153. The Principles of Choosing a Path of Belief in God
1. In your belief in God, you should obey God’s work, and choose to walk Peter’s path of pursuing the truth and being perfected. You must never walk Paul’s path of the antichrist;
2. In your belief in God, you should follow closely and obey the leadership and shepherding of the man used by the Holy Spirit. Never follow false leaders or antichrists into walking the path of defying God;
3. In your belief in God, you should follow only God. It would be better to render service to God than live within the evil trends of the world, dragging out an ignoble life and becoming a filthy demon;
4. In your belief in God, you should choose the correct path according to God’s words. Only by living by God’s words and the truth can you be human. Never live by satanic philosophies or fallacies.
Relevant Words of God:
From the difference in the substances of Peter and Paul you should understand that all those who do not pursue life labor in vain! You believe in God and follow God, and so in your heart you must love God. You must cast aside your corrupt disposition, must seek to fulfill God’s desire, and 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 destiny. Since you are a person that 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 must not overstep your duty. This is not to constrain you, or to suppress you through doctrine, but is the path through which you can perform your duty, and can be achieved—and should be achieved—by all those who do righteousness. If you compare the substances of Peter and Paul, then you will know how you should seek. Of the paths walked by Peter and Paul, one is the path of being made perfect, and one is the path of elimination; Peter and Paul represent two different paths. Though each received the work of the Holy Spirit, and each gained the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and each accepted that which had been entrusted to them by the Lord Jesus, the fruit borne in each was not the same: One truly bore fruit, and the other did not. From their substances, the work that they did, that which was outwardly expressed by them, and their final ends, you should understand which path you should take, which path you should choose to walk upon. … Those who seek to love God should not seek any personal benefits or that which they personally long for; this is the most correct means of pursuit. If what you seek is the truth, what you put into practice is the truth, and what you attain is a change in your disposition, then the path that you tread is the right one. If what you seek is the blessings of the flesh, and what you put into practice is the truth of your own conceptions, and if there is no change in your disposition, and you are not at all obedient to God in the flesh, and you still live in vagueness, then what you seek will surely take you to hell, for the path that you walk is the path of failure. Whether you will be made perfect or eliminated depends on your own pursuit, which is also to say that success or failure depends on the path that man walks.
from “Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
What road are you all taking now? If you have not reached a pursuit of life, of understanding of yourself, or of God like Peter’s, then that is still not Peter’s path. Right now most people are in this kind of state: “In order to gain blessings I must expend myself for God and pay a price for Him. In order to gain blessings I must abandon everything for God; I must complete what He has entrusted me with and perform my duty well.” This is dominated by the intention to be blessed; it is expending oneself entirely for the purpose of gaining God’s rewards, for gaining the crown. This kind of person does not have the truth in his heart, and surely just understands some words of doctrine which he shows off everywhere. His path is the path of Paul. This type of person’s belief in God is an act of constant work, and in his mind he feels that the more he does, the more it will prove he is loyal to God, that the more he does the more God will certainly be satisfied, and that the more he does the more he deserves to gain the crown in front of God, and he will certainly receive the greatest blessings in the house of God. He feels that if he can endure suffering, preach, and die for Christ, if he can disregard his own life, and if he can complete all of the duties God entrusted him with, then he will be God’s most blessed person, one who gains the greatest blessings, and he will certainly receive the crown. This is exactly what Paul imagined and what he pursued; this is exactly the path that Paul walked, and it was under the guidance of these thoughts that Paul worked to serve God. … At the time, Paul did not feel it was wrong to walk down that path. He fully believed that it was correct, but he didn’t have the truth and he particularly didn’t have a change in disposition. He believed too much in himself and felt that there was not the slightest issue with going that way. He continued on full of confidence and with the utmost self-assurance. By the end, he never came to his senses, still thinking that for him to live was Christ. He continued going that way until the end…. Paul’s path did not involve knowing oneself or pursuit of a change in disposition. He never dissected his own nature and he had no knowledge of what he was; he just knew that he was the chief culprit in the persecution of Jesus. He had not had the slightest understanding of his own nature, and after finishing his work he felt that he was Christ and should be rewarded. The work that Paul did was just rendering service for God. For him personally, though he received some revelations from the Holy Spirit, he had no truth or life at all. He was not saved by God—he was punished. Why is it said that Peter’s path is the path of being perfected? Because in his practice he particularly focused on life, he pursued understanding of God, and he focused on understanding himself. Through his experience of God’s work he came to know himself, gained understanding of man’s corrupt states, knew his shortcomings, and what the most valuable thing for man to pursue was. He was able to sincerely love God, knew how to repay God, he obtained some truth, and he had the reality that God requires. From all the things that he said during his trials, it can be seen that Peter was indeed the one with the most understanding of God. Because he understood so much truth from the words of God, his path became brighter and brighter and more and more in alignment with God’s will. If he had not had this truth, then he would not have been able to go along such a correct path.
