2. What are the essential differences between being saved and attaining full salvation?
Bible Verses for Reference:
Relevant Words of God:
Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering; He did not rid man of his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to become the sin offering and bear the sins of man, but it also required God to do even greater work to rid man completely of his satanically corrupted disposition. And so, now that man has been forgiven of his sins, God has returned to the flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment. This work has brought man into a higher realm. All those who submit under His dominion shall enjoy higher truth and receive greater blessings. They shall truly live in the light, and they shall gain the truth, the way, and the life.
Excerpted from Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh
The first incarnation was to redeem man from sin, to redeem him by means of the fleshly body of Jesus, that is, He saved man from the cross, but the corrupt satanic disposition still remained within man. The second incarnation is no longer to serve as a sin offering but rather to save fully those who were redeemed from sin. This is done so that those who have been forgiven may be delivered from their sins and made fully clean, and by attaining a changed disposition, break free of Satan’s influence of darkness and return before the throne of God. Only in this way can man be fully sanctified.
Excerpted from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Some people always think: “Isn’t believing in God simply a matter of attending meetings, singing songs, listening to the word of God, praying, and fulfilling some duties? Isn’t that what it’s all about?” No matter how long you have believed in God, you still have not gained a thorough understanding of the significance of belief in God. In fact, the significance of belief in God is so profound that people are unable to fathom it. In the end, the things within people that are of Satan and the things of their nature must change and must become compatible with the requirements of the truth; only in this way can one truly attain salvation. If, as you used to when you were within the religion, you just spout some words of doctrine or shout out slogans, and then do a few good deeds, exhibit a bit more good behavior and refrain from committing some sins, some obvious sins, this still does not mean that you have set foot upon the right track of believing in God. Does being able to abide by the rules indicate that you are walking the correct path? Does it mean that you have chosen correctly? If the things within your nature have not changed, and in the end you are still resisting and offending God, then this is your biggest problem. If, in your belief in God, you do not resolve this problem, then can you be considered to have been saved? What do I mean by saying this? I mean to make you all understand in your hearts that a belief in God cannot be separated from God’s words, from God, or from the truth. You must choose your path well, put effort into the truth, and put effort into God’s words. Do not just gain half-baked knowledge or obtain more or less of an understanding and then think you are done; if you fool yourself, you will only hurt yourself. People should not deviate in their belief in God; in the end, if they do not have God in their hearts and they merely hold up a book and glance at it fleetingly, yet do not leave room for God in their hearts, then they are finished. What is the meaning of the words, “Man’s belief in God cannot be separated from God’s words”? Do you understand? Do they contradict the words, “A belief in God cannot be separated from God”? How can you have God in your heart if God’s words are not within your heart? If you believe in God, but your heart harbors neither God, nor His words, nor His guidance, then you are utterly finished.
Excerpted from “Those Who Have Lost the Work of the Holy Spirit Are Most at Risk” in Records of Christ’s Talks
The significance of belief in God is to be saved, so what does being saved mean? “Being saved,” “breaking away from the dark influence of Satan”—people talk about these topics often, but they don’t know what being saved means. Does being saved mean breaking away from corrupt dispositions? Does being saved mean not telling lies? Does being saved mean being an honest person, and not rebelling against God? What exactly will man be like when they are saved? This relates to God’s will. To be saved, speaking in the vernacular, means you can keep on living, and that you are brought back to life. So before that, you can speak, you can breathe, are you dead? (The spirit is dead.) Why is it said that people are dead if their spirit is dead? What is the basis for this saying? Before being saved, where are they? (Under the domain of Satan.) People live under Satan’s influence. What do they rely on to live? They rely on their satanic nature and corrupt nature to live. When a person lives by their corrupt satanic nature, their whole being—their flesh, and all other aspects such as their soul and their thought—are they alive or dead? From God’s point of view, they are dead. On the surface, you appear to be breathing, blinking your eyes, and thinking, but what are all your thoughts of? Everything you are constantly thinking about is evil; you think about things that are in defiance of God and in rebellion against God, things that God detests, hates, and condemns. In God’s eyes, all these things not only belong to the flesh, but also entirely belong to Satan and to devils. So what are people in God’s eyes? Are they humans? God sees them as devils, as animals, and as Satans, living Satans! People live by the things and the essence of Satan, and in God’s eyes, they are living Satans wearing human flesh. God defines such people as walking corpses; as dead people. God does His current work of salvation to take such people—these walking corpses who live by their corrupt satanic disposition and by their corrupt satanic essence—He takes these so-called dead people and turns them into the living. This is what it means to be saved.
The point of believing in God is to attain salvation. What does being saved mean? It means that you turn from a dead person into a living person. The implication of this is that your breath is revived, and you are alive; you open your eyes, you are able to know God, and you are able to bow down to worship Him. In your heart you have no further resistance against God; you no longer defy Him, attack Him, or rebel against Him. Only people like these are genuinely alive in God’s eyes. If someone just says they acknowledge God and believes in their hearts that there is a God, are they then one of the living or not? (No, they aren’t.) So what kind of people are the living? What sort of reality do the living possess? Those who are saved in the end become the living. The living can speak, so what is it that they say? The living have their thinking, thoughts and ideas, but what things do they think about? And what things do they do? What is the nature of what they do and say? It is that everything they reveal, everything they think, and everything they do is done with the nature of fearing God and shunning evil. To put it more aptly, your every deed and every thought are not condemned by God or detested and rejected by God; rather, they are approved and commended by God. This is what the living do, and is also what the living should do.
Excerpted from “Only Being Truly Obedient Is a Real Belief” in Records of Christ’s Talks
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 domain 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.
Excerpted from “Are You Someone Who Has Come to Life?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Regardless of what God does or the means by which He does it, regardless of the cost, or His objective, the purpose of His actions does not change. His purpose is to work into man God’s words, God’s requirements, and God’s 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 substance, and allowing him to obey God’s sovereignty and arrangements, and thus allowing man to attain the fear of God and shunning of evil—all of which is one aspect of God’s purpose in all He does. The other aspect is that, because Satan is the foil and serving object in God’s work, man is often given to Satan; this is the means God uses to allow people to see the wickedness, ugliness, and contemptibility of Satan amid Satan’s temptations and attacks, 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 from Satan’s accusations, interference, 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 of Satan, and triumph over the accusations of Satan; only then will they have been completely delivered from the domain of Satan. People’s deliverance means that Satan has been defeated, it means that they are no longer the food in Satan’s mouth—that 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. Which 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.
Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh