XVIII. One Must Fellowship Clearly on What Following God’s Will Is and What True Testimony of Faith in God Is
2. Is it true testimony of faith in God if one only enjoys God’s grace?
Relevant Words of God:
If you only enjoy the grace of God, with a peaceful family life or material blessings, then you have not gained God, and your belief in God has failed. God has already carried out one stage of the work of grace in the flesh, and has already bestowed material blessings upon man—but man cannot be made perfect with grace, love, and mercy alone. In man’s experiences he encounters some of God’s love, and sees the love and mercy of God, yet having experienced for a period of time, he sees that God’s grace and His love and mercy are incapable of making man perfect, and incapable of revealing that which is corrupt within man, nor are they able to rid man of his corrupt disposition, or make perfect his love and faith. God’s work of grace was the work of one period, and man cannot rely on enjoying the grace of God in order to know God.
from “Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
People cannot be perfected by God if they only enjoy His grace. Some are satisfied when their flesh has peace and enjoyment, when their life is easy and without adversity or misfortune, when their whole family lives in harmony, without contention or dispute—and they may even believe this to be the blessing of God. In truth, it is merely God’s grace. You must not be satisfied with merely enjoying the grace of God. Such thinking is so vulgar. Even if you read the words of God every day, and pray every day, and your spirit feels great enjoyment and is especially at peace, if you ultimately have nothing to say of your knowledge of God and His work, and have experienced nothing, and no matter how much of God’s word you have eaten and drunk, if all you feel is spiritual peace and enjoyment, and that the word of God is sweet beyond compare, as though you cannot enjoy it enough, but you have no practical experience whatsoever of the words of God and are utterly devoid of the reality of His words, then what can you gain from such faith in God? If you cannot live out the essence of God’s words, then your eating and drinking of these words and your prayers are nothing but religious belief. Such people cannot be perfected by God and cannot be gained by Him.
from “Promises to Those Who Have Been Perfected” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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. People who do nothing more than enjoy God’s grace cannot be made perfect or changed; and their obedience, piety, love, and patience are all superficial. Those who only enjoy God’s grace cannot truly know God, and even when they do know God, their knowledge is superficial, and they say things like “God loves man,” or “God is compassionate toward man.” This does not represent the life of man, and does not show that people truly know God. If, when God’s words refine them, or when His trials come upon them, people are unable to obey God—if, instead, they become doubtful, and fall down—then they are not in the least bit obedient.
from “In Your Faith in God You Should Obey God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In their faith, people seek to make God give them a suitable destination and all the grace they need, to make Him their servant, to have Him maintain a peaceful, friendly relationship with them so that, no matter when, there would never be any conflict between them. That is, their belief in God demands that He promise to meet all their requirements and to bestow upon them whatever they pray for, in keeping with the words they have read in the Bible, “I will listen to all your prayers.” They expect God not to judge or deal with anyone, for He has always been the merciful Savior Jesus who keeps a good relationship with people at all times and in all places. This is how people believe in God: They just shamelessly make demands of God, and He should just grant everything to them blindly, whether they are rebellious or obedient. They just continually “collect debts” from God, and He must repay them without any resistance—and pay double—whether God has gotten anything from them or not. God can only be manipulated by them, and He cannot arbitrarily orchestrate people, much less reveal to people His wisdom and righteous disposition, which have been hidden for many years, whenever He wants and without their permission. They just confess their sins to God, and God will just absolve them, and He cannot get sick of doing so, and this will go on forever. They just order God about and He just obey, because it is recorded in the Bible that God did not come to be served by man, but to serve them, and that He is here to be their servant. Have you not always believed in this way? Whenever you are unable to gain something from God, you wish to run away; when you do not understand something, you grow so resentful, and even go so far as to hurl all kinds of abuse at Him. You simply will not allow God Himself to fully express His wisdom and wonder; instead, you just want to enjoy temporary ease and comfort. Until now, your attitude in your belief in God has merely consisted of the same old views. If God shows you just a slight bit of majesty, you become unhappy. Do you see now exactly how great your stature is? Do not assume that you are all loyal to God when in fact your old views have not changed. When nothing befalls you, you believe that everything is going smoothly, and your love for God reaches a high point. When something minor happens to you, you fall down into Hades. Is this being loyal to God?
from “You Should Put Aside the Blessings of Status and Understand God’s Will to Bring Salvation to Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Most people believe in God for the sake of peace and other benefits. Unless it is to your benefit, you do not believe in God, and if you cannot receive God’s graces, you fall into a sulk. How could what you have said be your true stature? When it comes to inevitable family incidents such as children falling ill, loved ones being hospitalized, poor crop yields, and persecution by family members, even these oft-occurring, quotidian matters are too much for you. When such things happen, you are thrown into a panic, you do not know what to do—and most of the time, you complain about God. You complain that God’s words tricked you, that God’s work made a mockery of you. Do you not have such thoughts? Do you think such things happen among you only rarely? You spend every day living amid such events. You do not give the slightest thought to the success of your faith in God, and how to meet God’s will. Your true stature is too small, even smaller than a little chick’s. When your family’s business loses money you complain about God, when you find yourself in an environment without God’s protection you still complain about God, and you complain even when one of your chicks dies or an old cow in the pen falls ill. You complain when it is time for your son to get married but your family does not have enough money, and when the church’s workers eat a couple of meals at your home but the church does not reimburse you or no one sends you any vegetables, you also complain. You are overflowing with complaints, and you sometimes do not attend gatherings or eat and drink the words of God because of this, sometimes becoming negative for a great length of time. Nothing that happens to you today bears any relation to your prospects or fate; these things would also happen even if you did not believe in God, yet today you pass responsibility for them to God, and insist on saying that God has eliminated you. What of your belief in God? Have you truly offered up your life? If you suffered the same trials as Job, none among you who follow God today would be able to stand firm, you would all fall down. And there is, quite simply, a world of difference between you and Job. Today, if half your assets were seized you would dare to deny the existence of God; if your son or daughter were taken from you, you would run the streets crying foul; if your only way to make a living reached a dead end, you would try and take it up with God; you would ask why I said so many words in the beginning to scare you. There is nothing you would not dare to do at such times. This shows that you have not gained any true insights, and have no true stature.
from “Practice (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Are you content to live under the influence of Satan, with peace and joy, and a little fleshly comfort? Are you not the lowliest of all people? None are more foolish than those who have beheld salvation but do not pursue to gain it: They are people who gorge themselves on the flesh and enjoy Satan. You hope that your faith in God will not entail any challenges or tribulations, or the slightest hardship. You always pursue those things that are worthless, and you attach no value to life, instead putting your own extravagant thoughts before the truth. You are so worthless! You live like a pig—what difference is there between you, and pigs and dogs? Are those who do not pursue the truth, and instead love the flesh, not all beasts? Are those dead ones without spirits not all the walking corpses? How many words have been spoken among you? Has only a little work been done among you? How much have I provided among you? And so why have you not gained it? What do you have to complain of? Is it not the case that you have gained nothing because you are too in love with the flesh? And is it not because your thoughts are too extravagant? Is it not because you are too stupid? If you are incapable of gaining these blessings, can you blame God for not saving you? What you pursue is to be able to gain peace after believing in God—for your children to be free from illness, for your husband to have a good job, for your son to find a good wife, for your daughter to find a decent husband, for your oxen and horses to plough the land well, for a year of good weather for your crops. This is what you seek. Your pursuit is only to live in comfort, for no accidents to befall your family, for the winds to pass you by, for your face to be untouched by grit, for your family’s crops to not be flooded, for you to be unaffected by any disaster, to live in God’s embrace, to live in a cozy nest. A coward such as you, who always pursues the flesh—do you have a heart, do you have a spirit? Are you not a beast? I give you the true way without asking for anything in return, yet you do not pursue. Are you one of those who believe in God? I bestow the real human life upon you, yet you do not pursue. Aren’t you no different from a pig or a dog? Pigs do not pursue the life of man, they do not pursue being cleansed, and they do not understand what life is. Each day, after eating their fill, they simply sleep. I have given you the true way, yet you have not gained it: You are empty-handed. Are you willing to continue in this life, the life of a pig? What is the significance of such people being alive? Your life is contemptible and ignoble, you live amid filth and licentiousness, and you do not pursue any goals; is your life not the most ignoble of all? Do you have the gall to look upon God? If you continue to experience in this way, will you not acquire nothing?
from “The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Now do you understand what belief in God is? Is belief in God beholding signs and wonders? Is it ascending to heaven? Believing in God is not easy at all. Those religious practices should be purged; pursuing healing of the sick and casting out of demons, focusing on signs and wonders, coveting more of God’s grace, peace and joy, pursuing the prospects and comforts of the flesh—these are religious practices, and such religious practices are a vague kind of belief. Today, what is real belief in God? It is the acceptance of God’s word as the reality of your life and the knowing of God from His word in order to achieve a true love of Him. To be clear: Belief in God is so that you may obey God, love God, and perform the duty that should be performed by a creature of God. This is the aim of believing in God. You must achieve a knowledge of the loveliness of God, of how worthy God is of reverence, of how, in His creatures, God does the work of salvation and making them perfect—this is the minimum that you should possess in your belief in God. Belief in God is principally the switch from a life in the flesh to a life of loving God, from a life within naturalness to a life within the being of God, it is coming out from under the domain of Satan and living under the care and protection of God, it is being able to achieve obedience to God and not obedience to the flesh, it is allowing God to gain your entire heart, allowing God to make you perfect, and freeing yourself from the corrupt satanic disposition. Belief in God is principally so that the power and glory of God may be manifested in you, so that you may do God’s will, and accomplish God’s plan, and be able to bear testimony to God before Satan. Belief in God should not be in order to behold signs and wonders, nor should it be for the sake of your personal flesh. It should be for the pursuit of knowing God, and being able to obey God, and like Peter, obeying Him until death. This is what it is mainly in order to achieve.
from “All Is Achieved by the Word of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh