Xiaotong Xuzhou City, Jiangsu Province
We often say that everything God does is salvation and love for man, but in reality we often deny this fact, not fully acknowledging or accepting it, and always contradict ourselves. When what God does is in conformity with our notions, we acknowledge that God saves man and loves man. But when what God does is not in conformity with our notions, we deny God’s love at once and are full of misunderstandings, complaints, and resistance against God. For example, in 1999, we thought that God’s work was about to be concluded and we would soon enter the kingdom, so we all felt ourselves to be the most blessed people in the world and said repeatedly that “God loves us so much.” But later when we heard that we still needed to experience the “seven-year trial,” we immediately had complaints within, thinking that God was purposely tormenting us to make us suffer, and so were very unwilling to accept it. When God places us in favorable circumstances to let us experience, we immediately say, “God loves us so much. He knows our small stature and is so thoughtful for us. He has really gone to a lot of trouble for saving us.” But when God places us in unfavorable circumstances to refine us, we resist in our hearts and complain that what God does is inhuman. When we read God’s words of comforting man and blessing man, we grin from ear to ear and say that God loves man so much. But when we read God’s words of judging man and cursing man, we say that God’s words are too stern and God does not have any intention to save man. And so on. In our real life, we express our naturalness capriciously. At one moment we say that God loves us so much, and at another we say that God is inhuman. At one moment we say that God has really gone to a lot of trouble for saving us, and at another we say that God is purposely tormenting us.
The reason why we have such capricious and ugly behavior is that we have no true knowledge of God’s substance of love. Let us read two passages of God’s fellowship about this: “What is the substance of Christ? The substance of Christ is love to man, and to those who follow him, it is infinite love. … Actually, regardless of his righteousness, or majesty, or the time his wrath burns, it is all because of his love that he saves man and carries out his management plan.” “What are the manifestations of God’s love for mankind when he is incarnated? In experiencing these many steps of work, you can see that in each step of God’s work and word, he adopts some ways, makes some prophecies, and expresses some truths and some of God’s disposition, and people have reactions to them all. What are people’s reactions? None of them is obedient to God, and none of them is to pursue the truth actively or accept God’s work willingly. All are to resist passively, to disobey, to refuse, and not to accept. Nevertheless, God persists in his work unswervingly and his love for mankind remains unchanged. Regardless of what people’s attitudes are, regardless of whether they refuse, or accept reluctantly, or change slightly, God’s love remains unchanged and the steps of his work have never been disrupted. This is one manifestation of his love. In addition, after each step of the work, no matter how people behave, God’s love for them remains unchanged, and he works and saves them continuously. … Whether people’s reactions have been passive or resistant, though people have such reactions to every step of the work, God has been speaking and working all the time. Up until now, God’s love for man has not changed. Therefore, all the work God does for man is love. Some people will say, ‘Since all is love, why does he judge and chastise man, as if he hates man so much? He even tried people and let people die!’ It is true that everything God does is love for man. God chastises and judges man’s disobedience in order that man will understand the truth, will repent and turn over a new leaf, and will know God’s disposition, thereby having fear of God and being obedient to God.” From God’s words we see that God’s substance is love. God’s six-thousand-year management plan exists because of his love, and every stage and every step of God’s work exists because of his love. Just because God’s substance is love, everything he does is the manifestation and expression of his love. Regardless of whether God bestows upon man grace and blessing or chastisement and judgment, regardless of whether God speaks words to comfort and exhort man or mercilessly expose and curse man, and regardless of what way God adopts to work or how long he works, everything God does is salvation and love for man, and God’s substance of loving man never changes. Take, for example, God’s work of chastisement and judgment at this stage. At the beginning, we all misunderstood God, thinking that God hated man and wanted to condemn man and eliminate man. Later through our experience, we came to realize that it is even greater salvation and love for man that God does so. Before we experienced God’s end-time work, we all believed in God for receiving blessings and grace. In that case, even if we received more grace and blessings from God, our inward disposition of resisting God and disobeying God could not be transformed, and we would still have to fall into God’s punishment in the end. Fortunately, God incarnated in the end time has done a work of chastisement and judgment. In God’s work of judgment and chastisement, we cannot see that God, as he was in the Age of the Grace, is full of love and mercy for man and forgives and satisfies man in everything, so that man receives rich grace and is full of peace, joy, and enjoyment. Nevertheless, in God’s stern words of judging, exposing, and cursing, we have gradually seen clearly the truth of our having been corrupted by satan, known our identity and position, known what sense we should possess before God and what attitude we should take toward the Creator. At the same time, we have also known why we believe in God, what to pursue and gain while believing in God, and we should not believe in God only for receiving blessings and grace. Thus, we gradually pursue toward the right goal, our relationship with God becomes closer and closer, we come nearer and nearer to God, and our disobedience and resistance against God also gradually decrease in God’s work of judgment. Hence, we see that God’s chastisement and judgment are greater love for us. Whether God gives man love and mercy or chastisement and judgment, and whether God speaks words of comfort or of judgment, everything God does is salvation and love for us.
Although in our experiencing God’s work, we are full of disobedience, resistance, misunderstandings, and complaints against God, God’s love for man remains unchanged, and he does the work of saving man all along. We have personally tasted and seen with our own eyes that the more God’s work is not in conformity with our notions, the better it can save us, and the deeper God’s love for us proves to be. For example, in 1999, when we thought that God’s work was about to be concluded, we all felt that we particularly loved God and cared for God’s intention, and that our faith, love, and obedience were almost the same as those of Abraham, Job, and Peter, or even exceeded theirs. It was as if everything was ready and all we needed to do was to wait to be “caught up.” Later, through the exposing of the “seven-year trial,” we gradually realized that the disobedience and mixture within us were really too much and too loathsome to God, and that we made efforts and expended ourselves simply to exchange them for the future pleasant destination and to avoid God’s punishment, yet we did not have any love and obedience to God. Then, we saw that there was no comparison at all between us and Peter, Abraham, and Job. Without such work of God, we would not have realized that we were actually so filthy, corrupt, and disobedient, and would have thought that we were already qualified to enter the kingdom. Without the exposing of such work of God, we would not have seen our contemptible and ugly behavior of pursuing for the sake of the day of God and for the sake of blessings, nor would we have realized that after believing in God for so many years, we had not in the least changed our viewpoint of pursuing, but still believed in God with our own intents and purposes, intending to make temporary efforts in exchange for God’s blessings, and were making a bargain with God, cheating God, and fooling God. Also, we would not have realized our maliciousness and lack of humanity. When our desire was shattered, we regretted our former efforts and spending, and even complained against God and judged God, wanting to settle accounts with God and make God compensate us for our losses in the years. Through God’s work which was not in conformity with our notions, we have gained some profound knowledge of our corruption, disobedience, and mixture within, and our viewpoint of believing in God has changed somewhat accordingly and our desire of gaining blessings and hoping for the day of God were no longer that strong. At the same time, we have seen God’s kind intention in saving man and God’s wisdom in doing the work. We have benefited tremendously. The “seven-year trial” has left deep print on us, and whenever we recall that unusual experience, we deeply feel that we are so disobedient and corrupted and also deeply feel God’s love and salvation for man.
Besides, from everything we encounter in the real life, we can also see that everything God does on us is love and is salvation. God says: “If you want to see God’s love and truly taste God’s love, you must go deep into reality and deep into real life, and see that everything God does is love, is salvation, is for the purpose of causing man to cast off the unclean things, and is for the purpose of refining the things within man that cannot satisfy God’s heart’s desire.” In our practical experience we can truly see that, though many things God does are not in conformity with our notions or do no good to our flesh, we can have some real gains after experiencing them. From this we see that everything God does is to purify, transform, and save us. For example, when God’s family transfers us to a church which is weak in every aspect and where a false christ has appeared to deceive people to take charge of the work, our first reaction within to these various difficulties is to escape, being unwilling to make efforts and take pains and let our flesh suffer. However, through encountering the things not in conformity with our notions, we know our various deficiencies and inadequacies, realize our nature of seeking ease and comfort and betraying God, and see that we are good for nothing, ugly, and contemptible. Only then do we have the resolution to forsake ourselves, and are we more willing to draw near to God, seek God, and rely on God in the unfavorable circumstances. Through cooperating with God practically in these circumstances, we gradually have discernment of the various fallacies of the false christs and use the corresponding truths to refute their heresies and fallacies. Thus we taste God’s almightiness and wisdom, have more and more knowledge of God, and realize more clearly the price God has paid and the love God has given to man for man to grow up in life. When we are confronted with straitened circumstances or the breakups of our families, though we suffer unendurable pain inside, we gain some true knowledge of ourselves through experiencing them practically. We see that our desire to pursue money and to care for the family and the flesh are so strong that we do not have the slightest will to pursue the truth and satisfy God. When facing a choice, we always choose the flesh and even forsake God to get those fleshly things. From this, we see that we are so selfish and contemptible and our inclination to forsake God is so strong, and then our desire to advance is stimulated. We begin to hate ourselves from our hearts, and are willing to drop those dark and evil things to pursue the truth and pursue to satisfy God. When the great red dragon’s persecution and pursuit confront us and the works in the church cannot be carried out properly and we cannot go home, our first reaction is to feel afraid, want to escape, worry over our future and destiny, and even complain that God has not cared for and kept us and let us encounter such circumstances. But through experiencing these matters that are not in conformity with our notions, we see that we are cowardly and weak, have no will and courage to overcome the evil forces, and even less have any love and care for God. We also see clearly the great red dragon’s ugly features of desperately persecuting God and hindering God’s work, realize that the great red dragon in substance is the devil hostile to God, and taste the sufferings and humiliations God has endured for the sake of saving us and the hardships God has undertaken in doing the work. Thus, our hatred toward the great red dragon and the will to pursue to satisfy God are aroused. Through experiencing the various kinds of circumstances that are not in conformity with our notions, we have gained some true knowledge of God and of ourselves and known what true love and obedience are, and the corrupt disposition within us has been gradually transformed. Hence, we see that everything God does is for saving us and is the truest and most real love.
In the man’s fellowship attached to Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers, it says: “God has too much loveliness, and you have to understand many truths to discover them. It is not easy for you to discover them on the surface of the matters, for you are too shortsighted and God’s love is usually hidden behind them. When you obey God to an extent, you will see that you have gained so much and then will feel this is God’s love. While you are suffering, you cannot discover God’s loveliness. You will see them only after you obey God and undergo painful refining. This is the natural course. Abraham could not see God’s loveliness from the time when God required him to offer Isaac to the time when he was ready to sacrifice him. He only wondered: why does God do so? He felt painful and had no choice but to obey God. He discovered God’s loveliness only after he obeyed God’s requirements and was blessed by God. When Job was tried, he only felt pain. He could not see God’s loveliness at that time either, yet he had no complaints. He could obey and praise God. When God appeared and said many words to him, he felt remorseful. And then he felt God’s loveliness.” From the fellowship we see that God’s love is usually hidden behind the matters and that one can see God’s love only when he obeys God to an extent. Abraham and Job, for example, discovered God’s loveliness after they obeyed God’s requirements and were blessed by God. However, we always measure everything God does according to our perspectives and notions, and always complain about, resist, and are unwilling to obey the circumstances that God arranges and that are not in conformity with our notions, so we cannot discover God’s loveliness in the matters we encounter and thus lose many fine opportunities to gain the truth and know God. If we experience like this to the end, we can only labor in vain and draw ruin upon ourselves. Hence, it is most crucial to learn to obey God in everything that we encounter. When we truly obey and accept everything from God, we will realize God’s loveliness and receive God’s blessings as Abraham and Job did. For when we truly obey in the circumstances God has arranged, God will particularly inspire and enlighten us through our practically relying on him and cooperating with him to let us see his love and his kind intention in saving us. The more actively we cooperate in everything God does, the more truths we will understand and the more knowledge of God’s substance we will have. When we truly know God’s substance of love, we will truly realize that everything God does is salvation and love for us indeed. Then, we will no longer misunderstand, complain against, or resist God. Although we cannot discern God’s work or many circumstances that God arranges, do not understand God’s intention, and do not know why God does this way, what God is going to perfect in us, and what results he is to achieve in us, we must believe that God never has evil intents toward us and that everything God does is for saving us, because God’s substance is love and everything he does is good and beautiful and kind. Therefore, facing everything God does, whether it is in conformity with our notions or not, we should absolutely obey and accept. Only thus can we gain more truths and have the hope of gaining the transformation of our disposition and being saved by God.