35. The Principles of Possessing True Faith
(1) True faith comes from experiencing and understanding God’s words, and is built on the foundation of understanding the truth and knowing God’s work;
(2) It is necessary to be diligent in reading God’s words; to accept and submit to God’s judgment and chastisement, as well as being pruned and dealt with by Him; and to come to know His righteous disposition;
(3) It is necessary to fulfill your allotted duty; to be able to accept and practice the truth, and become an honest person; and to come to submit to all that God arranges;
(4) In all matters, pray and seek the truth, genuinely commune with God, and be able to understand the truth, seeing God’s actions and that His word accomplishes all.
Relevant Words of God:
When Moses struck the rock, and the water bestowed by Jehovah sprang forth, it was because of his faith. When David played the lyre in praise of Me, Jehovah—with his heart filled with joy—it was because of his faith. When Job lost his livestock that filled the mountains and untold masses of wealth, and his body became covered in sore boils, it was because of his faith. When he could hear the voice of Me, Jehovah, and see the glory of Me, Jehovah, it was because of his faith. That Peter could follow Jesus Christ was down to his faith. That he could be nailed to the cross for My sake and give glorious testimony was also down to his faith. When John saw the glorious image of the Son of man, it was down to his faith. When he saw the vision of the last days, it was all the more because of his faith. The reason why the so-called multitudes of the Gentile nations have obtained My revelation, and have come to know that I have returned in the flesh to do My work among man, is also because of their faith. All those who are smitten by My harsh words and yet are brought solace by them and are saved—have they not done so because of their faith? People have received so much because of their faith, and it is not always a blessing. They may not receive the kind of happiness and joy that David felt, or have water bestowed by Jehovah as Moses did. For example, Job was blessed by Jehovah because of his faith, but he also suffered disaster. Whether you are blessed or suffer disaster, both are blessed events. Without faith, you would not be able to receive this work of conquest, much less see Jehovah’s deeds displayed before your eyes today. You would not be able to see, much less would you be able to receive. These scourges, these calamities, and all the judgments—if they did not befall you, would you be able to see Jehovah’s deeds today? Today, it is faith that allows you to be conquered, and it is being conquered that allows you to believe in Jehovah’s every deed. It is only because of faith that you receive such chastisement and judgment. Through this chastisement and judgment, you are conquered and perfected. Without the kind of chastisement and judgment you are receiving today, your faith would be in vain, because you would not know God; no matter how much you believed in Him, your faith would remain but an empty expression ungrounded in reality. It is only after you receive this work of conquest, work which makes you completely obedient, that your faith becomes true, and reliable, and your heart turns toward God. Even if you suffer great judgment and curse because of this word, “faith,” you nonetheless have true faith and you receive the truest, most real, and most precious thing. This is because it is only in the course of judgment that you see the final destination of God’s creations; it is in this judgment that you see that the Creator is to be loved; it is in such work of conquest that you behold the arm of God; it is in this conquest that you come to fully understand human life; it is in this conquest that you gain the right path of human life and come to understand the true meaning of “man”; it is only in this conquest that you see the righteous disposition of the Almighty and His beautiful, glorious countenance; it is in this work of conquest that you learn of man’s origin and understand all mankind’s “immortal history”; it is in this conquest that you come to comprehend mankind’s ancestors and the origin of mankind’s corruption; it is in this conquest that you receive joy and comfort as well as endless chastening, discipline, and words of reproach from the Creator to the mankind He created; it is in this work of conquest that you receive blessings, as well as the calamities that are man’s due…. Is this not all because of your little bit of faith? And did your faith not grow after you gained these things? Have you not gained a tremendous amount?
Excerpted from “The Inside Truth of the Work of Conquest (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The utmost faith and love are required from us in this stage of work. We may stumble from the slightest carelessness, for this stage of work is different from all the previous ones: What God is perfecting is mankind’s faith, which is both invisible and intangible. What God does is convert words to faith, to love, and to life. People must reach a point where they have endured hundreds of refinements and possess faith greater than Job’s. They must endure incredible suffering and all manner of torture without ever leaving God. When they are obedient unto death, and have great faith in God, then this stage of God’s work is complete.
Excerpted from “The Path … (8)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
While undergoing trials, it is normal for people to be weak, or to have negativity within them, or to lack clarity on God’s will or their path for practice. But in any case, you must have faith in God’s work, and not deny God, just like Job. Although Job was weak and cursed the day of his own birth, he did not deny that all things in human life were bestowed by Jehovah, and that Jehovah is also the One to take them all away. No matter how he was tested, he maintained this belief. In your experience, no matter what refinement you undergo through God’s words, what God requires of mankind, in brief, is their faith and their love for Him. What He perfects by working in this way is people’s faith, love, and aspirations. God does the work of perfection on people, and they cannot see it, cannot feel it; under such circumstances, your faith is required. People’s faith is required when something cannot be seen by the naked eye, and your faith is required when you cannot let go of your own notions. When you do not have clarity about God’s work, what is required of you is to have faith and to take a firm stance and stand witness. When Job reached this point, God appeared to him and spoke to him. That is, it is only from within your faith that you will be able to see God, and when you have faith God will perfect you. Without faith, He cannot do this. God will bestow upon you whatever you hope to gain. If you do not have faith, then you cannot be perfected and you will be unable to see God’s actions, much less His omnipotence. When you have faith that you will see His actions in your practical experience, then God will appear to you, and He will enlighten and guide you from within. Without that faith, God will be unable to do that. If you have lost hope in God, how will you be able to experience His work? Therefore, only when you have faith and you do not harbor doubts toward God, only when you have true faith in Him no matter what He does, will He enlighten and illuminate you through your experiences, and only then will you be able to see His actions. These things are all achieved through faith. Faith comes only through refinement, and in the absence of refinement, faith cannot develop. What does this word, “faith,” refer to? Faith is the genuine belief and the sincere heart that humans should possess when they cannot see or touch something, when God’s work does not align with human notions, when it is beyond human reach. This is the faith that I speak of. People are in need of faith during times of hardship and refinement, and faith is something that is followed by refinement; refinement and faith cannot be separated. No matter how God works, and no matter your environment, you are able to pursue life and seek the truth, and seek knowledge of God’s work, and have an understanding of His actions, and you are able to act according to the truth. Doing so is what it is to have true faith, and doing so shows that you have not lost faith in God. You can only have true faith in God if you are able to persist in pursuing the truth through refinement, if you are able to truly love God and do not develop doubts about Him, if no matter what He does you still practice the truth to satisfy Him, and if you are able to seek in the depths for His will and be considerate of His will. In the past, when God said that you would reign as a king, you loved Him, and when He openly showed Himself to you, you pursued Him. But now God is hidden, you cannot see Him, and troubles have come upon you—do you then now lose hope in God? So, you must at all times pursue life and seek to satisfy God’s will. This is called genuine faith, and this is the truest and most beautiful kind of love.
Excerpted from “Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In the past, people would all come before God to make their resolutions, and they would say: “Even if no one else loves God, I must love Him.” But now, refinement comes upon you, and since this does not align with your notions, you lose faith in God. Is this genuine love? You have read many times about the deeds of Job—have you forgotten about them? True love can only take shape from within faith. You develop real love for God through the refinements you undergo, and it is through your faith that you are able to be considerate of God’s will in your practical experiences, and it is also through faith that you forsake your own flesh and pursue life; this is what people should do. If you do this, then you will be able to see God’s actions, but if you lack faith, then you will be unable to see God’s actions or to experience His work. If you want to be used and perfected by God, then you must be possessed of everything: the will to suffer, faith, endurance, obedience, and the ability to experience the work of God, grasp His will, be considerate of His sorrow, and so forth. Perfecting a person is not easy, and every single refinement that you experience requires your faith and love. If you want to be perfected by God, it is not enough to merely rush ahead on the path, nor is it enough to merely expend yourself for God. You must possess many things to be able to become someone who is perfected by God. When you face suffering, you must be able to lay aside concern for the flesh and to not make complaints against God. When God hides Himself from you, you must be able to have the faith to follow Him, to maintain your previous love without allowing it to falter or dissipate. No matter what God does, you must submit to His design and be prepared to curse your own flesh rather than make complaints against Him. When you are faced with trials, you must satisfy God, though you may weep bitterly or feel reluctant to part with some beloved object. Only this is true love and faith. No matter what your actual stature is, you must first possess both the will to suffer hardship and true faith, and you must also have the will to forsake the flesh. You should be willing to endure personal hardships and suffer losses to your personal interests in order to satisfy God’s will. You must also be capable of feeling regret about yourself in your heart: In the past, you were unable to satisfy God, and now, you can regret yourself. You must not be lacking in any of these regards—it is through these things that God will perfect you. If you cannot meet these criteria, then you cannot be perfected.
Excerpted from “Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Job had never seen God, but he was able to stay true to his faith, which no other person was able to do. Why could other people not do that? It is because God did not speak to Job or appear to him, and if he had not truly believed, he could not have gone on, nor could he have held fast to the way of fearing God and shunning evil. Is this not true? How do you feel when you read of Job saying these words? Do you feel that Job’s perfection and uprightness, and his righteousness before God, are true, and not an exaggeration on the part of God? Even though God treated Job the same as other people and did not appear or speak to him, Job still held firm to his integrity, still believed in God’s sovereignty, and, furthermore, he frequently offered burnt offerings and prayed before God as a result of his fear of offending God. In Job’s ability to fear God without having seen God, we see how much he loved positive things, and how firm and real his faith was. He did not deny the existence of God because God was hidden from him, nor did he lose his faith and forsake God because he had never seen Him. Instead, amid God’s hidden work of ruling all things, he had realized the existence of God, and felt the sovereignty and power of God. He did not give up on being upright because God was hidden, nor did he forsake the way of fearing God and shunning evil because God had never appeared to him. Job had never asked that God openly appear to him to prove His existence, for he had already beheld God’s sovereignty among all things, and he believed that he had gained the blessings and graces that others had not gained. Although God remained hidden to him, Job’s faith in God was never shaken. Thus, he harvested what none other had: God’s approval and God’s blessing.
Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Almighty God, the Head of all things, wields His kingly power from His throne. He rules over the universe and all things, and He is in the act of guiding us on the whole earth. We shall at every moment be close to Him, and come before Him in quietness, never missing a single moment, and with lessons for us to learn at all times. Everything, from the surrounding environment to people, affairs, and things, all exist by permission of His throne. Do not on any account let grievances arise in your heart, or God will not bestow His grace upon you. When sickness befalls, this is God’s love, and surely His kind intentions are harbored within. Though your body may undergo a bit of suffering, entertain no ideas from Satan. Praise God in the midst of illness and enjoy God in the midst of your praise. Do not lose heart in the face of illness, keep seeking again and again and do not give up, and God will illuminate you with His light. How was Job’s faith? Almighty God is an all-powerful physician! To dwell in sickness is to be sick, but to dwell in the spirit is to be well. So long as you still have one breath, God will not let you die.
