172. The Principles of Requiting God’s Love
(1) As you undergo God’s judgment and chastisement and know your own, corrupt essence, and see the greatness of God’s love for man, do all you can to love Him;
(2) God expresses an enormity of truth and bestows it on humans to serve as their life; the grace of His salvation is vast. Be willing to perform your duty well to requite God’s love;
(3) As one undergoes trials and refinement, they are protected by God, can stand firm in their testimony, and they enjoy the great abundance of God’s grace; they should be willing to bear a lifetime and an eternity of witness for God;
(4) In experiencing God’s work, one’s corruption is purified, their life disposition is transformed, and they see God’s great loveliness; they should be willing to expend their entire life for Him.
Relevant Words of God:
What I now bestow upon you surpasses Moses and eclipses David, so likewise I ask that your testimony surpass Moses and that your words be greater than David. I give you a hundredfold—so I likewise ask you to repay Me in kind. You must know I am the One who bestows life unto mankind, and it is you who receive life from Me and must bear witness for Me. This is your duty which I send down upon you and which you ought to do for Me. I have bestowed all My glory unto you, I have bestowed unto you the life that the chosen people, the Israelites, never received. By rights, you ought to bear witness to Me and devote to Me your youth and lay down your life. Whomsoever I bestow My glory unto shall bear Me witness and give their life for Me. This has long been predestined by Me. It is your good fortune that I bestow My glory upon you, and your duty is to testify to My glory. If you were to believe in Me only to gain blessings, then My work would bear little significance, and you would not be fulfilling your duty. The Israelites saw only My mercy, love, and greatness, and the Jews witnessed only My patience and redemption. They saw very, very little of the work of My Spirit, to the point that they understood but one-ten-thousandth of what you have heard and seen. What you have seen exceeds even the chief priests among them. The truths you understand today surpass theirs; what you have seen today exceeds what was seen in the Age of Law, as well as the Age of Grace, and what you have experienced surpasses even Moses and Elijah. For what the Israelites understood was only the law of Jehovah, and what they saw was only the sight of Jehovah’s back; what the Jews understood was only the redemption of Jesus, what they received was only the grace bestowed by Jesus, and what they saw was only the image of Jesus within the house of the Jews. What you see this day is the glory of Jehovah, the redemption of Jesus, and all My deeds of this day. So, too, have you heard the words of My Spirit, appreciated My wisdom, come to know My wonder, and learned of My disposition. I have also told you all of My management plan. What you have seen is not merely a loving and merciful God, but a God filled with righteousness. You have seen My wondrous work and known that I brim with majesty and wrath. Furthermore, you know that I once brought down My raging fury upon the house of Israel, and that today, it has come upon you. You understand more of My mysteries in heaven than Isaiah and John; you know more of My loveliness and venerableness than all the saints of ages past. What you have received is not merely My truth, My way, and My life, but a vision and revelation greater than that of John. You understand many more mysteries, and have also looked upon My true countenance; you have accepted more of My judgment and know more of My righteous disposition. And so, though you were born in the last days, your understanding is that of the former and the past, and you have also experienced the things of today, and this was all personally done by Me. What I ask of you is not excessive, for I have given you so much, and you have seen much in Me. Thus, I ask you to bear witness for Me to the saints of ages past, and this is My heart’s only desire.
Excerpted from “What Do You Know of Faith?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
What you have inherited this day surpasses that of the apostles and prophets throughout the ages and is greater even than that of Moses and Peter. Blessings cannot be obtained in a day or two; they must be earned through great sacrifice. Which is to say, you must possess a love that has undergone refinement, you must possess great faith, and you must have the many truths that God requires you to attain; what is more, you must turn toward justice, without being cowed or evasive, and must have a love for God that is constant unto death. You must have resolve, changes must occur in your life disposition, your corruption must be healed, you must accept all of God’s orchestrations without complaint, and you must be obedient even unto death. This is what you ought to attain, this is the final aim of God’s work, and it is what God asks of this group of people. Since He gives to you, so He will surely ask of you in return, and will surely make fitting demands of you. Therefore, there is reason to all the work God does, which shows why, time and time again, God does work that sets high standards and strict requirements. It is because of this that you should be filled with faith in God. In short, all the work of God is done for your sake, so that you may become worthy of receiving His inheritance. This is not so much for the sake of God’s own glory but for the sake of your salvation and for perfecting this group of people who have been so profoundly afflicted in the unclean land. You should understand the will of God. And so, I exhort the many ignorant people who are without any insight or sense: Do not test God, and resist no more. God has already undergone suffering never endured by any man, and long ago endured even greater humiliation in man’s stead. What else can you not let go of? What could be more important than the will of God? What could be higher than God’s love?
Excerpted from “Is the Work of God As Simple As Man Imagines?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Are you able to communicate the disposition expressed by God in each age in a concrete way, with language that suitably conveys the significance of the age? Are you, who experience God’s work of the last days, able to describe God’s righteous disposition in detail? Can you testify about God’s disposition clearly and accurately? How will you pass on what you have seen and experienced to those pitiable, poor, and devout religious believers who hunger and thirst for righteousness and are waiting for you to shepherd them? What kind of people are waiting for you to shepherd them? Can you imagine? Are you aware of the burden on your shoulders, your commission, and your responsibility? Where is your sense of historic mission? How will you adequately serve as a master in the next age? Do you have a strong sense of masterhood? How would you explain the master of all things? Is it really the master of all living creatures and of all physical things in the world? What plans do you have for the progress of the next phase of the work? How many people are waiting for you to be their shepherd? Is your task a heavy one? They are poor, pitiable, blind, and at a loss, wailing in the darkness—where is the way? How they yearn for the light, like a shooting star, to suddenly descend and dispel the forces of darkness that have oppressed man for so many years. Who can know the full extent to which they anxiously hope, and how they pine, day and night, for this? Even on a day when the light flashes past, these deeply suffering people remain imprisoned in a dark dungeon without hope of release; when will they weep no longer? Terrible is the misfortune of these fragile spirits who have never been granted rest, and long have they been kept bound in this state by merciless bonds and frozen history. And who has heard the sound of their wailing? Who has looked upon their miserable state? Has it ever occurred to you how grieved and anxious God’s heart is? How can He bear to see innocent mankind, whom He created with His own hands, suffering such torment? Human beings, after all, are the victims who have been poisoned. And although man has survived to this day, who would have known that mankind has long been poisoned by the evil one? Have you forgotten that you are one of the victims? Are you not willing to strive, out of your love for God, to save these survivors? Are you not willing to devote all of your energy to repaying God, who loves mankind like His own flesh and blood? When all is said and done, how would you interpret being used by God to live your extraordinary life? Do you really have the resolve and confidence to live the meaningful life of a pious, God-serving person?
from “How Should You Attend to Your Future Mission?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If you are truly possessed of conscience, then you must have a burden, and a sense of responsibility. You must say: “Regardless of whether I will be conquered or made perfect, I must bear this step of testimony properly.” As a creature of God, one can be utterly conquered by God, and ultimately, one becomes able to satisfy God, repaying God’s love with a heart that loves God and by completely devoting oneself to God. This is the responsibility of man, it is the duty that ought to be performed by man, and the burden that ought to be borne by man, and man must complete this commission. Only then does he truly believe in God. Today, is what you do in the church the fulfillment of your responsibility? This depends on whether you are burdened, and it depends on your own knowledge.
