2. What it means to believe in God truly
Relevant Words of God:
Though many people believe in God, few understand what faith in God means, and what they must do to conform to God’s will. This is because, though people are familiar with the word “God” and phrases such as “the work of God,” they do not know God, and still less do they know His work. No wonder, then, that all those who do not know God are muddled in their belief of Him. People do not take belief in God seriously, and this is entirely because believing in God is too unfamiliar, too strange for them. In this way, they fall short of God’s demands. In other words, if people do not know God, and do not know His work, then they are not fit for God’s use, and still less are they able to satisfy His will. “Belief in God” means believing that there is a God; this is the simplest concept as regards believing in God. What’s more, believing that there is a God is not the same as truly believing in God; rather, it is a kind of simple faith with strong religious overtones. True faith in God means the following: On the basis of the belief that God holds sovereignty over all things, one experiences His words and His work, purges one’s corrupt disposition, satisfies the will of God, and comes to know God. Only a journey of this kind may be called “faith in God.” Yet people often see belief in God as a simple and frivolous matter. People who believe in God in this way have lost what it means to believe in God, and though they may continue to believe until the very end, they shall never gain God’s approval, because they tread upon the wrong path. There are still those today who believe in God according to letters and in hollow doctrine. They do not know that they lack the essence of belief in God, and they cannot receive God’s approval. Still they pray to God for blessings of safety and sufficient grace. Let us stop, quiet our hearts, and ask ourselves: Can it be that believing in God really is the easiest thing on earth? Can it be that believing in God means nothing more than receiving much grace from God? Are people who believe in God without knowing Him or who believe in God and yet oppose Him really able to satisfy the will of God?
—Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh
True belief in God is not a matter of believing in Him solely to be saved, and less still is it one of being a good person. It is also not only a matter of coming to possess human likeness. In fact, people should not take the view that faith is mere belief that there is a God, and that He is the truth, the way, the life, and nothing more. Neither is faith meant only to have you acknowledge God and believe He is the Ruler over all things, that He is almighty, that He created all things in the world, and that He is unique and supreme. Faith is not merely a matter of belief in this fact. God’s will is that your whole being and heart should be given to Him and submit to Him—that is, you should follow God, allow God to make use of you, and be happy to do service for Him; whatever you can do for Him, you should. It does not mean that only those predestined and chosen by God should believe in Him. The fact is that all mankind should worship God, heed Him and obey Him, because mankind was made by God. If you always say, “Don’t we believe in God in order to gain eternal life? Don’t we believe in God in order to be saved?” then your belief in God is like a peripheral matter, done for the mere sake of gaining something. This is not how one should view belief in God.
—“Only to Pursue the Truth Is Truly to Believe in God” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
What is real belief in God today? It is the acceptance of God’s word as your life reality and the knowing of God from His word in order to achieve a true love of Him. To be clear: Belief in God is so that you may obey God, love God, and perform the duty that should be performed by a creature of God. This is the aim of believing in God. You must achieve a knowledge of the loveliness of God, of how worthy God is of reverence, of how, in His creatures, God does the work of salvation and making them perfect—these are the bare essentials of your belief in God. Belief in God is principally the switch from a life of the flesh to a life of loving God; from living within corruption to living within the life of God’s words; it is coming out from under the domain of Satan and living under the care and protection of God; it is being able to achieve obedience to God and not obedience to the flesh; it is allowing God to gain your entire heart, allowing God to make you perfect, and freeing yourself from the corrupt satanic disposition. Belief in God is principally so that the power and glory of God may be manifested in you, so that you may do God’s will, and accomplish God’s plan, and be able to bear testimony to God before Satan. Belief in God should not revolve around the desire to behold signs and wonders, nor should it be for the sake of your personal flesh. It should be about the pursuit of knowing God, and being able to obey God, and, like Peter, obeying Him until one’s death. These are the main aims of believing in God. One eats and drinks the word of God in order to know God and satisfy Him. Eating and drinking the word of God gives you a greater knowledge of God, only after which can you obey Him. Only with knowledge of God can you love Him, and this is the goal man should have in his belief in God. If, in your belief in God, you are always trying to behold signs and wonders, then the viewpoint of this belief in God is wrong. Belief in God is principally the acceptance of the word of God as life reality. The aim of God is only attained by putting into practice the words of God from His mouth and carrying them out within yourself. In believing in God, man should strive to be made perfect by God, to be able to submit to God, and for complete obedience to God. If you can obey God without complaint, be mindful of God’s desires, achieve the stature of Peter, and possess the style of Peter spoken of by God, then that will be when you have achieved success in belief in God, and it will signify that you have been gained by God.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. All Is Achieved by the Word of God
