1. As God does the work of judgment in the last days, why does He require man to know himself?
Relevant Words of God:
After several thousand years of corruption, man is numb and dull-witted; he has become a demon that opposes God, to the extent that man’s rebelliousness toward God has been documented in the books of history, and even man himself is incapable of giving a full account of his rebellious behavior—for man has been profoundly corrupted by Satan, and has been led astray by Satan such that he knows not where to turn. Even today, man still betrays God: When man sees God, he betrays Him, and when he cannot see God, so too does he betray Him. There are even those who, having witnessed God’s curses and God’s wrath, still betray Him. And so I say that man’s sense has lost its original function, and that man’s conscience, too, has lost its original function. The man that I look upon is a beast in human attire, he is a venomous snake, and no matter how pitiable he tries to appear before My eyes, I will never be merciful toward him, for man has no grasp of the difference between black and white, of the difference between truth and non-truth. Man’s sense is so benumbed, yet still he wishes to gain blessings; his humanity is so ignoble yet still he wishes to possess the sovereignty of a king. Who could he be the king of, with sense such as that? How could he with such a humanity sit atop a throne? Man truly has no shame! He is a conceited wretch! For those of you who wish to gain blessings, I suggest you first find a mirror and look at your own ugly reflection—do you have what it takes to be a king? Do you have the face of one who could gain blessings? There has not been the slightest change in your disposition and you have not put any of the truth into practice, yet still you wish for a wonderful tomorrow. You are deluding yourself! Born into such a filthy land, man has been severely blighted by society, he has been influenced by feudal ethics, and he has been taught at “institutes of higher learning.” The backward thinking, corrupt morality, mean view on life, despicable philosophy for living, utterly worthless existence, and depraved lifestyle and customs—all of these things have severely intruded upon man’s heart, and severely undermined and attacked his conscience. As a result, man is ever more distant from God, and ever more opposed to Him. Man’s disposition becomes more vicious by the day, and there is not a single person who will willingly give up anything for God, not a single person who will willingly obey God, nor, moreover, a single person who will willingly seek the appearance of God. Instead, under the domain of Satan, man does nothing but pursue pleasure, giving himself over to the corruption of the flesh in the land of mud. Even when they hear the truth, those who live in darkness give no thought to putting it into practice, nor are they inclined to seek out God even if they have beheld His appearance. How could a mankind so depraved have any chance of salvation? How could a mankind so decadent live in the light?
Changing man’s disposition starts with knowledge of his essence and through changes in his thinking, nature, and mental outlook—through fundamental changes. Only in this way will true changes be achieved in the disposition of man. Man’s corrupt disposition stems from his being poisoned and trampled upon by Satan, from the egregious harm that Satan has inflicted upon his thinking, morality, insight, and sense. It is precisely because the fundamental things of man have been corrupted by Satan, and are utterly unlike how God originally created them, that man opposes God and does not understand the truth. Thus, changes in man’s disposition should begin with changes in his thinking, insight, and sense that will change his knowledge of God and his knowledge of the truth. Those who were born in the most deeply corrupted of all lands are even more ignorant of what God is, or what it means to believe in God. The more corrupted people are, the less they know the existence of God, and the poorer their sense and insight. The source of man’s opposition and rebelliousness against God is his corruption by Satan. Because of Satan’s corruption, man’s conscience has grown numb; he is immoral, his thoughts are degenerate, and he has a backward mental outlook. Before he was corrupted by Satan, man naturally followed God and obeyed His words after hearing them. He was naturally of sound sense and conscience, and of normal humanity. After being corrupted by Satan, man’s original sense, conscience, and humanity grew dull and were impaired by Satan. Thus, he has lost his obedience and love toward God. Man’s sense has become aberrant, his disposition has become the same as that of an animal, and his rebelliousness toward God is ever more frequent and grievous. Yet man still neither knows nor recognizes this, and merely opposes and rebels blindly. Man’s disposition is revealed in expressions of his sense, insight, and conscience; because his sense and insight are unsound, and his conscience has grown supremely dull, thus his disposition is rebellious against God. If man’s sense and insight cannot change, then changes in his disposition are out of the question, as is conforming to God’s will. If man’s sense is unsound, then he cannot serve God and is unfit for use by God. “Normal sense” refers to obeying and being faithful to God, to yearning for God, to being absolute toward God, and to having a conscience toward God. It refers to being of one heart and mind toward God, and not deliberately opposing God. Having an aberrant sense is not like this. Since man was corrupted by Satan, he has come up with notions about God, and he has had no loyalty to God or yearning for Him, to say nothing of a conscience toward God. Man deliberately opposes God and passes judgments on Him, and, furthermore, hurls invective at Him behind His back. Man passes judgment on God behind His back, with clear knowledge that He is God; man has no intention of obeying God, and merely makes blind demands and requests of Him. Such people—people who have aberrant sense—are incapable of knowing their own despicable behavior or of regretting their rebelliousness. If people are capable of knowing themselves, then they have regained a little of their sense; the more rebellious against God people who cannot yet know themselves are, the less are they sound of sense.
Excerpted from “To Have an Unchanged Disposition Is to Be in Enmity to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Before man was redeemed, many of Satan’s poisons had already been planted within him and, after thousands of years of being corrupted by Satan, he has within him an established nature that resists God. Therefore, when man has been redeemed, it is nothing more than a case of redemption in which man is bought at a high price, but the poisonous nature within him has not been eliminated. Man that is so defiled must undergo a change before becoming worthy to serve God. By means of this work of judgment and chastisement, man will fully come to know the filthy and corrupt essence within his own self, and he will be able to change completely and become clean. Only in this way can man become worthy to return before the throne of God. All the work done this day is so that man can be made clean and be changed; through judgment and chastisement by the word, as well as through refinement, man can purge away his corruption and be made pure. Rather than deeming this stage of work to be that of salvation, it would be more apt to say it is the work of purification. In truth, this stage is that of conquest as well as the second stage in the work of salvation. It is through judgment and chastisement by the word that man arrives at being gained by God, and it is through the use of the word to refine, judge, and disclose that all of the impurities, notions, motives, and individual aspirations within man’s heart are completely revealed. For all that man may have been redeemed and forgiven of his sins, it can only be considered as God not remembering the transgressions of man and not treating man in accordance with his transgressions. However, when man, who lives in a body of flesh, has not been set free from sin, he can only continue to sin, endlessly revealing his corrupt satanic disposition. This is the life that man leads, an endless cycle of sinning and being forgiven. The majority of mankind sin in the day only to confess in the evening. This way, even though the sin offering is forever effective for man, it will not be able to save man from sin. Only half the work of salvation has been completed, for man still has a corrupt disposition. For instance, when people realized that they were descended from Moab, they brought forth words of complaint, ceased to pursue life, and became utterly negative. Does this not show that humanity is still unable to fully submit under the dominion of God? Is this not precisely their corrupt satanic disposition? When you were not being subjected to chastisement, your hands were raised higher than all others, even that of Jesus. And you cried out in a loud voice: “Be a beloved son of God! Be an intimate of God! We would rather die than bow down to Satan! Revolt against the old Satan! Revolt against the great red dragon! May the great red dragon fall abjectly from power! May God make us complete!” Your cries were louder than all others. But then came the time of chastisement and, once again, the corrupt disposition of humanity was revealed. Then, their cries ceased, and their resolution failed. This is the corruption of man; running deeper than sin, it is something planted by Satan and deeply rooted within man. It is not easy for man to become aware of his sins; he has no way of recognizing his own deeply rooted nature, and he must rely on judgment by the word in order to achieve this result. Only thus can man gradually be changed from this point onward.
Excerpted from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The disposition of God runs through all of God’s utterances, but the main thread of His words is revealing the rebellion of all mankind and exposing things such as their disobedience, insubordination, unfairness, unrighteousness, and inability to truly love God, such that God’s words have reached the point where He says that every pore in people’s bodies contains opposition to God, that even their capillaries contain defiance to God. If people do not try to examine these things, they will always be incapable of knowing them, and will never be able to cast them aside. This is to say, the virus that is opposition to God will spread in them and ultimately, it will be as if their white blood cells have devoured their red blood cells, leaving their entire body devoid of red blood cells; in the end, they will die from leukemia. This is the real state of man, and no one can deny it. Having been born in the land in which the great red dragon lies coiled, there is at least one thing within each person that typifies and exemplifies the great red dragon’s venom. Thus, in this stage of work, the main thread throughout God’s words has been knowing oneself, denying oneself, forsaking oneself, and slaying oneself. It can be said that this is God’s primary work during the last days, and that this round of work is the most comprehensive and thorough of all—this shows that God is planning to bring the age to an end. No one expected this, but at the same time, it is something that they have anticipated in their feelings.
