166. The Principles of Enjoying God’s Grace
(1) No matter how much grace one enjoys, they must learn to be attentive to God’s will. One should do their utmost to perform their duty well and requite God’s love;
(2) In enjoying God’s grace, one should understand His requirements of man, know His love, and learn to bear witness for Him. This alone accords with His will;
(3) God’s bestowal of grace upon man is an expression of His love, yet His intention is to save humanity from the influence of Satan, and to have people live out a human likeness;
(4) Do not be satisfied simply to enjoy God’s grace. You should pursue the truth and knowledge of God. To reach the point of being perfected by God is what pleases Him most.
Relevant Words of God:
God has given His life and what He has and is to people so that they can live them out, so that they can transform what God has and is and the truth He bestows upon them into the direction and the path for them to live, into their very life, so that they may live by this life. So, can we say that God has bestowed His life on people freely, thus making it become their life? Then what is it that people have obtained from God? God’s expectation? God’s promise? Or what? What they have obtained from God are not empty words, but God’s life! In addition to bestowing life upon people, the one requirement He has for you is that you take this life of God, turn it into your own life, and live it out. When God sees you living this life out, He feels satisfied. This is God’s only requirement. Thus, what humans obtain from God is priceless, and, while God is bestowing this most priceless of things upon humanity, God gains nothing; the greatest beneficiary is humankind. While accepting God’s words as their life, people also come to understand the truth, gain the principles of what it is to be human, grow the roots they need to be human, and gain the direction they need to follow to be human. They are no longer deceived and bound by Satan, no longer deceived and used by evil people, and no longer polluted or seduced by evil trends. Humans live free between heaven and earth, and they are liberated. They are able to live genuinely under God’s dominion, no longer to suffer harm by any evil or dark forces. That is, while they are living out this life, they no longer experience any pain, but instead live happily and without hardship; they live freely and have a normal relationship with God. They can no longer rebel against God or oppose Him; rather, they can live genuinely under God’s sovereignty. They live a right and proper life, from the inside out, and become authentic humans.
Excerpted from “Man Is the Greatest Beneficiary of God’s Management Plan” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
In God’s current stage of work in these, the last days, He no longer just bestows grace and blessings on man like He did before, nor does He coax man to move forward. During this stage of work, what has man seen from all the aspects of God’s work that he has experienced? Man has seen God’s love and God’s judgment and chastisement. During this period of time, God provides for, supports, enlightens and guides man, so that man gradually comes to know His intentions, to know the words He speaks and the truth He bestows on man. When man is weak, when he is dispirited, when he has nowhere to turn, God will use His words to comfort, advise, and encourage man, so that man’s small stature can gradually grow in strength, rise up in positivity and become willing to cooperate with God. But when man disobeys God or resists Him, or when man reveals his corruption, God will show no mercy in chastening and disciplining man. However, God will show tolerance and patience for man’s foolishness, ignorance, weakness and immaturity. In this way, through all the work God does for man, man gradually matures, grows up, and comes to know God’s intentions, comes to know certain truths, to know what things are positive and what are negative, to know what evil and darkness are. God does not take a single approach of always chastening and disciplining man, but nor does He always show tolerance and patience. Rather He provides for each person in different ways at their different stages and according to their different statures and caliber. He does many things for man and at great cost; man perceives nothing of these things or of the cost, yet in practice all that He does is truly carried out on every single person. God’s love is practical: Through the grace of God, man avoids one disaster after another, and all the while God shows tolerance time and again for man’s weaknesses. The judgment and chastisement of God allow people to gradually come to know mankind’s corruption and satanic essence. That which God provides, His enlightenment of man and His guidance all allow mankind to know more and more the essence of truth, and to increasingly know what people need, what road they should take, what they live for, the value and meaning of their lives, and how to walk the road ahead. All these things that God does are inseparable from His one original purpose. What, then, is this purpose? Why does God use these methods to carry out His work on man? What result does He want to achieve? In other words, what does He want to see in man? What does He want to obtain from man? What God wants to see is that man’s heart can be revived. These methods that He uses to work on man are a continual effort to awaken the heart of man, to awaken man’s spirit, to enable man to understand from where he came, who is guiding, supporting and providing for him, and who has allowed man to live until the present day; they are a means to enable man to understand who is the Creator, whom he should worship, what kind of road he should walk, and in what way man should come before God; they are a means to gradually revive the heart of man, so that man knows God’s heart, understands God’s heart, and comprehends the great care and thought behind His work to save man. When man’s heart is revived, man no longer wishes to live with a degenerate, corrupt disposition, but wishes instead to pursue the truth in order to satisfy God. When man’s heart has been awakened, man is then able to tear himself fully away from Satan. No longer will he be harmed by Satan, no longer controlled or fooled by it. Instead, man can proactively cooperate in God’s work and His words to satisfy the heart of God, thus attaining fear of God and shunning evil. This is the original purpose of God’s work.
Excerpted from “God Himself, the Unique VI” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Man lives amid the flesh, which means he lives in a human hell, and without God’s judgment and chastisement, man is as filthy as Satan. How could man be holy? Peter believed that chastisement and judgment by God were man’s best protection and greatest grace. Only through chastisement and judgment by God could man awaken and hate the flesh, hate Satan. God’s strict discipline frees man from the influence of Satan, frees him from his own little world, and allows him to live in the light of God’s presence. There is no better salvation than chastisement and judgment! Peter prayed, “O God! As long as You chastise and judge me, I will know that You have not left me. Even if You do not give me joy or peace, and make me live in suffering, and inflict countless chastenings on me, as long as You do not leave me, my heart will be at ease. Today, Your chastisement and judgment have become my best protection and my greatest blessing. The grace You give me protects me. The grace You bestow upon me today is a manifestation of Your righteous disposition, and is chastisement and judgment; moreover, it is a trial, and, more than that, it is a life of suffering.” Peter was able to put aside the pleasures of the flesh and seek a deeper love and greater protection, because he had gained so much grace from God’s chastisement and judgment. In his life, if man wishes to be cleansed and achieve changes in his disposition, if he wishes to live out a life of meaning and fulfill his duty as a creature, then he must accept God’s chastisement and judgment, and must not allow God’s discipline and God’s smiting to depart from him, in order that he may free himself from the manipulation and influence of Satan, and live in the light of God. Know that God’s chastisement and judgment is the light, and the light of man’s salvation, and that there is no better blessing, grace or protection for man.
Excerpted from “The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Today man sees that with the grace, love, and mercy of God alone, he is incapable of truly knowing himself, and much less is he able to know the substance of man. Only through both the refinement and judgment of God, and during the process of refinement itself, can man know his deficiencies, and know that he has nothing. Thus, man’s love of God is built upon the foundation of the refinement and judgment of God. If you only enjoy the grace of God, having a peaceful family life or material blessings, then you have not gained God, and your belief in God cannot be considered successful. God has already carried out one stage of the work of grace in the flesh, and has already bestowed material blessings upon man, but man cannot be made perfect with grace, love, and mercy alone. In man’s experiences, he encounters some of God’s love and sees the love and mercy of God, yet having experienced for a period of time, he sees that God’s grace and His love and mercy are incapable of making man perfect, incapable of revealing that which is corrupt within man, and incapable of ridding man of his corrupt disposition, or making perfect his love and faith. God’s work of grace was the work of one period, and man cannot rely on enjoying the grace of God in order to know God.
Excerpted from “Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Those who are without the slightest obedience to God, who merely acknowledge His name, and have some sense of God’s kindness and loveliness, yet do not keep pace with the steps of the Holy Spirit, and do not obey the present work and words of the Holy Spirit—such people live amid the grace of God, and will not be gained or made perfect by Him. God makes people perfect through their obedience, through their eating, drinking, and enjoying of God’s words, and through the suffering and refinement in their lives. Only through faith such as this can people’s dispositions change, and only then can they possess the true knowledge of God. Not being satisfied with living amid God’s grace, actively yearning and searching for the truth, and seeking to be gained by God—this is what it means to consciously obey God and this is precisely the kind of faith that He wants. People who do nothing more than enjoy God’s grace cannot be made perfect or changed; and their obedience, piety, love, and patience are all superficial. Those who only enjoy God’s grace cannot truly know God, and even when they do know God, their knowledge is superficial, and they say things like “God loves man,” or “God is compassionate toward man.” This does not represent the life of man, and does not show that people truly know God.
