Chapter 1. How to Know God’s Disposition and the Result of His Work
First, let’s sing a hymn: The Kingdom Anthem (I) The Kingdom Has Descended on the World.
I. God’s kingdom has come on earth; God’s person is full and rich. Who can stand still and not rejoice? Who can stand still and not dance? Oh Zion, raise your banner of victory to celebrate for God. Sing your song of victory to spread His holy name over the world. Countless people praise God with joy, countless voices exalt His name. Look at His awesome deeds; now His kingdom on earth has come.
II. All things on earth, make yourselves clean; come and make offerings to God. Stars, return to your nest in the sky, show God’s might in the heavens above. On earth voices rise up and sing, pouring out infinite love and boundless reverence to God. He attently listens to them. Countless people praise God with joy, countless voices exalt His name. Look at His awesome deeds; now His kingdom on earth has come.
III. On that day all things are revived, God in person comes to the earth. Flowers burst out in joyful bloom, birds sing and all things rejoice. See the kingdom of Satan fall as the salute of God’s kingdom sounds, trampled down, never to rise again, drowned beneath the anthem of praise. Countless people praise God with joy (with joy), countless voices exalt His name (His name). Look at His awesome deeds; now His kingdom on earth has come.
IV. Who on earth dare rise to resist? When God stands among men, He’s brought His wrath and all disasters to earth. The world has become God’s kingdom. Clouds roll and toss in the skies, lakes and streams stir up a merry tune. Resting animals leave their caves, and man is awakened from their dreams. Now that longed-for day has arrived and all honor God with their songs, the most beautiful songs of all time. Countless people praise God with joy (with joy), countless voices exalt His name (His name). Look at His awesome deeds; now His kingdom on earth has come.
Are you done singing? Did you all sing along? “All honor God with their songs, the most beautiful songs of all time.” What do you think about every time you sing this song? Tell Me. (We feel excited.) What else besides feeling excited? (Thrilled.) What else do you think of, besides feeling thrilled? Do you feel any kind of yearning or do you imagine anything? (I think of the beauty of the kingdom.) So have you ever thought about what man should do if they want to enter into this kind of beautiful place? Are there any among you who have sung The Kingdom Anthem and felt so moved that you cried? (Yes.) And what did you think of while you cried? (I thought how glorious it will be when the kingdom is realized, and how man and God can be together forever.) So has anyone thought of what man will become when he is together with God? How will God treat man? What must man be like in order to be together with God? Say whatever you like, let’s just have a chat about it. What do you imagine man should become? Taking all God’s requirements into consideration, what should man become in order to enjoy the final glorious life of the kingdom together with God? (Their disposition must change.) To what extent must it change? What must man become? (They must become holy.) What are the criteria for holiness? (One’s thoughts should be compatible with Christ.) How is this compatibility expressed? (Not defying God and not betraying God, but being able to obey absolutely and having a God-revering heart.) What some of you have said is near the mark. Open your hearts and say whatever it is your hearts want to say. (The criteria for being made perfect by God are: being of one mind with God, no longer defying God and being able to know oneself, practice the truth and know God so as to love Him and be compatible with Him. It’s possible once these criteria are met.) (It’s for man’s views on things to be compatible with God and for them to be able to break away from the influence of darkness. The most basic criteria are to not be used by Satan, for one’s views on things to be compatible with God, to cast off one’s corrupt disposition and to be able to obey God. I think this point is crucial. If man cannot break away from the influence of darkness or cast off the bonds of Satan, then they still have not achieved God’s salvation.) Anything else? (No.) Do you think this is an important matter? (Yes.) If it’s so important, how can you be finished talking about it after just a few words? Or do you think it’s enough to talk about it in a few general terms? Who will say more? (It’s to not be restrained by the influence of darkness and also to have discernment of people, matters and things and to not be deceived; it’s to be faithful to one’s duty and to prepare enough good deeds.) Have you yourselves specifically practiced these things and these subjects you’ve mentioned? Does every single person have their own standard of practice or scope of practice? (Those who live together with God in the kingdom should be those who do their duty, who do their duty faithfully, on the basis of their pursuit for the truth and their ability to not suffer the restraints of any man, matter or thing in any situation, who can then break away from the influence of darkness, whose hearts can be compatible with God and shun evil, and who can have a God-revering heart.)
Hearing you all speak this way, it seems you all have some ideas about the way you should keep to, and you have some knowledge or understanding. But is everything you’ve said empty to you? Or is it very real? This question depends on what you focus on in your day-to-day practice. What we’ve just said is chit-chat. You’ve only just sat down, so it was to get your hearts ready. But hearing you speak like this, it seems that in the last few years you have reaped a harvest from all aspects of the truth, whether it be in doctrine or in the content of the truth, and this proves that people nowadays place great emphasis on striving for the truth, and that all aspects and all items of the truth have most certainly taken root in some people’s hearts. But what is it that I fear the most? It is that, though these subjects on the truth and these theories have taken root in your hearts, how much real content is there in your hearts? How much weight does it carry? When things happen to you and you face trials and choices, how much will you be able to put the reality of these truths to good use? Will they be able to help you weather the storm, emerge from trials and satisfy God’s will, and stand firm in the midst of trials and bear resounding testimony for God? Have you ever concerned yourselves with these matters? I ask you: In your hearts, in all the things you think of every day, have you ever summed up which things are most important to you? Which things are most important to you? Some people say it is of course practicing the truth; some people say it is of course reading God’s words every day; some people say that it is of course coming before God every day to pray to Him; then there are some who say they of course think of doing their daily duty well; or they say they only think of being able to satisfy God in all things, they only think of being able to obey God in all things and act in harmony with God’s will. Is this the case? Is this all there is? (It’s not all, but just some among them. For example, I think only of how to do my duty well every day.) You just think of doing your duty well, but have there been times when you’ve only thought of doing your duty well but you haven’t done it well? (Yes.) So why is this? Some people say, “I think only of obeying God, but when something happens I really can’t obey.” Some people say, “I only want to satisfy God. Even if I could satisfy Him just once, that would be fine, but I can never satisfy Him.” Then some people say, “I only want to obey God, and when trials befall I only want to submit to His orchestrations without a word of complaint, making no demands of any kind, wanting only to submit to God’s orchestrations and obey God’s sovereignty and arrangements. But no matter how I try, I can’t stay obedient and I fail almost every time.” Then there are some who say, “When I am faced with making a choice, I can never choose practicing the truth. I always choose to satisfy my flesh and satisfy my own selfish desires.” Why is this? Haven’t you challenged yourselves many times, and tried and tested yourselves many times? Before God’s test comes, test yourself and see whether or not you really can obey God, satisfy God, not betray God, not satisfy yourself, not satisfy your own selfish desires, and not make a choice for yourself—does anyone do this? Actually, though you don’t say a word, there is only one fact that has been placed before your eyes. What fact is that? It is something that every single person is most concerned about and that you most want to know, and it is something in your subconscious that you have perhaps never been aware of. The thing that every single person is most concerned about is your end, the thing you are most concerned about is your destination, and this is undeniable, isn’t it? I know that some people have read up many times on this aspect of the truth, this aspect of God’s words that concerns people’s ends, that concerns God’s promise to man and what kind of destination God will bring man into; some people go searching here and there and in the end still get nowhere, or they may perhaps get an inconclusive result and still be unable to confirm exactly what kind of end they will have. In the course of their accepting fellowship about the truth and accepting the church life, they always want to know the definitive answer to these questions: What exactly will their end be? Will they be able to reach the path’s end? And exactly what attitude does God take to man? Or some people are worried, saying, “I have done some things before, said some things before, I have rebelled against God, I have done some things that betrayed God, there have been some things where I haven’t been able to satisfy God, where I’ve hurt God’s heart and caused Him to be disappointed in me, and caused Him to hate and detest me. Perhaps my end is unknown!” It can be said that a majority of people are on tenterhooks in their hearts about their own ends. No one says, “I am one hundred percent certain that I will be someone who will remain; I am one hundred percent certain that I can satisfy God’s will, that I am someone who is after God’s heart and who is praised by God.” Particularly to those who think the truth is extremely difficult to practice, who think that God’s way is extremely difficult to follow, who think that practicing the truth is the hardest thing, they believe themselves to be beyond redemption, or they believe that there is no way they can satisfy God’s will, no way they can be someone who will remain. That is, they believe they will not have an end, and are unable to attain a good destination. No matter what people think, everyone calculates what their end will be many times over, calculating and making plans for their own futures, for what will come after, and for what they will gain when God’s work is finished. Some people pay the price; some abandon their homes and businesses; some people say they choose not to get married; some people say they choose to resign; some people choose to leave their families to do their duty; some people say they choose to endure hardships and work hard, taking on themselves the hardest, most tiring jobs and doing their duty well; some people say they choose to donate money, donating every penny; still some people say they choose to pray to God at all times and in all things, asking God to be with them. Regardless of what you choose as the method of your practice, is the method important? (No.) How do you explain this “No”? Why do you say it isn’t important? What is the cause behind this? Speak your reasons. If the method is unimportant, what is important? (Outward behaviors do not represent that someone is practicing the truth.) (How everyone thinks is unimportant. The key thing is whether or not we practice the truth, and whether or not we love God.) (Outward behaviors are not the most important, as we have seen some antichrists and false leaders fall, and on the outside they appeared to have abandoned a great deal and could practice the truth. But when in the end they were dissected, we could see that they simply didn’t have God-revering hearts, and at crucial times they always stood on the side of Satan and disturbed the work of God’s family. So the main thing is to see what side we stand on when things happen, and to see what our views on things are like.) You have all spoken very well, proving that you have some standards in your hearts when it comes to practicing the truth, and when it comes to God’s will and God’s requirements of you, and that you have in your hearts some basis for these things. Your answer at the beginning was “No” and then you explained your reasons, and I am very moved that you are able to speak this way. Although some things you say are not quite apt, your statements are already nearing an explanation worthy of the truth. This proves that you have some genuine knowledge of the people, matters and things around you, the environments God arranges and the things you see with your own eyes; you’re close to knowing the truth. Although what you’ve said doesn’t cover everything, and some things aren’t very apt, the knowledge you have in your hearts is getting very close to the reality of the truth. I feel very moved to hear you speak like this.
Some people can endure hardships, work hard, pay the price, they show good behavior on the outside and are well-respected, and others give them the thumbs up and admire them—tell Me, what kind of behavior is this? Can these types of outward behavior be considered as practicing the truth? Can they be defined as satisfying God’s will? (No.) But why do people, when they see people like this, always believe them to be satisfying God, believe them to be walking the path of practicing the truth and following God’s way? Why do some people believe this? There is only one explanation; what is this explanation? It is that many people’s hearts are still unclear about what practicing the truth is, what satisfying God is and what it is to genuinely possess the reality of the truth. Therefore, there are some who always get deceived by others who appear spiritual and noble, and who appear to be great people, and they are not discerning toward people who appear on the surface to be able to speak letters and doctrines, and who gain admiration through their outward speech and actions. They never look to see what the essence of these others’ deeds is, what principles they employ in their actions, what the aim of their deeds is, whether or not they truly obey God and whether or not they are truly people who fear God and shun evil. They are never discerning toward these people, but instead all the while they are getting acquainted with them, they gradually admire them and venerate them more and more, in the end taking them as their idols. What is the cause that brings about this kind of phenomenon? And furthermore, in their eyes some people see only these people—these people they believe to be their idols, these people they believe to have abandoned their homes and businesses and who appear to be able to pay the price—they see only them as people who truly satisfy God, who really have a good end and a good destination, and as people who are praised by God. What is the essence of this matter, when people can have this kind of belief? What is the resulting consequence of this matter? First let us say what the essence of this matter is. Concerning people’s views, the way people practice, the principles of practice that people adopt, and what every person focuses on ordinarily—whether they focus deeply or lightly, or focus on letters and doctrines or on reality—whatever aspect they focus on, what is the principle that people should keep to the most? Do you know? What is it that you should most know? Some people may say, The thing we should most know is God’s will, that the thing we should most know is how to obey God and how to satisfy God. But do you genuinely know what God’s will is? Some people say that God’s will is within His words, and that everything God says is His will. This is a rather general thing to say. People have some ignorant ways of doing things and looking at things, or they have one-sided ways of looking at things or practicing, and this has only one source; I shall tell you today what this is. Where does the reason for this lie? Although people follow God, read His words and pray to God every day, in fact they simply don’t understand His will. Is this not the case? If people understood His heart, understood what He likes, what He hates, what He wants to gain, what He casts aside, what kind of people He loves, what kind of people He doesn’t love, what kind of standards He uses to lay requirements on people, what method He uses to perfect people—if people understood all this, would they still have their own individual thoughts? Would they still arbitrarily worship someone else? Would they still regard an ordinary person as their idol? If they understood God’s will, they would get closer to rationality and have some sense about how they see others. They wouldn’t arbitrarily regard a corrupt person as their idol, and nor would they hold to some simple rules and principles on the path of practicing the truth.
Let’s get back on topic. Since everyone is concerned with their own end, do you know how God determines people’s ends? What method does God use to determine a person’s end? And what standards does God use to do this? Before a person’s end has been fixed, how does God work on them in order to finally determine their end? Does anyone know this? As I said just now, there are some people who have researched God’s words for a long time to see what people’s ends will be, what categories people’s ends fall into, what the different ends for people are, how people’s ends are determined within God’s words and what standards, what methods are employed to determine a person’s end; in the end, however, they get nowhere. In fact, in God’s words there is just a little said about it, there is not much at all. Why is this? Before people’s ends are revealed, God does not wish to tell anyone their final outcome, nor does He wish to tell them prematurely what kind of destination awaits them, for to do this would bring them no benefit. I now only want to tell people what? I want to tell people what method God uses to determine people’s ends, and what work principles He employs to determine people’s ends and to reveal their ends; I want to tell you what standards He employs to determine whether you will remain or not remain, or whether you will have some other end. Isn’t this something that most concerns you? (Yes.) It concerns you a lot, doesn’t it? So how in human conceptions does God determine people’s ends? Many of you said some of it just now—some people said it was to do their duty faithfully and expend themselves; some said it was being able to obey God and satisfy God; some said it was submitting to God’s orchestrations; and then some said it was being able to live an unassuming life. When you are practicing these truths, when you are practicing in accordance with the principles that you believe in, do you know what God is thinking? Have you ever before considered whether or not you are satisfying God’s will by doing what you do? Do your actions cater to God’s needs? Do they cater to God’s requirements? I think most people don’t consider these things. They just take a section of God’s words, a portion of the sermons, or the standards of certain spiritual people they believe in and they apply them mechanically, just doing things this way and acting this way, regardless of the final outcome. They believe they are correct to do things this way, so they always keep to this kind of path and they keep doing things in this way. And what do some people believe? “I’ve believed for so many years and I have always practiced in this way. I feel I have satisfied God a great deal and have gained a lot, because during this time I have understood many truths and have understood many things I did not understand before. In particular, my thoughts and views have been greatly transformed, and I have come to know a great deal about the value of life and about this world.” They think this is the harvest, and that this is the result God wants to achieve with people. Taken together with what each of you practices, do these standards satisfy God’s will? Some people say: “Of course they do! Because we practice on the basis of God’s words, because we practice in accordance with the sermons and fellowship of the brother, and because we are always doing our duty, always following God and we have never once left God, we can be confident and say boldly that we are satisfying God. No matter how much we comprehend God’s will, no matter how much we understand God’s will, we are now on the way of seeking to become compatible with God. If we do right, if we act correctly, then the outcome will certainly be right.” What do you think of this viewpoint? Is it correct? Maybe some people will say: “I’ve never thought about these things before. I only think that I always do my duty like this, I always act in accordance with the requirements of God’s words, so that I will be able to remain. I’ve never considered whether or not I’m able to satisfy God’s heart, nor have I ever considered whether or not I have met God’s required standards, as God has never told me, nor has He ever pointed it out to me clearly. So I’ve always done it this way, and when I am doing it I believe that God is with me. Doing it this way, practicing this way, I believe that I am satisfying God, that God should be satisfied, and that He shouldn’t require anything further.” Are these thoughts correct? It seems to Me that you are being a little blind by practicing in this way and having this kind of view. I say this and some of you may well feel downhearted: “Blind? If we are being blind, then doesn’t our hope for being saved and our hope to remain become very slim and vague? Aren’t You pouring cold water on us by saying this?” No matter what you may think, that which I say and do is not meant to pour cold water on you, but rather to make you better understand God’s will, better comprehend what God is thinking, what He means to do, what kind of people He likes, what He hates, what He loathes, what kind of people He wants to gain, and what kind of people He doesn’t want to gain but detests and rejects. I only want you to know these things, to know clearly and plainly exactly how far your actions and thoughts have strayed from God’s required standards. Isn’t it necessary to talk about these topics? (Yes.) Because I know that, having believed for such a long time, and listened to so many sermons, these are the things you most lack. You have recorded all the truths in your notebooks, and kept some essential truths and some things you believe to be very important in both your minds and your hearts, and you plan to take these things and use them to satisfy God when you are to practice, use them when rainy days come, or you use them to help you get through each difficulty you face, or you let them be your companions through life. But as far as I’m concerned, regardless of how you do it, if you are just doing it, this is not so important. What is important? What’s important is that when you are practicing you should know clearly in your heart whether or not what you do and how you behave is what God wants, and whether or not what you do, what you think, what you aim for and the result you mean to achieve in your heart satisfy God’s will and cater to God’s requirements, and you should know clearly whether or not God approves them. This comes down to an issue, and you should all take notes of one saying. I Myself believe this saying to be very important, as it comes to My mind countless times every day. Why do I say this? Because every time I encounter someone’s deeds, every time I listen to someone’s story, every time I listen to someone’s experiences or their testimony, I measure in My heart whether or not this person is someone whom God has said He wants and likes. So what exactly is this saying? You all have a wait-and-see attitude, all waiting. But when this saying is spoken aloud you may perhaps feel disappointed, for there are certain people who have paid it lip service for many years. But I haven’t ever paid it lip service; where do I keep this saying? I keep it in My heart. To make it easier for you to remember this saying clearly, I have added punctuation to it. And what is this saying? The saying is “Follow the way of God: Fear God and shun evil.” It’s a very simple saying, isn’t it? Although it is simple, those who genuinely have a deep understanding of it will feel that it carries much weight and that it is of great value to their practice, and they will feel that it is the language of life and that it is also highly practical. So do you think this saying is the truth? Some people will be thinking about it, yet some will have their doubts about this saying and will say, “Is this saying very important? Is it really necessary to emphasize this saying so much?” And perhaps some people won’t like this saying, because they believe that to regard the way of God as being just this one saying is f
ar too simple. By taking everything God has said and boiling it all down to just this one saying, they believe this is seeing God as too insignificant. Is this the case? The majority of you will perhaps not entirely understand the profound meaning of this saying. Although you have taken notes of it, you don’t plan on keeping it in your hearts; you just jot it down in your notebooks, take it out to read through in your free time and just mull it over for a while, and some people are not even planning on applying it at all. But why do I say this saying? Regardless of your views and regardless of what you think about it, this saying is of great relevance to God’s determination of people’s ends, so I must needs say it to you. No matter what your current understanding of this saying is or how you approach it, I will still tell you that if you can practice this saying well and achieve the standard of fearing God and shunning evil, you will then have a very good end and will surely be someone who will remain, someone who will have a good end. If you cannot live up to this saying, then I can say that your end will be unknown. Therefore, first of all I tell you this saying for your own mental preparation and so that you know what kind of standards God uses to measure you. This saying is right here and you have all taken notes of it. As I said just now, this saying is extremely relevant to God saving mankind and to how He determines people’s ends. How is it relevant? You really want to know this. Let’s talk about how this is relevant today.
In every age of God’s work amongst man, God bestows on people some words and tells them some truths, and these truths are the way people should hold to, and are that which people should practice and hold to as they live, and throughout the course of their lives; this is God’s aim in telling these truths to man. These words come from God and people should hold to them; when people hold to them they then gain life. If people do not hold to them and do not practice them, and they do not have these words of God in their lives, then they are not practicing the truth; when people do not practice the truth they are then not capable of satisfying God; when people are not capable of satisfying God they are then not able to be praised by God, and thus they will have no end. So how does God determine people’s ends within His work? What method does He employ to determine people’s ends? If I don’t talk about this then you are perhaps unclear about it. But once I talk about this process you may gain some clarity, for many people have already experienced this matter before. Over the course of God’s work, from when He began His work up until the present day, to each and every person—it could be said to each and every person who follows Him—He gives trials of varying degrees. Some people undergo trials whereby their families abandon them, some undergo trials of environments, some undergo trials whereby they face choices, and some face trials to do with their status or wealth. In short, all manner of trials befall each and every person. So why does God want to do this? Why does He want to treat each and every person this way? What is the outcome God wants to see? It is as I said just now, God looks to see whether or not someone is a person who fears God and shuns evil. This means that when God gives you a trial, when He causes you to encounter some environment, He then tests you to see whether or not you are fearing God and whether or not you are shunning evil. Suppose something happened to someone and this event caused them to come into contact with offerings. Tell Me, is this event arranged by God? There is no need to query this; everything you encounter is all God’s arrangements. When this event happens to you, what do you choose? God is watching how you choose, how you practice, and what you think in your heart, and this is the outcome God wants to see and that He is most concerned with. But when events happen to people, they frequently don’t think this way; most people don’t think this way. As soon as something happens to them, they say, “This has happened to me and no matter what, it is God’s offering and I must not touch it.” They think in such a simple way. They don’t go to touch God’s offerings, nor do they think about it too deeply; they just think about it in this simple way and then they’re done with it. Is the outcome of this trial that they stand firm, or that they don’t stand firm? Tell Me. (If someone has a God-fearing heart, then when something happens to them whereby they come into contact with God’s offerings, they will think it is something in which they can easily offend God’s disposition, so they will certainly err on the side of caution.) You are kind of on the right track, but you’re not quite there. How to explain this? Following the way of God is not outwardly keeping some rule, but rather it is when this event happens to you, you first of all see it as an environment orchestrated by God, a responsibility given to you by God, or something God has entrusted to you and, when it happens to you, you even see it as God’s trial, and these thoughts come clearly to you. When this thing happens to you, there must be a standard in your heart and you must think that this event has come from God, and you must think how you should handle it to not aggravate God and to not offend His disposition. We spoke just now about the matter concerning offerings. It is your duty to take good care of these offerings and it is your responsibility; you are duty-bound to this responsibility, but is there any temptation when this matter befalls you? (Yes.) Where does this temptation come from? This temptation comes from Satan, and it also comes from man’s corrupt disposition, from man’s evil, corrupt disposition. But as far as God is concerned, what does it mean to you when this matter befalls you? God wants to do this thing, and when it befalls you it becomes a trial for you—it is a trial which has befallen you. Some people ask, “This is such a tiny matter. Is it necessary to make a mountain out of a molehill?” Yes, it is necessary. Because if we want to follow the way of God, then we cannot see any tiny, minor matter as being a small matter that can be ignored or paid no heed. But rather regardless of whether a matter is big or small, regardless of whether we see it as something we need to take heed of or not, so long as it is something that happens to us we cannot let it slide, and we must see it as God testing us. So what kind of attitude is this? This attitude verifies a fact, and having this attitude proves that your heart fears God and wishes to shun evil. When you have this desire to satisfy God, then your practice will not be far from the standard of fearing God and shunning evil. Is this not the case?
There are some people who often regard things that are not paid much attention by anyone or things that are not ordinarily mentioned to be small matters. When they encounter this thing they think simply, “All done. Either way, this is my responsibility, and it’ll all get done so long as I take care with it, so long as I do it well and fulfill my responsibility.” This is wrong. In fact, it is exactly when you encounter this thing that you should be learning the lesson of how to fear God and shun evil. And even more than this we should know what God is doing when we encounter this thing. Do you know? God is by your side, watching everything you say and do, watching how your thoughts change and watching your actions—this is God’s job. Some people say, “So how come I haven’t felt this?” You haven’t felt it because you haven’t taken the way of fearing God and shunning evil as the most important way for you to keep, and so you haven’t felt it. You’re just so careless! What are big matters? And what are small matters? All the things that involve following the way of God cannot be separated into big matters or small matters—can you accept these words? We see some of the things that happen to us every day as big matters and some as small matters. People often see big matters as being very important, believing them to be from God, but they often don’t gain any revelation, any enlightenment or illumination from these big matters. When it comes to small matters, people just overlook them and let them slip away little by little, thereby losing many opportunities to be examined and tested before God. Therefore, you are always overlooking the people, matters and things, and the environments that God orchestrates for you; what does this signify? It signifies that every day, even every hour, you are renouncing God’s perfection of you and renouncing His leadership. When God orchestrates an environment for you, He observes in secret, examining your heart and examining your every thought, watching how you think and what you do. If you are careless, if you are someone who never takes God’s way, God’s words or the truth seriously, then once you have been through many environments and trials and God doesn’t see you bearing any fruit, what will He do? You may come to experience this gradually later on. What will God do in this situation? If, after you have encountered many trials, your heart does not magnify God, you don’t treat the environments God orchestrates for you seriously or treat them as God’s trials and tests, but instead you let them slip away one after another and one after another you push away these opportunities that God bestows on you, wouldn’t this be the pinnacle of rebellion? (Yes.) So would God feel grieved? (Yes.) God would not feel grieved. You are surprised again, aren’t you? Didn’t I say before that God always feels grieved? When does God feel grieved? In short, God would not feel grieved in this kind of situation. So what is God’s attitude to people? When people push away the trials and tests He gives to them, when they push these things away there is only one attitude for God to take toward them; what is that attitude? That attitude is that God, from His heart, detests and rejects these people. There are two levels of meaning to “detestation and rejection.” How do I explain them? “Detestation” means great loathing and hatred. Then what does “rejection” mean? With God, it means “to give up on.” You all know what “to give up on” means, right? It means that, in God’s attitude toward the people doing these things, His final response and attitude toward them is of the utmost detestation, rejection and disgust; this is His final attitude toward someone who has never followed the way of God and never feared God and shunned evil. Do you now see the importance of the saying I said earlier? (Yes.) So now do you understand exactly what method God uses to determine people’s ends? (He arranges different environments for people every day.) Arranging different environments is something that people can come into contact with, but what is God’s motive? His motive is that He wants to use different methods at different times and in different places to try each and every person. What aspects of man does He try? He tries you to see whether or not you are someone who fears God and shuns evil in everything you encounter, everything you hear, everything you see and everything you experience personally. The trials God gives to people are fair to everyone and everyone will encounter them. Some people say, “I’ve believed for many years, so how is it that I have never encountered one?” If you think you haven’t encountered one then this means that you have simply never treated seriously any environment God has orchestrated for you and that you have simply never thought of wanting to follow the way of God, so you have no perception whatsoever. And some people say, “I have encountered several trials but I don’t know how to practice, and I don’t know what the outcomes of the trials will be for me when I have finished practicing.” So what is the standard by which God measures people? It’s what I said just now, seeing whether or not you act and behave in a way that fears God and shuns evil. Is it simple? (Yes.) Although it is a simple matter, is it simple to put into practice? (No, it isn’t.) How do you explain why you say “No”? Using your own thoughts and in your own words, tell Me why it is not simple. (People don’t know God and they don’t know how God perfects people, so when things happen to them they don’t know how to seek the truth to resolve their problems. People must undergo different trials and refinement, chastisement and judgment before they can possess the reality of fearing God.) It seems as though “fearing God and shunning evil” is something that is easy for you to do now, so why do I say this? Because you have now heard many sermons and accepted much watering of the reality of the truth, and these things you understand are a great help to your practice of “fearing God and shunning evil,” and they make it easy for you to achieve this. But why can’t anyone achieve it? It’s because they don’t fear God and they don’t shun evil—this is the real reason. Why do I say this? Where does this saying come from, “fear God and shun evil”? It’s from the Book of Job, right? Now that Job is mentioned, let’s talk about him. In Job’s time, did God do the work of saving and conquering man? (No.) He didn’t, did He? So in that age, how well did Job know God? (He didn’t know God very well.) So how did his knowledge of God compare to the knowledge you have right now? How come you shy away from answering this question? Did he know God more than you do now, or less? (Less.) Less! This question is easy to answer. It was certainly less. You are now face-to-face with God, face-to-face with God’s words, so you know God much more than Job did. Why do I mention this? Why do I say this? I say it to show the fact that Job knew God only very little, yet was able to fear God and shun evil, while people nowadays are unable to do this. So what does this prove? (People nowadays are deeply corrupted.) Being so deeply corrupted is a superficial phenomenon, and I would never see it that way. You always take these oft-spoken, daily doctrines and letters and pay lip service to them: “deeply corrupted,” “rebelling against God,” “no loyalty to God,” “disobedience,” “being slack.” You always take these phrases and pay lip service to them, using them to explain every substantive question. This is a mistake, and it is not the essence or truth of the question. I don’t like hearing this kind of answer. Think about it. Think it over! None of you have ever thought about this matter before, but I can see it and perceive it every single day. So, you do things, and I watch. You cannot perceive the essence of the things you do, but I can both see and perceive the essence of these things. So what is this essence? Why can’t people nowadays fear God and shun evil? This problem has a source! With the way you come to know things, you will never be able to explain the essence of this problem, nor will you ever be able to resolve its essence. So what is the source? You’d really like to hear it, wouldn’t you? (Yes.) Then I will tell you what the source of this problem is.
What did God regard man as when He began His work? He rescued man, regarded them as His family, regarded them as the objects of His work, as the targets He intended to conquer, save and make perfect; this was God’s attitude to man when He began His work. But what was man’s attitude to God back then? They felt He was a stranger. I can say that their attitude toward God was incorrect, and they were unsure how they should approach Him. They treated Him in any way they wanted, and did whatever they wanted. Did they have any views? They had no views to begin with, and their so-called views were actually their conceptions of God, their persistent conceptions: “You are strange to me and I don’t understand You, so I will contradict You, defy You. I won’t listen to anything You say, I won’t believe in anything You say, and I will not easily accept anything You say that sounds right to me.” This was man’s relationship with God in the beginning. God regarded man as His family, and man regarded God as a stranger. But after God worked for some time, what then did man regard God as? Man understood what God intended to do, they knew that God was the true God and knew what man could gain from God, so what did they regard God as at that time? They regarded Him as a straw for them to clutch at and hoped to gain grace, blessings and promises from God. And what did God regard man as back then? God regarded man as the object to be conquered; He used His words to judge man, and used His trials to examine and test man. But to man, what else did God serve as? He was an object that they used to achieve their aims, because people saw Him expressing the truth, and saw that God was able to do His work of conquest and salvation. And man had the opportunity to gain from God the destination they wanted and the things they wanted, and thereafter they became marginally willing, and they desired to follow this God. And afterward, man came to have some superficial doctrinal knowledge of God. I can say that they became more and more familiar with God, more and more familiar with God’s utterances, God’s sermons, with the truth He expressed and with His work, perceiving that these things were the entire work of God. Up till now, I can say that many people have heard many truths and listened to many sermons, and so they feel more and more slack. Because of the disturbances of many different factors and situations, the majority of people are unable to practice the truth nor able to satisfy God. So people become more and more slack in their approach to God, have less and less faith, and they feel more and more that their own ends are simply unknown. They don’t dare to think in any extravagant manner, they just follow in this way, one step at a time. But what does God do now? What is His attitude toward people now? After His way and these truths have been instilled in people, God wants to use various methods and arrange all manner of environments to try people, then see whether or not these words, these truths of God and the work God does have made people able to fear God and shun evil—this is God’s intended result. But from what I can see, most people regard God’s words as doctrines, as letters and as rules to be kept. When they do things, or speak, or when trials befall them, they don’t keep God’s way as the way they ought to keep and, especially when they encounter serious trials, I haven’t seen anyone with the view “I should fear God and shun evil.” What is God’s attitude toward people now? I can say that God’s attitude toward people is one of the utmost disgust and hatred. For after God has tried people many times, even over one hundred times, they still have no clear attitude that would indicate their determination—“I want to fear God and shun evil!” They don’t have this kind of determination, and they don’t express this. Therefore, God’s attitude toward man is very clear. It is no longer merciful, tolerant, forgiving and patient as it was before, but instead it is one of the utmost disappointment. Who brings about this disappointment? Who does this attitude depend on? It depends on every single person who follows God. Throughout His work of so many years, God has made many demands of man and has arranged for them many environments. But no matter how people treat God, no matter what their attitude toward God is, I now sum it up into one phrase, the saying we said just now that explains why people aren’t able to follow the way of God: fear God and shun evil. And what is this saying? God regards man as the object to be saved and as the target for His work, while man regards God as an enemy and as their antithesis. So you now see clearly what man’s attitude is and what God’s attitude is—this is very clear. After listening to many sermons, regardless of the things you summarize—whether it’s being loyal to God or obeying God, or searching for the way to be compatible with God, or some people say they will expend their entire life for God and live for God—regardless of the aspect of the things you summarize, what is it that I see? These things you do are not consciously following God’s way—fearing God and shunning evil—but rather they are you being forced to look for some way to constrainedly practicing some truths and keeping some rules for your own aims.
This topic I speak about today is a bit heavy, but whatever the case, I still hope that, in your future experiences and in the days to come, you will be able to achieve that which I have just said. You mustn’t regard God as being like air, thinking that He exists when He is of use, and that He disappears when not in use. This is wrong. When you subconsciously understand it in this way, you have already aggravated God. Perhaps some people say, “I don’t regard God as being like air. I pray to Him all the time and I satisfy Him all the time. Everything I do is done within the scope of His requirements and the standards of His principles. I don’t do things in accordance with my own will.” Yes, your method of practice is correct. But when something happens to you, what do you think? When something happens to you, how do you practice? While they pray, some people feel that God is with them and that God exists. But when something happens to them, when their self-will arises, they regard God as being like air, it seems to them that God doesn’t exist, and that God is only there when they believe He is there and that He shouldn’t be there when they don’t believe Him to be there. They then practice according to their self-will, they do whatever they want, and they simply don’t search for the way of God. With people now being in this kind of condition and in this kind of state, are they not on the edge of danger? Some people say, “No matter what kind of edge of danger I’m on, I’ve believed for so many years, and I believe that God ought not to forsake me and that He hasn’t the heart to forsake me.” And then some others say, “I believed in the Lord while I was still in the womb and it has been 40 or 50 years since then. In terms of time, I am the most qualified to be saved by God and the most qualified to remain. Over these 40 or 50 years I have abandoned my family and given up my business. I’ve given up everything—money, status, pleasure and the joys of domestic felicity. I have missed out on many tasty things to eat and missed out on many kinds of fun; I haven’t been to many places that are good to visit and have even suffered pain that ordinary people could not endure. If, for these things, God doesn’t save me, then it will be a great injustice to me, and I won’t be able to believe in that kind of God.” Are there many people who think like this? (Yes, many.) Then I tell you that all those who think like this are shooting themselves in the foot. Because before you form any thoughts or have any conclusion, you first need to understand what God’s attitude is toward you and how He thinks in His heart. You need to first understand these things before concluding whether your thoughts are right or wrong; it’s too early to reach a verdict on this now. God never uses time as a deciding factor when He determines a person’s end. What does He use instead? That is, what standards does He employ to determine a person’s end? Didn’t we speak a lot about this earlier? Using time as a deciding factor in determining a person’s end most conforms with people’s conceptions. And there is something else, something you see often, which is that some people use how much they donate, how much they expend, how much they pay, and how much they suffer as the standards by which they measure whether or not God will save them; is this not also a mistake? (Yes, it is.) Regardless of what you believe, examples of which I won’t cite one by one, so long as it is not a standard that God thinks in His heart, then it is something that people believe and it is a conception of man. So if you blindly persevere in thinking this way, what will the consequence be? It’s obvious—the consequence can only be that God will be filled with detestation and rejection. This is because you always want to flaunt your seniority before God, contest with God and wrangle with God, but you don’t genuinely try to understand God’s thoughts, understand His will and His attitude toward man. Are you fearing God by doing this? No, you’re not. By doing this you are just honoring yourself above all and not honoring God. Therefore, God doesn’t want that kind of person and He won’t save them. If you are able to relinquish this kind of view and act in accordance with God’s requirements, saying, “Despite having believed in God for so many years, during my life of believing in God, if He hadn’t shown me the way, enlightened me and guided me, then I would be nothing. From now on I should practice the way of fearing God and shunning evil, magnify God in all things and not make conclusions about myself or about God based on my own personal imaginings, views and beliefs. Instead I should seek God’s will in all things and understand and comprehend God’s attitude toward mankind, and take this as the standard to satisfy God.” If you can rectify that kind of view and can think this way, then that is wonderful, and it signifies that you will soon embark on the way of fearing God and shunning evil.
We’ve talked a lot about this, and seeing as God doesn’t take people’s thoughts and views—whether they think this way or that way—as the standards by which He determines their ends, what kind of standards does God use? First of all, let Me tell you that God uses trials to determine people’s ends. There are two standards involved in God using trials to determine people’s ends. The first is the number of trials people are given, and the second is the outcome of the trials—God uses these two indicators to determine people’s ends. Let’s talk in more detail about these two standards. Firstly, when you encounter one of God’s trials, it may seem to you to be a small thing, something not worth mentioning. But God will make you patently aware that it is His hand that has come upon you and that He has arranged this environment for you. While your stature is immature, God arranges some trials for you that you are able to understand and which you are capable of enduring, and He uses this kind of trial to test you. What is He testing? God is testing your attitude to Him. Some people ask, Is this attitude really so important? Of course it is important, otherwise God wouldn’t expend any effort to do this kind of work on man. The outcome of these trials is of the utmost importance to God, for God wants to see your attitude toward Him through these trials, to see whether or not you are walking the right path, and to see whether you fear God and shun evil. No matter how much understanding of the truth you have at that time, God still wants to try you in this way. Once you have understood some truth then God will still continue to arrange this kind of trial for you. He still wants to see your views, your thoughts and your attitude toward Him once the trial is upon you. Then some people say, “Why does God always want to see what people’s attitudes are? Can’t He see them while people are practicing the truth in this way? What does He want to see people’s attitudes for?” This is nonsense. Now that God is doing this work, He is by people’s side at all times watching their every word and deed, their every action and movement, even their every idea and thought; He remembers everything people do right, and records each and every fault or transgression they make, and even their rebelliousness and betrayals. As you mature, you hear more and more of the truth and you accept more and more positive things and more and more positive sermons, and you accept more and more positive information and reality of the truth. At this time, God will arrange for you trials of greater severity. What God wants at this point is not someone’s letters and doctrines, but rather their genuine fear of God, and He also needs your views which, of course, need to be deeper and more real at this time.
Every time a trial befalls you, you need to have a clear attitude and a clear viewpoint and, of course, as your stature gradually increases, so do the standards that God requires of you. While you are immature, God sets a very low standard for you. When your stature is slightly more mature, He sets a slightly higher standard for you. And what will God do after you understand the entire truth? He will cause you to encounter trials of even greater severity. During these trials, that which He wants to gain and see is you having a deeper knowledge of God and you truly fearing God. At this point, God’s requirements of you are higher and more severe than when your stature was immature. It can be said that people think these requirements severe, but actually, to God, they are entirely appropriate. Whilst God is trying people, what fact does God want to bring about? God constantly requires people to give their hearts to Him. People say, “How can I give my heart to God? I do my duty, I’ve given up my family and my business and I expend for God, so how can I give my heart to God? In what way can I give it? What specifically does God require?” The requirement is very simple. In fact, during the trials that happened in different stages, some people have already given God their hearts, but there are some who have never given their hearts to Him. Whilst God is trying you, He looks to see whether your heart is turned to Him or turned toward the flesh, or toward Satan; while He is trying you, He wants to see whether you are standing on the side of God’s antithesis or standing on the path of compatibility with God, whether or not your heart is on His side. When you are immature and you encounter trials, though you may have little faith, as you waver back and forth in the midst of God’s trials you can still pray to God with a sincere heart, devote your heart to God and devote the things you consider the best to God—this means you have already given your heart to God. But as your stature steadily grows, and when you hear more and more sermons and understand more and more of the truth, the standards God requires of you may not be the same as this, but instead His standards for you will be higher. When someone is able to gradually give their heart to God, then their heart gets gradually closer to God. And when someone can truly get close to God, more and more they will have a heart that fears God—this is the heart God wants. Can you understand this? (Yes.) Is there anything you can’t quite grasp? (No.) However, while God is trying someone by giving them numerous trials, if during these trials He has not seen their heart, nor seen any attitude—that is, if God cannot see the side of them that fears Him, nor see any attitude or determination to shun evil—then after many trials God’s patience with this person will be withdrawn; God will no longer show tolerance toward this person, nor will He try this person anymore, and nor will He work any longer on this person. So what does this signify for this person’s end? It signifies that they will have no end. They may not have done anything evil or done any work that interrupted or disturbed anything, and they may not have openly defied God, yet they have never had any kind of attitude toward God. In terms of viewpoint and attitude, God does not see that their heart is clearly turned toward Him and that their heart is clearly seeking to be able to fear God and shun evil, so God will no longer have any patience with this kind of person, nor will He pay any price for them or be merciful anymore, and neither will He work on them any longer—the life of this person’s belief in God will be at an end. Therefore, there are some people whom I have never seen to have any enlightenment or illumination of the Holy Spirit. How can this be seen? This person believes in God for many years, they look very driven on the outside, they do many deeds, they know much about letters and doctrines, they fill over 10 notebooks with notes and they also read many books. But they are never seen to make progress and it can never be seen whether or not they are loyal to God, or whether they have any views; they are never seen to have any clear views, which is to say you can never see their heart—their heart is always wrapped up and it is closed to God. Their heart is closed, so God has not seen their true heart nor truly seen whether or not this person fears God, whether or not they are someone who truly follows the way of God, and so God has still not gained this person’s heart. So if God hasn’t yet gained this person’s heart, will He be able to gain it in the future? (No.) No! This “no” is very straightforward and accurate. No, He can’t! Does God still insist on gaining those things He cannot gain? He doesn’t insist on it, so what now is God’s attitude to this type of person? (He detests and rejects them, and He ignores them.) He ignores them. He ignores these people, and He detests and rejects them. You have memorized these words very quickly and accurately and it looks like you’ve been listening very well! Some people, when they first begin to follow God, are immature and ignorant, they don’t understand God’s will, they don’t know what believing in God is all about, and they are filled with stupidity and ignorance. Afterward, they believe in God and follow Him through some human methods and, when trials befall them, they have no awareness at all. To this kind of person, God gives a little extra time, allowing them to clearly state their own views when they awaken, when they understand what God’s trials are; God still waits for this kind of person. They have no awareness what it means to give one’s heart to God or what it is to stand firm in trials. That is, this kind of person is still confused, and God temporarily gives them extra time. But what is God’s attitude to those who have some views yet still waver back and forth, meaning those who wish to give their hearts to God and who practice certain aspects of the truth but who sidestep, who don’t wish to strive forward and instead wish to give up when severe trials befall them? He keeps tiny expectations for these people, and watches their attitudes. If someone doesn’t actively make progress, what will God do? God will give up on them. This is because before He gives up on you, you have already given up on yourself. Thus you can’t blame God for giving up on you, can you? Isn’t that fair? (Yes, it’s fair.)
And then there is a type of person who is the most tragic, a type that I most don’t wish to talk about. What type of person is this? I say they are tragic not because God punishes them or because God makes harsh demands of them and they come to a tragic end. That’s not it. It’s because they bring tragedy upon themselves, just as the saying goes: “They dig their own graves.” They don’t walk the right path and they reveal their own ends prematurely. Their lives are now very tragic. God views them with the utmost detestation and, in human terms, I say that they are the most tragic of all. What type of person? There are some people who are very enthusiastic when they first begin to follow God’s work; they pay a great price and they have a good outlook on the prospects of God’s work, or they are filled with imagination about their own futures, feeling that God can make man complete and bring them into a good destination, and they are filled with faith for God. In short, no matter how they believe at the beginning or what kind of views they have, during God’s work they flee. What do I mean by “flee”? I mean that, without letting anyone know, without saying a word, they just up and leave without so much as a goodbye. What are these people? Although they may say they believe in God, they believe for a bit and then they’re gone; some run off into the world, some go off to run a business, some go off to live their lives, some go off to make it rich and some find a husband or wife and then leave. Of this type of person, there are some who now want to return, saying that they have drifted in the world for many years and suffered much, and they feel that they are unable to leave God, that the world is too painful, and they want to return—return to God’s family seeking comfort, seeking warmth. They want to return to God’s family and continue to believe in God in order to obtain a good destination and be saved. They want this because they believe that God’s great love is boundless and immeasurable, as is God’s great grace, higher than heaven and deeper than earth. Whatever the case, they believe that God should show patience and tolerance toward their past. They say over and over that they want to return to do their duty, and some people even donate something or another to the church, in this way wishing to once again return to God’s family. Tell Me, how in your view should God determine these people’s ends? (I used to think that God would still admit this kind of person, but after listening to the fellowship just now I think that maybe God won’t admit them again.) You’re saying “maybe,” right? Anyone else? (It’s out of the question.) Speak your reasons. (This kind of person comes before God only so that they may become immortal, not because they have a genuine and true desire to believe in God. They know that God’s work has reached the final stage, they want to return just so they can be blessed.) You’re saying they are not sincere or true, therefore God cannot admit them, right? (Yes.) (My understanding is that these people are opportunists and that they don’t truly believe in God.) They don’t believe in God and they are opportunists. Well said! Everyone hates an opportunist. They sail in whichever direction the wind blows, so of course they are hated. (We also need to look at their essences, and not just look at the external circumstances of whether or not they return to ascertain whether they are opportunists or not. It’s better to look at their essences.) So tell Me, should this kind of person be admitted? (In God’s words it is written that God detests those who betray Him.) That God detests them is His way of thinking, that is, God’s thought is this kind of attitude. But does He admit this kind of person? Can He still show tolerance? God’s essence toward man is love! It’s mercy! (I’m not sure. Maybe He can be tolerant. I mean, God absolutely hates those who betray Him, but it does indeed say in God’s words which kinds of people He can admit, and if they truly believe in God then they may still have a chance.) Mm. Does any other brother or sister have a view? (God won’t admit them again, because His work is now about to be concluded, and the time has come to determine people’s ends. If they return now then their state of mind will be that of an opportunist, and they do not genuinely want to seek the truth. It is only because they see the disasters coming, or because of some other factor in the outside world, that they want to come back. If they really had a heart that seeks the truth, then they wouldn’t have fled halfway through the journey when trials befell them.) Mm. (God won’t admit them. In fact, God has given them chances, and yet their attitude to God has always been to brush Him aside. Regardless of their intentions, whether they really feel remorse or what, God’s work will soon be concluded and He won’t admit them again, for He has already given them many chances. God gives people trials at different times, at different periods, and in different places and then He watches their attitudes every time. Their attitudes have already shown that they wanted to leave God, so God won’t admit them now when they want to come back again.) (God’s attitude toward this kind of person should be to not admit them.) “He should not admit them.” You’re certain about this, aren’t you? (Yes.) (I agree that God won’t admit this kind of person, because they can return to the world after seeing the true way and after having experienced God’s work for so long. Although God’s essence is merciful and loving, it depends on the type of person it is directed at. If they embrace this kind of state of mind and they come before God looking for comfort and sustenance, they are simply not people who truly believe in God, and God’s mercy toward this kind of person only goes so far.) So God’s mercy ends there, is that what you’re saying? (No. I just mean that He is not merciful to this kind of person.) God’s essence is merciful, so why doesn’t He show a little mercy to this kind of person? Wouldn’t they have another chance if God showed them a little mercy? People often used to say: God wants everyone to be saved and wants no one to perish. If one sheep out of 100 should go missing, He will abandon the 99 in order to look for that one missing sheep. Now as for these people, if they can truly believe in God then, for the sake of their belief, should God admit them, give them an opportunity and give them a second chance? This question is actually not hard to answer. It’s very simple! If you truly understood God, if you had a true knowledge of Him, then you would say only a few words and it would be very simple. You would not need to explain it over-much or engage in too much conjecture, right? You’re on the right track with what you’ve said, but you’re still some way off with God’s attitude.
Just now, some of you answered definitively with views that it was out of the question for God to admit these people; some people’s views aren’t entirely clear, saying that maybe God would admit them, and then again maybe He wouldn’t, and this is a rather middle-of-the-road attitude; and then some others believe that God would perhaps admit them, and this attitude is not entirely clear. Those who answered definitively believe that God has worked all the way up until the present day and that He should be a bit ruthless with people, and that He shouldn’t want these people under these circumstances. Those who are rather middle-of-the-road said it depends on the situation and that, if these people really love God, truly believe in God, if they’re good people and if they genuinely seek the truth, then God should forget their past weaknesses and faults, forgive them, give them another chance, allow them to return to God’s family and allow them to receive God’s salvation. If it doesn’t work out again and they leave once more, then it will not be doing them an injustice for God not to want them anymore. And then there are those who believe that God may perhaps admit these people, meaning that they don’t know very clearly whether God will admit these people or not, and that they shy away from saying with certainty whether God should admit them or not. If they believe that God should admit them, but God’s view is that they should not be admitted, then it would seem their views are somewhat incompatible with God’s view; if they believe God shouldn’t admit them, by some chance God may say He will be tolerate and loving, that He has boundless love for man and that He may well give them a second chance. Whatever the case, you all have some views and your views are dominated by your thoughts, and dominated by the level to which you have understood the truth and understood God’s will. I can say this, can’t I? It’s great that you have views on this matter, but a question mark currently hangs over whether your views are correct or not. Are you a little worried? “Which view is correct? I can’t figure this out. I don’t know how God thinks, and God hasn’t told me. Before this, God had a loving attitude and according to His previous attitude He should admit them. But what is God’s attitude now? I’m not clear on this. I can only say that maybe He will admit them, and maybe He won’t.” Isn’t this so laughable? This really has stumped you. So if your views are wrong here, how should you handle it when your church really encounters someone like this? If you do not handle it properly you will offend God. Isn’t this really dangerous?
So why do I keep asking you about this matter I have now raised? It’s because I want to test your views and test exactly how much knowledge you have of God, exactly how much understanding you have of God’s will and exactly how much of God’s attitude you understand. What’s the answer then? The answer is as you said. Some of you have views that are very conservative, while what some others said is conjecture. What is “conjecture”? It is when you are unable to figure out how exactly God thinks, so you guess. You guess that God should think a certain way, but in your heart you think: “I have no idea. How would I know? I don’t know, so I’ll just say this view!” What does this prove in actual fact? It proves that while people follow God, they seldom pay attention to His will or His thoughts or His attitude to man, and they don’t understand His heart. So the minute I ask you something that involves God’s will or God’s disposition, you become confused and you feel uncertain, just guessing and gambling. What kind of attitude is this? This proves one fact: The majority of people who believe in God regard Him as though He were empty air. Why do I say this? Because when something happens to you, you don’t know God’s will. Why don’t you know? It’s not that you don’t know right at this moment, but that you have never known, from start to finish, what God’s attitude is toward this matter. You don’t know it, but have you ever tried to figure it out? Have you ever searched for it? Have you ever fellowshiped about it? No. You have never fellowshiped about it and never searched for it. This verifies one fact: The God you believe in has nothing whatsoever to do with the real God. In your belief, you only contemplate your own will, the will of your leaders, and the meanings of external letters and superficial doctrines of God’s words; you’ve simply never really tried to understand or search for God’s will. Isn’t that so? This is very terrible, for I have seen many people believe in God over the years and what do they believe God to be? Some people believe in God as though He were empty air, saying “Is God there?” They don’t know, they cannot perceive, they are unaware, and for them to have any clear insight or knowledge of God is even more out of the question. Some people believe in God as though He were human, that is, they believe that anything they cannot do, God cannot do either, and that God should think in the same way as they think—they believe God to be human. And then there are those who believe in God as though He were a puppet, believing that God is an emotionless statue, that when things happen He has no attitude, no views, no thoughts and that He is at man’s mercy. They believe however they like; if they want God to be lofty then He is lofty, if they want Him to be insignificant then He is insignificant, and if they want God to be merciful then He must needs be merciful. When they sin, they need God’s mercy, His tolerance and His love, and they think God should be merciful. That is, in the realm of their thoughts they imagine a God and they make this God able to meet their every desire and physical need. No matter the time or place and no matter what they may have done wrong, they imagine God, believe in God and treat God in this way. There are even some people who aggravate God’s disposition and, after they have done this, what do they believe? “God will save me because God’s love is boundless and immeasurable and because God has a righteous disposition. No matter how I offend God, He will not remember my immaturity or my stupidity, because my faults, my transgressions and my rebelliousness are momentary expressions of my disposition. God will give me opportunities, and will show me tolerance and patience. He will still love me as He did before, therefore I still hold great hopes of being saved.” No matter what people believe, God holds a negative attitude toward them. This is because throughout your belief in God, though you may perhaps regard the book of God’s word as your most precious possession, studying it every day and reading it every day, yet you set the real God aside, you regard God as though He were empty air, and regard Him as if He were human, with some people simply regarding Him as a puppet. Why do I say this? Because as far as I can see, no matter what happens to you or what environments you come across, whether it be the things that exist in your subconscious or the things you give rise to within yourselves, these things have never had any connection with God. You know only what you yourselves think, what your own views are and how you yourselves think. Then you force your own ideas and views onto God, regarding your own views as the views of God, as the attitude of God, and as the will of God; over time, you will not know who God is at all.
So exactly what kind of God is this God that you now believe in? Have you thought of this before? Does God hate it when He sees evil people doing evil? (Yes.) What attitude does He take when He sees ignorant people transgressing? (He is sorrowful.) What attitude does He take when He sees people stealing His offerings? (He hates them.) You’re all really clear on this, right? What attitude does He take when He sees people seeking in a muddleheaded way whilst believing in God? You’re not so clear on this. The word “muddleheaded” is rather neutral—it’s not a sin and it’s not an offense to God, and it shouldn’t be some great fault. So tell Me, what kind of attitude does God take to these people? (He detests and rejects them.) (He’s not willing to acknowledge them.) God despises these people and holds them in contempt. What is the attitude within God’s heart, when He is not willing to acknowledge them? It is that He holds them in contempt. As for those who aggravate His disposition and offend His administrative decrees, what attitude does He take toward them? Extreme detestation! To those who aggravate His disposition and are unaware that they need to repent, God feels extreme detestation! Anger is just a mood, a type of emotion. But it brings about an outcome for these people, which is God’s extreme detestation. What then is the consequence? That is, God places these people to one side and doesn’t acknowledge them, and waits until the retribution to sort them all out together. What does this imply? Do these people still have an end? (No.) God doesn’t plan on giving these people any end. Therefore, isn’t it entirely normal to ignore these people for the time being? (Yes.) And what should these people now be preparing for? They should be preparing to take responsibility for all the evil they have done and for their own behavior, and this is God giving account for these people. Therefore, I say clearly to this type of person: Harbor no illusions and no longer have any fantasies, saying that God’s tolerance of man, and His patience with man’s transgressions and man’s rebellion is illimitable. These people still believe they may be saved, but this chance is now lost, for God’s attitude toward this type of person is one of extreme detestation, so these people must not harbor any illusions. Some people say, “I have seen several people like this. They weep bitterly when they pray and are extremely moved by God, they very much have God with them and are ordinarily very happy. I see it seems as though God is with them and that they are being guided by God.” Don’t say “guided by God” so casually. They have aggravated God, so will God still guide them? They may be guided by something else. And as for what may be guiding them, I am unconcerned. In short, defined conclusion has been reached about these people, and they now have no end. No matter how good they feel about praying, or how much faith they have in their hearts for God, these things are no longer important. The important thing is that God already detests and rejects these people. Furthermore, how they are to be handled in the future is also unimportant. What’s important is right now, and it is the very moment they aggravate God that their end is determined. God’s attitude is that He will not save these people. They will be left over to receive punishment, and this is the attitude God takes.
