Chapter 26. God’s Perfection of Man Is Mainly to Perfect Him to Know God
Only When One Firmly Believes That Christ Is the Truth, the Way, and the Life, Can One Truly Obey God
What did I just ask you? “After you have believed for so many years, what have you gained?” And now ponder further: You have believed for so many years, but what have you gained? Haven’t you said that you are certain about God? That you are certain about Christ? Christ is the truth, the way, and the life; this has already been ascertained. You say, “I’ve believed in God for many years, and I’ve discovered a truth: Christ is indeed the truth, the way, and the life! People who live without knowing Christ don’t have the truth, the way, or the life.” For people who don’t have the truth, the way, or the life, in what way do they live? Are they not living under Satan’s domain, and living in darkness? For someone who lives in darkness, does anything they pursue have value? Is there the slightest bit of meaning to it? (There isn’t.) So, have you gained the truth or not? Have you gained Christ or not? Are these not realistic questions? Some people, after believing in God, betray God when they have no knowledge of Him. After they betray God they come back, thinking, “This is the true way, I cannot leave God. Once I leave the true way there is no path to travel, and all is darkness. I must come back.” After they come back, they face the biggest issue, and that is: Can they ultimately attain God’s salvation? According to God’s words, those people who have betrayed God are eliminated by God. They resume walking the road ahead against this kind of backdrop; this new beginning certainly is a refinement. This is the biggest refinement; this trial is not small. Facing this trial, they clearly know from God’s words that there is no end for them, but why do they still want to walk on? This decision to walk on is established on what basis? How many internal struggles have they undergone around this matter? What caused them to make up their mind at the last moment? Where is their standpoint? Where is their new starting point? What is their goal as they go forward? What are they seeking? They think about all of these things. “I do not seek any good fortune, I just care about pursuing the truth and living out the likeness of a human, and with that I’m satisfied.” They have passed through so much time of inner struggle, and in the end their decision is: “No matter how God treats me, I must go on! I only want to live out a human likeness, and to do something for God, regardless of whether or not God will accept it. Then I’ll have no regrets. I just have this small demand, this wish. If I can fulfill it, I will be satisfied.” You tell me, what issue does this kind of viewpoint, this kind of mindset, explain? What does this mean? Does it not prove that they can’t live without God? It proves that they cannot leave Christ; Christ is indeed the true light! If these people did not see that Christ is the true light, or that He is the truth, the way, and the life, then would they continue to follow this path? Under these circumstances most people can’t go on. For them to be able to continue walking there is a motivating power inside of them; this is not a simple matter. Inside themselves, they have passed many bitter days, and they have shed no small number of tears. They have believed in God for many years, and finally seen real life; they have seen that the light of life is right there—it is in God’s words. They think: “God has showed me this way, and I can’t not walk it; I absolutely must walk on! No matter that I have had so many failures in my past, I will start walking my path of life again!” This is the greatest gain they have made in believing in God. That their belief in God reaps such a fruit as this is very precious. What have you seen from this? When people live without God, or when after following God they do not know God, they cannot possibly succeed. All that they do is failure. All people are like this, and I am like this too. Times without God are all times of failure. Now, whenever I recall my past service to God, I remember the corruptions I expressed, the arrogance and self-righteousness, and that I always had my own intentions and goals, I always had my own ways of thinking, and I always wanted to reach my own requirements and standards. Later, I underwent God’s judgment and chastisement step by step, and I shed many tears, and came to detest myself and regret all that I had done before; slowly I came to step onto the right track. This is a normal law, and it is also a natural law; this is not just one person’s experience, it is everyone’s. If one day a person gets to the stage where they do not seek good fortune, but pursue only the truth and want to live out the likeness of a true human, and want to do some real things for God, and bear some testimony—when they have this intention that is when they begin to succeed in their belief in God, when they begin to move from failure to success. Failure is the starting point of the rest of one’s life, where one starts to walk on life’s path again. The path some people walk is that of the antichrist. In the church, in God’s house, they pursue status, leadership, and success, and in the end they all fail; in serious cases they are rejected or even expelled. Regardless of the consequences, if they can say, “From failure I can truly see and truly come to know what real life is. From failure, I can see how I should believe in God, and how I should pursue real life”—if they find the path of success, then would you not say that there is some certainty of success once they make a fresh start? There is definitely a certainty of success; in fact, there is huge certainty!
Some people say, “In the past, I failed enormously, even to the point of betrayal. So, can I now succeed in attaining salvation?” That is a matter for God to decide. It is not something we should concern ourselves with. Do not pay it any attention; it is irrational for us to care about that. What is our responsibility? Pursuing the truth to live out the likeness of a true human being, to repay God’s love, and to do our duty well. We should fulfill our own responsibilities. If you don’t do it, God won’t force you. But however you do it is how God defines your outcome in the end—according to whether or not you fulfill your duty up to standard and whether or not you are loyal, and according to your performance. That is God’s business. We people mustn’t always focus on issues like, “If I do it like this will I have some sort of outcome? If I do it like that can I attain God’s salvation and blessings?” If you always consider this, and are restrained by this, what does it explain? It proves that your own intention has still not been cast aside. So, what is the result that God intends to achieve through His judgment and chastisement? Is it not to solve human corruptions and human intentions? Regardless of time and circumstance, regardless of what method is used to remove your intentions, impurities, and wild ambitions, if you can still walk on the right path of life, obtain the truth, and live out the likeness of a real person, is this not the result of God’s work? This proves that God’s work has gotten the intended results. As for the remaining matter—gaining blessings or not—for you to consider this makes no sense, and has no meaning. Therefore, what does God’s house pay great attention to? God’s house is responsible for leading you into the truth, leading you onto the path of true life, leading you toward fulfilling your duties up to standard—helping you to achieve these things. Our outcome is not something for us to think about. God defines this according to our performance, and we should only obey God; we should not be thinking “Can I obtain blessings or not?” None of us should consider that. If one day God says, “Your time doing service is done, you have served very well; now you go down into the bottomless pit!” I will say, “Yes, I obey! I deserve it.” Why will I say I obey? Because we are all people deeply corrupted by Satan, and we have all done many things that rebelled against and resisted God in the past. No matter how God deals with us according to His righteous disposition, it is all righteous and all fair, and is good. Can we make demands of God? Is it rational for us to reason with God? We walk on the correct path of life during God’s judgment and chastisement. It can also be said that it is through God’s judgment and chastisement that we, in the end, live out the likeness of a true person. Our final outcome is not something that we should try and obtain, and is not something that we should be concerned with. What are we only responsible for? We are only responsible for obtaining the share that God has bestowed upon us. God expresses the truth in His work, and who is this for? It is for transforming this deeply corrupted humanity; it is for saving this deeply corrupted humanity; it is for gaining all people who pursue the truth. If we truly pursue the truth and have obtained the truth, and all live out the likeness of humans, and all obey God and worship God, then we will all get the share we should get, and then our consciences will be at peace. How God deals with us is God’s affair. We do not concern ourselves with that, and we are not constrained by that. I demand as such of some people, and I ask them: “Are you still now pursuing blessings? Why are you always negative? Tell me, what is the root of your negativity? To speak plainly, you are constrained by the idea of gaining blessings, aren’t you? If you truly have no intention to gain blessings, then why are you negative? Why can you not reflect upon yourself? You truly need to understand this matter clearly. You are always negative, and there is definitely something inside you. You are definitely constrained by something and cannot lay it down. You do not want others to see it; you keep it to yourself and do not dare to lay it bear to others. Is that thing the truth? Is it reality? It is definitely something shameful.” Tell me, if it is the intention to gain blessings that always motivates you to fulfill your duty, pay the price, and suffer hardships, can this state be considered normal? There is a problem here. You should know it and not let yourself be controlled by it. If you truly have resolve, and truly have faith, as in—“I clearly know that my outcome is to go to hell, but I still want to pursue the truth. I clearly know that God has already rejected me and abandoned me, and He won’t save me, but I must still pursue the truth, I must still fulfill my duty and repay God’s love!”—is this pursuit, this will, and this repayment of God’s love, not the purest thing? (It is.) Are you like this now? Have you been dominated by the intention to gain blessings or not? If you are fulfilling your duty under the circumstances of having the intention and the hope to gain blessings, and other people are fulfilling their duties without entertaining the hope of gaining blessings, which is more precious? Which is based on real faith? Are they the same or not? They are not the same. The value is not the same, and the weight is not the same. Therefore, if any person truly has this kind of resolve: “I know that God no longer wants me, but I still want to pursue the truth, I still want to pursue living out a human likeness to repay God’s love. Because this way I am not living this life in vain, and I can die without regrets,” I greatly admire a person who has this kind of resolve. Most people in these circumstances would run away and no longer believe, let alone do their duties. They would live in the world drifting along for some years. People who can come back in this kind of situation are really something! Could you look down on this kind of person? If you were faced with this matter, how would you act? Would you still be able to fulfill your duty in God’s house? Most people would crumple. The circumstances in which each person believes in God are not the same, the roads they choose are also different, and the intentions and hopes that they have inside are also not the same. So, what will be the outcomes they get when they pursue until the end? They are also not the same. Tell me, does God not examine what people’s circumstances are and what intentions they harbor? (He examines this.) One day God will give you a trial, He will exercise judgment on you, and you will feel that you will have no outcome. At that time He will see if you will crumple, if you will abandon your duty and betray God, or if you can stand up and do your duty and can continue to safeguard God’s work. If later, regardless of what trials you face, you still can be loyal to God though you have no hope of gaining blessings, this testimony is just the same as Job’s testimony, and this is impressive! Someone can run a huge business but it isn’t necessarily valuable; it is this thing that is valuable.
Letting Go of the Intention of Gaining Blessings and Obeying Until Death Is Testimony of Changes in Life Disposition
The testimony of changes in life disposition is awesome. Where is this testimony mainly manifested? It is manifested in obedience, the ability to obey until death. It is manifested in one’s being able to obey the truth, obey God, and suffer many hardships without complaint in order to carry out God’s will, being able to endure many hardships and great pressure without yielding, without falling, and without negativity, being able to work one’s heart out, and show loyalty until death, being able to give one’s whole lifetime and one’s life to God and strive without rest until death. This is testimony of loving God. This is not just a superficial sacrifice, but it is a spiritual matter in life. When someone bears this testimony, the life this person lives will be deeply meaningful. Are you all willing or not to bear this kind of testimony? (We are willing.) So how can this testimony be achieved? You must pursue the truth more earnestly! In pursuing the truth you must achieve at the very least several results. The first is to forsake—to cast everything aside. Currently, ordinary people can all do this. The second is to let go of the intention of gaining blessings; this is something ordinary people cannot let go of. “I pursue the truth not to gain blessing, I pursue the truth to gain life, to live out a true life, and to bear good testimony to glorify God.” If your purpose is to gain blessings, and you connect pursuing the truth with gaining blessings, then you are wrong. If you connect them like this, it will be easy to fail and take the wrong path, because your intention is not right. So, if you want to give up the intention of gaining blessings, and pursue the truth in order to live out a life that has meaning, is it not easy to let go of the intention of gaining blessings? (It’s not easy.) Of forsaking your family, forsaking the world, and letting go of the intention of gaining blessings, which is more difficult? (Letting go of the intention of gaining blessings.) Some people see it clearly. Tell me, what is the greatest constraint to those who believe in God? It is the intention of gaining blessings. You see, a portion of people are able to forsake their wife (or husband), and their sons and daughters, and this isn’t too difficult for them. If they have faith they can forsake them. It is their intention to gain blessings that people always find hard to let go. It will take twenty years or a lifetime of pursuit. We are not saying you must completely let go of it, as this cannot be done. If you are able to let go of seventy percent, then you can be considered up to standard. What is this standard? One day God says, “I do not want you. I will put you to trial, and expose you; you are not someone who will be saved.” In this situation, if you don’t fall down, if you can still loyally expend for God, and you can still pursue the truth and fulfill your duty properly—if you can reach this standard—tell me, is this not bearing testimony? If you are able to attain this standard, that is enough. Suppose God says, “You are finished. You are not someone who will be saved, I don’t want you; even if you keep on pursuing the truth I still won’t want you, and I still won’t save you.” If you can withstand this trial, it shows that your intention in believing in God is right and is completely set aright. At present many people have not been given such a trial—only a minority have received it. Which people have received this trial? Even if I don’t say, you all know it. It is clarified in God’s words. Some people have been expelled and are without hope—these people have already received this trial. Someone is busily and enthusiastically pursuing in the church, and their intention and desire to gain blessings is still very strong. They think, “There’s really hope this time, this time I can get it.” The intention of these people to gain blessings is still a raging fire! One day, when the trial of service-doers again comes upon them, it is for resolving the problem of their intention of gaining blessings. Will God give you a trial of service-doer as He did in the past? (He will not.) When it comes again, what method will He use? Either you will be expelled, or He may use words to tell you, “You’ve finished doing service, and now you’re eliminated,” or you will receive some revelation, or through comparing your states against God’s words you will understand God’s intention, and you will know: “Ah! Throughout all these years of believing in God I have been doing service, and now my service is done!” Is this the trial of service-doers coming upon you again? You feel, “Me fulfilling my duty now is purely doing service!” This is the service-doer’s trial coming upon you, and it comes in this manner. And when it comes upon you, you must suffer refinement for some time. You think, “Ah! I didn’t expect that I would be also a service-doer. Being a service-doer, is there no hope at all for me? Will I always definitely be a service-doer and never be able to become one of the people of God? Will destruction still be my end?” You remain puzzled despite much thought, and you are stuck in the trial. Have you received this trial? Some people say: “Now I am asked to make movies, write scripts or articles, or make videos, yet I don’t have any truth. Is this doing service?” There are many who think like this. Is it that you are enjoying the trial of service-doers? You are in the trial of service-doers. The trial of service-doers represents a stage in your life experience, where regardless of how much you think about it and whether you speak of it or not, you have a knot in your heart and it is not resolved yet. This phase you are in is the phase of doing service, and you have not entered into the phase of fulfilling duty. So if a person is never able to come out of the phase of the trial of service-doers, and cannot find release from this situation, how will their duty be affected? Are they not negative for a while whenever they think of it? Is not their heart often dispirited? (It is.) Are they not often bound a little and feeling pained and distressed? Are they not sometimes without motivation, thereby doing things carelessly and perfunctorily? Are they not without loyalty most of the time? All of this is normal. Even if you don’t speak of it, it is the case. I passed through the trial of service-doers like this. Therefore no person is excepted. The trial of service-doers befell at the end of 1991. At that time I was the leader, and though I was not told that I was a service-doer, I thought about it: “I’m also a service-doer. Now that you are all service-doers, I should be the greatest service-doer. I will take the lead to do service!” Even I thought like that. At that time people thought about many things; most thoughts strayed too far from the truth, and they didn’t have any connection with the truth. To God, they were all foolish thoughts, and they are untenable. As far as people saw it, they were all reasonable and well-founded. God saw it as worthless, and resembling the thinking of animals. People must experience this phase, and in the end, they will be willing to do service, and will say, “Doing service is also God’s exaltation, and though we are doing service we must also gain the truth, live out some human likeness, and only then will we not live this life for nothing!” Now people all have the resolution to pursue the truth; this is commendable. This shows that God’s work has achieved some results in us; it can also be said that the preliminary result has been reached, and the foundation of our belief in God is now laid! So when many of God’s chosen people are arrested by the great red dragon, they are able to stand after so much torture. This fact explains all of the following: The foundation of our belief in God is now laid, and Satan cannot shake us. There is no person or thing that can wrest us from the palm of God. Is this not testimony? It shows that we have laid foundation on the true way of believing in God, and that Satan has already been thoroughly shamed and defeated. So what is the path we should take next? Pursuing the truth, and attaining changes in life disposition. This is important!
