171. The Principles of Knowing God’s Love
(1) All the truths Christ expresses are for the sake of man’s salvation. The essence of Christ is love; it is the truth, the way, and the life;
(2) One must not delimit God’s love with their notions and imaginings, defining it solely as grace, mercy, and tolerance; severe judgment, chastening, and discipline are all the more expressions of God’s love for man;
(3) As one undergoes God’s judgment and chastisement and His trials and refinement, they break away from the influence of Satan, and their corrupt disposition is transformed. This is God’s true love;
(4) When one has a true understanding of God’s love, they are able willingly to expend themselves for God, perform their duty well to satisfy God, and requite God’s love.
Relevant Words of God:
God uses His judgment to make man perfect, He has loved man, and saved man—but how much is contained within His love? There is judgment, majesty, wrath, and curse. Though God cursed man in the past, He did not completely cast man into the bottomless pit, but used that means to refine man’s faith; He did not put man to death, but acted in order to make man perfect. The substance of the flesh is that which is of Satan—God said it exactly right—but the facts carried out by God are not completed according to His words. He curses you so that you might love Him, and so that you might know the substance of the flesh; He chastises you so that you might be awakened, to allow you to know the deficiencies within you, and to know man’s utter unworthiness. Thus, God’s curses, His judgment, and His majesty and wrath—they are all in order to make man perfect. All that God does today, and the righteous disposition that He makes plain within you—it is all in order to make man perfect. Such is the love of God.
Excerpted from “Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
All of you live in a land of sin and licentiousness, and you are all licentious and sinful. Today you are not just able to look upon God, but more importantly, you have received chastisement and judgment, you have received truly profound salvation, which is to say, you have received God’s greatest love. In all that He does, God is truly loving toward you. He has no ill intention. It is because of your sins that He judges you, so that you will examine yourselves and receive this tremendous salvation. All this is done for the purpose of making man complete. From beginning to end, God has been doing His utmost to save man, and has no desire to completely destroy the men He created with His own hands. Today, He has come among you to work; is this not salvation all the more? If He hated you, would He still do work of such magnitude in order to personally guide you? Why should He suffer so? God does not hate you or have any ill intentions toward you. You should know that God’s love is the truest love. It is only because people are disobedient that He has to save them through judgment; if not for this, saving them would be impossible. Because you do not know how to live and are not even aware of how to live, and because you live in this licentious and sinful land and are yourselves licentious and filthy devils, He cannot bear to let you become even more depraved, He cannot bear to see you living in this filthy land as you do now, trampled on by Satan at will, and He cannot bear to let you fall into Hades. He only wants to gain this group of people and thoroughly save you. This is the main purpose of doing the work of conquest on you—it is just for salvation. If you cannot see that everything done on you is love and salvation, if you think it is just a method, a way to torment man, and something untrustworthy, then you might as well go back to your world to suffer pain and hardship! If you are willing to be in this stream, and to enjoy this judgment and this immense salvation, to enjoy all of these blessings, blessings that cannot be found anywhere in the human world, and to enjoy this love, then be good: Stay in this stream to accept the work of conquest so you can be made perfect. Today, you may suffer a little pain and refinement because of God’s judgment, but there is value and meaning to suffering this pain. Though people are refined and mercilessly exposed by God’s chastisement and judgment—the aim being to punish them for their sins, to punish their flesh—none of this work is intended to condemn their flesh to destruction. The severe disclosures by the word are all for the purpose of leading you onto the right path. You have personally experienced so much of this work and, clearly, it has not led you onto an evil path! It is all in order to make you live out normal humanity, and it is all achievable by your normal humanity. Every step of God’s work is based upon your needs, according to your weaknesses, and according to your actual stature, and no unbearable burden is placed on you. This is not clear to you today, and you feel as if I am being hard on you, and indeed you always believe that the reason I chastise, judge and reproach you every day is because I hate you. But although what you suffer is chastisement and judgment, this is actually love for you, and it is the greatest protection.
Excerpted from “The Inside Truth of the Work of Conquest (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
What is the essence of Christ? For humans, Christ’s essence is love; for those who follow Him, it is boundless love. If He had no love or mercy, then people would not still be following Him. Some people say, “But God is also righteous.” God is indeed righteous, but in terms of His disposition, His righteousness is chiefly expressed through His loathing of humanity’s corrupt disposition, His cursing of demons and Satan, and His intolerance toward any offense against His disposition. So, does His righteousness contain love? Is His judgment of man and cleansing of his corruption love? God has endured such immense humiliation with the utmost patience; is this not love? Thus, I will be honest with you: In the work God does for humanity while incarnate, His most obvious and prominent essence is love; it is infinite tolerance. If it were not love and instead were as you imagine—when God intends to strike someone down, He does so; when He hates someone, He punishes, curses, judges, and chastises that person—how strict He would then be! If He is angry at people, they will tremble in fear and not be able to stand before Him…. This is just one way in which God’s disposition is expressed. Ultimately, His goal is still to bring salvation, and His love runs through all revelations of His disposition. Think back for a bit: While working in the flesh, what God reveals the most to people is love. What is patience? Patience is having mercy that stems from the love within, and its purpose is still to save people. God is able to have mercy on people only because He has love. It is like how a married couple who truly love each other overlook one another’s shortcomings and faults. If your partner angers you, you are patient with him or her; all is built upon a foundation of love. If the husband and wife hated each other, then they would not have this attitude or express themselves in such a manner, nor would there be such an effect. If God had only hate and fury, and simply passed judgment and chastisement without any love, then the situation would not be what you see now, and calamity would befall you people. Would He be providing you with the truth? If people were cursed after having been chastised and judged, then they would be completely done for. Even if they did not die straight away, there would be those who fell ill or were struck by disability, madness, or blindness, as well as those who were turned over to the evil spirits and filthy demons to be trampled underfoot, and these people would not be as they are today. Thus, you have enjoyed much love from God; He has granted you a great deal of tolerance, compassion, and lovingkindness. Nevertheless, people take exception to this, thinking to themselves, “This is how God should treat humans; He also has righteousness and wrath, and we have experienced quite a lot of these, too.” Have you really? If you truly had, then you would be done for. How would the humanity of today still exist? God’s hatred, wrath, and righteousness are all expressed from a foundation of wanting to bring salvation to this group of people. This disposition also contains love and mercy, as well as a vast patience. This hate carries a sense of having no other choice, and includes boundless concern and anticipation for mankind! God’s hatred is aimed at mankind’s corruption; it is aimed at people’s rebelliousness and sins, it is unilateral, and is established upon a foundation of love. Only when there is love can there be hate. God’s hatred toward humans is different from His hatred toward Satan, because God saves people, but He does not save Satan. God’s righteous disposition has always been there; He has had wrath, righteousness, and judgment from the very beginning. They did not simply spring into existence the moment He directed them at mankind. This was God’s disposition before it was beheld by humans; it is just that they only realized that this was the nature of His righteousness after they had tasted of it. In fact, whether God is righteous, majestic, or wrathful, all of the work He does for the salvation of humanity results from love. Some people say, “So how much love does that actually involve?” It is not a matter of how much; one hundred percent of it is love. Any less, and humans would not be saved. God dedicates all of His love to people.
Why did God become flesh? It has already been said that He spares no effort to save mankind; as such, His incarnation is endowed with the entirety of His love, which shows you the extremity of man’s disobedience toward God, and the situation is beyond remedy. He had no choice but to become flesh and offer Himself up to mankind. God offers up all of His love. If He did not love humanity, He would not have become flesh; rather, He would have struck thunder from the heavens, directly issuing forth His majesty and wrath and causing man to collapse to the ground. There would have been no need for God to go to all the effort of becoming flesh; He would not have had to pay such a great price or suffer such excessive humiliation. This is a clear example. He would rather suffer pain, humiliation, abandonment, and persecution to save humans; despite such a hostile environment, He still brings them salvation. Could there be any greater love? If God had nothing but righteousness, and if He were brimming with unmitigated loathing for mankind, He would not have become flesh to do His work; He could have waited until the corruption of humans had reached its extreme and then annihilated them all, and thus been over and done with it. It is because God loves man—because He has the utmost love for humankind—that He became flesh to save these people who were so extraordinarily corrupt. After undergoing God’s judgment and chastisement, and becoming aware of their natures, many people say, “It’s all over for me; I could never be saved.” Only when you believe yourself incapable of attaining salvation do you become aware of the fact that God genuinely has the utmost patience and love for man! What could people do without God’s love? Human nature is so corrupt, yet God still speaks to you; He immediately replies to any question you might ask, concerned that you may not understand and fearful that you might go astray or go to extremes. Even with that being the case, do you still not understand the magnitude of God’s love for mankind?
Excerpted from “God’s True Love for Mankind” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
God has humbled Himself to such a level that He does His work in these filthy and corrupt people, and perfects this group of people. God not only became flesh to live and eat among people, to shepherd people, and to provide what people need. More important is that He does His mighty work of salvation and conquest upon these unbearably corrupt people. He came to the heart of the great red dragon to save these most corrupt of people, so that all people may be changed and made new. The immense hardship that God endures is not only the hardship that the God incarnate endures, but most of all it is that God’s Spirit suffers extreme humiliation—He humbles and hides Himself so much that He becomes an ordinary person. God was incarnated and took the form of flesh so that people see that He has a normal human life and normal human needs. This is enough to prove that God has humbled Himself to a great extent. The Spirit of God is realized in the flesh. His Spirit is so high and great, yet He takes the form of a common human, of a negligible human, so as to do the work of His Spirit. The caliber, insight, sense, humanity, and lives of each of you show that you are really unworthy to accept God’s work of this kind. You are really unworthy to let God endure such hardship for your sake. God is so great. He is so supreme, and people are so lowly, yet He still works upon them. He not only was incarnated to provide for people, to speak to people, but He even lives together with people. God is so humble, so lovable. If, as soon as God’s love is mentioned, as soon as God’s grace is mentioned, you shed tears while uttering great praise, if you arrive at this state, then you have true knowledge of God.
Excerpted from “Only Those Who Focus on Practice Can Be Perfected” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When God came to the earth, He was not of the world, and He did not become flesh in order to enjoy the world. The place where working would reveal His disposition and be most meaningful is the place where He was born. Whether it is a holy or a filthy land, and no matter where He works, He is holy. Everything in the world was created by Him, though it has all been corrupted by Satan. However, all things still belong to Him; they are all in His hands. He comes to a filthy land and works there in order to reveal His holiness; He only does this for the sake of His work, which means He endures great humiliation to do such work in order to save the people of this filthy land. This is done so as to bear witness, for the sake of all of mankind. What such work shows people is God’s righteousness, and it is better able to display God’s supremacy. His greatness and uprightness are manifested in the salvation of a group of lowly people whom others scorn. Being born in a filthy land does not at all prove that He is lowly; it simply allows all of creation to see His greatness and His true love for mankind. The more He does so, the more it reveals His pure love, His flawless love for man. God is holy and righteous. Even though He was born in a filthy land, and even though He lives with those people who are full of filthiness, just as Jesus lived with sinners in the Age of Grace, is every bit of His work not done for the sake of all mankind’s survival? Is it all not so that mankind can gain great salvation? Two thousand years ago, He lived with sinners for a number of years. That was for the sake of redemption. Today, He is living with a group of filthy, lowly people. This is for the sake of salvation. Is all His work not for the sake of you humans? If not to save mankind, why would He have lived and suffered with sinners for so many years after being born in a manger? And if not to save mankind, why would He return to the flesh a second time, born in this land where demons congregate, and live with these people who have been deeply corrupted by Satan? Is God not faithful? What part of His work has not been for mankind? What part has not been for your destiny? God is holy—this is immutable! He is unpolluted by filth, though He has come to a filthy land; all of this can only mean that God’s love for mankind is extremely selfless and the suffering and humiliation He endures is extremely great! Do you not know how great the humiliation He suffers is, for all of you and for your destiny? Rather than saving great people or the sons of rich and powerful families, He makes a point of saving those who are lowly and looked down on. Is all of this not His holiness? Is all of this not His righteousness?
Excerpted from “The Significance of Saving the Descendants of Moab” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Many are the sleepless nights that God has endured for the sake of the work of mankind. From up high to the lowest depths, He has descended to the living hell in which man lives to pass His days with man, He has never complained of the shabbiness among man, and He has never reproached man for his disobedience, but endures the greatest humiliation as He personally carries out His work. How could God belong to hell? How could He spend His life in hell? But for the sake of all mankind, so that the whole of mankind can find rest sooner, He has endured humiliation and suffered injustice to come to earth, and personally entered into “hell” and “Hades,” into the tiger’s den, to save man. How is man qualified to oppose God? What reason does he have to complain about God? How can he have the gall to look upon God? God of heaven has come to this most filthy land of vice, and has never vented His grievances, or complained about man, but instead quietly accepts the ravages and oppression of man. Never has He hit back at the unreasonable demands of man, never has He made excessive demands of man, and never has He made unreasonable demands of man; He merely does all the work required by man without complaint: teaching, enlightening, reproaching, the refinement of words, reminding, exhorting, consoling, judging, and revealing. Which of His steps has not been for the life of man? Though He has removed the prospects and fate of man, which of the steps carried out by God has not been for the fate of man? Which of them has not been for the sake of man’s survival? Which of them has not been to free man from this suffering and from the oppression of dark forces that are as black as night? Which of them is not for the sake of man? Who can understand God’s heart, which is as the heart of a loving mother? Who can comprehend God’s eager heart?
Excerpted from “Work and Entry (9)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Humans and God are fundamentally different and live in two different realms. Humans are unable to understand God’s language, much less know His thoughts. Only God understands humans, and it is impossible for them to understand Him. Therefore, God has to become flesh and transform into the same kind as humans (appearing outwardly to be the same), enduring tremendous humiliation and pain to save people so that they can understand and know His work. Why is God always saving humans, and never giving up? Is it not because of His love for them? He sees humanity being corrupted by Satan, and cannot bear to let go or give up; this is the reason He came up with a management plan. If it were as people imagine, and He destroyed humankind as soon as He became angry, then He would not be needing to take such great pains to save them. It is precisely due to the pain suffered by His incarnation that little by little, His love is being discovered and coming to be known by all people. If God were not performing this kind of work, then people would only know that there is a God in heaven and that He has love for humanity. If that were the case, it would be mere doctrine, and people would never be able to observe and experience God’s true love. Only through the work God does in the flesh can people gain a true understanding of Him. This understanding is neither vague nor empty, and neither is it a doctrine to which one merely pays lip service; rather, it is a genuine understanding, because the love that God gives to humans brings substantial advantages. This work can only be done by Him in flesh; the Spirit cannot perform this work in His stead. How great was the love that the Lord Jesus gave people? He was crucified on behalf of corrupt humanity, and served as a sin offering; He had come to complete the work of redemption for humankind, right up until He was crucified. This love was boundless, and the work God has done is profoundly significant. Some people still have notions about God incarnate. What notions do you have? Without God incarnate, people’s belief in God would be but an empty framework, and they eventually would be destroyed! God’s love for humankind primarily manifests in His work done while in the flesh, in personally saving people, speaking and living face-to-face with them, without being the slightest bit distant, without any pretense, and while being completely real. He saves people to the extent that He was able to become flesh and pass through years of pain with humans in the world, all because of His love and pity for humankind. God’s love for humans is unconditional and makes no demands. What does He receive from them in return? People are cold toward God. Who is able to treat God as God? People do not give God the slightest bit of comfort; to this day, God still has not received true love from humanity. God just keeps giving and providing selflessly, yet people are still not content and persistently ask Him for grace. People are so difficult to deal with and are so troublesome! However, sooner or later the day will come when God’s work will obtain results and the majority of people will send out true thanks from their hearts. People who have experienced many years are able to have a sense for this aspect. Even though people are numb, they are not robots after all; they are not lifeless objects. People who have not had experience with God’s work might not be able to observe these things; they only acknowledge saying that these truths are correct, but they do not have a very deep understanding.
Excerpted from “Do You Know God’s Love for Mankind?” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
God’s love of man is not as people imagine, it is not merely speaking nice-sounding words, or words of benediction. In God’s current work, there are some words that are positively at odds with people’s wishes, words that even pierce their hearts and bring them pain. Some words of judgment seem to label people, to curse them, but there is a real context to this. These words are entirely in line with the facts, and there is nothing excessive about them: God speaks based on people’s corrupt essence, and people have but to experience for a time to know this. God’s aim in saying these things is to change people, and to save them; only by God speaking thus can the optimal effect be achieved. You should see that the painstaking care and thought of God are completely designed to save people and they all embody God’s love. Regardless of whether you look at the wisdom in God’s work, the steps and methods in God’s work, or the duration of the work or His precise arrangements and plans, it all contains His love. For example, people all have love for their sons and daughters and, to enable their children to walk the correct path, they all put forth a great amount of effort. When they discover their children’s weaknesses, the parents worry that if they speak softly, their children will not listen, and will not be able to change, and they worry that if they speak too sternly, they will hurt their children’s self-esteem, and their children will not be able to bear it. This is all done out of love, and they put a great deal of effort into it. Sons and daughters may have experienced their parents’ love. Love does not just involve gentleness and consideration; even more so, it involves strict chastening. It is even more out of love and under the precondition of love that God does His utmost to bring salvation to corrupt humanity. He does not deal with people perfunctorily; He makes precise plans and proceeds with them step by step. In terms of when, where, with what tone of voice, with what method of speaking, and how much effort He puts forth, and so on, it can be said that all of this reveals His love, and it all fully explains that His love for mankind is limitless and immeasurable. When they are tested, many people speak words of rebellion against God, or complain, but God does not hold this against them—nor, moreover, does He punish any one of them as a result. He loves man, and so He is tolerant of all. If He had no love, and only hate, then He would have long since condemned all men. But because God has love, He does not hold these things against them, and is tolerant, and He appreciates people’s difficulties, and all that He does is directed by love. Only God understands people—even you do not understand yourself. Is that not right? Think back carefully: There are those who complain about this and that, and people are unreasonable, and they live amid God’s blessings but do not even know it. No one knows how much God has suffered to come from heaven down to earth. God became a human being, He who is so noble and great—how great the pain He has suffered to become such an insignificant, humble human being who endured such humiliation! … God is able to perform this work today because His management plan has reached this stage; He would not save mankind unless He loved mankind, and it is only because He is prompted by love, under the precondition of love, that He works thus. God’s suffering of immense humiliation in becoming flesh in order to save corrupt mankind is full proof of just how great His love is.
Between the lines of God’s words there is exhortation, comfort, encouragement, tolerance, patience, judgment, chastisement, cursing, public revelation, glorious promises, and more. His every means is directed by love; this is the essence of His work. All of you have some understanding today, though it is not particularly deep. But at the very least, there are some things that you are able to sense. Later, when you have experienced for three or five years, you will sense just how profound and great this love is, how it is beyond description by the language of man. If people have no love for God, how can they repay His love? Even if you gave your life, still you would not be able to repay God’s love. If you experience for another few years, you will know what love is, and you will then look back on your disposition and what is manifested in you today, and you will feel the utmost regret, and will fall down to your knees before God. Today, why do most people follow God so closely, so ardently? Because they know the love of God, and they see that the work of God is the salvation of man. Think about it: Is God’s work not incredibly precise in its timing? His work proceeds one stage after another, without any delay—and why does He brook no delay? For the sake of man. He does not want to sacrifice a single soul, and He does not wish to lose one single soul more; man, meanwhile, cares not for his own fate. So who loves you most in this world? You do not love yourself, you do not know to cherish or treasure your own life—God has the greatest love for man. People may be insensible of this, and they may think they love themselves—but just what kind of love do they have for themselves? Only the love of God is genuine love. Going forward, you will slowly come to appreciate what true love is. It would be no easy matter for people to truly know God’s love if God had not become flesh to work and guide man face-to-face, passing day and night with man, and living together with man.
Excerpted from “Do You Know God’s Love for Mankind?” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
In man’s traditional notions, he believes that God’s love is His grace, mercy, and sympathy for the weakness of man. Although these things are also the love of God, they are too one-sided, and are not the primary means by which God makes man perfect. Some people begin to believe in God because of illness. This illness is God’s grace for you; without it, you would not believe in God, and if you did not believe in God then you would not have come this far—and thus even this grace is the love of God. In the time of belief in Jesus, people did much that was unbeloved by God because they did not understand the truth, yet God has love and mercy, and He has brought man this far, and although man understands nothing, still God allows man to follow Him, and, furthermore, He has led man into today. Is this not the love of God? That which is manifested in God’s disposition is the love of God—this is absolutely right! When the building of the church reached its peak, God did the step of work of the service-doers and cast man into the bottomless pit. The words of the time of the service-doers were all curses: the curses of your flesh, the curses of your corrupt satanic disposition, and the curses of the things about you that do not satisfy God’s will. The work done by God in that step was manifested as majesty, soon after which God carried out the step of the work of chastisement, and there came the trial of death. In such work, man saw the wrath, majesty, judgment, and chastisement of God, yet he also saw God’s grace, His love and His mercy. All that God did, and all that was manifested as His disposition, was God’s love for man, and all that God did was able to fulfill the needs of man. He did it in order to make man perfect, and He provided for man according to his stature. If God had not done this, man would be incapable of coming before God and would have no way of knowing the true face of God. From the time when man first began to believe in God until today, God has gradually provided for man in accordance with man’s stature, so that, inside, man has gradually come to know Him. Only having come to today does man realize just how wonderful is the judgment of God. The step of work of the service-doers was the first incidence of the work of cursing from the time of creation until today. Man was cursed into the bottomless pit. If God had not done that, today man would not have a true knowledge of God; it was only through the curse of God that man officially encountered His disposition. Man was revealed through the trial of the service-doers. He saw that his loyalty was unacceptable, that his stature was too small, that he was incapable of satisfying God’s will, and that his claims of satisfying God at all times were nothing more than words. Although God cursed man in the step of the work of the service-doers, looking back now, that step of God’s work was wonderful: It brought a great turning point for man, and caused a great change in his life disposition. Before the time of the service-doers, man understood nothing of the pursuit of life, what it means to believe in God, or the wisdom of God’s work, and nor did he understand that God’s work can test man. From the time of the service-doers through to today, man sees how wondrous is the work of God—it is unfathomable to man. Man is unable to imagine how God works by using his brain, and he also sees how small his stature is and that too much about him is disobedient. When God cursed man, it was in order to achieve an effect, and He did not put man to death. Although He cursed man, He did so through words, and His curses did not actually befall man, for what God cursed was the disobedience of man, and so the words of His curses were also spoken in order to make man perfect. Whether God judges man or curses him, both make man perfect: Both are done in order to make perfect that which is impure within man. Through this means man is refined, and that which is lacking within man is made perfect through His words and work. Every step of God’s work—whether it be harsh words, or judgment, or chastisement—makes man perfect, and is absolutely appropriate. Never throughout the ages has God done work such as this; today, He works within you so that you appreciate His wisdom. Although you have suffered some pain within you, your hearts feel steadfast and at peace; it is your blessing to be able to enjoy this stage of the work of God. Regardless of what you are able to gain in the future, all that you see of God’s work in you today is love. If man does not experience God’s judgment and refinement, his actions and fervor will always remain at surface level, and his disposition will always remain unchanged. Does this count as having been gained by God? Today, although there is still much within man that is arrogant and conceited, man’s disposition is much more stable than before. God’s dealing with you is done in order to save you, and although you may feel some pain at the time, the day will come when there occurs a change in your disposition. At that time, you will look back and see how wise the work of God is, and at that time you will be able to truly understand God’s will. Today, there are some people who say they understand God’s will, but that is none too realistic. In fact, they are speaking falsehoods, because at present they have yet to understand whether the will of God is to save man or to curse man. Perhaps you cannot see it clearly now, but the day will come when you see that the day God gains glory has arrived, and you will see how meaningful it is to love God, so that you will come to know the human life and your flesh will live in the world of loving God, so that your spirit will be set free, your life will be full of joy, and you will always be close to God and look to Him. At that time, you will truly know how valuable the work of God today is.
Excerpted from “Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
God’s love is not the kind of love that can be imagined by the mind of man. People are incapable of imagining this love, they must not use learning and knowledge to interpret this word, but must use another method to appreciate and experience it. Ultimately, you come to sense truly that the love of God is different to the love spoken of by worldly people, that the true love of God is unlike anything else, unlike the love understood by all mankind. So just what is this love of God? First you must not approach it with the notions and imaginings of man. Take a mother’s love, for example: A mother’s love toward her children is unconditional, it is protective and warm. Right now, does the love of God for man that you feel have the same level of sensation and meaning as a mother’s love? (Yes.) Then this is a problem—it is wrong. You must distinguish God’s love from the love of parents, of a husband, wife, or children, of your kin, from the concern of friends, and come to know the love of God anew. Just what is the love of God? The love of God is without emotion and is unaffected by relationships of blood. It is love pure and simple. So how should people understand the love of God? Why have we come to discuss the love of God? The love of God is embodied in the work of God, so that people acknowledge it, accept it, and experience it, and ultimately realize that this is the love of God, and acknowledge that these are not empty words, nor some form of behavior on the part of God, but the truth. When you accept it as the truth, you are able to recognize this aspect of God’s essence from it. If you treat it as some form of behavior, you will have difficulty recognizing it. What is meant by “behavior”? Take mothers, for example: They give their youth, their blood, their sweat and tears to bring up their children, they give them whatever they want, regardless of whether they have done right or wrong, or what path they take. A mother gives selflessly, never teaching, helping or guiding the child about walking the right path, only indiscriminately caring for, loving and protecting them, to the extent that ultimately, the child cannot tell right from wrong. This is the love of a mother or any kind of love born of the hot blood, emotions, and fleshly relationships of man. The love of God, meanwhile, is exactly the opposite: If God loves you, He expresses this by often chastening and disciplining you, by pruning and dealing with you. This might make things uncomfortable for you, your days may pass amid chastening and discipline, but once you have experienced this, you will discover that you have learned much, that you can have discernment and are wise when it comes to interacting with other people, and also that you have come to understand some truths. If the love of God were like the love of a mother or father, as you imagine it to be, if He were so scrupulous in His care, and invariably indulgent, could you gain these things? You could not. And so, people must approach what is manifested of the love of God in His work from the perspective of the truth, and within this, they must seek the truth. If they do not seek the truth, how could someone who is corrupt conjure, out of thin air, an understanding of what God’s love is, what the aim of His work in man is, and where His thoughtful intentions lie? People would never understand these things. This relates to one part of God’s work, one aspect of God’s essence that people are most likely to misunderstand, and have the most difficulty comprehending and appreciating; it is what people can engage with profoundly, empathetically, and practically. Generally speaking, love means giving people what they like, not giving them something bitter when they want something sweet, or giving something bitter to them in order to treat an illness; in brief, it involves the selfishness, the emotions and hot blood, of man; it involves one aspect of aims and motivations. But no matter what God does in you, even if you misunderstand Him, and even complain about Him in your heart, God shall, with unflagging patience, continue to work in you. What is God’s ultimate aim in acting thus? He uses this method to awaken you, or so that there might come a day when you understand God’s will—but when God sees that outcome, He has actually gained nothing. And why do I say this? Because your all comes from God. God does not need to gain anything. All He needs is for you to properly follow and enter in accordance with what He requires while He performs His work, to ultimately be able to live out truth reality, to live with the likeness of man, and no longer be deceived, misled, and tempted by Satan, to be able to turn your back on Satan, to obey and fear God, so that God gains you, and His great work is done. This is the love of God, and the work of God.
