3. What true testimony is and whether one’s testimony is true if they only enjoy God’s grace
Relevant Words of God:
Bearing a resounding witness for God primarily relates to whether or not you have an understanding of the practical God, and to whether or not you are able to submit before this person who is not only ordinary, but normal, and submit even unto death. If, by way of this submission, you truly bear witness for God, that means you have been obtained by God. If you can submit unto death and, before Him, be free of complaints, not make judgments, not slander, not have any notions, and not have any ulterior motives, then in this way God will gain glory. Submission before a regular person who is looked down upon by man, and being able to submit unto death without any notions—this is true testimony. The reality that God requires people to enter into is that you are able to obey His words, put them into practice, bow down in front of the practical God and know your own corruption, open up your heart in front of Him, and, ultimately, be gained by Him through these words of His. God gains glory when these utterances conquer you and make you fully obedient to Him; through this, He shames Satan and completes His work. When you do not have any notions about the practicality of God incarnate—that is, when you have stood firm in this trial—then you have borne this witness well. If there comes a day when you have a full understanding of the practical God and can submit unto death like Peter did, then you will be gained and perfected by God. Anything God does that is not in line with your notions is a trial for you. If God’s work were in line with your notions, it would not require you to suffer or be refined. It is because His work is so practical and not in line with your notions that it requires you to let go of such notions. This is why it is a trial for you. It is because of God’s practicality that all people are in the midst of trials; His work is practical, not supernatural. By fully understanding His practical words and His practical utterances without any notions, and being able to genuinely love Him as His work grows ever more practical, you will be gained by Him. The group of people whom God will gain are those who know God; that is, those who know His practicality. Furthermore, they are those who are able to submit to God’s practical work.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Those Who Truly Love God Are Those Who Can Submit Absolutely to His Practicality
What is exactly true testimony? The testimony spoken of here has two parts: One is testimony of having been conquered, and the other is testimony of having been made perfect (which, naturally, will be the testimony following the greater trials and the tribulations of the future). In other words, if you are able to stand firm during tribulations and trials, then you will have borne the second step of testimony. What is crucial today is the first step of testimony: being able to stand firm during every instance of the trials of chastisement and judgment. This is testimony of being conquered. That is because now is the time of conquest. (You should know that now is the time of God’s work on earth; the incarnate God’s main work on earth is conquering this group of people on earth who follow Him through judgment and chastisement.) Whether or not you are capable of bearing testimony of being conquered not only depends on whether you are able to follow to the very end, but, more importantly, on whether, as you experience each step of God’s work, you are capable of the true understanding of God’s chastisement and judgment, and on whether you truly perceive all of this work. You will not be able to slip through by merely following to the very end. You must be able to willingly surrender during every instance of chastisement and judgment, must be capable of truly understanding each step of work you experience, and must be able to attain knowledge of, and obedience to God’s disposition. This is the ultimate testimony of being conquered, which you are required to bear. Testimony of being conquered primarily refers to your knowledge of the incarnation of God. Crucially, this step of testimony is to the incarnation of God. It matters not what you do or say before the people of the world or those who wield power; what matters above all is whether you are able to obey all of the words from God’s mouth and all of His work. Therefore, this step of testimony is directed at Satan and all enemies of God—the demons and hostiles who do not believe that God will become flesh a second time and come to do even greater work, and furthermore, do not believe in the fact of God’s return to the flesh. In other words, it is directed at all the antichrists—all the enemies who do not believe in the incarnation of God.
