The Standard for Attaining Salvation in Belief in God Is Achieving Obedience to God
Eating and Drinking God’s Word and Accepting the Judgment and Chastisement in God’s Word Is the Most Fundamental Practice of Obeying God’s Work
From where should we begin experiencing obedience to God? We become obedient to God by first experiencing and entering into the obedience of God’s work, from learning to obey God’s work, and then gradually become obedient to God. From where should we begin obeying God’s work? From eating and drinking God’s word and understanding God’s requirements for man, how people should believe in God, and how they should experience God’s work. There are requirements for all of these things in God’s word, and God’s word covers them in comprehensive detail. So, when you believe in God, the first thing you should do is eat and drink God’s word, and once you can see all of God’s requirements for believers in His word, remember these requirements in your heart so that you have a general impression of them, and then satisfy God according to these requirements. Practice however God requires, and prepare and gain entry however God requires. Learning first to obey God’s requirements is key. Some might say, “I have some obedience, but my obedience is not complete.” In these cases, don’t worry. Simply apply the strength you have and obey as much as you understand. There are some requirements that can only be satisfied once you achieve deeper life experience. Be obedient to the requirements that the depth of your life experience allows. When you understand the requirements in your life experience, if you feel it necessary to obey and practice in a certain way, then practice these requirements. Practice and enter into the requirements you are able to. First satisfy God in these requirements. Satisfying God in these requirements is the most basic entry into obeying God. Now, do you think there is a difference between acting according to God’s requirements and practicing the truth? The fact is that God’s requirements are also truths into which people should gain entry, but God’s requirements for people differ based on the shallowness or depth of their life experience. God’s requirements are simply all the aspects of the truth into which people should gain entry. If you practice and gain entry into some of God’s requirements and thereby gain understanding of some deeper truths, and then begin to practice these deeper requirements and truths, your entry into truths and God’s requirements will become progressively deeper, until you achieve entry into all of the truth. When you understand enough of the truth, when you possess some understanding and clarity on every aspect of the truth, your ability to practice the truth becomes more comprehensive and wider in scope. Once your ability to practice the truth becomes wide in scope, you will feel, “I have a human likeness, and I know how to practice in every aspect to satisfy God.” When this happens, you will feel yourself closer to God’s requirements and truths, that you can achieve them easily, that they are possible to achieve, that you enjoy practicing like this, that such practice gives you the likeness of a man, that you truly belong to God’s family, and that your practice of the truth has brought you closer in your relationship with God. When people become able to practice the truth in every aspect, for example being able to perform their duties according to God’s requirements, or being able to open up their hearts and speak intimately with God in prayer, in many things being able to escape the worldly, forsake the world, discern the great red dragon and Satan, being able to loathe Satan and the great red dragon, and being able to betray the great red dragon, when they are able to do these things, then they are closer to God. The more you despise Satan and the great red dragon, the closer your heart is to the truth and God. When you are able to completely hate all that God hates and love all that God loves, in your heart you will feel, “God is perfect, God is everything to me, and God’s word is my life.” When you can say those words, isn’t your relationship to God closer? How much closer is it? It’s to the point where “God’s words are in my heart, and God is in my heart.” So, the more you practice the truth, the more normal your relationship with God becomes. The more you practice the truth, the more normal humanity you can live out, and the more true likeness of a man you can live out. When you can satisfy God in every aspect of your practice of the truth, you will feel, “There is very little rebellion left in me, my corruption has basically been purified, and I belong purely to God.” When you read God’s word, you will know instantly how to practice, you will instantly understand. The moment you sing the hymns of God’s word, you will feel, “Wonderful, I enjoy this so much, this is my life.” The more you understand of God’s word, the more of your own deficiencies and imperfections you will be able to see, which will make your will to pursue the truth and yearning for God’s word ever larger. When you experience and pursue this way, once you pursue to a certain point, when others ask if you are obedient to God, you will be able to say, “I am.” “Why are you obedient to God?” “Because God’s word rules me, and I can practice every aspect of truth.” When someone has this reality in his heart, he is entirely clear on what kind of spiritual stature he possesses and how deep his entry into the truth is in every state. Once someone experiences enough of God’s work and gains enough entry into the truth to attain a certain spiritual stature, he knows clearly whether he is someone who has attained salvation. … There are several conditions required to enter the correct track of belief in God: first, being able to eat and drink God’s word; second, being able to understand the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and illumination as you eat and drink God’s word and to know how to practice the truth; third, knowing that believers are required to pursue the truth to attain salvation and that there are goals to be pursued in belief in God, as well as knowing the true significance of believing in God; fourth, being able to obey God’s work in your belief in God, and knowing that the way to practice, no matter what judgment, chastisement, pruning, dealing, trials, and refinements you undergo, is obedience to God’s work. Such people are the ones who have entered the correct track of belief in God. If those who have entered the correct track of belief in God are pursuers of truth, they have the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and as the Holy Spirit guides them through the experience of all kinds of trials and refinements, they will never feel discouraged or complain, and no matter what torment they suffer, they can still obey and satisfy God, and they can bear pain and continue to love God. People such as these can be perfected. If believers suffer too much in their trials and refinements, if they pursue the truth, they have been perfected. If believers experience too few trials and refinements, and bear too little suffering, they have not been perfected. Some may ask, “What is ‘too much suffering’? How can we achieve enough suffering?” We all live in the same world, so why do some believers suffer more and others less? What is the difference? Are there any mysteries here? An example would be if two people suffer the same pruning and dealing, who do you think would suffer more? The one who pursues the truth would suffer more. The more he pursues the truth, the more he must obey. He would think, “This person is pruning and dealing with me, so I mustn’t resist, argue, or react in anger. I must learn what God is teaching me.” Even though he knows to accept from God, there is still a rebellious disposition in his heart, and he still has self-respect and emotions, so he will be deeply hurt and tormented. He may be able to obey externally, but will he not suffer inside? The more he suffers, the more he needs to accept from God, reflect on where he is mistaken and corrupt, and seek the root of his corruption, why he makes such a mistake, and as he reflects and uses God’s word to examine himself, when he learns something, he has to practice the truth, which only makes his suffering more intense. Some might ask, “Then how does someone who doesn’t reflect or accept the truth suffer less?” By not reflecting, he is avoiding the problem and not applying effort to the truth. He can outwardly refuse to obey, resist, and respond in anger, just like the unbelievers, so there is less torment in his heart. He can respond in anger, resist, strike down his opponents, rebuke them with a few words, and feel that he is victorious, that he is not humiliated, which gives him consolation, and spares him torment. That’s how it works. This is why, as we experience God’s work, those who pursue the truth suffer increasing levels of torment. Those who do not pursue the truth avoid the problems and solve them using man’s methods. After that, their heart was released. Pursuers of truth see these as serious issues, and they experience God’s pruning and dealing. Those who do not pursue the truth think these are trifling affairs, simply matters of becoming agitated. They think, “I’ll deal with anyone who bothers me, and I won’t let them get the better of me.” To them, these are tiny issues not worthy of consideration, so they don’t feel such torment. There are some who read God’s word, see the judgment and chastisement within, and believe those words are directed at themselves, after which they are unable to sleep, reflect constantly on themselves, and cry tears of misery. But when someone who doesn’t pursue the truth reads God’s word, he believes the judgment and chastisement therein are directed at others, meaning he himself has no problems, so he doesn’t suffer as much. So, any who suffer more in their experience of God’s work are those who pursue the truth, and are people who can be perfected by God. Are you someone who suffers greatly or little in God’s word? If someone suffers little, why is that so? It is because he doesn’t pursue the truth or doesn’t apply God’s word to himself. He reads God’s word like a novel, taking in ten lines at a glance. He does it without thinking about it, just like the unbelievers. He reads God’s word without weighing it in his heart, so it has no effect. You can achieve no entry into the truth by reading God’s word this way. So, anyone who can’t eat or drink God’s words has not entered the correct path of belief in God. If you eat and drink God’s word without the slightest bit of suffering, then how do you think you can understand God’s word? If you still haven’t accepted God’s word into your heart, and don’t go through any suffering at all, how will you be perfected? Some people see that God’s word judges and chastises man, but think God’s word is judging others, not them. Such people can’t gain the truth. Some absurd people see the words of blessing and consolation for man in God’s word and apply these to themselves while applying the judgment and curses in God’s word to others. Such people are absurd. There are still others who read God’s word and assume that all the words of pruning, dealing, and judgment therein apply to themselves and no one else, and then become so negative that they are unable to stand up. That understanding is also mistaken, and results from being oversensitive and neurotic. God’s word applies to everyone, so believing it applies