1. What obedience to God is and what the specific manifestations of obedience to God are

Relevant Words of God:

God created humans and placed them upon earth, and He has led them ever since. He then saved them and served as a sin offering for humanity. At the end, He still must conquer humanity, save humans entirely, and restore them to their original likeness. This is the work that He has been engaged in ever since the beginning—restoring humanity to their original image and likeness. God will establish His kingdom and restore the original likeness of human beings, which means that God will restore His authority upon earth and among all creation. Humanity lost their God-fearing heart as well as the function incumbent upon God’s creatures after being corrupted by Satan, thereby becoming an enemy disobedient to God. Humanity then lived under Satan’s domain and followed Satan’s orders; thus, God had no way to work among His creatures, and became all the more unable to win their fearful reverence. Humans were created by God, and ought to worship God, but they actually turned their backs on Him and worshiped Satan instead. Satan became the idol in their hearts. Thus, God lost His standing in their hearts, which is to say that He lost the meaning behind His creation of humanity. Therefore, to restore the meaning behind His creation of humanity, He must restore their original likeness and rid humanity of their corrupt dispositions. To reclaim humans from Satan, He must save them from sin. Only in this way can God gradually restore their original likeness and function, and finally, restore His kingdom. The ultimate destruction of those sons of disobedience will also be carried out in order to allow humans to better worship God and better live upon the earth. Because God created humans, He will make them worship Him; because He wishes to restore humanity’s original function, He will restore it completely and without any adulteration. Restoring His authority means making humans worship Him and submit to Him; it means that God will make humans live because of Him and cause His enemies to perish as a result of His authority. It means that God will cause everything about Him to persist among humans without resistance from anybody. The kingdom God wishes to establish is His own kingdom. The humanity He desires is one that will worship Him, one that will submit to Him completely and manifest His glory. If God does not save corrupt humanity, then the meaning behind His creation of humanity will be lost; He will have no more authority among humans, and His kingdom will no longer be able to exist upon the earth. If God does not destroy those enemies who are disobedient to Him, He will be unable to obtain His complete glory, nor will He be able to establish His kingdom upon the earth. These will be marks of the completion of His work and of His great accomplishment: to utterly destroy those among humanity who are disobedient to Him, and to bring into rest those who have been made complete. When humans have been restored to their original likeness, and when they can fulfill their respective duties, keep to their own proper places and submit to all of God’s arrangements, God will have obtained a group of people upon the earth who worship Him, and He will also have established a kingdom upon the earth that worships Him.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together

The work done by God differs from period to period. If you are of great obedience to God’s work in one phase, but in the next phase your obedience toward His work is poor, or you are incapable of obedience, then God shall desert you. If you keep pace with God as He takes this step, then you must continue to keep pace when He ascends the next; only then will you be someone who is obedient to the Holy Spirit. Since you believe in God, you must remain constant in your obedience. You cannot simply obey when you please and disobey when you do not. This kind of obedience is not praised by God. If you cannot keep pace with the new work I fellowship, and continue to hold on to the former sayings, then how can there be progress in your life? God’s work is to supply you through His words. When you obey and accept His words, the Holy Spirit shall surely work in you. The Holy Spirit works exactly as I speak; do as I have said, and the Holy Spirit will promptly work in you. I release a new light for you to behold, bringing you into the light of the present, and when you walk into this light, the Holy Spirit shall immediately work in you. There are some who may be recalcitrant, saying, “I simply will not carry out what You say.” In which case, I tell you that you have now come to the end of the road; you are dried up, and have no more life. Thus, in experiencing the transformation of your disposition, nothing is more crucial than keeping pace with the present light. The Holy Spirit not only works in certain people who are used by God, but, furthermore, in the church. He could be working in anyone. He may work in you during the present time, and you will experience this work. During the next period, He may work in someone else, in which case you must haste to follow; the more closely you follow the present light, the more your life can grow. No matter what manner of person someone is, if the Holy Spirit works in them, then you must follow. Take in their experiences through your own, and you will receive even higher things. In so doing you will progress more quickly. This is the path of perfection for man and the means by which life grows.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Those Who Obey God With a True Heart Shall Surely Be Gained by God

If people can let go of religious notions, they will not use their minds to measure the words and work of God today, and instead will obey directly. Even though God’s work today is manifestly unlike that of the past, you are yet able to let go of the views of the past and obey the work of God today directly. If you are capable of understanding that you must give pride of place to the work of God today, regardless of how God worked in the past, then you are someone who has let go of their notions, who obeys God, and who is able to obey the work and words of God and follow His footsteps. In this, you will be someone who truly obeys God. You do not analyze or scrutinize the work of God; it is as if God has forgotten His previous work, and you, too, have forgotten it. The present is the present, and the past is the past, and since today, God has put aside that which He did in the past, you should not dwell on it. Only such a person is one who obeys God completely and has let go of their religious notions completely.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Those Who Know the Work of God Today May Serve God

Submission to the work of God must be real and actual, and it must be lived out. Superficial submission alone cannot receive God’s praise, and merely obeying the superficial aspects of God’s word, without seeking change in one’s disposition, is not after God’s heart. Obedience to God and submission to the work of God are one and the same. Those who submit only to God but not to His work cannot be deemed obedient, much less those who do not truly submit but are outwardly sycophantic. Those who truly submit to God are all able to gain from the work and achieve understanding of the disposition and work of God. Only such people truly submit to God. Such people are able to gain new knowledge, and undergo new changes, from new work. Only these people are praised by God, only these people are perfected, and only these are the ones whose dispositions have changed. Those who are praised by God are those who gladly submit to God, and to His word and work. Only such people are in the right, only such people sincerely want God, and sincerely seek God.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Those Who Obey God With a True Heart Shall Surely Be Gained by God

During God’s time in the flesh, the submission He requires of people does not involve refraining from making judgments or resisting, as they imagine; rather, He requires that people use His words as their principle to live by and the foundation of their survival, that they absolutely put the essence of His words into practice, and that they completely satisfy His will. One aspect of requiring people to submit to God incarnate refers to putting His words into practice, while another aspect refers to being able to submit to His normality and practicality. These must be both absolute. Those who can achieve both of these aspects are all those who harbor genuine love for God in their hearts. They are all people who have been gained by God, and they all love God as they love their own lives.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Those Who Truly Love God Are Those Who Can Submit Absolutely to His Practicality

So what should people’s attitude be toward these three things: God, His incarnate flesh, and the truth? Being able to listen and obey. Nothing is more straightforward. After listening, you must accept in your heart. If you are unable to accept something, you must keep seeking until you are capable of complete acceptance—then, as soon as you accept it, you must obey. What does it mean to obey? It means to carry out. Do not dismiss things after hearing them; outwardly, you promise to do them and you note them down, you commit them to writing, you hear them with your ears—but they are absent from your heart, and when the time comes to act, you do whatever you wish, putting what you wrote down to the back of your mind and treating it as unimportant. This is not obeying. True obedience means listening and understanding with your heart, it means genuine acceptance, accepting as a task, as a command, as an obligatory responsibility. It is not only a case of accepting something in your heart; you must turn it into concrete action. The path that you walk, and the objective and direction that you run toward, are the requirements that you have heard from God; and what is done by your hand, desired by your heart, and thought by your mind, and the price you pay, are for the sake of what God asks of you. This is “carrying out.” What is the implied meaning of obedience? Executing, carrying out, making something into reality. You note down on paper what God says and asks, recording it in writing, but it is not in your heart, and when the time comes to act, you do whatever you wish. Outwardly, it looks like you have done it, but you did so according to your own principles. This is not listening and obeying, it is contempt for the truth, blatant violation of principle, and disregard for the arrangements of God’s house. It is rebellion.