The last step of testimony is testimony of whether or not you are able to be made perfect—which is to say, having understood all of the words spoken from the mouth of God incarnate, you come to possess knowledge of God and become certain about Him, you live out all the words from God’s mouth, and achieve the conditions God asks of you—the style of Peter and faith of Job—such that you can obey unto death, give yourself over entirely to Him, and ultimately achieve an image of a person that is up to standard, which means the image of someone who has been conquered and made perfect after experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement. This is the ultimate testimony—it is the testimony that ought to be borne by one who is ultimately made perfect. These are the two steps of testimony you should bear, and they are interrelated, each indispensable. But there is one thing you must know: The testimony I require of you today is not directed at the people of the world, nor any single individual, but at that which I ask of you. It is measured by whether you are able to satisfy Me, and whether you are able to completely meet the standards of My requirements of each one of you. This is what you should understand.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Practice (4)
Today, you should be aware of how to be conquered, and of how people conduct themselves after they have been conquered. You may say you have been conquered, but can you obey unto death? You must be able to follow to the very end regardless of whether there are any prospects, and you must not lose faith in God regardless of the environment. Ultimately, you must achieve two aspects of testimony: the testimony of Job—obedience unto death; and the testimony of Peter—the supreme love of God. In one respect, you must be like Job: He lost all material possessions, and was beset by the pain of the flesh, yet he did not forsake the name of Jehovah. This was Job’s testimony. Peter was able to love God unto death. When he was put on the cross and faced his death, he still loved God; he did not think of his own prospects or pursue beautiful hopes or extravagant thoughts, and he sought only to love God and to obey all of God’s arrangements. Such is the standard you must achieve before you can be considered to have borne testimony, before you become someone who has been made perfect after having been conquered.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Inside Truth of the Work of Conquest (2)
You undergo the trials of Job, and at the same time you undergo the trials of Peter. When Job was tested, he stood witness, and in the end, Jehovah was revealed to him. Only after he stood witness was he worthy of seeing the face of God. Why is it said: “I hide from the land of filth but show Myself to the holy kingdom”? That means that only when you are holy and stand witness can you have the dignity to see the face of God. If you cannot stand witness for Him, you do not have the dignity to see His face. If you retreat or make complaints against God in the face of refinements, thus failing to stand witness for Him and becoming Satan’s laughing stock, then you will not gain the appearance of God. If you are like Job, who in the midst of trials cursed his own flesh and did not complain against God, and was able to detest his own flesh without complaining or sinning through his words, then you will be standing witness. When you undergo refinements to a certain degree and can still be like Job, utterly obedient in front of God and without other requirements of Him or your own notions, then God will appear to you. Now God does not appear to you because you have so many of your own notions, personal prejudices, selfish thoughts, individual requirements and fleshly interests, and you are not worthy of seeing His face. Were you to see God, you would measure Him through your own notions and, in so doing, He would be nailed to the cross by you. If many things come upon you that do not align with your notions but yet you are able to put them aside and gain knowledge of God’s actions from these things, and if in the midst of refinements you reveal your heart of love for God, then this is standing witness. If your home is peaceful, you enjoy comforts of the flesh, no one is persecuting you, and your brothers and sisters in the church obey you, can you display your heart of love for God? Can this situation refine you? It is only through refinement that your love for God can be shown, and it is only through things occurring that do not align with your notions that you can be perfected. With the service of many contrary and negative things, and by employing all sorts of Satan’s manifestations—its actions, its accusations, its disturbances and deceptions—God shows you Satan’s hideous face clearly, and thereby perfects your ability to distinguish Satan, that you may hate Satan and forsake it.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement
When God comes, people should enjoy His majesty and His wrath. However, no matter how stern His words may be, He comes to save and perfect mankind. As creatures, people should fulfill the duties that they ought to, and stand witness for God in the midst of refinement. In every trial they should uphold the witness that they should bear, and do so resoundingly for the sake of God. A person who does this is an overcomer. No matter how God refines you, you remain full of confidence and never lose confidence in Him. You do what man should do. This is what God requires of man, and man’s heart should be able to fully return to Him and turn toward Him in every passing moment. This is an overcomer. Those whom God refers to as “overcomers” are those who are still able to stand witness and maintain their confidence and devotion to God when under the influence of Satan and while being laid siege to by Satan, that is, when they find themselves amidst the forces of darkness. If you are still able to keep a pure heart before God and maintain your genuine love for God no matter what, then you are standing witness in front of God, and this is what God refers to as being an “overcomer.” If your pursuit is excellent when God blesses you, but you retreat without His blessings, is this purity? Since you are certain that this way is true, you must follow it until the end; you must maintain your devotion to God. Since you have seen that God Himself has come to the earth to perfect you, you should give your heart entirely to Him. If you can still follow Him no matter what He does, even if He determines an unfavorable outcome for you at the very end, this is maintaining your purity in front of God. Offering a holy spiritual body and a pure virgin to God means keeping a sincere heart in front of God. For mankind, sincerity is purity, and the ability to be sincere toward God is maintaining purity. This is what you should put into practice. When you ought to pray, you pray; when you ought to gather together in fellowship, you do so; when you ought to sing hymns, you sing hymns; and when you ought to forsake the flesh, you forsake the flesh. When you perform your duty, you do not muddle through it; when you are faced with trials you stand firm. This is devotion to God.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. You Should Maintain Your Devotion to God
