3. How to experience God’s judgment and chastisement
Words of Almighty God of the Last Days
Man’s entire life is lived under the power of Satan, and there is not a single person who can free themselves from the influence of Satan on their own. All live in a filthy world, in corruption and emptiness, without the slightest meaning or value; they live such carefree lives for the flesh, for lust, and for Satan. There is not the slightest value to their existence. Man is incapable of finding the truth that will free him from the influence of Satan. Even though man believes in God and reads the Bible, he does not understand how to free himself of the control of Satan’s influence. Throughout the ages, very few people have discovered this secret, very few have grasped it. As such, even though man detests Satan, and detests the flesh, he does not know how to rid himself of the ensnaring influence of Satan. Today, are you not still under the power of Satan? You do not regret your disobedient acts, and much less do you feel that you are filthy and disobedient. After opposing God, you even have peace of mind and feel great tranquility. Is your tranquility not because you are corrupt? Does this peace of mind not come from your disobedience? Man lives in a human hell, he lives under the dark influence of Satan; across the land, ghosts live together with man, encroaching upon the flesh of man. On earth, you do not live in a beautiful paradise. The place where you are is the realm of the devil, a human hell, a netherworld. If man is not cleansed, then he is of the filth; if he is not protected and cared for by God, then he is still a captive of Satan; if he is not judged and chastised, then he will have no means of escaping the oppression of the dark influence of Satan. The corrupt disposition that you show forth and the disobedient behavior that you live out are sufficient to prove that you are still living under the power of Satan. If your mind and thoughts have not been cleansed, and your disposition has not been judged and chastised, then your entire being is still controlled by the power of Satan, your mind is controlled by Satan, your thoughts are manipulated by Satan, and your entire being is controlled by the hands of Satan. … If you wish to be made perfect, then you must understand God’s work. In particular, you must understand the significance of His chastisement and judgment, and why this work is carried out upon man. Are you able to accept? During chastisement of this kind, are you able to achieve the same experiences and knowledge as Peter? If you pursue knowledge of God and of the work of the Holy Spirit, and if you pursue changes in your disposition, then you have the opportunity to be made perfect.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment
Today God judges you, chastises you, and condemns you, but you must know that the point of your condemnation is for you to know yourself. He condemns, curses, judges, and chastises so that you might know yourself, so that your disposition might change, and, moreover, so that you might know your worth, and see that all of God’s actions are righteous and in accordance with His disposition and the requirements of His work, that He works in accordance with His plan for man’s salvation, and that He is the righteous God who loves, saves, judges, and chastises man. If you only know that you are of lowly status, that you are corrupt and disobedient, but do not know that God wishes to make plain His salvation through the judgment and chastisement that He does in you today, then you have no way of gaining experience, much less are you capable of continuing forward. God has not come to kill or destroy, but to judge, curse, chastise, and save. Until His 6,000-year management plan comes to a close—before He reveals the outcome of each category of man—God’s work on earth will be for the sake of salvation; its purpose is purely to make those who love Him complete—thoroughly so—and to bring them into submission under His dominion. No matter how God saves people, it is all done by making them break away from their old satanic nature; that is, He saves them by having them seek life. If they do not do so, then they will have no way to accept God’s salvation. Salvation is the work of God Himself, and the seeking for life is something that man must take on in order to accept salvation. In the eyes of man, salvation is the love of God, and the love of God cannot be chastisement, judgment, and curses; salvation must contain love, compassion, and, moreover, words of solace, as well as boundless blessings bestowed by God. People believe that when God saves man, He does so by moving them with His blessings and grace, so that they can give their hearts to God. That is to say, His touching man is His saving them. This sort of salvation is done by striking a deal. Only when God grants them a hundredfold will man come to submit before God’s name and strive to do well for Him and bring Him glory. This is not what God intends for mankind. God has come to work on earth in order to save corrupt mankind; there is no falsehood in this. If there were, He would certainly not have come to do His work in person. In the past, His means of salvation involved showing the utmost love and compassion, such that He gave His all to Satan in exchange for the whole of mankind. The present is nothing like the past: The salvation bestowed upon you today occurs at the time of the last days, during the classification of each according to kind; the means of your salvation is not love or compassion, but chastisement and judgment, in order that man may be more thoroughly saved. Thus, all that you receive is chastisement, judgment, and merciless smiting, but know this: In this heartless smiting there is not the slightest punishment. Regardless of how harsh My words might be, what befall you are but a few words that might appear utterly heartless to you, and no matter how angry I might be, what rain upon you are still words of teaching, and I do not mean to harm you or put you to death. Is this not all fact? Know that nowadays, whether it be righteous judgment or heartless refinement and chastisement, everything is for the sake of salvation. Regardless of whether today each is classified according to kind or the categories of man are laid bare, the purpose of all of God’s words and work is to save those who truly love God. Righteous judgment is brought to purify man, and heartless refinement is done to cleanse them; harsh words or chastening are both done to purify and are for the sake of salvation.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. You Should Put Aside the Blessings of Status and Understand God’s Will to Bring Salvation to Man
If you wish to be cleansed of corruption and undergo a change in your life disposition, then you must have a love for the truth and the ability to accept the truth. What does it mean to accept the truth? Accepting the truth means that no matter what sort of corrupt disposition you have, or which of the great red dragon’s poisons—Satan’s poisons—are in your nature, when God’s words reveal these things, you should admit to them and submit, you can’t make a different choice, and you should know yourself according to God’s words. This means being able to accept God’s words and accept the truth. No matter what God says, no matter how severe His utterances are, and no matter what words He uses, you can accept them as long as what He says is the truth, and you can acknowledge them as long as they conform to reality. You can submit to God’s words regardless of how deeply you understand them, and you accept and submit to the light that is revealed by the Holy Spirit and fellowshiped by your brothers and sisters. When such a person has pursued the truth to a certain point, they can obtain the truth and achieve a transformation of their disposition. Even if people who don’t love the truth have a bit of humanity, can do some good deeds, and can forsake and expend for God, they are confused about the truth and don’t treat it seriously, so their life disposition never changes.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. How to Know Man’s Nature