We have within us the resurrected life of Christ. Undeniably, we lack faith in the presence of God: Would that God would put true faith within us. Sweet indeed is the word of God! God’s word is potent medicine! It puts to shame the devils and Satan! Grasping God’s word gives us support. His word acts fast to save our hearts! It dispels all things and sets all at peace. Faith is like a single log bridge: Those who cling abjectly to life will have difficulty in crossing it, but those who are ready to sacrifice themselves can pass over, sure of foot and worry-free. If man harbors timid and fearful thoughts, it is because Satan has fooled them, afraid that we will cross the bridge of faith to enter into God. Satan is trying in every way possible to send us its thoughts. We should at every moment pray for God to illuminate us with His light, at every moment rely on God to purge Satan’s poison from within us, practice within our spirit at every moment how to come close to God, and let God have dominion over our whole being.
from “Chapter 6” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh
What is manifested in those with true faith in God? They believe in His words and are able to live out the reality of His words in their lives. They believe in the existence and sovereignty of God, and not only do they believe in these things, but they are also able to abide by this law in their everyday lives, and constantly seek, obey, and await the sovereignty and orchestrations of God. They do not go ahead and do things their own way, they are not hell-bent on getting what they themselves want, and they do not question the existence and sovereignty of God or complain about and misinterpret God as soon as their wishes are not fulfilled by God. When the truths or the words of God that you believe in and acknowledge become your reality, and they guide your thoughts, your ideas, your life, and the direction of your entire life’s path, you then become capable of true faith in God. Only when you are possessed of true faith born of true belief and true obedience will your faith be true faith in God! This is how people acquire true faith.
Excerpted from “Only If One Is Truly Obedient Can They Have True Faith” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
People who have experienced and undergone God’s words appreciate what each of them refers to, how God works in people, and how God’s words are fulfilled and come true. These people have come to appreciate the details of such things by practical experience. They know how God rules man and guides man; they even know such detailed things as how God disciplines people in a given matter; how, in real life, God provides people with what they should understand each day; and how He guides people, in all things, to experience His words and attain an understanding of the truth and knowledge of God. They can speak of these detailed processes. They have no lofty doctrine or pretty words, but everything they say is real, and accords with the truth. That is, those words they speak are learned from experience, experienced from reality and from their lives, and everything they say is real, practical, and has a basis; it is not based on empty imaginings. When you ask these people precisely where or who God is, although they might not be able to give you a particularly detailed description, they will use the language of experience to tell you why God is the truth and why God is the way. They will use facts and their own, personal experiences to tell you what the essence of God is and where He is, and they will use their practical experience to testify to the deeds of God; to testify to the fact that God is the truth, the way, and the life; and to testify to how God rules the fate of man, and how He guides people in their daily lives, leading them to safe passage through difficulties in every matter. Is this not quite authentic? Do such people not have faith in God? What foundation is their faith built on? They have seen with their eyes, heard with their ears, encountered with their persons, and experienced with their bodies what it is to be stirred by God, and His guidance, and even His reproach and discipline. So, too, have they experienced the sovereignty and orchestration of God. They have experienced how God uses His words to encourage, exhort, comfort, and guide people when they are weak. They have experienced how God disciplines people and how He judges and chastises them when they are rebellious against Him, and which of His words they have heard, and which they have experienced. They have also experienced how, when an issue befalls a person, and they are bewildered and at a loss, not knowing what to do, they come before God to pray and search, and what sort of enlightenment He gives them, and what sort of guidance and support, to lead them to an understanding of the principles of practice in such a matter. Are these not the most precious of all things gained by people in experiencing God’s work? With these things, you will have true faith in God, and, with true faith, you will truly believe in Him.
Excerpted from God’s Fellowship
At the moment, you are very enthusiastic about performing your duty, but does enthusiasm necessarily mean you have faith? Is true faith one of its components? Are there states in it that are impulsive, a fleeting burst of enthusiasm? What does a heart of faith fear most? What it fears most is the advent of reality; what it fears most is refinement. So, what kind of refinement can demonstrate that someone has true faith? What should you possess that can show God your true faith and enable you to rely on that faith to live before God, to obey and follow Him? What must you possess to be able to submit to God’s orchestrations, such that they are not difficulties to you, no matter what He does, and no matter what kind of difficulties, tribulations or afflictions befall you—even those that concern your destiny and prospects—and to prove that you are possessed of true faith? That is, when God tests you, when He places you in an environment, when He tries you and refines you, when He takes things from you, and when what He does is at odds with your notions, what are the things you can live out and possess to prove your faith is true and that you are possessed of true faith? At the very least, you must truly understand that all matters and things, and the destiny of man, are controlled by God in His hand, that in them all are His orchestrations and arrangements, and that they are not man’s to decide, nor his to calculate or plan. Understand these things first of all. This is one aspect of the manifestation of true faith in a person. What other things and truths must you possess to prove you have true faith? (To have seen the hand of God while undergoing trials and refinement; to have seen that all God does is good, and is all for the sake of changing and purifying us. All of it is salvation.) That is one part. As far as people are concerned, all God does is in order to cleanse and save them, and it all contains truth, and benefits them. So, have you experienced these things? At the moment, do you merely know of them, or have you already experienced part of them? The extent of your experience is the extent of faith you possess. The amount of judgment, chastisement, trials and refinement you have experienced engenders a corresponding amount of faith in you. Faith comes from experience. It is achieved through understanding the truth, and it arises from knowing God; it does not come from studying theology. If what comes out of your mouth is what you have heard from other people, that is not necessarily your real experience or your true faith. You have to experience these things personally; you yourself must gain them, verifying that “This is done by God. Such is the sovereignty of God, and such are the orchestrations and arrangements of God.” This alone is your own true stature, and the source of your true faith. If your experiences have not reached this level—if all you do is listen to others, and think their words are right and the truth, and you accept whatever you hear, merely accepting it yet not having seen it, nor having undergone it—then this is not your true faith. It may well be the true faith of other people, but it is not yours. How far have you gotten so far? You are able to preach, and you are able to use these words and correct doctrines to support and help others, and provide for them—but, as you have provided for them, have you ever thought of whether these things are able to provide for you? When, one day, you encounter the same such difficulties—the same trials as Job encountered, for example—will you be able to choose the way of fearing God and shunning evil, as Job did? (We would not.) At the moment, you are incapable of that, and this is a problem. Merely to believe in God without experiencing His work will not do; it is incapable of giving rise to true faith.
Excerpted from “What Must Be Possessed to Achieve True Faith” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
If people do not have any confidence, it is not easy for them to continue down this path. Everyone can now see that God’s work does not conform in the slightest with people’s notions. God has done so much work and spoken so many words, which are completely out of line with human notions. Thus, people must have the confidence and willpower to be able to stand by what they have already seen and what they have gained from their experiences. No matter what God does in people, they must uphold what they themselves possess, be sincere in front of God, and remain devoted to Him to the very end. This is mankind’s duty. People must uphold that which they should do. Belief in God requires obedience to Him and experience of His work. God has done so much work—it could be said that for people it is all perfection, refinement, and even more, chastisement. There has not been a single step of God’s work that has been in line with human notions; what people have enjoyed is God’s stern words. When God comes, people should enjoy His majesty and His wrath. However, no matter how stern His words may be, He comes to save and perfect mankind. As creatures, people should fulfill the duties that they ought to, and stand witness for God in the midst of refinement. In every trial they should uphold the witness that they should bear, and do so resoundingly for the sake of God. A person who does this is an overcomer. No matter how God refines you, you remain full of confidence and never lose confidence in Him. You do what man should do. This is what God requires of man, and man’s heart should be able to fully return to Him and turn toward Him in every passing moment. This is an overcomer. Those whom God refers to as “overcomers” are those who are still able to stand witness and maintain their confidence and devotion to God when under the influence of Satan and while being laid siege to by Satan, that is, when they find themselves amidst the forces of darkness. If you are still able to keep a pure heart before God and maintain your genuine love for God no matter what, then you are standing witness in front of God, and this is what God refers to as being an “overcomer.”
Excerpted from “You Should Maintain Your Devotion to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh