115. The Principles of Identifying Nonbelievers
(1) Whoever consistently bears an attitude of doubt toward the incarnation, God’s words, and God’s work, and whose faith in God merely relies on notions and imaginings, is a nonbeliever;
(2) Whoever does not read God’s words, does not listen to sermons and fellowship, and does not do their duty willingly, but complains constantly, spreading negativity, is a nonbeliever;
(3) Whoever neither seeks the truth nor accepts it when faced with an issue, but tries always to penetrate into matters and the people involved, and who follow rules rigidly, is a nonbeliever;
(4) Whoever does not accept being judged or chastised, or pruned or dealt with, and neither has a heart of reverence for God nor submits to Him in the least, is a nonbeliever.
Relevant Words of God:
Since you believe in God, you must put faith in all of the words of God and in all of His work. Which is to say, since you believe in God, you must obey Him. If you are unable to do this, then it does not matter whether you believe in God or not. If you have believed in God for many years, and yet have never obeyed Him, and do not accept the entirety of His words, and instead ask that God submit to you and act according to your notions, then you are the most rebellious of all, you are a nonbeliever. How could such people be able to obey the work and words of God that do not conform to the notions of man?
Excerpted from “Those Who Obey God With a True Heart Shall Surely Be Gained by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In their belief in God, if people do not have a heart of reverence for God, if they do not have a heart of obedience toward God, then not only will they be unable to do any work for Him, but on the contrary will become those who disturb His work and who defy Him. Believing in God but not obeying or revering Him, and instead resisting Him, is the greatest disgrace for a believer. If believers are just as casual and unrestrained in their speech and conduct as unbelievers are, then they are even more evil than unbelievers; they are archetypal demons.
Excerpted from “A Warning to Those Who Do Not Practice the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
There are some people whose faith has never been acknowledged within God’s heart. In other words, God does not recognize that they are His followers, because He does not praise their beliefs. For these people, regardless of how many years they have followed God, their ideas and views have never changed; they are like the unbelievers, adhering to the unbelievers’ principles and ways of doing things and to the unbelievers’ laws of survival and faith. They have never accepted the word of God as their life, never believed that God’s word is truth, never intended on accepting God’s salvation, and never recognized God as their God. They see believing in God as some kind of amateur hobby, treating Him as mere spiritual sustenance; as such, they do not think it is worth it to try and understand God’s disposition or essence. It can be said that all that corresponds to the true God has nothing to do with these people; they are not interested, nor can they be bothered to pay heed. This is because deep in their hearts, there is an intense voice that is always telling them, “God is invisible and untouchable, and does not exist.” They believe that trying to understand this sort of God would not be worth their efforts, and that in doing so they would be fooling themselves. They believe that by merely acknowledging God with words without taking any real stand or investing themselves in any real actions, they are being pretty clever. How does God look upon such people? He views them as unbelievers. Some people ask, “Can unbelievers read God’s words? Can they fulfill their duties? Can they say the words, ‘I’ll live for God’?” What humans often see are the displays people exhibit on the surface; they do not see people’s essences. However, God does not look at these superficial displays; He only sees their inner essences. Thus, this is the kind of attitude and definition God has toward these people.
Excerpted from “How to Know God’s Disposition and the Results His Work Shall Achieve” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
People nowadays are still unable to let go of things of the flesh; they cannot give up the enjoyment of the flesh, the world, money, or their corrupt dispositions. Most people go about their pursuits in a perfunctory manner. Actually, these people do not harbor God in their hearts at all; even worse, they do not fear God. They do not have God in their hearts, and so they cannot perceive all that God does, and much less are they capable of believing the words He utters. Such people are too much of the flesh; they are too deeply corrupted and lack any truth whatsoever. What is more, they do not believe that God can become flesh. Anyone who does not believe in God incarnate—that is, anyone who does not believe in the visible God or in His work and words, and instead worships the invisible God in heaven—is a person who does not have God in their heart. Such people are rebellious and resistant to God. They lack humanity and reason, to say nothing of truth. Moreover, for these people, the visible and tangible God all the more cannot be believed, yet they consider the invisible and intangible God to be most credible and most gladdening. What they seek is not the actual truth, nor is it the true essence of life; much less is it God’s will. Rather, they seek excitement. Whichever things can most enable them to fulfill their own desires are, without a doubt, what they believe in and what they pursue. They only believe in God in order to satisfy their own desires, not to seek the truth. Are such people not evildoers?
Excerpted from “God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Some people do not rejoice in the truth, much less judgment. Instead, they rejoice in power and riches; such people are called power seekers. They search only for those denominations in the world with influence, and they search only for pastors and teachers that come from seminaries. Though they have accepted the way of truth, they are only half-believing; they are incapable of giving all of their hearts and minds, their mouths speak of expending themselves for God, but their eyes are focused on the great pastors and teachers, and they do not spare Christ a second glance. Their hearts are fixated upon fame, fortune, and glory. They think it out of the question that such a meager person could be capable of conquering so many, that one so unremarkable could perfect man. They think it out of the question that these nobodies among the dust and dunghills are the people chosen by God. They believe that if such people were the objects of God’s salvation, then heaven and earth would be turned upside down, and all people would laugh themselves silly. They believe that if God chose such nobodies to be perfected, then those great men would become God Himself. Their perspectives are tainted with unbelief; more than not believing, they are simply preposterous beasts. For they value only status, prestige, and power, and they esteem only large groups and denominations. They have not the slightest regard for those led by Christ; they are simply traitors who have turned their backs on Christ, on truth, and on life.
What you admire is not the humility of Christ, but those false shepherds of prominent standing. You do not adore the loveliness or wisdom of Christ, but those libertines who wallow in the filth of the world. You laugh at the pain of Christ who has no place to lay His head, but you admire those corpses that hunt for offerings and live in debauchery. You are not willing to suffer alongside Christ, but you gladly throw yourself into the arms of those reckless antichrists, though they only supply you with flesh, words, and control. Even now, your heart still turns toward them, toward their reputation, toward their status, toward their influence. And yet you continue to hold an attitude whereby you find the work of Christ hard to swallow and you are unwilling to accept it. This is why I say that you lack the faith to acknowledge Christ. The reason you have followed Him to this day is only because you had no other option. A series of lofty images are forever towering in your heart; you cannot forget their every word and deed, nor their influential words and hands. They are, in your heart, forever supreme and forever heroes. But this is not so for the Christ of today. He is forever insignificant in your heart, and forever undeserving of reverence. For He is far too ordinary, has far too little influence, and is far from lofty.
In any case, I say that all those who do not value the truth are nonbelievers and traitors to the truth. Such men shall never receive the approval of Christ.
Excerpted from “Are You a True Believer in God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
There is one fact you should understand in your faith in God: Belief in God does not merely mean believing in God’s name, much less is it having faith in the vague God of your imagination. Instead, you must believe that God is real, you should believe in God’s essence, in His disposition, and in what He has and is; you must believe in the fact that God rules the destiny of mankind, and that He rules your destiny. So what counts as faith? Is there not a side to it whereby people should actually cooperate in it and put it into practice? For example, some people are disturbed by a situation that befalls them, and it causes them some minor spiritual turmoil, and they think to themselves, “So-and-so is to blame for what’s happened to me. If it wasn’t for his nitpicking, it wouldn’t have been so embarrassing.” They cast about for excuses, and ultimately lay the blame on someone else, which puts them at ease, and they then think the problem has been solved, that the difficulty is over. What do you think of this method of solving problems? Can one gain the truth by practicing in this way? Does it show an attitude of obedience toward God? With what perspective, and by what means, do such people believe in God? Have they applied the words “God rules the destiny of mankind, all things and all events are in His hands” to their everyday lives? When they analyze the problem using the mind of man, when they address the matter using human means, are they believing in God’s sovereignty, are they submitting to God’s sovereignty over and arrangement of people, matters, and things? (No.) Firstly, they do not submit; and secondly, they make an even graver mistake: They are unable to accept from God the situation and people, matters, and things He arranges for them; they do not look beyond the surface. They look only at how the situation appears from the outside, before then analyzing it using their human mind and trying to resolve it with human methods. Is this not a big mistake? (It is.) How is it so? They do not believe that everything is ruled by God. They think to themselves, “Everything is ruled by God? Can God rule over so many things? That is the blind application of doctrine. What happened to me is different, it’s an exception!” This is an exception, that is an exception. In their eyes, everything is an exception; not a single thing is ruled by God, it is all born of man. Is this faith in God? Does this reflect the essence of faith in God? They do not believe that God can rule over everything or that God can arrange all things, all events, and all situations. They cannot accept these things from God. They feel that all these situations just occur randomly, that they are caused by human actions and are not arranged by God. So what is the essence of their belief? They are nonbelievers! The view of nonbelievers is to never accept a single thing from God, but instead to employ human perspectives, mindsets, and methods to think hard about and rack their brains to cope with whatever they encounter. This is what a nonbeliever does. When you run into this kind of person in the future, you should develop some discernment regarding them. Nonbelievers are good at engaging their brains and coming up with ideas when issues arise; they constantly study the matter at hand, try to resolve it using human methods, and they love to talk reason and go by the philosophies of Satan or the law. They do not believe that God’s words are the truth, much less that God rules over all things, or that everything is done by God. They have never accepted from God any kind of situation He has arranged or anything that has happened around them. They generally insist that they believe that mankind’s fate is in God’s hands and that they are willing to submit to His rule and His arrangements. However, that is not what they believe when they encounter an issue, that is not how they understand things, and they never obey in such a way. This is what a nonbeliever is.
Excerpted from “Corrupt Dispositions Can Only Be Resolved by Seeking the Truth and Relying on God” in Records of Christ’s Talks
The simplest way to describe belief in God is trusting there is a God, and, on this foundation, following Him, obeying Him, accepting His dominion, orchestrations, and arrangements, listening to His words, living in accordance with His words, doing everything according to His words, being a true created being, and fearing Him and shunning evil; only this is true belief in God. This is what it means to follow God. You say you follow God, but, in your heart, you do not accept God’s words, and you do not accept His dominion, orchestrations, and arrangements. If you always have notions of what God does, and you always misunderstand what He does, and complain about it; if you are always dissatisfied, and you always measure and approach what He does using your own notions and imaginings; if you always have your own understandings—this will cause trouble. You are not experiencing God’s work, and you have no way to follow Him truly. Such is not belief in God.
What, exactly, is belief in God? Is belief in religion equivalent to belief in God? When people believe in religion, they follow Satan. Only when they believe in God do they follow God, and only those who follow Christ truly believe in God. Is someone who will never accept God’s words as their life a person who believes in God? It is of no use, no matter how many years they have believed in God. Someone who always engages in religious ritual in their faith but does not practice the truth is not a believer in God, and God does not acknowledge them. On what basis does God acknowledge you? His acknowledgment of you is based on whether you act in all matters according to His requirements. His acknowledgment is meted in accordance with His words, not based on how many changes there are in your outward behavior, or how much time you spend running about for Him, but on the path you walk, and whether you pursue the truth. There are many who say they believe in God and speak words of praise for God—but, in their hearts, they do not love the words spoken by God, nor are they interested in the truth. In their hearts they believe always that only if they live by the philosophies of Satan and various doctrines of the outside world will they be normal, and able to protect themselves, that only living like this will give value to their lives in this world. Is this someone who believes in God and follows Him? All the sayings of renowned, great figures sound especially philosophical and are particularly capable of deceiving people. If you treat them as the truth and abide by them as maxims, but, when it comes to God’s words, to the most ordinary words of God, which ask that you be an honest person, that you stick scrupulously to your own, allotted station and perform the duty of a created being, and that you remain steadfast—you are incapable of practicing them, and you do not treat them as the truth, then you are no follower of God. You may say you have practiced His words, but what if God may press you for the truth and ask: “What have you practiced? Who spoke those words that you practice? What is the basis of the principles to which you adhere?” If that basis is not the words of God, then it is the words of Satan; what you live out is the words of Satan, yet you still say you practice the truth and satisfy God, is this not blasphemy against Him? God says people should be honest, yet there are those who do not ponder what being honest includes, how they should practice honesty, or which of the things they live out and reveal are not honest, and which of them are. They do not contemplate the essence of the truth in God’s words, but find a book of the unbelievers, and, upon reading it, they say, “These are good words—even better than God’s. ‘Guileless people ever prevail’—isn’t that the same as what God said? This is the truth, as well!” So, they abide by these words. What do they live out when they abide by these words? Are they able to live out the reality of the truth? Are there many such people? They gain a little knowledge, read a few books, and gain a bit of insight, and they hear some famous adage or popular saying and treat these as the truth. They act according to these words, and apply them to their duties and their lives of belief in God, and even think this satisfies Him. Is this not sleight of hand? Is this not trickery? It is blasphemy! There is much of this in people. They abide by pleasant-sounding, correct-seeming folk doctrines as if they were the truth. They put God’s words to one side and pay them no heed, and, no matter how many times they read them, they do not take them to heart or treat them as the truth. Is one who does so someone who believes in God? Do they follow God? Such a person believes in religion; they follow Satan! In their hearts, they think there is philosophy in the words spoken by Satan, that these words have profound meaning, that they are scripture, wise sayings, and, no matter what else they may forsake, they could never put these words aside. To do so would be, to them, like losing their life, or having their heart scooped out. What kind of person is this? This is a person who follows Satan.
Excerpted from “Belief in Religion Will Never Lead to Salvation” in Records of Christ’s Talks
People who truly believe in God have a sense of conscience, they trust that the words of God are the truth, that all God does is right, and of benefit to man. If they do something wrong and violate the truth, they feel a sense of reproach, indebtedness and anguish deep within their hearts. And as for those who do not truly believe in God, let us put aside the question of whether they have a sense of conscience, and first talk about their attitude toward the existence of God and His words. To begin with, what is their view on the existence of God? “You say God exists—but where is He? I do not see Him. I do not know if there is a God or not. Those who believe in Him say there is, those who don’t say there isn’t.” Such is their view. But, on further reflection, they think, “All these people believe in Him and bear testimony to Him, so maybe there is a God. I hope so; if there is, I’ll have pulled a fast one and been blessed. I’ll have made the right bet.” They are just along for the ride, rolling the dice, taking their chances. They do not think it will cost them anything. Their attitude and view toward whether God exists is like this: “Does God exist or not? I can’t tell. Where is He exactly? I don’t really know. So many people bear testimony, but is it true or false? I can’t tell this either.” In their minds, there are questions marks about all of this; they cannot be sure, and so they are skeptical. And with such skepticism and uncertainty, what is their attitude toward God’s words when He speaks, and expresses the truth? Do they take God’s words as the truth? On occasion, they might listen out of curiosity, to ponder them a while, and, having done so, they think, “Are these words the truth? They supposedly contain power and authority—why don’t I hear that or have any sense of it? Apparently, they can change people—so why haven’t they changed me? I still love to eat and sleep. I’m just as short-tempered as ever, and I haven’t become more capable of anything. I’m still afraid when the great red dragon inflicts its persecution. I haven’t become superhuman! God’s words are supposedly the reality of all positive things. What is a positive thing? It is asking that people be good and honest. People who are honest are fools. People are asked to fear God and shun evil. That means when you do evil, you have to rein yourself in, you must place strictures on yourself, and not do bad things—how many people can do that? Man’s nature is to do bad things, to be selfish. Every man for himself, and the devil take the hindmost. No one in this world thinks of anyone but themselves. Your fate is in your hands; it is up to you to strive for happiness. If everyone practices God’s words, fearing God and shunning evil, would the people of the world not become ascetic monks and nuns? What would be the fun in living, then?” Is this not their attitude toward the truth in the depths of their hearts? “If people do not strive and fight for themselves, if they do not live for wealth and recognition, then what meaning would life have?” Such is the view of such people—of nonbelievers. This is the nonbelievers’ attitude toward the truth. In their hearts, they do not know what the truth is; God’s words do not equal the truth, and the truth does not equal life. What do they consider the truth to be, deep within their hearts? Something that can make them supernatural, that can give them powers, and make them gifted, something that is of physical benefit to them, that can make their lives happier, that can be of the greatest possible benefit to them—that is the truth. They think: These words of God are too ordinary; they are mere trivialities, beneath mentioning. Asking that people be honest, that they fear God and shun evil, that they free themselves of their corrupt dispositions—that is too hard. No one can do this! People do not live in a vacuum; they have myriad desires and emotions. No one can live out these words. The nonbelievers do not believe that God’s words are the truth; they do not believe that God’s words are the life, much less do they believe that God’s words can change the fate of mankind, or that God’s words can change people’s corrupt dispositions and allow them to cast off their corrupt dispositions. That is their attitude toward God’s words. And so, in the depths of their hearts, they have never accepted that the words of God are the truth, nor do they ever accept them as the truth. All in all, they do not accept the words of God as their life, as the direction and purpose of their existence and their conduct. Can those who do not accept that God’s words are the truth believe in the existence of God? Do they truly believe in the existence of God? (No.) Can those who do not believe in the existence of God believe that there is also truth in this world? Can those who do not believe in the existence of the truth believe that mankind can be saved? (No.) If they do not believe any of that, can they believe in the fact of God’s incarnation? Can they believe in God’s management plan? (No.) They are nonbelievers, through and through.
Excerpted from “Performing Duty Well Requires a Conscience, at the Very Least” in Records of Christ’s Talks
If, in their belief in God, people do not frequently live before Him, then they will not be able to have any reverence for Him, and so will they be incapable of shunning evil. These things are connected. If deep down you often live before God, you will be held in check, and will fear Him in many things. You will not go too far or do anything that is dissolute, nor will you do anything which is loathed by God or speak words that are not sensible. If you accept God’s scrutiny, and accept His discipline, you will avoid doing many evil things. As such, will you not have shunned evil? If, in your belief in God, you often exist in a state of bewilderment, not knowing whether He is in your heart and not knowing what you wish to do deep down; if you are incapable of being at peace before God, and do not pray or seek the truth whenever something happens to you; if you often act according to your own will, live according to your satanic disposition, and reveal your arrogant disposition; and if you do not accept God’s scrutiny or discipline, and do not submit, then deep down people like this will always live before Satan and be controlled by Satan and by their corrupt disposition. Such people are therefore without the slightest reverence for God. They are simply incapable of shunning evil, and even if they do not do evil things, everything they think is still evil, and is both unconnected to the truth and runs against it. Do such people, then, fundamentally have no connection to God? Though they are ruled by Him, they have never reported before Him; they have never treated God as God, they have never treated Him as the Creator who rules over them, they have never acknowledged that He is their God and their Lord, and they have never considered worshiping Him in earnest. Such people do not understand what it means to fear God, and they think it is their right to commit evil. They say, “I’ll do what I want. I’ll take care of my own business, it’s not up to anyone else.” Meanwhile, they treat faith in God as a kind of mantra, a form of ceremony. Does this not make them nonbelievers? They are nonbelievers! And what does God name these people in His heart? All day long, everything they think is evil. They are the degenerates of the house of God, and He does not acknowledge such people as members of His house.
Excerpted from “Only by Constantly Living Before God Can One Walk the Path to Salvation” in Records of Christ’s Talks