As you experience God’s work, you must first accept the words of His that reveal man’s nature essence. If you are able to clearly see people’s corrupt disposition and the truth of their corruption, and if you truly come to know yourself, then is this not the way forward for you to attain salvation? The way you approach God’s words which judge and expose man is crucial. First of all, you must ponder and understand the words of God which reveal man’s nature; if you are able to clearly see that what God’s words have revealed is totally in accordance with your real state, then you will reap the harvest. Some people, when they finish reading God’s words, always compare them against others; they always think that they are aimed at others, and that the words God has spoken have nothing to do with them, no matter how stern they might be. This is troublesome—this kind of person does not accept the truth. Then how should you approach God’s words? Every time you read any of God’s words, you should compare them against yourself, cross-reference them to your own state, to your own thoughts and viewpoints, and cross-reference them to your own behavior. If you are truly comparable to them and seek the truth to resolve your own problems, then in this way, you will reap the harvest. You should then use the reality of the truth you understand to go and help others; help them understand the truth and resolve problems, help them come before God, and accept His words and the truth. This shows love for others, and you can reap the harvest from it; it benefits both you and others, a twofold harvest. Acting this way makes you a useful person in the house of God; if you possess such truth reality, then you are able to testify for God. Do you not then win God’s acceptance? You should use the same methods to accept and submit to the remainder of the words with which God has exposed people, and then dissect yourself and come to know yourself. Do you know how to compare yourselves in this way? (A little bit.) If God said that you were Satan, that you were a devil, that you have a corrupt disposition, and that you resist Him, then you might be able to compare these larger things against yourself; but when His words touch on certain other states and outpourings to ascertain what kind of person you are, you are unable to compare them against yourself, and you cannot accept them—this is very troublesome. What does this mean? (It means we do not truly know ourselves.) You do not truly know yourself, and you do not accept the truth, isn’t that the case? (It is.) People need to slowly come to understand the words God uses to expose people, like “maggots,” “filthy demon,” “not worth a cent,” “trash,” and “good for nothing.” Is God’s objective in exposing people to condemn them? (No.) Then what is it? (To have people know themselves, and to cast off their corruption.) That’s right. God’s objective in exposing these things is to allow you to know yourself, to obtain the truth in the process, and to understand His will. If God exposes you as a maggot, as a lowly person, as good for nothing, how should you practice? You might say, “God says I am a maggot, so I’ll be a maggot. God says I am good for nothing, so I’ll be good for nothing. God says I am not worth a single cent, so I’ll be a worthless piece of trash. God says I am a filthy demon, that I am Satan, so I’ll be a filthy demon, I’ll be Satan.” Is this the way to obtain the truth? (No.) God’s objective in saying these words, His ultimate objective in all His judgment, chastisement, and exposure, is to allow people to understand His will, to step onto the path of practicing the truth, knowing God, and submitting to Him. If people always misunderstand God as they walk this path, if they are often unable to fully accept His judgment and chastisement, and if their rebelliousness is too great, then what can they do? You must often come before God, accept His scrutiny, allow Him to lead you through repeated trials and refinement, and allow Him to arrange circumstances to cleanse you. People’s corruption is so deep, they need God to cleanse them! If people do not have the will to do this, if they always indulge in comforts, if they are always muddleheaded, and if they do not seek the truth at all, then their hope of obtaining the truth is very slim. There are many practical manifestations of God searching the depths of people’s hearts, which can be seen from the many things in people’s corrupt dispositions which God exposes. Only God can see the things within man’s nature essence. So, if you do not listen to God’s words, do not live the way God has told you to, and do not believe in Him or do your duty in the way He has told you to, then you have no way to embark upon the path of satisfying God’s will; you have no way to embark upon the right track of belief in God, and it is very difficult for you to attain salvation.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Six Indicators of Life Growth
When accepting the judgment of God’s words, don’t be afraid of suffering or pain, and moreover, don’t be afraid that God’s words will pierce your hearts and expose your ugly states. It is so beneficial to suffer these things. If you believe in God, you should read more of God’s words judging and chastising people, especially those that reveal the essence of humankind’s corruption. You should compare them to your practical state more, and you should connect them to yourself more and others less. The types of states God reveals exist in every person, and they can all be found in you. If you don’t believe this, try experiencing it. The more you experience, the more you will know yourself, and the more you will feel that God’s words are very accurate. After reading God’s words, some people are incapable of connecting them to themselves; they think that parts of these words are not about them, but are instead about other people. For example, when God exposes people as jezebels and whores, some sisters feel that because they have been unerringly faithful to their husbands, such words must not be in reference to them; some sisters feel that since they are unmarried and have never had sex, such words must not be about them, either. Some brothers feel that these words are only aimed at women, and have nothing to do with them; some people believe that God’s words of revelation are too severe, that they do not conform to reality, so they refuse to accept them. There are even people who say that in some instances, God’s words are inaccurate. Is this the right attitude to have toward God’s words? It is obviously wrong. People all view themselves based on their external behaviors. They are incapable of reflecting upon themselves, and coming to know their corrupt essence, amid the words of God. Here, “jezebels” and “whores” refer to the essence of the corruption, filthiness, and promiscuity of mankind. Whether man or woman, married or not married, everyone has corrupt thoughts of promiscuity—so how can it have nothing to do with you? God’s words expose people’s corrupt dispositions; whether male or female, one’s level of corruption is the same. Is this not a fact? We have to first realize that everything God says is the truth, and in line with the facts, and that no matter how severe His words that judge and expose people are, or how gentle His words of fellowshiping the truth or exhorting people are, whether His words are judgment or blessings, whether they are condemnations or curses, whether they give people a bitter feeling or a sweet one, people must accept them all. Such is the attitude people should have toward God’s words. What sort of attitude is this? Is it a devout attitude, a pious attitude, a patient attitude, or an attitude of embracing suffering? You are somewhat confused. I tell you that it is not any of these. In their