Excerpted from “Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Enter the Right Track of Believing in God (1)” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
If you wish to see God’s love, if you wish to truly experience God’s love, then you must go deep into reality, you must go deep into real life and see that everything God does is love and salvation, that all He does is to enable people to leave behind that which is unclean, and to refine the things within man that are unable to satisfy God’s will. God uses words to provide to man; He arranges the circumstances of real life for people to experience, and if people eat and drink many of God’s words, then when they actually put them into practice, they can resolve all the difficulties in their lives using many words of God. Which is to say, you must have the words of God in order to go deep into reality; if you do not eat and drink the words of God and are without the work of God, then you will have no path in real life. If you never eat or drink the words of God, then you will be confounded when something happens to you. You only know that you should love God, but you are incapable of any differentiation and have no path of practice; you are muddled and confused, and sometimes you even believe that by satisfying the flesh you are satisfying God—all of this is the consequence of not eating and drinking God’s words. Which is to say, if you are without the aid of God’s words and only grope about within reality, then you are fundamentally incapable of finding the path of practice. People such as this simply do not understand what it means to believe in God, much less do they understand what it means to love God. If, using the enlightenment and guidance of God’s words, you often pray, and explore, and seek, and through this you discover that which you ought to put into practice, find opportunities for the work of the Holy Spirit, truly cooperate with God, and are not muddled and confused, then you will have a path in real life, and will truly satisfy God. When you have satisfied God, inside you there will be the guidance of God, and you will be especially blessed by God, which will give you a sense of enjoyment: You will feel especially honored that you have satisfied God, you will feel especially bright inside, and in your heart you will be clear and peaceful. Your conscience will be comforted and free from accusations, and you will feel pleasant inside when you see your brothers and sisters. This is what it means to enjoy God’s love, and only this is truly enjoying God. People’s enjoyment of God’s love is attained through experience: By experiencing hardship, and experiencing putting the truth into practice, they gain God’s blessings. If you only say that God really loves you, that God has truly paid a heavy price for people’s sake, that He has patiently and kindly spoken so many words and always saves people, your utterance of these words is only one side of the enjoyment of God. Yet, greater enjoyment—real enjoyment—is when people put the truth into practice in their real life, after which they are peaceful and clear in their hearts. They feel greatly moved inside and feel that God is most lovable. You will feel that the price you have paid is more than fair. Having paid a great price in your efforts, you will be especially bright inside: You will feel that you are truly enjoying God’s love and you will understand that God has done the work of salvation in people, that His refinement of people is meant to purify them, and that God tries people in order to test whether they truly love Him. If you always put the truth into practice in this way, then you will gradually develop a clear knowledge of much of God’s work, and at that time you will feel that God’s words before you are as clear as crystal. If you can clearly understand many truths, you will feel that all matters are easy to put into practice, that you can overcome any issue and overcome any temptation, and you will see that nothing is a problem for you, which will greatly free you and liberate you. At this moment, you will be enjoying God’s love, and God’s true love will have come upon you. God blesses those who have visions, who have the truth, who have knowledge, and who truly love Him. If people wish to behold God’s love, they must put the truth into practice in real life, they must be willing to endure pain and forsake that which they love to satisfy God, and despite the tears in their eyes, they must still be able to satisfy God’s heart. In this way, God will surely bless you, and if you endure hardship such as this, it will be followed by the work of the Holy Spirit. Through the real life, and through experiencing God’s words, people are able to see God’s loveliness, and only if they have tasted God’s love can they truly love Him.
The more you put the truth into practice, the more you are possessed of the truth; the more you put the truth into practice, the more you possess God’s love; and the more you put the truth into practice, the more you are blessed by God. If you always practice in this way, God’s love for you will gradually enable you to see, just as Peter came to know God: Peter said that God not only has the wisdom to create the heavens and earth and all things, but, moreover, that He also has the wisdom to do real work in people. Peter said that He is not only worthy of people’s love because of His creation of the heavens and earth and all things, but, moreover, because of His ability to create man, to save man, to make man perfect, and to bequeath His love to man. So, too, did Peter say that there is much in Him that is worthy of man’s love. Peter said to Jesus: “Is creating the heavens and earth and all things the only reason You deserve people’s love? There is more in You that is lovable. You act and move in real life, Your Spirit touches me inside, You discipline me, You reproach me—these things are even more worthy of people’s love.” If you wish to see and experience God’s love, then you must explore and seek in real life and must be willing to put aside your own flesh. You must make this resolution. You must be someone with resolve who is able to satisfy God in all things, without being lazy or coveting the enjoyments of the flesh, not living for the flesh but living for God. There may be times when you do not satisfy God. That is because you do not understand God’s will; the next time, even though it will take more effort, you must satisfy Him and must not satisfy the flesh. When you experience in this way, you will have come to know God. You will see that God can create the heavens and earth and all things, that He has become flesh so that people can actually see Him and actually engage with Him; you will see that He is able to walk among man, and that His Spirit can make people perfect in real life, allowing them to see His loveliness and experience His discipline, His chastening, and His blessings. If you always experience in this way, in real life you will be inseparable from God, and if one day your relationship with God ceases to be normal, you will be able to suffer reproach and to feel remorse. When you have a normal relationship with God, you will never wish to leave God, and if one day God says He will leave you, you will be afraid, and will say that you would rather die than be left by God. As soon as you have these emotions, you will feel that you are incapable of leaving God, and in this way, you will have a foundation, and will truly enjoy God’s love.
Excerpted from “Those Who Love God Will Forever Live Within His Light” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When you are able to truly appreciate God’s thoughts and attitude toward mankind, when you can truly understand God’s emotions and concern for each being of creation, you will be able to understand the devotion and the love spent on every single one of the people created by the Creator. When this happens, you will use two words to describe God’s love. What are those two words? Some people say “selfless,” and some people say “philanthropic.” Of these two, “philanthropic” is the word least suited to describe God’s love. This is a word that people use to describe someone who is magnanimous or broad-minded. I loathe this word, because it refers to dispensing charity at random, indiscriminately, with no consideration for principle. It is an overly sentimental inclination, which is common to foolish and confused people. When this word is used to describe God’s love, there is inevitably a blasphemous connotation. I have here two words that more aptly describe God’s love. What are they? The first one is “immense.” Is this word not very evocative? The second is “vast.” There is real meaning behind these words which I use to describe God’s love. Taken literally, “immense” describes a thing’s volume or capacity, but regardless of how big that thing is, it is something that people can touch and see. This is because it exists—it is not an abstract object, but something that can give people ideas in a relatively accurate and practical way. Whether you look at it from a two- or a three-dimensional perspective, you do not need to imagine its existence, because it is a thing that actually exists in a real way. Even though using the word, “immense,” to describe God’s love can feel like an attempt at quantifying His love, it also gives the feeling that His love is unquantifiable. I say that God’s love can be quantified because His love is not empty, and nor is it a thing of legend. Rather, it is something shared by all things under God’s rule, something that is enjoyed by all creatures to varying degrees and from different perspectives. Although people cannot see or touch it, this love brings sustenance and life to all things as it is revealed, bit by bit, in their lives, and they count and bear witness to God’s love that they enjoy in each passing moment. I say that God’s love is unquantifiable because the mystery of God providing for and nourishing all things is something that is difficult for humans to fathom, as are God’s thoughts for all things, and particularly those for mankind. That is to say, no one knows the blood and tears the Creator has poured out for mankind. No one can comprehend, no one can understand the depth or weight of the love that the Creator has for mankind whom He created with His own hands. Describing God’s love as immense is to help people appreciate and understand its breadth and the truth of its existence. It is also so that people can more deeply comprehend the actual meaning of the word “Creator,” and so that people can gain a deeper understanding of the true meaning of the appellation, “creation.” What does the word “vast” usually describe? It is generally used to describe the ocean or the universe, for example: “the vast universe,” or “the vast ocean.” The expansiveness and quiet depth of the universe are beyond human understanding; it is something that captures man’s imagination, something for which they feel great admiration. Its mystery and profundity are within sight, but beyond reach. When you think of the ocean, you think of its breadth—it looks limitless, and you can feel its mysteriousness and its great capacity to hold things. This is why I have used the word “vast” to describe God’s love, to help people feel how precious it is, to feel the profound beauty of His love, and that the power of God’s love is infinite and wide-ranging. I used this word to help people feel the holiness of His love, and the dignity and unoffendableness of God that is revealed through His love.
Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
1. “Ravages” is used to expose the disobedience of mankind.