How to Know God’s Disposition and the Results His Work Shall Achieve (Part One)
First, let us sing a: Kingdom Anthem (I) The Kingdom Has Descended Upon the World.
Accompaniment: The multitudes cheer Me, the multitudes praise Me; all mouths name the one true God. The kingdom descends upon the world of men.
1 The multitudes cheer Me, the multitudes praise Me; all mouths name the one true God, all people lift their eyes to watch My deeds. The kingdom descends upon the world of men, My person is rich and bountiful. Who would not rejoice at this? Who would not dance for joy? Oh, Zion! Raise your triumphant banner to celebrate Me! Sing your triumphant song of victory to spread My holy name!
2 All creation unto the ends of the earth! Hasten to cleanse yourselves that you may be made as offerings to Me! Constellations of the heavens! Hasten back to your places to show My mighty power in the firmament! I lend My ear to the voices of the people on earth, who pour out their infinite love and reverence for Me in song! On this day, when all creation returns to life, I come down into the world of men. At this moment, at this very juncture, all flowers burst into riotous bloom, all birds sing as with one voice, all things palpitate with joy! In the sound of the kingdom’s salute, Satan’s kingdom topples down, annihilated in the thundering of the kingdom anthem, never to rise again!
3 Who on the earth dares to rise and resist? As I descend to earth, I bring burning, bring wrath, bring catastrophes of all kinds. The earthly kingdoms are now My kingdom! Up in the sky, the clouds tumble and billow; under the sky, lakes and rivers surge and joyously churn out a stirring melody. Resting animals emerge from their dens, and all peoples are aroused from their slumbers by Me. The day awaited by the multitudinous peoples has come at last! They offer up the most beautiful songs to Me!
What do you think about every time you sing this song? (We feel very excited and thrilled, and we think about how glorious the beauty of the kingdom is, how humankind and God will be together forever.) Has anyone thought about the form humans must adopt to be together with God? In your imaginations, how must people be to join with God and enjoy the glorious life that will follow in the kingdom? (Their dispositions should be changed.) Their dispositions should be changed, but to what extent? What will they be like after their dispositions have been changed? (They will become holy.) What is the criterion for holiness? (All one’s thoughts and considerations must be compatible with Christ.) How is such compatibility manifested? (One does not resist or betray God, can submit to Him absolutely, and one has a fearful reverence for Him in one’s heart.) Some of your answers are on the right track. Open your hearts, all of you, and give voice to what you wish to say. (People who live with God in the kingdom should be able to do their duties—with loyalty—by pursuing the truth and not being held back by any person, event, or object. It then becomes possible for them to break away from the influence of darkness, attune their hearts to God, and fear God and shun evil.) (Our perspective on things can grow attuned with God, and we can break away from the influence of darkness. At the very least, we can get to where we are no longer exploited by Satan, and where we cast off any corrupt dispositions, and submit to God. We believe it is essential that people break away from the influence of darkness. People who cannot break away from the influence of darkness and escape Satan’s bonds have not attained God’s salvation.) (To meet the standard for being perfected by God, people must be of one heart and mind with Him, and no longer resist Him. They must be able to know themselves, put the truth into practice, attain an understanding of God, love God, and become attuned with God. That is all it takes.)
How Heavily People’s Outcomes Weigh in Their Hearts
You appear to have some thoughts regarding the way you should abide by, and you have developed some understanding of it or appreciation for it. However, whether all the words you have uttered turn out to be hollow or real, depends on your focus in your day-to-day practice. Over the years, you all have reaped certain fruits from each aspect of the truth, both in terms of doctrine and in terms of the truth’s actual content. This proves that people nowadays place a lot of emphasis on striving for the truth, and as a result, each aspect and item of the truth has surely put down roots in some people’s hearts. However, what is it that I fear the most? It is that despite the fact that these subjects of the truth and these theories have taken root in your hearts, their actual content has little substance there. When you encounter problems and are faced with trials and choices, how much practical use will the reality of these truths be to you? Can it help you surpass your difficulties and emerge from your trials, having satisfied God’s will? Will you stand firm in the midst of your trials and bear resounding testimony for God? Have you ever concerned yourselves with these matters? I ask you: In your hearts, and in all your daily thoughts and contemplations, what is it that is most important to you? Have you ever come to a conclusion about this? What do you believe is most important to you? Some people say, “It is putting the truth into practice, of course,” whereas others say, “Of course it is readingevery day.” Some people say, “It is coming before God and praying to Him every day, of course,” and then there are those who say, “Of course, it is doing my duty properly every day.” There are even some who say they only ever think about how to satisfy God, how to obey Him in all things, and how to act in harmony with His will. Is that right? Is this all there is? For example, some say, “I want only to submit to God, but whenever I encounter a problem, I am unable to.” Others say, “I want only to satisfy God, and it would be fine even if I could only satisfy Him once—but I can never satisfy Him.” Some say, “I want only to submit to God. In times of trial I want only to submit to His orchestrations, to His sovereignty and arrangements, without any complaints or requests. And yet I fail to submit almost every time.” Still others say, “When I am faced with decisions, I can never choose to put the truth into practice. I always want to satisfy the flesh and want to fulfill my own personal, selfish desires.” What is the reason for this? Before God’s test comes, will you already have challenged yourselves multiple times, trying and testing yourselves over and over? See whether you can genuinely submit to God and truly satisfy Him, and whether you can guarantee that you will not betray Him; see whether you can keep from satisfying yourselves and fulfilling your selfish desires, and only satisfy God instead, without making any individual choices. Does anyone do this? Actually, there is only a single fact that has been placed before your very eyes, and it is what every one of you is most interested in and what you most wish to know—the matter of everyone’s outcome and destination. You may not realize it, but this is something that no one can deny. When it comes to the truth of people’s outcomes, God’s promise to humanity, and what kind of destination God intends to bring people into, I know there are some who have already studied God’s words on these subjects several times. Then there are those who are repeatedly looking for the answer and mulling it over in their minds, yet still they come up with nothing, or perhaps end up arriving at some ambiguous conclusion. In the end, they remain uncertain about what kind of outcome awaits them. When performing their duties, most people tend to want to know definitive answers to the following questions: “What will my outcome be? Can I walk this path right up to its end? What is God’s attitude toward humanity?” Some even worry thusly: “In the past, I’ve done some things, and I’ve said some things; I’ve been disobedient to God, I’ve committed actions that have betrayed God, and, in certain instances, I failed to satisfy God, I hurt His feelings, and I disappointed Him and made Him hate me and loathe me. Perhaps, therefore, my outcome is unknown.” It would be fair to say that most people feel uneasy about their own outcome. No one dares say, “I feel, with one hundred percent certainty, that I will be a survivor; I am one hundred percent certain that I can satisfy God’s will. I am a person who is in tune with God’s heart; I am one whom God praises.” Some people think it is particularly difficult to follow God’s way, and that putting the truth into practice is the hardest thing of all. Consequently, such people are convinced that they are beyond help, and do not dare to raise their hopes about attaining a good outcome; or, perhaps, they believe that they cannot satisfy God’s will and therefore cannot become survivors. Because of this, they claim that they have no outcome and cannot attain a good destination. Regardless of how exactly people think, they have all wondered about their outcomes many times. On questions of their future and of what they will get once God has finished His work, they are constantly calculating and planning. Some pay double the price; some abandon their families and their jobs; some give up on their marriages; some resign to expend themselves for God’s sake; some leave their homes to fulfill their duties; some choose hardship, and begin to take on the most bitter and exhausting tasks; some choose to dedicate their wealth and devote their all; and still others choose to pursue the truth and strive to know God. No matter how you choose to practice, is the manner in which you practice important or not? (No, it is not.) How then do we explain this “unimportance”? If the method of practice is not important, then what is? (Outward good behavior is not representative of putting the truth into practice.) (The thoughts of each individual are not important; the key here is whether or not we have put the truth into practice, and whether or not we love God.) (The fall of antichrists and false leaders helps us to understand that outward behavior is not the most vital thing. On the surface, they seem to have forsaken much and seem willing to pay the price, but upon closer inspection, we can see that they simply do not revere God, but instead they oppose Him in all respects. At crucial moments, they always side with Satan and interfere with God’s work. Thus, the main considerations here are which side we stand on when the time comes, and what our viewpoints on things are.) You all speak well, and you seem to already possess a basic understanding and a standard to live up to when it comes to putting the truth into practice, God’s intentions, and what God demands of humanity. That you are able to speak like this is very moving. Although some of what you say is not very accurate, you have already come close to having a proper explanation of the truth—and this proves that you have developed your own actual understanding of the people, events, and objects around you, of all of your surroundings as arranged by God, and of everything that you can see. This is an understanding that is close to the truth. Even though what you said is not entirely comprehensive, and a few of your words are not very appropriate, your comprehension is already nearing the reality of the truth. Hearing you speak this way makes Me feel very good.
People’s Beliefs Cannot Take the Place of the Truth
Some people are able to bear hardships, can pay the price, are outwardly very well-behaved, are quite well-respected, and enjoy the admiration of others. Would you say that this kind of outward behavior can be regarded as putting the truth into practice? Could one determine that such people are satisfying God’s will? Why is it that time and time again people see such individuals and think that they are satisfying God, walking the path of putting the truth into practice, and keeping to God’s way? Why do some people think this way? There is only one explanation for it. What explanation is that? It is that for a great many people, certain questions—such as what it means to put the truth into practice, what it means to satisfy God, and what it means to genuinely possess the reality of the truth—are not very clear. Thus, there are some people who are often deceived by those who outwardly seem spiritual, noble, lofty, and great. As for people who can speak eloquently of letters and doctrines, and whose speech and actions seem worthy of admiration, those who are deceived by them have never looked at the essence of their actions, the principles behind their deeds, or what their goals are. Moreover, they have never looked at whether these people truly submit to God, nor have they ever determined whether or not these people genuinely fear God and shun evil. They have never discerned the essence of the humanity of these people. Rather, beginning with the first step of getting acquainted with them, they have, little by little, come to admire and venerate these people, and in the end, these people become their idols. Furthermore, in some people’s minds, the idols whom they worship—and who they believe can abandon their families and jobs, and who seem superficially able to pay the price—are the ones who are truly satisfying God and who can really attain good outcomes and good destinations. In their minds, these idols are the ones whom God praises. What causes them to believe such a thing? What is the essence of this issue? What are the consequences it can lead to? Let us first discuss the matter of its essence.
Essentially, these issues regarding people’s viewpoints, their methods of practice, which principles of practice they choose to adopt, and what they each tend to focus on have nothing to do with God’s demands of humankind. Whether people focus on shallow matters or profound issues, or on letters and doctrines or reality, they do not adhere to that which they should adhere to most, nor do they know that which they most should know. The reason for this is that people do not like the truth at all; as such, they are not willing to put time and effort into seeking out and putting into practice the principles of practice found in God’s utterances. Instead, they prefer to use shortcuts, summing up what they understand and know to be good practice and good behavior; this summary then becomes their own goal to pursue, which they take as truth to be practiced. The direct consequence of this is that people use human good behavior as a substitute for putting the truth into practice, which also satisfies their desire to curry favor with God. This gives them capital with which to contend with the truth, which they also use to reason and compete with God. At the same time, people also unscrupulously put God aside, placing the idols they admire in His stead. There is only one root cause which makes people have such ignorant actions and viewpoints, or one-sided opinions and practices—and today I will tell you about it: The reason is that, although people may follow God, pray to Him every day, and read His utterances every day, they do not actually understand His will. Herein lies the root of the problem. If someone understood God’s heart and knew what He likes, what He loathes, what He wants, what He rejects, what kind of person He loves, what kind of person He dislikes, what kind of standard He uses when making demands of people, and what kind of approach He takes for perfecting them, then could that person still have their own personal opinions? Could people like this simply go and worship someone else? Could an ordinary human become their idol? People who understand God’s will possess a slightly more rational viewpoint than that. They are not going to arbitrarily idolize a corrupted person, nor will they, while walking the path of putting the truth into practice, believe that blindly adhering to a few simple rules or principles is tantamount to putting the truth into practice.
There Are Many Opinions Concerning the Standard by Which God Determines People’s Outcomes
Let us come back to this topic and continue discussing the matter of outcome.
Given that what every person is concerned with is their own outcome, do you know how God determines that outcome? In what manner does God determine someone’s outcome? Moreover, what sort of standard does He employ to determine it? When a person’s outcome still has yet to be determined, what does God do to reveal it? Does anyone know? As I said a moment ago, there are some who have already spent a very long time researching God’s words in an effort to seek out clues about people’s outcomes, about the categories into which these outcomes are divided, and about the various outcomes awaiting different kinds of people. They also hope to find out how God’s word dictates people’s outcomes, what sort of standard He uses, and exactly how He determines a person’s outcome. In the end, however, these people never manage to find any answers. In actual fact, there is precious little said on the matter among God’s utterances. Why is this? So long as people’s outcomes are yet to be revealed, God does not wish to tell anyone what is going to happen in the end, nor does He want to inform anyone of their destination ahead of time—because doing so would not be of any benefit to humanity. Here and now, I only want to tell you about the manner in which God determines people’s outcomes, about the principles He employs in His work to determine and to manifest these outcomes, and about the standard He uses to determine whether or not someone can survive. Are these not the questions over which you are most concerned? So then, how do people believe God determines people’s outcomes? You mentioned part of it just now: Some of you said it has to do with doing one’s duties faithfully and expending for God; some said it is about submitting to God and satisfying Him; some said a factor is being at God’s mercy; and some said the key is to keep a low profile…. When you put these truths into practice, and when you practice in accordance with the principles you believe to be right, do you know what God thinks? Have you ever considered whether or not going on like this is satisfying His will? Does it meet His standard? Does it cater to His demands? I believe that most people do not really give these questions much thought. They just mechanically apply a portion of God’s word, or a portion of the sermons, or the standards of certain spiritual figures whom they idolize, forcing themselves to do this and that. They believe that this is the correct way, so they keep adhering to it and doing it, no matter what happens in the end. Some people think, “I’ve had faith for so many years; I’ve always practiced this way. I feel like I have really satisfied God, and I also feel like I’ve gotten a lot out of it. This is because I have come to understand many truths during this time, as well as many things I did not understand before. Specifically, many of my ideas and views have changed, my life values have changed enormously, and I now have a pretty good understanding of this world.” Such people believe that this is a harvest, and that it is the final result of God’s work for humanity. In your opinion, with these standards and all of your practices taken together, are you satisfying God’s will? Some of you will say with all certainty, “Of course! We are practicing according to God’s word; we are practicing according to what the Above preached and communicated. We are always doing our duties and constantly following God, and we have never left Him. We therefore can say with complete confidence that we are satisfying God. No matter how much we understand of His intentions, and no matter how much we comprehend of His word, we have always been on the path of seeking to be compatible with God. As long as we act correctly, and practice correctly, then we are bound to achieve the right result.” What do you think about this perspective? Is it right? There might also be some who say, “I’ve never thought about these things before. I just think that as long as I keep fulfilling my duty and acting in line with the requirements of God’s utterances, then I can survive. I have never considered the question of whether I can satisfy God’s heart, nor have I ever considered whether I am meeting the standard He has set forth. Since God has never told me or provided me with any clear instructions, I believe that as long as I keep working and do not stop, then God will be satisfied and shouldn’t make any additional demands of me.” Are these beliefs correct? As far as I am concerned, this way of practicing, this way of thinking, and these viewpoints all entail fantasies, as well as a bit of blindness. Perhaps My saying this causes some of you to feel a little disheartened, thinking, “Blindness? If this is blindness, then our hope for salvation and survival is very small and uncertain, isn’t it? By putting it that way, aren’t You pouring cold water on us?” No matter what you believe, the things I say and do are not meant to make you feel as if cold water were being poured on you. Rather, they are meant to improve your understanding of God’s intentions and increase your grasp on what He is thinking, what He wants to accomplish, what kinds of people He likes, what He loathes, what He despises, what type of person He wishes to gain, and what type of person He spurns. They are meant to give your minds clarity and to give you a clear understanding of just how far the actions and thoughts of each and every one of you have strayed from the standard required by God. Is it very necessary to discuss these topics? Because I know you have had faith for so long, and have listened to so much preaching, but these are precisely the things that you lack the most. Although you have recorded every truth in your notebooks, and have memorized and engraved in your hearts some of the things which you personally believe to be important, and though you plan to use these things to satisfy God during your practice, to use them when you find yourselves in need, to use them to get through the difficult times that lie ahead, or simply to let these things accompany you while you live your lives, as far as I am concerned, regardless of how you do it, if you are just doing it, this is not so important. What, then, is very important? It is that while you are practicing, you must know deep down, with absolute certainty, whether or not everything you are doing—every single deed—is in keeping with what God wants, and whether or not all your actions, all your thoughts, and the results and goal you wish to achieve actually satisfy God’s will and cater to His demands, as well as whether or not He approves of them. These are what are very important.