8. How to understand that 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, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) 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.
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.
from “All Is Achieved by the Word of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In the Age of Kingdom, God uses the word to usher in a new age, to change the means of His work, and to do the work for the entire age. This is the principle by which God works in the Age of Word. He became flesh to speak from different perspectives, enabling man to truly see God, who is the Word appearing in the flesh, and His wisdom and wonder. Such work is done to better achieve the goals of conquering man, perfecting man, and eliminating man. This is the true meaning of using the word to work in the Age of Word. Through the word, man comes to know the work of God, the disposition of God, the essence of man, and what man ought to enter into. Through the word, all the work God wishes to do in the Age of Word is accomplished. Through the word, man is revealed, eliminated, and tried. Man has seen the word, heard the word, and become aware of the existence of the word. As a result, man believes in the existence of God; man believes the almightiness and wisdom of God, as well as God’s heart of love for man and His desire to save man. Though the word “word” is simple and ordinary, the word from the mouth of God become flesh shakes the entire universe; His word transforms the heart of man, the notions and the old disposition of man, and the old appearance of the entire world. Through the ages, only the God of this day works in such a manner, and only He speaks and saves man thus. Thereafter, man lives under the guidance of the word, shepherded and supplied by the word; they live in the world of the word, live within the curses and blessings of God’s word, and even more live under the judgment and chastisement of the word. These words and this work are all for the sake of man’s salvation, achieving God’s will, and changing the original appearance of the world of old creation. God created the world with the word, leads men throughout the universe with the word, conquers and saves them with the word. Finally, He shall use the word to bring the entire world of old to an end. Only then is the management plan wholly complete.
from “The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Today, God has become flesh primarily in order to complete the work of “the Word appearing in the flesh,” to use the word to make man perfect, and make man accept the dealing of the word and the refinement of the word. In His words He causes you to gain provision and gain life; in His words, you see His work and deeds. God uses the word to chastise and refine you, and thus if you suffer hardship, it is also because of the word of God. Today, God does not work using facts, but words. Only after His word has come upon you can the Holy Spirit work within you and cause you to suffer pain or feel sweetness. Only the word of God can bring you into reality, and only the word of God is capable of making you perfect. And so, at the very least you must understand that the work done by God during the last days is principally the use of His word to make every person perfect and guide man. All the work that He does is through the word; He does not use facts to chastise you. … And so, during the last days, when God becomes flesh, He principally uses the word to accomplish all and make all plain. Only in His words can you see what He is; only in His words can you see that He is God Himself. When God incarnate comes to earth, He does no other work but the speaking of words—thus there is no need for facts; words suffice. That is because He has principally come to do this work, to allow man to behold His power and supremacy in His words, to allow man to see in His words how He humbly hides Himself, and to allow man to know His entirety in His words. All that He has and is are in His words, His wisdom and wondrousness are in His words. In this are you made to see the many methods with which God speaks His words. … Today, the real God Himself of the flesh only speaks, and does not act. This is the truth! He uses words to make you perfect, and uses words to feed and water you. He also uses words to work, and He uses words in place of facts to make you know His reality. If you are capable of perceiving this aspect of God’s work, then it is difficult to be passive.
from “All Is Achieved by the Word of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
And yet it is this ordinary person hidden among people who is doing the new work of saving us. He does not clarify anything for us, nor does He tell us why He has come. He merely does the work He intends to do in 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 kind, to words that are fierce and majestic—they all instill both compassion and trepidation in man. Everything that He says hits home at the secrets hidden deep within us, His words sting our hearts, sting our spirits, and leave us ashamed and humiliated. …
Unbeknownst to us, this insignificant man has led us into step after step of God’s work. We undergo countless trials, are subjected to innumerable chastenings, and tested by death. We learn of God’s righteous and majestic disposition, enjoy, too, His love and compassion, 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, come to understand God’s will, come to know the nature and substance of man, and see the way of salvation and perfection. His words cause us to die, and 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 great pain. Sometimes we are as lambs to the slaughter in His hands; sometimes we are like the apple of His eye, and enjoy His love and affection; sometimes we are like His enemy, turned to ashes by His wrath in His eyes. We are the mankind saved by Him, we are the maggots in His eyes, and we are the lost lambs that He thinks of finding day and night. 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. He worries for us night and day, He protects and cares for us night and day, He never leaves our side, and He devotes all His care to us and pays any price for us. Among the words of this small and ordinary flesh, we have enjoyed the entirety of God, and beheld the destination that God has bestowed upon us. …