only to yourself and no others is an erroneous understanding. People either misunderstand one way or the other, but both misunderstandings are absurd comprehension. Now you should understand clearly how obedience to God is achieved and the process of life experience. At first, we must practice obeying God’s work. What are the manifestations of and ways to practice obedience to God’s work? Obeying and accepting the judgment, chastisement, pruning, dealing, trials, and refinement in God’s word and sincere suffering in God’s word are required for true entry into God’s word. Those who don’t suffer in God’s word are people who do not sincerely obey God’s work. How much suffering have you borne in God’s word? What has your suffering been? If you haven’t suffered any of the torment of God’s judgment, chastisement, pruning, dealing, trials, and refinement, if you feel God’s words aren’t in accord with your own notions and imaginings, and if you do nothing but formulate your own notions and condemn, resist, and reject, will you experience any suffering? Those who experience no suffering in God’s word are assured to have notions toward it and have resistance and rebellion within them. Doesn’t that fit with the facts? They may have more or less, but it is there. Perhaps there are people don’t suffer in God’s word because they aren’t interested in the truth and don’t enjoy reading God’s word. But if you aren’t interested in the truth and don’t enjoy reading God’s word, are you obeying God’s work? Are you experiencing God’s work? Isn’t believing like that deceiving God? You are simply a makeweight like this. So, where should we begin experiencing to become people who are obedient to God? From experiencing obedience to God’s work. Then how should we practice later in church life? Each time you read God’s word, first find the words by which you experience judgment and chastisement, then learn how to apply these words of judgment and chastisement to yourself, how to accept and obey them, and figure out what results they should achieve, in what passages of God’s word you experience pruning and dealing, and in what passages of God’s word you experience trials and refinement. Fellowship about your understanding of these passages, read these portions of God’s word until you understand them and allow them to have an effect, and then you will benefit and truly be able to find God’s will. This is being able to truly eat and drink God’s words. If you can only discuss the surface meaning after reading God’s word, and don’t experience any suffering at all in them, are you truly gaining anything at all? Is that the true effect of reading God’s word? If you don’t suffer anything at all in reading God’s word, and can only talk about the surface meaning, you are simply muddling through, and you are not experiencing God’s work. Such people aren’t able to eat and drink God’s word. As you eat and drink God’s word, how much do you suffer? How many tears do you cry? How much illumination and enlightenment do you receive? How much of God’s will do you discover? How much of your own corruption do you come to understand and your own deficiencies do you come to see? Do you achieve these effects? If you achieve all of these effects, then you are genuinely experiencing and obeying God’s work through eating and drinking God’s word. If you eat and drink God’s word and have no idea what you’ve experienced, and if someone asks you, “How have you experienced God’s judgment and chastisement in the last days? Fellowship about your testimony of your experience,” but eating and drinking God’s word has had absolutely no effect on you, where is your testimony of your experience? You lack the reality. When we began to experience God’s work, we saw the trials of service-doers, and when God judged and exposed the nature and essence of the great red dragon, we felt deeply tormented, as if our hearts were being crushed by a heavy weight, and none of us were able to avoid crying, the only difference is in how many tears each of us have shed. Have you had such an experience? If you read God’s word without crying or shedding tears, you aren’t experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement at all! Do you think obeying God’s work is easy? Without the experience of suffering, you aren’t genuinely obeying God’s work. Genuinely obeying God’s work requires a great deal of suffering. After you read a passage of God’s word, you’ll feel this or that line pierces deep into your heart, into the deepest reaches of your soul, so that you never forget it. Do you have such “thorns” in your heart? Have God’s words pricked you in this way? Have you had such an experience? Of the portions of God’s word you’ve read, which have pierced you most deeply and impacted you most heavily? Testify about such experience. Let your brothers and sisters hear your testimony of experiencing the judgment and chastisement of God’s words. If you have no such experience, then you aren’t able to write such testimony. Now, how does my fellowship today make you feel? Can such experience produce effect? If you lack this experience, you cannot attain salvation. If you can’t achieve the requirement of obeying God’s work as you eat and drink God’s word, everything you do is in vain, because this is where life experience begins, do you understand? So, are you capable of fellowshiping about your genuine life experience? Genuine life experience includes experiencing the judgment and chastisement in God’s words, it includes experiencing pruning and dealing, and it includes experiencing trials and refinement. If you possess all of this experience, then you are someone with life experience, but if you don’t, you lack life experience and you lack reality. This is absolutely undoubtable. This is a fact.
