140. The Principles of Treating Religious Personages
Relevant Words of God:
Look at the leaders of each denomination—they are all arrogant and self-righteous, and their interpretations of the Bible lack context and are guided by their own imaginings. They all rely on gifts and erudition to do their work. If they could not preach at all, would people follow them? They do, after all, possess some knowledge and can preach on some doctrine, or they know how to win others over and make use of some artifice. They use these to bring people before themselves and deceive them. Nominally, those people believe in God, but in reality, they follow their leaders. When they encounter someone preaching the true way, some of them say, “We have to consult our leader about our faith.” A human is the medium of their faith in God; is that not a problem? What have those leaders become, then? Have they not become Pharisees, false shepherds, antichrists, and stumbling blocks to people’s acceptance of the true way? Such people are of the same ilk as Paul. Why say this? Paul’s epistles are almost two thousand years old and they were pervasive throughout the Age of Grace. People all read these words of his and took them as the norm, words about suffering, disciplining one’s own body, and receiving the final crown of righteousness…. People believed in God in accordance with Pauls’ words and doctrines. Was this not a deviation? How much of God’s will could people understand during the Age of Grace? After all, those who followed Jesus at that time were in the minority, and those who knew Him were even fewer—even those disciples of His did not know Him truly. If one sees a bit of light in the Bible, it should not be thought to represent God’s will, and less still should a bit of enlightenment be regarded as knowledge of God. People are arrogant and conceited, and they do not hold God in their hearts. With a little doctrinal understanding, they strike out on their own, which leads to the formation of many denominations.
Excerpted from “Only to Pursue the Truth Is Truly to Believe in God” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Why do I say that those in the religious world are not believers in God but are evildoers, of the same ilk as the devil? When I say they are evildoers, it is because they do not understand the will of God and are unable to see His wisdom. God at no time reveals His work to them. They are blind; they cannot see the deeds of God, they have been forsaken by God, and they completely lack the care and protection of God, not to mention the work of the Holy Spirit. Those without the work of God are all evildoers and opponents of God. The opposition to God of which I speak refers to those who do not know God, those who acknowledge God with their lips and yet do not know Him, those who follow God and yet do not obey Him, and those who revel in the grace of God and yet are unable to stand witness to Him. Without an understanding of the purpose of God’s work or an understanding of the work that God does in man, he cannot be in accord with the will of God, nor can he stand witness to God. The reason why man opposes God stems, on the one hand, from his corrupt disposition, and on the other hand, from ignorance of God and lack of understanding of the principles by which God works and of His will for man. These two aspects, taken together, constitute a history of man’s resistance to God. Novices in the faith oppose God because such opposition lies within their nature, while the opposition to God of those with many years in the faith results from their ignorance of Him, in addition to their corrupt disposition. In the time before God became flesh, the measure of whether a man opposed God was based on whether he kept the decrees set forth by God in heaven. For instance, in the Age of Law, whoever did not keep the laws of Jehovah was regarded as one who opposed God; whoever stole the offerings to Jehovah, or whoever stood against those favored by Jehovah, was regarded as one who opposed God and would be stoned to death; whoever did not respect his father and mother, and whoever struck or cursed another, was regarded as one who did not keep the laws. And all who did not keep the laws of Jehovah were regarded as standing against Him. This was no longer so in the Age of Grace, when whoever stood against Jesus was regarded as one who stood against God, and whoever did not obey the words uttered by Jesus was regarded as one who stood against God. At this time, the way in which opposition to God was defined became both more accurate and more practical. In the time when God had not yet become flesh, the measure of whether man opposed God was based on whether man worshiped and looked up to the invisible God in heaven. The way in which opposition to God was defined at that time was not all that practical, for man could not see God, nor did he know what the image of God was like, or how He worked and spoke. Man had no notions about God whatsoever, and he believed in God vaguely, because God had not yet appeared to man. Therefore, no matter how man believed in God in his imagination, God did not condemn man or make too many demands of him, because man was completely unable to see God. When God becomes flesh and comes to work among men, all behold Him and hear His words, and all see the deeds that God works from within His body of flesh. At that moment, all man’s notions become foam. As for those who have seen God appearing in the flesh, they shall not be condemned if they willingly obey Him, whereas those who purposefully stand against Him shall be deemed an opponent of God. Such people are antichrists, enemies who willfully stand against God. Those who harbor notions regarding God but are still ready and willing to obey Him will not be condemned. God condemns man on the basis of man’s intentions and actions, never for his thoughts and ideas. If He were to condemn man on the basis of his thoughts and ideas, then not a single person would be able to escape from the wrathful hands of God. Those who willfully stand against the incarnate God shall be punished for their disobedience. With regard to these people that willfully stand against God, their opposition stems from the fact that they harbor notions about God, which leads them in turn into actions that disrupt God’s work. These people intentionally resist and destroy the work of God. They do not merely have notions about God, but they also engage in activities that disrupt His work, and for this reason people of this kind shall be condemned. Those who do not willfully disrupt God’s work shall not be condemned as sinners, because they are able to willingly obey and not engage in activities that cause disruption and disturbance. People like this shall not be condemned. …
Anyone who does not understand the purpose of God’s work is one who opposes Him, and one who has come to understand the purpose of God’s work but still does not seek to satisfy God is even more to be deemed an opponent of God. There are those who read the Bible in grand churches and recite it all day long, yet not one among them understands the purpose of God’s work. Not one among them is able to know God; still less can any one among them accord with God’s will. They are all worthless, vile people, each standing on high to lecture God. They willfully oppose God even as they carry His banner. Claiming faith in God, still they eat the flesh and drink the blood of man. All such people are devils that devour the soul of man, head demons that deliberately get in the way of those trying to step onto the right path, and stumbling blocks impeding those who seek God. They may appear of “sound constitution,” but how are their followers to know that they are none other than antichrists who lead people to stand against God? How are their followers to know that they are living devils dedicated to the devouring of human souls? Those who hold themselves in high esteem in God’s presence are the most abject of men, while those who humble themselves are the most honored. And those who think they know the work of God and who are, moreover, capable of proclaiming the work of God to others with great fanfare even as they look directly at Him—these are the most ignorant of men. Such people are without the testimony of God, arrogant and full of conceit. Those who believe that they have too little knowledge of God, despite having actual experience and practical knowledge of Him, are those most beloved by Him. Only such people truly have testimony and are truly capable of being perfected by God.
Excerpted from “All People Who Do Not Know God Are People Who Oppose God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Why is it said that the practice of those in the religious churches is outdated? It is because what they put into practice is divorced from the work of today. In the Age of Grace, what they put into practice was right, but as the age has passed and God’s work has changed, their practice has gradually become outdated. It has been left behind by the new work and the new light. Based upon its original foundation, the work of the Holy Spirit has progressed several steps deeper. Yet those people still remain stuck at the original stage of God’s work, and still cleave to the old practices and the old light. God’s work can change greatly in three or five years, so would not even greater transformations occur over the course of 2,000 years? If man has no new light or practice, it means that he has not kept up with the work of the Holy Spirit. This is the failing of man; the existence of God’s new work cannot be denied because, today, those who previously had the work of the Holy Spirit still abide by outdated practices. The work of the Holy Spirit is always moving forward, and all those who are in the stream of the Holy Spirit should also be progressing deeper and changing, step-by-step. They should not stop at a single stage. Only those who do not know the work of the Holy Spirit would remain amongst His original work, and not accept the new work of the Holy Spirit. Only those who are disobedient would be incapable of gaining the Holy Spirit’s work. If the practice of man does not keep pace with the new work of the Holy Spirit, then the practice of man is surely dissevered from the work of today and is surely incompatible with the work of today. Such outdated people as these are simply incapable of accomplishing God’s will, much less could they become people who will ultimately stand testimony to God. The entire management work, furthermore, could not be concluded amongst such a group of people. For those who once held to the law of Jehovah, and those who once suffered for the cross, if they cannot accept the stage of work of the last days, then all that they did will have been in vain, and useless. The clearest expression of the Holy Spirit’s work is in embracing the here and now, not clinging to the past. Those who have not kept up with the work of today, and who have become separated from the practice of today, are those who oppose and do not accept the work of the Holy Spirit. Such people defy the present work of God. Though they hold onto the light of the past, it cannot be denied that they do not know the work of the Holy Spirit. Why has there been all this talk of the changes in the practice of man, of the differences in the practice between the past and today, of how the practice was carried out during the previous age, and of how it is done today? Such divisions in the practice of man are always spoken of because the work of the Holy Spirit is constantly moving forward, and thus the practice of man is required to constantly change. If man remains stuck in one stage, then this proves that he is incapable of keeping up with God’s new work and new light; it does not prove that God’s plan of management has not changed. Those who are outside the stream of the Holy Spirit always think they are right, but in fact, God’s work in them ceased long ago, and the work of the Holy Spirit is absent from them. The work of God was long since transferred to another group of people, a group on whom He intends to complete His new work. Because those in religion are incapable of accepting God’s new work, and hold only to the old work of the past, thus God has forsaken these people, and does His new work on the people who accept this new work. These are people who cooperate in His new work, and only in this way can His management be accomplished.
Excerpted from “God’s Work and Man’s Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
People who are in the stream of the Holy Spirit are those who accept the new work, and since they have accepted the new work, they should cooperate appropriately with God, and should not act as rebels who do not perform their duty. This is God’s only requirement of man. Not so for the people who do not accept the new work: They are outside the stream of the Holy Spirit, and the discipline and reproach of the Holy Spirit do not apply to them. All day, these people live within the flesh, they live within their minds, and all that they do is according to the doctrine produced by the analysis and research of their own brains. This is not what is required by the Holy Spirit’s new work, much less is it cooperation with God. Those who do not accept the new work of God are bereft of the presence of God, and, moreover, devoid of the blessings and protection of God. Most of their words and actions hold to the past requirements of the Holy Spirit’s work; they are doctrine, not truth. Such doctrine and regulation are sufficient to prove that the gathering together of these people is nothing but religion; they are not the chosen ones, or the objects of God’s work. The assembly of all those among them can only be called a grand congress of religion, and cannot be called a church. This is an unalterable fact. They do not have the Holy Spirit’s new work; what they do seems redolent of religion, what they live out seems replete with religion; they do not possess the presence and work of the Holy Spirit, much less are they eligible to receive the discipline or enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. These people are all lifeless corpses, and maggots that are devoid of spirituality. They have no knowledge of man’s rebelliousness and opposition, have no knowledge of all of man’s evildoing, much less do they know all of God’s work and God’s present will. They are all ignorant, base people, and they are scum that are unfit to be called believers! Nothing they do has any bearing on the management of God, much less can it impair God’s plans. Their words and actions are too disgusting, too pathetic, and simply unworthy of mention. Nothing done by those who are not within the stream of the Holy Spirit has anything to do with the new work of the Holy Spirit. Because of this, no matter what they do, they are without the discipline of the Holy Spirit, and, moreover, without the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. For they are all people who have no love for the truth, and who have been detested and rejected by the Holy Spirit. They are called evildoers because they walk in the flesh and do whatever pleases them under the signboard of God. While God works, they are deliberately hostile to Him, and run in the opposite direction to Him. Man’s failure to cooperate with God is supremely rebellious in itself, so will not those people who deliberately run counter to God particularly receive their just retribution? At the mention of these people’s evildoing, some people are eager to curse them, whereas God ignores them. To man, it appears that their actions concern God’s name, but in fact, to God, they bear no relation to His name or to the testimony to Him. No matter what these people do, it is unrelated to God: It is unrelated to both His name and His current work. These people humiliate themselves, and manifest Satan; they are evildoers who are hoarding for the day of wrath. Today, regardless of their actions, and provided they do not obstruct God’s management and have nothing to do with the new work of God, such people will not be subjected to the corresponding retribution, for the day of wrath has yet to arrive. There is much that people believe God should already have dealt with, and they think that those evildoers should be subject to retribution as early as possible. But because the work of God’s management has still not come to an end, and the day of wrath has yet to arrive, the unrighteous still continue to perform their unrighteous deeds. Some say, “Those in religion are without the presence or work of the Holy Spirit, and they bring shame upon God’s name; so why does God not destroy them, rather than still tolerating their unbridled behavior?” These people, who are the manifestation of Satan and who express the flesh, they are ignorant, base people; they are absurd people. They will not behold the advent of God’s wrath before they have come to understand how God does His work among man, and once they have been fully conquered, those evildoers will all receive their retribution, and not one of them will be able to escape the day of wrath. Now is not the time for man’s punishment, but the time for carrying out the work of conquest, unless there are those who impair God’s management, in which case they will be subjected to punishment based on the severity of their actions. During God’s management of mankind, all those who are within the stream of the Holy Spirit bear a relation to God. Those who are detested and rejected by the Holy Spirit live under the influence of Satan, and that which they put into practice bears no relation to God. Only those who accept God’s new work and cooperate with God bear relation to God, for God’s work is aimed only at those who accept it, and it is not aimed at all people, regardless of whether they accept it or not. The work done by God always has an object and is not done on a whim. Those who are associated with Satan are not fit to bear testimony to God, much less are they fit to cooperate with God.
Excerpted from “God’s Work and Man’s Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Work in the mind of man is too easy for man to achieve. Pastors and leaders in the religious world, for example, rely on their gifts and positions to do their work. People who follow them for a long time will be infected by their gifts and influenced by some of their being. They focus on people’s gifts, abilities and knowledge, and they pay attention to supernatural things and many profound, unrealistic doctrines (of course, these profound doctrines are unattainable). They do not focus on changes in people’s dispositions, but rather on training people to preach and work, improving people’s knowledge and their abundant religious doctrines. They do not focus on how much people’s disposition is changed nor on how much people understand of the truth. They do not concern themselves with people’s substance, and much less do they try to know people’s normal and abnormal states. They do not counter people’s notions, nor do they reveal their notions, much less do they prune people for their deficiencies or corruptions. Most who follow them serve with their gifts, and all they release is religious notions and theological theories, which are out of touch with reality and completely unable to confer life onto people. In fact, the substance of their work is nurturing talent, nurturing a person with nothing into a talented seminary graduate who later goes on to work and lead.
Excerpted from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Do many people not oppose God and obstruct the work of the Holy Spirit because they do not know the varied and diverse work of God, and, furthermore, because they possess but a smidgeon of knowledge and doctrine with which to measure the work of the Holy Spirit? Though the experiences of such people are superficial, they are arrogant and indulgent in nature and they regard the work of the Holy Spirit with contempt, ignore the disciplines of the Holy Spirit and, moreover, use their trivial old arguments to “confirm” the work of the Holy Spirit. They also put on an act, and are wholly convinced of their own learning and erudition, and convinced that they are able to travel across the world. Are such people not those who are despised and rejected by the Holy Spirit, and will they not be eliminated by the new age? Are not those who come before God and openly oppose Him ignorant and under-informed little people, who are merely trying to show how brilliant they are? With but a meager knowledge of the Bible, they try to straddle the world’s “academia”; with but a superficial doctrine to teach people, they try to reverse the work of the Holy Spirit and attempt to make it revolve around their own thought process. Short-sighted as they are, they try to behold in one glance 6,000 years of God’s work. These people do not have any sense worth mentioning! In fact, the greater people’s knowledge of God, the slower they are to judge His work. Furthermore, they only talk a little of their knowledge of God’s work today, but they are not rash in their judgments. The less people know of God, the more arrogant and overconfident they are and the more wantonly they proclaim God’s being—yet they only talk of theory, and offer no real evidence. Such people are of no value whatsoever. Those who see the work of the Holy Spirit as a game are frivolous! Those who are not cautious when they encounter the new work of the Holy Spirit, who run their mouths off, are quick to judge, who give free rein to their natural instinct to deny the rightness of the Holy Spirit’s work, and who also insult and blaspheme it—are such disrespectful people not ignorant of the Holy Spirit’s work? Are they not, furthermore, people of great arrogance, people who are inherently proud and ungovernable? Even if a day comes when such people accept the new work of the Holy Spirit, still God will not tolerate them. Not only do they look down upon those who work for God, but they also blaspheme against God Himself. Such foolhardy people will not be forgiven, either in this age or the age to come, and they shall forever perish in hell! Such disrespectful, indulgent people are pretending to believe in God, and the more people are like this, the more liable they are to offend God’s administrative decrees. Do not all those arrogant ones who are innately unbridled, and who have never obeyed anyone, all walk upon this path? Do they not oppose God day after day, God who is always new and never old?
Excerpted from “Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Blasphemy and slander against God is a sin that will not be forgiven for this age and the coming age and those who commit this sin will never be reincarnated. This means that God’s disposition doesn’t tolerate mankind’s offense. Some people may say some unkind words or ugly words when they do not understand, or when they are deceived, restricted, controlled, or suppressed by others. But when they accept the true way in the future they will be filled with regret. They then conduct enough good deeds and are able to experience change and achieve understanding, and in this way their previous offense will no longer be remembered. You should know God fully, you should know whom those words of God are directed at and the context of those words, and you should not randomly apply God’s words, nor arbitrarily define the words of God. People who have no experience do not compare themselves against God’s words in anything. Whereas people with a little experience or some insight tend to be oversensitive. When they hear the words of God that curse, despise, hate or eliminate people, they take it all upon themselves. This shows that they do not understand the word of God, and they always misunderstand God. Some people pass judgment on God before they have read any book, made any investigation, heard any fellowship of those who understand God’s new work, or much less had any enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Thereafter, someone preaches the gospel to them and they accept it. Later, they feel regretful for this matter, and they repent. Then, they will be viewed according to their future behavior. After they believe in God, if their behavior is particularly bad, and they write themselves off, saying “Anyway, I have spoken words of blasphemy and ugly words before. God has declared that people like me would be condemned. Well, my life is over,” then such people really are finished.
Excerpted from “The Basis of God’s Treatment of Man” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Since you believe in God, you must put faith in all of the words of God and in all of His work. Which is to say, since you believe in God, you must obey Him. If you are unable to do this, then it does not matter whether you believe in God or not. If you have believed in God for many years, and yet have never obeyed Him, and do not accept the entirety of His words, and instead ask that God submit to you and act according to your notions, then you are the most rebellious of all, you are a nonbeliever. How could such people be able to obey the work and words of God that do not conform to the notions of man? Most rebellious of all are those who intentionally defy and resist God. They are the enemies of God, the antichrists. Theirs is always an attitude of hostility toward the new work of God; they never have the slightest inclination to submit, nor have they ever gladly submitted or humbled themselves. They exalt themselves before others and never submit to anyone. Before God, they consider themselves the best at preaching the word, and the most skillful in working on others. Never do they discard the “treasures” in their possession, but treat them as family heirlooms for worship, for preaching about to others, and they use them to lecture those fools who idolize them. There are indeed a certain number of people like this in the church. It can be said that they are “indomitable heroes,” generation after generation sojourning in the house of God. They take preaching the word (doctrine) to be their highest duty. Year after year, generation after generation, they go about vigorously enforcing their “sacred and inviolable” duty. None dare touch them; not a single person dares openly reproach them. They become “kings” in the house of God, running rampant as they tyrannize others from age to age. This pack of demons seeks to join hands and demolish My work; how can I allow these living devils to exist before My eyes? Even those who are only half obedient cannot carry on until the end, much less these tyrants without the slightest obedience in their hearts! The work of God is not easily gained by man. Even using all the strength they have, people can only gain a mere portion of it, ultimately allowing them to be made perfect. What, then, of the children of the archangel, who seek to destroy the work of God? Do they not have even less hope of being gained by God? My purpose in doing the work of conquest is not solely to conquer for the sake of conquest, but to conquer so as to reveal righteousness and unrighteousness, to obtain proof for the punishment of man, to condemn the wicked, and, furthermore, to conquer for the sake of perfecting those who willingly obey. In the end, all will be separated according to kind, and the ones who are perfected will be the ones whose thoughts and ideas are filled with obedience. This is the work that shall ultimately be accomplished. Those whose every action is rebellious, meanwhile, will be punished and sent to burn in the fires, the objects of eternal curse. When that time comes, those “great and indomitable heroes” of ages past will become the basest and most shunned “weak and impotent cowards.” Only this can illustrate every aspect of God’s righteousness, and His disposition that is unoffendable by man, and only this can appease the hatred in My heart. Do you not agree that this is entirely reasonable?
Excerpted from “Those Who Obey God With a True Heart Shall Surely Be Gained by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh