J. On Fearing God and Shunning Evil

544. What is to fear God? And how can one shun evil?

“To fear God” does not mean nameless fright and horror, nor to evade, nor to put at a distance, nor is it idolization or superstition. Rather, it is admiration, esteem, trust, understanding, caring, obedience, consecration, love, as well as unconditional and uncomplaining worship, requital, and submission. Without genuine knowledge of God, humanity will not have genuine admiration, genuine trust, genuine understanding, genuine caring or obedience, but only dread and unease, only doubt, misunderstanding, evasion, and avoidance; without genuine knowledge of God, humanity will not have genuine consecration and requital; without genuine knowledge of God, humanity will not have genuine worship and submission, only blind idolization and superstition; without genuine knowledge of God, humanity cannot possibly act in accordance with the way of God, or fear God, or shun evil. Conversely, every activity and behavior in which man engages will be filled with rebellion and defiance, with slanderous imputations and maligning judgments about Him, and with evil conduct running contrary to the truth and to the true meaning of God’s words.

Once humanity has genuine trust in God, they will be genuine in following Him and depending on Him; only with real trust in and dependence on God can humanity have genuine understanding and comprehension; along with real comprehension of God comes real caring for Him; only with genuine caring for God can humanity have genuine obedience; only with genuine obedience to God can humanity have genuine consecration; only with genuine consecration to God can humanity have requital that is unconditional and without complaint; only with genuine trust and dependence, genuine understanding and caring, genuine obedience, genuine consecration and requital, can humanity truly come to know God’s disposition and essence, and to know the identity of the Creator; only when they have truly come to know the Creator can humanity awaken in themselves genuine worship and submission; only when they have real worship for and submission to the Creator will humanity be able truly to put aside their evil ways, that is to say, to shun evil.

This constitutes the whole process of “fearing God and shunning evil,” and is also the content in its entirety of fearing God and shunning evil. This is the path that must be traversed in order to attain fearing God and shunning evil.

Excerpted from “Knowing God Is the Path to Fearing God and Shunning Evil” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

545. First of all, we know that God’s disposition is majesty and wrath; He is not a sheep to be slaughtered by anyone, much less a puppet to be controlled by people however they want. He is also not a bunch of empty air to be bossed around. If you truly believe that God exists, then you should have a God-fearing heart, and you should know that His essence is not one to be angered. This anger may be caused by a word, or perhaps a thought, or perhaps some kind of vile behavior, or perhaps even by mild behavior—behavior that is passable in the eyes and ethics of humans; or, perhaps it is provoked by a doctrine or a theory. However, once you have angered God, your opportunity is lost, and your end days have arrived. This is a terrible thing! If you do not understand that God must not be offended, then maybe you are not afraid of Him, and perhaps you are routinely offending Him. If you do not know how to fear God, then you are unable to fear God, and you will not know how to put yourself on the path of walking in God’s way—fearing God and shunning evil. Once you become aware, and are conscious that God must not be offended, you will know what it is to fear God and shun evil.

Excerpted from “How to Know God’s Disposition and the Results His Work Shall Achieve” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

546. Though God’s essence contains an element of love, and He is merciful toward each and every person, people have overlooked and forgotten the fact that His essence is one of dignity as well. That He has love does not mean that people can offend Him freely, without inciting in Him feelings or a reaction, nor does the fact that He has mercy mean that He has no principles in how He treats people. God is alive; He genuinely exists. He is neither an imagined puppet nor any other object. Given that He does exist, we should carefully listen to the voice of His heart at all times, pay close attention to His attitude, and come to understand His feelings. We should not use human imaginings to define God, nor should we impose human thoughts or wishes on Him, making God treat people in a human manner based on human imaginings. If you do this, then you are angering God, tempting His wrath, and challenging His dignity! Thus, once you have come to understand the severity of this matter, I urge each and every one of you to be cautious and prudent in your actions. Be cautious and prudent in your speech, as well—with regard to how you treat God, the more cautious and prudent you are, the better! When you do not understand what God’s attitude is, refrain from speaking carelessly, do not be careless in your actions, and do not apply labels casually. Even more importantly, do not come to any arbitrary conclusions. Instead, you should wait and seek; these actions, too, are an expression of fearing God and shunning evil.

Excerpted from “How to Know God’s Disposition and the Results His Work Shall Achieve” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

547. If you do not understand the disposition of God, then it will be impossible for you to do the work you should do for Him. If you do not know the substance of God, then it will be impossible for you to have reverence and fear toward Him; instead, there will be only heedless perfunctoriness and prevarication, and moreover, incorrigible blasphemy. Although understanding God’s disposition is indeed important, and knowing God’s substance cannot be overlooked, no one has ever thoroughly examined or delved into these issues. It is plain to see that you have all dismissed the administrative decrees I have issued. If you do not understand the disposition of God, then you will be very likely to offend His disposition. Offending His disposition is tantamount to provoking the ire of God Himself, in which case the ultimate fruit of your actions will be the violation of the administrative decrees. Now you should realize that when you know God’s substance, so too can you understand His disposition—and when you understand His disposition, so too will you have understood the administrative decrees. Needless to say, much of what is contained within the administrative decrees touches upon the disposition of God, but not all of His disposition is expressed within the administrative decrees; hence, you must go a step further in developing your understanding of God’s disposition

Excerpted from “It Is Very Important to Understand God’s Disposition” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

548. People who genuinely believe in God always have Him in their hearts, and they always carry within them a God-revering heart, a God-loving heart. Those who believe in God should do things cautiously and prudently, and all that they do should be in accordance with God’s requirements and able to satisfy His heart. They should not be headstrong, doing whatever they please; that does not befit saintly propriety. People must not run amok, waving the flag of God all over the place while swaggering and swindling everywhere; this is the most rebellious sort of conduct. Families have their rules, and nations have their laws—and isn’t it even more so in the house of God? Aren’t the standards even stricter? Aren’t there even more administrative decrees? People are free to do what they want, but the administrative decrees of God cannot be altered at will. God is a God who does not tolerate offense from humans; He is a God who puts people to death. Do people really not know this already?

Excerpted from “A Warning to Those Who Do Not Practice the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

549. In every age, while working among humans, God bestows some words upon them and tells them of some truths. These truths serve as the way people should adhere to, the way they should walk in, the way that enables them to fear God and shun evil, and the way that people should put into practice and adhere to in their lives and over the course of their life journeys. It is for these reasons that God expresses these utterances to humanity. These words that come from God should be adhered to by people, and to adhere to them is to receive life. If a person does not adhere to them, does not put them into practice, and does not live out God’s words in their life, then this person is not putting the truth into practice. Furthermore, if people are not putting the truth into practice, then they are not fearing God and shunning evil, nor can they satisfy God. People who are incapable of satisfying God cannot receive His praise, and such people have no outcome.

Excerpted from “How to Know God’s Disposition and the Results His Work Shall Achieve” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

550. Walking in God’s way is not about observing superficial rules; rather, it means that when you are faced with a problem, you view it first and foremost as a situation that has been arranged by God, a responsibility He has bestowed upon you, or a task that He has entrusted to you. When facing this problem, you should even see it as a trial God has put to you. When you encounter this problem, you must have a standard in your heart, and you must think that this matter has come from God. You must think about how to deal with it in such a way that you can fulfill your responsibility while remaining loyal to God, as well as how to do it without infuriating Him or offending His disposition. … This is because in order to keep to God’s way, we cannot let go of anything that happens either to us or around us, even the little things; whether we think we should pay attention to it or not, as long as any matter is facing us, we must not let it go. All things that happen should be viewed as tests God has given us. What do you think about this way of looking at things? If you have this kind of attitude, then it confirms one fact: Deep down, you fear God and are willing to shun evil. If you have this desire to satisfy God, then what you put into practice will not be far off meeting the standard of fearing God and shunning evil.

Excerpted from “How to Know God’s Disposition and the Results His Work Shall Achieve” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

551. Job’s fear and obedience toward God is an example to mankind, and his perfection and uprightness were the peak of the humanity that ought to be possessed by man. Though he did not see God, he realized that God truly existed, and because of this realization he feared God, and due to his fear of God, he was able to obey God. He gave God free rein to take whatever he had, yet he was without complaint, and fell down before God and told Him that, at this very moment, even if God took his flesh, he would gladly allow Him to do so, without complaint. His entire conduct was due to his perfect and upright humanity. This is to say, as a result of his innocence, honesty, and kindness, Job was unwavering in his realization and experience of God’s existence, and upon this foundation he made demands of himself and standardized his thinking, behavior, conduct and principles of actions before God in accordance with God’s guidance of him and the deeds of God that he had seen among all things. Over time, his experiences caused in him a real and actual fear of God and made him shun evil. This was the source of the integrity to which Job held firm. Job was possessed of an honest, innocent, and kind humanity, and he had actual experience of fearing God, obeying God, and shunning evil, as well as the knowledge that “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away.” Only because of these things was he able to stand firm in his testimony amid such vicious attacks by Satan, and only because of them was he able to not disappoint God and to provide a satisfactory answer to God when God’s trials came upon him.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

552. Job had not seen the face of God or heard the words spoken by God, and much less had he personally experienced the work of God, yet his fear of God and his testimony during his trials are witnessed by all, and they are loved, delighted in, and commended by God, and people envy, and admire them, and even more than that, sing their praises. There was nothing great or extraordinary about his life: Just like any ordinary person, he lived an unremarkable life, going out to work at sunrise and returning home to rest at sunset. The difference is that during the several unremarkable decades of his life, he gained an insight into the way of God, and realized and understood the great power and sovereignty of God as no other person ever had. He was no cleverer than any ordinary person, his life was not especially tenacious, nor, moreover, did he have invisible special skills. What he did possess, though, was a personality that was honest, kind-hearted, and upright, a personality which loved fairness, righteousness, and positive things—none of these things are possessed by the majority of ordinary people. He differentiated between love and hate, had a sense of justice, was unyielding and persistent, and paid meticulous attention to detail in his thinking. Thus, during his unremarkable time on earth he saw all the extraordinary things that God had done, and he saw the greatness, holiness, and righteousness of God, he saw God’s concern, graciousness, and protection for man, and he saw the honorableness and authority of the supreme God. The first reason why Job was able to gain these things that were beyond any normal person was because he had a pure heart, and his heart belonged to God, and was led by the Creator. The second reason was his pursuit: his pursuit of being impeccable and perfect, and of being someone who complied with the will of Heaven, who was loved by God, and who shunned evil. Job possessed and pursued these things while being unable to see God or hear the words of God; though he had never seen God, he had come to know the means by which God rules over all things, and he understood the wisdom with which God does so. Though he had never heard the words spoken by God, Job knew that the deeds of rewarding man and taking from man all come from God. Although the years of his life were no different from those of any ordinary person, he did not allow the unremarkableness of his life to affect his knowledge of God’s sovereignty over all things, or to affect his following of the way of fearing God and shunning evil. In his eyes, the laws of all things were full of God’s deeds, and God’s sovereignty could be seen in any part of a person’s life. He had not seen God, but he was able to realize that God’s deeds are everywhere, and during his unremarkable time on earth, in every corner of his life he was able to see and realize the extraordinary and wondrous deeds of God, and he could see the wondrous arrangements of God. The hiddenness and silence of God did not hinder Job’s realization of God’s deeds, nor did they affect his knowledge of God’s sovereignty over all things. His life was the realization, during his everyday life, of the sovereignty and arrangements of God, who is hidden among all things. In his everyday life he also heard and understood the voice of God’s heart and the words of God, who is silent among all things yet expresses the voice of His heart and His words by governing the laws of all things. You see, then, that if people have the same humanity and pursuit as Job, then they can gain the same realization and knowledge as Job, and can acquire the same understanding and knowledge of God’s sovereignty over all things as Job. God had not appeared to Job or spoken to him, but Job was able to be perfect and upright, and to fear God and shun evil. In other words, without God having appeared to or spoken to man, God’s deeds among all things and His sovereignty over all things are sufficient for man to become aware of God’s existence, power, and authority, and God’s power and authority are enough to make man follow the way of fearing God and shunning evil.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

553. “Fearing God and shunning evil” and knowing God are indivisibly connected by a myriad threads, and the connection between them is self-evident. If one wishes to attain to shunning evil, one must first have real fear of God; if one wishes to attain to real fear of God, one must first have real knowledge of God; if one wishes to attain to knowledge of God, one must first experience God’s words, enter into the reality of God’s words, experience God’s chastening and discipline, His chastisement and judgment; if one wishes to experience God’s words, one must first come face to face with God’s words, come face to face with God, and ask God to provide opportunities to experience God’s words in the form of all sorts of environments involving people, events, and objects; if one wishes to come face to face with God and with God’s words, one must first possess a simple and honest heart, readiness to accept the truth, the will to endure suffering, the resolution and the courage to shun evil, and the aspiration to become a genuine created being…. In this way, going forward step by step, you will draw ever closer to God, your heart will grow ever more pure, and your life and the value of being alive will, along with your knowledge of God, become ever more meaningful and wax ever more radiant.

Excerpted from “Knowing God Is the Path to Fearing God and Shunning Evil” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

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