faith, people must firmly maintain that God’s words are the truth. Since they are indeed the truth, people should accept them rationally. Whether or not they are able to recognize or admit it, their first attitude toward God’s words should be one of absolute acceptance. If God’s word doesn’t expose you, who does it expose? And if it is not in order to expose you, why are you asked to accept it? Isn’t this a contradiction? God speaks to the whole of mankind, every sentence uttered by God exposes corrupt mankind, and no one is exempt—which naturally includes you, too. Not a single one of the lines of God’s utterances is about external appearances, or a kind of state, much less about an external rule or a simple form of behavior in people. They are not like that. If you think every line uttered by God is just revealing a simple kind of human behavior or external appearance, then you have no spiritual understanding and you do not understand what the truth is. God’s words are the truth. People can sense the profundity of God’s words. How are they profound? God’s every word exposes people’s corrupt dispositions, and essential and deep-rooted things within their lives. They are essential things, not external appearances, and particularly not external behaviors. Viewing people from their external appearances, they might all seem to be good people. But why, then, does God say that some people are evil spirits and some are unclean spirits? This is a matter that is not visible to you. So, one must not treat God’s words in light of human notions or imaginings, or in light of human hearsay, and certainly not in light of the ruling party’s statements. God’s words alone are the truth; man’s words are all fallacy. After being fellowshiped to thusly, have you experienced a change in your attitude toward God’s words? No matter how great or small the change, the next time you read God’s words judging and revealing people, you at least should not try to reason with God. You should stop complaining about God, saying, “God’s words of revelation and judgment are really severe; I’m not going to read this page. I’ll just skip over it. Let me search for something to read about blessings and promises, so as to find some comfort.” You should no longer read the word of God by picking and choosing according to your own inclinations. You must accept the truth and the judgment and chastisement of God’s words; only then can your corrupt disposition be cleansed, and only then can you attain salvation.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Importance of Pursuing the Truth and the Path of Its Pursuit
Those who truly believe in God will put effort into practicing and experiencing His words, will self-reflect and try to know themselves when their corrupt disposition is revealed, and will seek the truth of God’s words to resolve this corrupt disposition. Those who love the truth focus on self-reflection and trying to know themselves in their reading of God’s words, and they feel that His words are just like a mirror that reveals their own corruption and ugliness. This way, through God’s words they come to accept His judgment and chastisement, and they gradually resolve their corrupt disposition. When they see that their corrupt disposition is revealed less, when they truly submit to God, they will feel that practicing the truth is much easier, and there are no more difficulties. At this time, they will see a true change in themselves, and true praise for God will develop in their heart: “Almighty God has saved me from the bondage and constraints of my corrupt disposition and saved me from Satan’s influence.” This is the result that is achieved from experiencing the judgment and chastisement in God’s words. If people cannot experience the judgment and chastisement in God’s words, they cannot be cleansed of their corrupt dispositions or break away from Satan’s influence. There are many people who do not love the truth, and even though they read God’s words and listen to sermons, afterward they speak only words and doctrines, and as a result they do not resolve any of their corrupt dispositions despite believing in God for many years. These people are still the same old Satans and devils that they always have been. They thought that as long as they spread God’s words, as long as they recited a few of God’s words and fellowshiped with others on His words, as long as they could speak many words and doctrines, and as long as they could understand doctrine and learn self-control, they would resolve their corrupt dispositions. As a result, after believing in God for many years there is still no change at all in their life dispositions, they cannot speak about experiential testimony and so they are dumbfounded. After many years of believing in God they are empty-handed and have not gained any truth, having lived in vain and wasted time for all these years.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three
When reading God’s words, Peter was not focused on understanding doctrines, much less was he focused on obtaining theological knowledge. Instead, he concentrated on comprehending the truth and grasping God’s will, as well as achieving an understanding of God’s disposition and loveliness. Peter also attempted to understand the various corrupt states of man from God’s words, as well as man’s nature essence, and actual shortcomings, thereby easily meeting God’s requirements in order to satisfy Him. Peter had so many correct practices that abided by the words of God. This was most in line with God’s will, and it was the best way a person could cooperate while experiencing God’s work. When experiencing the hundreds of trials sent by God, Peter examined himself strictly against every word of God’s judgment and revelation of man, and every word of His demands of man, and strived to accurately fathom the meaning of those words. He tried in earnest to ponder and memorize every word that Jesus said to him, and he achieved very good results. By practicing in this way, he was able to achieve an understanding of himself from God’s words, and he not only came to understand the various corrupt states and shortcomings of man, but he also came to understand man’s essence and nature. This is what it means to truly understand oneself. From God’s words, Peter not only achieved a true understanding of himself, but he also saw God’s righteous disposition, what God has and is, God’s will for His work, and God’s demands of mankind. From these words he truly came to know God. He came to know God’s disposition and His essence; he came to know and understand what God has and is, as well as God’s loveliness and God’s demands for man. Although God did not speak back then as much as He does today, results in these aspects were nevertheless achieved in Peter. This was a rare and precious thing. Peter went through hundreds of trials, but he did not suffer in vain. He not only came to understand himself from the words and the work of God, but he also came to know God. In addition, he focused with particular attention on God’s requirements of mankind contained within His words. In whichever aspects man should satisfy God to be in line with God’s will, Peter was able to put forth great effort in these aspects and achieve full clarity. This was extremely beneficial with regard to his life entry. No matter what God spoke of, so long as those words were able to become life and were the truth, Peter was able to carve them into his heart to ponder and appreciate them frequently. Having heard the words of Jesus, he was able to take them to heart, which shows that he was especially focused on God’s words, and he truly achieved results in the end. That is, he was able to freely put the words of God into practice, accurately practice the truth and be in line with God’s will, act entirely in accordance with God’s intention, and give up his own personal opinions and imaginings. In this way, Peter entered into the reality of God’s words.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. How to Walk the Path of Peter
To experience God's work, you must experience His judgment and chastisement, His pruning and dealing, and trials and refinement. All God’s requirements must be practiced, entered into, and attained. This is called experiencing God’s work. To experience it you must establish a normal relationship with Him, always praying to and seeking from Him with a God-obeying heart. No matter what happens or what difficulties you face, you must rely on and look up to God, finding answers and the path in His words, and always praying and fellowshiping with Him. Experiencing God’s work is to be in contact with Him and obey His words and work, pray to and seek from Him when you have problems or difficulties. Once you have a lot of experience in this way, and understand the truth, then you will have learned how to apply God’s words to things that happen. There are many ways to apply God’s words, for example, by praying and seeking when things happen, and thus seeing how God’s words clearly state how people should act, what the principles are, and what God’s will and requirements for people are. When you know all this, and understand God’s intentions, then you will have some knowledge and understanding of God. When faced with trials you should seek, “What does God’s word say about such a great trial? What is the meaning of God testing people? Why does He want to test people?” God’s words say that you are corrupt, always rebellious and disobedient, and that you don’t submit to Him, but constantly have imaginings and notions, and that God wants to cleanse you through trials. No matter what you experience, whether persecution and trials, or being pruned and dealt with, disciplined and punished, and no matter what environment God lays out for you or what method He uses, you must always look for the answer and basis in God’s words, and seek His will and requirements of you. That is to say, no matter what happens, you must first think what God has said, how He wants people to practice, what His requirements of people are, and what His will is. Understand these things, and you’ll know how to experience God’s work.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. How to Know God’s Sovereignty
In the course of experiencing the work of God, no matter how many times you have failed, fallen down, been pruned, dealt with, or exposed, these are not bad things. Regardless of how you have been pruned or dealt with, or whether it is by leaders, workers, or your brothers or sisters, these are all good things. You must remember this: No matter how much you suffer, you are actually benefiting. Anyone with experience can attest to this. No matter what, being pruned, dealt with, or exposed is always a good thing. It is not a condemnation. It is God’s salvation and the best opportunity for you to get to know yourself. It can bring your life experience a change of gears. Without it, you will possess neither the opportunity, the condition, nor the context to be able to reach an understanding of the truth of your corruption. If you truly understand the truth, and are able to unearth the corrupt things hidden in the depths of your heart, if you can clearly distinguish them, then this is good, this has solved a major problem of life entry, and is of great benefit to changes in disposition. Becoming able to truly know yourself is the best opportunity for you to mend your ways and become a new person; it is the best opportunity for you to obtain new life. Once you truly know yourself, you will be able to see that when the truth becomes one’s life, it is a precious thing indeed, and you will thirst for the truth, practice the truth, and enter into reality. This is such a great thing! If you can grab this opportunity and earnestly reflect upon yourself and gain a genuine knowledge of yourself whenever you fail or fall down, then in the midst of negativity and weakness, you will be able to stand back up. Once you have crossed this threshold, you will then be able to take a big step forward and enter the truth reality.
If you believe in God’s sovereignty, then you have to believe that everyday occurrences, be they good or bad, do not happen at random. It is not that someone is deliberately being hard on you or targeting you; this was all arranged and orchestrated by God. Why does God orchestrate all these things? It is not to reveal you for who you are or to expose you and cast you out; exposing you is not the end goal. The goal is to perfect you and save you. How does God perfect you? And how does He save you? He starts by making you aware of your own corrupt disposition, and by making you know your nature essence, your shortcomings, and what you lack. Only by knowing these things and having a clear understanding of them can you pursue the truth and gradually cast off your corrupt disposition. This is God providing you with an opportunity. This is God’s compassion. You have to know how to seize this opportunity. You should not oppose God, butt heads with God, or misunderstand Him. In particular, when faced with the people, matters, and things that God arranges around you, do not constantly feel that things are not as you wish them to be; do not constantly wish to escape them or always blame and misunderstand God. If you are constantly doing those things, then you are not experiencing God’s work, and that will make it very difficult for you to enter the truth reality. Whatever you encounter that you cannot fully understand, when a difficulty arises, you must learn to submit. You should begin by coming before God and praying more. That way, before you know it, a shift will occur in your internal state, and you will be able to seek the truth to resolve your problem. As such, you will be able to experience God’s work. As this happens, the truth reality will be wrought within you, and this is how you will progress and undergo a transformation of the state of your life. Once you have undergone this change and possess this truth reality, you will also possess stature, and with stature comes life. If someone always lives based on a corrupt satanic disposition, then no matter how much enthusiasm or energy they have, they still cannot be considered to possess stature, or life. God works in every single person, and no matter what His method is, what kind of people, matters, and things He makes use of in His service, or what kind of tone His words have, He only has one end goal: saving you. And how does He save you? He changes you. So how could you not suffer a bit? You are going to have to suffer. This suffering can involve many things. First, people must suffer when they accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s words. When God’s words are too severe and explicit and people misinterpret God—and even have notions—that can be painful, too. Sometimes God raises up an environment around people to expose their corruption, to make them reflect on and know themselves, and they will suffer a little then, too. Sometimes, when they are directly pruned, dealt with, and exposed, people must suffer. It is as if they are undergoing surgery—if there is no suffering, there is no effect. If every time you are pruned and dealt with, and every time you are laid bare by an environment, it arouses your feelings and gives you a boost, then through this process you will enter the truth reality, and will have stature. If, every time you are subjected to being pruned and dealt with, and to being exposed by an environment, you feel no pain or discomfort whatsoever, and feel nothing at all, and if you do not come before God to seek His will, neither praying nor seeking the truth, then you really are so numb! God does not work in you when your spirit feels nothing, when it does not react. He will say, “This person is overly numb, and has been corrupted too deeply. No matter how I discipline him, deal with him, or try to keep him in check, I still cannot move his heart or awaken his spirit. This person will be in trouble; he