165. The Principles of God’s Saving Mankind to the Greatest Extent Possible
(1) Mankind is mired in corruption so deeply that the slightest notion or misunderstanding makes them prone to betray God. Nevertheless, as long as there is a glimmer of hope, God does not abandon them;
(2) As long as one can know themselves, and as long as they can genuinely repent and change, God will not remember their past transgressions, no matter how great they are;
(3) In the period of time when God uses His words to do His work, He does not visit punishment upon anyone lightly, but is tolerant to the greatest possible extent. He gives people opportunities to repent;
(4) Those whom God saves are good people who believe in Him truly. He hates and curses antichrists, evil people, filthy demons, and evil spirits. Those who hate God will surely perish.
Relevant Words of God:
The purpose of God’s work on man is to enable them to meet God’s will, and it is done to bring them salvation. Therefore, during the time of His salvation of man, He does not do the work of punishing them. While bringing salvation to man, God does not punish evil or reward good, nor does He reveal the destinations of various kinds of people. Rather, only after the final stage of His work is complete will He do the work of punishing evil and rewarding good, and only then will He reveal the ends of all the different sorts of people. Those who are punished will be those who are actually unable to be saved, while those who are saved will be those who have obtained God’s salvation during the time of His salvation of man. While God’s work of salvation is being done, every single person who can be saved will be saved as far as possible, and none of them discarded, for the purpose of God’s work is to save man. All those who, during the time of God’s salvation of man, are unable to achieve a change in their disposition—as well as all those who are unable to submit to God completely—will become objects for punishment. This stage of work—the work of words—will unlock for people all of the ways and mysteries that they do not understand, so that they can understand the will of God and God’s requirements of them, and so that they can have the prerequisites to put God’s words into practice and achieve changes in their disposition. God uses only words to do His work and does not punish people for being a little rebellious; this is because now is the time of the work of salvation. If anyone who acts rebelliously were punished, then no one would have the opportunity to be saved; everyone would be punished and fall into Hades. The purpose of words that judge man is to allow them to know themselves and submit to God; it is not to punish them with such judgment. During the time of the work of words, many people will expose their rebelliousness and defiance, as well as their disobedience toward the incarnate God. Nevertheless, He will not punish all these people as a result, but instead will only cast aside those who are corrupt to the core and who cannot be saved. He will give their flesh to Satan, and, in a few cases, terminate their flesh. Those remaining will continue to follow and experience being dealt with and pruned. If, while following, these people still are unable to accept being dealt with and pruned, and become more and more degenerate, then they will have lost their chance for salvation. Each person who has submitted to being conquered by words will have ample opportunity for salvation; God’s salvation of each of these people will show His utmost leniency. In other words, they will be shown the utmost tolerance. As long as people turn back from the wrong path, and as long as they can repent, God will give them opportunities to obtain His salvation. When humans first rebel against God, He has no desire to put them to death; rather, He does all He can to save them. If someone really has no room for salvation, then God will cast them aside. The reason God is slow to punish certain people is that He wishes to save everyone who can be saved. He judges, enlightens, and guides people only with words, and does not use a rod to put them to death. Employing words to bring humans salvation is the purpose and significance of the final stage of work.
Excerpted from “You Should Put Aside the Blessings of Status and Understand God’s Will to Bring Salvation to Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Some people say: “My nature is not good, so I’ll just let nature take its course! If I can’t succeed in my pursuit, there’s nothing to be done about it.” Such people are extremely negative, so much so that they have given up hope for themselves. These people are irredeemable. Have you put in effort? If you truly have, and are willing to suffer hardship, why can you not forsake the flesh? Are you not a person with a heart and a brain? How do you pray each day? Can you not seek the truth and rely on God? For you, to let nature take its course means to wait passively; you do not seek to proactively work with God. To let nature take its course is akin to saying, “There’s no use in my doing anything; everything is predetermined by God.” Is this truly God’s will? If it is not, then why do you not work with God? Some people who have committed a small transgression wonder: “Has God exposed me and cast me out? Will He strike me down?” This time, God has come to work not in order to smite people, but to save them to the greatest extent possible. Who is entirely free of error? If everyone were struck down, then how could it be “salvation”? Some transgressions are done on purpose, while others are done involuntarily. If you are able to change after you recognize the transgressions you commit involuntarily, would God strike you down before you changed? Can God save people that way? That is not how He works! Regardless of whether you transgress involuntarily or out of a rebellious nature, you must remember that, once the transgression has been committed, you must hurry up and wake up to reality, and press onward; no matter what situation arises, you must press onward. The work God is doing is that of salvation, and He will not casually strike down the people He wants to save. Regardless of the degree to which you are capable of transforming, even if God struck you down in the end, it would certainly be righteous for Him to do so; and when the time came, He would make you understand. Right now, you should care about striving for the truth, focusing on life entry, and seeking to fulfill your duty properly. There is no mistake in this! Ultimately, no matter how God treats you, it is always righteous; you should not doubt this and you do not need to worry. Even if you cannot understand God’s righteousness at the moment, there will come a day when you will be convinced. God is certainly not like a government official or the king of devils. If you apply careful contemplation to this subject, you will come to the conclusion that God’s work is saving people and transforming their dispositions. Since His work is the work of transforming people’s dispositions, if people do not reveal their corruption, then nothing can be done, and nothing will be achieved. If, after you have revealed your corruption, you do not repent in the least, and act still as you have, then you will offend God’s disposition. God will carry out different degrees of retribution on man, and man will pay the price for his transgressions. On occasion, you unconsciously become dissolute, and God points it out to you, prunes you, and deals with you. If you change for the better, God will not hold you accountable. This is the normal process of a disposition transforming, and the true significance of the work of salvation is manifest in this process. This is the key! Take, for example, the boundaries between men and women: Today, you act on the impulse to hold someone’s hand, but after you return home, you ponder: “Was that not immoral behavior? Was it not a sin? Does it not dishonor God to breach the boundaries between men and women? How could I have done such a thing?” Having understood this, you hurry before God and pray: “Oh God! I have sinned again. My doing this is at odds with the truth, and I despise my corrupt flesh.” You resolve to stay far clear of such matters when they arise in the future, to avoid even letting a finger touch another’s. Is this not transformation? If you have transformed in this way, will God still condemn you for holding someone’s hand? If you held someone’s hand and feel it was wrong to have done so, yet do not admit your sin to God, thinking it was not a shameful thing, and you do not despise yourself, stay alert, or resolve to forsake the flesh, then, in the future, you will not simply hold someone’s hand—you will embrace them! The matter will grow ever more serious, and will lead you to commit sin, for which God will condemn you. You will sin once and again, and you will be beyond saving. If, involuntarily, you reveal a bit of a corrupt disposition, and can truly repent afterward, forsake the flesh, and put the truth into practice, then God will not condemn you, and you can yet be saved. God works to save people, and it is inevitable that people’s natures will be revealed to some degree; however, you should focus on effecting timely repentance and change. Would this not satisfy God’s will? Some people do not believe so and always regard God warily. Such people will suffer, sooner or later.
As previously mentioned, events of the past can be wiped clean at a stroke; the future can be made to supersede the past; God’s tolerance is as boundless as the sea. Yet there are also principles to these words. It is not the case that God will wipe clean any sin you have committed, no matter how great. All the work of God has principles. In the past, an administrative decree was set that addresses this issue—God forgives and pardons all sins one commits before accepting His name, and there is a system to address those who continue to sin after having entered the church: One who commits a minor sin is given the chance to repent, while repeat offenders are expelled. God has always tolerated people to the greatest extent possible in His work, and, in this, it can be seen that God’s work is truly the work of saving people. However, if, in this final stage of work, you yet commit unpardonable sins, then you are truly irredeemable, and you cannot change. God has a process for purifying and changing people’s dispositions. In the process of constant expression and transformation of people’s corrupt natures, God achieves His aim of salvation. Some people think: “Since it is my nature, I will expose it as much as possible, and after it is exposed, I will know it and put the truth into practice.” Is this process necessary? If you are truly one who puts the truth into practice, and see some of others’ various struggles in yourself, then you will do to avoid the same behaviors in yourself. Is this not an indirect transformation? Sometimes, it occurs to you to do something, but, before you do, you realize that it is wrong, and you forsake it. Does this not also result in your being saved? The practice of each truth is a process. When one has just begun their practice, accuracy and freedom from mistakes are impossible, as is a practice uncontaminated by one’s own will. There remain several matters you handle entirely according to your own will, but, having been dealt with and pruned, you will ultimately come to practice entirely according to God’s will and words. This is transformation.
Excerpted from “God’s Will Is to Save People to the Greatest Extent Possible” in Records of Christ’s Talks
In the Age of Grace, it was said that God wants every person to be saved and does not want anyone to suffer perdition. Such is God’s attitude and sentiment toward saving mankind, who was corrupted by Satan. It is God’s wish, but in fact, many people do not accept God’s grace; they belong to Satan and shall not be saved. These words show God’s attitude toward the whole of mankind: His love is without limit, it is incomparably vast, it is mighty. But to those who detest the truth, He is unwilling to freely give His love and salvation, nor will He ever do so. This is the attitude of God. What is detesting the truth tantamount to? Is it setting yourself against God? Is it being openly hostile to God? It is tantamount to openly telling God, “I don’t enjoy listening to what You have to say. If I don’t like it, then it’s not the truth, and I will not take it as the truth. It will only be the truth when I acknowledge it and like it.” When you have that attitude toward the truth, is this not being openly hostile to God? If you are openly hostile to God, will God save you? No. This is the very reason for God’s wrath. The substance of the kind of people who detest the truth is one of hostility to God. God does not treat people of this substance as people; He treats them as enemies, as demons, and will never save them. This is the manifestation of God’s wrath.
Excerpted from “Understanding the Truth Is Crucial to Fulfilling One’s Duty Properly” in Records of Christ’s Talks
God had despised man because man was hostile to Him, but in His heart, His care, concern, and mercy for humanity remained unchanged. Even when He destroyed mankind, His heart remained unchanged. When humanity was full of corruption and disobedient toward God to a grievous extent, God had to destroy this humanity, because of His disposition and His essence, and in accordance with His principles. But because of God’s essence, He still pitied mankind, and even wanted to use various ways to redeem mankind so they could continue to live. Man, however, opposed God, continued to disobey God, and refused to accept God’s salvation; that is, refused to accept His good intentions. No matter how God called to them, reminded them, supplied them, helped them, or tolerated them, man did not understand or appreciate it, nor did they pay attention. In His pain, God still did not forget to grant man His maximum tolerance, waiting for man to reverse course. After He reached His limit, He did what He had to do without any hesitation. In other words, there was a specific time period and process from the moment God planned to destroy mankind to the start of His work in destroying mankind. This process existed for the purpose of enabling man to reverse course, and this was the last chance God gave to man. So what did God do in this period before destroying mankind? God did a significant amount of reminding and exhorting work. No matter how much pain and sorrow God’s heart was in, He continued to vest His care, concern, and abundant mercy in humanity. What do we see from this? Undoubtedly, we see that God’s love for mankind is real and not something He merely pays lip service to. It is actual, tangible and appreciable, not feigned, adulterated, deceitful or pretentious. God never uses any deception or creates false images to make people see that He is lovable. He never uses false testimony to let people see His loveliness, or to flaunt His loveliness and holiness. Are these aspects of God’s disposition not worthy of man’s love? Are they not worth worshiping? Are they not worth cherishing? At this point, I want to ask you: After hearing these words, do you think God’s greatness is merely empty words on a sheet of paper? Is God’s loveliness just empty words? No! Certainly not! God’s supremacy, greatness, holiness, tolerance, love, and so forth—every detail of every one of the various aspects of God’s disposition and essence find practical expression every time He does His work, are embodied in His will toward man, and are also fulfilled and reflected in every person. Regardless of whether you have felt it before, God is caring for every person in every possible way, using His sincere heart, wisdom, and various methods to warm each person’s heart, and awaken each person’s spirit. This is an indisputable fact.
Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself I” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In the past, some people have been expelled for doing bad things, and the church has rejected them. After roaming around for a few years, they have returned. It is good that they did not run away completely, and they now have the opportunity and the hope to be saved. Had they run away and stopped believing, becoming the same as unbelievers, then they would be completely done for. If they can turn around, then there is hope for them; this is rare and precious. Regardless of how God saves people, and regardless of how He treats them, hates them, or detests them, if there comes a time when they can turn around, then I will take great comfort; it will mean that people still have that little bit of God in their hearts, have not completely lost their human reason, have not completely lost their humanity, still intend to believe in God, and have some intention to acknowledge and return to God. No matter who leaves God’s family, if they return, and this family is still in their hearts, then I will become a little sentimentally attached and will take some comfort. However, if they never return, I will think it a pity. If they can return and begin to sincerely believe in God, My heart will especially be filled with gratification. When you walked away, you certainly were being quite negative and were in a bad state; if you can come back now, it proves you still have faith in God. However, from now on, whether you can continue forward or not is an unknown factor, because people change so quickly. In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus had pity and grace for humans. If one sheep was lost out of a hundred, He would leave the ninety-nine to look for the one. These words are not a kind of mechanical method, nor are they a rule; rather, they show God’s intentions toward humans, His urgent intention to save them, and His deep love for them. His love for humanity is not a way of doing things; it is a kind of disposition, a kind of mentality. Therefore, regardless of how many weaknesses and misconceptions people have, if they wake up, understand, and make a turn-around, then God will be especially comforted. In this world of sensual pleasures, and in this evil age, being able to stand firm, acknowledge God, and get back on the right path are things that bring quite a bit of comfort and are exciting. If you raise children, regardless of whether or not they are filial, how would you feel if they did not acknowledge you and ran away? Your heart would always refuse to give up on them, and you would always wonder, When will my son return? I’d like to see him. After all, he is my son; I’ve raised him and loved him. You have always thought this way, and have always longed for that day to come. Everyone feels the same in this regard. People nowadays are of small stature, but one day they will understand God’s will.
Excerpted from “People Who Make Constant Demands of God Are the Least Reasonable People” in Records of Christ’s Talks
What notions are there within your heart that govern your behavior? When something happens to you that is not to your liking, these notions naturally appear, and make you complain to God, argue and compete with God, and they bring about a rapid transformation in your relationship with God: You suddenly go from feeling you love God and are faithful to Him, and wanting to devote your whole life to Him, as you did at the start, to not wanting to be faithful to God, to not wanting to perform your duty, and you regret your belief in God, you regret having chosen this path, and even complain about being chosen by God. What notions are able to suddenly cause such a major change in your relationship with God? (When God arranges a situation to test me, and I feel there is a chance I might have no outcome, I form notions about God. I feel that as long as I do not forsake God in my faith, He will not abandon me.) That is one kind of notion. Do you often have such notions? What is your understanding of being abandoned by God? Believing that if God leaves you, God does not want you and will not save you, is a kind of notion. So how does such a notion come about? Does it come from your imagination, or does it have a basis? How do you know God gives you no outcome? Did God tell you personally? Such thoughts have been delineated by you, yes? Now you know that this is a notion; the key question is how to solve it. The simplest way is this: Since you know it is a notion, you must put it to one side and seek the truth, and see what God asks of you. When your own notions run contrary to what God asks, and you realize this but still cling to them, then you will have no entry into life; your stature is too poor. Furthermore, people are especially sensitive toward their own end and destination, and toward occasional adjustments of their duty and being replaced in their duty. Some people frequently jump to an erroneous conclusion about such things, thinking that as soon as they are replaced in their duty then they have no status anymore, or that God says He does not like or want them anymore, and so it’s over for them. This is the conclusion they come to. They believe there is no point in believing in God, and believe that, since their end is set in stone and they are not wanted by God, there is no meaning to living. Others, hearing such thoughts, think them reasonable and dignified—but what kind of mentality is this, actually? It is rebelliousness against God, it is defeatism. What is the substance of their defeatism? It is ignorance of how God treats people. Does God know when people abandon themselves to despair? How does God treat such people? Some people say, “God has paid such a painstaking price for man, He has done much work in every person, and exerted much effort; it is not easy for God to choose and save a person. God will be so hurt if this person abandons themselves to despair, and will hope each day that they can pick themselves up.” This is the meaning on a superficial level, but in fact, it is also a notion of man. God takes a certain attitude toward such people: If you abandon yourself to despair and do not try to move forward, He says you can stay where you are if you want; He will not pressure you. If you say, “I still wish to perform the duty of a created being, to do all I can to practice as God asks, and to satisfy the will of God. I will do everything within my power and capabilities; I will not give up on what God asks of me,” God says that if you are willing to live in this way, then continue following, but you must do as God asks; the principles and standards demanded by God do not change. What do these words mean? They mean that only people can abandon themselves; God would never actively abandon someone. For anyone who is able to behold God, who can come before God and create a normal relationship with God, and who can ultimately be saved, this is not something that can be achieved after failing a single time, or being pruned and dealt with, or judged and chastised, a single time. Before Peter was made perfect, he was refined hundreds of times. Of those who remain after serving to the very end, there will not be one who has only experienced trials and refinement eight or ten times before making it to the end. Is this not the love of God? This is God’s attitude toward man.
Excerpted from “Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Enter the Right Track of Believing in God (1)” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Because of a single word from God, people often think that God has come to a conclusion about them, that He has abandoned them—and as a result, they are unwilling to continue following God and moving onward. In fact, you do not understand what abandonment is; your abandonment of yourself is the real abandonment. Sometimes, the words with which God defines you are merely spoken in anger; He is by no means coming to a conclusion about you, nor is He condemning you, much less is this His final punishment, and He is not setting your final destination. These are nothing more than words that judge and deal with you. They speak of God’s fervent hopes for you, they are words to remind and to warn you, and they are words from within God’s heart. Yet there are some who fall down and forsake God as a result of these words of judgment. There are some who are weak for a time and come before God and say, “This will not do. I must do as God asks. If people leave the Creator, their lives become not worth living. To live out the value of a created being, I must keep following God.” So how can they follow God? They must not follow as they did before. Before, they were not faithful in their duty. They were unwilling to accept being pruned and dealt with, and would always complain after suffering a little hardship. You must walk that path no more, you must walk by another means, you must do as God asks, and if God says you are wrong, you must not jump to any conclusion using your notions and imaginings, and try to take a stand against God; you must submit, and admit that you were wrong. Is this not a path to practice? Do people stray from God when they have a path to practice? There are times when people believe God has abandoned them—but in fact, God has not abandoned you, He just finds you detestable, and does not wish to heed you. He has not, however, truly forsaken you. There are those who make an effort to perform their duty in the house of God, but because of their substance and the various things that are manifested in them, God does actually forsake them; they were not truly chosen, but merely gave service for a time. There are some, meanwhile, whom God does His utmost to discipline, chasten, and judge; He employs various ways of treating them that are at odds with the notions of man. Some people do not understand, and think that God is picking on them and being hurtful. They think that there is no dignity to living before God, they do not wish to hurt God any longer, and take it upon themselves to leave God. They think the way they live is sensible, and so they take it upon themselves to leave God—but in fact, God had not forsaken them. Such people have no inkling of the will of God. They are somewhat oversensitive, going so far as to give up on God’s salvation. Do they really have conscience? There are times when God shuns people, and times when He places them to one side for a time so that they may reflect upon themselves, but God has not truly forsaken them; He is giving them the opportunity to repent, and is not genuinely forsaking them. God only truly forsakes antichrists and the wicked who commit many evil acts. Some people say, “I feel devoid of the work of the Holy Spirit and long have I been without the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Has God forsaken me?” This is a misconception. You say that God has forsaken you, that He will not save you, so has He set your end? There are occasions when you cannot feel the work of the Holy Spirit, but has God deprived you of the right to read His words? You are possessed of normal human thought, and the path to salvation is not blocked to you, so why do you feel sad? People are not in a good state, they do not seek the truth to resolve it, but instead always lay the blame on God, saying “God, You don’t want me, so I don’t want You, either.” This is just being unreasonable.
Excerpted from “Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Enter the Right Track of Believing in God (1)” in Records of Christ’s Talks
I do not want to see anyone feeling as though God has left them out in the cold, that God has abandoned them or turned His back on them. All I want to see is everyone on the road to pursuing the truth and seeking to understand God, boldly marching onward with unfaltering determination, without any misgivings or burdens. No matter what wrongs you have committed, no matter how far you have strayed or how seriously you have transgressed, do not let these become burdens or excess baggage that you have to carry with you in your pursuit of understanding God. Continue marching onward. At all times, God holds man’s salvation in His heart; this never changes. This is the most precious part of the essence of God.
Excerpted from “God Himself, the Unique VI” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
We should resolve that no matter how serious our circumstances, no matter what kind of hardship befalls us, no matter how weak we are, or how negative, we must not lose faith in dispositional change, nor in the words spoken by God. God gave man a promise, and man must have the resolve and perseverance to receive this promise. God does not like cowards, God likes people with resolve. You may have revealed much corruption, you may have taken many a crooked path, or committed many a transgression, or previously defied God; alternatively, there may be blasphemy, or grumblings, or defiance toward God in some people’s hearts—but God does not look at these things, God only looks at whether someday they will change. In the Bible, there is a story about the return of the prodigal son. Why did the Lord Jesus tell such a parable? God’s will to save mankind is sincere. He gives people opportunities to repent and opportunities to change. During this process, He understands people and has a profound knowledge of their weaknesses and the extent of their corruption. He knows that they will stumble and fail. It is like when children learn to walk: No matter how strong your body, there will be times when you stumble, and times when you are tripped up. God understands each person as a mother understands her child. He understands each person’s difficulties, He understands each person’s weaknesses, and He understands, too, each person’s needs; He understands, moreover, what problems people will encounter in the process of entering dispositional change, what kinds of weaknesses they will suffer from, what kinds of failures will occur—there is nothing God understands better. Thus does God scrutinize the innermost heart of man. No matter how weak you are, as long as you do not forsake God’s name, as long as you do not leave God, and do not stray from this way, then you will always have the opportunity to achieve dispositional change. Our having the opportunity to achieve a change in our disposition means that we have hope of remaining, and our having hope of remaining means we have hope of God’s salvation.
Excerpted from “What Changes in Disposition Are, and the Path to Changes in Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks