essence is not one to be angered. This anger may be caused by a word, or perhaps a thought, or perhaps some kind of vile behavior, or perhaps even by mild behavior—behavior that is passable in the eyes and ethics of humans; or, perhaps it is provoked by a doctrine or a theory. However, once you have angered God, your opportunity is lost, and your end days have arrived. This is a terrible thing! If you do not understand that God must not be offended, then maybe you are not afraid of Him, and perhaps you are routinely offending Him. If you do not know how to fear God, then you are unable to fear God, and you will not know how to put yourself on the path of walking in God’s way—fearing God and shunning evil. Once you become aware, and are conscious that God must not be offended, you will know what it is to fear God and shun evil.
Excerpted from “How to Know God’s Disposition and the Results His Work Shall Achieve” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
God is a living God, and just as people behave differently in different situations, His attitude toward these behaviors differs because He is neither a puppet nor is He a bunch of empty air. Getting to know God’s attitude is a worthy pursuit for humankind. People should learn how, by knowing God’s attitude, they can little by little attain knowledge of God’s disposition and come to understand His heart. When you gradually come to understand God’s heart, you will not feel that fearing Him and shunning evil is such a difficult thing to accomplish. Moreover, when you do understand God, you will not be as likely to draw conclusions about Him. Once you have stopped drawing conclusions about God, you will be less likely to offend Him, and without your realizing it, God will lead you to gain knowledge of Him; this will fill your heart with reverence for Him. You will then stop defining God by way of the doctrines, letters, and theories you have mastered. Instead, by constantly seeking out God’s intentions in all things, you will unconsciously become a person who is after God’s heart.
Excerpted from “How to Know God’s Disposition and the Results His Work Shall Achieve” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Every sentence I have spoken contains within it the disposition of God. You would do well to ponder My words carefully, and you will surely profit greatly from them. The essence of God is very difficult to grasp, but I trust that you all have at least some idea about the disposition of God. I hope, then, that you will show Me and do more of that which does not offend the disposition of God. Then will I be reassured. For example, keep God in your heart at all times. When you act, do so according to His words. Seek out His intentions in all things, and refrain from doing that which disrespects and dishonors God. Even less should you put God in the back of your mind to fill the future void in your heart. If you do this, you will have offended the disposition of God. Again, supposing you never make blasphemous remarks or complaints against God throughout your life, and again, supposing you are able to discharge properly all that He has entrusted to you and also to submit to all His words throughout your life, then you will have avoided transgressing against the administrative decrees. For example, if you have ever said, “Why do I not think that He is God?” “I think that these words are nothing more than some enlightenment of the Holy Spirit,” “In my opinion, not everything God does is necessarily right,” “The humanity of God is not superior to mine,” “The words of God are simply not believable,” or other such judgmental remarks, then I exhort you to confess and repent your sins more often. Otherwise, you will never have a chance at forgiveness, for you offend not a man, but God Himself. You may believe that you are judging a man, but the Spirit of God does not consider it that way. Your disrespect of His flesh is equal to disrespecting Him. This being so, have you not offended God’s disposition? You must remember that all that is done by the Spirit of God is done in order to safeguard His work in the flesh and in order that this work be done well. If you neglect this, then I say that you are someone who will never be able to succeed in believing in God. For you have provoked the wrath of God, and so He shall use fitting punishment to teach you a lesson.
