1. What knowing God is and what the significance is of knowing God

Relevant Words of God:

To believe in God and know God is ordained by Heaven and acknowledged by earth, and today—during an age when God incarnate is doing His work in person—is an especially good time to know God. Satisfying God is something that is achieved by building on the foundation of understanding God’s will, and in order to understand God’s will, it is necessary to have some knowledge of God. This knowledge of God is the vision that one who believes in God must have; it is the basis of man’s belief in God. In the absence of this knowledge, man’s belief in God would exist in a vague state, in the midst of empty theory. Even if it is the resolution of people like this to follow God, they will gain nothing. All those who gain nothing in this stream are the ones who will be eliminated—they are all freeloaders. Whichever step of God’s work you experience, you should be accompanied by a mighty vision. Otherwise, it would be difficult for you to accept each step of new work, because the new work of God lies beyond man’s capacity to imagine, and is outside the bounds of his conception. So, without a shepherd to tend to man, without a shepherd to engage in fellowship about visions, man is incapable of accepting this new work. If man cannot receive visions, then he cannot receive the new work of God, and if man cannot obey God’s new work, then man will be unable to understand God’s will, and so his knowledge of God will amount to nothing. Before man carries out the word of God, he must know the word of God; that is, he must understand God’s will. Only in this way can God’s word be carried out accurately and in accordance with God’s will. This is something that everyone who seeks the truth must possess, and it is also the process that everyone who tries to know God must undergo. The process of coming to know the word of God is the process of coming to know God and the work of God. So, knowing visions not only refers to knowing the humanity of God incarnate, but also includes knowing the word and the work of God. From the word of God people come to understand God’s will, and from the work of God they come to know God’s disposition and what God is. Belief in God is the first step to knowing God. The process of advancing from this initial belief in God to the most profound belief in Him is the process of coming to know God, the process of experiencing the work of God. If you only believe in God for the sake of believing in God, and not for the sake of coming to know Him, then there is no reality to your faith, and your faith cannot become pure—of this there is no doubt. If, during the process by which man experiences God’s work, he gradually comes to know God, then his disposition will gradually change, and his belief will become increasingly true. In this way, when man achieves success in his belief in God, he will have completely gained God. The reason why God went to such great lengths to become flesh for the second time to do His work in person was so that man would be able to know Him and to see Him. Knowing God[a] is the final effect to be achieved at the conclusion of God’s work; it is the last requirement God makes of mankind. The reason why He does this is for the sake of His final testimony; He does this work in order that man may finally and completely turn to Him. Man can only come to love God by knowing God, and to love God he must know God. No matter how he seeks, or what he seeks to gain, he must be able to achieve knowledge of God. Only in this way can man satisfy God’s heart. Only by knowing God can man have true faith in God, and only by knowing God can he truly revere and obey God. Those who do not know God will never arrive at true obedience and reverence of God. Knowing God includes knowing His disposition, understanding His will, and knowing what He is. Yet whichever aspect one comes to know, each one requires man to pay a price and requires the will to obey, without which no one would be able to continue following to the end.

Excerpted from “Only Those Who Know God Can Bear Testimony to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The lesson of knowing God is higher than any of the natural sciences of mankind. It is a lesson that can only be achieved by an extremely small number of those who seek to know God, and cannot be achieved by just any person of talent. So, you must not view knowing God and pursuing the truth as if they are things that could be achieved by a mere child. Perhaps you have been completely successful in your family life, or your career, or in your marriage, but when it comes to the truth and the lesson of knowing God, you have nothing to show for yourself and you have achieved nothing. Putting the truth into practice, it can be said, is of great difficulty for you, and knowing God is an even greater problem. This is your difficulty, and this is also the difficulty faced by the whole of mankind. Among those who have had some achievements in the cause of knowing God, there are almost none who are up to standard. Man does not know what it means to know God, or why it is necessary to know God, or to what degree one must attain in order to know God. This is what is so confounding to mankind, and it is quite simply the biggest riddle faced by mankind—no one is capable of answering this question, nor is anyone willing to answer this question, because, to date, no one among mankind has had any success in the study of this work. Perhaps, when the riddle of the three stages of work is made known to mankind, there will appear in succession a group of talented people who know God. Of course, I hope that is the case, and, furthermore, I am in the process of carrying out this work, and hope to see the appearance of more such talented people in the near future. They will become those who bear testimony to the fact of these three stages of work, and, of course, they will also be the first to bear testimony to these three stages of work. But nothing would be more distressing and regrettable than if such talented people do not emerge on the day that God’s work comes to an end, or if there are only one or two such people who have personally accepted being made perfect by God incarnate. However, this is only the worst case scenario. Whatever the case may be, I still hope that those who truly pursue can gain this blessing. Since the beginning of time, there has never before been work such as this; such an undertaking has never occurred in the history of human development. If you can truly become one of the first of those who know God, would this not be the highest honor among all creatures? Would any creature among mankind be more commended by God? Such work is not easy to achieve, but will ultimately still reap rewards. Regardless of their gender or nationality, all those who are capable of achieving the knowledge of God will, in the end, receive God’s greatest honor, and will be the only ones that possess the authority of God. This is the work of today, and it is also the work of the future; it is the last and highest work to be accomplished in 6,000 years of work, and it is a way of working that reveals each category of man. Through the work of causing man to know God, the different ranks of man are revealed: Those who know God are qualified to receive God’s blessings and accept His promises, while those who do not know God are unqualified to receive God’s blessings and accept His promises. Those who know God are the intimates of God, and those who do not know God cannot be called the intimates of God; the intimates of God can receive any of God’s blessings, but those who are not His intimates are not worthy of any of His work. Whether it be tribulations, refinement, or judgment, all these things are for the sake of allowing man to ultimately achieve a knowledge of God, and so that man may submit to God. This is the only effect that will ultimately be achieved. Nothing of the three stages of work is hidden, and this is advantageous to man’s knowledge of God, and helps man gain a more complete and thorough knowledge of God. All this work is of benefit to man.

