28. What salvation refers to

Words of Almighty God of the Last Days

What is the ultimate significance of people’s faith? Simply put, it is in order to be saved. … In plain terms, being saved means that you will be able to live on, that you have been brought back to life. You were once living in sin, and bound for death—as God sees it, you were a dead person. What is the basis for saying this? Under whose power do people live before they have attained salvation? (Under the power of Satan.) And what do people rely on to live under Satan’s power? They rely on their satanic nature and corrupt dispositions to live. Then is their whole being—their flesh, and all other aspects such as their spirits and their thoughts—alive or dead? From God’s point of view, they are dead, they are walking corpses. On the surface, you appear to be breathing and thinking, but everything you are constantly thinking about is evil, in defiance of God and in rebellion against God, all of your thoughts are of things that God detests, hates, and condemns. In God’s eyes, all these things not only belong to the flesh, but they entirely belong to Satan and to devils. So, in God’s eyes, is corrupt mankind even human? No, they are beasts, devils and Satan; they are Satan alive! All people live by Satan’s nature and its disposition, and as God sees it, they are Satan alive and garbed in human flesh, devils in human skin. God characterizes such people as walking corpses, as the dead. God is now doing the work of salvation, which means He will take the walking corpses that live by Satan’s corrupt disposition and its corrupt essence—the dead—and turn them into living people. That is the significance of being saved. One believes in God in order to be saved—what is it to be saved? When one attains God’s salvation, they are the dead become living. Where once they belonged to Satan, slated to die, they have now come to life as people belonging to God. If people can obey God, know Him, and bow down to Him in worship when they believe in and follow God, if they have no more resistance and rebelliousness against God in their hearts, and will no longer resist or attack Him, and can truly submit to Him, then in God’s eyes, they are true living people. … For someone ultimately to be saved and become a living person, they must at least be able to heed God’s words, and able to speak words of conscience and sense, and they must be thinking and discerning, able to understand the truth and to practice it, able to submit to God and worship Him. That is what a true living person is.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only With True Obedience Can One Have Real Trust

All those who live under the influence of darkness are those who live amid death, those who are possessed by Satan. Without being saved by God and judged and chastised by God, people are unable to escape the influence of death; they cannot become the living. These “dead men” cannot bear testimony to God, and nor can they be used by God, much less enter the kingdom. God wants the testimony of the living, not the dead, and He asks that the living, not the dead, work for Him. “The dead” are those who oppose and rebel against God; they are those who are numb in spirit and do not understand God’s words; they are those who do not put the truth into practice and have not the slightest loyalty to God, and they are those who live under the power of Satan and are exploited by Satan. The dead manifest themselves by standing in opposition to the truth, by rebelling against God, and by being lowly, contemptible, malicious, brutish, deceitful, and insidious. Even if such people eat and drink the words of God, they are unable to live out the words of God; though they are alive, they are just walking, breathing corpses. The dead are totally incapable of satisfying God, much less of being utterly obedient to Him. They can only deceive Him, blaspheme against Him, and betray Him, and all that they bring forth by the way they live reveals the nature of Satan. If people wish to become living beings and to bear testimony to God, and to be approved of by God, then they must accept God’s salvation; they must gladly submit to His judgment and chastisement and must gladly accept the pruning of God and being dealt with by Him. Only then will they be able to put all of the truths required by God into practice, and only then will they gain God’s salvation and truly become living beings. The living are saved by God; they have been judged and chastised by God, they are willing to devote themselves and are happy to lay down their lives for God, and they would gladly dedicate their whole lives to God. Only when the living bear testimony to God can Satan be shamed; only the living can spread the gospel work of God, only the living are after God’s heart, and only the living are real people. Originally the man made by God was alive, but because of Satan’s corruption man lives amid death and lives under the influence of Satan, and so, in this way, people have become the spiritless dead, they have become enemies who oppose God, they have become the tools of Satan, and they have become the captives of Satan. All the living people created by God have become dead people, and so God has lost His testimony, and He has lost mankind which He created and which is the only thing that has His breath. If God is to take back His testimony and take back those who were made by His own hand but who have been taken captive by Satan, then He must resurrect them so that they become living beings, and He must reclaim them so that they live in His light. The dead are those who have no spirit, those who are numb in the extreme and who oppose God. They are foremost those who do not know God. These people have not the slightest intention of obeying God; they only rebel against Him and oppose Him and have not the slightest loyalty. The living are those whose spirits have been reborn, who know to obey God, and who are loyal to God. They are possessed of the truth, and of testimony, and these people alone are pleasing to God in His house.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Are You Someone Who Has Come to Life?

What does salvation mainly refer to? It refers mainly to a change of disposition. Only when a person’s disposition has changed can they cast off Satan’s influence and be saved. Therefore, for those who believe in God, dispositional change is a major issue. When a person’s disposition is changed, they will live out human likeness and completely attain salvation. It is possible that someone may not be very good-looking, gifted, or talented, they may speak clumsily and not be very articulate, or good at dressing up, and they may outwardly appear very ordinary, but they are capable of seeking the truth when something happens to them, rather than acting according to their own will or scheming for their own sake, and when God commands them to perform a duty, they are able to obey Him and accomplish what He entrusts to them. What do you think of this kind of person? Though outwardly, they are not attractive or prepossessing in appearance, they have a heart that fears and obeys God, and in this their strengths are revealed. When people see this, they will say, “This person has a stable disposition, and when things happen, they can seek quietly before God without being careless or doing something foolish or stupid. They have a serious and responsible attitude; they are dutiful and can fully dedicate themselves to faithfully fulfilling their duty.” This person is restrained in how they speak and act, they have normal rationality, and based on what they live out and the disposition that they display, they have a God-fearing heart. If they have a God-fearing heart, are there principles to their actions? They certainly seek the principles and don’t recklessly engage in wrongful acts. This is the ultimate result achieved by practicing the truth and pursuing a change of disposition. Their speech is measured and accurate, they don’t speak carelessly, they act in a way that is reassuring and trustworthy, and they possess the realities of obedience to God and of shunning evil. All these manifestations can be seen in this person. This is a person who has entered into the truth reality, and whose disposition has changed.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three

Man’s flesh is of Satan, it is full of rebellious dispositions, it is deplorably filthy, and it is something unclean. People covet the enjoyment of the flesh too much and there are too many manifestations of the flesh; this is why God despises man’s flesh to a certain extent. When people cast off the filthy, corrupt things of Satan, they gain God’s salvation. But if they still do not divest themselves of filth and corruption, then they are still living under the power of Satan. People’s conniving, deceitfulness, and crookedness are all things of Satan. God’s salvation of you is to extricate you from these things of Satan. God’s work cannot be wrong; it is all done in order to save people from darkness. When you have believed to a certain point and can divest yourself of the corruption of the flesh, and are no longer shackled by this corruption, will you not have been saved? When you live under Satan’s power you are incapable of manifesting God, you are something filthy, and cannot receive God’s inheritance. Once you have been cleansed and made perfect, you will be holy, you will be a normal person, and you will be blessed by God and delightful to God.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Practice (2)

