Only by Resolving One's Notions Can One Embark on the Right Track of Belief in God (3) Part Two

Some people think, “When humans have some improper thoughts or actions that violate God’s administrative decrees and offend God’s disposition, God should intervene to stop them. This is God’s salvation, this is God’s love.” Is this not people’s notions and imaginings? Is this how God works to save people? God saves people by expressing the truth. Whether one can be saved depends on whether they can accept the truth. Aside from this, there is one thing that God considers even more important, and that is people’s conscience and humanity. If, within your humanity, there is no conscience, no integrity, and no reason—that is, when something befalls you, your conscience and rationality cannot function normally, cannot restrain and regulate your actions, cannot correct your intentions and views—then God will definitely do nothing. For God to change you, He first allows your conscience and rationality to function. When your conscience feels reproach, you will ponder, “What I am doing is wrong; how would God view me?” and this will lead you to further seeking and proactive, positive entry. However, if one lacks even this initial step, does not possess conscience, and there is fundamentally no reproach in their heart, then what will God do when they are faced with something? God will do nothing. So, what is the foundation upon which all these words God speaks, and all the demands and truths that God teaches people, are based? They are based on the premise that people have conscience and rationality. As for the man mentioned earlier, if he had had conscience and possessed a certain level of rationality, what actions would he have taken after seeing that bottle of cough syrup? What behaviors would he have exhibited? When he had this thought: “This was given to God, so it should be pretty good; instead of letting God drink it, why don’t I drink it?” what would he have done then if he had conscience? Would he have opened the bottle and taken the first sip? (No.) How would this “no” have come about? (From having a sense of conscience.) Controlled by his conscience, it would come into play, and there would have been no next step to this matter; he would not have taken that first sip. The result of the matter would be completely reversed, and the outcome would be entirely different. On the contrary, however, he did not have conscience or rationality—he lacked them absolutely—so what happened as a result? After conceiving such thoughts and with no restraint from his conscience, he unscrupulously opened the bottle and took the first sip. Not only did he feel no reproach or self-accusation afterward, but he actually enjoyed it. He thought he’d gotten away with it: “Look how clever I am, seizing the opportunity. You’re all fools; you don’t understand these things. Experience always trumps youth! None of you had this idea, none of you had the cheek to do this, but I did. What’s the worst that can happen? I’ve already taken the first sip; who’s to know?” He felt he’d come out ahead, and felt satisfied inside; he even thought he was being favored, that this was God’s grace. Once he made this mistake, he kept repeating it, and it spiraled out of control, continuing until he finished the whole bottle. This whole time, his conscience never felt any self-accusation or reproach. His conscience and rationality never told him, “This doesn’t belong to you; even if God doesn’t drink it, even if God throws it away, or gives it to a dog or a cat, as long as God hasn’t said it’s for you, then you shouldn’t use it; it’s not for you to enjoy.” His conscience didn’t tell him this because he had no conscience. What is a person with no conscience? They are defined as beasts. People with no conscience behave this way; they conceive such thoughts at the outset, and continue in this manner until the end, without a shred of reproach from their conscience. It may be that by now this fellow has long since forgotten the incident; or, if he has a good memory, he may still remember it and think he did the right thing at the time. He never thinks this was the wrong thing to do, and does not realize the severity and nature of what he did. He cannot recognize it. Is God’s classification of such people accurate? (Yes.) When God classifies, reveals, and eliminates such people, giving them this kind of outcome, on what principles and on what basis does He classify them? (On the basis of their nature essence.) Does a person lacking a sense of conscience and rationality possess the conditions to accept and practice the truth? Do they have such an essence? (No.) Why do we say they don’t? When they start expressing their views on this matter, deep down in their heart, where is their God? Who is the God in their heart? Where does He stand? Do they have God in their heart? We can say with certainty that such a person does not have God in their heart. What is the implication of not having God in one’s heart? (They are a disbeliever.) That’s right. They are not a genuine believer in God; they are not a brother or sister; they are simply a disbeliever. What behaviors of theirs show they are a disbeliever? Without God in their heart, they act and speak entirely according to their own whims, based on their own notions, imaginings, and preferences, without the influence of conscience. When they don’t understand the truth, their conscience does not stir; they act purely based on their own preferences, solely for their personal advantage and benefit. Is there any room for God in their heart? None at all. Why do I say that? Because the motivation, origin, direction, and even the manifestations of their actions and words are all aimed at serving their own interests; they act and speak based on what they believe will be beneficial for themselves. Everything they consider is geared toward their own interests and objectives, and they operate without feeling any reproach and without exercising restraint. Judging by this behavior, what do they treat God as? (Air.) Exactly, that’s spot on. If they could feel God’s presence, that God scrutinizes the heart of man, that God is beside people, continually scrutinizing them, would their actions lack any restraint? Would they demonstrate such reckless audacity? Absolutely not. Here arises a question: Does the God they believe in actually exist? (No.) That’s the essence of the issue. The God they believe in doesn’t exist; their God is simply air. Therefore, no matter how they verbally claim what God is like, no matter how they pray to God, regardless of how many years they have believed or what they have done or how much they have sacrificed, their nature is fully exposed based on their speech and behavior, their attitude toward God, and their attitude toward all things related to God. They treat God like air; isn’t this blaspheming God? (Yes.) Why is this considered blasphemy? They think, “They say God scrutinizes the heart of man—but where is God? Why haven’t I felt this? They also say that stealing offerings will be punished by God, but I haven’t seen anyone suffer retribution for stealing offerings.” They deny God’s existence; this is blaspheming God. They say, “God doesn’t even exist; how could He be doing any work? How could He be saving people? How has He reproached people? Who has He ever punished? I’ve never seen it happen, so anything offered to God can be used freely. If I happen to come across it today, it’s mine—I’ll consider it God’s way of favoring me. Whoever sees it or comes across it, it’s theirs; that’s who God has shown favor to.” What kind of logic is this? This is the logic of Satan, of robbers; this is one’s devilish nature coming out. Does such a person have genuine faith? (No.) After listening to so many sermons, they spout such a deluge of devilish words; do they have any foundation in the truth at all? (No.) So what did they get out of listening to all those sermons? They haven’t accepted God’s words, they don’t regard God’s words as the truth, and they do not treat God as God. That’s all there is to it.

Some people do indeed believe in their hearts that there is a God and have not the slightest doubt about God’s incarnation. But although they have followed Him for several years, suffered some hardships, and paid some price, they have not the slightest understanding of God deep within their hearts. In reality, what they believe in is still a vague God, an imagined God; their definition of God is merely air. How does God treat these people? He simply ignores them. Some people ask: “If God ignores them, why do they remain in the house of God?” They are laboring. How should laboring be conceptualized? One who labors has no interest in the truth, or rather, they have such poor caliber that they cannot reach it. They treat God and the truth as something empty and vague, but in order to gain blessings, they can only rely on exerting some effort in exchange. Although outwardly they do not directly resist God, curse God, or oppose God, their essence is still that of Satan’s ilk—that which denies and resists God. Anyone who does not love the truth is no good, God has decided in His heart not to save such people. For those whom God does not intend to save, would He still get serious with them? Would God say to them, “You don’t understand this aspect of the truth, you need to listen carefully; you don’t understand that aspect of the truth, you need to put in more effort and ponder it”? Furthermore, God knows these people do not understand the truth and do not treat God as God. Should God show them some miracles and wonders to make them aware of His existence, or enlighten and illuminate them more so they know there is a God? Would God act this way? (No.) God has principles for doing these things; He doesn’t act this way toward just anyone. For those who can accept the truth, God is always working. What is God’s attitude toward those who cannot accept the truth or are not able to reach it? (He ignores them.) According to people’s notions, if God ignores someone, then this person wanders around like a beggar. One cannot see them pursuing the truth, nor can one see any action of God on them; they are merely laboring, and they do not understand the truth. Is that all there is to it? In fact, these people can also enjoy some of God’s grace and blessings. When they find themselves in dangerous situations, God will also keep them safe. When they are seriously ill, God will also heal them. He may even give them some special talents, or in some special circumstances, God may perform some miraculous acts on them, or do some special things. That is to say, if these people can really expend themselves for God and labor well without causing disturbances, God does not discriminate against them. What are people’s notions regarding this matter? “God won’t save these people, so He’s just going to use them as He pleases and discard them afterward.” Is this how God will act? It is not. Don’t forget who God is; He is the Creator. Among all humankind, whether they are believers or nonbelievers, from any denomination or ethnicity, in God’s eyes, they are all His created beings. That’s why the Lord Jesus said, “For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good.” This statement is a principle for how God—the Creator—acts. Regardless of what outcome God ultimately bestows upon someone based on their essence, or whether God will save or not save them before giving them that outcome, no matter their essence, as long as they can do some tasks and perform some labor in God’s house and for God’s work, God’s grace remains unchanged; He will still treat them according to His principles, without any partiality. This is God’s love, the principle of His actions, and His disposition. However, according to the essence of these people, their views and attitudes toward God are always that they consider Him to be vague and nebulous, as if He exists and yet does not. They can neither recognize the real existence of God, nor can they experience it, and ultimately they are still not sure about God’s true existence. So, when regarding them, God can only do as much as He should, providing them some grace, giving them some blessings and protection in this life, allowing them to feel the warmth of God’s house, and to enjoy God’s grace, mercy and lovingkindness. And that’s it—that’s all the blessings they will receive in this lifetime. Some people say: “Since God is so tolerant and they also enjoy God’s grace and blessings, wouldn’t it be better to take it a step further and let them receive God’s salvation too?” That is a human notion, God doesn’t act like that. Why doesn’t He? Can you put God into the heart of someone whose heart has no place for Him? You cannot. No matter how much truth you fellowship to them or however many words you say, it won’t matter; it won’t change their notions and imaginings about God. Therefore, all God can do for this kind of person is to provide some grace, blessings, care, and protection. There are some who say: “Since they can enjoy God’s grace, if God further enlightens and illuminates them, won’t they then recognize the real existence of God?” Can such people understand the truth? Can they practice the truth? (No.) If they can’t practice the truth, this fixes them as those who cannot be saved. Therefore, God will not engage in pointless or useless work. Some people say: “That’s not right. Sometimes they also encounter discipline or have some enlightenment from God and gain some truth from Him.” This again relates to God’s work. What must those whom God wants to save possess in order to be saved by God, in order to be an object of His salvation? People should understand this. God knows this too; He doesn’t save just anyone. Even if God displays some miracles, wonders, and mightiness to make people acknowledge Him, can these people thus be saved? That’s not how it goes. God has standards for saving people; one must possess genuine faith and also love the truth. Therefore, the work God does on people involving judgment, chastisement, trials, and refinement also has its standards. Some people say: “We often encounter judgment and chastisement. Is facing judgment and chastisement, trials and refinement a sign that we will be saved by God?” Is it so? (No.) How can you be sure it’s not? Since some people don’t meet the conditions for being saved by God, would God still impose judgment, chastisement, trials, and refinement on them? This raises a question about whom God imposes His judgment, chastisement, trials, and refinement on; it involves people’s misunderstandings too. Tell Me, can a person who doesn’t even know who God is, where God is, or whether God even exists, receive God’s judgment and chastisement? Can a person who regards God as mere air receive God’s judgment and chastisement? Can someone whose heart is entirely devoid of God receive God’s trials and refinement? Definitely not. So, what might such people encounter at times? (Discipline.) That’s right, discipline. Those who regard God as mere air, who fundamentally do not recognize or believe in the existence of God, will definitely not receive God’s judgment and chastisement or His trials and refinement. It can be said that people with such an essence and with such behaviors are not the objects of God’s salvation. They cannot receive God’s salvation, but it’s not that God does not save them—it is decided by their nature essence that is averse to the truth and hates the truth. They lack the correct attitude of loving and accepting the truth, and thus they don’t meet the conditions for being saved. Then how does God treat them when they infiltrate God’s household hoping for blessings? Apart from providing some blessings, grace, and offering care and protection, what methods does God use to fulfill His role as the Creator? God issues reminders, warnings, and exhortations through His words. Subsequently, He prunes, reproaches, and disciplines them; the work God does on them ends there, it is all within this scope. What is the effect of these acts of God on people? It allows them to dutifully abide by restrictions, to behave decently while laboring in God’s house, without causing disturbances or doing evil. Can what God does make such people loyally fulfill their duty? (No.) Why not? Can the grace, blessings, care, and protection they receive—along with the reminders of God’s words, the pruning, the chastening and discipline, and so on—bring about a change in their disposition? (No.) They can’t bring a change in their disposition, so what effect does God’s work on them achieve? It makes them somewhat restrained in their behavior, helps them follow the rules, and makes them have some human likeness. Moreover, it makes them comparatively obedient; they will reluctantly accept being pruned for the sake of God’s grace and blessings, and they will be able to do things according to the regulations and the administrative decrees of God’s house, and that’s all. Does achieving all this mean they are practicing the truth? They still fall short of that, because what they do is basically just according to the principles in the administrative decrees of God’s house, as well as some rigid guidelines. It’s just a change in behavior, nothing more. So can one say that, since these people have changed their behavior, it would be even better to allow them to change their disposition as well? (They aren’t capable of that.) They aren’t capable of that, they cannot achieve it—this is one reason. And what is the most major reason? It is that they fundamentally do not have God in their hearts; they don’t believe in the existence of God. So, for such people, can they understand God’s words? Some of them can, and they say, “God’s words are good, but unfortunately, I can’t put them into practice. Practicing them feels even more agonizing than undergoing open heart surgery.” When their own interests are compromised, or when they have to act against their will, they feel utterly disoriented and cannot follow through. Even if they thoroughly exhaust themselves, they just can’t put God’s words into practice. Additionally, they never acknowledge or accept the fact that God’s words are the truth. They can’t absorb this; they don’t understand why God’s words are the truth. For instance, when God tells people to be honest, they say, “Fine, I’ll be an honest person if You say so, but why is being an honest person considered the truth?” They don’t know and can’t accept it. When God says people should submit to Him, they question, “Is there money to be made in submitting to God? Does God grant blessings for submitting to Him? Can it alter one’s destination?” They don’t think anything God says or does is the truth. They have no idea what the significance of God’s words and requirements for man is and can’t discern what actions are correct and in line with the truth principles. Everything that comes from God—the identity of God, the essence of God, God’s words, God’s demands—all these things, in their view, cannot be determined as God’s possessions and being. They don’t know that God is the Creator; they don’t understand what the Creator is, or what God is. Isn’t this problematic? But this is exactly how some people behave. Others say: “That can’t be right. If they have these thoughts and views, how can they still willingly perform their duties in the house of God?” The term “willingly” should be in quotes here. How should this be explained? In one sense, they perform their duties because they are compelled by circumstances or because of their need for blessings; in another, they feel they have no other choice but to reluctantly go along with it for the time being, performing some duties and exerting a little effort. In their hearts, they believe that this is what they should do, but because they’re not interested in the truth, they can only exert effort and perform duties in exchange for God’s blessings. With this mindset, can they accept the truth? (No.) They don’t even understand what the truth is, so how could they accept it?

God’s work of judgment in the last days is to bring an end to this age. Whether or not one can be saved critically depends on whether they can accept God’s judgment and chastisement, and whether they can accept the truth. Some people acknowledge that God’s words are the truth, but they do not accept the truth. For them to accept the truth is as if they were to have a heart transplant; this is how agonizing they would find it. Given the way this kind of person treats the truth, refusing to accept it no matter what, God isn’t the One to blame for not saving them—only they can be blamed for not accepting the truth; they do not have this blessing. God’s saving people from Satan’s influence is not as simple as people imagine. In one respect, those who believe in God must accept being chastened and pruned through God’s words; this is one stage. In another, they must also accept God’s judgment and chastisement, trials and refinement. Judgment and chastisement are one stage; trials and refinement are yet another. Some people can reluctantly accept being pruned, thinking they’ve achieved submission, and then make no further progress and no longer strive toward the truth. Others particularly love the truth and can endure any pain to obtain the truth. They can not only endure the chastening and correction of God’s words but can also enter into the stage of accepting God’s judgment and chastisement. They feel that accepting God’s judgment and chastisement is God’s exaltation, God’s love, and a glorious matter; they do not fear suffering. These people, after experiencing judgment and chastisement, can also accept trials and refinement and still pursue the truth. Regardless of how great the trials and refinement are, they can still see God’s love, and can offer themselves to satisfy God. No matter how much they are pruned, they don’t consider it hardship; instead, they feel that this is an even greater love from God. After experiencing many more trials and refinement, they finally achieve thorough purification and perfection. This is to experience God’s work to the highest phase. Now tell Me, is there a difference between those who believe in God and only experience the one stage of God’s chastening and correction through His words, and those who experience two stages—God’s judgment and chastisement, as well as trials and refinement? There is certainly a difference. For some people, God stops after only chastening and correcting them, leaving the rest to their own choice and awareness. If they do not accept the truth and do not choose the right path, what does this indicate? It can be said that God has no way of saving such people. Some people often talk about suffering work, suffering prospects, suffering a house, suffering a partner, suffering affections—everything for them is a matter of suffering, and what is the final result? (It is unrelated to the truth.) That’s right, it is unrelated to the truth and unrelated to God’s work. What you’re doing in this case is just aimlessly suffering; you’re merely struggling and letting time pass by, without any process of praying to God or seeking the truth. That’s not the kind of “suffering” involved in refinement, because it is not God’s work and has nothing to do with Him. You’re just suffering yourself, not undergoing God’s refinement. Yet you still think it’s God refining you; you’re being overly optimistic. That’s just wishful thinking! You’re not even qualified to be refined by God. You haven’t even passed through the stage of chastisement and judgment, and you expect God to put you through trials and refinement? Is that even possible? Isn’t that a pipe dream? Can ordinary people endure trials and refinement? Is it something an ordinary person can accept? Is it something God bestows upon an ordinary person? Absolutely not. After God corrects a person, if that individual, due to their arrogant disposition, their intransigence, deceitfulness, wickedness, or any other disposition, is judged, disciplined, or explicitly chastened by God in one or many matters, making them realize why they’re being disciplined by God—and, consequently, they develop a genuine understanding of God and of themselves, their disposition undergoes genuine change, and then gradually they gain true submission to the truth—only this process is the one by which God judges and chastises people. On what basis does God perform this work? There is a condition: A person who receives such work must be able to perform their duty adequately in God’s house. This adequacy requires only two things: submission and loyalty. Firstly, the individual needs to have conscience and reason; only people with conscience and reason meet the conditions for accepting the truth. When such people with conscience and reason receive God’s chastening and correction, they are able to seek the truth and submit. Only after this does God proceed with the work of judgment and chastisement. That is the sequence of God’s work. However, if someone in God’s house can never perform their duty loyally, shows not the slightest submission to God’s sovereignty, and fails to perform their duties adequately, then when they face adversities, being revealed or pruned, at most what they experience is God’s correction and discipline. They are not subject to God’s judgment and chastisement, let alone trials and refinement. In other words, they are fundamentally not involved in God’s work of perfecting people.

The content we just fellowshipped pertains to God’s work of saving and perfecting people, the methods and objects of God’s work, as well as which people God performs His work of judgment and chastisement, trials and refinements on. It also touched upon the degree of people’s life entry when subjected to this work of God, and the kind of essence and conditions people must at least possess to accept God’s judgment and chastisement. So, what are people’s notions here? People think, “As long as one is following God, as long as one has accepted this step of God’s work, they are bound to be subjected to God’s judgment and chastisement. Then the trials and refinements from God will also come soon after. Therefore, we often face trials, refinements, and prunings, and are deprived of family, affections, status, and prospects. Subsequently, we continually suffer in terms of affections, status, and prospects.” Are these statements accurate? (No.) People can turn a single word from God’s words and work into what they believe to be a spiritual term—why is that? In fact, the way they suffer is all just a struggle, it’s just letting time pass by; it has no significance whatsoever. But they regard it as trials and refinements, saying that it is God’s refinement. This is a grave mistake; it is something people forcibly impose upon God, and it does not represent God’s intentions at all. Isn’t this a misunderstanding of God? It is indeed a misunderstanding. And how does a misunderstanding like this develop? Because people don’t understand the truth, they develop such misunderstandings based on their own imaginings. Subsequently, they brazenly propagate and spread them everywhere, which eventually leads to various statements about “suffering.” Thus, I often hear some people say, “Someone got replaced and then became negative; they are ‘suffering status’!” Suffering status is not experiencing trials and refinements; it is just a person losing status, suffering emotional frustration, and struggling with inner pain during failure. Since what people call “suffering” and what God calls refinement are different, what does real refinement actually refer to? First of all, understand that God performs a lot of preparatory work before subjecting people to trials and refinements. For one, He selects people; He chooses the right individuals. Earlier we discussed what kind of person is considered right in the eyes of God and which conditions they must meet: Firstly, they must at least have conscience and reason in their humanity. Secondly, they must be able to perform their duties adequately, performing them with loyalty and submission. Then, they have to undergo years of being pruned, disciplined, and chastened. You may not be very clear about what discipline and chastening mean, as the concepts might not be very strong for you. They may seem relatively intangible and abstract to people. But when it comes to being pruned, that is something people can hear and feel; there’s specific language and a definite tone involved, so people know what’s going on. If someone does something wrong, goes against principles, acts recklessly, or makes unilateral decisions that harm the interests of the house of God or the work of the church, and they are pruned, then this is what it means to be pruned. What about correction and discipline, then? For example, if someone is not fit to be a group leader and lacks loyalty, and does things that violate the truth principles or church regulations, and is subsequently replaced, is that correction? It is indeed a form of correction. Whether they are externally handled by the church or replaced by some leader, in God’s eyes, it is His doing and is part of His work; it is a form of correction. Also, when people are in a good state, they usually are filled with light and can have fresh insights; however, when their work falls apart due to some states or specific reason and they are revealed, isn’t this a form of correction? This is also a form of correction. Do these count as judgment and chastisement? At this point, they don’t yet count as judgment and chastisement, so they certainly cannot be considered as refinements and trials. They are merely corrections received during the course of performing one’s duties. The manifestations of correction sometimes include encountering illness or repeatedly bungling tasks, or losing one’s way in matters they were once proficient in and not knowing what to do. This is all correction. Of course, sometimes correction comes through clues from nearby people or through what a certain event reveals that makes one embarrassed, causing them to retreat into deep self-examination and reflection. This is also correction. Is receiving God’s correction a good thing or a bad thing? (It’s a good thing.) Theoretically speaking, it’s a good thing. Whether people can accept it or not, it’s a good thing, as it at least proves that God is taking responsibility for you, that God has not left you, and that God is working on you, giving you prompting and guidance. The fact that God is working on you confirms that God has no intention to give up on you yet. One implication of this is that God may continue to correct and discipline you, or, if your performance is good and you’re on the right path, He will subject you to judgment and chastisement. But let’s not get too far ahead; for now, God will correct and discipline you multiple times. Then, because you pursue the truth, because you have submission, and because you are the right person, God will subject you to judgment and chastisement; this is the initial step. Most people have already experienced being simply pruned; only newcomers have not experienced this yet. Most of the time people act based on the feelings of their conscience, feeling internal reproach, sensing God’s words prompting them in their ears or hearts: “I shouldn’t do this, this is rebellious”; these are God’s words prompting, exhorting, and warning them. There are various forms of being pruned that people experience: It can come from leaders and workers, from brothers and sisters, from the Above, and even directly from God. Many people have experienced these, but fewer have experienced God’s correction and discipline. What does fewer imply here? It implies that many more people are far from receiving God’s judgment and chastisement—and what about God’s trials and refinements? They are even further from these; the gap is even larger, the distance even greater. Before, people have thought: “God has judged and chastised me, giving me a blister in my mouth,” “God has judged and chastised me, I made a mistake, said something wrong, and had a headache for days; now I understand what God’s judgment and chastisement are”—aren’t these misunderstandings? This kind of misunderstanding of God is the most common; most people misunderstand God in this way. This misunderstanding also produces some negative effects, making people feel that saying a single wrong word will result in God’s discipline. This is purely a misunderstanding of God, and is utterly inconsistent with what God does. With such misunderstandings about God, can one ultimately meet God’s requirements? They will definitely fall short.

Now, most people have experienced God’s correction and discipline, have experienced being pruned, and have received prompting and exhortation from God’s words, but that’s all. Here arises a question: Why haven’t people experienced God’s judgment and chastisement even after experiencing up to this step? Why don’t being pruned, the prompting of God’s words, or discipline and correction count as judgment and chastisement? From the perspective of the prompting of God’s words, being pruned, and the correction and discipline that people have experienced, what result has been achieved? (They’ve gained restraints on their outward behavior.) Some changes have occurred in their behavior, but does this indicate a change in disposition? (No.) It does not represent a change in disposition. Some people say: “We’ve believed in God for so many years and listened to so many sermons, yet our dispositions have still not changed. Haven’t we been wronged? We’ve only had a little change in behavior; isn’t this so pitiful? When will God begin to save us? When will we receive salvation?” Let us discuss, then, what gains and changes have been made by those who have experienced these various aspects of God’s work. Just now someone mentioned behavioral changes; this is a general statement. To be more specific, on first coming to the church and taking up their duties, people have not been pruned, and they are as prickly as a pear, wanting to have the final say on things. They think to themselves: “Now that I believe in God, I have rights and freedom in the church, so I’ll act as I see fit.” Eventually, once they have undergone a round of being pruned and disciplined, and once they’ve read God’s words, listened to sermons, and heard fellowshipping on the truth, they no longer dare to behave in this way. Actually, they haven’t become completely compliant; they’ve just gained a smidgeon of sense and have come to understand some doctrines. When others say things that align with the truth, they can acknowledge their correctness, and though they may not understand those things well, they can accept them. Are they not then much more compliant than they were? That they are able to accept these things demonstrates that their behavior has undergone some changes. How have these changes come about? They have arisen due to the exhortation and prompting, as well as the comfort, of God’s words. Sometimes, such people need some discipline, some prunings, as well as some fellowship on principles, telling them that a thing must be done a certain way and cannot be done otherwise. They think: “I have to accept it. The truth is laid out there; who would dare object to it?” In God’s house, God is great, the truth is great, and the truth reigns; with this theoretical foundation, some people have been awakened and gained understanding of what having faith in God is all about. Take someone who was originally barbaric and dissolute, completely unrestrained, and ignorant of rules, of belief in God, of God’s house, of the church, and of the principles of performing one’s duty: When such a person—who knows nothing—comes to God’s house with kindness and enthusiasm, brimming with “great” aspirations and hopes, and is there prompted and exhorted, watered and fed, and pruned by God’s words, and is chastened and disciplined time and time again, gradually, some changes will occur in that person’s humanity. What changes are those? They come to understand something of the principles of human conduct, and come to know that, in the past, they rather lacked human likeness; they were barbaric, arrogant, defiant, and indignant; they spoke unlike an actual human and acted without rules, and did not know to seek the truth; they thought having faith in God was a simple matter of doing whatever God asks and going wherever He says; that is, they carried with them a barbarous vigor, all the while believing that this was loyalty and love for God. Now, this person denies all those things and knows they were the products of human imagining, mere good behavior, and some even originated from Satan. God’s believers should heed His words and place the truth above all else, letting the truth wield power in all things. In short, all people have already theoretically understood and acknowledged, and in the depths of their hearts accepted that these words God has spoken are correct—that they are the truth, the reality of positive things—regardless of how deeply these words have taken root in their hearts and no matter how great a role these words have played. Afterward, after undergoing a degree of intangible chastening and discipline, a measure of true faith arises in their consciousness. From their initial vague imaginings of God to the feeling that they have now—that there is a God, and that He is quite practical—once people have had these feelings in their faith in God, then their thoughts and viewpoints, ways of looking at things, and moral standards, as well as their ways of thinking, will gradually begin to change. For instance, God requires people to be honest. Even though you can still lie and be deceitful, deep down you know that deceit is wrong, and that lying to and deceiving God is a sin, a wicked disposition—but you cannot help yourself. For instance, let’s say you still currently have an arrogant disposition. Sometimes you cannot restrain yourself, you often reveal this disposition, and you often rebel against God, always wanting to be dominant and act unilaterally, having the final say. But you also know that this is a corrupt disposition, and you can pray to God about it. Even though there is no noticeable transformation, your behavior has gradually begun to change. Even without undergoing judgment and chastisement, and even though your disposition has not changed, the truth and the words of God are gradually brightening the depths of your heart, while also guiding and altering your behavior, making you live more and more like a human, gradually awakening your conscience. If you do something that betrays your conscience, you will feel uncomfortable in your heart. Bringing up that matter makes you feel something; you are not as numb as before, you feel regretful, and are willing to correct yourself. Even if you cannot immediately change your disposition in this regard, if it touches upon your state, you can be aware that you have this state; you have an awareness within, and this awareness is changing your behavior. Such a change is solely a change in behavior. Though it is happening and continues to happen, it does not represent a change in disposition; it is absolutely not a change in disposition. Some people might feel uneasy after hearing this, saying, “Such a significant change and it’s still not a change in disposition? Then what is a change in disposition? What changes belong to dispositional change?” Let’s leave that aside for now; let us continue discussing the changes that people have already achieved, which are the effects and results of God’s words and all that He has done in people. People are working hard to change their thoughts and views that do not align with the truth. When faced with matters, they will have an awareness; they will compare the matter to the truth, saying, “This matter is not in line with the truth, but I cannot yet let go of my view; it is still there.” You have only become aware and learned that your view does not align with God’s words; can this prove that your view has already changed or been let go of? It cannot. Your view has not changed and has not been let go of, proving that your corrupt disposition remains intact and has not begun to change; it’s only that your consciousness, your inner heart, has already accepted God’s words and regarded them as the truth. But this is merely theoretical and a subjective wish—God’s words have not yet become your life and not yet become your reality. When God’s words become your reality, you will let go of your views, and you will treat all people, events, and things, as well as all that is happening around you, using the views of God’s words.

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