Today man sees that with the grace, love, and mercy of God alone, he is incapable of truly knowing himself, and much less is he able to know the substance of man. Only through both the refinement and judgment of God, and during the process of refinement itself, can man know his deficiencies, and know that he has nothing. Thus, man’s love of God is built upon the foundation of the refinement and judgment of God. If you only enjoy the grace of God, having a peaceful family life or material blessings, then you have not gained God, and your belief in God cannot be considered successful. 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, incapable of revealing that which is corrupt within man, and incapable of ridding man of his corrupt disposition, or making 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.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God
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.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Promises to Those Who Have Been Perfected
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.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. In Your Faith in God You Should Obey God
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 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? 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 plow 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 real human life upon you, yet you do not pursue. Are 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? The true way has been given to you, but whether or not you can ultimately gain it depends on your own personal pursuit.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment
Now do you understand what belief in God is? Does belief in God mean beholding signs and wonders? Does it mean ascending to heaven? Believing in God is not easy in the slightest. Those religious practices should be purged; pursuing the healing of the sick and the 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. What is real belief in God today? It is the acceptance of God’s word as your life reality 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—these are the bare essentials of your belief in God. Belief in God is principally the switch from a life of the flesh to a life of loving God; from living within corruption to living within the life of God’s words; 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 revolve around the desire to behold signs and wonders, nor should it be for the sake of your personal flesh. It should be about the pursuit of knowing God, and being able to obey God, and, like Peter, obeying Him until one’s death. These are the main aims of believing in God. One eats and drinks the word of God in order to know God and satisfy Him. Eating and drinking the word of God gives you a greater knowledge of God, only after which can you obey Him. Only with knowledge of God can you love Him, and this is the goal man should have in his belief in God. If, in your belief in God, you are always trying to behold signs and wonders, then the viewpoint of this belief in God is wrong. Belief in God is principally the acceptance of the word of God as life reality. The aim of God is only attained by putting into practice the words of God from His mouth and carrying them out within yourself. In believing in God, man should strive to be made perfect by God, to be able to submit to God, and for complete obedience to God. If you can obey God without complaint, be mindful of God’s desires, achieve the stature of Peter, and possess the style of Peter spoken of by God, then that will be when you have achieved success in belief in God, and it will signify that you have been gained by God.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. All Is Achieved by the Word of God
What I desire is your loyalty and obedience now, your love and testimony now. Even if you do not know at this moment what testimony is or what love is, you should bring to Me your all, and turn over to Me the only treasures you have: your loyalty and obedience. You should know that the testimony to My defeat of Satan lies within the loyalty and obedience of man, as does the testimony to My complete conquest of man. The duty of your faith in Me is to bear witness to Me, to be loyal to Me and none other, and to be obedient to the end. Before I begin the next step of My work, how will you bear witness to Me? How will you be loyal and obedient to Me? Do you devote all your loyalty to your function, or will you simply give up? Would you rather submit to My every arrangement (even if it be death or destruction), or flee midway to avoid My chastisement? I chastise you so that you will bear witness to Me, and be loyal and obedient to Me. What’s more, the chastisement at present is to unfold the next step of My work and to allow the work to progress unimpeded. Hence, I exhort you to be wise and treat neither your life nor the significance of your existence as worthless sand. Can you know exactly what My work to come will be? Do you know how I will work in the days to come, and how My work will unfold? You should know the significance of your experience of My work, and furthermore, the significance of your faith in Me. I have done so much; how could I give up halfway, as you imagine? I have done such extensive work; how could I destroy it? Indeed, I have come to bring this age to an end. This is true, but moreover you must know that I am to begin a new age, to begin new work, and, most of all, to spread the gospel of the kingdom. So you should know that the present work is only to begin an age and to lay the foundation for spreading the gospel in the time to come and bringing the age to an end in the future. My work is not so simple as you think, nor is it as worthless or meaningless as you may believe. Therefore, I still must say to you: You ought to give your life to My work, and moreover, you ought to devote yourself to My glory. Long have I yearned for you to bear witness to Me, and even longer have I yearned for you to spread My gospel. You ought to understand what is in My heart.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. What Do You Know of Faith?