Many people don’t know clearly what it means to be saved. Some people believe that if they have believed in God for a long time, then they are likely to be saved. Some people think that if they understand a lot of spiritual doctrines, then they are likely to be saved, or some think that leaders and workers will certainly be saved. These are all human notions and imaginings. The key thing is that people must understand what salvation means. To be saved primarily means to be freed from sin, freed from Satan’s influence, and genuinely turn to God and obey God. What must you possess to be free from sin and from Satan’s influence? The truth. If people hope to obtain the truth, they must be equipped with many of God’s words, they must be able to experience and practice them, so that they may understand the truth and enter into reality. Only then can they be saved. Whether or not one can be saved has nothing to do with how long they have believed in God, how much knowledge they have, whether they possess gifts or strengths, or how much they suffer. The only thing that has a direct relationship to salvation is whether or not a person can obtain the truth. So today, how many truths have you genuinely understood? And how many of God’s words have become your life? Of all of God’s requirements, into which have you achieved entry? During your years of belief in God, how much have you entered into the reality of God’s word? If you don’t know, or if you have not achieved entry into the reality of any of God’s words, then frankly, you have no hope of salvation. You cannot possibly be saved. It doesn’t matter if you possess a high degree of knowledge, or if you have believed in God for a long time, have a good appearance, can speak well, and have been a leader or worker for several years. If you don’t pursue the truth and do not properly practice and experience God’s words, and you lack real experiential testimony, then there is no hope for you to be saved. I don’t care what you look like, how much scientific knowledge you have, how much you have suffered, or how great price you have paid. I tell you this: If you do not accept the truth and never enter the reality of God’s words, you cannot be saved. This is for certain. If you tell Me how much you have entered the reality of the words of God, then I will tell you how much hope you have of salvation. Now that I have told you of the criteria for measuring this, you should be able to measure it on your own. What fact do these words tell you? God used words to create the world, He used words to accomplish every manner of fact, to accomplish all the facts that God wished to be done, and God used words to carry out two stages of His work. Today, God is doing the third stage of His work, and in this stage of work, God has spoken more words than in any other stage. This is the time when God has spoken the most in His work throughout all the history of humankind. That God could use words to create the world, to accomplish all facts, to bring all facts from nothing into existence, and existence into nothing—this is the authority of God’s words, and ultimately, God shall also use words to accomplish the fact of humankind’s salvation. Today, you can all see this fact, during the last days God has done no work that is not connected to His words, He has spoken throughout, used words throughout to guide man unto today. Of course, while speaking, God has also used words to preserve His relationship with those who follow Him, He has used words to guide them, and these words are of the utmost importance for those who wish to be saved, or whom God wishes to save, God shall use these words to accomplish the fact of humankind’s salvation. Evidently, whether viewed in terms of their content or number, no matter what kind of words they are, and no matter which portion of God’s words they are, they are of the utmost importance to each of those who wish to be saved. God is using these words to achieve the ultimate effect of His six-thousand-year management plan. To humankind—whether to the humankind of today or the future—they are of the utmost importance. Such is the attitude of God, such is the aim and significance of His words. So what should humankind do? Humankind should cooperate in God’s words and work, not ignore them. But such is not the way of some people’s faith in God: No matter what God says, it is as if His words have nothing to do with them. They still pursue what they want to, do what they want to, and do not seek the truth on the basis of God’s words. This is not experiencing the work of God. There are others who pay no attention no matter what God says, who have but a single conviction in their hearts: “I will do whatever God asks, if God tells me to go west, I’ll go west, if He tells me to go east, I’ll go east, if He tells me to die, I will let Him see me die.” But there’s just one thing: They do not take in the words of God. They think to themselves, “There are so many of God’s words, they should be a little more straightforward, and they should tell me exactly what to do. I am able to obey God in my heart.” No matter how many words God speaks, such people ultimately remain incapable of understanding the truth, nor can they talk of their experiences and knowledge. They are like a layman who understands nothing of spiritual matters. Do you think such people are beloved of God? Does God wish to be merciful toward such people? (No.) He certainly does not. God does not like such people. God says, “I have spoken untold thousands of words. How is it that, like someone blind or deaf, you have neither seen nor heard them? What, exactly, are you thinking in your heart? I see you as nothing more than someone who is obsessed with chasing after blessings and the beautiful destination—you are chasing after the same goals as Paul. If you do not want to listen to My words, if you do not wish to follow My way, then why do you believe in God? You are not chasing after salvation, you are chasing after the beautiful destination and the desire for blessings. And since this is what you are plotting, what is most suitable for you is being a service-doer.” In fact, being a faithful service-doer is also one manifestation of obedience to God, but this is the minimum standard. Remaining as a faithful service-doer is much better than being plunged into perdition and destruction like an unbeliever. In particular, the house of God has a need for service-doers, and being able to do service to God also counts as a blessing. This is far better—incomparably better—than being lackeys of the devil kings. However, doing service unto God is not wholly satisfactory to God, because God’s work of judgment is in order to save, cleanse, and perfect people. If people are content with merely doing service to God, this is not the aim that God wishes to achieve by working in people, nor is it the effect that God wishes to see. But people burn with desire, they are foolish and blind: They are bewitched, consumed, by some petty profit, and dismiss the precious words of life uttered by God. They can’t even treat them seriously, let alone hold them dear. Not reading God’s words or cherishing the truth: is this smart or stupid? Can people achieve salvation this way? People should understand all this. They only have hope of salvation if they put aside their notions and imaginings and focus on pursuing the truth.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Treasuring God’s Words Is the Foundation of Belief in God