The utterance of God continues, and He employs various methods and perspectives to admonish us what to do and express His heart’s voice. His words carry life power, and show us the way we should walk, and allow us to understand what the truth is. We start to be drawn to His words, we begin to focus on the tone and manner of His speaking, and subconsciously begin to take an interest in the heart’s voice of this unremarkable person. He makes painstaking efforts for us, loses sleep and appetite for us, weeps for us, sighs for us, groans in sickness for us, suffers humiliation for the sake of our destination and salvation, and His heart bleeds and sheds tears for our numbness and rebelliousness. Such being and possessions of His are beyond an ordinary person, and cannot be possessed or attained by any of the corrupted. He has tolerance and patience possessed by no ordinary person, and His love is not possessed by any created being. No one apart from Him can know all of our thoughts, or have such a 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 the God of heaven. No one except for Him can possess the authority, wisdom, and dignity of God; the disposition of God and what He has and is are issued forth, in their entirety, from Him. No one apart from Him can show us the way and bring us light. No one apart from Him can reveal the mysteries God has not disclosed from creation until today. No one apart from Him can save us from Satan’s bondage and our corrupt disposition. He represents God, and expresses the heart’s voice of God, the exhortations of God, and the words of judgment of God toward all mankind. He has begun a new age, a new era, and brought a new heaven and earth, new work, and He has brought us hope, and ended the life we led in vagueness, and allowed us to fully behold the path of salvation. He has conquered our whole being, and gained our hearts. From that moment onward, our minds 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 He not the Lord Jesus, who is ever in our thoughts, and whom we long for night and day? It is He! It’s really Him! He is our God! He is the truth, the way, and the life! He has allowed us to live again, 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 have seen the road ahead.
from “Beholding the Appearance of God in His Judgment and Chastisement” 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 by any man. Therefore, when faced with the many men 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, and 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.
from “You Ought to Consider Your Deeds” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Word has become flesh and the Spirit of truth has been realized in the flesh—all the truth, the life, and the way has come in the flesh, and the Spirit has really arrived on earth and 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, and 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 the words of today are God, and you must behold the Word becomes flesh. This is the best testimony you can bear. This proves that you possess the true knowledge of God become flesh—you are not only able to know and dissect Him, but are also aware that the way you walk today is the way of life, and the way of truth. Jesus did a stage of work which 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 Him, 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 fulfilled 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 that “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 words—to hear all of His words. Such is the work of the final age. You must come to know these things through and through. It is not a question of knowing the flesh, but of knowing the flesh and the Word. This is that to which you must bear witness, that which everyone must know. Because this is the work of the second incarnation—and the last time that God becomes flesh—it fully completes the significance of the incarnation, thoroughly carries out and issues forth all of God’s work in the flesh, and brings to an end the era of God’s being in the flesh.
from “Practice (4)” 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
The way of life is not something that can be possessed by just anyone, nor is it easily obtainable by all. That is because life can only come from God, which is to say, only God Himself possesses the substance of life, there is no way of life without God Himself, and so only God is the source of life, and the ever-flowing wellspring of living water of life. From when 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, for 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 lives among man at all times. He has been the driving force of man’s living, the fundament 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 in 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 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. God’s life remains forever unchanged throughout the upheavals of heaven and earth. All things pass away, but God’s life still remains, 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 the heaven is because of God, and the existence of the 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 break away from the ambit 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 control.
Perhaps, now, you wish to receive life, or perhaps you wish 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, so it is eternal; since only God is the way of life, so God Himself is 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 fellowship about 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’ll reply that God lives in heaven, of course—He wouldn’t be living in your home, would He? Perhaps you might say, 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 completely 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, so 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 in whose hearts God lives 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. Do you know, now, 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, moreover, 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 conceptions, the entirety of your body shall be nothing but flesh, your stinking flesh. Know that the words of books do not count as life, the records of history cannot be feted as the truth, and the doctrines 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 past ages to today, then you are 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 gone by, 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 instead, the particular flesh assumed by God as He carries out and completes His work among man. This flesh is not one that can be replaced by just any man, but one 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 fake Christs 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 through which man shall gain life, and 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, and will never be able to gain the perpetual way of life. That is because all they have is turbid water that has lain stagnant 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 and passively await destruction, sticking 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 is the letters that can provide but temporary solace, not the truths that are capable of giving life. The scriptures you read are that which can only enrich your tongue, not words of wisdom that can help you know human life, much less the ways that can lead you to perfection. Does this discrepancy not give you cause for reflection? Does it not allow you to understand 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, at 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 the people 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, which none may bypass. 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 must not just think of gaining blessings without receiving the truth, or 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 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 that should be suffered by those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit is self-evident to all. I also tell you that if you oppose Christ of the last days, and deny Him, then there is no one who can 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 oppose is not a man, what you deny is not some puny being, but Christ. Are you aware of this consequence? You have not 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.
from The Word Appears in the Flesh
a. A piece of deadwood: a Chinese idiom, meaning “beyond help.”