Changes in our life disposition are closely connected with us fulfilling our duty up to standard. To fulfill our duty up to standard, what problem must we solve first? The intention of gaining blessings. If you fulfill your duty diligently in order to gain rewards, to gain a crown of righteousness, and to enter the kingdom, then this is no different from the road that Paul walked. Paul’s preaching of the gospel, his running about, and his work were all in order to gain a crown of righteousness. Today we should fulfill our duties and bear witness for what purpose? To live a life that has meaning; to repay God’s love; to gain the truth, and to live out a true human likeness to glorify God and shame Satan. Thus, our belief in God should not be to gain blessings, but rather to live a life that has meaning to bring glory to God. If we bear this witness, it will shame Satan, and can give God satisfaction. How do we bear this witness? Should our intention of gaining blessings be resolved or not? No matter when God puts us to trial, or whatever God speaks in the future, if we completely give up the intention of gaining blessings, and are not controlled by it, then we will have borne this testimony. Suppose God says, “You are not blessed, and you will not attain salvation. Even if you pursue the truth hard, I don’t want you, because you are all descendants of Satan. Even if I have saved you from Satan’s influence, sooner or later you will perish, and I still won’t want you.” If one day such a trial as this befalls us, we will say, “No matter how God treats us in the future, we still want to pursue the truth now, and we still want to repay God’s love. One day, if we really die, we will not complain, or feel wronged in the slightest.” We will bear this witness, and we want to humiliate Satan and glorify God in this way; only this is the testimony of changes in life disposition—we are freed from the intention of gaining blessings. Now some people are fulfilling their duty energetically, and they have forsaken all, and can endure any hardships without complaint. Suppose God says, “Satan, what do you say?” Satan then says, “These people suffer hardships and pay the price without complaint, because they cherish the hope of blessings. People are only willing to suffer hardships, forsake things, and pay the price in order to enter the kingdom. If You strip them of their hope of blessings, proclaiming to them: ‘Even if you obtain the truth, I will still destroy you, and I will not save you,’ they will immediately retreat, and not fulfill their duties like this.” Satan would definitely accuse us like this before God. So how do we bear the testimony of changes in disposition, the testimony of truly loving God? We must remove our intention of gaining blessings to bear this testimony. After this intention is removed, one day when some people are expelled, they will still be able to fulfill their duties as before, without desiring that their brothers and sisters will see it, nor asking for God’s reward. Their intention is just to obtain the truth and live out the likeness of a true human to repay God’s love, to glorify God and humiliate Satan, and nothing else. One day when some people receive God’s announcement: “I don’t want you, and I have eliminated you,” they will still be able to fulfill their duties as before. They are dedicated to God, thinking, “I will fulfill my duty properly, and in the rest of my life, I will strive to live out a human likeness to glorify God and repay God’s love, and not seek to gain blessings.” How is this testimony? Can it not shame Satan? This testimony is a powerful proof, and Satan has nothing to say. Why is there nothing to say? Because the background of their doing their duties is that they have no hope of blessings. Since they stood up after God’s announcement, the fulfillment of their duties in fact is not for the purpose of gaining blessings. Tell me, is this testimony easy to bear or not? (It’s not easy.) So, can your pursuit of the truth achieve this result? Pursuing the truth requires a goal; it is in order to bear witness for God. Pursuit of the truth is inseparable from testimony; if it parts from bearing testimony then it is empty words. If it parts from living out the likeness of a true human, then what you pursue is not the truth. Thus, when it comes to pursuit of the truth, we have to consider: “How do I bear testimony? What kind of a testimony should I live? What truths do I need to have as my life so that I can achieve results and meet the goal?” Therefore, pursuing the truth requires a goal; it serves to achieve the goal in your heart. Good testimony is not made by going through the process carelessly and aimlessly. You see, there are some people now who still persist in their own opinions, and their own will, however God’s house prunes and deals with them. They cannot accept the truth, they perform their duties in order to achieve their individual goals, and achieve their individual ambitions, and not to glorify God, nor to bear witness for God. This kind of person is someone who walks the path of the antichrist; they are the same as Paul, and they stubbornly refuse to repent. Can this kind of person be used by God’s house? They can’t be used! No matter what duty you do, you must accept the truth so that you can do it up to standard. If you do your duty in departure from the truth, is it fulfilling your duty? Can it still be called fulfilling duty? That is not called fulfilling duty. Doing one’s duty with the intention of gaining blessings is called doing service, and doing service this way is below standard. For example, someone does a duty, and within it there is not a bit of reality of the truth; if their duty is made public, then you will see that it is simply not edifying to God’s chosen people, but is purely deceiving them, and purely causing mischief. There is not a bit of meaning to it. Their fulfilling of the duty does not bring any edification to people’s lives. Furthermore, it is not in itself a testimony, and it has no benefit for God’s chosen people; this kind of work is futile. It is futile and meaningless, so this kind of fulfillment of duties, fulfilling duties without truth, is all causing mischief and disturbance. If they refuse to repent, then they are condemned as causing disturbance and interruption. You came to God’s house and do not do your duty properly, and make disturbances and interruptions; would God’s house use you? Could God’s house continue to use you? It will by no means use you; you are too disobedient! No man is perfect, and no one can do everything in conformity with the truth, but when God’s house leads you into the truth, and onto the right life path, you refuse to walk that path, and refuse to accept the truth. Once your fulfillment of your duty is meaningless, produces no results, and becomes disturbance and interruption, God’s house will end your duty, saying, “Stop working. The duty you have carried out is not up to standard, it is useless, and it is pure disturbance and interruption.” You should immediately stop, and leave. If you repent and make a new start in fulfilling your duty, and can obey the arrangements of God’s house, then you are qualified to do the duty, and the duty you fulfill will be adequate. Is fulfilling duties without principle okay? Fulfilling your duty without principle is absolutely not okay, and not up to standard, and God’s house doesn’t need you.
People who cannot even do their duties properly and who show no sense and humanity in fulfilling their duties are devils! All that devils do, accurately speaking, is below the standard of doing service. It is all disturbance and interruption, and is evil. Can doing evil be counted as doing service? Doing evil cannot even be counted as doing service, it is below the standard of doing service. The outcome of doing multifarious evil is to be punished. Doing service up to standard means that despite having no truth, the work that one has done is considered by God’s house as slightly useful for the work of spreading the gospel, and it is contributive, but the results are not very good; this is doing service. For example, someone does not have the truth, but they can really convert some people, they are really able to bring them before God, and bring them into the church. Among them, some truly have sincere faith in God, and a minority truly pursue the truth. So, is what these people do doing service or not? This is doing service up to standard, and they have brought people before God. Some people preach the gospel to some evil spirits and evil people, but they think themselves to have rendered meritorious service; is this kind of person doing service? This kind of person is doing evil. Because the people they have brought in are all evil people, wicked spirits, the weak-minded and wooden-headed people, and among them there is no one who will be able to attain salvation, not even a real service-doer, this is seen as disturbance and interruption, and evil. Some people do not know how to preach the gospel, and they like to preach the gospel to those who are licentious. Some people bring in the spies of the great red dragon. Are they not doing evil? This is also doing evil, and it is not doing service. Although some people do not have the truth, and they rely on their self-will and act blindly, they still do some good service, and they bring some good people to God’s house; this is doing service. Some do their loyal service until the end though they do not have the truth, nor do they have life, and they have done much great service and done many good things for God’s house. This kind of person may become a loyal service-doer who will remain. God is so fair to people, and does not treat service-doers poorly. However, God also imposes punishment on people who do multifarious evils; this reveals God’s righteousness, and reveals that God is the truth. If God does not impose any punishment on evil people, and has only mercy and love for all people, would you be able to see God’s righteousness? You wouldn’t see God’s righteousness. Where do you feel God is most lovable? God’s righteousness is most lovable! God treats people with righteousness and fairness, and He treats people with principle. God detests evil people, and loves people who practice the truth. His justice and righteousness is most lovable! Now that we are pursuing the truth, and we want to do our duties as a created being well, and live a life that has meaning, our intention of gaining blessings must be resolved. How do you see your intention of gaining blessings now? Is the intention of gaining blessings not somewhat selfish? Is it not somewhat shameful? If people always cherish the intention of gaining blessings in their belief in God, then where is their character, integrity, and dignity? They have no integrity, and they have no dignity; they are despicable and shameful! This confirms the saying of Satan, “Every man for himself, and the devil takes the hindmost.” It is Satan’s nature that controls them. If you can see clearly the intention of gaining blessings to the point that even you yourself are disgusted with it, and as soon as the intention of gaining blessings arises then you will slap yourself, and think, “This is shameful, this is without integrity and without dignity!” At that time, you will have abandoned it. When one day this trial comes upon you, even though your heart still feels some pain, you cannot go so far as to fall, be negative or retreat, give up your responsibilities, or distance yourself from God, and even less will you complain about God. In this way, you will have a testimony, and you will be able to stand firm; this in itself is testimony.