XI. One Must Fellowship Clearly the Aspect of Truth Concerning the Relationship Between God and the Bible
5. What exactly is the true belief in God? How should one believe in God in order to obtain His praise?
Relevant Words of God:
Though many people believe in God, few understand what faith in God means, and what they must do to be after God’s heart. This is because, though people are familiar with the word “God” and phrases such as “the work of God,” they do not know God, much less do they know His work. No wonder, then, that all those who do not know God are possessed of a muddled belief. People do not take belief in God seriously because believing in God is too unfamiliar, too strange for them. In this way, they fall short of the demands of God. In other words, if people do not know God, do not know His work, then they are not fit for God’s use, much less can they fulfill the desire of God. “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. Yet people often see belief in God as something very simple and frivolous. The belief of such people is meaningless and shall never gain the approval of God, because they tread the wrong path. Today, there are still those who believe in God in letters, in hollow doctrines. They are unaware that their belief in God has no substance, and that they are unable to gain the approval of God, and they still pray for peace and sufficient grace from God. We should stop and ask ourselves: Could believing in God really be the easiest thing on earth? Does believing in God mean nothing more than receiving much grace from God? Can people who believe in God but do not know Him, and believe in God yet oppose Him, really fulfill the desire of 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 have human likeness. Actually, people should not view their belief in God as just a belief that there is a God, and then nothing more; it is not that you should merely believe that God is the truth, the way, the life, and then nothing more. Nor is it just so you acknowledge God, much less is it merely to 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 that God is supreme. It is not merely so that you believe this; rather it is that you—your whole being and your whole heart—should follow God, allow God to employ you, allow God to use you in His service, and that you should do anything for God. It is not that only those predestined and chosen by God should believe in Him. Actually, all of mankind should worship God, heed Him and obey Him, because mankind was made by 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: It is the belief in God 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 carry out 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 believe in God, you must eat and drink of His word, experience His word, and live out His word. Only this is belief in God! If you say you believe in God yet cannot speak out any of His words or put them into practice, you are not considered to believe in God. This is “seeking bread to satisfy hunger.” Speaking only of trivial testimony, useless matters, and superficial matters, and not having even the slightest bit of reality do not constitute belief in God. As such,[a] you have not grasped the right way of believing in God. Why must you eat and drink more of God’s words? Is it considered belief if you do not eat and drink of His words and seek only to ascend to heaven? What is the first step for one who believes in God? 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 as your reality? What exactly is belief in God? Believers in God should be possessed of good behavior externally, at the very least, and of utmost importance is to have the word of God. No matter what, you can never turn away from His word. Your knowledge of God and fulfillment of His will are all achieved through His word. All nations, sects, denominations, and sectors will be conquered through the word in the future. God will speak directly, and all people will hold the word of God in their hands; through this will people be perfected. The word of God pervades throughout: People speak of God’s word and practice according to God’s word, while kept within is still the word of God. Both within and without, they are steeped in the word of God, and thus are they perfected. Those who fulfill the will of God and are able to bear witness to Him are those who have the word of God as 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? In the end, faith in God is about complete and utter obedience before Him. 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 seek 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? Chastisement, judgment, tribulation—you are 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, 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 way of Peter will one be going the way of being perfected by God. One must be clear on specifically how to take the way 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 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 mankind’s best cooperation in his experience of the work of God. … If one could truly enter into the reality of God’s words from the matters and the words required by Him, then he would be a person perfected by God. It could be said that the work and the words of God were completely effective for this person, that God’s words became his life, he obtained truth, and he could live according to God’s words. After this the nature of his flesh, that is, the foundation of his original existence, would shake and collapse. After one has the words of God as their life they become a new person. The words of God became 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 became his life—he lived according to these words and these truths, and this person became perfected by the words of God. He experienced rebirth and became 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’s words 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 the initial belief in God to the most profound belief in God is the process of knowing God, and the process of experiencing the work of God. If you only believe in God for the sake of believing in God, and do not believe in God in order to know God, then there is no reality to your belief, and it cannot become pure—of this there is no doubt. If, during the process by which he experiences God, 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 belief in God, he will completely gain God. God went to such great lengths to become flesh for the second time and personally do His work so that man would be able to know Him, and would be able to see Him. Knowing God[b] is the final effect to be achieved at the end of God’s work; it is God’s final requirement of mankind. He does this for the sake of His final testimony, and so that man may finally and completely turn to Him. Man can only 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 the 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 omits “As such.”
b. The original text reads “The work of knowing God.”