from “How to Take the Path of Peter” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Peter sought to live out the image of one who loves God, to be someone who obeyed God, to be someone who accepted dealing and pruning, and to be someone who fulfilled his duty as a creature of God. He was able to devote himself to God, to put the entirety of himself in the hands of God, and obey Him until death. That was what he resolved to do and, furthermore, that was what he achieved. This is the fundamental reason why finally his end was different to that of Paul. The work that the Holy Spirit did in Peter was to make him perfect, and the work that the Holy Spirit did in Paul was to use him. That is because their natures and their views toward pursuit were not the same. Both had the work of the Holy Spirit. Peter applied this work to himself, and also provided it to others; Paul, meanwhile, only provided the entirety of the work of the Holy Spirit to others, and gained nothing from it himself. In this way, after he had experienced the work of the Holy Spirit for so many years, the changes in Paul were close to non-existent. He still remained almost in his natural state, and was still the Paul of before. It’s merely that after enduring the hardship of many years of work, he had learned how to work, and had learned endurance, but his old nature—his highly competitive and mercenary nature—still remained. After working for so many years, he did not know his corrupt disposition, nor had he rid himself of his old disposition, and it was still clearly visible in his work. In him there was merely more work experience, but such little experience alone was incapable of changing him, and could not alter his views about existence or the significance of his pursuit. Though he worked many years for Christ, and never again persecuted the Lord Jesus, in his heart there was no change in his knowledge of God. Which means that he did not work in order to devote himself to God, but was, rather, compelled to work for the sake of his future destination. For, in the beginning, he persecuted Christ, and did not submit to Christ; he was inherently a rebel who deliberately opposed Christ, and someone who had no knowledge of the work of the Holy Spirit. At the conclusion of his work, still he did not know the work of the Holy Spirit, and merely acted of his own accord pursuant to his own nature, without paying the slightest attention to the will of the Holy Spirit. And so his nature was in enmity to Christ and did not obey the truth. Someone like this, who had been forsaken by the work of the Holy Spirit, who did not know the work of the Holy Spirit, and who also opposed Christ—how could such a person be saved? Whether or not man can be saved does not depend on how much work he does, or how much he devotes, but is instead determined by whether or not he knows the work of the Holy Spirit, whether or not he can put the truth into practice, and whether or not his views toward pursuit are in conformity with the truth. Although natural revelations did occur after Peter began to follow Jesus, in nature he was, from the very beginning, someone who was willing to submit to the Holy Spirit and seek after Christ. His obedience of the Holy Spirit was pure: He did not seek fame and fortune, but was instead motivated by obedience to the truth.
from “Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
7. In work and matters of the church, apart from obeying God, in everything you should follow the instructions of the man who is used by the Holy Spirit. Even the slightest infraction is unacceptable. You must be absolute in your compliance, and must not analyze right or wrong; what’s right or wrong has nothing to do with you. You must only concern yourself with total obedience.