Everything that God does is necessary and possessed of extraordinary significance, for all that He does in man concerns His management and the salvation of mankind. Naturally, the work that God did in Job is no different, even though Job was perfect and upright in the eyes of God. In other words, regardless of what God does or the means by which He does it, regardless of the cost, regardless of His objective, the purpose of His actions does not change. His purpose is to work God’s words into man, as well as God’s requirements and will for man; in other words, it is to work into man all that God believes to be positive in accordance with His steps, enabling man to understand God’s heart and comprehend God’s essence, and allowing man to obey God’s sovereignty and arrangements, thus allowing man to attain fear of God and shunning of evil—all of this is one aspect of God’s purpose in all He does. The other aspect is that, because Satan is the foil and service object in God’s work, man is often given to Satan; this is the means God uses to allow people to see in Satan’s temptations and attacks the wickedness, ugliness, and contemptibility of Satan, thus causing people to hate Satan and be able to know and recognize that which is negative. This process allows them to gradually free themselves from Satan’s control and accusations, disturbances, and attacks—until, thanks to God’s words, their knowledge and obedience of God, and their faith in God and fear of Him, they triumph over the attacks and accusations of Satan; only then will they have been completely delivered from the power of Satan. People’s deliverance means that Satan has been defeated, it means that they are no longer the food in Satan’s mouth—instead of swallowing them, Satan has relinquished them. This is because such people are upright, because they have faith, obedience, and fear toward God, and because they completely break with Satan. They bring shame upon Satan, they make a coward of Satan, and they utterly defeat Satan. Their conviction in following God, and obedience to and fear of God defeat Satan, and make Satan completely give them up. Only people such as this have truly been gained by God, and it is this which is God’s ultimate objective in saving man. If they wish to be saved, and wish to be completely gained by God, then all those who follow God must face temptations and attacks both great and small from Satan. Those who emerge from these temptations and attacks and are able to fully defeat Satan are those who have been saved by God. This is to say, those who have been saved unto God are those who have undergone God’s trials, and who have been tempted and attacked by Satan an untold number of times. Those who have been saved unto God understand God’s will and requirements, and are able to acquiesce to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, and they do not forsake the way of fearing God and shunning evil amid Satan’s temptations. Those who are saved unto God possess honesty, they are kindhearted, they differentiate between love and hate, they have a sense of justice and are rational, and they are able to care for God and treasure all that is of God. Such people are not bound, spied upon, accused, or abused by Satan; they are completely free, they have been completely liberated and released. Job was just such a man of freedom, and this is precisely the significance of why God had handed him over to Satan.

—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II

When people have yet to be saved, their lives are often disturbed, and even controlled by, Satan. In other words, people who have not been saved are prisoners to Satan, they have no freedom, they have not been relinquished by Satan, they are not qualified or entitled to worship God, and they are closely pursued and viciously attacked by Satan. Such people have no happiness to speak of, they have no right to a normal existence to speak of, and moreover they have no dignity to speak of. Only if you stand up and do battle with Satan, using your faith in God and obedience to, and fear of God as the weapons with which to fight a life-and-death battle with Satan, such that you fully defeat Satan and cause it to turn tail and become cowardly whenever it sees you, so that it completely abandons its attacks and accusations against you—only then will you be saved and become free. If you are determined to fully break with Satan, but are not equipped with the weapons that will help you defeat Satan, then you will still be in danger. As time goes on, when you have been so tortured by Satan that there is not an ounce of strength left in you, yet you have still been unable to bear testimony, have still not completely freed yourself of Satan’s accusations and attacks against you, then you will have little hope of salvation. In the end, when the conclusion of God’s work is proclaimed, you will still be in the grip of Satan, unable to free yourself, and thus you will never have a chance or hope. The implication, then, is that such people will be completely in Satan’s captivity.

—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II

What must people possess to be granted salvation? First, they must understand many truths, and be able to discern the essence, disposition, and path of an antichrist. This is the only way to ensure not worshiping or following people while believing in God, and the only way to follow God to the very end. Only people who are able to discern an antichrist can truly believe in, follow, and bear witness for God. Some will then say, “What do I do if I don’t currently have the truth for that?” You must equip yourself with the truth with all haste; you must learn to see into people and things. Discerning an antichrist is no simple matter, and requires the ability to clearly see their essence, and see through the plots, tricks, intentions and goals behind everything they do. That way you will not be deceived or controlled by them, and you can stand firm, safely and securely pursue the truth, and be steadfast on the path of pursuing the truth and attaining salvation. If you cannot surpass the hurdle of the antichrists, then it can be said that you are in great danger, and you are liable to be deceived and captured by an antichrist and come to live under Satan’s influence. It is possible that there are some among you who hinder and trip people who pursue the truth, and they are those people’s enemies. Do you accept this? There are some who do not dare to face this fact, nor do they dare to accept it as fact. But the deception of antichrists really does happen in the churches, and happens often; it is just that people cannot discern it. If you cannot pass this test—the test of antichrists, then you are either deceived and controlled by antichrists or made to suffer, tortured, pushed out, suppressed, and abused by them. Ultimately, your measly little life will not withstand for long, and will wither; you will no longer have faith in God, and you will say, “God isn’t even righteous! Where is God? There is no righteousness or light in this world, and there’s no such thing as God’s salvation of humanity. We might as well pass our days going to work and making money!” You deny God, you stray from God, and no longer believe that He exists; any hope that you will obtain salvation is entirely gone. So, if you want to get to where you can be granted salvation, the first test you must pass is one of being able to perceive and see through Satan, and you must also have the courage to stand up and expose and forsake Satan. Where, then, is Satan? Satan is at your side and all around you; it might even be living inside your heart. If you are living within Satan’s disposition, it can be said that you belong to Satan. You cannot see or touch the Satan and evil spirits of the spiritual world, but the Satan and living devils that exist in real life are everywhere. Any person who is sick of the truth is evil, and any leader or worker who does not accept the truth is an antichrist or false leader. Are such people not Satans and living devils? These people might be the very ones you worship and look up to; they could be the people who lead you or the people you have long admired, trusted, relied upon, and hoped for in your heart. In fact, however, they are roadblocks standing in your way and hindering you from pursuing the truth and obtaining salvation; they are false leaders and antichrists. They can take control of your life and the path you walk, and they can ruin your chance to be granted salvation. If you fail to discern them and see through them, then at any moment, you could be deceived and captured. Thus, you are in great danger. If you cannot extricate yourself from this danger, you are Satan’s sacrificial victim.

—The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Three: They Exclude and Attack Those Who Pursue the Truth

If people wish to be saved when they believe in God, what’s key is whether or not they have God-fearing hearts, whether or not God has a place in their hearts, whether or not they are able to live before God and maintain a normal relationship with God. What’s crucial is whether or not people are able to practice the truth, and attain obedience to God. Such are the path and conditions for being saved. If your heart is not able to live before God, if you do not often pray to God and fellowship with God, and lose the normal relationship with God, you will never be saved, for you have blockaded the path to salvation. If you do not have any relationship with God, you have reached the end of the line. If God is not in your heart, then it’s useless to claim you have faith, to only nominally believe in God. It doesn’t matter how many words and doctrines you are able to speak, how much you have suffered for your belief in God, or how gifted you are; if God is absent from your heart, and you do not fear God, then it doesn’t matter how you believe in God. God will say, “Depart from Me, you evildoer.” You will be classed as an evildoer. You will be unconnected to God; He will not be your Lord or your God. Even though you acknowledge that God rules over all, and acknowledge that He is the Creator, you do not worship Him, and do not submit to His sovereignty. You follow Satan and devils; only Satan and devils are your lord. If, in all things, you trust in yourself, and follow your own will, if you trust that your fate is in your own hands, then what you believe in is yourself. Even though you claim to believe in and acknowledge God, God does not acknowledge you. You have no relationship with God, and so you are destined to ultimately be detested and rejected by Him, punished by Him, and cast out by Him; God does not save people like you. People who truly believe in God are those who accept Him as the Savior, who accept that He is the truth, the way, and the life. They are able to sincerely expend themselves for Him and perform the duty of a created being; they experience the work of God, they practice His words and the truth, and they walk the path of pursuing the truth. They are people who obey the sovereignty and arrangements of God, and who follow His will. Only when people have such faith in God can they be saved; if not, they will be condemned. Is it acceptable for people to engage in wishful thinking when they believe in God? In their faith in God, can people gain the truth when they always cling to their own notions and vague, abstract imaginings? Absolutely not. When people believe in God, they must accept the truth, believe in Him as He asks, and obey His orchestrations and arrangements; only then can they attain salvation. There is no other way apart from this—whatever you do, you must not engage in any wishful thinking. Fellowshiping this topic is very important for people, is it not? This is a wake-up call for you.

Now that you have heard these messages, you should understand the truth and be clear about what salvation entails. What people like, what they strive for, what they are passionate about—none of this is important. What’s most important is accepting the truth. In the final analysis, being able to gain the truth is what’s most important, and that which can allow you to attain the fear of God and the shunning of evil is the correct path. If you have believed in God for several years and have always focused on the pursuit of things that bear no relation to the truth, then your faith has nothing to do with the truth, and nothing to do with God. You may claim to believe in and acknowledge God, but God is not your Lord, He is not your God, you do not accept that God controls your fate, you do not submit to all that God arranges for you, you do not acknowledge the fact of God being the truth—in which case your hopes of salvation have been shattered; if you cannot walk the path of pursuing the truth, you walk the path of destruction. If everything you pursue, focus on, pray about, and appeal for is based on the words of God, and upon what God asks, and if you have an increasing sense that you obey the Creator, and worship the Creator, and feel that God is your Lord, your God, if you are increasingly glad to obey all that God orchestrates and arranges for you, and your relationship with God grows ever closer, and ever more normal, and if your love of God is ever more pure and true, then your grievances and misunderstandings about God, and your extravagant desires toward God, will grow ever fewer, and you will have wholly attained the fear of God and shunning of evil, which means that you will have already set foot on the path of salvation.

—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only With Fear of God Can One Tread Upon the Path of Salvation

Related Hymns

Only Those Who Defeat Satan Are Saved

God Will Gain Only Those Who Utterly Overcome Satan

Man Is Saved When They Cast Off Satan’s Influence

Previous: 27. The difference between good behavior and dispositional change

Next: 29. What an honest person is and why God requires people to be honest

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Question 5: Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God….” This shows that everything in the Bible is the word of God. But there are actually people who say that not everything in the Bible is the word of God. Isn’t this denying the Bible and deceiving people?

Almighty God says, “In truth, with the exception of the books of prophecy, the Old Testament is mostly a historical record. Some of the New Testament epistles derive from human experiences, others from the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit; the letters of Paul, for instance, are from human work, and they were all enlightened by the Holy Spirit. These letters, which Paul sent to the churches, offer words of exhortation and encouragement to the brothers and sisters there; they are not the words of the Holy Spirit. Paul could not speak on behalf of the Holy Spirit. He was not a prophet, and moreover he did not see visions. These letters were written to the churches of that time in Ephesus, Philadelphia, Galatia, and other places.”

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