Excerpted from “Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

God does the work of judgment and chastisement so that man may gain knowledge of Him, and for the sake of His testimony. Without His judgment of man’s corrupt disposition, man could not possibly know His righteous disposition, which brooks no offense, and nor would man be able to turn his old knowledge of God into a new one. For the sake of His testimony, and for the sake of His management, He makes His entirety public, thus enabling man, through His public appearance, to arrive at knowledge of God, to be transformed in his disposition, and to bear resounding testimony to God. The transformation of the disposition of man is achieved through many different kinds of God’s work; without such changes in his disposition, man would be unable to bear testimony to God and to be after God’s heart. The transformation of man’s disposition signifies that man has freed himself from Satan’s bondage and from the influence of darkness, and has truly become a model and specimen of God’s work, a witness of God, and one who is after God’s heart. Today, God incarnate has come to do His work on earth, and He requires that man achieve knowledge of Him, obedience to Him, testimony to Him, to know His practical and normal work, to obey all of His words and work which do not accord with the notions of man, and to bear testimony to all the work He does to save man, as well as all the deeds He accomplishes to conquer man. Those who bear testimony to God must have knowledge of God; only this kind of testimony is accurate and real, and only this kind of testimony can shame Satan. God uses those who have come to know Him through undergoing His judgment and chastisement, dealing and pruning, to bear testimony to Him. He uses those who have been corrupted by Satan to bear testimony to Him, and so too does He use those whose disposition has changed, and who have thus gained His blessings, to bear testimony to Him. He does not need man to praise Him with his mouth, nor does He need the praise and testimony of the ilk of Satan, who have not been saved by Him. Only those who know God are qualified to bear testimony to Him, and only those who have been transformed in their disposition are qualified to bear testimony to Him. God will not allow man intentionally to bring shame upon His name.

Excerpted from “Only Those Who Know God Can Bear Testimony to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

What does it mean to know God? It means being able to comprehend His joy, anger, sorrow, and happiness, and thus knowing His disposition—this is what it is to truly know God. You claim that you have seen Him, yet you do not understand His joy, anger, sorrow, and happiness and you do not understand His disposition. You also understand neither His righteousness nor His mercifulness, nor do you know what He likes or what He loathes. This is not knowledge of God. Therefore, some people can follow God but are not necessarily capable of truly believing in Him; herein lies the difference. If you know God, understand Him, and are able to comprehend some of His will, then you can truly believe in Him, truly submit to Him, truly love Him, and truly worship Him. If you do not understand these things, then you are just a follower who runs along and goes with the flow. That cannot be called true submission or true worship. How does true worship come about? Without exception, all who genuinely know God worship and revere Him whenever they see Him; they are all compelled to bow down and worship Him. At present, while God incarnate is at work, the more understanding people have of His disposition and of what He has and is, the more they will treasure these things and the more they will revere Him. Generally, the less understanding people have, the more careless they are, and so they treat God as human. If people really knew and saw God, they would tremble with fear. “He that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear”—why did John say this? Though deep down he did not have a very profound understanding, he knew that God is awe-inspiring. How many people these days are capable of revering God? If they do not know His disposition, then how can they revere God? People neither know Christ’s essence nor understand God’s disposition, much less are they able to truly worship God. If they see only the ordinary and normal outward appearance of Christ, yet do not know His essence, then it is easy for them to treat Christ as just an ordinary man. They may adopt an irreverent attitude toward Him and can cheat Him, resist Him, disobey Him, and cast judgment on Him. They can be self-righteous and not take His words seriously; they can even give rise to notions, condemnations, and blasphemy against God. To resolve these issues, one must know Christ’s essence and divinity. This is the main aspect of knowing God; it is what everyone who believes in the practical God must enter and achieve.

Excerpted from “How to Know God Incarnate” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days

What should you know about the practical God? The Spirit, the Person, and the Word make up the practical God Himself, and this is the true meaning of the practical God Himself. If you only know the Person—if you know His habits and personality—but do not know the work of the Spirit, or what the Spirit does in the flesh, and if you only pay attention to the Spirit, and the Word, and only pray before the Spirit, but do not know the work of God’s Spirit in the practical God, then this yet proves that you do not know the practical God. Knowledge of the practical God includes knowing and experiencing His words, and grasping the rules and principles of the work of the Holy Spirit and how the Spirit of God works in the flesh. It also includes knowing that every action of God in the flesh is governed by the Spirit, and that the words He speaks are the direct expression of the Spirit. Thus, to know the practical God, it is paramount to know how God works in humanity and in divinity; this, in turn, concerns the expressions of the Spirit, with which all people engage.

Excerpted from “You Should Know That the Practical God Is God Himself” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

As a creature of God, if you wish to perform the duty of a creature of God and understand the will of God, you must understand the work of God, you must understand God’s will for creatures, you must understand His plan of management, and you must understand all the significance of the work He does. Those who do not understand this are not qualified creatures of God! As a creature of God, if you do not understand where you came from, do not understand the history of mankind and all the work done by God, and, furthermore, do not understand how mankind has developed up to today, and do not understand who commands the whole of mankind, then you are incapable of performing your duty. God has led mankind up until today, and ever since He created man upon the earth He has never left him. The Holy Spirit never stops working, has never stopped leading mankind, and has never left mankind. But mankind does not realize that there is a God, much less does he know God. Is there anything more humiliating than this for all creatures of God? God personally leads man, but man does not understand the work of God. You are a creature of God, yet you do not understand your own history, and are unaware of who has led you on your journey, you are oblivious of the work done by God, and so you cannot know God. If you still do not know now, then you will never be qualified to bear testimony to God. Today, the Creator personally leads all people once again, and causes all people to behold His wisdom, almightiness, salvation, and wonderfulness. Yet you still do not realize or understand—are you not therefore the one who will not receive salvation? Those who belong to Satan do not understand the words of God, while those who belong to God can hear the voice of God. All those who realize and understand the words I speak are the ones who will be saved and who will bear testimony to God; all those who do not understand the words that I speak cannot bear testimony to God, and are the ones who will be eliminated. Those who do not understand God’s will and do not realize the work of God are incapable of achieving the knowledge of God, and such people cannot bear testimony to God. If you wish to bear testimony to God, then you must know God; the knowledge of God is accomplished through the work of God. All in all, if you wish to know God, then you must know God’s work: Knowing God’s work is of the utmost importance. When the three stages of work come to an end, there will be made a group of those who bear testimony to God, a group of those who know God. These people will all know God and will be able to put the truth into practice. They will possess humanity and sense, and will all know the three stages of God’s work of salvation. This is the work that will be accomplished at the end, and these people are the crystallization of the work of 6,000 years of management, and are the most powerful testimony to the ultimate defeat of Satan.

Excerpted from “Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Man experiences God’s work, comes to know himself, purges away his corrupt disposition, and seeks growth in life, all for the sake of knowing God. If you only seek to know yourself and to deal with your own corrupt disposition, but have no knowledge of what work God does upon man, of how great His salvation is, or of how you experience God’s work and witness His deeds, then this experience of yours is fatuous. If you think that one’s life has attained maturity just because one is able to put the truth into practice and to endure, this means that you have still not grasped the true meaning of life or God’s purpose in perfecting man. One day, when you are in the religious churches, among members of the Repentance Church or of the Life Church, you will come across many devout people, whose prayers contain “visions” and who, in their pursuit of life, feel touched and are guided by words. Furthermore, they are able in many matters to endure and to forsake themselves, and not to be led by the flesh. At that time, you will not be able to tell the difference: You will believe that everything they do is right, is the natural expression of life, and that it is a great pity that the name that they believe in is wrong. Are not such views foolish? Why is it said that many people have no life? Because they do not know God, and thus it is said that they have no God in their hearts, and have no life. If your belief in God has reached a point where you are capable of thoroughly knowing the deeds of God, the reality of God, and every stage of God’s work, then you are possessed of the truth. If you do not know the work and the disposition of God, then there is still something missing in your experience. How Jesus carried out that stage of His work, how this stage is being carried out, how God did His work in the Age of Grace and what work was done, what work is being done in this stage—if you do not have a thorough knowledge of these things, then you will never feel assured and you will always be insecure. If, after a period of experience, you are able to know the work done by God and every step of His work, and if you have gained thorough knowledge of God’s aims in speaking His words, and why so many words He has spoken have not been fulfilled, then you may boldly and without holding back pursue the road ahead, free from worry and refinement.

Excerpted from “Only Those Who Know God Can Bear Testimony to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Knowledge of God’s disposition and what He has and is can have a positive impact on people. It can help them have more confidence in God and help them achieve true obedience and fear for Him. Then, they will no longer blindly follow or worship Him. God does not want fools or those who follow a crowd blindly, but rather a group of people who have in their hearts a clear understanding and knowledge of God’s disposition and can act as God’s witnesses, people who, because of His loveliness, because of what He has and is, and because of His righteous disposition, would never abandon God. As a follower of God, if in your heart there is still a lack of clarity, or there is ambiguousness or confusion about God’s true existence, His disposition, what He has and is, and His plan to save mankind, then your faith cannot gain God’s praise. God does not want this type of person to follow Him, and He does not like this type of person coming before Him. Because this kind of person does not understand God, they are unable to give their heart to God—their heart is closed to Him, so their faith in God is full of impurities. Their following of God can only be called blind. People can only gain true belief and be true followers if they have true understanding and knowledge of God, which engenders within them true obedience and fear of God. Only in this way can they give their heart to God and open it up to Him. This is what God wants, because everything they do and think can withstand God’s test and can bear witness to God.

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

Coming to know the essence of God is no trifling matter. You must understand His disposition. In this way, you will, gradually and unknowingly, come to know the essence of God. When you have entered into this knowledge, you will find yourself stepping into a higher and more beautiful state. In the end, you will come to feel ashamed of your hideous soul, and, moreover, will feel that there is nowhere to hide from your shame. At that time, there will be less and less in your conduct to offend the disposition of God, your heart will come closer and closer to that of God, and a love for Him will gradually grow in your heart. This is a sign of mankind entering a beautiful state. But as yet, you have not attained this. As you all rush about for the sake of your destiny, who has any interest in trying to know the essence of God? Should this continue, you will unknowingly transgress against the administrative decrees, for you understand far too little of the disposition of God. So is not what you do now laying down a foundation for your offenses against the disposition of God? That I ask you to understand the disposition of God is not divorced from My work. For if you transgress against the administrative decrees often, who among you will escape punishment?

Excerpted from “It Is Very Important to Understand God’s Disposition” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

If you do not understand the disposition of God, then it will be impossible for you to do the work you should do for Him. If you do not know the essence of God, then it will be impossible for you to have reverence and fear toward Him; instead, there will be only heedless perfunctoriness and prevarication, and moreover, incorrigible blasphemy. Although understanding God’s disposition is indeed important, and knowing God’s essence cannot be overlooked, no one has ever thoroughly examined or delved into these issues. It is plain to see that you have all dismissed the administrative decrees I have issued. If you do not understand the disposition of God, then you will be very likely to offend His disposition. Offending His disposition is tantamount to provoking the ire of God Himself, in which case the ultimate fruit of your actions will be the violation of the administrative decrees. Now you should realize that when you know God’s essence, so too can you understand His disposition—and when you understand His disposition, so too will you have understood the administrative decrees. Needless to say, much of what is contained within the administrative decrees touches upon the disposition of God, but not all of His disposition is expressed within the administrative decrees; hence, you must go a step further in developing your understanding of God’s disposition.

Excerpted from “It Is Very Important to Understand God’s Disposition” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

If what people gain knowledge of and come to understand is God’s disposition and what He has and is, then what they gain will be life that comes from God. Once this life has been wrought inside you, your fear of God will become greater and greater. This is a gain that comes very naturally. If you do not want to understand or know about God’s disposition or His essence, if you do not even want to ponder over or focus on these things, I can tell you with certainty that the way you are currently pursuing your faith in God can never allow you to meet His will or gain His praise. More than that, you can never truly attain salvation—these are the final consequences. When people do not understand God and do not know His disposition, their hearts can never truly open up to Him. Once they have understood God, they will begin to appreciate and savor what is in His heart with interest and faith. When you appreciate and savor what is in God’s heart, your heart will gradually, bit by bit, open up to Him. When your heart opens up to Him, you will feel how shameful and contemptible your exchanges with God, your demands of God, and your own extravagant desires were. When your heart truly opens up to God, you will see that His heart is such an infinite world, and you will enter into a realm you have never experienced before. In this realm there is no cheating, there is no deception, there is no darkness, and no evil. There is only sincerity and faithfulness; only light and rectitude; only righteousness and kindness. It is full of love and care, full of compassion and tolerance, and through it you feel the happiness and joy of being alive. These things are what God will reveal to you when you open up your heart to Him. This infinite world is full of God’s wisdom and omnipotence; it is also full of His love and His authority. Here you can see every aspect of what God has and is, what brings Him joy, why He worries and why He becomes sad, why He becomes angry…. This is what every single person can see who opens up their heart and allows God to come in. God can only come into your heart if you open it up to Him. You can only see what God has and is, and you can only see His intentions for you, if He has come into your heart. At that time, you will discover that everything about God is so precious, that what He has and is is so worthy of treasuring. Compared to that, the people who surround you, the objects and events in your life, and even your loved ones, your partner, and the things you love, are hardly worth mentioning. They are so small, and so lowly; you will feel that no material object will ever be able to draw you in again, or that any material object will ever again be able to entice you to pay any price for it. In God’s humility you will see His greatness and His supremacy. Moreover, you will see in some deed of God that you previously believed to be quite small His infinite wisdom and His tolerance, and you will see His patience, His forbearance, and His understanding of you. This will engender in you an adoration for Him. On that day, you will feel that mankind is living in such a filthy world, that the people by your side and the things that happen in your life, and even those you love, their love for you, and their so-called protection or their concern for you are not even worth mentioning—only God is your beloved, and it is only God that you treasure the most. When that day comes, I believe that there will be some people who say: God’s love is so great, and His essence is so holy—in God there is no deceit, no evil, no envy, and no strife, but only righteousness and authenticity, and everything that God has and is should be longed for by humans. Humans should strive for and aspire to it. On what basis is mankind’s ability to achieve this built? It is built on the basis of their understanding of God’s disposition, and their understanding of God’s essence. So understanding God’s disposition and what He has and is, is a lifelong lesson for every person; this is a lifelong goal pursued by every person who strives to change their disposition, and strives to know God.

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

“Fearing God and shunning evil” and knowing God are indivisibly connected by a myriad threads, and the connection between them is self-evident. If one wishes to attain to shunning evil, one must first have real fear of God; if one wishes to attain to real fear of God, one must first have real knowledge of God; if one wishes to attain to knowledge of God, one must first experience God’s words, enter into the reality of God’s words, experience God’s chastening and discipline, His chastisement and judgment; if one wishes to experience God’s words, one must first come face to face with God’s words, come face to face with God, and ask God to provide opportunities to experience God’s words in the form of all sorts of environments involving people, events, and objects; if one wishes to come face to face with God and with God’s words, one must first possess a simple and honest heart, readiness to accept the truth, the will to endure suffering, the resolution and the courage to shun evil, and the aspiration to become a genuine created being…. In this way, going forward step by step, you will draw ever closer to God, your heart will grow ever more pure, and your life and the value of being alive will, in the wake of your coming to know God, grow ever more meaningful and wax ever more radiant. Until, one day, you will feel that the Creator is no longer a riddle, that the Creator has never been hidden from you, that the Creator has never concealed His face from you, that the Creator is not at all far from you, that the Creator is no longer the One that you constantly long for in your thoughts but that you cannot reach with your feelings, that He is really and truly standing guard to your left and right, supplying your life, and controlling your destiny. He is not on the remote horizon, nor has He secreted Himself high up in the clouds. He is right by your side, presiding over your all, He is everything that you have, and He is the only thing you have. Such a God allows you to love Him from the heart, cling to Him, hold Him close, admire Him, fear to lose Him, and be unwilling to renounce Him any longer, disobey Him any longer, or any longer to evade Him or put Him at a distance. All you want is to care for Him, obey Him, requite all that He gives you, and submit to His dominion. You no longer refuse to be guided, provided for, watched over, and kept by Him, no longer refuse what He dictates and ordains for you. All you want is to follow Him, to be around Him in His company; all you want is to accept Him as your one and only life, to accept Him as your one and only Lord, your one and only God.

Excerpted from “Knowing God Is the Path to Fearing God and Shunning Evil” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Footnotes:

a. The original text reads “The work of knowing God.”

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