Since you do believe in God, then you must eat and drink His words, experience His words, and live out His words. Only this can be called belief in God! If you say you believe in God with your mouth and yet are unable to put any of His words into practice or to produce any reality, this is not called believing in God. Rather, it is “seeking bread to satisfy hunger.” Speaking only of trivial testimonies, useless things, and superficial matters, without possessing even the slightest bit of reality: these do not constitute belief in God, and you have simply not grasped the right way of believing in God. Why must you eat and drink as many as possible of God’s words? If you do not eat and drink His words but seek only to ascend to heaven, is that believing in God? What is the first step one who believes in God should take? By what path does God perfect man? Can you be perfected without eating and drinking the words of God? Can you be considered a person of the kingdom without the words of God to serve as your reality? What exactly does belief in God mean? Believers in God should, at the very least, be well-behaved on the outside; most important of all is to be possessed of the words of God. No matter what, you can never turn away from His words. Knowing God and fulfilling His intentions are all achieved through His words. In future, every nation, denomination, religion, and sector will be conquered through God’s words. God will speak directly, and all people will hold the words of God in their hands, and by means of this, humanity will be perfected. Within and without, the words of God pervade throughout: Humanity will speak God’s words with their mouths, practice in accordance with God’s words, and keep the words of God within, remaining steeped in God’s words both inside and out. Thus will humanity be perfected. Those who fulfill the intentions of God and are able to bear witness to Him, these are the people who possess the words of God as their reality.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word
In their faith in God, people’s greatest fault is that they believe in word only, and God is utterly absent from their everyday lives. All people, indeed, believe in the existence of God, yet God is not a part of their everyday lives. People’s mouths speak many prayers to God, but God has little place in their hearts, and so God tries them again and again. It is because people are impure that God has no alternative but to try them, so that they may feel ashamed and come to know themselves in the midst of these trials. If not, humanity would turn into the descendants of the archangel, and become increasingly corrupt. In the process of their faith in God, each person casts off many of their personal intentions and objectives under God’s ceaseless cleansing. If not, God would have no way of using anyone, and no way of doing in people the work that He ought. God first cleanses people, and through this process, they may come to know themselves and God may change them. Only then does God work His life into them, and only thus can their hearts be fully turned to God. And so I say, believing in God is not as simple as people say. As God sees it, if you only have knowledge but do not have His word as life, and if you are limited only to your own knowledge but cannot practice the truth or live out the word of God, then this is proof still that you do not have a heart that loves God, and it shows that your heart does not belong to God. One can come to know God by believing in Him: This is the final goal, and the goal of man’s pursuit. You must put effort into living out the words of God so that they may come to fruition in your practice. If you have only doctrinal knowledge, then your faith in God will come to naught. Only if you then also practice and live out His word can your faith be considered complete and in accord with God’s will.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. You Ought to Live for the Truth Since You Believe in God
Why do you believe in God? Most people are confounded by this question. They always have two entirely different viewpoints about the practical God and the God in heaven, which shows that they believe in God not in order to obey Him, but to receive certain benefits, or to escape the suffering that disaster brings; only then are they somewhat obedient. Their obedience is conditional; it is for the sake of their own personal prospects, and forced upon them. So, just why do you believe in God? If it is solely for the sake of your prospects and your fate, then it would be better if you did not believe at all. Belief such as this is self-deception, self-reassurance, and self-admiration. If your faith is not built upon the foundation of obedience to God, then you will ultimately be punished for opposing Him. All those who do not seek obedience to God in their faith oppose Him. God asks that people seek the truth, that they thirst for His words, eat and drink His words, and put them into practice, so that they may achieve obedience to God. If these are your true intentions, then God will surely raise you up, and will surely be gracious toward you. This is undoubtable and unchangeable. If your intention is not to obey God, and you have other aims, then all that you say and do—your prayers before God, and even your every action—will be in opposition to Him. You may be soft-spoken and mild-mannered, your every action and expression may look proper, and you may appear to be one who obeys, but when it comes to your intentions and your views about faith in God, everything you do is in opposition to God; everything you do is evil. People who appear as obedient as sheep, but whose hearts harbor evil intentions, are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They directly offend God, and God will not spare a single one of them. The Holy Spirit will reveal each and every one of them and show everybody that all those who are hypocrites will, with certainty, be detested and rejected by the Holy Spirit. Worry not: God will reckon with and dispose of every last one of them in turn.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. In Your Faith in God You Should Obey God
Today, to believe in the practical God, you must set foot on the right track. If you believe in God, you should not only seek blessings, but to love God and know God. Through His enlightenment, through your own individual seeking, you can eat and drink His word, develop a real understanding of God, and have a real love of God that comes from your inmost heart. In other words, when your love for God is most genuine, and no one can destroy or stand in the way of your love for Him, at this time you are on the right track in your belief in God. This proves that you belong to God, for your heart is already in God’s possession and nothing else can then take possession of you. Through your experience, through the price you have paid, and through the work of God, you are able to develop an unbidden love for God—and when you do, you will become free from the influence of Satan and will come to live in the light of God’s word. Only when you have broken free from the influence of darkness can you be said to have gained God. In your belief in God, you must try to seek this goal. This is the duty of each of you. None of you should be satisfied with the current state of affairs. You cannot be of two minds toward the work of God, nor can you regard it lightly. You should think of God in all respects and at all times, and do all things for His sake. And whenever you speak or act, you should place the interests of the house of God first. Only thus can you be after God’s heart.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. You Ought to Live for the Truth Since You Believe in God
You believe in God and follow God, and so in your heart you must love God. You must cast aside your corrupt disposition, you must seek to fulfill God’s desire, and you must perform the duty of a creature of God. Since you believe in and follow God, you should offer everything to Him, and should not make personal choices or demands, and you should achieve the fulfillment of God’s desire. Since you were created, you should obey the Lord that created you, for you are inherently without dominion over yourself, and have no ability to control your own destiny. Since you are a person who believes in God, you should seek holiness and change. Since you are a creature of God, you should adhere to your duty, and keep your place, and you must not overstep your duty. This is not to constrain you, or to suppress you through doctrine, but is instead the path through which you can perform your duty, and it can be achieved—and should be achieved—by all those who do righteousness.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks
Someone who serves God should not only know how to suffer for Him; more than that, they should understand that the purpose of believing in God is to pursue a love of God. God makes use of you not just to refine you or for the sake of making you suffer, but rather He makes use of you so that you may know His actions, know the true significance of human life, and in particular, so that you may know that serving God is not an easy task. Experiencing God’s work is not about enjoying grace, but rather about suffering for your love of Him. Since you enjoy God’s grace, you must also enjoy His chastisement; you must experience all of this. You can experience God’s enlightenment in you, and you can also experience how He deals with you and judges you. In this way, your experience will be comprehensive. God has carried out His work of judgment and chastisement upon you. God’s word has dealt with you, but not only that; it has also enlightened and illuminated you. When you are negative and weak, God worries for you. All of this work is to let you know that everything about man is within God’s orchestrations. You may think that believing in God is about suffering, or doing all manner of things for Him; you might think that the purpose of believing in God is so that your flesh may be at peace, or so that everything in your life runs smoothly, or so that you may be comfortable and at ease in all things. However, none of these are purposes that people should attach to their belief in God. If you believe for these purposes, then your perspective is incorrect, and it is simply impossible for you to be perfected. God’s actions, God’s righteous disposition, His wisdom, His words, and His wondrousness and unfathomableness are all things people ought to understand. Having this understanding, you should use it to rid your heart of all personal demands, hopes, and notions. Only by eliminating these things can you meet the conditions demanded by God, and it is only by doing this that you can have life and satisfy God. The purpose of believing in God is to satisfy Him and to live out the disposition He requires, so that His actions and glory may be manifested through this group of unworthy people. This is the correct perspective for believing in God, and this is also the goal that you should seek. You should have the right viewpoint about believing in God and you should seek to obtain God’s words. You need to eat and drink God’s words and you must be able to live out the truth, and in particular you must be able to see His practical deeds, His wonderful deeds throughout the entire universe, as well as the practical work He does in the flesh. People can, through their practical experiences, appreciate just how God does His work on them and what His will is toward them. The purpose of all of this is to eliminate people’s corrupt satanic disposition. Having cast out all the uncleanliness and unrighteousness inside you, and having cast off your wrong intentions, and having developed true faith in God—only with true faith can you truly love God. You can only genuinely love God on the foundation of your belief in Him. Can you achieve love for God without believing in Him? Since you believe in God, you cannot be muddle-headed about it. Some people become full of vigor as soon as they see that faith in God will bring them blessings, but then lose all energy as soon as they see that they have to suffer refinements. Is that believing in God? Ultimately, you must achieve complete and utter obedience before God in your faith. You believe in God but still have demands of Him, have many religious notions you cannot put down, personal interests you cannot let go of, and still you seek blessings of the flesh and want God to rescue your flesh, to save your soul—these are all behaviors of people who have the wrong perspective. Even though people with religious beliefs have faith in God, they do not seek to change their dispositions and do not pursue knowledge of God, but rather seek only the interests of their flesh. Many among you have faiths that belong in the category of religious convictions; this is not true faith in God. To believe in God, people must possess a heart that is prepared to suffer for Him and the will to give themselves up. Unless people meet these two conditions, their faith in God is not valid, and they will not be able to achieve change in their disposition. Only people who genuinely pursue the truth, seek knowledge of God, and pursue life are those who truly believe in God.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement
Belief in God requires obedience to Him and experience of His work. God has done so much work—it could be said that for people it is all perfection, refinement, and even more, chastisement. There has not been a single step of God’s work that has been in line with human notions; what people have enjoyed is God’s stern words. When God comes, people should enjoy His majesty and His wrath. However, no matter how stern His words may be, He comes to save and perfect mankind. As creatures, people should fulfill the duties that they ought to, and stand witness for God in the midst of refinement. In every trial they should uphold the witness that they should bear, and do so resoundingly for the sake of God. A person who does this is an overcomer. No matter how God refines you, you remain full of confidence and never lose confidence in Him. You do what man should do. This is what God requires of man, and man’s heart should be able to fully return to Him and turn toward Him in every passing moment. This is an overcomer. Those whom God refers to as “overcomers” are those who are still able to stand witness and maintain their confidence and devotion to God when under the influence of Satan and while being laid siege to by Satan, that is, when they find themselves amidst the forces of darkness. If you are still able to keep a pure heart before God and maintain your genuine love for God no matter what, then you are standing witness in front of God, and this is what God refers to as being an “overcomer.” If your pursuit is excellent when God blesses you, but you retreat without His blessings, is this purity? Since you are certain that this way is true, you must follow it until the end; you must maintain your devotion to God. Since you have seen that God Himself has come to the earth to perfect you, you should give your heart entirely to Him. If you can still follow Him no matter what He does, even if He determines an unfavorable outcome for you at the very end, this is maintaining your purity in front of God. Offering a holy spiritual body and a pure virgin to God means keeping a sincere heart in front of God. For mankind, sincerity is purity, and the ability to be sincere toward God is maintaining purity. This is what you should put into practice. When you ought to pray, you pray; when you ought to gather together in fellowship, you do so; when you ought to sing hymns, you sing hymns; and when you ought to forsake the flesh, you forsake the flesh. When you perform your duty, you do not muddle through it; when you are faced with trials you stand firm. This is devotion to God.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. You Should Maintain Your Devotion to God
The most fundamental requirement of man’s belief in God is that he have an honest heart, and that he fully devote himself, and truly obey. What is hardest for man is to provide his whole life in exchange for true belief, through which he can gain the entire truth, and fulfill his duty as a creature of God. This is what is unattainable by those who fail, and it is even more unattainable by those who cannot find Christ. Because man is not good at wholly devoting himself to God, because man is not willing to perform his duty to the Creator, because man has seen the truth but avoids it and walks his own path, because man always seeks by following the path of those who have failed, because man always defies Heaven, thus, man always fails, is always taken in by Satan’s trickery, and is ensnared in his own net. Because man does not know Christ, because man is not adept at understanding and experiencing the truth, because man is too worshipful of Paul and too covetous of heaven, because man is always demanding that Christ obey him and ordering God about, thus those great figures and those who have experienced the vicissitudes of the world are still mortal, and still die amid God’s chastisement. All I can say of such people is that they die a tragic death, and that the consequence for them—their death—is not without justification. Is their failure not even more intolerable to the law of Heaven? The truth comes from the world of man, yet the truth among man is passed on by Christ. It originates from Christ, that is, from God Himself, and this is not something man is capable of. Yet Christ provides only the truth; He does not come to decide whether man will be successful in his pursuit of the truth. Thus it follows that success or failure in the truth is all down to man’s pursuit. Man’s success or failure in the truth has never had anything to do with Christ, but is instead determined by his pursuit. Man’s destination and his success or failure cannot be heaped upon the head of God, so that God Himself is made to bear it, because this is not a matter for God Himself, but is directly related to the duty that the creatures of God should perform.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks