40. The Principles of Attaining God’s Salvation

(1) It is necessary to accept God’s judgment and chastisement, His pruning and dealing, and His trials and refinement, and to come to know His righteous disposition, thus giving rise to reverence for God in your heart;

(2) It is necessary to be able to accept the truth as you eat and drink of God’s words, and to practice the truth, thus gaining the work of the Holy Spirit, coming to understand the truth and enter reality;

(3) It is necessary to establish a normal relationship with God. Be able to pray to Him and commune with Him in His words, and make Him foremost in your heart, there reigning as King;

(4) Be able to discern false leaders, antichrists, and every sort of heresy and fallacy, and become able to submit and testify to Christ. Only by doing so can one be saved.

Relevant Words of God:

The work of the last days is to speak words. Great changes can be effected in man by means of words. The changes now effected in these people upon their accepting these words are much greater than those effected in people upon their accepting the signs and wonders of the Age of Grace. For, in the Age of Grace, the demons were cast out from man with the laying on of hands and prayer, but the corrupt dispositions within man still remained. Man was healed of his sickness and forgiven his sins, but as for just how man was to be purged of the corrupt satanic dispositions within him, this work had yet to be done. Man was only saved and forgiven his sins for his faith, but the sinful nature of man was not extirpated and still remained within him. The sins of man were forgiven through the agency of the incarnate God, but this did not mean that man no longer had sin within him. The sins of man could be forgiven through the sin offering, but as for just how man can be made to sin no more, and how his sinful nature may be extirpated completely and transformed, he has no way of solving this problem. The sins of man were forgiven, and this is because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live within his corrupt satanic disposition of old. This being so, man must be completely saved from his corrupt satanic disposition, so that his sinful nature may be completely extirpated, never to develop again, thus enabling the disposition of man to be transformed. This would require man to grasp the path of growth in life, to grasp the way of life, and to grasp the way to change his disposition. Furthermore, it would require man to act in accordance with this path, so that his disposition may gradually be changed and he may live under the shining of the light, so that all that he does may be in accord with the will of God, so that he may cast away his corrupt satanic disposition, and so that he may break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation. At the time that Jesus was doing His work, man’s knowledge of Him was still vague and unclear. Man always believed Him to be the son of David, and proclaimed Him to be a great prophet, the benevolent Lord who redeemed man’s sins. Some, on the strength of their faith, were healed just from touching the edge of His garment; the blind could see and even the dead could be restored to life. However, man was unable to discover the corrupt satanic disposition deeply rooted within himself, neither did he know how to cast it away. Man received much grace, such as the peace and happiness of the flesh, the faith of one member bringing blessing on an entire family, the healing of sickness, and so on. The rest were the good deeds of man and his godly appearance; if someone could live on the basis of these, they were considered an acceptable believer. Only believers of this kind could enter heaven after death, which meant that they were saved. But, in their lifetime, these people did not understand at all the way of life. All they did was to commit sins and then confess their sins in a constant cycle without any path to change their disposition: Such was the condition of man in the Age of Grace. Has man received complete salvation? No! Therefore, after that stage of work was finished, there still remained the work of judgment and chastisement. This stage is to make man pure by means of the word, and thereby give him a path to follow. This stage would not be fruitful or meaningful if it continued with the casting out of demons, for it would fail to extirpate man’s sinful nature, and man would come to a standstill at the forgiveness of his sins. Through the sin offering, man has been forgiven his sins, for the work of the crucifixion has already come to an end and God has prevailed over Satan. But the corrupt disposition of man still remaining within him, man can still sin and resist God, and God has not gained mankind. That is why in this stage of work God uses the word to expose the corrupt disposition of man, causing him to practice in accordance with the right path. This stage is more meaningful than the previous one, as well as more fruitful, for now it is the word that directly supplies man’s life and enables the disposition of man to be completely renewed; it is a much more thorough stage of work. Therefore, the incarnation in the last days has completed the significance of God’s incarnation and completely finished God’s management plan for man’s salvation.

Excerpted from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

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 do not know what being saved means. What does being saved mean? It relates to God’s will. Simply speaking, to be saved means you can keep on living, and that you are brought back to life. So before that, are you dead? You can speak, and you can breathe, so how can you be said to be 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? (Satan’s philosophies and poisons.) They rely on their satanic nature and corrupt nature to live. When a person lives by these things, is their whole being—their flesh, and all other aspects such as their soul and their thought—alive or dead? From God’s point of view, they are dead. On the surface, you appear to be breathing and thinking, but 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 they entirely belong to Satan and to devils. So what are people in God’s eyes? Are they humans? No, they are not. 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 themselves 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 dispositions 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. Being saved 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 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 believe 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? At the very least, the living can speak human language. What is that? It means the words they utter involve ideas, thoughts, and discernment. What things do the living frequently think about and do? They are able to engage in human activities and fulfill their duties. 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, as one of the living, 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 it is also what the living should do.

Excerpted from “Only Being Truly Obedient Is a Real Belief” in Records of Christ’s Talks

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

In your faith, if you wish to attain salvation, the crux of the matter is whether you are God-fearing and whether God has a place in your heart. If your heart is incapable of living before God or if there is no relationship or connection between you and God, then you will never be saved. Your path to salvation will be blocked; you will have reached a dead end. Your belief in God will be useless if it exists in name only, it will not matter how much theory you are able to say or how much you have suffered. God will say, “Depart from Me, you evildoer.” You will have been classed as an evildoer. You have no connection to God. God is not your Ruler, He is not your Creator, He is not your God, He is not the One you worship, nor the One you follow. You follow Satan and demons. You are your own lord. Ultimately, such people will be eliminated, detested, rejected, and punished by God. God does not save such people. Only when people accept that God is their Lord and Ruler, only when they accept that God is the truth, the source of man’s way and life, and only when all they do and every path they walk are connected to the truth, and God, and obedience to God, and following the way of God—only then will they be saved. If not, they shall be condemned by God. Is it alright for people to think themselves fortunate? Is it OK for them to always cling to their own views? Is it OK for them to always hold on to vague and abstract imaginings? (No.) Do not think yourselves fortunate—there is no other path to take.

Excerpted from “Only If You Live Before God at All Times Can You Walk the Path of Salvation” in Records of Christ’s Talks

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 domain 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 domain 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.

Excerpted from “Practice (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

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.

Excerpted from “The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

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 substance, 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, 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 and 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—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.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Job’s faith, obedience, and his testimony to overcoming Satan have been a source of huge help and encouragement to people. In Job, they see hope for their own salvation, and see that through faith, and obedience to and fear of God, it is entirely possible to defeat Satan, to prevail over Satan. They see that as long as they acquiesce to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, and as long as they possess the determination and faith not to forsake God after having lost everything, then they can bring shame and defeat upon Satan, and they see that they need only possess the determination and perseverance to stand firm in their testimony—even if it means losing their lives—for Satan to be cowed and beat a hasty retreat. Job’s testimony is a warning to later generations, and this warning tells them that if they do not defeat Satan, then they will never be able to rid themselves of the accusations and interference of Satan, nor will they ever be able to escape the abuse and attacks of Satan. Job’s testimony has enlightened later generations. This enlightenment teaches people that only if they are perfect and upright will they be able to fear God and shun evil; it teaches them that only if they fear God and shun evil can they bear strong and resounding testimony to God; only if they bear strong and resounding testimony to God can they never be controlled by Satan and live under the guidance and protection of God—only then will they have been truly saved. Job’s personality and his life’s pursuit should be emulated by everyone who pursues salvation. That which he lived out during his whole life and his conduct during his trials is a precious treasure to all those who pursue the way of fearing God and shunning evil.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

When people have yet to be saved, their lives are often interfered with, 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.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

What are the conditions a person must meet in order to receive salvation? First of all, they must possess the ability to identify satanic antichrists; they must have this aspect of the truth. It is only by possessing this aspect of the truth that they can genuinely believe in God and refrain from worshiping or following man; only people who can identify antichrists have the ability to truly believe in God and follow and bear witness to Him. In order to identify antichrists, people must first learn to see people and things with complete clarity and understanding; they must be able to perceive the essence of antichrists, and they must see through all of their conspiracies, tricks, inner motivations, and objectives. If you can do this, then you can stand firm. If you want to obtain salvation, then the first test you must pass is to learn how to defeat Satan and how to overcome and triumph over hostile forces and interference from the outside world. Once you possess stature and sufficient truth to persevere to the end in a battle against Satan’s forces, and have defeated them, then—and only then—can you seek the truth steadily, and only then can you step steadfastly and without mishap upon the path of seeking the truth and being granted salvation. If you cannot pass this test, then it can be said that you are in great danger, and you are liable to be captured by an antichrist and come to live under Satan’s influence. It is possible that there are currently some among the leaders and workers who hinder and trip people who are seeking the truth, and they are those people’s enemies. Do you accept this? There are some leaders and workers who do not dare to face this fact, nor do they dare to accept it as fact. In reality, these things do indeed exist in the church. If you cannot pass this test—the test of antichrists—and are instead struck by them and retaliated against, beaten down into Group B, or expelled, then ultimately, your measly little life will not withstand for long, and will wither; you will no longer have faith in God, and you will leave Him, saying, “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 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 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 of the spiritual realm, but the Satan that exists in practical life is everywhere. Any person who hates the truth is evil, and any leader or worker who does not accept the truth is an antichrist and an evil person. Are such people not living Satans? 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 hoped for, admired, trusted and relied upon in your hearts. In fact, however, they are roadblocks standing in your way and hindering you from obtaining salvation; they are 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 identify them and see through them, then at any moment, you could plummet into their traps or be captured and taken away by them. Thus, you are in great danger. …

Excerpted from “For Leaders and Workers, Choosing a Path Is of Utmost Importance (1)” in Records of Christ’s Talks

Those who do not pursue a knowledge of matters in the spirit, who do not pursue holiness, and who do not pursue living out the truth, who are content only to be conquered on the negative side, and who cannot live by God’s words and become holy humans—these are people who have not been saved. For, if he is without the truth, man is unable to stand fast during God’s trials; only those who can stand fast during God’s trials are the ones who have been saved. What I want are people like Peter, people who pursue being made perfect. Today’s truth is given to those who yearn for and seek it. This salvation is granted to those who yearn to be saved by God, and is not only meant to be gained by you. Its purpose is that you may be gained by God; you gain God in order that God may gain you. Today I have spoken these words to you, and you have heard them, and you should practice according to these words. In the end, the time when you put these words into practice will be the moment when I have gained you through these words; at the same time, you will have also gained these words, which is to say, you will have gained this supreme salvation. Once you are made clean, you will have become a real human being. If you are incapable of living out the truth, or of living out the likeness of one who has been made perfect, then it can be said that you are not a human, but a walking corpse, a beast, because you are without the truth, which is to say that you are without the breath of Jehovah, and thus you are a dead person that has no spirit! Although it is possible to bear testimony after being conquered, what you gain is but a little salvation, and you have not become a living being possessed of a spirit. Although you have experienced chastisement and judgment, your disposition is not renewed or changed as a result; you are still your old self, you still belong to Satan, and you are not someone who has been cleansed. Only those who have been made perfect are of value, and only people such as this have gained a true life.

Excerpted from “The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

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Next: 41. The Principles of Attaining Compatibility With God

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