How to Know God’s Disposition and the Results His Work Shall Achieve (Part Three)
How God Determines People’s Outcomes and the Standards by Which He Does So
Before you settle on any views or conclusions, you should first understand what God’s attitude toward you is, and what He is thinking, and then you can decide whether or not your own thinking is correct. God has never used time as a unit of measurement to determine a person’s outcome, nor has He ever based such determination on how much a person has suffered. What, then, does God use as a standard to determine a person’s outcome? Determining it based on time would be what most conforms to people’s notions. Moreover, there are those people you often see who at one point devoted a great deal, expended a lot, paid a huge price, and suffered greatly. These are the ones who, the way you see it, can be saved by God. All that these people demonstrate and live out is precisely in line with people’s notions of God’s set standards for determining a person’s outcome. Whatever you believe, I will not list these examples one by one. To put it briefly, anything that is not a standard within God’s own thinking comes instead from the human imagination, and all such things are human notions. If you blindly insist on your own notions and fancies, what will be the result? It is quite obvious that the consequence of this can only be God spurning you. This is because you always flaunt your qualifications before God, compete with Him, and argue with Him, and you do not try truly to comprehend His thinking, nor do you try to comprehend His will or His attitude toward humankind. Proceeding in this manner honors yourself above all; it does not magnify God. You believe in yourself; you do not believe in God. God does not want such people, nor will He bring them salvation. If you can let go of this sort of viewpoint and, furthermore, rectify those incorrect viewpoints you had in the past, if you can proceed according to God’s demands, if you can practice the way of fearing God and shunning evil from this point on, if you can manage to honor God as One who is great in all things and refrain from using your own personal fancies, viewpoints, or beliefs to define yourself and God, and if you can instead seek out God’s intentions in all respects, come to a realization and understanding of His attitude toward humanity, and satisfy Him by meeting His standards, that will be wonderful! It will signify that you are about to embark on the way of fearing God and shunning evil.
If God does not use people’s various thoughts, ideas, and viewpoints as standards by which to determine their outcomes, what sort of standard does He use to determine people’s outcomes? He uses trials to determine their outcomes. There are two standards to God’s use of trials to determine people’s outcomes: The first is the number of trials that people undergo, and the second is the results these trials have on people. It is these two indicators that establish a person’s outcome. Now, let’s elaborate on these two standards.
To begin, when a person is faced with a trial from God (note: It is possible that in your eyes, this trial might be a minor one, not worth mentioning), He will make you distinctly aware that this is His hand upon you, and that it is He who arranged this circumstance for you. While you are still immature of stature, God will arrange trials in order to test you, and these trials will correspond to your stature, what you are able to comprehend, and what you can withstand. What part of you will be tested? Your attitude toward God. Is this attitude very important? Of course it is important! It is of special importance! This attitude in humans is the result God desires, so, as far as He is concerned, it is the most important thing of all. Otherwise, God would not spend His efforts on people by engaging in such work. By way of these trials, God wants to see your attitude toward Him; He wants to see whether or not you are on the right path. He also wants to see whether or not you fear God and shun evil. Therefore, whether you understand much or little of the truth at any particular time, you will still be faced with God’s trials, and following any increase in the amount of truth you understand, He will continue to arrange relevant trials for you. When you are once again faced with a trial, God will want to see whether your viewpoint, your ideas, and your attitude toward Him have experienced any growth in the intervening period of time. Some people wonder, “Why does God always want to see people’s attitudes? Hasn’t He already seen how they put the truth into practice? Why would He still want to see their attitudes?” This is mindless drivel! Given that God works in this manner, His will must lie therein. God constantly observes people from the side, watching their every word and action, their every deed and movement; He even observes their every thought and idea. God makes a note of everything that happens to people—their good deeds, their faults, their transgressions, even their rebellions and betrayals—as evidence with which to determine their outcomes. Step by step, as God’s work is elevated, you will hear more truths and come to accept more positive things and information, and you will gain more of the reality of the truth. Throughout this process, God’s requirements of you will also increase, and as they do, He will arrange more serious trials for you. His goal is to examine whether your attitude toward Him has progressed in the meantime. Of course, when this happens, the viewpoint God demands of you will conform to your understanding of the reality of the truth.