Excerpted from “Chapter 31” of Interpretations of the Mysteries of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Every single thing that exists in our hearts is in opposition to God. This includes the things we think are good, and even those we already believe to be positive. We have listed these things as truths, as part of normal humanity, and as positive things; however, from God’s perspective, they are things that He loathes. The gulf between what we think and the truth spoken by God is immeasurable. Hence, we must know ourselves. From our ideas, viewpoints, and actions to the cultural education we have received, each thing is worth delving deep into and thoroughly dissecting. Some of these things come from social environments, some come from families, some come from school education, and some come from books. Some also come from our imaginations and notions. These sorts of things are the most frightening, for they bind and control our words and actions, dominate our minds, and guide our motives, intentions, and goals in what we do. If we do not unearth these things, we will never fully accept God’s words within us, and we will never accept God’s requirements without reservation and put them into practice. As long as you harbor your own ideas and viewpoints, and convictions of things that you believe to be correct, you will never fully or unreservedly accept God’s words, nor will you practice them in their original form; you will surely only put them into practice after first processing them in your mind. This will be how you do things, and it will also be the way in which you help others: You may still fellowship on God’s words, but you will always have your own impurities mixed in, and you will think that this is what it means to practice the truth, that you have understood the truth, and that you have it all. Is man’s state not pitiful? Is it not scary?
Excerpted from “Only by Recognizing Your Misguided Views Can You Know Yourself” in Records of Christ’s Talks
No matter which aspect of the truth one pursues, whether it be aspiring to be honest, or training oneself to submit to God, or whether it be engaging amicably with one’s brothers and sisters, or living out normal humanity, one can embrace its practice each day of their life, with each truth touching on the issue of self-knowledge. Does aspiring to be honest not have something to do with knowing oneself? You will not aspire to be honest until you have come to know your own deceit and dishonesty. When you come to know you have failed to obey God, you will then practice obedience to Him, or seek out what one must do to obey Him. If you do not know yourself, any talk of your aspiring to be honest or submitting to God rings hollow, for man’s disposition is corrupt, and no aspect of the truth is easy to practice, and each aspect is practiced within man’s corrupt disposition. In your practice of any aspect of the truth, your corrupt disposition will certainly rear its head, thwarting your aspiration to be honest, obstructing your submission to God, and inhibiting your patience and tolerance for your brothers and sisters. If you do not recognize it, dissect it, and unearth it, but rely on your imaginings to practice the truth, then your practice will not be a true one. Therefore, no matter which aspect of the truth one is practicing, or what one is doing, they must first know themselves.
Excerpted from “Only by Recognizing Your Misguided Views Can You Know Yourself” in Records of Christ’s Talks
There are some states within people that, if they do not understand them and do not feel that they are wrong, then, no matter how earnestly they pursue or how enthusiastic they are, they may fall one day. Only a minority of people can obtain the truth, after all. Understanding the truth is not a simple matter. It takes a long time to understand even a little of it, a long time to gain a little experiential knowledge, to attain something of a pure understanding or to gain a bit of light. If you do not resolve all the impurities within you, then that little bit of light can be drowned at any time or place. Man’s main difficulty now is that every person has within them some imaginings, notions, desires and empty ideals that they are themselves unable to discover. These things constantly accompany people as adulterations inside them. This is indeed very dangerous, and people are liable to voice grievances at any moment. There are so many adulterations inside man. Although people may have good aspirations, wishing to pursue the truth and to believe earnestly in God, they are yet unable to achieve it. This kind of thing happens often in each person’s experience: They encounter a small matter, and others think that they should be able easily to relinquish it. Why is it they cannot? Why do they who are relatively experienced most of the time, who look relatively strong to others, and who have a clear head fall when they encounter a small matter, and fall so quickly? Man is truly subject to the fickleness of fortune; how could he possibly predict it? Inside every person, there are some things they are willing to pursue and obtain, and everyone has their own preferences. More often than not, people cannot perceive this themselves, or they believe these things are fine, that there is nothing wrong with them. Then, one day, something like this comes along and they stumble; they become negative and weak, and they cannot get back up. They may not know themselves what the problem is, feeling that they are justified and that it is God who has wronged them. If people do not understand themselves, they will never be able to know where their own difficulties lie, or in which areas they are liable to fail and fall down. They are pitiful. Therefore, people who do not understand themselves may fall down, fail, and ruin themselves at any moment.
Excerpted from “Only by Understanding Your Own State Can You Embark on the Right Track” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Back then, Paul did not feel it was wrong to walk down that path; he fully believed that it was correct. He did not possess the truth, and he especially did not undergo a change in disposition. He believed too much in himself, and felt that there was not the slightest issue with going that way. He continued onward, full of confidence and with the utmost self-assurance. By the end, he never came to his senses; he still thought that to him to live was Christ. As such, Paul continued down that path to the very end, and by the time he was ultimately punished, it was all over for him. Paul’s path did not involve coming to know himself, much less seeking a change in disposition. He never analyzed his own nature, nor did he gain any knowledge of what he was; he simply knew that he was the chief culprit in the persecution of Jesus. He had not had the slightest understanding of his own nature, and after finishing his work, Paul actually felt that he was Christ and should be rewarded. The work that Paul did was merely service rendered for God. For Paul personally, though he received some revelations from the Holy Spirit, he had no truth or life at all. He was not saved by God; he was punished by God. Why is it said that Peter’s path is the path to perfection? It is because, in Peter’s practice, he placed particular emphasis on life, on seeking to know God, and on knowing himself. Through his experience of God’s work, he came to know himself, gained an understanding of man’s corrupt states, learned of his own shortcomings, and discovered the most valuable thing that people should pursue. He was able to sincerely love God, he learned how to repay God, he gained some truth, and he possessed the reality that God requires. From all the things that Peter said during his trials, it can be seen that he was indeed the one with the most understanding of God. Because he came to understand so much truth from God’s words, his path grew brighter and brighter, and more and more in alignment with God’s will. If Peter had not possessed this truth, then the path he took could not have been so correct.
Excerpted from “How to Walk the Path of Peter” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Is it good or bad when people discover just how serious their problems are? It is good. The more capable you are of discovering your own corruption, the more accurate this discovery, and the more you can know your own essence, then the more likely it is you will be saved and the closer you will come to salvation; the more incapable you are of discovering your problems, the more you think you are a good person, a pretty great person, then the further you are away from the path to salvation, and you are still in great danger. Anyone who spends all day parading themselves—flaunting their accomplishments, saying they are silver-tongued, reasonable, that they understand the truth, can practice the truth, and are capable of making sacrifices—is of especially small stature. What kind of person has greater hope of salvation, and is capable of walking the path of salvation? Those who truly know their corrupt disposition. The more profound their knowledge, the closer they come to salvation. Knowing your corrupt disposition, knowing that you are nothing, useless, that you are a living Satan—when you truly know your essence, this is no longer a serious problem. This is a good thing, not a bad thing. Is there anyone who becomes more negative the more they know themselves, thinking to themselves: “It’s all over, the judgment and chastisement of God has befallen me, it is punishment and retribution, God doesn’t want me and I have no hope of salvation”? Will these people have such illusions? In fact, the more people recognize how hopeless they are, the greater the hope for them; they should not be negative and they should not give up. Knowing yourself is a good thing—it is the path that must be taken to salvation. If you are utterly insensible of your own corrupt disposition and of your essence, which is multifarious in its opposition to God, and if you have not yet any plans to change, then you are in trouble; such people have already grown numb, they are dead. Can the dead be brought back to life? They are already dead—they cannot.
Excerpted from “Only When You Know Yourself Can You Pursue the Truth” in Records of Christ’s Talks