2. Why God blesses only the church that accepts and obeys His work, and why the religious world is cursed by God
Relevant Words of God:
The work of the Holy Spirit is always moving forward, and all those who are in the stream of the Holy Spirit should also be progressing deeper and changing, step-by-step. They should not stop at a single stage. Only those who do not know the work of the Holy Spirit would remain amongst His original work, and not accept the new work of the Holy Spirit. Only those who are disobedient would be incapable of gaining the Holy Spirit’s work. If the practice of man does not keep pace with the new work of the Holy Spirit, then the practice of man is surely dissevered from the work of today and is surely incompatible with the work of today. Such outdated people as these are simply incapable of accomplishing God’s will, much less could they become people who will ultimately stand testimony to God. The entire management work, furthermore, could not be concluded amongst such a group of people. For those who once held to the law of Jehovah, and those who once suffered for the cross, if they cannot accept the stage of work of the last days, then all that they did will have been in vain, and useless. The clearest expression of the Holy Spirit’s work is in embracing the here and now, not clinging to the past. Those who have not kept up with the work of today, and who have become separated from the practice of today, are those who oppose and do not accept the work of the Holy Spirit. Such people defy the present work of God. Though they hold onto the light of the past, it cannot be denied that they do not know the work of the Holy Spirit. Why has there been all this talk of the changes in the practice of man, of the differences in the practice between the past and today, of how the practice was carried out during the previous age, and of how it is done today? Such divisions in the practice of man are always spoken of because the work of the Holy Spirit is constantly moving forward, and thus the practice of man is required to constantly change. If man remains stuck in one stage, then this proves that he is incapable of keeping up with God’s new work and new light; it does not prove that God’s plan of management has not changed. Those who are outside the stream of the Holy Spirit always think they are right, but in fact, God’s work in them ceased long ago, and the work of the Holy Spirit is absent from them. The work of God was long since transferred to another group of people, a group on whom He intends to complete His new work. Because those in religion are incapable of accepting God’s new work, and hold only to the old work of the past, thus God has forsaken these people, and does His new work on the people who accept this new work. These are people who cooperate in His new work, and only in this way can His management be accomplished.
Excerpted from “God’s Work and Man’s Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Of principal importance in following God is that everything should be according to the words of God today: Whether you are pursuing entry into life or the fulfillment of God’s will, everything should be centered around the words of God today. If what you commune and pursue are not centered around the words of God today, then you are a stranger to the words of God, and totally bereft of the work of the Holy Spirit. What God wants are people who follow His footsteps. No matter how wonderful and pure what you understood before is, God does not want it, and if you are unable to put aside such things, then they will be a tremendous obstacle to your entry in the future. All those who are able to follow the present light of the Holy Spirit are blessed. The people of ages past also followed the footsteps of God, yet they could not follow until today; this is the blessing of the people of the last days. Those who can follow the present work of the Holy Spirit, and who are able to follow the footsteps of God, such that they follow God wherever He leads them—these are people who are blessed by God. Those who do not follow the present work of the Holy Spirit have not entered into the work of God’s words, and no matter how much they work, or how great their suffering, or how much they run about, none of it means anything to God, and He will not commend them. Today, all those who follow the present words of God are in the stream of the Holy Spirit; those who are strangers to the words of God today are outside of the stream of the Holy Spirit, and such people are not commended by God. Service that is divorced from the present utterances of the Holy Spirit is service that is of the flesh, and of notions, and it is impossible for it to be in accordance with God’s will. If people live among religious notions, then they are unable to do anything that is fit for God’s will, and even though they serve God, they serve in the midst of their imaginings and notions, and are totally incapable of serving in accordance with the will of God. Those who are unable to follow the work of the Holy Spirit do not understand the will of God, and those who do not understand the will of God cannot serve God. God wants service that is after His own heart; He does not want service that is of notions and the flesh. If people are incapable of following the steps of the Holy Spirit’s work, then they live amid notions. The service of such people interrupts and disturbs, and such service runs contrary to God. Thus those who are unable to follow the footsteps of God are incapable of serving God; those who are unable to follow the footsteps of God most certainly oppose God, and are incapable of being compatible with God. “Following the work of the Holy Spirit” means understanding the will of God today, being able to act in accordance with the present requirements of God, being able to obey and follow the God of today, and entering in accordance with the newest utterances of God. Only this is someone who follows the work of the Holy Spirit and is in the stream of the Holy Spirit. Such people are not only capable of receiving God’s praise and seeing God, but can also know God’s disposition from the latest work of God, and can know man’s notions and disobedience, and man’s nature and essence, from His latest work; furthermore, they are able to gradually achieve changes in their disposition during their service. Only people such as this are those who are able to gain God, and who have genuinely found the true way. Those who are eliminated by the work of the Holy Spirit are people who are incapable of following the latest work of God, and who rebel against the latest work of God. That such people openly oppose God is because God has done new work, and because the image of God is not the same as that in their notions—as a result of this, they openly oppose God and pass judgment upon God, which results in God loathing and rejecting them. Possessing the knowledge of the latest work of God is no easy matter, but if people have a mind to obey the work of God and seek the work of God, then they will have the chance to see God, and will have the chance to gain the newest guidance of the Holy Spirit. Those who intentionally oppose the work of God cannot receive the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit or the guidance of God. Thus, whether or not people can receive the latest work of God depends on the grace of God, it depends on their pursuit, and it depends on their intentions.
All who are able to obey the present utterances of the Holy Spirit are blessed. It does not matter how they used to be, or how the Holy Spirit used to work within them—those who have gained the latest work of God are the most blessed, and those who are unable to follow the latest work today are eliminated. God wants those who are able to accept the new light, and He wants those who accept and know His latest work. Why is it said that you must be a chaste virgin? A chaste virgin is able to seek the work of the Holy Spirit and understand the new things, and moreover, able to put aside old notions, and obey the work of God today. This group of people, who accept the newest work of today, were predestined by God before the ages, and are the most blessed of people. You hear the voice of God directly, and behold the appearance of God, and so, throughout heaven and earth, and throughout the ages, none have been more blessed than you, this group of people.
Excerpted from “Know God’s Newest Work and Follow His Footsteps” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Since man believes in God, he must closely follow the footsteps of God, step-by-step; he should “follow the Lamb wherever He goes.” Only these are the people who seek the true way, only they are the ones who know the work of the Holy Spirit. People who slavishly follow letters and doctrines are those who have been eliminated by the work of the Holy Spirit. In each period of time, God will begin new work, and in each period, there will be a new beginning among man. If man only abides by the truths that “Jehovah is God” and “Jesus is Christ,” which are truths that only apply to their respective ages, then man will never keep up with the work of the Holy Spirit, and will forever be incapable of gaining the work of the Holy Spirit. Regardless of how God works, man follows without the slightest doubt, and he follows closely. In this way, how could man be eliminated by the Holy Spirit? Regardless of what God does, as long as man is certain that it is the work of the Holy Spirit, and cooperates in the work of the Holy Spirit without any misgivings, and tries to meet the requirements of God, then how could he be punished? The work of God has never ceased, His footsteps have never halted, and prior to the completion of His management work, He has always been busy, and never stops. But man is different: Having gained but a modicum of the Holy Spirit’s work, he treats it as if it will never change; having gained a little knowledge, he does not go forth to follow the footsteps of God’s newer work; having seen but a little of God’s work, he immediately prescribes God as a particular wooden figure, and believes that God will always remain in this form that he sees before him, that it was like this in the past and will always be thus in the future; having gained but a superficial knowledge, man is so proud that he forgets himself and begins to wantonly proclaim a disposition and a being of God that simply do not exist; and having become certain about one stage of the Holy Spirit’s work, no matter what kind of person it is that proclaims the new work of God, man does not accept it. These are people who cannot accept the new work of the Holy Spirit; they are too conservative, and incapable of accepting new things. Such people are those who believe in God but also reject God. Man believes that the Israelites were wrong to “only believe in Jehovah and not believe in Jesus,” yet the majority of people act out a role in which they “only believe in Jehovah and reject Jesus” and “long for the return of the Messiah, but oppose the Messiah who is called Jesus.” No wonder, then, that people still live under the domain of Satan after accepting one stage of the work of the Holy Spirit, and still do not receive God’s blessings. Is this not the result of man’s rebelliousness? Christians across the world who have not kept up with the new work of today all cling to the hope that they will get lucky, assuming that God will fulfill each of their wishes. Yet they cannot say for sure why God will take them up to the third heaven, nor are they certain about how Jesus will come to receive them riding upon a white cloud, much less can they say with absolute certainty whether Jesus will truly arrive upon a white cloud on the day that they imagine. They are all anxious, and at a loss; they themselves do not even know whether God will take up each of them, the varied small handfuls of people, who hail from every denomination. The work that God does now, the present age, God’s will—they have no grasp of any of these things, and they can do nothing but count down the days on their fingers. Only those who follow the footsteps of the Lamb to the very end can gain the final blessing, whereas those “clever people,” who are unable to follow to the very end yet believe they have gained all, are incapable of witnessing the appearance of God. They each believe they are the smartest person on earth, and they cut short the continued development of God’s work for no reason at all, and seem to believe with absolute certainty that God will take them up to heaven, they who “have the utmost loyalty to God, follow God, and abide by the words of God.” Even though they have the “utmost loyalty” toward the words spoken by God, their words and actions are still so disgusting because they oppose the work of the Holy Spirit, and commit deceit and evil. Those who do not follow to the very end, who do not keep up with the work of the Holy Spirit, and who only cleave to the old work have not only failed to achieve loyalty to God, but on the contrary, have become those who oppose God, have become those who are rejected by the new age, and who will be punished. Are there any more pitiable than them? Many even believe that all those who reject the old law and accept the new work are without conscience. These people, who only talk of “conscience,” and do not know the work of the Holy Spirit, will ultimately have their prospects cut short by their own consciences. God’s work does not abide by doctrine, and though it may be His own work, still God does not cling to it. That which should be denied is denied, that which should be eliminated is eliminated. Yet man places himself in enmity to God by holding onto but one small part of the work of God’s management. Is this not the absurdity of man? Is this not the ignorance of man? The more people are timid and overcautious because they are afraid of not gaining God’s blessings, the more they are incapable of gaining greater blessings, and of receiving the final blessing. Those people who slavishly abide by the law all display the utmost loyalty toward the law, and the more they display such loyalty toward the law, the more they are rebels who oppose God. For now is the Age of Kingdom and not the Age of Law, and the work of today and the work of the past cannot be mentioned in the same breath, nor can the work of the past be compared to the work of today. The work of God has changed, and the practice of man has also changed; it is not to hold onto the law or bear the cross, therefore people’s loyalty toward the law and the cross will not gain God’s approval.
Excerpted from “God’s Work and Man’s Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Every day, they seek traces of Me in the Bible and find “suitable” passages at random which they read endlessly and recite as scriptures. They do not know how to be compatible with Me nor what it means to be against Me. They merely read scriptures blindly. Within the Bible, they constrain a vague God that they have never seen, and are incapable of seeing, and take it out to look at at their leisure. They believe in My existence only within the scope of the Bible, and they equate Me with the Bible; without the Bible there is no Me, and without Me there is no Bible. They pay no heed to My existence or actions, but instead devote extreme and special attention to each and every word of Scripture. Many more even believe that I should not do anything I wish to do unless it is foretold by Scripture. They attach too much importance to Scripture. It can be said that they see words and expressions as too important, to the extent that they use verses from the Bible to measure every word I say and to condemn Me. What they seek is not the way of compatibility with Me or the way of compatibility with the truth, but the way of compatibility with the words of the Bible, and they believe that anything that does not conform to the Bible is, without exception, not My work. Are such people not the dutiful descendants of the Pharisees? The Jewish Pharisees used the law of Moses to condemn Jesus. They did not seek compatibility with the Jesus of that time, but diligently followed the law to the letter, to the extent that—after having charged Him with not following the law of the Old Testament and not being the Messiah—they ultimately nailed the innocent Jesus to the cross. What was their substance? Was it not that they didn’t seek the way of compatibility with the truth? They obsessed over each and every word of Scripture while paying heed neither to My will nor to the steps and methods of My work. They were not people who sought the truth, but people who rigidly clung to words; they were not people who believed in God, but people who believed in the Bible. Essentially, they were watchdogs of the Bible. In order to safeguard the interests of the Bible, to uphold the dignity of the Bible, and to protect the reputation of the Bible, they went so far as to nail the merciful Jesus to the cross. This they did merely for the sake of defending the Bible, and for the sake of maintaining the status of each and every word of the Bible in people’s hearts. So they preferred to forsake their future and the sin offering to condemn Jesus, who did not conform to the doctrine of Scripture, to death. Were they not all lackeys to each and every word of Scripture?
And what of people today? Christ has come to release the truth, yet they would rather expel Him from this world so that they may gain entry into heaven and receive grace. They would rather completely deny the coming of the truth in order to safeguard the interests of the Bible, and they would rather nail the Christ returned to flesh to the cross again in order to ensure the everlasting existence of the Bible. How can man receive My salvation when his heart is so malicious and his nature so antagonistic toward Me? I live among man, yet man does not know of My existence. When I shine My light upon man, he still remains ignorant of My existence. When I unleash My wrath upon man, he denies My existence with even greater vigor. Man searches for compatibility with words and compatibility with the Bible, yet not a single person comes before Me to seek the way of compatibility with the truth. Man looks up to Me in heaven and devotes particular concern to My existence in heaven, yet no one cares about Me in the flesh, for I who live among man am simply too insignificant. Those who only seek compatibility with the words of the Bible and who only seek compatibility with a vague God are a wretched sight to Me. That is because what they worship are dead words, and a God that is capable of giving them untold treasures; what they worship is a God that would lay Himself at the mercy of man—a God who does not exist. What, then, can such people gain from Me? Man is simply too lowly for words. Those who are against Me, who make limitless demands of Me, who have no love of the truth, who are rebellious toward Me—how could they be compatible with Me?
Excerpted from “You Should Seek the Way of Compatibility With Christ” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Demons and evil spirits have been running amok on earth for a time, and have sealed off both the will and the painstaking effort of God so tightly that they are impenetrable. Truly, this is a mortal sin! How can God not feel anxious? How can God not feel wrathful? They have gravely hindered and opposed the work of God: How rebellious! Even those demons, big and small, behave like jackals at the heels of the lion, and follow the evil current, contriving disturbances as they go. Knowing the truth, they deliberately oppose it, these sons of rebellion! It is as if, now that their king of hell has ascended to the kingly throne, they have become smug and complacent, treating all others with contempt. How many among them seek the truth and follow righteousness? They are all beasts, no better than pigs and dogs, at the head of a gang of stinking flies, wagging their heads in smug self-congratulation and stirring up all kinds of trouble, in the middle of a dung heap. They believe that their king of hell is the greatest king of all, little knowing that they themselves are no more than stinking flies. And yet, they take advantage of the power of the pigs and dogs they have for parents to malign the existence of God. As diminutive flies, they believe their parents to be as large as toothed whales. Little do they know that, while they themselves are tiny, their parents are unclean pigs and dogs hundreds of millions of times larger than they. Unaware of their own lowliness, they rely on the stench of putrefaction exuded by those pigs and dogs to run amok, vainly thinking to procreate future generations, oblivious to shame! With green wings upon their backs (this refers to their claiming to believe in God), they are full of themselves and boast everywhere of their own beauty and allure, while they secretly fling the impurities on their own bodies onto man. Furthermore, they are exceedingly pleased with themselves, as if they can use a pair of rainbow-colored wings to conceal their own impurities, and by these means they bring their oppression to bear on the existence of the true God (this refers to what goes on behind the scenes in the religious world). How would man know that, as enchantingly beautiful as the wings of a fly may be, the fly itself is after all no more than a tiny creature, with a belly full of filth and a body covered with germs? On the strength of the pigs and dogs they have for parents, they run amok across the land (this refers to the way in which the religious officials who persecute God rely on the strong backing of the government of the nation to rebel against the true God and the truth), unrestrained in their savagery. It is as if the ghosts of the Jewish Pharisees have returned along with God to the nation of the great red dragon, back to their old nest. They have begun yet another round of persecution, picking up their work of several thousand years ago. This group of degenerates is sure to perish on earth in the end! It would appear that, after several millennia, the unclean spirits have become even more crafty and sly. They are constantly thinking of ways to undermine the work of God in secret. With tricks and wiles galore, they wish to reenact in their homeland the tragedy of several thousand years ago, goading God nearly to the point of crying out. He can hardly keep Himself from returning to the third heaven to annihilate them.
Excerpted from “Work and Entry (7)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
What name does God give to the religion of those who believed in Jehovah? Judaism. They became a kind of religious group. And how does God designate the religion of those who believe in Jesus? (Christianity.) In God’s eyes, Judaism and Christianity represent religious groups. Why does God define them as such? Among all those who are members of these religious bodies defined by God, are there any who fear Him and shun evil, do His will, and follow His way? (No.) This makes it clear. In God’s eyes, can all those who nominally follow Him be ones whom He acknowledges to be believers? Do they all have a connection with God? Could they all be targets for His salvation? (No.) So, will a day come when you are reduced to what God views as a religious group? (It’s possible.) Being reduced to a religious group—that seems inconceivable. If people become part of a religious group in God’s eyes, will they be saved by Him? Are they of His house? (No, they aren’t.) So, let us try to summarize: These people who nominally believe in the true God, but whom He believes to belong to religious groups—what path do they walk? Could it be said that such people walk the path of waving the flag of faith without ever following God’s way, and of believing in Him yet never worshiping Him, instead forsaking Him? That is, they walk the path of believing in God but forsaking Him and not following His way; their way is one in which they believe in God but worship Satan, they worship the devil, they try to carry out their own management, and try to establish their own kingdom. Is this not the essence of it? Do people like this have any connection to God’s management plan for the salvation of humanity? (No.) No matter how many people believe in God, as soon as their beliefs are defined by Him as being those of a religion or group, He has already determined that they cannot be saved. Why do I say this? In a gang or crowd of people who are without the work and guidance of God, and who do not worship Him at all, whom do they worship? Whom do they follow? In form and name, they follow a person, but whom do they essentially follow? Deep down, they acknowledge God, but in fact, they are subject to human manipulation, arrangements, and control. They follow Satan, the devil; they follow the forces that are hostile to God and that are His enemies. Would God save a pack of people such as this? (No.) Why not? Are they capable of repentance? (No.) They are incapable of repentance. They wave the flag of faith, carrying out human enterprises and conducting their own management, and they run counter to God’s management plan for mankind’s salvation. Their final outcome is one of being detested and rejected by God; He could not possibly save these people, they could not possibly repent, they have already been captured by Satan—they are entirely in Satan’s hands. In your faith, does how many years you have believed in God matter to whether or not you are praised by Him? Do the rituals and regulations you abide by matter? Does God look at people’s methods of practice? Does He look at how many people there are? He has selected one portion of mankind; how does He measure whether they can and should be saved? He bases this decision on the paths these people walk. … Regardless of how many sermons you have heard or how many truths you have understood, if, ultimately, you still follow humans and Satan, and in the end, if you are still incapable of following God’s way and unable to fear Him and shun evil, then such people will be detested and rejected by God. To all appearances, such people who are detested and rejected by God can talk much about letters and doctrines, and may have come to understand many truths, yet they are incapable of worshiping God; they cannot fear God and shun evil, and are incapable of total submission to Him. In God’s eyes, He defines them as part of a religion, as just a group of humans—a gang of humans—and as a lodging place for Satan. They are collectively referred to as Satan’s gang, and these people are utterly despised by God.
Excerpted from “Only by Constantly Living Before God Can One Walk the Path to Salvation” in Records of Christ’s Talks
1. “Stirring up all kinds of trouble” refers to how people who are demonic run riot, obstructing and opposing the work of God.
2. “Toothed whales” is used mockingly. It is a metaphor for how flies are so small that pigs and dogs appear as big as whales to them.