4. The Principles of Regarding God’s Words
Relevant Words of God:
The words I speak are truths directed at all mankind; they are not addressed only to a specific person or type of person. Therefore, you should concentrate on understanding My words from the standpoint of the truth, and must have an attitude of undivided attention and sincerity; do not ignore a single word or truth that I speak, and do not treat all of the words I speak lightly. In your lives, I see that you have done much that is irrelevant to the truth, and so I expressly ask that you become servants of the truth, that you not be enslaved by wickedness and ugliness, and that you do not trample on the truth or defile any corner of the house of God. This is My admonition to you.
Excerpted from “Three Admonitions” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
I hope only that you are able not to let the pains I have taken go to waste, and, more than that, that you can understand the thoughtful care I have taken, and treat My words as the foundation of how you behave as a human being. Whether or not they are the kind of words to which you are willing to listen, whether or not you enjoy accepting them or can only accept them with discomfort, you must treat them seriously. Otherwise, your casual and unconcerned dispositions and demeanors will upset Me seriously and, indeed, disgust Me. I very much hope all of you can read My words over and over again—thousands of times—and that you may even come to know them by heart. Only in this way will you be able not to fail My expectations of you. However, none of you is living like this now. On the contrary, you are all immersed in a debauched life, a life of eating and drinking to your heart’s content, and none of you uses My words to enrich your heart and soul. For this reason, I have come to a conclusion about mankind’s true countenance: Man can betray Me at any time, and no one can be absolutely faithful to My words.
Excerpted from “A Very Serious Problem: Betrayal (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
I have given you many warnings and bestowed upon you many truths intended to conquer you. By now, you all feel significantly more enriched than you did in the past, have come to understand many principles of how a person should be, and you have come to possess so much of the common sense that faithful people should have. All of this is the harvest you have reaped over the course of many years. I do not deny your achievements, but I must also say quite frankly that I also do not deny the numerous disobediences and rebellions you have committed against Me over these many years, for there is not one saint among you. You are, without exception, people who have been corrupted by Satan; you are enemies of Christ. To date, your transgressions and disobediences have been too numerous to count, so it can hardly be considered strange that I am constantly repeating Myself to you. I do not wish to coexist with you in this manner—but for the sake of your futures, for the sake of your destinations, I will, here and now, repeat once more what I have already said. I hope you will indulge Me and, moreover, that you will be able to believe My every utterance and infer the deep implications of My words. Do not doubt what I say, let alone pick up My words as you wish and toss them aside at will; this I find intolerable. Do not judge My words, and still less should you take them lightly or say that I am always tempting you or, worse, that what I have told you is inaccurate. These things I also find intolerable. Because you treat Me and what I say with such suspicion, never taking My words on board and ignoring Me, I tell each of you in all seriousness: Do not link what I say with philosophy; do not link My words with the lies of charlatans. Much less should you respond to My words with contempt.
Excerpted from “Transgressions Will Lead Man to Hell” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When receiving the judgment of God’s words, we must not fear suffering, nor should we be afraid of pain, and much less should we fear that God’s words will pierce our hearts. We should read more of His utterances about how He judges and chastises us and exposes our corrupt essences. We must read them and hold ourselves up to them more. Do not compare others to them—we must compare ourselves against them. We are not lacking in any single one of these things; we can all square with them. If you do not believe it, go experience it yourself. After reading God’s words, some people are incapable of applying them to themselves; they think that parts of these words are not about them, but are instead about other people. For example, when God exposes people as sluts and whores, some sisters feel that because they have been unerringly faithful to their husbands, such words must not be in reference to them; some sisters feel that since they are unmarried and have never had sex, such words must not be about them, either. Some brothers feel that these words are only aimed at women, and have nothing to do with them; some people believe that such words of God are too unpleasant-sounding, and refuse to accept them. There are even people who say that in some instances, God’s words are wrong. Is this the right attitude to have toward God’s words? People are incapable of reflecting upon themselves based on God’s words. Here, “sluts” and “whores” refer to people’s corruption of promiscuity. Whether man or woman, married or not married, everyone is possessed of the corruption of promiscuity—so how can it have nothing to do with you? God’s words expose people’s corrupt dispositions; whether male or female, one’s level of corruption is the same. Is this not fact? Prior to doing anything else, we have to realize that we must accept every one of the words spoken by God, whether these utterances are pleasant-sounding or not and whether they give us a bitter feeling or a sweet one. Such is the attitude we should have toward God’s words. What sort of attitude is this? Is it a devout attitude, a patient attitude, or an attitude of embracing suffering? I tell you that it is not any of these. In our faith, we must firmly maintain that God’s words are the truth. Since they are indeed the truth, we should accept them rationally. Whether or not we are able to recognize or admit it, our first attitude toward God’s words should be one of absolute acceptance. Every single line of God’s words pertains to a specific state. That is, none of the lines of His utterances are about external appearances, much less about external rules or a simple form of behavior in people. They are not like that. If you see every line uttered by God as being about a simple kind of human behavior or external appearance, then you have no spiritual understanding and you do not understand what the truth is. God’s words are profound. How are they profound? Everything that God says, everything that He reveals, is about people’s corrupt dispositions, and substantive and deep-rooted things within their lives. They are essential things, not external appearances, and particularly not external behaviors. Viewing people from their external appearance, they might all seem to be fine. Why, then, does God say that some people are evil spirits and some are unclean spirits? This is a matter that is not visible to you. Thus, you cannot rely on appearance or what you see from the outside to hold up to God’s words.
Excerpted from “The Importance of Pursuing the Truth and the Path of Pursuing It” in Records of Christ’s Talks
The truth that man needs to possess is found in the word of God, and it is a truth that is the most beneficial and helpful to mankind. It is the tonic and sustenance that your body needs, something that helps man restore his normal humanity. It is a truth that man should be equipped with. The more you practice God’s word, the more quickly your life will blossom, and the clearer the truth will become. As you grow in stature, you will see things of the spiritual world more clearly, and the more strength you will have to triumph over Satan. Much of the truth that you do not understand will be made clear when you practice the word of God. Most people are satisfied to merely understand the text of God’s word and focus on equipping themselves with doctrines rather than on deepening their experience in practice, but is that not the way of the Pharisees? So how can the phrase, “The word of God is life” be real for them? A person’s life cannot grow simply by reading God’s word, but only when the word of God is put into practice. If it is your belief that to understand God’s word is all that is needed to have life and stature, then your understanding is warped. Truly understanding God’s word occurs when you practice the truth, and you must understand that “only by practicing the truth can it ever be understood.” Today, after reading the word of God, you can merely say that you know God’s word, but you cannot say that you understand it. Some say that the only way to practice the truth is to understand it first, but this is only partially correct, and is certainly not entirely accurate. Before you have knowledge of a truth, you have not experienced that truth. Feeling that you understand something you hear in a sermon is not truly understanding—this is just taking possession of the literal words of the truth, and it is not the same as understanding the true meaning therein. Just having a superficial knowledge of the truth does not mean that you actually understand it or have knowledge about it; the true meaning of the truth comes from having experienced it. Therefore, only when you experience the truth can you understand it, and only then can you grasp the hidden parts of it. Deepening your experience is the only way to grasp the connotations, and to understand the essence of the truth. Therefore, you can go everywhere with the truth, but if there is no truth in you, then do not think of trying to convince even your family members, much less religious people. Without the truth you are like fluttering snowflakes, but with the truth you can be happy and free, and none can attack you. No matter how strong a theory is, it cannot overcome the truth. With the truth, the world itself can be swayed and mountains and seas moved, whereas a lack of the truth can lead to strong city walls being reduced to rubble by maggots. This is an obvious fact.
Excerpted from “Once You Understand the Truth, You Should Put It Into Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
God expresses the truth for people who thirst for the truth, seek the truth, and love the truth. As for those who concern themselves with letters and doctrines and like to give lengthy, pompous speeches, they will never gain the truth; they are fooling themselves. Such people have an incorrect view of reading God’s words; they twist their necks to read that which is upright—their perspective is all wrong. Some people only know to research the words of God, studying what He says about being blessed and about man’s destination. If God’s words do not fit their notions, they become negative and halt their pursuit. This shows that they are not interested in the truth. As a result, they do not take the truth seriously; they are only capable of accepting the truth of their notions and imagination. Although such people are fervent in their belief in God and try every way they can to do some good deeds and present themselves well to others, they are only doing it in order to have a good destination in the future. Despite the fact that they also engage in church life, eating and drinking of God’s words along with everyone else, they have difficulty in entering the reality of the truth and gaining the truth. There are still others who eat and drink of the words of God, but who merely go through the motions; they think they have gained the truth simply by having come to understand a few letters and doctrines. What fools they are! The word of God is the truth. However, you will not necessarily understand and gain the truth after you read God’s words. If you fail to gain the truth through eating and drinking the words of God, then what you gain will be letters and doctrines. You do not know what it means to gain the truth. You may hold the words of God in the palm of your hand, but after reading them you still fail to understand God’s will, you only acquire some letters and doctrines. First of all, you should realize that the word of God is not so straightforward; the word of God is utterly profound. Without many years of experience, how could you possibly understand the word of God? Even one sentence of God’s words will require your lifetime to fully experience. You read the words of God, but you do not understand God’s will; you do not understand the intentions of His words, their origin, the effect they seek to achieve, or what they seek to accomplish. If you understand none of these things, then how can you understand the truth? You may have read God’s words many times and perhaps you can recite many passages by heart, but you still have not changed at all, nor have you made any progress. Your relationship with God is just as distant and estranged as ever. There are still barriers between you and God, as before, and you still remain doubtful toward Him. Not only do you not understand God, but you give excuses to Him and harbor notions about Him. You resist Him and even blaspheme Him. How could this mean you have gained the truth? Though everyone has a copy of God’s word that they read every day, and they write down the enlightenment they receive from fellowshiping on the truth, in the end, different people achieve different effects. Some focus on doctrines, while others focus on their practice. Some prefer to study that which is profound and mysterious, while others prefer to learn about man’s future destination. Some prefer to study the administrative decrees, while some look for words of consolation, and others prefer to read the prophecies—the things that people focus on are different. Some people prefer to read the words the Holy Spirit says to the churches and want to be “My sons.” But what will such people get in the end? Nowadays, there are some new believers who say: “Look at how comforting the word of God is! ‘My sons, My sons!’ Who else in the world could provide us such consolation?” They do not understand for whom these words are intended. Even after accepting God’s new work for one or two years, some people still fail to understand and still shamelessly say these things, without reddening or feeling ashamed. Is this understanding the truth? They do not even understand God’s will, but they dare assume the status of God’s sons! What do such people learn from the word of God? All they do is misinterpret the word of God! Those who do not love the truth will never gain the truth, though they read the word of God. When someone has no love for the truth, they will not pay attention to it no matter how much you fellowship with them. Those who love the truth, after reading the words of God, will seek to grasp God’s will; they will investigate, and fellowship on the truth with others. Only this kind of person has hope of gaining the truth.
Excerpted from “Only Those With the Reality of the Truth Can Lead” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Some people equip themselves with the truth to help others and to serve God, and to lead the church properly. Is this view correct? Irrespective of how many messages you have heard or what your plans are, let Me tell you what is most critical and which view is the most correct: Whatever duty you perform, and whether or not you are a leader, you must first check yourself against God’s words and implement them within yourself. Do not treat them like tools in your work or as things you have accumulated. If you succeed in all of this, then you will surely be able to do your work well. If you always want to measure other people against these words, carry them out on other people, or regard them as capital for your own work, then you are in trouble; it means you are walking the path of Paul. This is the absolute truth. Because you have this view, you undoubtedly treat these words as doctrine and theory, and you wish to disseminate them and do the work—and this is a very dangerous thing. If you measure yourself against God’s words, and start by putting them into practice yourself, then the first one to change and attain entry will be you. Only if you yourself gain something will you have the stature, qualifications, and ability to do well in the work you must do. If you are without stature, have no experience, and have not gained entry, then you are working blindly, and are running about blindly, and there is no real outcome to this. Whichever aspect of the reality of the truth you have heard, if you hold yourself up against it, implement these words in your own life, and incorporate them into your own practice, then you will definitely gain something, and you are bound to change. If you simply stuff these words into your belly and memorize them in your brain, then you will never change.
Excerpted from “The Most Fundamental Practice of Being an Honest Person” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Many people hold up God’s words to read day by day, even to the point of carefully committing to memory all the classic passages therein as their most prized possession, and moreover preach God’s words everywhere, providing and aiding others with God’s words. They think that to do this is to bear witness to God, to bear witness to His words, that to do this is to follow God’s way; they think that to do this is to live by God’s words, that to do this is to bring His words into their actual lives, that doing this will enable them to receive God’s commendation, and to be saved and perfected. But, even as they preach the words of God, they never comply with God’s words in practice, or try to bring themselves in line with what is revealed in God’s words. Rather, they use God’s words to gain the adoration and trust of others by trickery, to enter into management on their own, and to embezzle and steal God’s glory. They hope, vainly, to exploit the opportunity afforded by spreading God’s words so as to be awarded God’s working and His commendation. How many years have gone by, but not only have these people been incapable of earning God’s commendation in the process of preaching God’s words, and not only have they been incapable of discovering the way that they should follow in the process of bearing witness to God’s words, and not only have they not aided or provided for themselves in the process of aiding and providing others with God’s words, and not only have they been incapable of knowing God, or awakening in themselves genuine reverence for God, in the process of doing all these things; but, on the contrary, their misunderstandings about God grow ever deeper, their mistrust of Him ever graver, and their imaginings about Him ever more hyperbolic. Supplied and guided by their theories about God’s words, they appear as if completely in their element, as if plying their skills with effortless ease, as if they have found their purpose in life, their mission, and as if they have won new life and been saved, as if, with God’s words rolling crisply off their tongue in recital, they have gained the truth, grasped God’s intentions, and discovered the path to knowing God, as if, in the process of preaching God’s words, they often have come face to face with God. Also, they are often “moved” to bouts of weeping, and, often led by the “God” in God’s words, they appear to be ceaselessly grasping at His earnest solicitude and kind intention, and at the same time to have grasped God’s salvation of man and His management, to have come to know His essence, and to have understood His righteous disposition. Based on this foundation, they seem to believe even more firmly in God’s existence, to be more cognizant of His exalted state, and to feel even more deeply His grandeur and transcendence. Steeped in superficial knowledge of God’s words, it would appear that their faith has grown, their resolve to endure suffering has strengthened, and their knowledge of God has deepened. Little do they know that, until they actually experience God’s words, all their knowledge of God and their ideas about Him come out of their own wishful imaginings and conjecture. Their faith would not hold up under any kind of test from God, their so-called spirituality and stature would simply not hold up under God’s trial or inspection, their resolution is but a castle built upon the sand, and their so-called knowledge of God no more than a figment of their imagination. In fact, these people, who have, as it were, put a lot of effort into God’s words, have never ever realized what is real faith, what is real obedience, what is real caring, or what is real knowledge of God. They take theory, imagination, knowledge, gift, tradition, superstition, and even the moral values of humanity, and make them into “capital” and “weaponry” for believing in God and following Him, even making them into the foundations of their belief in God and their following Him. At the same time, they also take this capital and weaponry and make them into magic talismans through which they know God, for facing and dealing with God’s inspections, trials, chastisement, and judgment. In the end, what they garner still consists of nothing more than conclusions about God that are steeped in religious connotation, in feudal superstition, and in all that is romantic, grotesque, and enigmatic. Their way of knowing and defining God is stamped in the same mold as that of people who believe only in Heaven Above, or the Old Man in the Sky, while God’s realness, His essence, His disposition, His possessions and being, and so forth—all that relates to the real God Himself—are things that their knowledge has failed to grasp, from which their knowledge is completely divorced, and even as far apart as the north and south poles. In this way, although these people live under the provision and nourishment of God’s words, they are nevertheless unable truly to tread the path of fearing God and shunning evil. The true reason for this is that they have never become acquainted with God, neither have they ever had genuine contact or communion with Him, and so it is impossible for them to arrive at mutual understanding with God, or to awaken in themselves genuine belief in, following of, or worship for God. That they should thus regard God’s words, that they should thus regard God—this perspective and attitude has doomed them to return empty-handed from their endeavors, has doomed them to never in all eternity be able to tread the path of fearing God and shunning evil. The goal for which they are aiming, and the direction in which they are going, signifies that they are God’s enemies through eternity, and that through eternity they will never be able to receive salvation.
Excerpted from “Knowing God Is the Path to Fearing God and Shunning Evil” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Your many years of behavior before Me have given Me an answer without precedent, and the question to this answer is: “What is man’s attitude before the truth and the true God?” The efforts I have devoted to man prove My substance of love for man, and man’s every action before Me proves his substance of loathing toward the truth and opposition to Me. At all times, I am concerned for all who follow Me, yet at no time are those who follow Me able to receive My words; they are not even able to accept My suggestions. This is what saddens Me most of all. No one has ever been able to understand Me and nor, moreover, has anyone ever been able to accept Me, even though My attitude is sincere, and My words are gentle. Everyone tries to do the work I have entrusted to them according to their own ideas; they do not seek My intentions, let alone do they ask what I require of them. They still claim to serve Me loyally, all while they rebel against Me. Many believe that the truths that are unacceptable to them or that they cannot practice are not truths. In such people, My truths become something that is denied and cast aside. At the same time, people recognize Me as God in word, yet also believe Me an outsider who is not the truth, the way, or the life. No one knows this truth: My words are the forever unchanging truth. I am the supply of life for man and the only guide for mankind. The worth and meaning of My words are not determined by whether they are recognized or accepted by mankind, but by the substance of the words themselves. Even if not a single person on this earth can receive My words, the value of My words and their help to mankind are inestimable to any man. Therefore, when faced with the many people who rebel against, refute, or are utterly contemptuous of My words, My stance is only this: Let time and facts be My witness and show that My words are the truth, the way, and the life. Let them show that all I have said is right, that it is that which man should be furnished with and, moreover, that which man should accept. I will let all who follow Me know this fact: Those who cannot fully accept My words, those who cannot practice My words, those who cannot find a purpose in My words, and those who cannot receive salvation because of My words, are those who have been condemned by My words and, moreover, have lost My salvation, and My rod shall never stray from them.
Excerpted from “You Ought to Consider Your Deeds” in The Word Appears in the Flesh