As your stature gradually builds up, so will the standard that God demands of you. While you are still immature, He will set a very low standard for you to meet; when your stature is a little greater, He will raise your standard a bit higher. But what will God do after you have gained an understanding of all of the truth? He will have you face even bigger trials. Amid these trials, what God wishes to obtain from you, what He wants to see from you, is a more profound knowledge of Him, an actual reverence of Him. At this time, His requirements of you will be higher and “harsher” than they were when your stature was more immature (note: People might view them as harsh, but God actually views them as reasonable). When God is trying people, what kind of reality does He wish to create? He is constantly asking that people give Him their hearts. Some people will say, “How can I give that? I have fulfilled my duty; I abandoned my home and livelihood, and I have expended myself. Are these not all instances of my giving my heart over to God? How else could I give my heart to God? Could it be that these weren’t actually ways of giving my heart to Him? What is God’s specific requirement?” The requirement is very simple. In fact, there are some people who have already given their hearts to God to varying degrees during various stages of their trials, but the vast majority of people never give their hearts over to God. When God tries you, He sees if your heart is with Him, with the flesh, or with Satan. When God tries you, He sees whether you are standing in opposition to Him or are in a position that is compatible with Him, and He also sees whether your heart is on His side. When you are immature and facing trials, you have little confidence, and you cannot know exactly what it is you need to do to fulfill God’s intentions, for your understanding of the truth is limited. However, if you can still pray to God genuinely and sincerely, and if you can be willing to give your heart over to Him, make Him your sovereign, and be willing to offer unto Him all those things that you believe to be most precious, then you will have already given God your heart. As you listen to more sermons and understand more of the truth, your stature will also gradually grow. At this time, the standard of God’s demands will not be the same as it was when you were immature; He will demand a higher standard of you. As people gradually give their hearts over to God, their hearts grow slowly nearer to Him; as people can genuinely grow nearer to God, then their hearts will revere Him ever more. What God wants is just such a heart.
When God wants to obtain someone’s heart, He will put that person through numerous trials. During these trials, if God does not obtain that person’s heart or see that this person has any attitude—that is to say, if God does not see this person practicing or behaving in a way that shows reverence to Him, and if He also does not see in this person an attitude and resolution that shuns evil—then, after numerous trials, God’s patience with them will be withdrawn, and He will no longer tolerate them. He will no longer try this person, and He will no longer work on them. So, what does this signify for this person’s outcome? It means they have no outcome. Perhaps this person has done no evil; perhaps they have done nothing disruptive and caused no disturbance. Perhaps they have not openly resisted God. However, this person’s heart remains hidden from God; they have never had a clear attitude and viewpoint toward God, and God cannot clearly see that their heart has been given to Him or that they are seeking to fear Him and shun evil. God loses patience with such people, and will no longer pay any price for them, extend any mercy to them, or work on them. Such a person’s life of faith in God has already ended. This is because, in all of the many trials that God has given them, God has not obtained the result He wants. Thus, there are a number of people in whom I have never seen the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit. How can this be seen? These people may have believed in God for many years, and on the surface, they have behaved with vigor; they have read many books, handled many affairs, filled a dozen or so notebooks, and mastered a great many words and doctrines. However, there is never any visible growth in them, their views on God remain invisible, and their attitudes are still unclear. In other words, their hearts cannot be seen; they are always wrapped up and sealed—they are sealed off from God. As a result, He has not seen their true hearts, He has not seen in these people any true reverence for Him, and, what is more, He has not seen how these people walk in His way. If God still has not gained such people by now, can He gain them in the future? He cannot! Will He keep pushing for things that cannot be obtained? He will not! What, then, is God’s current attitude toward such people? (He spurns them and ignores them.) He ignores them! God does not heed such people; He spurns them. You have memorized these words very quickly, and very accurately. It appears as though you have understood what you have heard!
There are some people who, when they begin to follow God, are immature and ignorant; they do not understand His will, nor do they know what it is to believe in Him. They adopt a human-conceived and mistaken way of believing in and following God. When such people are faced with trials, they are not aware of it; they remain numb to God’s guidance and enlightenment. They do not know what it means to give their hearts over to God or what it means to stand firm during a trial. God will give such people a limited amount of time, and during this time, He will let them understand the nature of His trials and what His intentions are. Afterward, these people must demonstrate their points of view. For those at this stage, God is still waiting. As for those who have some views yet still waver, who want to give their hearts over to God but are not reconciled to doing so, and who, despite having put some basic truths into practice, try to hide and give up when faced with major trials—what is God’s attitude toward them? He still expects a little from them, and the result depends on their attitude and performance. If people are not active in progressing, what does God do? He gives up on them. This is because, before God gives up on you, you have already given up on yourself. Thus, you cannot blame God for doing so. It is wrong of you to hold a grievance against God.
The Various Embarrassments a Practical Question Brings About in People
There is another type of person who has the most tragic outcome of all; this is the sort of person that I like mentioning the least. They are not tragic because they have received God’s punishment, or because His demands on them are harsh and they therefore have a tragic outcome; rather, they are tragic because they do it to themselves. As the common saying goes, they dig their own grave. What sort of person does this? These people do not walk the correct path, and their outcomes are revealed in advance. In God’s eyes, such people are the greatest objects of His loathing. In human terms, people like these are the most pitiful. When such people begin to follow God, they are very zealous; they pay many a price, have a good opinion of the prospects of God’s work, and have an abundant imagination when it comes to their own futures. They are also especially confident in God, believing He can make humans complete and bring them to a glorious destination. Nevertheless, for whatever reason, these people then run away during the course of God’s work. What does “run away” mean here? It means they disappear without a goodbye, without even a sound; they leave without a word. Although such people claim to believe in God, they never really put down roots on their path of faith. Thus, no matter how long they have believed in Him, they are still capable of turning away from God. Some people leave to go into business, some leave to live their lives, some leave to get rich, and some leave to get married and have children…. Among those who leave, there are some who later have attacks of conscience and want to come back, and others who have a very hard time getting by and end up drifting in the world for years and years. These drifters experience a lot of suffering, and they believe that being in the world is too painful and that they cannot be separated from God. They want to return to God’s house to receive comfort, peace, and joy, and they want to continue believing in God in order to escape disaster, or to attain salvation and a beautiful destination. This is because these people believe that God’s love is boundless, and that His grace is inexhaustible. They think that no matter what someone has done, God should forgive them and be tolerant of their past. These people say over and over that they want to come back and do their duties. There are even those who give some of their belongings to the church, hoping that this will pave the way back to God’s house. What is God’s attitude toward such people? How should He determine their outcomes? Feel free to speak up. (I thought that God would accept this type of person, but after hearing that just now, I feel He may not.) Say your reasoning. (Such people only come before God so that their outcomes won’t be death. They don’t come to believe in God out of genuine sincerity; they come because they know that God’s work will soon be finished, so they are under the delusion that they can come and receive blessings.) You are saying that these people do not sincerely believe in God, so He cannot accept them, right? (Yes.) (My understanding is that such people are just opportunists, and do not genuinely believe in God.) They have not come to believe in God; they are opportunists. Well said! These opportunists are the sort of people that everyone hates. They sail in whichever direction the wind blows, and they cannot be bothered to do anything unless they are going to get something out of it, so of course they are despicable! Does any other brother or sister have an opinion they would like to share? (God will not accept them anymore, because His work is about to be complete, and now is the time that people’s outcomes are being set. It’s at this time that these people want to come back—not because they actually want to pursue the truth, but because they see disasters descending, or because they are being influenced by external factors. If they really had the intention of pursuing the truth, they would never have run away in the middle of God’s work.) Are there any other opinions? (They won’t be accepted. God actually already gave them opportunities, but they insisted on taking a heedless attitude toward Him. No matter what these people’s intentions are, and even if they really do repent, God still won’t let them come back. This is because He gave them so many opportunities, but they have already demonstrated their attitude: They wanted to leave God. For this reason, if they try to come back now, God won’t accept them.) (I agree that God won’t accept this type of person, because if a person has seen the true way, experienced God’s work for such a long period of time, and can still return to the world and to Satan’s embrace, then this is a huge betrayal of God. Despite the fact that God’s essence is mercy and love, it depends on what kind of person that essence is being directed at. If this person comes before God looking for comfort or seeking something to pin their hopes on, then they simply are not the type who sincerely believes in God, and God’s mercy toward such people only goes so far.) If God’s essence is mercy, then why does He not give this kind of person a bit more of it? With a little more mercy, would this person not then have an opportunity? In the past, people frequently said that God wants every person to be saved and does not want anyone to suffer perdition; if one among a hundred sheep is lost, God will leave the ninety-nine to search for the missing one. Now, when it comes to these people, should God accept them and give them a second chance on account of their sincere faith? This is not actually a hard question; it is very simple! If you truly comprehend God and have real knowledge of Him, then not much explanation is needed—and not much speculation is needed, either, right? Your answers are on the right track, but they still fall far short of God’s attitude.
Just now, some of you expressed certainty that God could not possibly accept this type of person. Others were not too clear, thinking that God might accept them or might not—this attitude is the more moderate one. There were also those of you whose viewpoint was that you hope God will accept this kind of person—this attitude is the more ambiguous one. Those of you who are certain in what you think believe that God has worked for so long, and that His work is complete, so He does not need to be tolerant of these people; as such, you think He will not accept them again. The more moderate among you believe that these matters should be handled according to individual circumstances; if these people’s hearts are inseparable from God, and if they genuinely believe in God and pursue the truth, then God should forget their previous weaknesses and faults—He should forgive these people, give them a second chance, and allow them to return to His house and accept His salvation. However, if these people later run away once again, then God will no longer want them, and abandoning these people cannot be considered an injustice. There is another group who hope God can accept such a person. This group is not quite sure whether God will actually do so or not. If they believe He should accept this kind of person, but He does not, then it seems this view is slightly out of conformity with God’s perspective. If they believe that God should not accept such a person, and God happens to say that His love toward humans is boundless and that He is willing to give this kind of person another chance, then is this not an example of human ignorance being laid bare? In any case, you all have your own viewpoints. These viewpoints represent a kind of knowledge within your own thoughts; they are also a reflection of the depth of your understanding of the truth and of God’s will. It is correct to say so, is it not? It is wonderful that you have opinions on this matter! However, there is still the question of whether your opinions are correct. You are all a bit worried, are you not? “Then what is correct? I can’t see clearly, and I don’t know exactly what God is thinking, and He hasn’t told me anything. How can I know what He is thinking? God’s attitude toward humankind is love. Going by the attitude He has had in the past, He should accept such a person, but I’m not too clear on God’s present attitude; I can only say that maybe He will accept this person, and maybe He won’t.” This is laughable, is it not? This question has really stumped you. If you do not have a proper viewpoint on this matter, then what will you do when your church is actually faced with such a person? If you do not handle the situation correctly, then you could offend God. Is this not a dangerous affair?
Why did I want to ask about your views concerning the matter I just raised? I wished to test your viewpoints, to test how much knowledge of God you have, and how much of His intentions and attitude you understand. What is the answer? The answer is your viewpoints themselves. Some of you are very conservative, and some of you are using your imaginations to guess. What is “guessing”? It means being unable to discern how God thinks, and thus coming up with baseless conjecture that God should think in some way; you do not actually know yourself whether you are right or wrong, so you voice an ambiguous viewpoint. Faced with this fact, what have you seen? When following God, people seldom pay attention to His will, and they rarely take heed of His thoughts and His attitude toward humans. People do not understand God’s thoughts, so, when asked questions about His intentions and disposition, you get confused; you fall into deep uncertainty, and then you either guess or gamble. What sort of mindset is this? It proves a fact: that most people who believe in God regard Him as a bunch of empty air and as something which seems to exist one minute and not the next. Why do I put it like that? Because whenever you encounter a problem, you do not know God’s will. Why do you not know His will? Not just now, but from start to finish, you do not know God’s attitude toward this problem. You cannot fathom it and do not know what God’s attitude is, but have you given it much thought? Have you sought to know it? Have you fellowshiped about it? No! This confirms a fact: The God of your belief has no connection to the God of reality. In your belief in God, you ponder only your own intentions and those of your leaders; you merely give thought to the superficial and doctrinal meaning of, without truly trying to know or seek God’s will at all. Is this not the case? The essence of this matter is quite terrible! After so many years, I have seen many people who believe in God. What has their belief transformed God into in their minds? Some people believe in God as if He were just a bunch of empty air. These people have no answer to questions of God’s existence, because they can neither feel nor sense either His presence or His absence, let alone see it clearly or understand it. Subconsciously, these people think that God does not exist. Others believe in God as if He were a man. These people think that He is unable to do all of the things that they, too, are unable to do, and that He should think however they think. Their definition of God is “an invisible and untouchable person.” There is also a group of people who believe in God as if He were a puppet; these people believe that God has no emotions. They think God is a clay statue, and that when faced with an issue, God has no attitude, viewpoint, or ideas; they believe He is at humankind’s mercy. People simply believe however they want to believe. If they make Him great, then He is great; if they make Him small, then He is small. When people sin and need God’s mercy, tolerance, and love, they assume God should extend His mercy. These people invent a “God” in their own minds, and then make this “God” fulfill their demands and satisfy all of their desires. No matter when or where, and no matter what such people do, they will adopt this fancy in their treatment of God and in their faith. There are even those who, having aggravated God’s disposition, still believe He can save them, because they assume that God’s love is boundless and His disposition is righteous, and that no matter how much a person offends God, He will not remember any of it. They think that since human faults, human trespasses, and human disobedience are momentary expressions of a person’s disposition, God will give people chances, and be tolerant and patient with them; they believe that God will still love them as before. Thus, they maintain high hopes for attaining salvation. In fact, no matter how people believe in God, as long as they are not pursuing the truth, He will hold a negative attitude toward them. This is because over the course of your faith in God, though you have taken the book of God’s words and seen it as a treasure, and study and read it every day, you set the real God aside. You regard Him as mere empty air, or as just a person—and some of you regard Him as no more than a puppet. Why do I put it this way? I do so because the way I see it, whether you are faced with a problem or encounter some circumstance, those things that exist in your subconscious, those things that you give rise to internally, have never had any connection with God’s words or with pursuing the truth. You only know what you yourself are thinking, what your own viewpoint is, and then you force your own ideas and opinions onto God. In your mind they become God’s viewpoints, and you make of these viewpoints standards that you unwaveringly uphold. Over time, proceeding like this takes you farther and farther away from God.