Excerpted from “It Is Very Important to Understand God’s Disposition” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
I exhort you to get a better understanding of the content of the administrative decrees, and to make an effort to know the disposition of God. If not, you will find it difficult to keep your lips sealed, your tongues will wag too freely with high-sounding talk, and you will unwittingly offend the disposition of God and fall into the darkness, losing the presence of the Holy Spirit and the light. Because you are unprincipled in your actions, because you do and say that which you should not, you shall receive a fitting retribution. You should know that though you are unprincipled in word and deed, God is highly principled in both. The reason you receive retribution is because you have offended God, not a person. If, in your life, you commit many offenses against the disposition of God, then you are bound to become a child of hell. To man it may appear that you have only committed a few deeds that are at odds with the truth, and nothing more. Are you aware, however, that in the eyes of God you are already someone for whom there is no more sin offering? Because you have violated the administrative decrees of God more than once and have, moreover, shown no sign of repentance, there is no other recourse but for you to plunge into hell, where God punishes man. A small number of people, while following God, committed some deeds that violated principles, but after being dealt with and given guidance, they gradually discovered their own corruption, thereafter entered on the right track of reality, and they remain well-grounded today. Such people are those who shall remain in the end. Nevertheless, it is the honest that I seek; if you are an honest person and someone who acts according to principle, then you can be a confidant of God. If in your actions you do not offend the disposition of God, and seek the will of God, and have a heart of reverence toward God, then your faith is up to the standard. Whoever does not revere God and does not have a heart that trembles in fear is highly likely to violate the administrative decrees of God. Many serve God on the strength of their passion but have no understanding of the administrative decrees of God, still less any inkling of the implications of His words. And so, with their good intentions, they often wind up doing things that disrupt God’s management. In serious cases, they are thrown out, deprived of any further chance of following Him, and are cast into hell, all association with God’s house at an end. These people work in the house of God on the strength of their ignorant good intentions, and end by angering God’s disposition. People bring their ways of serving officials and lords to the house of God and try to put them into play, vainly thinking that they can be applied with effortless ease here. Never do they imagine that God has not the disposition of a lamb, but that of a lion. Therefore, those associating with God for the first time are unable to communicate with Him, for the heart of God is unlike that of man. Only after you understand many truths can you continuously come to know God. This knowledge is not made up of words and doctrines but can be used as a treasure by means of which you enter into close confidence with God, and as proof that He delights in you. If you lack the reality of knowledge and are not equipped with the truth, then your passionate service can only bring upon you the loathing and abhorrence of God.
Excerpted from “Three Admonitions” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In every age, while working among humans, God bestows some words upon them and tells them of some truths. These truths serve as the way people should adhere to, the way they should walk in, the way that enables them to fear God and shun evil, and the way that people should put into practice and adhere to in their lives and over the course of their life journeys. It is for these reasons that God expresses these utterances to humanity. These words that come from God should be adhered to by people, and to adhere to them is to receive life. If a person does not adhere to them, does not put them into practice, and does not live out God’s words in their life, then this person is not putting the truth into practice. Furthermore, if people are not putting the truth into practice, then they are not fearing God and shunning evil, nor can they satisfy God. People who are incapable of satisfying God cannot receive His praise, and such people have no outcome.
Walking in God’s way is not about observing superficial rules; rather, it means that when you are faced with a problem, you view it first and foremost as a situation that has been arranged by God, a responsibility He has bestowed upon you, or a task that He has entrusted to you. When facing this problem, you should even see it as a trial God has put to you. When you encounter this problem, you must have a standard in your heart, and you must think that this matter has come from God. You must think about how to deal with it in such a way that you can fulfill your responsibility while remaining loyal to God, as well as how to do it without infuriating Him or offending His disposition. … in order to keep to God’s way, we cannot let go of anything that happens either to us or around us, even the little things; whether we think we should pay attention to it or not, as long as any matter is facing us, we must not let it go. All things that happen should be viewed as tests God has given us. What do you think about this way of looking at things? If you have this kind of attitude, then it confirms one fact: Deep down, you fear God and are willing to shun evil. If you have this desire to satisfy God, then what you put into practice will not be far off meeting the standard of fearing God and shunning evil.
What is the primary thing one should understand when pursuing life entry? It is that in all the words spoken by God, no matter their topic, one should locate what He requires of people and His standards for them, and seek out a path of practice therein. Measure your conduct and perspective in life against them, as well as every regard of your states and expressions. More importantly, measure yourself against these things to determine what you should do, how to satisfy God’s will in the course of performing your duties, and how you can act in complete accordance with God’s requirements. Be a person with truth reality; do not be someone who merely arms themselves with letters and doctrines and religious theories. Do not feign spirituality; do not be a fake spiritual person. You must focus on practice, and on using God’s words as a basis for evaluating your state and to reflect on it, and then change the viewpoints and attitudes with which you treat every sort of situation. Ultimately, you will be able to revere God in every situation, and you will no longer act rashly, follow your own ideas, do things according to your desires, or live within a corrupt disposition. Instead, all your actions and words will be based on God’s words and on the truth; as such, you will gradually develop a heart of reverence for God. A heart of reverence for God arises while one is pursuing the truth; it does not come from restraint. All restraint gives rise to is one type of behavior; it is an external limitation. Genuine reverence for God comes over the course of one’s belief in Him, from understanding the truth, practicing in accordance with the truth, gradually and increasingly reducing one’s corrupt disposition, and improving one’s states, bit by bit, so that one can come frequently before God. This is a process that gives rise to genuine reverence. When that time comes, you will know what it is to revere God, and you will feel inside the sort of attitude and the sort kind of state one must have, and the sort of disposition one must possess, before they have true reverence for God and demonstrate their reverence for Him.
Excerpted from “Only Those Who Practice the Truth Are God-Fearing” in Records of Christ’s Talks
You must often come before God, eat and drink and ponder His words, and accept His discipline and guidance of you. You must be able to submit to all the environments, people, things, and matters that God has arranged for you, and when it comes to matters you cannot quite fathom, you must frequently pray while seeking the truth; only by understanding God’s will can you find a way forward. You must be in reverence of God, and do cautiously what you should do; you must often be at peace before God, and not be dissolute. At the very least, when something happens to you, your first reaction should be to calm yourself, and then pray immediately. By praying, waiting, and seeking, you will attain an understanding of God’s will. This is an attitude that shows reverence toward God, is it not? If, deep down, you revere God and submit to God, and can be quiet before God and grasp His will, then by cooperating and practicing this way, you can be protected. You will not encounter temptation, or do things that interrupt God’s management work, nor will you go so far as to provoke God’s loathing. With a God-fearing heart, you will be afraid of offending God; the moment you are faced with temptation, you will live before Him, trembling with dread, and hope that in all things you will be able to submit to Him and satisfy Him. Only by practicing like this, frequently living in such a state, and frequently being at peace before God will you be able to distance yourself from temptation and evil without even having to think about it.
Excerpted from “Only by Constantly Living Before God Can One Walk the Path to Salvation” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Job had not seen the face of God or heard the words spoken by God, and much less had he personally experienced the work of God, yet his fear of God and his testimony during his trials are witnessed by all, and they are loved, delighted in, and commended by God, and people envy, and admire them, and even more than that, sing their praises. There was nothing great or extraordinary about his life: Just like any ordinary person, he lived an unremarkable life, going out to work at sunrise and returning home to rest at sunset. The difference is that during the several unremarkable decades of his life, he gained an insight into the way of God, and realized and understood the great power and sovereignty of God as no other person ever had. He was no cleverer than any ordinary person, his life was not especially tenacious, nor, moreover, did he have invisible special skills. What he did possess, though, was a personality that was honest, kind-hearted, and upright, a personality which loved fairness, righteousness, and positive things—none of these things are possessed by the majority of ordinary people. He differentiated between love and hate, had a sense of justice, was unyielding and persistent, and paid meticulous attention to detail in his thinking. Thus, during his unremarkable time on earth he saw all the extraordinary things that God had done, and he saw the greatness, holiness, and righteousness of God, he saw God’s concern, graciousness, and protection for man, and he saw the honorableness and authority of the supreme God. The first reason why Job was able to gain these things that were beyond any normal person was because he had a pure heart, and his heart belonged to God, and was led by the Creator. The second reason was his pursuit: his pursuit of being impeccable and perfect, and of being someone who complied with the will of Heaven, who was loved by God, and who shunned evil. Job possessed and pursued these things while being unable to see God or hear the words of God; though he had never seen God, he had come to know the means by which God rules over all things, and he understood the wisdom with which God does so. Though he had never heard the words spoken by God, Job knew that the deeds of rewarding man and taking from man all come from God. Although the years of his life were no different from those of any ordinary person, he did not allow the unremarkableness of his life to affect his knowledge of God’s sovereignty over all things, or to affect his following of the way of fearing God and shunning evil. In his eyes, the laws of all things were full of God’s deeds, and God’s sovereignty could be seen in any part of a person’s life. He had not seen God, but he was able to realize that God’s deeds are everywhere, and during his unremarkable time on earth, in every corner of his life he was able to see and realize the extraordinary and wondrous deeds of God, and he could see the wondrous arrangements of God. The hiddenness and silence of God did not hinder Job’s realization of God’s deeds, nor did they affect his knowledge of God’s sovereignty over all things. His life was the realization, during his everyday life, of the sovereignty and arrangements of God, who is hidden among all things. In his everyday life he also heard and understood the voice of God’s heart and the words of God, who is silent among all things yet expresses the voice of His heart and His words by governing the laws of all things. You see, then, that if people have the same humanity and pursuit as Job, then they can gain the same realization and knowledge as Job, and can acquire the same understanding and knowledge of God’s sovereignty over all things as Job. God had not appeared to Job or spoken to him, but Job was able to be perfect and upright, and to fear God and shun evil. In other words, without God having appeared to or spoken to man, God’s deeds among all things and His sovereignty over all things are sufficient for man to become aware of God’s existence, power, and authority, and God’s power and authority are enough to make man follow the way of fearing God and shunning evil.
Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When people experience God’s work, their first knowledge of Him is that He is unfathomable, wise, and wonderful, and they unconsciously revere Him and feel the mystery of the work He does, which is beyond the ken of man’s mind. People want only to be able to meet His requirements, to satisfy His desires; they do not wish to exceed Him, because the work He does goes beyond man’s thinking and imagination and could not be done by man in His stead. Even man himself does not know his own inadequacies, yet God has forged a new path and has come to bring man into a newer and more beautiful world, and so mankind has made new progress and has had a new start. What people feel for God is not admiration, or rather, is not only admiration. Their deepest experience is awe and love; their feeling is that God is indeed wonderful. He does work that man is unable to do and says things that man is unable to say. People who have experienced God’s work always have an indescribable feeling. People of deep enough experience can understand the love of God; they can feel His loveliness, that His work is so wise, so wonderful, and thereby is infinite power generated among them. It is not fear or occasional love and respect, but a deep sense of God’s compassion for man and tolerance of him. However, people who have experienced His chastisement and judgment sense His majesty and that He tolerates no offense. Even people who have experienced much of His work are unable to fathom Him; all who truly revere Him know that His work is not in line with people’s notions but always goes against their notions. He does not need people to admire him wholly or present the appearance of submission to Him; rather, they should achieve true reverence and true submission. In so much of His work, anyone with true experience feels reverence for Him, which is higher than admiration. People have seen His disposition due to His work of chastisement and judgment, and they therefore revere Him in their hearts. God is meant to be revered and obeyed, because His being and His disposition are not the same as those of a created being and are above those of a created being. God is self-existent and everlasting, He is a non-created being, and only God is worthy of reverence and obedience; man is not qualified for this. So, all who have experienced His work and truly known Him feel reverence toward Him. However, those who do not let go of their notions about Him—those who simply do not regard Him as God—have no reverence toward Him, and though they follow Him, they are not conquered; they are disobedient people by nature. What He means to achieve by working thus is for all created beings to have hearts of reverence for the Creator, worship Him, and submit to His dominion unconditionally. This is the final result that all His work is meant to achieve.
Excerpted from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh