In what we have just read of the word of God, it is said: “When it comes to the word ‘judgment,’ you will think of the words that Jehovah spoke to all the places and the words of rebuke that Jesus spoke to the Pharisees. Though these words are stern, they are not God’s judgment of man; these words are only those spoken by God within different environments, that is, different settings.” In the age of grace, the Lord Jesus spoke these words in accordance with different environments and settings. These words in their outward appearance were a rebuke and also quite stern and were also very thorough in what they exposed, so why are they not words of judgment of man? Why? Can you understand this? Some say it’s because He did not bring forth the truth in all its aspects to elucidate it to man. This is the case. He did not deliver the truth, and only spoke to rebuke. He only spoke some stern words of rebuke, which did not reveal the truth, nor expose the substance of people’s corrupt nature. These words did not achieve the result of cleansing or saving people, so it is not called judgment. Looking at it on the surface, they are also words of judgment, and all the words of God bear the fruit of judgment. However, looking at it from God’s perspective, this is not the case, for if the truth has not been delivered then it cannot be called judgment. Rather, only the words that express the truth and can purify and perfect man can be considered words of judgment. Do you understand now? When we bear witness to God’s work of judgment in the last days for religious people, those religious people say, “We too have experienced the judgment of God. You see that the words spoken by the Lord Jesus are all very strict, and especially the words rebuking the Pharisees; we have also experienced them, so we have already experienced God’s judgment, and thus we are qualified to be lifted up into the heavenly kingdom!” Religious people hold onto this kind of talk, and try to refute us, and they do not accept our bearing of witness. If we were to communicate to them with crystal clarity what real judgment is, then it would be easy for them to investigate the true way. Isn’t that so? If this truth isn’t communicated with crystal clarity, that is not acceptable! We will speak of what is called judgment on the basis of the word of God, and we will not explain it relying arbitrarily on people’s notions and imagination. We should accept what God’s word says about it. God says, “… and they are unlike the words spoken by Christ as He judges man in the last days. In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, reveal the essence of man, and dissect his words and deeds. These words comprise various truths, such as man’s duty, how man should obey God, how man should be loyal to God, how man ought to live out the normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and disposition of God, and so on. These words are all focused on the essence of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, those words that reveal how man spurns God are spoken in regard to how man is an embodiment of Satan and an enemy force against God.” Only words such as these can genuinely be the judgment of God. Do you now understand what judgment is? In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus also said some words that were in rebuke of the Pharisees or were relatively severe. Why were those words not judgment, why are only the words spoken by Christ in the last days judgment? You must see this matter clearly. Furthermore, when Christ in the last days expresses the truth to do the work of judgment, in what aspects does it attain results? One must also look at it on the basis of its results.
Let us look again at God’s word: “When God does the work of judgment, He does not simply make clear the nature of man with just a few words, but carries out revelation, dealing, and pruning over the long term. Such manner of revelation, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words but with the truth that man does not possess at all. Only such manner of work is deemed judgment.” What kind of words are the words of judgment? They “cannot be substituted with ordinary words but with the truth that man does not possess at all.” How is this truth delivered? It is when exposing humanity’s corruption and the essence of humanity’s nature that God issues forth the truth. So, the truth of God’s word is only issued at the time of judging humanity, and at a time of not judging humanity the truth is not issued. One point is that the words of judgment are substituted with the truth that people fundamentally do not have, and only the words that express the truth are called judgment. Only the words that express the truth are the words of judgment, and this is one aspect. Furthermore, one must also rely on the result reached by God in doing the work of judgment to determine what, after all, judgment is. In everything God does, there is a result. Since these words have come out of God’s mouth, they must all be fulfilled, they must all be honored, they must all reach their result. So, ultimately God’s work of judgment is completely fulfilled and honored upon a group of people who have genuinely attained cleansing and have been perfected. This is the result that God’s work reaches. If this result is achieved, then it proves that the work done by God is the work of judgment and chastisement, for only the work of judgment and chastisement can genuinely save and perfect people. Now, there are many people who accept God’s judgment and chastisement, and they all understand something of the truth. There is a group of people who have begun to have a change in their life disposition, and what is this change? They do not come up with notions about anything God does. However God prunes and deals with them, however He judges and chastises them, or even if He asks them to die, they see this all without any complaint, without any notions, and without any resistance. Isn’t this the initial change? You see there are some people whom brothers and sisters blame and prune and deal with, and they have not resisted. Even though their knowledge is not thorough and in their hearts they have some feeling of being wronged, they do not speak words of resistance nor utter complaints. Isn’t this a little bit of a change? In doing their duty, they will obey any arrangement, they do not discuss their own reasoning. Isn’t this also a bit of a change? You see that there is a small number of people who speak the truth a lot when they talk and their lies are getting fewer and fewer. Unless it’s a special context they wouldn’t lie. Isn’t this a change? All this is the beginning of change. Additionally, when I touch upon some important points and key words when preaching a sermon, there are some people who pay particular attention to them and hurry to make note of them, saying, “These words are really edifying for me, and when I hear them I gain benefit, and I must record them down, I can’t just hear it and then forget all about it!” They place relatively greater importance on