There is love in God’s essence, yet He is righteous toward each and every person, and there is dignity in His essence. It is not the case that He feels nothing or makes no reaction when people wantonly offend Him. God is living, He truly exists. He is not some puppet or some physical object conjured up in people’s imaginations—He really does exist. Seeing as He exists, we should attend to His will, attend to His attitude and attend to His feelings at every moment. We must not define God using human imaginations and we must not force human thoughts and desires onto God, making Him approach people using the attitudes and imaginings of man and approach people in a human way. That means you are aggravating God, you are testing His wrath and challenging His dignity; this is God’s attitude toward those who aggravate His disposition. So once you have understood the seriousness of this matter, I advise each and every one of you here today to be careful and cautious with your actions, careful and cautious with your words, and you must be more and more cautious and careful in how you approach God. In circumstances where you haven’t understood God’s attitude, don’t speak carelessly or think up whatever you like, don’t pin labels indiscriminately, and even less should you come to arbitrary conclusions; this is fearing God and shunning evil. If you can achieve this above all else then God won’t blame you for your stupidity and ignorance or lack of common sense. Rather He will see that you have an attitude that is very God-fearing, that is very afraid of aggravating God, afraid of sinning against God, that is extremely respectful of God’s will and that is extremely willing to obey God’s will. When you have this kind of attitude, God will remember you, and He will show you tolerance for your immaturity and ignorance. Conversely, because of your cavalier attitude to God—your attitude that wantonly judges God, wantonly judges or guesses God’s intentions and will—because you have this cavalier attitude to God, God will condemn you and He will make a statement about your behavior, a statement that may have a bearing on your end. So let Me emphasize once again that each and every one of you here today must take a careful and cautious approach to everything that comes from God; don’t speak carelessly, don’t act carelessly. Before you speak, first think: “Am I fearing God by acting this way? Will I aggravate God by acting this way?” Though these are simple words, you must still contemplate them and consider them several times over with great care and great caution. If you can truly practice this way in all places, in all matters and at all times and take this attitude even with matters you don’t understand, God will see it with absolute clarity, and will give your behavior an accurate and fitting appraisal. Because of your various kinds of behavior, when at the end God gives you the final trial, He will summarize all your behavior and determine an end for you, then He will show it to you and show it to all those around you, so that each and every person may be convinced in heart and by word. Therefore, My warning to you is this: Your fate will be decided by your every deed, your every action and by every thought you have in your hearts.
There is another matter which is of the highest importance; it is that your attitude to God is very important, and it is this attitude which decides whether you walk toward ruination at the end, or whether you enter the good destination that God has prepared for you—this attitude is crucial! God has worked for over 20 years and, during this time, you have all perhaps felt confused in your hearts. In God’s heart, however, He keeps a real and true record for each and every person. From the time each person begins to follow God, until the time they hear the sermons He preaches and they come to understand more and more of the truth and do their duty, God keeps His account, a record of all the performances they make whilst doing their duty, what their attitude is when they encounter all manner of environments and trials, what their attitude is to God, their earnest attitude, and what they think of God in their hearts. You may feel confused about this record, but to God it is absolutely clear, without the slightest cursoriness, for it involves the end of each and every person, their fate and their future. Maybe your own account is all muddled up, but God will not neglect His account in the slightest, and will not be cursory with it in any way whatsoever, for herein lies the painstaking price God pays. God records this account for you, records for you this account of your journey of following God from beginning to end, and what your attitude to God is during this time decides your fate—is this true? (Yes.) At this point, do you think God is righteous? (Yes.) Is it right that He does this? (Yes.) Then do you have any more imaginings about God? (No.) So tell Me, are your ends determined by God in the end, or by you yourselves? (God determines our ends.) Who determines them? (God.) You don’t know this either? The moment I ask this kind of question, you become confused. Tell Me, who determines your ends? (People themselves.) People themselves? So you’re saying it has nothing to do with God. (God determines people’s ends based on their actions and behavior, and based on the path they walk.) This is a very objective response. Herein lies a fact that you must see clearly: While at work, God sets a standard for man, and this standard is set to determine whether or not man can attain their ends. It is to see whether, on man’s part, they can follow the way of God, obey God’s words and thereby achieve God’s standard. If you practice in accordance with God’s standard then you will attain a good end; if you don’t practice in accordance with this standard, then you will not attain a good end. So tell Me, who exactly determines this end? God alone doesn’t determine it, rather it is God and man together who determine it. Isn’t that right? (Yes, that’s right.) Why do I say this? Regarding this matter of man’s end, God actively wants to do His work of salvation and He prepares a good destination for man. He determines man’s end and man is the object of His work, and it is for man that He prepares this end and destination. If man did not exist, then God wouldn’t do this work; only because man exists does God do this work. Man is the object to be saved and, although man is the passive party here, what does your end depend on? Your end depends on your attitude to God—this is very important. Would man have this opportunity if there were no God? No, they wouldn’t. So if there were no God to determine your end, then you would have no knowledge of this standard—man is inseparable from God. If you don’t cooperate, if you don’t practice and don’t pay the price, then you won’t be able to attain this end, and it will become just empty words. This end is therefore inseparable from God, just as it is inseparable from man. So who really determines it? You said God determines it for man, and this was wrong, for if people don’t cooperate then they won’t attain it. You said people themselves determine it, that it depends on people, but if God didn’t create these things especially for man, how would people practice, and what standard would they have? Would people know which way to go? They would not know, would they? Exactly who does it depend on? We should say it like this: We cannot say it depends on God, and we cannot say it depends on people, so what does it depend on? It depends on people’s attitude to God. Although it seems that the main factors are dependent upon people’s practice, on people’s seeking and on their paying a price, in the final analysis it depends on people’s attitude to God. You now understand this and are no longer confused, right? Or are you a bit confused? You must heed these words like this and not take them as doctrines. Don’t pay attention to what these words mean in the final analysis or where the topic went, just above all else think like this: Regardless of whether it depends on God or on man, man is inseparable from God, and man is the object of God’s work—this is the connection. It is still God who will save man in the end and man is inseparable from God’s salvation. In the end, man must express a response and an outcome that satisfies God; only when man gives God a satisfactory outcome will God save them. Isn’t that so? (Yes.) You must put it into practice. Are there any more questions about this? (No.)
Have you discovered any facts through our fellowshiping about these things? In your knowledge of God, have you discovered a transformation in God’s current attitude? Is God’s attitude to man immutable? Will God continue to be patient? Will He just keep giving to man all His love and mercy forever more? This again relates to God’s essence. Let’s go back to that question just now. Your answers to it were not very clear. That is, you still don’t understand God’s will very well. Once people know that God loves man, they define God as a symbol of love, saying: “No matter what people do, no matter what they behave, how they treat God or how they rebel against Him, there’s no problem, it’s nothing, because God loves and His love is boundless and immeasurable; God loves, so He can forbear with us; He loves, so He can show me mercy, show mercy to my faults, show mercy to my transgressions and show mercy to my rebelliousness.” Is this the case? Furthermore, after some people have experienced God’s patience once or experienced it a few times, God’s patience and mercy becomes the greatest help throughout their lives, and they regard it as their capital, believing that He can show them patience forever, be merciful forever and be tolerant forever. Or someone gains God’s salvation or mercy one time, and so they conclude that God will save them forever, and that He will show them unlimited and unconditional mercy, tolerance and love, treating them as He does His own life. Is this a correct way to know God? You see, the moment I mention something to do with God’s essence or God’s disposition, you become confused, and it makes Me quite angry to see you like this. You may have heard much of the truth of God’s essence, and listened to many topics to do with God’s disposition, but in your minds these things, these aspects of the truth are only words and memories, and they are only theories. None of you have ever been able to experience what God’s disposition is like, or see what His disposition is like in real life, so you all believe in a muddleheaded and blind way, even taking a cavalier attitude to God that just brushes Him aside. What does having this kind of attitude toward God mean for you? It means that you always make conclusions about God, feeling very satisfied when you only know a little, and feeling that you’ve gained God’s all. Afterward, you use your knowledge to define God and you don’t let Him move away from your definition, saying “If You move then You are not God. The moment You change, You are not God.” So much so that a day comes when God says, “I love man no longer; I will no longer be merciful to man; I will no longer show them any tolerance or patience; I feel extreme detestation and disgust for man.” And people contradict this kind of statement from within their hearts, with some even saying, “You are no longer my God; You are no longer the God I want to follow. If You are this kind of God then You are not qualified to be my God and there is no need to follow You any longer. If You show me no mercy and give me no love and no tolerance, then I won’t follow You anymore. I will only follow You and have the faith to follow You if You show me unlimited tolerance, if You are always patient with me, if You let me see that You are love, You are patience and You are tolerance. This is because only then will my rebelliousness and my transgressions receive unlimited forgiveness and absolution. What’s more, I can also commit sins anytime, anywhere, be at fault anytime, anywhere and aggravate You anytime, anywhere, and You should not get any ideas or make any conclusions about me.” Although perhaps no one will think of this issue in this subjective and proactive way, when every one of you regards God as your own antithesis, in your subconscious you have imperceptibly regarded the living God as your enemy, as your antithesis. This is something I’ve seen with My very own eyes. Though you say over and over, “I believe in God,” “I seek the truth,” “I want a change in my disposition,” “I want to break free from the influence of darkness,” “I want to satisfy God,” “I want to obey God,” “I want to be faithful to God and do my duty well,” and so on, no matter how nice your words sound, how many theories you have or even how many things you base these words on, in actual fact, up until now there have been many of you who have used the rules, doctrines and theories you’ve grasped to set God in opposition to yourselves. This is because what you believe in are letters and because you have grasped letters and doctrines. But you have never genuinely tried to know God, to get close to God or to understand God. This is very sad.
I saw this scene in a video: Several sisters were holding up a copy of The Word Appears in the Flesh, holding it up in the center and holding it up high. They were holding it high with all their might, up higher than their own heads. In My view, this is something very hurtful, though you may not be aware of it. Although this is a picture, what I saw was not a picture. It made Me see that what each and every person exalts in their hearts is not the word of God, but rather the doctrines and letters of God’s word along with that book; this simply isn’t exalting God. Because you have such little understanding of God, there exist in every one of your hearts certain conceptions about even obvious questions, and there exist in every one of your hearts conceptions about small questions. When I ask you questions and when I get serious with you, the things you come up with are just your imaginings and conjecture, and you respond to My questions with questions, and with an air of doubt. This makes it even clearer to Me that what you believe in is not the true God. You read God’s words for so many years and again you use God’s words, His work and even more doctrines to define God, but you have never tried to understand God and have never contemplated His will; you haven’t tried to see what exactly God’s current attitude toward man is, how God’s heart thinks, why God is grieved, why He is enraged and why He detests and rejects certain people. Instead you believe that God never makes a sound, that He only watches man and that He takes no attitude and has no ideas. And what do some people think? They think that God not saying a word means He is in tacit agreement, that His not saying a word means that He is waiting, that His not saying a word means that He takes no attitude, because His attitude has all been written about in the book and God has already expressed it all to man, and there is no need anymore for God to tell people about it from time to time. Though God keeps silent, He still takes an attitude, He has views and He has required standards of man; though man doesn’t try to understand Him or seek Him, His attitude remains very clear. Especially now with regard to the matter of those who were so enthusiastic back in the day or who used to follow God, who then abandoned Him and left and who now wish to return, it’s actually surprising you don’t know God’s views or God’s attitude—isn’t this sad? Isn’t this an obvious example to take? In fact, this is a very superficial matter. If you truly understand God’s heart, then you should know what His attitude is toward this kind of person, and not give ambiguous answers. But seeing as you don’t know this, I will tell you. This kind of person can be found everywhere and, for various reasons that we won’t go into, in short, after they have become certain about the way of God they leave without a word and without so much as a goodbye. They do as they wish, go and do whatever it is they want to do. From that moment on, in God’s eyes their life of belief is at an end; it’s not they themselves who have brought it to an end, but God. What is God’s attitude to these people? It’s so clear! From the moment they leave God, this signifies that they have abandoned God, they no longer want God, and it signifies that they no longer accept God’s salvation. Since they no longer want God, why would God show them any leniency? Moreover, when they become determined to leave God, by adopting this attitude and this way of thinking, they have already aggravated God’s disposition. This is despite the fact that they may not have stomped around in a furious rage, pointing fingers and cursing God, despite the fact that they may not have acted abominably or excessively, and despite the fact that they may think in their hearts: “If one day I have had enough of having fun in the outside world, when I still need God, I will come back. Or I will come back when God calls to me.” Or they say, “When I am hurt in the outside world, when I see how dark and how evil the outside world is, when I no longer wish to go with the flow, then I shall come back and seek God.” Despite the fact that some people still think this way, leaving themselves a route of retreat, do you know what God’s attitude to these people is? From the moment they become determined to leave God, God completely washes His hands of them and He will determine their end there and then. What end will that be? It will be the same as that of a rodent, to likewise perish. When some people see this, they say, “They’ve abandoned God, so why hasn’t God punished them?” Being punished physically or not being punished physically is no representation of someone’s end—this is obvious. God always acts with principle and what people see does not amount to the true situation; it may be that what you see is not the true situation, but what you don’t see is that these people’s ends have already been determined in fact within God’s heart.
Why does God punish these people so severely? Why is He so enraged with these people? I think this is clear in the hearts of each and every person here. God requires of each and every one of us to fear God and shun evil, and above all we should know that His disposition is majestic and wrathful, know that He is no sheep for man to slaughter as they wish, much less is He a puppet to be manipulated at will, nor is He empty air at man’s beck and call. If you truly believe in the existence of God then you should have a God-fearing heart. What essence lies within God’s disposition? It is that you must not aggravate Him. This “aggravation” may come in the form of words, or thoughts, or some type of vile behavior or gentle behavior; it could be caused by a kind of passable behavior as far as people and their morals and ethics are concerned, or it could be caused by a doctrine or a theory. But once you aggravate God, you have no more chances and your end has come—this is very frightening. If you don’t understand that God allows no offense, then you may not be afraid of God, you won’t know how to fear God and you won’t know how to begin following the way of God: to fear God and shun evil. But as soon as you have come to this realization and are able to be aware that God allows no offense, I think you will know how to fear God and shun evil. There are some things where you don’t need to know a lot of truth or need to have experienced many trials or much discipline before you can achieve them; what is important is the nature of your heart toward God—this is key. Some of those who abandon God and depart from Him exactly aggravate this aspect of God’s disposition, and therefore, as far as God is concerned, they are forever beyond forgiveness. Because it’s not that you don’t know God is God, and it’s not that you don’t know where God is and don’t know that God is doing a stage of new work. You know all about it. You’re not in a situation where you are being deceived by someone or in a state of confusion, much less are you in a situation where you are being blinded; rather you decide to leave God in full awareness and with a clear head. This kind of state and condition causes you to aggravate God’s disposition, and your aggravation brings to you an end that is irreversible—isn’t this frightening? This kind of end is brought about. These people have no knowledge of God, so what do they think? “There’s no problem. God is still there watching and waiting anxiously for me, still waiting for me to come back. I’m that one lamb whom God has lost. No worries. God is still waiting for me!” What is this? When they want to come back, not only does God not admit them, but they have aggravated God’s disposition a second time, and this is an even more frightening thing. Your cavalier attitude to God has already aroused His ire, so would God still admit you? Therefore, God has within His heart this principle: Once someone abandons God and departs from Him in clear awareness and with a clear head, God has blocked the path of their salvation and closed the gate. When they once again knock on the gate, God will not open it for them again and will not leave it unbarred. Some of you may have read the stories about Moses in the Bible before. After God anointed Moses, those 250 leaders refused to obey due to his behaviors or for various other reasons. Who was it they refused to obey? It wasn’t Moses that they refused to obey. It was God’s arrangements they refused to obey and His work in this matter. What is it they said? Do you know? Speak up. (“You take too much on you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them” (Num 16: 3).) Do we think these words are very serious? No, they’re not serious if we take them at their literal meaning. If we look at them from the perspective of the law, they’re not much cause for concern and, literally speaking, they contain no conflicting language or words, much less do they contain anything blasphemous—they’re just a few words. So why then did God get so angry? How did He dispose of them? These words they spoke were not spoken against man, but rather they were spoken against God. These few words they spoke precisely aggravated God’s disposition. What did they aggravate? They aggravated His unoffendable disposition. We all know how they ended up. So, are you now clear on this matter? What is God’s view? What is His attitude? What is God’s attitude to those who previously abandoned Him? You must think like this: God is the living God; people express themselves differently when they encounter issues and God adopts an attitude toward all their different expressions, for He is no puppet and He is not empty air—He takes an attitude and this attitude is worth getting to know. People should get to know it and understand God’s heart little by little. When you come to understand God’s heart little by little, you won’t feel that fearing God and shunning evil is so hard to achieve. Further, when you understand God you will not delimit God easily, and when you don’t delimit God you will have a fear of God in your heart and you will not use letters, doctrines, and theories you’ve mastered to delimit God; instead you will seek God’s will in all things and at all times. Let’s take the simple matter of how your child behaves toward you. When they’re good to you, doesn’t your heart feel warm? But when they don’t do as they’re told, don’t you feel cold in your heart? And when they also say rebellious and unreasonable things, don’t you feel downright heartbroken? And if you take this attitude to such a simple matter, this is especially so for God. Though God does the work on man that people can neither see nor touch, that which each and every person does and the attitude they take toward God is not only visible to God but is also perceptible to Him, and this is something that each and every one of us should have and recognize in our hearts. In your heart you might always be thinking, “Does God know when I am here doing this? Maybe He doesn’t know and He hasn’t seen. Does God know when I think that way? Maybe He does know and maybe He doesn’t.” If you always indoctrinate yourself with these ambiguities, sooner or later there will come a day when you will aggravate God, and you will then be in danger. So, I see there are some people who still haven’t attained the reality of the truth after believing for so many years, much less do they understand God’s will and much less have they made any progress. After a few years, someone says to them “Let’s fellowship. Have you made any progress in the last few years?” And still they have only the very shallowest of doctrines. So tell Me, does God enjoy seeing people like this? Is His heart comforted? Therefore, there are some people whose ways of belief have already decided their fate.
What have you now gained? Concerning how people seek and how people approach God, people’s attitudes are of primary importance. Don’t put God to the back of your minds and regard Him just as empty air, but instead keep thinking at every moment that the God you believe in is the living God that truly exists. He doesn’t lie around slumbering in the third heaven with nothing to do. Instead, He constantly examines the heart of each and every one of us, examines the actions, words and deeds of each of us, as well as our expressions and our attitudes. Whether or not you are willing to give yourself to God, in actual fact, everything you do is before God and is under His examination. Because of your behavior, your actions and your attitude, God is constantly changing His opinion of you and constantly changing His attitude toward you. And now I’d like to offer some advice to some people: Don’t always see yourselves as little babies in God’s hands, as though God dotes on you and can never leave you, and as though God’s attitude toward you is unchangeable; this is just dreaming. Quit dreaming! God treats everyone righteously and He does His work of conquest and salvation seriously; this is His management. His attitude toward each and every person is a solemn one; He doesn’t play around with people as though they were His pets, teasing them and making them laugh when He has nothing better to do, and being joyful Himself. It’s not like this. Quit dreaming! Did you think that the little bit of love God gave you in the beginning would allow you to live your entire life this way? God lives and God exists. His attitude is changeable and His will toward man transforms and changes gradually as time goes by, and in step with different environments and the attitudes of every single person. Therefore, you should know in your heart with absolute clarity that God’s essence is immutable, but that His disposition is expressed with different people, at different times and in different situations. Maybe you think this is not a very serious matter, and you use your conceptions to weigh up how God should act. But some things are exactly the opposite to what you think. While you are unconsciously using your conceptions to measure God, you have already aggravated God, for God absolutely will not do as you imagine and He absolutely will not approach this matter in the way you say. So, I’d better remind you to follow God with care and with caution, follow the way of God—to fear God and shun evil. You must be certain about God’s will and His attitude, you must look for those who understand to fellowship with, and you must seek in earnest. Don’t regard the God of your belief as a doll, to be judged at will, to have arbitrary conclusions drawn about and to be approached arbitrarily with a cavalier attitude—that is not your God. Your God saves you and He will determine your end. Regardless of whether He shows you mercy, or tolerance, or He judges and chastises you, His attitude toward you is not unchangeable, and you mustn’t define God forever just because you once enjoyed an aspect of God’s disposition. Don’t believe in a dead God, but believe in the living God! Remember this. Though these words are very real and true, as a result of My current view, I don’t want to make too many of you feel too bleak or feel too much disappointment. Instead, I wish for you to be able to use your God-loving hearts and your respectful attitude toward God in order to walk the road ahead. Don’t approach this matter in a muddleheaded way, but rather treat it as the most important thing; take it to heart, don’t just pay lip service to it, for this matter is a matter of life and death and it is something that will decide your fate. Don’t treat it like a joke or like some game. Have you understood anything in your hearts from discussing these things with you today? Do you have any more questions about these things I’ve talked about? (No.)
Though these topics are somewhat new and there may be some distance between them and your views and that which you ordinarily seek, I think you will come to a common understanding of these things I’ve talked about once you have fellowshiped a while. It’s not possible to understand it all the minute you hear about it, for these topics are brand new and you have never thought about them before. I don’t want to place any burden on you with what I say, however, so what is My aim in talking about these things today? It’s not to intimidate you, and it’s not to deal with you by using this method, but instead it is to get you to understand the truth of the fact. After all, there is a distance between God and man; although man believes in God, they have never understood Him and they don’t know His attitude. Furthermore, they have never cared very ardently about His attitude, but instead they have believed and walked blindly, and have approached this matter in a muddleheaded way. I therefore feel it is very necessary to clarify some things for you, so that you may know what kind of God is the God you believe in, what He thinks in His heart, what His attitude is, how far away your actions are from His requirements and how far away they are from His required standards. Then you will all have in your hearts a measuring stick, so that you may know how much harvest you have reaped on this path, how many things you have yet to gain, and know the spheres which you have simply not set foot in before. Ordinarily, you just fellowship amongst yourselves and discuss some usual, everyday topics, but the scope of this sphere is very narrow, and there is a distance, an errancy between it and God’s will, between it and the scope of God’s requirements of man. I don’t want you to deviate from the way of God, walking farther and farther away from it, and taking these present words of God as objects to be worshiped. In fact, God simply has no place in your hearts and God has never gained your hearts, and that’s all there is to it. But for some people, they believe that it’s very difficult to know God, and this is indeed true—it is rather difficult. This is because if people are asked to do their duty, to work, to labor and do the things that it is possible for man to achieve, then these are all things within the sphere of mankind. But the moment something involves God’s will, of course, when they hear these words and hear these things, anyone will find it difficult.
Do you have any questions concerning that which I’m fellowshiping today? (Some new believers say that they are afraid of being eliminated and being unable to be made perfect.) That’s not so. God does not eliminate people arbitrarily. Do you think that someone is eliminated when God speaks a few stern words to them? Not so; God will give them opportunities. Though God may speak this way, when He is done speaking He will still give you opportunities, will do His work on you in the proper order and do it without missing a step—God is fair to each and every person. He gives you opportunities. Whether you come early or come late to the church,[a] He gives you the same number of opportunities. This is fair, and there is no need to worry. This is how God’s work proceeds with each and every person. Are you clear? (Yes, we’re clear.)
(Why is it that we now know God better than Job did, yet we don’t fear God?) This is the point we raised earlier, isn’t it? We’ve actually already discussed the essence of this question before. That is, at that time, although Job didn’t know God, he regarded God as God and as the Ruler of the heavens and the earth and all things. He didn’t regard God as his enemy. But why do people nowadays defy God so much? Why are they incapable of fearing God? It is because people nowadays don’t regard God as God, but instead they regard Him as the antithesis to man. The cause is very simple: It is decided by man’s essence. Didn’t we touch on this in our fellowship earlier? (Yes.) Think about whether or not this is the cause. Though you may have some knowledge of God, what is that knowledge? Is it that which everyone says? Is it that which God has told you? Once God has told you that He has these dispositions and His essence is of this aspect, then you know; you only know it, but have you realized it? Is your knowledge subjective? It’s not, is it? Then isn’t it all what God has told you? Could you know about it if God didn’t tell you? Knowing about it does not mean you have knowledge of it. No matter how you know it or how much you know, God remains the enemy of man within the essence of their natures. Let’s take a simple example: God has become flesh. Some people are able to see Him and some people aren’t. Those who are able to see Him may perhaps serve Him with three meals a day and may perhaps serve Him tea, attend to His daily needs and regard Him as God. But there is one thing that you have never noticed, which is universal to all mankind, which is that all people can do. When it comes to some issue, man can never understand God’s view and man’s view is forever running contrary to God, and this is in situations where people have views. In situations where they do not have any views, though they may treat God like this on the outside, this does not mean that they are compatible with God. Isn’t that so? The moment something happens, their rebelliousness comes to the fore, thus proving that they are hostile to God. This hostility is not that God wants to be hostile to man, or that God treats man by setting them up as His antithesis. What is it instead? It is the kind of essence which exists within man’s subjective will and within their subconscious. What kind of essence? Their essence means that they regard all that God has as the antithesis to man, and they are all hostile to God. For example, some people recently heard some rumors or some slander, and what was their very first reaction? Their very first reaction was: “I don’t know whether this rumor is true or false, whether it is or is not,” and then they wondered, “There is no way to check it, so is it really true or not? Has this really happened? Is this rumor really true or not?” They became weak. Without saying a word, their hearts were filled with doubts and their hearts had already denied God. What is this denial, this kind of attitude and this kind of view? It is a betrayal—isn’t that so? Before this happened they seemed to have no views, and it seemed as though they had no conflict with God and they didn’t regard God as their enemy; but as soon as something happened, they immediately stood on the side of Satan and set themselves up in opposition to God. What does this fact show? (Man and God are opposites.) Man and God are opposites; it is not God who regards man as His enemy, but rather it is the very essence of man itself that regards God as an enemy. Look at people who follow God—they actually don’t treat God like God, and no matter how much they praise Him, how much they exercise self-restraint or require themselves to love God, they actually don’t treat Him like God. This is man’s essence, isn’t it? If you treat Him like God and truly believe Him to be God, then what doubts could you have? Could there be any questions in your hearts about Him? There couldn’t, right? I say to those who doubt: How come you have no conceptions about yourself? The trends of this world are so wicked and this mankind is so evil; how come you have no conceptions? You yourself are so bad; how come you have no conceptions? What has God done? With just a few rumors or slanderous words there arise in you such strong conceptions and so many ideas. Have you seen the facts? Do you have any proof? Is all it takes to deceive you just the buzzing of a few mosquitoes or a few disgusting flies? What kind of person is this? Do you know what God thinks of this kind of person? The attitude God takes toward some people has actually long since been crystal clear, but He just gives them the cold shoulder, He ignores them and does not take them seriously. Why is that? See, the more I talk like this, the more I say, and you get hurt. Are you willing to be always hurt by Me in this way? (Yes.) Is there anyone willing to be hurt by someone else? I don’t believe there is. If I always hurt you this way and am always exposing your scars, will it affect the lofty image of God you keep in your hearts? (No, it won’t.) I agree that it won’t, for there is no God in your hearts, and your lofty God is not God. Therefore it’s better for Me to reveal the answer to this riddle. Excellent!
What is God’s attitude to some people? This may again hurt some of you. There are some people whose belief God has never ratified in His heart, and God does not acknowledge that they are His followers, therefore God does not praise their belief. So, what does God regard these people as? He regards them as unbelievers. And some people say, “Can unbelievers read God’s words? Can they do their duty? Can they say they live for God? Can they say these things?” More often than not, people see the surface of things and they see certain expressions on the outside, but they don’t see man’s essence. God doesn’t see man’s outward expressions, but instead He only sees their internal essence, and this is the kind of attitude He takes toward these people. So, to those who say “How can God do that? How can God do this? I don’t get this, I don’t get that; this does not conform to human conceptions; You must explain that to me,” I will say: “Is it necessary to explain these things to you? Does it have anything to do with you? Who are you? Where have you come from? Are you qualified to have any conception of God? Do you believe in Him? Does He acknowledge you? Seeing as He doesn’t acknowledge you, who are you then? Do you know who you are? If you don’t know who you are, how are you qualified to demand anything of God?” Have these words rendered you speechless? These words have hurt you again, haven’t they? But these words that have hurt you are all true. Though you are unwilling to hear them, or unwilling to accept them, these are the facts. For God has come to do this stage of His work and if you care nothing for God’s will, care nothing for God’s attitude and have no understanding of His essence and disposition, then the one who will lose out in the end will be you. Don’t blame Me for speaking words that are hard to hear, and don’t blame Me for speaking words that dishearten you. Everything I say is fact and I have no wish to deceive you or attack you. But beyond this, I still hope that you will follow the way of God and not diverge from the right path—regardless of what God asks man to do or how He asks man to do it, He hopes for them to be able to walk the right path. But if you don’t act in accordance with God’s words and don’t keep to His way, then without question you are rebelling against God and have diverged from the right path. Therefore, I feel that there is great need to clarify some things with you so that you may have a clear belief and so that you may be clear about walking this path, so that you are not muddleheaded, so that you know God’s attitude and His will clearly, know how He gives opportunities to you and how He perfects you, and what method He employs to determine your end. Even if there comes a day when you walk no farther along the path, then let Me say that it will no longer be My responsibility, for I have spoken much and clarified a great many things to you, and the matter of how you approach your own end is entirely up to you. God takes the same attitude toward the end of each and every person; He uses His own method to weigh them up, uses His own method to do it, and this is incontrovertible! Therefore, some people have no need to worry, so you can now put your minds at ease! Then would some people worry and say, “Oh no! God says He doesn’t love us, so how can we keep on living? How will we live? If we no longer have the care of God’s love, if God doesn’t give us His love and we are always sinning and always rebelling against God, aren’t we finished?” Isn’t this a misinterpretation? You’ve misunderstood God again. In saying these things to you I’m not saying that God’s essence has changed. God has not changed, rather it is people who don’t understand God. Do you understand this? (Yes.) So are you still worried? (No.) It’s good that you’re not worried. Let’s end here for today. Afterward, if there is anything you don’t understand, then take it slow and fellowship amongst yourselves. If you need Me to fellowship with you then I will speak with you again. Speak from the heart and I will speak with you from the heart as well.
(Before, I also abandoned the true way and ran away into the world. But at that time, I had only followed God for one year and had no knowledge of God. Please may I ask, am I able to continue following God now? Has God determined my end?) God does not treat every single person in the same way without exception. He will use His own discretion based on your situation to decide exactly what your final end should be, so as long as you feel that God can still save you and feel that God’s grace or mercy is visibly with you, then continue with your seeking! Absolutely! Regardless of whether God says this person’s end has been fixed or not fixed, or what you believe or feel, how you walk the path ahead still depends on the choices you make. Do you understand? (Yes.) Any more questions? (If someone just has the idea in their heart to depart from God and go off into the world, but they don’t do it, is this an offense against God’s disposition?) To think this in their heart but not to leave is a temporary weakness; within their heart they may actually feel a slight desire to leave, and they may also feel a little reluctance about leaving. If in fact they don’t leave, then this means that their heart is not determined to leave and, because of this, God will still give them a chance. Wasn’t the example we mentioned earlier about those who were determined to leave? God does not condemn people for their weakness, but rather He reaches a verdict on them based on their explicit views and attitude toward Him, understand? It is very important to discern whether it is a temporary weakness, a temporary temptation or temporary passivity, or whether you are determined to follow this course of action. So, shouldn’t your heart be crystal clear about this? When your heart is clear about what kind of person you are, then you should use these clear thoughts to compare yourself with God’s words and see how you should be, understand? (Yes.) Then let’s end here for today. Right, see you next time.
a. The original text reads “come in early or come in late.”