from “The Ten Administrative Decrees That Must Be Obeyed by God’s Chosen People in the Age of Kingdom” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Peter … said, “Even though I live amid Your chastisement, and amid Your judgment, regardless of the hardship that entails, still I am unwilling to live under the domain of Satan, still I am unwilling to suffer Satan’s trickery. I take joy from living amid Your curses, and am pained by living amid the blessings of Satan. I love You by living amid Your judgment, and this brings me great joy. Your chastisement and judgment is righteous and holy; it is in order to cleanse me, and even more to save me. I would prefer to spend my entire life amid Your judgment to be under Your care. I am unwilling to live under Satan’s domain for a single moment; I wish to be cleansed by You, to suffer hardship, and am unwilling to be exploited and tricked by Satan. I, this creature, should be used by You, possessed by You, judged by You, and chastised by You. I should even be cursed by You. My heart rejoices when You are willing to bless me, for I have seen Your love. You are the Creator, and I am a creature: I should not betray You and live under the domain of Satan, nor should I be exploited by Satan. I should be Your horse, or ox, instead of living for Satan. I’d rather live amid Your chastisement, without physical bliss, and this would bring me enjoyment even if I were to lose Your grace. Though Your grace is not with me, I enjoy being chastised and judged by You; this is Your best blessing, Your greatest grace. Though You are always majestic and wrathful toward me, still I am incapable of leaving You, still I cannot love You enough. I’d prefer to live in Your home, I’d prefer to be cursed, chastised, and smitten by You, and am unwilling to live under the domain of Satan, nor am I willing to rush and busy about only for the flesh, much less am I willing to live for the flesh.” Peter’s love was a pure love. This is the experience of being made perfect, and is the highest realm of being made perfect, and there is no life that is more meaningful. He accepted God’s chastisement and judgment, he treasured God’s righteous disposition, and nothing about Peter was more precious. He said, “Satan gives me material enjoyments, but I do not treasure them. God’s chastisement and judgment comes upon me—in this I am graced, in this I find enjoyment, and in this I am blessed. Were it not for God’s judgment I would never love God, I would still live under the domain of Satan, would still be controlled by it, and commanded by it. If that were the case, I would never become a real human being, for I would be incapable of satisfying God, and would not have devoted my entirety to God. Even though God does not bless me, leaving me without comfort inside, as if a fire is burning within me, and with no peace or joy, and even though God’s chastisement and discipline is never apart from me, in God’s chastisement and judgment I am able to behold His righteous disposition. I take delight in this; there is no more valuable or meaningful thing in life. Though His protection and care have become ruthless chastisement, judgment, curses and smiting, still I take enjoyment in these things, for they can better cleanse me, can change me, can bring me closer to God, can make me more able to love God, and can make my love of God purer. This makes me able to fulfill my duty as a creature, and takes me before God and away from the influence of Satan, so that I no longer serve Satan. When I do not live under the domain of Satan, and am able to devote everything I have and all that I can do to God, without holding anything back—that will be when I am fully satisfied. It is God’s chastisement and judgment that has saved me, and my life is inseparable from God’s chastisement and judgment. My life on earth is under the domain of Satan, and were it not for the care and protection of God’s chastisement and judgment, I would have always lived under the domain of Satan, and, moreover, I would not have had the opportunity or means to live out a life of meaning. Only if God’s chastisement and judgment never leaves me, will I be able to be cleansed by God. Only with the harsh words and righteous disposition of God, and God’s majestic judgment, have I gained supreme protection, and lived in the light, and gained the blessings of God. To be able to be cleansed, and free myself from Satan, and live under the dominion of God—this is the greatest blessing in my life today.” This is the highest realm experienced by Peter.
from “The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
What you eat and wear is different to them; you enjoy the words of God, and lead a life of meaning—and what do they enjoy? They enjoy only the legacy of their ancestors and the “national spirit.” They have not the slightest trace of humanity! Your clothes, words, and actions are all different from theirs. Ultimately, you will completely leave the filth, no longer be ensnared in the temptation of Satan, and gain God’s daily provision. You should always be cautious. Though you live in a filthy place you are untainted with filth and can live alongside God, receiving His great protection. You have been chosen among all on this yellow land. Aren’t you the most blessed people? As a created being, you should of course worship God and pursue a meaningful life. If you don’t worship God and live in the filthy flesh, then aren’t you just a beast in human attire? As a human being, you should expend for God and endure all suffering. You should gladly and assuredly accept the little suffering you are subjected to today and live a meaningful life, like Job, like Peter. In this world, man wears the devil’s clothing, eats food given by the devil, and works and serves under the devil’s thumb, becoming trampled in its filth. If you don’t grasp the meaning of life or the true way, then what is the point of your life? You are people who pursue the right path, those who seek improvement. You are people who rise up in the nation of the great red dragon, those whom God calls righteous. Isn’t that the most meaningful life?
from “Practice (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Only if one knows God and has the truth does he live in the light; and only when his view of the world and his view of life change does he change fundamentally. When he has a life goal and comports himself according to the truth; when he absolutely submits to God and lives by God’s word; when he feels assured and brightened deep in his soul; when his heart is free of darkness; and when he lives completely freely and unrestrained in God’s presence—only then does he live a true human life and become a person possessing truth. Besides, all the truths you have are from God’s word and from God Himself. The Ruler of the entire universe and all things—God Most High—approves of you, as a real man living the true human life. What could be more meaningful than this? Such is a person who has the truth. In the current world under Satan’s domain, throughout the thousands of years of human history, who has obtained life? Nobody. Why is that? They are all people who have resisted God. Everything by which they have lived their lives and survived comes from Satan and was accepted from Satan and is precisely in opposition to God’s word. So, they are beings who resist God, who suffer His cursing, and they have no life to speak of. Even though they want to “leave a lasting reputation,” “have their names passed down for a hundred generations,” “enjoy eternal glory,” and “have an everlasting name,” this is all nonsense. In fact, they were cursed by God early on, never to be reincarnated. The words of the famous, whatever they are, fundamentally do not hold with God, and all are punished in the eighteenth level of hell after they die. Only God is the truth. God controls the heavens and earth and everything in them and has dominion over all. Not to believe in God, not to submit to God is to be unable to obtain truth. If you live according to God’s word, you will feel a clarity, stability, and incomparable sweetness in the depths of your heart; you will have truly obtained life. No matter how great the scientific achievements of scientists in the world, when they near death they feel empty-handed; they have obtained nothing. Even Einstein and Newton, with so much knowledge, felt empty, and that’s because they did not have truth. Newton and Galileo, in particular, both believed in God and were Christians; they were persecuted by Catholicism, but they did not seek truth. They only knew it was good to worship God. They merely studied science and discovered that there really is a God, and they believed in God to the end, ending up with a one hundred percent conviction that God exists and a one hundred percent conviction that He created the heavens and earth and all things. They only sought scientific knowledge and did not seek to know God. They did not obtain truth, and they did not obtain true life. The path you walk today is not their path. What you seek is to know God, how to submit to God, how to worship God, how to live out a meaningful life—completely different from what they sought. Now, the incarnate God has told you of every aspect of truth and bestowed upon you the way of truth and life. It would be foolish for you not to seek truth.
from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks
The Man’s Fellowship:
Believing in God, one should only pursue the truth according to God’s word and act by following God’s word and by relying on the truth, and he must not listen to people; he should only obey God’s work, and he must not obey the false leaders and antichrists; and he should only accept the guidance and supply of the man used by the Holy Spirit, and he must not be subject to the constraint and control of anyone. This is the way to enter onto the right track of believing in God. Only by believing in God this way can one obtain the truth and God’s salvation. Without a doubt, this is the successful way to believe in God.
Leaders and workers at various levels in the church and God’s chosen people must obey the guidance and arrangement of the man used by the Holy Spirit. If a leader or worker cannot obey the guidance of the man used by the Holy Spirit and refuses to accept the work arrangements from the above, this reveals that his intention is improper, and the path he takes is certainly wrong. If anyone cannot treat the man used by the Holy Spirit properly, he will not be able to obey God’s work. If anyone disagrees with or acts against the man used by the Holy Spirit, it shows that his disposition is not good. This is a dangerous signal. This is how false leaders and antichrists arise. Only by following the work arrangements of the man used by the Holy Spirit to serve God can we serve God in accordance with His will. This is the right way to serve God. If a person does not obey the guidance and arrangement of the man used by the Holy Spirit, it is enough to show that he is ambitious, arrogant, and conceited, he is doing something else, and he has taken the wrong path and has already embarked on the path of the antichrist. This is certain. …
God’s chosen people must understand that those who obey the guidance and shepherding of the man used by the Holy Spirit are amidst God’s management. All those who reject, resist and stay detached from the guidance and shepherding of the man used by the Holy Spirit are not amidst God’s management but in the satanic independent kingdoms. Therefore, whether or not one can obey the guidance and shepherding of the man used by the Holy Spirit involves the question of whether he is amidst God’s management, whether or not he has the Holy Spirit’s work and whether he can be saved. It is not a minor issue.
from “Look at the Paths That Various Kinds of People Take When God Does His Final Winnowing Work” in Selected Annals of the Work Arrangements of The Church of Almighty God