XI. One Must Fellowship Clearly on Truths Concerning the Relationship Between God and the Bible
“Belief in God” means believing that there is a God; this is the simplest concept of faith in God. What’s more, believing that there is a God is not the same as truly believing in God; rather, it is a kind of simple faith with strong religious overtones. True faith in God means experiencing the words and work of God based on a belief that God holds sovereignty over all things. So you shall be freed of your corrupt disposition, shall fulfill the desire of God, and shall come to know God. Only through such a journey can you be said to believe in God.
from Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh
A true belief in God is not about believing in Him in order to be saved and is even less about being a good person. It is also not just about believing in God in order to possess a human likeness. In fact, people should not see faith as just a belief that there is a God; it is not that you should merely believe that God is the truth, the way, the life, and nothing more. Nor is it just so you acknowledge God and believe that God is the Ruler over all things, that God is almighty, that God created all things in the world, that God is unique and supreme. It is not merely to have you believe these facts. God’s will is that your whole being and your heart should be given to God and submit to God; that is, you should follow God, allow God to make use of you, be happy to do service for Him, and you should do anything for God.
from “Only the Pursuit of the Truth Is the True Belief in God” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Today, what is real belief in God? It is the acceptance of God’s word as the reality of your life and the knowing of God from His word in order to achieve a true love of Him. To be clear: Belief in God is so that you may obey God, love God, and perform the duty that should be performed by a creature of God. This is the aim of believing in God. You must achieve a knowledge of the loveliness of God, of how worthy God is of reverence, of how, in His creatures, God does the work of salvation and making them perfect—this is the minimum that you should possess in your belief in God. Belief in God is principally the switch from a life in the flesh to a life of loving God, from a life within naturalness to a life within the being of God, it is coming out from under the domain of Satan and living under the care and protection of God, it is being able to achieve obedience to God and not obedience to the flesh, it is allowing God to gain your entire heart, allowing God to make you perfect, and freeing yourself from the corrupt satanic disposition. Belief in God is principally so that the power and glory of God may be manifested in you, so that you may do God’s will, and accomplish God’s plan, and be able to bear testimony to God before Satan. Belief in God should not be in order to behold signs and wonders, nor should it be for the sake of your personal flesh. It should be for the pursuit of knowing God, and being able to obey God, and like Peter, obeying Him until death. This is what it is mainly in order to achieve. Eating and drinking the word of God is in order to know God and in order to satisfy God. Eating and drinking the word of God gives you a greater knowledge of God, only after which can you obey God. Only if you know God can you love Him, and the attainment of this aim is the only aim man should have in his belief in God. If, in your belief in God, you always try to behold signs and wonders, then the viewpoint of this belief in God is wrong. Belief in God is principally the acceptance of the word of God as the reality of life. Only putting into practice the words of God from His mouth and carrying them out within yourself is the attainment of the aim of God. In believing in God, man should pursue being made perfect by God, being able to submit to God, and the complete obedience to God. If you can obey God without complaint, be mindful of God’s desires, achieve the stature of Peter, and possess the style of Peter spoken of by God, then that will be when you have achieved success in belief in God, and it will signify that you have been gained by God.
from “All Is Achieved by the Word of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Since you do believe in God, then you must eat and drink of His word, experience His word, and live out His word. Only this can be called belief in God! If you say you believe in God with your mouth and yet are unable to put any of His words into practice or to produce any reality, this is not called believing in God. Rather, it is “seeking bread to satisfy hunger.” Speaking only of trivial testimonies, useless things, and superficial matters, without possessing even the slightest bit of reality: these do not constitute belief in God, and you have simply not grasped the right way of believing in God. Why must you eat and drink as much as possible of God’s words? If you do not eat and drink of His words but seek only to ascend to heaven, is that believing in God? What is the first step one who believes in God should take? By what path does God perfect man? Can you be perfected without eating and drinking of the word of God? Can you be considered a person of the kingdom without the word of God to serve as your reality? What exactly does belief in God mean? Believers in God should, at the very least, have good behavior on the outside; most important of all is to be possessed of the word of God. No matter what, you can never turn away from His word. Knowing God and fulfilling His will are all achieved through His word. In future, every nation, denomination, religion, and sector will be conquered through the word. God will speak directly, and all people will hold the word of God in their hands; by means of this, humanity will be perfected. Within and without, the word of God pervades throughout: Humanity will speak God’s word with their mouths, practice in accordance with God’s word, and keep the word of God within, remaining steeped in God’s word both inside and out. Thus will humanity be perfected. Those who fulfill the will of God and are able to bear witness to Him, these are the people who possess the word of God as their reality.
from “The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
You may think believing in God is about suffering, or doing many things for Him, or for the peace of your flesh, or for everything to go well for you, for everything to be comfortable—but none of these are purposes people should have for believing in God. If that is what you believe, then your perspective is incorrect and you simply cannot be perfected. God’s actions, God’s righteous disposition, His wisdom, His words, and His wondrousness and unfathomableness are all things people ought to understand. Use this understanding to get rid of the personal requests as well as the individual hopes and notions in your heart. Only by eliminating these can you meet the conditions demanded by God. Only through this can you have life and satisfy God. Believing in God is for the sake of satisfying Him and for living out the disposition He requires, so that His actions and glory may be manifested through this group of unworthy people. That is the correct perspective for believing in God, and also the goal you should seek. You should have the right viewpoint of believing in God and seek to obtain God’s words. You need to eat and drink God’s words, and be able to live out the truth, and especially see His practical deeds, see His wonderful deeds throughout the entire universe, as well as the practical work He does in the flesh. Through their actual experiences, people can appreciate just how God does His work on them and what His will is toward them. All of this is to eliminate their corrupt satanic disposition. Rid yourself of the unclean and unrighteous inside of you, strip away your wrong intentions, and you can develop true faith in God. Only by having true faith can you truly love God. You can only genuinely love God on the foundation of your belief in Him. Can you achieve loving God without believing in Him? Since you believe in God, you cannot be muddle-headed about it. Some people become full of vigor as soon as they see that faith in God will bring them blessings, but lose all energy as soon as they see they have to suffer refinements. Is that believing in God? Ultimately, you must achieve complete and utter obedience before God in your faith. You believe in God but still have demands of Him, have many religious notions you cannot put down, personal interests you cannot let go of, and still seek blessings of the flesh and want God to rescue your flesh, to save your soul—these are all expressions of people with the wrong perspective. Even though people with religious beliefs have faith in God, they don’t seek dispositional change, don’t pursue knowledge of God, and only seek the interests of their flesh. Many among you have faiths that belong in the category of religious convictions. That is not true faith in God. To believe in God people must possess a heart to suffer for Him and the will to give themselves up. Unless they meet these two conditions it does not count as faith in God, and they will not be able to achieve dispositional change. Only people who genuinely pursue the truth, seek knowledge of God, and pursue life are those who truly believe in God.
from “Those Who Are to Be Made Perfect Must Undergo Refinement” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In his belief in God, Peter sought to satisfy God in everything, and sought to obey all that came from God. Without the slightest complaint, he was able to accept chastisement and judgment, as well as refinement, tribulation and lack in his life, none of which could alter his love of God. Is this not the ultimate love of God? Is this not the fulfillment of the duty of a creature of God? Whether in chastisement, judgment, or tribulation, you are always capable of achieving obedience unto death, and this is what should be achieved by a creature of God, this is the purity of the love of God. If man can achieve this much, then he is a qualified creature of God, and there is nothing which better satisfies the desire of the Creator. Imagine that you are able to work for God, yet you do not obey God, and are incapable of truly loving God. In this way, not only will you not have fulfilled the duty of a creature of God, but will also be condemned by God, for you are someone who does not possess the truth, who is incapable of obeying God, and who is disobedient to God. You only care about working for God, and do not care about putting the truth into practice, or knowing yourself. You do not understand or know the Creator, and do not obey or love the Creator. You are someone who is innately disobedient to God, and so such people are not beloved by the Creator.
from “Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
To summarize taking the path of Peter in believing in God, it is to take the path of pursuing the truth, which is also the path of truly knowing oneself and changing one’s disposition. Only by going the path of Peter will one be going the path of being perfected by God. One must be clear on specifically how to take the path of Peter and how to put it into practice. First, one must put aside his own intentions, improper pursuits, and even his family and all things of his own flesh. He must be wholeheartedly devoted, that is, completely devote himself to the word of God, focus on eating and drinking the word of God, focus on the search for the truth, the search for God’s intention in His words, and try to grasp the will of God in everything. This is the most fundamental and the most critical method of practice. This is what Peter did after seeing the Lord Jesus, and it is only by practicing in this way that one obtains the best results. Wholehearted devotion to the words of God mainly means seeking the truth, seeking God’s intention within His words, focusing on grasping the will of God, and understanding and obtaining more truth from the words of God. When reading His words, Peter was not focused on understanding doctrines and he was even less focused on obtaining theological knowledge; instead, he was focused on understanding the truth and grasping God’s will, and achieving an understanding of His disposition and His loveliness. He also tried to understand the various corrupt states of man from God’s words, and understand the corrupt nature of man and man’s true shortcomings, achieving all aspects of the demands God makes of man in order to satisfy Him. He had so many correct practices within the words of God; this is most in line with God’s will, and it is man’s best cooperation in his experience of the work of God. …
If one is able to satisfy God when performing his duty, is principled in his words and actions, and can enter into the reality of all the aspects of truth, then he will be a person perfected by God. It can be said that the work and the words of God are completely effective for this person, that God’s words become his life, he obtains truth, and he can live according to God’s words. After this the nature of his flesh, that is, the foundation of his original existence, will shake and collapse. After one has the words of God as his life he becomes a new person. The words of God become his life; the vision of God’s work, His requirements of man, His revelation of man, and the standards for a true life that God requires man to achieve become his life—he lives according to these words and these truths, and this person becomes perfected by the words of God. He experiences rebirth and becomes a new man through His words. This is the path by which Peter pursued the truth; it was the path of being perfected, perfected by God’s words, and gaining life from the words of God. The truth expressed by God became his life, and only then did he become a person who obtained the truth.
from “How to Take the Path of Peter” in Records of Christ’s Talks
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, and 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 he experiences God’s work, man 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; it is in order that man may finally and completely turn to Him that He does this work. 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.
from “Only Those Who Know God Can Bear Testimony to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
a. The original text reads “The work of knowing God.”