XVIII. One Must Fellowship Clearly 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
If one merely enjoys God’s grace, he cannot be perfected by God. Some may be satisfied with the peace and enjoyment of the flesh, a life of ease without adversity or misfortune, living in peace with their family without fights or quarrels. They may even believe this to be the blessing of God, but in truth, it is merely the grace of God. You cannot be satisfied merely with enjoying the grace of God. This kind of thinking is too vulgar. Even if you read the word of God daily, pray every day, and your spirit feels particular enjoyment and peace, yet in the end you cannot speak of any knowledge of God and His work or have no experience with such, and no matter how much of God’s word you have eaten and drunk, if you merely feel peace and enjoyment in your spirit and that the word of God is sweet beyond compare, as if you cannot enjoy it enough, but you have no real experience with and no reality of the word of God, then what can you receive from such manner of faith in God? If you cannot live out the essence of God’s word, your eating and drinking and prayers are entirely concerned with religion. Then such kind of man cannot be perfected and cannot be gained by God.
from “Promises to Those Who Have Been Perfected” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
People who do nothing more than enjoy God’s graces cannot be made perfect, or changed, and their obedience, piety, and love and patience are all superficial. Those who only enjoy God’s graces 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
People just regard the attainment of grace and the enjoyment of peace as symbols of belief in God, and the seeking for blessings as the basis for belief in God. Very few people seek to know God or seek a change in their disposition. People’s belief in God seeks to make God give them a suitable destination and give them all the grace under the sun, to make God their servant, to make God maintain a peaceful, friendly relationship with them, and for there never to be any conflict between them. That is, their belief in God requires God to promise to fulfill all their demands, to bestow on them anything they pray for, just as it says in the Bible “I will listen to all your prayers.” They require God to not judge anyone or deal with anyone, as God is always the kind Savior Jesus, who keeps a good relationship with people at all times and in all places. The way they believe is like this: They always shamelessly ask God for things, and God just bestows everything blindly on them, whether they are rebellious or obedient. People just continually demand “payment” from God and God must pay without any resistance, and pay double, whether God has gotten anything from them or not. He can only be at their mercy; He cannot arbitrarily orchestrate people, much less can He reveal His wisdom and righteous disposition that have been hidden for many years as He wishes to people, without their permission. They just confess their sins to God and God just absolves them, and cannot get sick of it, and this goes on forever. They just order God about and He just obeys, as it is recorded in the Bible “God did not come to be served by man, but to serve. He came to be man’s servant.” Haven’t you always believed in this way? When you can’t gain anything from God then you wish to run away. And when you don’t understand something you get so resentful, and even go so far as to hurl all kinds of abuse. You simply won’t allow God Himself to fully express His wisdom and wonder, but instead you just want to enjoy temporary ease and comfort. Up until now, your attitude in your belief in God has been the same old views. If God shows you just a slight bit of majesty you become unhappy; do you see now exactly how your stature is? Don’t think that you are all loyal to God when in fact your old views have not changed. When nothing befalls you, you think that everything is plain sailing and you love God to the highest peaks. But when something small befalls you, you fall down into Hades. Is this you being loyal to God?
from “You Should Put Aside the Blessings of Status and Understand God’s Will for the Salvation of 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 don’t believe in God, and if you can’t receive God’s graces, you fall into a sulk. How could this be your true stature? When it comes to inevitable family incidents (children falling ill, husbands going into hospital, poor crop yields, persecution of family members, and so on), you can’t even make it through these things that often happen in day-to-day life. When such things happen, you’re thrown into a panic, you don’t 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 has messed you around. 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 don’t give the slightest thought to the success of your faith in God, and how to satisfy God’s will. Your true stature is too small, even smaller than a little chick’s. When your husband’s business loses money you complain about God, when you find yourself in an environment without God’s protection you still complain about God, you complain even when one of your chicks dies or an old cow in the pen falls ill, you complain when it’s time for your son to start a family but your family doesn’t have enough money, and when the church’s workers eat a couple of meals at your home but the church doesn’t reimburse you or no one sends you any vegetables, you also complain. Your belly is stuffed full of complaints, and you sometimes don’t go to assemblies or eat and drink the words of God because of this, you likely become 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 if you didn’t 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’d all fall down. And there is, quite simply, a world of difference between you and Peter. Today, if half your assets were seized you’d dare to deny the existence of God; if your son or daughter were taken from you, you’d run the streets crying foul; if your life reached a dead end, you’d try and take it up with God, asking why I said so many words in the beginning to scare you. There’s nothing you would not dare to do at such times. This shows that you have not truly seen, 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
Today man sees that with the grace, love, and mercy of God alone, he is incapable of truly knowing himself, much less is he able to know the essence of man. Only through both the refinement and judgment of God, only during such refinement can you know your deficiencies, and know that you have nothing. Thus, man’s love of God is built upon the foundation of the refinement and judgment of God.
from “Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In your experiences you will see that those who suffer great refinement and pain, and much dealing and discipline have a deep love of God, and a more profound and penetrating knowledge of God. Those who have not experienced being dealt with have but a superficial knowledge, and can only say: “God is so good, He bestows grace upon people so that they can enjoy Him.” If people have experienced being dealt with and disciplined, then they are able to speak the true knowledge of God. So the more wondrous God’s work in man is, the more valuable and significant it is. The more impenetrable it is to you and the more incompatible it is with your notions, the more God’s work is able to conquer you, gain you, and make you perfect.
from “Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement” 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. Today, that kind of religious practice should be purged; pursuing the manifestation of the miracles of God, pursuing God’s healing and His casting out of demons, pursuing the bestowment of peace and ample graces by God, pursuing the gaining of prospects and comfort for the flesh—these are religious practices, and such religious practices are a vague and abstract form 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: It is the belief in God 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 carry out 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