601 The Paths of Peter and Paul
1 What road are you all taking now? If you have not reached a pursuit of life, of understanding of yourself, or of God like Peter’s, then that is still not Peter’s path. These days, most people are in this sort of state: “In order to gain blessings, I must expend myself for God and pay a price for Him. In order to gain blessings, I must abandon everything for God; I must complete what He has entrusted me with, and perform my duty well.” This is dominated by the intention of being blessed; this is an example of expending oneself entirely for the purpose of gaining God’s rewards, for gaining the crown. Such people do not have the truth in their hearts, and surely their understanding merely consists of some words of doctrine which they show off everywhere. Theirs is the path of Paul.
2 Though you may not have planned to take the path of Paul, your nature has ruled that you walk this way, and you are going in that direction in spite of yourself. Though you want to set foot upon the path of Peter, if you are not clear on how to do that, then you will take the path of Paul involuntarily: This is the reality of the situation. God has now revealed to you the path to salvation and perfection. This is God’s grace and uplifting and it is He who guides you onto the path of Peter. Without God’s guidance and enlightenment, no one would be able to take Peter’s path; the only choice would be to go down Paul’s path, following in Paul’s footsteps to destruction.
3 Paul’s path did not involve knowing himself or pursuit of a change in disposition. He never analyzed his own nature, and he had no 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, he felt that he was Christ and should be rewarded. The work that Paul did was merely a 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.
4 Peter’s path is the path to perfection. In his practice, he focused particularly on life and on seeking to know God and himself. Through his experience of God’s work, he came to know himself, gained an understanding of man’s corrupt states, learned of his shortcomings, and discovered the most valuable thing that people should pursue. He was able to sincerely love God, he knew how to repay God, he obtained some truth, and he possessed the reality that God requires. From all the things that he said during his trials, it can be seen that Peter was indeed the one with the most understanding of God. Because he understood so much truth from God’s words, his path became brighter and brighter and more and more in alignment with God’s will.
Adapted from “How to Walk the Path of Peter” in Records of Christ’s Talks