Excerpted from “Practice (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Some people say: “I’ve followed God for so many years and enjoyed so much of His grace, so many blessings. I’ve been subject to refinement and judgment from His words. So I’ve come to understand much, and I’ve seen God’s love. I must thank Him, I must repay His grace. I will satisfy God with death, and I will base my love for Him on my conscience.” People will not be able to feel God’s loveliness if they listen only to the feelings of their conscience. If they rely solely on their conscience, their love for God will be feeble. If you only speak of repaying God’s grace and love, you will not have any drive in your love for Him; loving Him based upon the feelings of your conscience is a passive approach. Why do I say that it is a passive approach? This is a practical issue. What kind of love is your love for God? Is it not just fooling God and going through the motions for Him? Most people believe that since there is no reward for loving God and one will be chastised all the same for not loving Him, then overall, just not sinning is good enough. So loving God and repaying His love based on the feelings of one’s conscience is a passive approach, and it is not love for God that comes spontaneously from one’s heart. Love for God should be a genuine feeling from deep in a person’s heart. Some people say: “I myself am willing to seek after God and to follow Him. Now even if God wants to abandon me, I will still follow Him. Whether He wants me or not, I will still love Him, and in the end, I must gain Him. I offer up my heart to God, and no matter what He does, I will follow Him for my entire life. No matter what, I must love God and I must gain Him; I will not rest until I have gained Him.” Do you have this kind of resolve?
The path of believing in God is one and the same as the path of loving Him. If you believe in Him you must love Him; however, loving Him does not only refer to repaying His love or loving Him based on the feelings of your conscience—it is a pure love for God. Sometimes people are unable to feel God’s love based on their conscience alone. Why did I always say: “May the Spirit of God move our spirits”? Why did I not speak of moving people’s conscience to love God? It is because people’s conscience cannot feel God’s loveliness. If you are not convinced by these words, try to use your conscience to feel His love. You may have some drive in the moment, but it will soon disappear. If you only feel God’s loveliness with your conscience, you will be driven while you pray, but soon after the drive will fade and disappear. Why is that? If you only use your conscience, you will be unable to rouse your love for God; when you really feel God’s loveliness in your heart, your spirit will be moved by Him, and it is only at this time that your conscience will be able to play its original role. That is to say that when God moves man’s spirit and when man has knowledge and is encouraged in his heart, that is, when he has gained experience, only then will he be able to love God effectively with his conscience. Loving God with your conscience is not wrong—this is the lowest degree of love for God. Loving by “just barely doing justice to God’s grace” simply will not impel man to enter in proactively. When people obtain some of the work of the Holy Spirit, that is, when they see and feel God’s love in their practical experience, when they have some knowledge of God and truly see that God is so worthy of mankind’s love and how lovely He is, only then are they able to genuinely love God.
Excerpted from “Genuine Love for God Is Spontaneous” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
God chastises and judges man because it is required by His work, and, moreover, because it is needed by man. Man needs to be chastised and judged, and only then can he achieve the love of God. Today, you have been utterly convinced, but when you encounter the slightest setback, you are in trouble; your stature is still too small, and you still need to experience more of such chastisement and judgment in order to achieve a deeper knowledge. Today, you have some reverence for God, and you fear God, and you know He is the true God, but you do not have a great love of Him, much less have you achieved a pure love; your knowledge is too superficial, and your stature is still insufficient. When you truly encounter an environment, you still have not borne witness, too little of your entry is proactive, and you have no idea how to practice. Most people are passive and inactive; they only secretly love God in their hearts, but have no way of practice, nor are they clear about what their goals are. Those who have been made perfect not only possess normal humanity, but are possessed of truths that exceed the measures of conscience, that are higher than the standards of conscience; they not only use their conscience to pay back God’s love, but, more than that, they have known God, and have seen that God is lovely, and worthy of man’s love, and that there is so much to love in God; man cannot help but love Him! The love for God of those who have been made perfect is in order to fulfill their own personal aspirations. Theirs is a spontaneous love, a love that asks for nothing in return, and which is not a transaction. They love God because of nothing other than their knowledge of Him. Such people care not whether God bestows graces upon them, and are content with nothing more than to satisfy God. They do not strike bargains with God, nor do they measure their love of God by conscience: “You have given to me, thus I love You in return; if You do not give to me, then I have nothing for You in return.” Those who have been made perfect always believe that: “God is the Creator, and He carries out His work upon us. Since I have this opportunity, condition, and qualification to be made perfect, my pursuit should be to live out a life of meaning, and I should satisfy Him.” It is just like that which was experienced by Peter: When he was at his weakest, he prayed to God and said, “O God! Regardless of the time or place, You know that I always remember