Excerpted from “In Your Faith in God You Should Obey God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
That God is able to work in the so-called “sick man of East Asia” is His great power. It is His humility and hiddenness. Regardless of His harsh words or chastisement toward us, we should praise Him from the bottom of our hearts for His humility, and love Him until the very end for this. People who have been bound by Satan for several thousand years have continued to live under its influence and have not thrown it off. They have continued to bitterly grope and struggle. In the past they would burn incense, and bow to and enshrine Satan, and they were tightly bound to family and secular entanglements as well as social interactions. They were unable to throw them off. In this kind of dog-eat-dog society, where can anyone find a meaningful life? What people recount is a life of suffering, and fortunately, God has saved these innocent people, placing our lives under His care and protection, so that our lives are joyful and no longer full of worries. We have continued to live under His grace so far. Is this not God’s blessing? How can anyone have the nerve to make extravagant demands of God? Has He given us so little? Are you still not satisfied? I think that the time has come for us to repay God’s love. We may suffer no small amount of ridicule, slander, and persecution because we follow the path of belief in God, but I believe this is a meaningful thing. It is a thing of glory, not shame, and no matter what, many are the blessings we enjoy. In countless times of disappointment, God’s words have brought comfort, and before we know it, sorrow has turned to joy. In countless times of need, God has brought blessings and we have been provided for through His words. In countless times of sickness, God’s words have brought life—we have been freed from danger, and have turned from danger to safety. You have already enjoyed so many things such as these without realizing it. Do you remember nothing of this?
Excerpted from “The Path … (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
As people grow up, Satan’s gaze is fixed on every one of them, like a tiger eyeing its prey. But in doing His work, God has never been subject to any limitations arising from people, events or things, of space or time; He does what He should and what He must. In the process of growing up, you may encounter many things that are not to your liking, such as illness and frustration. But as you walk this path, your life and your future are strictly under God’s care. God gives you a genuine guarantee to last all your life, for He is right there beside you, guarding you and looking after you. You grow up unaware of this. You begin to come into contact with new things and start to get to know this world and this mankind. Everything is fresh and new to you. You have some things you enjoy doing. You live within your own humanity, you live within your own space and you have not the slightest perception about the existence of God. But God watches you every step of the way as you grow, and He watches you as you make every stride forward. Even when you are learning knowledge or studying science, God has never left your side for a single step. You are just the same as other people in that, in the course of getting to know the world and engage with it, you have established your own ideals, you have your own hobbies, your own interests, and you also harbor lofty ambitions. You often ponder your own future, often sketching the outline of how your future should look. But no matter what transpires along the way, God sees it all happening clearly. Maybe you yourself have forgotten your own past, but to God, there is no one who can understand you better than He. You live under God’s gaze, growing up, maturing. During this period, God’s most important task is something that no one ever perceives, something no one knows. God certainly does not tell anyone about it. So what is this most crucial thing? It can be said that it is the guarantee that God will save a person. This means that if God wants to save this person, He must do this. This task is vitally important to both man and God. Do you know what it is? It seems like you do not have any feeling about this, or any concept of it, so I will tell you. From the time you were born all the way up to now, God has carried out much work on you, but He does not give you an exhaustive account of everything He has done. God did not allow you to know this, and neither did He tell you. However, for mankind, everything He does is important. As far as God is concerned, it is something He must do. In His heart there is something important He needs to do that far exceeds any of these things. That is, from the time a person is born up to the present day, God must guarantee their safety. When you hear these words, you may feel as though you do not fully understand. You may ask, “Is this safety so important?” Well, what is the literal meaning of “safety”? Maybe you understand it to mean peace or maybe you understand it to mean never experiencing any disaster or calamity, to live well, to live a normal life. But in your hearts, you must know that it is not so simple. So what exactly is this thing that I have been talking about, that God has to do? What does safety mean to God? Is it really a guarantee of the normal meaning of “safety”? No. So what is it that God does? This “safety” means that you will not be devoured by Satan. Is this important? Not being devoured by Satan—does this concern your safety or not? Yes, this concerns your personal safety, and there can be nothing more important. Once you have been devoured by Satan, your soul and your flesh no longer belong to God. God will no longer save you. God forsakes souls and people who have been devoured by Satan. So I say the most important thing that God has to do is to guarantee this safety of yours, to guarantee that you will not be devoured by Satan. This is very important, is it not? So why can you not answer? It seems like you are unable to feel God’s great kindness!
Excerpted from “God Himself, the Unique VI” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
During Job’s life over the previous several decades, he had beheld the deeds of Jehovah and gained Jehovah God’s blessings for him. They were blessings that left him feeling enormously uneasy and indebted, for he believed that he had not done anything for God, yet had been bequeathed with such great blessings and had enjoyed so much grace. For this reason, he often prayed in his heart, hoping that he would be able to repay God, hoping that he would have the opportunity to bear testimony to God’s deeds and greatness, and hoping that God would put his obedience to the test, and, moreover, that his faith could be purified, until his obedience and his faith gained God’s approval. Then, when the trial came upon Job, he believed that God had heard his prayers. Job cherished this opportunity more than anything else, and thus he did not dare treat it lightly, for his greatest lifelong wish could be realized. The arrival of this opportunity meant that his obedience and fear of God could be put to the test, and could be made pure. Moreover, it meant that Job had a chance to gain God’s approval, thus bringing him closer to God. During the trial, such faith and pursuit allowed him to become more perfect, and to gain a greater understanding of God’s will. Job also became more grateful for God’s blessings and graces, in his heart he poured greater praise on the deeds of God, and he was more fearful and reverent of God, and longed more for God’s loveliness, greatness, and holiness. At this time, though Job was still one who feared God and shunned evil in the eyes of God, with regard to his experiences, Job’s faith and knowledge had progressed in leaps and bounds: His faith had increased, his obedience had gained a foothold, and his fear of God had become more profound. Though this trial transformed Job’s spirit and life, such a transformation did not satisfy Job, nor did it slow his progress onward. At the same time as calculating what he had gained from this trial, and considering his own deficiencies, he quietly prayed, waiting for the next trial to come upon him, because he yearned for his faith, obedience, and fear of God to be elevated during the next trial of God.
Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In his heart, Job profoundly believed that all he possessed had been bestowed upon him by God, and was not the product of his own labor. Thus, he did not see these blessings as something to be capitalized upon, but instead anchored the principles of his survival in holding on with all his might to the way that should be upheld. He cherished God’s blessings and gave thanks for them, but he was not enamored of blessings, nor did he seek more of them. Such was his attitude toward property. He neither did anything for the sake of gaining blessings, nor worried about or was aggrieved by the lack or loss of God’s blessings; he neither became wildly, deliriously happy because of God’s blessings, nor ignored the way of God or forgot the grace of God because of the blessings he frequently enjoyed.
Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Abraham offered up Isaac—what have you offered up? Job offered up everything—what have you offered up? So many people have given their lives, laid down their heads, shed their blood in order to seek the true way. Have you paid that price? By comparison, you are not at all qualified to enjoy such great grace. Does it wrong you to say today that you are the descendants of Moab? Do not regard yourselves too highly. You have nothing to brag about. Such great salvation, such great grace is given to you freely. You have sacrificed nothing, yet you enjoy grace freely. Do you not feel ashamed? Is this true way something you sought out and found by yourselves? Was it not the Holy Spirit that compelled you to accept it? You have never had hearts of seeking, much less hearts that seek and long for the truth. You have just been sitting back and enjoying it; you have gained this truth without expending the least effort. What right do you have to complain? Do you think you are of the greatest worth? Compared to those who sacrificed their lives and spilled their blood, what do you have to complain about? Destroying you now would be right and natural! You have no option other than to obey and follow. You simply are not worthy! Most of those among you were called out, but had your environment not compelled you or had you not been called, you would have been entirely unwilling to come out. Who is willing to take on such renunciation? Who is willing to give up the pleasures of the flesh? You are all people who greedily revel in comfort and seek a luxurious life! You have gained such great blessings—what else do you have to say? What complaints do you have? You have been allowed to enjoy the greatest blessings and the greatest grace in heaven, and work that has never been done before on earth is today revealed to you. Is this not a blessing? You are chastised so today because you have resisted God and rebelled against Him. Because of this chastisement, you have seen God’s mercy and love, and more still you have seen His righteousness and holiness. Because of this chastisement and because of mankind’s filthiness, you have seen God’s great power, and you have seen His holiness and greatness. Is this not the rarest of truths? Is this not a life with meaning? The work that God does is full of meaning! Thus, the lower your position, the more it proves that you are elevated by God, and the more it proves the great value of His work on you today. It is simply a priceless treasure, which cannot be gotten anywhere else! Through the ages, no one has enjoyed such great salvation. The fact that your position is low shows how great God’s salvation is, and it shows that God is faithful to mankind—He saves, He does not destroy.
Excerpted from “The Significance of Saving the Descendants of Moab” in The Word Appears in the Flesh