seeking the truth. Once anyone communicates a bit of the reality of the truth they hurry to record it; aren’t they beginning to exert themselves toward the truth? These are all changes, they are all different results achieved by experiencing the judgment and chastisement. It’s just that most people are a bit lacking in caliber, and their understanding of the truth is still shallow. If a person whose caliber is good has gained a lot of experience and suffered a great amount, then what he gains will be much and his change will be great; for one whose caliber is lacking, even though they have suffered much hardship, yet what they obtain will still be little, and their change will not be great. Why is this? To understand the truth, one must have caliber, and it will not work if he lacks caliber. This is like Peter and Paul. Peter was perfected, he was equipped with the caliber that God requires; as for Paul, God dispatched him to spread the gospel, and he was also equipped with the caliber God requires. Only such people can complete things, and it is easy for the Holy Spirit to work upon and guide them. Without the caliber God requires, first, God will not make use of you, and second, God will not dispatch you. When God dispatches a person, no matter if he’s perfected or is serving, if he does not have the caliber, he cannot accomplish what God has entrusted. Can one’s caliber be heightened? It can be heightened a little; it’s not that it can’t be heightened at all. For example, there is some essential knowledge that must be understood. This is the key to heightening one’s caliber and one must understand some necessary knowledge. Whatever duty you do, if you don’t understand any knowledge then it won’t work. For example, you need to bear witness to God, but if you are uneducated, will this work or not? You have to at least be equipped with some cultural knowledge, right? If you have some cultural knowledge, and speak with decent grammatical accuracy, then people will be able to understand. If you have cultural knowledge, then you can write, you can write some articles. If you have cultural knowledge, you can convey things accurately, then you can find some suitable phrases and terminology to express things in an appropriate way. Without cultural knowledge, you will be unable to use words properly and you won’t understand terminology. You will use vulgar words to speak and there will be some people who will not understand, so the result will be bad. It will not work to accept the judgment and chastisement of God without having some caliber. So, how can one heighten his caliber? You must understand some knowledge, and afterward understanding the truth will be much easier. In practicing the truth, you will also have wisdom. There is some knowledge which is the key to heightening one’s caliber, and there are some people whose caliber is quite lacking, and that is mainly caused by lacking some specialized knowledge. There are some people who aren’t very eloquent or good with words, wouldn’t it be good for them to study some cultural knowledge? Through studying language, studying grammar, studying how to write, one will naturally be able to speak properly. There are some people who have no knowledge of how to live, but if you teach them and they study, then won’t they cease to be ignorant? If you have no dress sense, then find a person who has it to teach you and give you some advice. Some people who have a good caliber learn as soon as they see something, and some people are unable to do so even if there’s another person who leads them by the hand; this is the difference between one whose caliber is good and one whose caliber is lacking. There are some people who hear the word of God and understand it immediately, and there are some people for whom you have no choice but to communicate the word of God again after they have heard it. If you speak about one phrase they will understand one phrase; speak about two phrases and they will understand two phrases. If you don’t speak about one phrase, then they won’t understand even one phrase. If you ask them, “What are you reading?” They read God’s word verbatim, and say, “Just reading this part.” “After reading it, what benefit do you receive?” They cannot say. Isn’t this having a caliber that is too deficient?
So how can you be able to understand God’s word? This matter is key. First figure out in what context God speaks the words, and what God’s intention is in the words He speaks, and what result He wants to achieve; take time to ponder these questions. What result does God want to achieve in speaking these words? Why does God speak these words? Is God speaking with His eyes closed? Is He speaking unconsciously? Impossible. When God does a thing He has a principle. The essence of God is truth, it is righteousness, so when God speaks He absolutely has some principle. If you can be certain that there are principles by which God speaks, then in what context is God speaking these words, and by speaking them what is the result that God wants to attain, what goal does He want to reach? If you can figure out the two aspects of the issue, then it will be easy for you to understand the words of God. When you thoroughly understand the intention and goal of God in speaking these words, then you genuinely understand the meaning of God in speaking these words. Isn’t this the principle in understanding the word of God? There are many people who finish reading God’s word and say, “On the surface this is what it means. I understand, I have reached awareness in my mind. The meaning of what God says is just this literal meaning of the words; that’s it, I understand.” After understanding, they read on without reflection on the meaning, and afterward they think themselves to have understood all of the matter. Can one have any gain in reading the word of God in this way? Is it acceptable to read the word of God without pondering it? Without pondering it, how did he read it? He has recited it, and in his brain he has a kind of idea, and feels that there isn’t anything difficult to understand, saying, “I understand the meaning of God’s word, it’s not that I can’t understand it, it’s just the literal meaning,” and that’s all. So, is this pondering the word of God? This is reading the word of God without pondering it, and is only having some awareness in your brain: “These words are pretty simple, and easy to understand, I can understand these words,” and that’s all. You feel that after you have finished reading it you have this awareness, and this is just called reading the word of God. Is this reading the word of God? At the very least, reading the word of God in this way is not reading the word of God in its true meaning. This is because you have not pondered it, and not thought about it; you’ve just given it a cursory look without considering it, and without having truly understood the context in which God spoke, or what the intention was when God spoke. So can people who read the word of God like this genuinely understand the truth? They cannot understand the truth.