I. The Truths Concerning God’s Incarnation
8. How should one understand Christ is the truth, the way, and the life?
Bible Verses for Reference:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God” (Jhn 1:1–2).
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us … full of grace and truth” (Jhn 1:14).
“I am the way, the truth, and the life: No man comes to the Father, but by Me” (Jhn 14:6).
“The words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life” (Jhn 6:63).
Relevant Words of God:
The truth comes from the world of man, yet the truth among man is passed on by Christ. It originates from Christ, that is, from God Himself, and is unattainable by man.
Excerpted from “Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and the Word became flesh.” This (the work of the appearance of the Word in the flesh) is the work that God will accomplish in the last days, and is the final chapter of His entire management plan, and so God has to come to earth and manifest His words in the flesh.
Excerpted from “All Is Achieved by the Word of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
This time around, God comes to do work not in a spiritual body, but in a very ordinary one. Moreover, not only is it the body of God’s second incarnation, it is also the body through which God returns to the flesh. It is a very ordinary flesh. You cannot see anything that makes Him stand out from others, but you can gain from Him previously unheard-of truths. This insignificant flesh is what embodies all the words of truth from God, undertakes God’s work in the last days, and expresses the whole of God’s disposition for man to understand. Do you not desire greatly to see the God in heaven? Do you not desire greatly to understand the God in heaven? Do you not desire greatly to see the destination of mankind? He will tell you all these secrets—secrets that no man has been able to tell you, and He will also tell you of the truths that you do not understand. He is your gate into the kingdom, and your guide into the new age. Such an ordinary flesh holds many unfathomable mysteries. His deeds may be inscrutable to you, but the entire goal of the work He does is sufficient enough to allow you to see that He is not, as people believe, a simple flesh. For He represents the will of God and the care shown by God toward mankind in the last days. Though you cannot hear His words that seem to shake the heavens and earth or see His eyes like blazing flames, and though you cannot feel the discipline of His iron rod, nevertheless you can hear from His words that God is wrathful and know that God is showing compassion for mankind; you can see the righteous disposition of God and His wisdom, and, moreover, realize God’s solicitude for all mankind. The work of God in the last days is to allow man to see the God in heaven living among men on earth, and to enable man to know, obey, revere, and love God. This is why He has returned to the flesh for a second time. …
… The fact that you have arrived at today is thanks to this flesh. It is because God lives in the flesh that you have the chance to survive. All this good fortune has been gained on account of this ordinary man. Not only this, but in the end, every nation shall worship this ordinary man, as well as give thanks to and obey this insignificant man, because it is the truth, the life, and the way He brought that has saved all mankind, eased the conflict between man and God, shortened the distance between them, and opened up a connection between the thoughts of God and man. It is also He who has obtained even greater glory for God. Is an ordinary man such as this unworthy of your trust and adoration? Is such an ordinary flesh unfit to be called Christ? Can such an ordinary man not become the expression of God among men? Does such a man, who has spared mankind from disaster, not deserve your love and your desire to hold on to Him? If you reject the truths expressed from His mouth and detest His existence among you, then what will become of you in the end?
Excerpted from “Do You Know? God Has Done a Great Thing Among Men” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
And yet it is this ordinary person, hidden in the midst of people, who is doing the new work of saving us. He offers us no explanations, nor does He tell us why He has come, but simply does the work He intends to do with measured steps and according to His plan. His words and utterances become ever more frequent. From consoling, exhorting, reminding, and warning, to reproaching and disciplining; from a tone that is gentle and mild, to words that are fierce and majestic—all of it confers mercy on man and instills trepidation in him. Everything that He says hits home at the secrets hidden deep within us; His words sting our hearts, sting our spirits, and leave us filled with unbearable shame, hardly knowing where to hide ourselves. …
Unbeknownst to us, this insignificant man has led us into one step after another of God’s work. We undergo countless trials, bear innumerable chastenings, and are tested by death. We learn of God’s righteous and majestic disposition, enjoy, too, His love and mercy, come to appreciate God’s great power and wisdom, witness the loveliness of God, and behold God’s eager desire to save man. In the words of this ordinary person, we come to know the disposition and substance of God, to understand God’s will, to know the nature and substance of man, and see the way to salvation and perfection. His words cause us to “die,” and they cause us to be “reborn”; His words bring us comfort, yet also leave us wracked with guilt and a sense of indebtedness; His words bring us joy and peace, but also infinite pain. Sometimes we are as lambs to the slaughter in His hands; sometimes we are like the apple of His eye, and enjoy His tender love; sometimes we are like His enemy, and under His gaze are turned to ashes by His wrath. We are the human race saved by Him, we are the maggots in His eyes, and we are the lost lambs that, day and night, He is bent on finding. He is merciful toward us, He despises us, He raises us up, He comforts and exhorts us, He guides us, He enlightens us, He chastens and disciplines us, and He even curses us. Night and day, He never ceases to worry about us, and protects and cares for us, night and day, never leaving our side, but spills His heart’s blood for our sake and pays any price for us. Within the utterances of this small and ordinary body of flesh, we have enjoyed the entirety of God and beheld the destination that God has bestowed upon us …
God continues His utterances, employing various methods and perspectives to admonish us about what we should do while, at the same time, giving voice to His heart. His words carry life power, show us the way we should walk, and enable us to understand what the truth is. We begin to be drawn by His words, we begin to focus on the tone and manner of His speaking, and subconsciously we begin to take an interest in the innermost feelings of this unremarkable person. He spits up His heart’s blood in working on our behalf, loses sleep and appetite on our account, weeps for us, sighs for us, groans in sickness for us, suffers humiliation for the sake of our destination and salvation, and our numbness and rebelliousness draw tears and blood from His heart. This way of being and of having belongs to no ordinary person, nor can it be possessed or attained by any corrupted human being. He shows tolerance and patience possessed by no ordinary person, and His love is not something with which any created being is endowed. No one apart from Him can know all of our thoughts, or have such a clear and complete grasp of our nature and substance, or judge the rebelliousness and corruption of mankind, or speak to us and work among us like this on behalf of God in heaven. No one apart from Him is endowed with the authority, wisdom, and dignity of God; the disposition of God and what God has and is are brought forth, in their entirety, in Him. No one apart from Him can show us the way and bring us light. No one apart from Him can reveal the mysteries that God has not disclosed since creation until today. No one apart from Him can save us from Satan’s bondage and our own corrupt disposition. He represents God. He expresses the inmost heart of God, the exhortations of God, and God’s words of judgment toward all mankind. He has begun a new age, a new era, and ushered in a new heaven and earth and new work, and He has brought us hope, ending the life we led in vagueness and enabling our whole being to behold, in total clarity, the path to salvation. He has conquered our whole being and gained our hearts. From that moment onward, our minds have become conscious, and our spirits seem to be revived: This ordinary, insignificant person, who lives among us and has long been rejected by us—is this not the Lord Jesus, who is ever in our thoughts, waking or dreaming, and for whom we long night and day? It is He! It really is He! He is our God! He is the truth, the way, and the life! He has enabled us to live again and to see the light and has stopped our hearts from wandering. We have returned to the home of God, we have returned before His throne, we are face-to-face with Him, we have witnessed His countenance, and we have seen the road that lies ahead.
Excerpted from “Beholding the Appearance of God in His Judgment and Chastisement” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In the Age of Kingdom, God uses words to usher in the new age, to change the means by which He works, and to do the work of the entire age. This is the principle by which God works in the Age of Word. He became flesh to speak from different perspectives, so that man could truly see God, who is the Word appearing in the flesh, and could behold His wisdom and wondrousness. Such work is done in order better to achieve the goals of conquering man, perfecting man, and eliminating man, which is the true meaning of the use of words to work in the Age of Word. Through these words, people come to know the work of God, the disposition of God, the essence of man, and what man ought to enter into. Through words, the work God wishes to do in the Age of Word is brought to fruition in its entirety. Through these words, people are exposed, eliminated, and tried. People have seen God’s words, heard these words, and recognized the existence of these words. As a result, they have come to believe in the existence of God, in the omnipotence and wisdom of God, as well as in God’s love for man and His desire to save man. The word “words” may be simple and ordinary, but the words spoken from the mouth of the incarnate God shake the universe, they transform people’s hearts, transform their notions and old dispositions, and transform the way the whole world used to appear. Through the ages, only the God of today has worked in this way, and only He speaks thus and comes to save man thus. From this time forward, man lives under the guidance of God’s words, shepherded and supplied by His words. People live in the world of God’s words, amid the curses and the blessings of God’s words, and there are even more people who have come to live under the judgment and chastisement of His words. These words and this work are all for the sake of man’s salvation, for the sake of fulfilling God’s will, and for the sake of changing the original appearance of the world of old creation. God created the world using words, He leads people throughout the universe using words, and He conquers and saves them using words. Ultimately, He shall use words to bring the entire world of old to an end, thus completing the entirety of His management plan.
Excerpted from “The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Word has become flesh and the Spirit of truth has been realized in the flesh—that all the truth, the way, and the life has come in the flesh, God’s Spirit has really arrived on earth and the Spirit has come in the flesh. Although, superficially, this appears different from the conception by the Holy Spirit, in this work you are able to see more clearly that the Spirit has already been realized in the flesh, and, moreover, that the Word has become flesh and the Word has appeared in the flesh. You are able to understand the true meaning of the words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Moreover, you must understand that the Word of today is God, and behold the Word becomes flesh. This is the best testimony you can bear. This proves that you possess true knowledge of God become flesh—you are not only able to know Him, but are also aware that the way you walk today is the way of life, and the way of truth. The stage of work which Jesus performed only fulfilled the substance of “the Word was with God”: The truth of God was with God, and the Spirit of God was with the flesh and was inseparable from that flesh. That is, the flesh of God incarnate was with the Spirit of God, which is greater proof that Jesus incarnate was the first incarnation of God. This stage of work precisely fulfills the inner meaning of “the Word becomes flesh,” lent deeper meaning to “the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” and allows you to firmly believe the words “In the beginning was the Word.” Which is to say, at the time of creation God was possessed of words, His words were with Him and inseparable from Him, and the final age makes even clearer the power and authority of His words, and allows man to see all of His way—to hear all of His words. Such is the work of the final age. You must come to understand these things through and through. It is not a question of knowing the flesh, but of how you understand the flesh and the Word. This is the testimony that you must bear, that which everyone must know.
Excerpted from “Practice (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
My words are the forever unchanging truth. I am the supply of life for man and the only guide for mankind. The worth and meaning of My words are not determined by whether they are recognized or accepted by mankind, but by the substance of the words themselves. Even if not a single person on this earth can receive My words, the value of My words and their help to mankind are inestimable to any man. Therefore, when faced with the many people who rebel against, refute, or are utterly contemptuous of My words, My stance is only this: Let time and facts be My witness and show that My words are the truth, the way, and the life. Let them show that all I have said is right, that it is that which man should be furnished with and, moreover, that which man should accept. I will let all who follow Me know this fact: Those who cannot fully accept My words, those who cannot practice My words, those who cannot find a purpose in My words, and those who cannot receive salvation because of My words, are those who have been condemned by My words and, moreover, have lost My salvation, and My rod shall never stray from them.
Excerpted from “You Ought to Consider Your Deeds” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
(Selected Passage of God’s Word)
Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life
Not just anyone can possess the way of life, nor can every single person easily obtain it. That is because life can only come from God, which is to say, only God Himself possesses the substance of life, and only God Himself has the way of life. And so only God is the source of life, and the ever-flowing wellspring of living water of life. Ever since He created the world, God has done much work involving the vitality of life, has done much work that brings life to man, and has paid a great price so that man might gain life. This is because God Himself is eternal life, and God Himself is the way by which man is resurrected. God is never absent from the heart of man, and He lives among man at all times. He has been the driving force of man’s living, the root of man’s existence, and a rich deposit for man’s existence after birth. He causes man to be reborn, and enables him to tenaciously live out his every role. Thanks to His power and His inextinguishable life force, man has lived for generation after generation, throughout which the power of God’s life has been the mainstay of man’s existence, and for which God has paid a price that no ordinary man has ever paid. God’s life force can prevail over any power; moreover, it exceeds any power. His life is eternal, His power extraordinary, and His life force is not easily overwhelmed by any created being or enemy force. The life force of God exists and shines its brilliant radiance regardless of time or place. Heaven and earth may undergo great changes, but God’s life is forever the same. All things may pass away, but God’s life will still remain, for God is the source of the existence of all things and the root of their existence. Man’s life originates from God, the existence of heaven is because of God, and the existence of earth stems from the power of God’s life. No object possessed of vitality can transcend the sovereignty of God, and no thing with vigor can elude the domain of God’s authority. In this way, regardless of who they are, everyone must submit under the dominion of God, everyone must live under God’s command, and no one can escape from His hands.
Perhaps what you now desire is to gain life, or perhaps you desire to gain the truth. Whatever the case, you wish to find God, to find the God that you can rely on, and who can provide you with eternal life. If you wish to gain eternal life, you must first understand the source of eternal life and must first know where God is. I have already said that only God is immutable life, and only God possesses the way of life. Since His life is immutable, it is thus eternal; since only God is the way of life, God Himself is thus the way of eternal life. As such, you should first understand where God is, and how to gain this way of eternal life. Let us now engage in fellowship on these two issues separately.
If you truly wish to gain the way of eternal life, and if you are voracious in your search for it, then first answer this question: Where is God today? Perhaps you would reply, “God lives in heaven, of course—He wouldn’t be living in your home, would He?” Perhaps you might say that God obviously lives among all things. Or you might say that God lives in each person’s heart, or that God is in the spiritual world. I don’t deny any of this, but I must clarify the issue. It isn’t totally correct to say that God lives in the heart of man, but neither is it entirely wrong. That is because, among believers in God, there are those whose belief is true and those whose belief is false, there are those of whom God approves and those of whom He disapproves, there are those who please Him and those whom He detests, and there are those whom He makes perfect and those whom He eliminates. And so I say that God lives in but a few people’s hearts, and these people are undoubtedly those who truly believe in God, those of whom God approves, those who please Him, and those whom He makes perfect. They are the ones who are led by God. Since they are led by God, they are the people who have already heard and seen God’s way of eternal life. Those whose belief in God is false, those who are not approved by God, those who are despised by God, those who are eliminated by God—they are bound to be rejected by God, are bound to remain without the way of life, and are bound to remain ignorant of where God is. In contrast, those who have God living in their hearts know where He is. They are the people unto whom God bestows the way of eternal life, and they are the ones who follow God. Now do you know where God is? God is both in the heart of man and at man’s side. He is not only in the spiritual world, and above all things, but even more on the earth upon which man exists. And so the arrival of the last days has taken the steps of God’s work into new territory. God holds sovereignty over all things in the universe, and He is the mainstay of man in his heart, and moreover, He exists among man. Only in this way can He bring the way of life to mankind, and bring man into the way of life. God has come to earth, and lives among man, so that man may gain the way of life, and so that man may exist. At the same time, God also commands all things in the universe, so that they might cooperate with His management among man. And so, if you only acknowledge the doctrine that God is in heaven and in the heart of man, yet do not acknowledge the truth of God’s existence among man, then you shall never gain life, and shall never gain the way of truth.
God Himself is life, and the truth, and His life and truth coexist. Those who are incapable of gaining the truth shall never gain life. Without the guidance, support, and provision of the truth, you shall only gain letters, doctrines, and, above all, death. God’s life is ever-present, and His truth and life coexist. If you cannot find the source of truth, then you will not gain the nourishment of life; if you cannot gain the provision of life, then you will surely have no truth, and so apart from imaginations and notions, the entirety of your body shall be nothing but your flesh—your stench-ridden flesh. Know that the words of books do not count as life, the records of history cannot be feted as the truth, and the regulations of the past cannot serve as an account of words presently spoken by God. Only that which is expressed by God when He comes to earth and lives among man is the truth, life, God’s will, and His current way of working. If you apply the records of words spoken by God during ages past to today, that makes you an archaeologist, and the best way of describing you is as an expert on historical heritage. That is because you always believe in traces of the work that God did in times past, only believe in the shadow of God left from when He previously worked among man, and only believe in the way that God gave to His followers in former times. You do not believe in the direction of God’s work today, do not believe in the glorious countenance of God today, and do not believe in the way of truth presently expressed by God. And so you are undeniably a daydreamer who is completely out of touch with reality. If now you still cling to words that are incapable of bringing life to man, then you are a hopeless piece of deadwood,[a] for you are too conservative, too intractable, too impervious to reason!
God become flesh is called Christ, and so the Christ that can give people the truth is called God. There is nothing excessive about this, for He possesses the substance of God, and possesses God’s disposition, and wisdom in His work, that are unattainable by man. Those who call themselves Christ, yet cannot do the work of God, are frauds. Christ is not merely the manifestation of God on earth, but also the particular flesh assumed by God as He carries out and completes His work among man. This flesh cannot be supplanted by just any man, but is a flesh that can adequately bear God’s work on earth, and express the disposition of God, and well represent God, and provide man with life. Sooner or later, those who impersonate Christ will all fall, for although they claim to be Christ, they possess none of the substance of Christ. And so I say that the authenticity of Christ cannot be defined by man, but is answered and decided by God Himself. In this way, if you truly wish to seek the way of life, you must first acknowledge it is by coming to earth that He bestows the way of life unto man, and you must acknowledge it is during the last days that He comes to earth to bestow the way of life unto man. This is not the past; it is happening today.
Christ of the last days brings life, and brings the enduring and everlasting way of truth. This truth is the path by which man gains life, and it is the only path by which man shall know God and be approved by God. If you do not seek the way of life provided by Christ of the last days, then you shall never gain the approval of Jesus, and shall never be qualified to enter the gate of the kingdom of heaven, for you are both a puppet and prisoner of history. Those who are controlled by regulations, by letters, and shackled by history will never be able to gain life nor gain the perpetual way of life. This is because all they have is turbid water which has been clung to for thousands of years instead of the water of life that flows from the throne. Those who are not supplied with the water of life will forever remain corpses, playthings of Satan, and sons of hell. How, then, can they behold God? If you only try to hold on to the past, only try to keep things as they are by standing still, and do not try to change the status quo and discard history, then will you not always be against God? The steps of God’s work are vast and mighty, like surging waves and rolling thunders—yet you sit passively awaiting destruction, clinging to your folly and doing nothing. In this way, how can you be considered someone who follows the footsteps of the Lamb? How can you justify the God that you hold on to as a God who is always new and never old? And how can the words of your yellowed books carry you across into a new age? How can they lead you to seek the steps of God’s work? And how can they take you up to heaven? What you hold in your hands are letters that can provide but temporary solace, not truths that are capable of giving life. The scriptures you read can only enrich your tongue and are not words of wisdom that can help you know human life, much less the paths that can lead you to perfection. Does this discrepancy not give you cause for reflection? Does it not make you realize the mysteries contained within? Are you capable of delivering yourself to heaven to meet God on your own? Without the coming of God, can you take yourself into heaven to enjoy family happiness with God? Are you still dreaming now? I suggest, then, that you stop dreaming and look at who is working now—look to see who is now carrying out the work of saving man during the last days. If you do not, you shall never gain the truth, and shall never gain life.
Those who wish to gain life without relying on the truth spoken by Christ are the most ridiculous people on earth, and those who do not accept the way of life brought by Christ are lost in fantasy. And so I say that those who do not accept Christ of the last days shall forever be despised by God. Christ is man’s gateway to the kingdom during the last days, and there are none who can go around Him. None may be perfected by God except through Christ. You believe in God, and so you must accept His words and obey His way. You cannot only think of gaining blessings while being incapable of receiving the truth and incapable of accepting the provision of life. Christ comes during the last days so that all those who truly believe in Him may be provided with life. His work is for the sake of concluding the old age and entering the new one, and His work is the path that must be taken by all those who would enter the new age. If you are incapable of acknowledging Him, and instead condemn, blaspheme, or even persecute Him, then you are bound to burn for eternity and shall never enter the kingdom of God. For this Christ is Himself the expression of the Holy Spirit, the expression of God, the One whom God has entrusted to do His work on earth. And so I say that if you cannot accept all that is done by Christ of the last days, then you blaspheme the Holy Spirit. The retribution to be had by those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit is self-evident to all. I also tell you that if you resist Christ of the last days, if you spurn Christ of the last days, there will be no one else to bear the consequences on your behalf. Furthermore, from this day onward you will not have another chance to gain the approval of God; even if you try to redeem yourself, you will never again behold the face of God. For what you resist is not a man, what you spurn is not some puny being, but Christ. Do you know what the consequences of this will be? You will not have made a small mistake, but committed a heinous crime. And so I advise everyone not to bare your fangs before the truth, or make careless criticisms, for only the truth can bring you life, and nothing except the truth can allow you to be reborn and behold the face of God again.
from The Word Appears in the Flesh
a. A piece of deadwood: a Chinese idiom, meaning “beyond help.”