How is obedience to God’s work primarily manifested? In the acceptance of God’s judgment, chastisement, pruning, and dealing as one eats and drinks of God’s word. This is the most fundamental practice of obeying God’s work, and if you are unable to do it, bluntly put, you are someone who does not submit to or experience God’s work. If you do not submit to the judgment, chastisement, pruning, and dealing in God’s word, if you undergo not even a little trial and refinement through God’s word, how will you ever experience God’s work? And if you don’t experience God’s work, isn’t your claim to believe in God and experience God’s work meaningless? Do people like this exist? If you claim to experience God’s work without suffering even a little as you read God’s word, aren’t you lying to yourself? You are not submitting to God’s work, yet you claim to have already become someone who submits to God. Empty words. Where is your obedience to God? How do you practice it? In the time when God works, obedience to God’s work is obedience to God. Not submitting to God’s work is not obeying God. That is an immutable fact. So, what is the most fundamental way to practice obedience to God’s work? Accepting the judgment and chastisement in God’s word, accepting the pruning and dealing in God’s word, and accepting the trials and refinement in God’s word are the most fundamental manifestations of obeying God’s work. If you experience no suffering in God’s word, if you never apply God’s word to yourself as you eat and drink of it, then you are simply going through the motions, going through a process, as if you were reading a novel. You aren’t experiencing God’s work, and bluntly, you are an unbeliever. Will people like this ever attain salvation? Such people are fishing in troubled waters, purely makeweights. Within each period of time, we should stop and reflect on ourselves. Ask yourself, within this period, what you’ve gained, and what enlightenment and true understanding you’ve received through which portions of God’s word. These are things you should be clear about. Where does practicing obedience to God primarily start? By first practicing obedience to God’s work. Obedience to God’s work is primarily, as you eat and drink of God’s word, accepting God’s judgment and chastisement, pruning and dealing, and trials and refinement it contains. If you know how to experience trials and refinement through God’s word, how to accept the truth, how to satisfy God, and how to pray to God, then when you experience trials and refinement in practical life environments, you will be able to stand witness. Without the trials and refinement in God’s word, you will have no foundation upon which to experience trials and refinement in practical life environments. Some of God’s word reveals mankind’s corruption. Are such words not a judgment of mankind? Some words of God that curse or reveal what God loathes and condemns can bring us pain. Are these not words of chastisement? Words of judgment reveal man, words of chastisement condemn and curse man, so next to such words, mark in which of God’s words you receive judgment and chastisement, in which of God’s words you receive pruning and dealing, and in which of God’s words you receive trials and refinement. For example, among God’s words of condemnation, do you receive refinement? When you see such words, you will feel, “Oh no, I won’t receive salvation, God is cursing me, right here in God’s word it condemns me, this is the kind of person I am”; do you not receive refinement then? In God’s word you receive judgment, chastisement, trials, and refinement. From these, seek truth, come to understand your corrupt essence and wicked deeds, and then pray to God, and you’ll be able to accept and obey God’s judgment and chastisement, stand beside God and curse yourself and Satan, and then speak the words within your heart to God, make your request to be saved and purified by God, and for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. This way, when you eat and drink God’s words and submit to God’s work, you are in a state of communion with God. This is the sincerest form of prayer, which God hears, accepts, blesses, and makes come true. If you do not experience God’s work in God’s word, then your prayers are only words, prayers without heart, prayers which you muddle through, deceitful prayers. So, if you practice well in obedience of God’s work, you will gain true entry and can achieve results, which is a joyous step in your obedience of God’s work. Only those who can truly obey God’s work can truly obey God, and any who do not truly obey God’s work do not obey God, but rather resist and rebel against God. Why do we say this? Because when you eat and drink of God’s word but do not accept the judgment and chastisement therein, you are not obeying God’s work, and not practicing or entering according to God’s requirements, so you are resisting and betraying God. Are you not using the form of eating and drinking God’s words to deceive and resist God rather than accepting and submitting to the judgment, chastisement, pruning, dealing, trials, and refinement in God’s words? Are you not someone who resists God? And are such people not the most rebellious against God? How can such people ever claim that they submit to God? Are they not liars? So, if you do not submit to God’s work as you eat and drink God’s word, you are someone who resists God, someone who does not obey God at all. Then where is your practical obedience to God? Where is your obedience to God manifested? We could say that all those who eat and drink God’s words without achieving understanding of the truth and entry into its reality are people who resist and rebel against God. They are people who betray God, who do not belong to God at all. Isn’t this in accord with the facts? If you believe in God for years without gaining the reality of truth, even though you may not commit evil acts, are you truly obedient to God? Absolutely not, because you do not submit to God’s work. If you do not accept God’s judgment, chastisement, pruning, and dealing, how can you be someone who is obedient to God? How is your obedience to God manifested? Does it have a basis in God’s word?