is not easy to save.” If God arranges certain environments, people, matters, and things for you, if He prunes and deals with you and if you learn lessons from this, if you have learned to come before God, learned to seek the truth, and, unknowingly, are enlightened and illuminated and attain the truth, if you have experienced a change in these environments, reaped rewards, and made progress, if you begin to have a little comprehension of God’s will and you cease to complain, then all of this will mean that you have stood firm in the midst of the trials of these environments, and have withstood the test. As such, you will have gotten through this ordeal. How will God regard those who withstand the test? God will say that they have a true heart and can endure this kind of suffering, and that, deep down, they love the truth and want to gain the truth. If God has this kind of assessment of you, are you not then someone with stature? Do you not then have life? And how is this life attained? Is it bestowed by God? God supplies you in various ways and uses various people, things, and objects to train you. This is as if God is personally giving you food and drink, personally delivering various foodstuffs before you for you to eat your fill and enjoy; only then can you grow and stand strong. This is how you must experience and comprehend these things; this is how to submit to everything that comes from God. This is the sort of mindset and attitude you must possess, and you must learn to seek the truth. You should not be constantly looking for external causes or blaming others for your troubles or finding faults with people; you must have a clear understanding of God’s will. From the outside, some people might seem to have opinions about you or prejudices against you, but you should not see things that way. If you see things from this kind of standpoint, the only thing you will do is make excuses, and you will not be able to attain anything. You should see things objectively and accept everything from God. When you view things in this way, it will be easy for you to obey the work of God, and you will be able to seek the truth, and grasp the will of God. Once your viewpoint and state of mind are rectified, you will be able to attain the truth. So, why do you not just do it? Why do you resist? If you stopped resisting, you would gain the truth. If you resist, you will not gain anything, and you will also hurt God’s feelings and disappoint Him. Why will God be disappointed? Because you do not accept the truth, you have no hope of salvation, and God is not able to gain you, so how could He not be disappointed? When you do not accept the truth, this is tantamount to pushing away food that has been personally offered to you by God. You say that you are not hungry and that you do not need it; God tries again and again to encourage you to eat, but you still do not want it. You would rather go hungry. You think that you are satiated, when actually, you have absolutely nothing. People like this are so lacking in sense, and so self-righteous; truly, they don’t know a good thing when they see it, they are the most impoverished and pitiful of people.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. To Gain the Truth, One Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Nearby
People’s corrupt disposition is hidden in the intentions behind their speech and actions, in their outlook on things, in their every thought and idea, and in their views, understanding, notions, outlook, wishes, and demands regarding the truth, God, and God’s work. It pours out from people’s words and acts without their knowing it. How, then, does God treat these things inside people? He arranges various environments to expose you. He will not only expose you, but He will also judge you. When you reveal your corrupt disposition, when you have thoughts and ideas that defy God, when you have states and viewpoints that contend with God, when you have states whereby you misunderstand God, or resist and oppose Him, God will rebuke you, judge you, and chastise you, and He will sometimes even discipline you and punish you. What is the aim of disciplining and rebuking you? (To have us repent and change.) Yes, it is meant to have you repent. What is achieved by disciplining and rebuking you is that it allows you to turn your course around. It is to make you understand that your thoughts are the notions of man, and that they are wrong; your motivations are born of Satan, they originate from human will, they are not in line with the truth, they are incompatible with God, they cannot fulfill God’s intentions, they are disgusting and hateful to God, they incite His wrath, and even arouse His curse. After realizing this, you have to change your motivations and attitude. And how are they changed? First of all, you must submit to the way God treats you, and submit to the environments and people, matters, and things that He sets out for you. Do not pick holes, do not give objective excuses, and do not shirk your responsibilities. Secondly, seek the truth that people should practice and enter into when God does what He does. God asks that you understand these things. He wants you to recognize your corrupt dispositions and satanic essence, for you to be able to submit to the environments He arranges for you and, ultimately, for you to be able to practice in accordance with His will and His requirements for you. Then you will have passed the test.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only With True Obedience Can One Have Real Trust
In his belief in God, Peter sought to satisfy God in everything, and sought to obey all that came from God. Without the slightest complaint, he was able to accept chastisement and judgment, as well as refinement, tribulation and going without in his life, none of which could alter his God-loving heart. Was this not the ultimate love for God? Was this not the fulfillment of the duty of a creature of God? Whether in chastisement, judgment, or tribulation, you are always capable of achieving obedience unto death, and this is what should be achieved by a creature of God, this is the purity of the love for God. If man can achieve this much, then he is a qualified creature of God, and there is nothing which better satisfies the desire of the Creator. Imagine that you are able to work for God, yet you do not obey God, and are incapable of truly loving God. In this way, not only will you not have fulfilled the duty of a creature of God, but you will also be condemned by God, for you are someone who does not possess the truth, who is incapable of obeying God, and who is disobedient to God. You only care about working for God, and do not care about putting the truth into practice or knowing yourself. You do not understand or know the Creator, and do not obey or love the Creator. You are someone who is innately disobedient to God, and so such people are not beloved by the Creator.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks
When he was being chastised by God, Peter prayed, “O God! My flesh is disobedient, and You chastise me and judge me. I rejoice in Your chastisement and judgment, and even if You do not want me, in Your judgment I behold Your holy and righteous disposition. When You judge me, so that others may behold Your righteous disposition in Your judgment, I feel content. If it can express Your disposition and allow Your righteous disposition to be seen by all creatures, and if it can make my love for You more pure, that I can attain the likeness of one who is righteous, then Your judgment is good, for such is Your gracious will. I know that there is still much in me that is rebellious, and that I am still not fit to come before You. I wish for You to judge me even more, whether through a hostile environment or great tribulations; no matter what You do, to me it is precious. Your love is so profound, and I am willing to lay myself at Your mercy without the slightest complaint.” This is Peter’s knowledge after he experienced the work of God, and it is also a testimony to his love of God. Today, you have already been conquered—but how is this conquest expressed in you? Some people say, “My conquest is the supreme grace and exaltation of God. Only now do I realize that the life of man is hollow and without significance. Man spends his life rushing about, producing and raising generation after generation of children, and is ultimately left with nothing. Today, only after being conquered by God have I seen that there is no value to living in this way; it really is a meaningless life. I may as well die and be done with it!” Can such people who have been conquered be gained by God? Can they become specimens and models? Such people are a lesson in passiveness; they have no aspirations, and do not strive to improve themselves. Even though they count as having been conquered, such passive people are incapable of being made perfect. Near the end of his life, after he had been made perfect, Peter said, “O God! If I were to live a few more years, I would wish to achieve a purer and deeper love of You.” When he was about to be nailed to the cross, in his heart he prayed, “O God! Your time has now arrived; the time You prepared for me has arrived. I must be crucified for You, I must bear this testimony to You, and I hope that my love can satisfy Your requirements, and that it can become purer. Today, to be able to die for You, and be nailed to the cross for You, is comforting and reassuring to me, for nothing is more gratifying to me than to be able to be crucified for You and satisfy Your wishes, and to be able to give myself to You, to offer up my life to You. O God! You are so lovely! Were You to allow me to live, I would be even more willing to love You. As long as I am alive, I will love You. I wish to love You more deeply. You judge me, and chastise me, and try me because I am not righteous, because I have sinned. And Your righteous disposition becomes more apparent to me. This is a blessing to me, for I am able to love You more deeply, and I am willing to love You in this way even if You do not love me. I am willing to behold Your righteous disposition, for this makes me more able to live out a life of meaning. I feel that my life now is more meaningful, for I am crucified for Your sake, and it is meaningful to die for You. Yet still I do not feel satisfied, for I know too little of You, I know that I cannot completely fulfill Your wishes, and have repaid You too little. In my life, I have been incapable of returning my entirety to You; I am far from that. As I look back at this moment, I feel so indebted to You, and I have but this moment to make up for all of my mistakes and all the love that I have not repaid You.”
God chastises and judges man because it is required by His work, and, moreover, because it is needed by man. Man needs to be chastised and judged, and only then can he achieve the love of God. Today, you have been utterly convinced, but when you encounter the slightest setback, you are in trouble; your stature is still too small, and you still need to experience more of such chastisement and judgment in order to achieve a deeper knowledge. Today, you more or less have a bit of a God-fearing heart, and you are afraid of God, and you know He is the true God, but you do not have a great love of Him, much less have you achieved a pure love; your knowledge is too superficial, and your stature is still insufficient. When you truly encounter an environment, you still have not borne witness, too little of your entry is proactive, and you have no idea how to practice. Most people are passive and inactive; they only secretly love God in their hearts, but have no way of practice, nor are they clear about what their goals are. Those who have been made perfect not only possess normal humanity, but are possessed of truths that exceed the measures of conscience, that are higher than the standards of conscience; they not only use their conscience to pay back God’s love, but, more than that, they have known God, and have seen that God is lovely, and worthy of man’s love, and that there is so much to love in God; man cannot help but love Him! The love for God of those who have been made perfect is in order to fulfill their own personal aspirations. Theirs is a spontaneous love, a love that asks for nothing in return, and which is not a transaction. They love God because of nothing other than their knowledge of Him. Such people care not whether God bestows graces upon them, and are content with nothing more than to satisfy God. They do not strike bargains with God, nor do they measure their love of God by conscience: “You have given to me, thus I love You in return; if You do not give to me, then I have nothing for You in return.” Those who have been made perfect always believe that: “God is the Creator, and He carries out His work upon us. Since I have this opportunity, condition, and qualification to be made perfect, my pursuit should be to live out a life of meaning, and I should satisfy Him.” It is just like that which was experienced by Peter: When he was at his weakest, he prayed to God and said, “O God! Regardless of the time or place, You know that I always remember You. No matter the time or place, You know that I want to love You, but my stature is too small, I am too weak and powerless, my love is too limited, and my sincerity toward You is too meager. Compared to Your love, I am simply unfit to live. I wish only that my life is not in vain, and that I can not only repay Your love, but, moreover, that I can devote all I have to You. If I can satisfy You, then as a creature, I shall have peace of mind, and will ask for nothing more. Although I am weak and powerless now, I will not forget Your exhortations, and I will not forget Your love. Now I am doing nothing more than repaying Your love. O God, I feel awful! How can I give back the love in my heart to You, how can I do all I can, and be able to fulfill Your wishes, and be able to offer all that I have to You? You know the weakness of man; how can I be worthy of Your love? O God! You know I am of small stature, that my love is too meager. How can I do the best that I can in this kind of environment? I know I should repay Your love, I know that I should give all that I have to You, but today my stature is too small. I ask that You give me strength and confidence, so that I will be more able to possess a pure love to devote to You, and more able to devote all that I have to You; not only will I be able to repay Your love, but I will be more able to experience Your chastisement, judgment and trials, and even more severe curses. You have allowed me to behold Your love, and I am incapable of not loving You, and though I am weak and powerless today, how could I forget You? Your love, chastisement and judgment have all caused me to know You, yet I also feel incapable of fulfilling Your love, for You are so great. How can I devote all that I have to the Creator?” Such was Peter’s request, yet his stature was too inadequate. At this moment, he felt as if a knife were being twisted in his heart. He was in agony; he knew not what to do under such conditions. Yet he still continued to pray: “O God! Man is of childish stature, his conscience is feeble, and the only thing I can achieve is to repay Your love. Today, I know not how to satisfy Your desires, and I only wish to do all I can, give all I have, and devote all I have to You. Regardless of Your judgment, regardless of Your chastisement, regardless of what You bestow upon me, regardless of what You take away from me, make me free from the slightest complaint toward You. Many times, when You chastised me and judged me, I grumbled to myself, and was incapable of achieving purity, or of fulfilling Your wishes. My repayment of Your love was born out of compulsion, and at this moment I hate myself even more.” It was because he sought a purer love of God that Peter prayed in this way. He was seeking, and