You. No matter the time or place, You know that I want to love You, but my stature is too small, I am too weak and powerless, my love is too limited, and my sincerity toward You is too meager. Compared to Your love, I am simply unfit to live. I wish only that my life is not in vain, and that I can not only repay Your love, but, moreover, that I can devote all I have to You. If I can satisfy You, then as a creature, I shall have peace of mind, and will ask for nothing more. Although I am weak and powerless now, I will not forget Your exhortations, and I will not forget Your love. Now I am doing nothing more than repaying Your love. O God, I feel awful! How can I give back the love in my heart to You, how can I do all I can, and be able to fulfill Your wishes, and be able to offer all that I have to You? You know the weakness of man; how can I be worthy of Your love? O God! You know I am of small stature, that my love is too meager. How can I do the best that I can in this kind of environment? I know I should repay Your love, I know that I should give all that I have to You, but today my stature is too small. I ask that You give me strength and confidence, so that I will be more able to possess a pure love to devote to You, and more able to devote all that I have to You; not only will I be able to repay Your love, but I will be more able to experience Your chastisement, judgment and trials, and even more severe curses. You have allowed me to behold Your love, and I am incapable of not loving You, and though I am weak and powerless today, how could I forget You? Your love, chastisement and judgment have all caused me to know You, yet I also feel incapable of fulfilling Your love, for You are so great. How can I devote all that I have to the Creator?” Such was Peter’s request, yet his stature was too inadequate. At this moment, he felt as if a knife were being twisted in his heart. He was in agony; he knew not what to do under such conditions. Yet he still continued to pray: “O God! Man is of childish stature, his conscience is feeble, and the only thing I can achieve is to repay Your love. Today, I know not how to satisfy Your desires, and I only wish to do all I can, give all I have, and devote all I have to You. Regardless of Your judgment, regardless of Your chastisement, regardless of what You bestow upon me, regardless of what You take away from me, make me free from the slightest complaint toward You. Many times, when You chastised me and judged me, I grumbled to myself, and was incapable of achieving purity, or of fulfilling Your wishes. My repayment of Your love was born out of compulsion, and at this moment I hate myself even more.” It was because he sought a purer love of God that Peter prayed in this way. He was seeking, and entreating, and, furthermore, he was recriminating himself, and confessing his sins to God. He felt indebted to God, and felt hatred of himself, yet he was also somewhat sad and passive. He always felt thus, as if he was not good enough for God’s wishes, and unable to do his best. Under such conditions, Peter still pursued the faith of Job. He saw how great had been the faith of Job, for Job had seen that everything he had was bestowed by God, and it was natural for God to take everything from him, that God would give to whomever He wished—such was the righteous disposition of God. Job had no complaints, and could still praise God. Peter also knew himself, and in his heart he prayed, “Today I should not be content with repaying Your love using my conscience and with however much love I give back to You, because my thoughts are too corrupt, and because I am incapable of seeing You as the Creator. Because I am still unfit to love You, I must cultivate the ability to devote all that I have to You, which I would do willingly. I must know all that You have done, and have no choice, and I must behold Your love, and be able to speak Your praises and extol Your holy name, so that You may gain great glory through me. I am willing to stand fast in this testimony to You. O God! Your love is so precious and beautiful; how could I wish to live in the hands of the evil one? Was I not made by You? How could I live under the domain of Satan? I would prefer that my entire being live amid Your chastisement. I am unwilling to live under the domain of the evil one. If I can be made pure, and can devote my all to You, I am willing to offer up my body and mind to Your judgment and chastisement, for I detest Satan, and am unwilling to live under its domain. Through Your judgment of me, You show forth Your righteous disposition; I am happy, and have not the slightest complaint. If I am able to perform the duty of a creature, I am willing that my entire life be accompanied by Your judgment, through which I will come to know Your righteous disposition, and will rid myself of the influence of the evil one.” Peter always prayed thus, always sought thus, and he reached a, relatively speaking, high realm. Not only was he able to repay God’s love, but, more importantly, he also fulfilled his duty as a creature. Not only was he not accused by his conscience, but he was also able to transcend the standards of conscience. His prayers continued to go up before God, such that his aspirations were ever higher, and his love of God was ever greater. Though he suffered agonizing pain, still he did not forget to love God, and still he sought to attain the ability to understand God’s will. In his prayers he uttered the following words: “I have accomplished nothing more than the repayment of Your love. I have not borne testimony to You before Satan, have not freed myself from the influence of Satan, and still live amid the flesh. I wish to use my love to defeat Satan, to shame it, and thus satisfy Your desire. I wish to give my entirety to You, to not give the slightest bit of myself to Satan, for Satan is Your enemy.” The more he sought in this direction, the more he was moved, and the higher his knowledge of these matters. Without realizing it, he came to know that he should free himself of the influence of Satan, and should completely return himself to God. Such was the realm he attained.
Excerpted from “The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Now you should be able to clearly see the precise path that Peter took. If you can clearly see Peter’s path, then you will be certain about the work being done today, so you will not complain or be passive, or long for anything. You should experience Peter’s mood at the time: He was stricken with sorrow; he no longer asked for a future or any blessings. He did not seek profit, happiness, fame, or fortune in the world; he only sought to live the most meaningful life, which was to repay God’s love and dedicate what he held utterly most precious to God. Then he would be satisfied in his heart. He often prayed to Jesus with the words: “Lord Jesus Christ, I once loved You, but I never truly loved You. Though I said I had faith in You, I never loved You with a true heart. I only looked up to You, adored You, and missed You, but I never loved You nor truly had faith in You.” He constantly prayed to make his resolution, and he was always encouraged by the words of Jesus and drew motivation from them. Later, after a period of experience, Jesus tested him, provoking him to yearn for Him further. He said: “Lord Jesus Christ! How I miss You, and long to look upon You. I lack too much, and cannot make up for Your love. I beg You to soon take me away. When will You have need of me? When will You take me away? When will I once again look upon Your face? I do not wish to live any longer in this body, to continue becoming corrupted, nor do I wish to rebel any further. I am ready to dedicate all I have to You as soon as I can, and I do not wish to sadden You any further.” This is how he prayed, but he did not know at the time what Jesus would perfect in him. During the agony of his test, Jesus appeared to him again and said: “Peter, I wish to make you perfect, such that you become a piece of fruit, one that is the crystallization of My perfection of you, and which I will enjoy. Can you truly testify for Me? Have you done what I ask you to do? Have you lived out the words I have spoken? You once loved Me, but though you loved Me, have you lived Me out? What have you done for Me? You recognize that you are unworthy of My love, but what have you done for Me?” Peter saw that he had done nothing for Jesus and remembered his previous oath to give his life to God. And so, he no longer complained, and his prayers from then on grew much better. He prayed, saying: “Lord Jesus Christ! I once left You, and You too once left me. We have spent time apart, and time together in company. Yet You love me more than all else. I have repeatedly rebelled against You and repeatedly grieved You. How can I forget such things? I am always bearing in mind and never forget the work You have done on me and what You have entrusted me with. I have done everything that I can for the work You have done on me. You know what I can do, and You further know what role I can play. I wish to submit to Your orchestrations, and I will dedicate everything I have to You. Only You know what I can do for You. Although Satan fooled me so much and I rebelled against You, I believe You do not remember me for those transgressions and that You do not treat me based on them. I wish to dedicate my entire life to You. I ask for nothing, and neither do I have other hopes or plans; I only wish to act according to Your intention and to do Your will. I will drink from Your bitter cup, and I am Yours to command.”
Excerpted from “How Peter Came to Know Jesus” in The Word Appears in the Flesh