Keeping the Commandments and Practicing the Truth
In practice, keeping the commandments should be linked to putting the truth into practice. While keeping the commandments, one must practice the truth. When practicing the truth, one must not violate the principles of the commandments, nor go against the commandments; you must do whatever God requires of you. Keeping the commandments and practicing the truth are interconnected, not contradictory. The more you practice the truth, the more capable you become of keeping the essence of the commandments. The more you practice the truth, the more you will understand God’s word as expressed in the commandments. Practicing the truth and keeping the commandments are not contradictory actions—they are interconnected. In the beginning, only after man kept the commandments could he practice the truth and attain enlightenment from the Holy Spirit, but this is not God’s original intention. God requires you to put your heart into worshiping Him, not merely to behave well. However, you must keep the commandments at least superficially. Gradually, through experience, after gaining a clearer understanding of God, people will stop rebelling against and resisting Him, and will no longer have any doubts about His work. This is the only way people can abide by the essence of the commandments. Therefore, merely keeping the commandments, without practicing the truth, is ineffective, and does not constitute true worship of God, for you have not yet attained real stature. Keeping the commandments without the truth only amounts to adhering rigidly to the rules. In so doing, the commandments would become your law, which would not help you grow in life. On the contrary, they would become your burden, and bind you tightly like the laws of the Old Testament, causing you to lose the Holy Spirit’s presence. Therefore, only by practicing the truth can you effectively keep the commandments, and you keep the commandments in order to practice the truth. In the process of keeping the commandments, you will put even more truths into practice, and when practicing the truth, you will gain an even deeper understanding of what the commandments actually mean. The purpose and meaning behind God’s demand that man keeps the commandments is not just to get him to follow the rules, as he may imagine; rather, it has to do with his entry into life. The extent of your growth in life dictates the degree to which you will be able to keep the commandments. Although the commandments are for man to keep, the essence of the commandments only becomes apparent through man’s life experience. Most people assume that keeping the commandments well means that they are “completely prepared, and all that remains to be done is to get caught up.” This is an extravagant sort of idea, and not in line with God’s will. Those who say such things do not wish to make progress, and they covet the flesh. It is nonsense! It is not in keeping with reality! It is not God’s will merely to practice the truth without actually keeping the commandments. Those who do this are cripples; they are as people who are missing a leg. Simply keeping the commandments as if abiding by rules, yet not possessing the truth—this is not capable of satisfying God’s will, either; like those who are missing an eye, people who do this, too, suffer from a form of disability. It can be said that if you keep the commandments well and gain a clear understanding of the practical God, then you will possess the truth; relatively speaking, you will have gained real stature. If you practice the truth that you should practice, you will also keep the commandments, and these two things do not contradict each other. Practicing the truth and keeping the commandments are two systems, both of which are integral parts of one’s life experience. One’s experience should comprise an integration, not a division, of keeping the commandments and practicing the truth. However, there are both differences and links between these two things.
The promulgation of the commandments in the new age is a testimony to the fact that all people in this stream, all those who hear God’s voice today, have entered a new age. This is a new beginning for God’s work, as well as the beginning of the last part of the work of God’s six-thousand-year management plan. The commandments of the new age symbolize that God and man have entered the realm of a new heaven and a new earth, and that God, just as Jehovah worked among the Israelites and Jesus worked among the Jews, will do more practical work, and do even more and even greater work on earth. They also symbolize that this group of people will receive more and greater commissions from God, and will be provided for, be fed, supported, cared for, and protected by Him in a practical manner, be given even more practical training by Him, and be dealt with, broken, and refined by God’s word. The significance of the commandments of the new age is quite profound. They suggest that God will really appear on earth, from where He will conquer the entire universe, revealing all of His glory in the flesh. They also suggest that the practical God is going to do more practical work on earth in order to perfect all of His chosen ones. Moreover, God will accomplish everything on earth with words, and make manifest the decree that “the incarnate God will rise to the highest and be magnified, and all peoples and all nations will kneel down to worship God, who is great.” Although the commandments of the new age are for man to keep, and though doing so is man’s duty and his obligation, the meaning they represent is rather too profound to be fully expressed in one or two words. The commandments of the new age replace the Old Testament laws and New Testament ordinances as promulgated by Jehovah and Jesus. This is a deeper lesson, not as simple a matter as people might imagine. There is an aspect of practical significance to the commandments of the new age: They serve as an interface between the Age of Grace and the Age of Kingdom. The commandments of the new age put an end to all of the practices and ordinances of the old age, as well as all of the practices from the age of Jesus and those before it. They bring man to the presence of the more practical God, allowing him to start being perfected by Him personally; they are the beginning of the path of perfection. Thus, you should possess a correct attitude with regard to the commandments of the new age, and neither follow them haphazardly nor despise them. The commandments of the new age place heavy emphasis on a certain point: That man shall worship the practical God Himself of today, which involves submitting to the essence of the Spirit more practically. The commandments also stress the principle by which God will judge man to be either guilty or righteous after He has manifested as the Sun of righteousness. The commandments are easier to understand than to put into practice. From this it can be seen that if God wishes to perfect man, then He must do so through His own words and guidance, and man cannot achieve perfection by way of his own innate intelligence alone. Whether man can keep the commandments of the new age or not has to do with his knowledge of the practical God. Hence, whether you can keep the commandments or not is not a question that will be resolved in a matter of mere days. This is a very profound lesson to learn.
The practice of the truth is a path by which man’s life can grow. If you do not practice the truth, then you will be left with nothing more than theory and will have no actual life. Truth is the symbol of man’s stature, and whether or not you practice the truth is related to whether or not you have real stature. If you do not practice the truth, do not act righteously, or are swayed by emotions and care for your flesh, then you are far away from keeping the commandments. This is the most profound of lessons. In every age, there are many truths that people need to enter into and understand, but also in each age, there are different commandments that accompany those truths. The truths that people practice relate to the specific age, and so do the commandments they keep. Each age has its own truths to be practiced and commandments to be kept. However, depending on the various commandments promulgated by God—that is, depending on the different ages—the goal and effect of man’s practice of the truth differ commensurately. It can be said that the commandments serve the truth, and the truth exists to maintain the commandments. If there is only truth, then there will be no changes in God’s work to speak of. However, by referring to the commandments, man can identify the extent of the trends in the Holy Spirit’s work, and man can know the age in which God works. In religion, there are many people who can practice the truths that were practiced by people in the Age of Law. However, they do not possess the commandments of the new age, nor can they keep them. They still observe the old ways and remain as primordial humans. They are not accompanied by the new methods of work and cannot see the commandments of the new age. As such, they do not have God’s work. It is as though they only have empty eggshells; if there is no chick inside, then there is no spirit. To put it more accurately, it means they have no life. Such people have not yet entered the new age and have lagged many steps behind. Therefore, having truths from older ages but not having the commandments of the new age is useless. Many of you practice the truth of today but do not keep its commandments. You will gain nothing, and the truth you practice will be worthless and meaningless and God will not praise you. Practicing the truth must be done within the parameters of the methods of the Holy Spirit’s current work; it must be done in response to the voice of the practical God today. Without doing so, everything is null, akin to attempting to draw water using a bamboo basket. This is also the practical meaning of the promulgation of the commandments of the new age. If people are to abide by the commandments, at the very least they should know the practical God who appears in the flesh, without confusion. In other words, people should grasp the principles of abiding by the commandments. Abiding by the commandments does not mean following them haphazardly or arbitrarily, but abiding by them with a basis, with an objective, and with principles. The first thing to be achieved is for your visions to be clear. If you have a thorough understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit in the current time, and if you enter into today’s methods of work, then you will naturally gain a clear understanding of keeping the commandments. If the day comes when you see through to the essence of the commandments of the new age and you can keep the commandments, then you will have been perfected. This is the practical significance of practicing the truth and keeping the commandments. Whether you can practice the truth or not depends on how you perceive the essence of the commandments of the new age. The work of the Holy Spirit will continuously appear to man, and God will require more and more of man. Therefore, the truths which man actually puts into practice will grow more in number, and become greater, and the effects of keeping the commandments will become more profound. Therefore, you must at once practice the truth and keep the commandments. Nobody should neglect this matter; let the new truth and the new commandments commence simultaneously in this new age.