—The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Excursus Three: How Noah and Abraham Listened to God’s Words and Obeyed God (Part Two)

When Noah did as God instructed, he did not know what God’s intentions were. He did not know what God wanted to accomplish. God had only given him a command and instructed him to do something, and without much explanation, Noah went ahead and did it. He did not try to secretly figure out God’s intentions, nor did he resist God or show insincerity. He just went and did it accordingly with a pure and simple heart. Whatever God had him do, he did, and obeying and listening to God’s word underpinned his belief in what he did. That was how straightforwardly and simply he dealt with what God entrusted. His essence—the essence of his actions was obedience, not second-guessing, not resisting, and moreover, not thinking of his own personal interests or his gains and losses. Further, when God said He would destroy the world with a flood, Noah did not ask when or ask what would become of things, and he certainly did not ask God how He was going to destroy the world. He simply did as God instructed. However God wanted it to be made and made with what, he did exactly as God asked and also commenced action immediately. He acted according to God’s instructions with an attitude of wanting to satisfy God. Was he doing it to help himself avoid the disaster? No. Did he ask God how much longer it would be before the world was to be destroyed? He did not. Did he ask God or did he know how long it would take to build the ark? He did not know that either. He simply obeyed, listened, and acted accordingly.

—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself I

In the Age of Law, God said He would give Abraham a son. What did Abraham say to that? He said nothing—he believed that what God said would be done. This was Abraham’s attitude. Did he make any judgment? Did he scoff? Did he do anything furtive? (No.) This is called obedience; it is called keeping fast to one’s place, keeping fast to one’s duty. As for his wife, Sarah—was she not different from Abraham? What was her attitude toward God? She questioned, scoffed, disbelieved—and she judged, and she engaged in petty maneuvering, giving Abraham her handmaiden as a concubine, which gave rise to so many absurdities in the end. This came from the will of man. Sarah did not keep fast to her own place, and there arose in her questions of God and disbelief in Him. What was the cause of her disbelief? It had several causes and contexts, one being that Abraham was by then quite old, another being that she was herself also quite aged and unable to bear children. These together made her believe that what God said was an impossible thing—a trick played on children. She did not accept and believe what God said as the truth but took it as a lie or jest. Is this the right attitude? To take God’s words as the lies of a trickster—is this the attitude with which one should treat the Lord of creation? (No.) And so, because she took God’s words in jest, as the lies of a trickster, and not as the truth, and because she did not believe what God said or what He was going to do, there ensued a series of consequences, all of which came from the will of man and Sarah’s disbelief. In essence, she was saying, “Can God do this thing? If He cannot, I must take action to help fulfill these words of God.” Within her, there were misunderstandings, judgments, speculations, and questions, all of which combined to affect an act of rebellion against God by a person with a corrupt disposition. Abraham did not do these things, so this blessing was bestowed on him. God saw Abraham’s heart of reverence for Him, his loyalty, and his attitude, and God would deliver a son unto him that he would be the father of many nations. This is what was promised Abraham and His special treatment of Sarah. Obedience is therefore very important. Is there questioning within obedience? If there is, does it count as true obedience? If there is analysis and judgment within it, does it count? (No.) Less still does it count if one tries to find faults. What, then, is manifested and exposed—and what is the behavior—within obedience that fully proves it to be true? (Belief.) True belief is one thing. One must correctly understand what God says and does, and confirm that all God does is right and the truth; there is no need to question it, nor to ask others about it, and there is no need to weigh it up and consider it or analyze it in one’s own heart. This is one aspect of obedience. Believe that everything God does is correct. When a person does something, we may look at which person did it, at their background and character. These things require analysis. If, on the other hand, something comes from God and is done by Him, we must cover our mouths at once—do not question it and do not raise queries, but accept it in its entirety. And what is to be done next? There are some truths herein that people do not quite understand, and they are at a distance from God. Though they believe and are capable of submission and of recognizing that this thing was done by God, their recognition of this fact is yet of a somewhat doctrinal nature, and they are unsettled at heart. At such times, a person must seek, asking, “What truth is there in this? Where is the error in my thinking? How did I become distanced from God? Which of my own views are in conflict with what God says?” Being able to seek such answers is an attitude and practice of obedience. There are those who say they are obedient, and then, when something later befalls them, say, “Who knows what God does? We created beings can’t interfere. Let God do whatever He wants!” Is this obedience? What kind of attitude is this? It is an aversion to taking responsibility; it is a lack of concern for what God does; it is cold indifference. Abraham was able to obey because he observed several principles, and he was resolved in his belief that what God says will be done and will be fulfilled, without a doubt. He therefore had no questions, he did not make any assessment, nor did he engage in any petty maneuvering. That is how he behaved.

—“The Attitude Man Should Have Toward God” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

To man, God does much that is incomprehensible and even unbelievable. When God wishes to orchestrate someone, this orchestration is often at odds with man’s notions and incomprehensible to him, yet it is precisely this dissonance and incomprehensibility that are God’s trial and test of man. Abraham, meanwhile, was able to demonstrate obedience to God within himself, which was the most fundamental condition of his being able to satisfy God’s requirement. Only then, when Abraham was able to obey God’s requirement, when he offered up Isaac, did God truly feel reassurance and approval toward mankind—toward Abraham, whom He had chosen. Only then was God sure that this person whom He had chosen was an indispensable leader who could undertake His promise and His subsequent management plan. Though it was but a trial and a test, God felt gratified, He felt man’s love for Him, and He felt comforted by man as never before. At the moment that Abraham lifted up his knife to slay Isaac, did God stop him? God did not let Abraham sacrifice Isaac, for God simply had no intention of taking Isaac’s life. Thus, God stopped Abraham just in time. For God, Abraham’s obedience had already passed the test, what he did was sufficient, and God had already seen the outcome of what He intended to do. Was this outcome satisfactory to God? It can be said that this outcome was satisfactory to God, that it was what God wanted, and was what God had longed to see. Is this true? Although, in different contexts, God uses different ways of testing each person, in Abraham God saw what He wanted, He saw that Abraham’s heart was true, and that his obedience was unconditional. It was precisely this “unconditional” that God desired.

—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II

In his belief in God, Peter sought to satisfy God in everything, and sought to obey all that came from God. Without the slightest complaint, he was able to accept chastisement and judgment, as well as refinement, tribulation and going without in his life, none of which could alter his love for God. Was this not the ultimate love for God? Was this not the fulfillment of the duty of a creature of God? Whether in chastisement, judgment, or tribulation, you are always capable of achieving obedience unto death, and this is what should be achieved by a creature of God, this is the purity of the love for God. If man can achieve this much, then he is a qualified creature of God, and there is nothing which better satisfies the desire of the Creator. Imagine that you are able to work for God, yet you do not obey God, and are incapable of truly loving God. In this way, not only will you not have fulfilled the duty of a creature of God, but you will also be condemned by God, for you are someone who does not possess the truth, who is incapable of obeying God, and who is disobedient to God. You only care about working for God, and do not care about putting the truth into practice or knowing yourself. You do not understand or know the Creator, and do not obey or love the Creator. You are someone who is innately disobedient to God, and so such people are not beloved by the Creator.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks

Bearing a resounding witness for God primarily relates to whether or not you have an understanding of the practical God, and to whether or not you are able to submit before this person who is not only ordinary, but normal, and submit even unto death. If, by way of this submission, you truly bear witness for God, that means you have been obtained by God. If you can submit unto death and, before Him, be free of complaints, not make judgments, not slander, not have any notions, and not have any ulterior motives, then in this way God will gain glory. Submission before a regular person who is looked down upon by man, and being able to submit unto death without any notions—this is true testimony. The reality that God requires people to enter into is that you are able to obey His words, put them into practice, bow down in front of the practical God and know your own corruption, open up your heart in front of Him, and, ultimately, be gained by Him through these words of His. God gains glory when these utterances conquer you and make you fully obedient to Him; through this, He shames Satan and completes His work. When you do not have any notions about the practicality of God incarnate—that is, when you have stood firm in this trial—then you have borne this witness well. If there comes a day when you have a full understanding of the practical God and can submit unto death like Peter did, then you will be gained and perfected by God. Anything God does that is not in line with your notions is a trial for you. If God’s work were in line with your notions, it would not require you to suffer or be refined. It is because His work is so practical and not in line with your notions that it requires you to let go of such notions. This is why it is a trial for you. It is because of God’s practicality that all people are in the midst of trials; His work is practical, not supernatural. By fully understanding His practical words and His practical utterances without any notions, and being able to genuinely love Him as His work grows ever more practical, you will be gained by Him. The group of people whom God will gain are those who know God; that is, those who know His practicality. Furthermore, they are those who are able to submit to God’s practical work.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Those Who Truly Love God Are Those Who Can Submit Absolutely to His Practicality

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