entreating, and, furthermore, he was recriminating himself, and confessing his sins to God. He felt indebted to God, and felt hatred of himself, yet he was also somewhat sad and passive. He always felt thus, as if he was not good enough for God’s wishes, and unable to do his best. Under such conditions, Peter still pursued the faith of Job. He saw how great had been the faith of Job, for Job had seen that everything he had was bestowed by God, and it was natural for God to take everything from him, that God would give to whomever He wished—such was the righteous disposition of God. Job had no complaints, and could still praise God. Peter also knew himself, and in his heart he prayed, “Today I should not be content with repaying Your love using my conscience and with however much love I give back to You, because my thoughts are too corrupt, and because I am incapable of seeing You as the Creator. Because I am still unfit to love You, I must cultivate the ability to devote all that I have to You, which I would do willingly. I must know all that You have done, and have no choice, and I must behold Your love, and be able to speak Your praises and extol Your holy name, so that You may gain great glory through me. I am willing to stand fast in this testimony to You. O God! Your love is so precious and beautiful; how could I wish to live in the hands of the evil one? Was I not made by You? How could I live under the power of Satan? I would prefer that my entire being live amid Your chastisement. I am unwilling to live under the power of the evil one. If I can be made pure, and can devote my all to You, I am willing to offer up my body and mind to Your judgment and chastisement, for I detest Satan, and am unwilling to live under its power. Through Your judgment of me, You show forth Your righteous disposition; I am happy, and have not the slightest complaint. If I am able to perform the duty of a creature, I am willing that my entire life be accompanied by Your judgment, through which I will come to know Your righteous disposition, and will rid myself of the influence of the evil one.” Peter always prayed thus, always sought thus, and he reached a, relatively speaking, high realm. Not only was he able to repay God’s love, but, more importantly, he also fulfilled his duty as a creature. Not only was he not accused by his conscience, but he was also able to transcend the standards of conscience. His prayers continued to go up before God, such that his aspirations were ever higher, and he possessed more and more of a God-loving heart. Though he suffered agonizing pain, still he did not forget to love God, and still he sought to attain the ability to understand God’s will. In his prayers he uttered the following words: “I have accomplished nothing more than the repayment of Your love. I have not borne testimony to You before Satan, have not freed myself from the influence of Satan, and still live amid the flesh. I wish to use my love to defeat Satan, to shame it, and thus satisfy Your desire. I wish to give my entirety to You, to not give the slightest bit of myself to Satan, for Satan is Your enemy.” The more he sought in this direction, the more he was moved, and the higher his knowledge of these matters. Without realizing it, he came to know that he should free himself of the influence of Satan, and should completely return himself to God. Such was the realm he attained. He was transcending the influence of Satan, and ridding himself of the pleasures and enjoyments of the flesh, and was willing to experience more profoundly both God’s chastisement and His judgment. He said, “Even though I live amid Your chastisement, and amid Your judgment, regardless of the hardship that entails, still I am unwilling to live under the power of Satan, still I am unwilling to suffer Satan’s trickery. I take joy from living amid Your curses, and am pained by living amid the blessings of Satan. I love You by living amid Your judgment, and this brings me great joy. Your chastisement and judgment is righteous and holy; it is in order to cleanse me, and even more, it is to save me. I would prefer to spend my entire life amid Your judgment so that I may be under Your care. I am unwilling to live under Satan’s power for a single moment; I wish to be cleansed by You; even if I suffer hardship, I am unwilling to be exploited and tricked by Satan. I, this creature, should be used by You, possessed by You, judged by You, and chastised by You. I should even be cursed by You. My heart rejoices when You are willing to bless me, for I have seen Your love. You are the Creator, and I am a creature: I should not betray You and live under the power of Satan, nor should I be exploited by Satan. I should be Your horse, or ox, instead of living for Satan. I’d rather live amid Your chastisement, without physical bliss, and this would bring me enjoyment even if I were to lose Your grace. Though Your grace is not with me, I enjoy being chastised and judged by You; this is Your best blessing, Your greatest grace. Though You are always majestic and wrathful toward me, still I am incapable of leaving You, and still I cannot love You enough. I’d prefer to live in Your home, I’d prefer to be cursed, chastised, and smitten by You, and am unwilling to live under the power of Satan, nor am I willing to rush about and busy myself only for the flesh, and much less am I willing to live for the flesh.” Peter’s love was a pure love. This is the experience of being made perfect, and is the highest realm of being made perfect; there is no life that is more meaningful. He accepted God’s chastisement and judgment, he treasured God’s righteous disposition, and nothing about Peter was more precious. He said, “Satan gives me material enjoyments, but I do not treasure them. God’s chastisement and judgment come upon me—in this I am graced, in this I find enjoyment, and in this I am blessed. Were it not for God’s judgment I would never love God, I would still live under the power of Satan, would still be controlled and commanded by it. If that were the case, I would never become a real human being, for I would be incapable of satisfying God, and would not have devoted my entirety to God. Even though God does not bless me, leaving me without comfort inside as if a fire is burning within me, and with no peace or joy, and even though God’s chastisement and discipline is never apart from me, in God’s chastisement and judgment I am able to behold His righteous disposition. I take delight in this; there is no more valuable or meaningful thing in life. Though His protection and care have become ruthless chastisement, judgment, curses and smiting, still I take enjoyment in these things, for they can better cleanse me and change me, can bring me closer to God, can make me more able to love God, and can make my love of God purer. This makes me able to fulfill my duty as a creature, and takes me before God and away from the influence of Satan, so that I no longer serve Satan. When I do not live under the power of Satan, and am able to devote everything I have and all that I can do to God, without holding anything back—that will be when I am fully satisfied. It is God’s chastisement and judgment that have saved me, and my life is inseparable from God’s chastisement and judgment. My life on earth is under the power of Satan, and were it not for the care and protection of God’s chastisement and judgment, I would have always lived under the power of Satan, and, moreover, I would not have had the opportunity or means to live out a life of meaning. Only if God’s chastisement and judgment never leave me will I be able to be cleansed by God. Only with the harsh words and righteous disposition of God, and God’s majestic judgment, have I gained supreme protection and come to live in the light, and gained the blessings of God. To be able to be cleansed, and free myself from Satan, and live under the dominion of God—this is the greatest blessing in my life today.” This is the highest realm experienced by Peter.
This is exactly the state that man must attain after being made perfect. If you cannot achieve this much, then you cannot live out a life of meaning. Man lives amid the flesh, which means he lives in a human hell, and without God’s judgment and chastisement, man is as filthy as Satan. How could man be holy? Peter believed that chastisement and judgment by God were man’s best protection and greatest grace. Only through chastisement and judgment by God could man awaken and hate the flesh, hate Satan. God’s strict discipline frees man from the influence of Satan, frees him from his own little world, and allows him to live in the light of God’s presence. There is no better salvation than chastisement and judgment! Peter prayed, “O God! As long as You chastise and judge me, I will know that You have not left me. Even if You do not give me joy or peace, and make me live in suffering, and inflict countless chastenings on me, as long as You do not leave me, my heart will be at ease. Today, Your chastisement and judgment have become my best protection and my greatest blessing. The grace You give me protects me. The grace You bestow upon me today is a manifestation of Your righteous disposition, and is chastisement and judgment; moreover, it is a trial, and, more than that, it is a life of suffering.” Peter was able to put aside the pleasures of the flesh and seek a deeper love and greater protection, because he had gained so much grace from God’s chastisement and judgment. In his life, if man wishes to be cleansed and achieve changes in his disposition, if he wishes to live out a life of meaning and fulfill his duty as a creature, then he must accept God’s chastisement and judgment, and must not allow God’s discipline and God’s smiting to depart from him, in order that he may free himself from the manipulation and influence of Satan, and live in the light of God. Know that God’s chastisement and judgment is the light, and the light of man’s salvation, and that there is no better blessing, grace or protection for man. Man lives under the influence of Satan, and exists in the flesh; if he is not cleansed and does not receive God’s protection, then man will become ever more depraved. If he wishes to love God, then he must be cleansed and saved. Peter prayed, “God, when You treat me kindly I am delighted, and feel comfort; when You chastise me, I feel even greater comfort and joy. Although I am weak, and endure untold suffering, although there are tears and sadness, You know that this sadness is because of my disobedience, and because of my weakness. I weep because I cannot satisfy Your desires, I feel sorrow and regret because I am insufficient for Your requirements, but I am willing to attain this realm, I am willing to do all I can to satisfy You. Your chastisement has brought me protection, and has given me the best salvation; Your judgment eclipses Your tolerance and patience. Without Your chastisement and judgment, I would not enjoy Your mercy and lovingkindness. Today, I see all the more that Your love has transcended the heavens and excelled above all other things. Your love is not just mercy and lovingkindness; even more than that, it is chastisement and judgment. Your chastisement and judgment have given me so much. Without Your chastisement and judgment, not a single person would be cleansed, and not a single person would be able to experience the love of the Creator. Though I have endured hundreds of trials and tribulations, and have even come close to death, they have allowed me to truly know You and gain supreme salvation. If Your chastisement, judgment and discipline were to depart from me, then I would live in darkness, under the power of Satan. What benefits does the flesh of man have? If Your chastisement and judgment were to leave me, it would be as if Your Spirit had forsaken me, as if You were no longer with me. If that were so, how could I go on living? If You give me sickness and take my freedom, I can continue living, but if Your chastisement and judgment were to ever leave me, I would have no way to go on living. If I were without Your chastisement and judgment, I would have lost Your love, a love that is too deep for me to put into words. Without Your love, I would live under the power of Satan, and would be unable to see Your glorious face. How could I continue living? I could not endure such darkness, such a life. Having You with me is like seeing You, so how could I leave You? I implore You, I beg You not to take my greatest comfort from me, even if it is just a few words of reassurance. I have enjoyed Your love, and today I cannot be away from You; how could I not love You? I have shed many tears of sorrow because of Your love, yet I have always felt that a life such as this is more meaningful, more able to enrich me, more able to change me, and more able to allow me to attain the truth that should be possessed by the creatures.”
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment
Related Movie Extracts
Letting Go of Fame and Status Through God’s Judgment and Chastisement
Related Experiential Testimonies
Judgment Is God’s Love
God’s Judgment Saved Me
God’s Chastisement and Judgment Is the Light of Man’s Salvation
Judgment and Chastisement Reveal God’s Salvation
I Saw God’s Love in Chastisement and Judgment