All of you are glad to receive rewards before God and to be recognized by God. This is everyone’s wish after he begins to have faith in God, for man wholeheartedly seeks higher things and none are willing to fall behind others. This is the way of man. For this reason, many among you always try to gain the favor of the God in heaven, yet in truth, your loyalty and sincerity to God are far less than your loyalty and sincerity to yourselves. Why do I say this? Because I do not acknowledge your loyalty to God at all, and I further deny the existence of the God that is within your hearts. That is to say, the God that you worship, the vague God that you admire, does not exist at all. The reason I can say this so definitively is that you are too far away from the true God. The loyalty you possess comes from the existence of another idol within your hearts, and as for Me, the God regarded as neither great nor small in your eyes, you acknowledge Me with nothing but words. When I speak of your great distance from God, I am referring to how far away you are from the true God, while the vague God seems to be near at hand. When I say “not great,” it is in reference to how the God that you have faith in this day appears to merely be a man without powerful abilities; a man that is not very lofty. And when I say “not small,” this means that though this man cannot summon the wind and command the rain, He is able to call upon the Spirit of God to do work that shakes the heavens and earth, thus baffling man. Outwardly, you all appear to be very obedient to this Christ on earth, yet in substance you neither have faith in Him nor love Him. What I mean is that the one you truly have faith in is that vague God in your feelings, and the one you truly love is the God you yearn for night and day, yet have never seen in person. As for this Christ, your faith is merely a fraction, and your love for Him is nothing. Faith means belief and trust; love means adoration and admiration in the heart, never parting. Yet your faith in and love of the Christ of this day fall far short of this. When it comes to faith, how do you have faith in Him? When it comes to love, how is it that you love Him? You know not at all of His disposition, much less His substance, so how is it that you have faith in Him? Where is the reality of your faith in Him? How do you love Him? Where is the reality of your love for Him?
Many have followed Me without hesitation to this day, and over these years, you have all suffered much fatigue. I have thoroughly grasped the disposition and habits of each of you. It was supremely arduous to associate with you. The pity is that though I have grasped much knowledge about you, you have not the slightest understanding of Me. No wonder others say you were tricked by a man in a moment of confusion. Indeed, you understand nothing of My disposition, and much less can you fathom what is in My mind. Now your misunderstandings toward Me are an added insult to injury, and your faith in Me remains one of confusion. As opposed to saying that you have faith in Me, it would be more apt to say that you are all trying to gain My favor and fawn over Me. Your motives are very simple—whosoever can reward me, I shall follow, and whosoever can enable me to escape the great disasters, I shall believe in, be he God or any certain God. None of this is of any concern to me. There are many such men among you, and this situation is very serious. If one day, a test is made to see how many among you have faith in Christ because you have insight into His substance, then I’m afraid that not one of you will be as I desire. Consider this question: The God in which you have faith is vastly different from Me, so what then is the essence of your faith in God? The more you believe in your so-called God, the further away you stray from Me. What, then, is at the core of this issue? I am sure none of you have ever considered this issue, but have you considered the gravity of it? Have you given thought to the consequences if you continue with such manner of faith?
Now, the problems set before you are many, and none of you are adept at bringing about solutions. Should this continue, then the ones who stand to lose are only yourselves. I will help you recognize the problems, but it rests on you to find the solutions.
I very much appreciate those who harbor no suspicion about others and very much like those who readily accept the truth; to these two kinds of men I show great care, for in My eyes they are the honest. If you are very cunning, then you will have a guarded heart and thoughts of suspicion regarding all matters and all men. For this reason, your faith in Me is built upon a foundation of suspicion. Such manner of faith is one I shall never acknowledge. Without true faith, then your love is far from true love. And if you even doubt God and speculate about Him at will, then you are certainly the most cunning of men. You speculate whether God can be like man: unpardonably sinful, of petty character, without fairness and reason, lacking a sense of righteousness, employing measures of malice, treachery, and cunning, as well as being pleased by evil and darkness, and so on. Is not the reason that man has such thoughts because man has not the slightest knowledge of God? Such manner of faith is nothing short of sin! Moreover, there are even some who believe that I am pleased by none other than those who ingratiate and fawn, and that those who know nothing of such things will be unpopular and be unable to keep their place in the house of God. Is this the knowledge you have received over these many years? Is this what you have gained? And your knowledge of Me is far from only such misunderstandings; much more, there is your blasphemy against God’s Spirit and vilification of Heaven. This is why I say that such manner of faith as yours will only cause you to stray further from Me and be in greater opposition against Me. Throughout many years of work, you have seen many truths, but do you know what My ears have heard? How many among you are willing to accept the truth? You all believe that you are willing to pay the price for the truth, but how many have truly suffered for the truth? All that exists in your hearts is iniquity, and hence you believe that anyone, no matter who, is cunning and crooked. You even believe that God incarnate would be as a normal man: without a heart of kindness or a benevolent love. Moreover, you believe that a noble character and a merciful, benevolent nature exist only within the God in heaven. And you believe that such a saint does not exist, and that only darkness and evil reign on earth, while God is merely a glorious goal upon which man places hope, and a legendary figure fabricated by man. In your hearts, the God in heaven is very upright, righteous, and great, worthy of worship and reverence, but this God on earth is merely a substitute and instrument of the God in heaven. You believe this God cannot be equivalent to the God in heaven, much less be mentioned in the same breath as Him. When it comes to the greatness and honor of God, they belong to the glory of the God in heaven, yet when it comes to the nature and corruption of man, they are attributed to the God on earth. The God in heaven is forever lofty, while the God on earth is forever insignificant, weak, and incompetent. The God in heaven is not given to emotion, only righteousness, while the God on earth only has selfish motives and is without any fairness or reason. The God in heaven has not the slightest crookedness and is forever faithful, while the God on earth always has a dishonest side. The God in heaven loves man dearly, while the God on earth cares for man inadequately, even neglecting him entirely. This erroneous knowledge has long been kept within your hearts and may also be perpetuated onward in the future. You regard all deeds of Christ from the standpoint of the unrighteous and judge all His work and His identity and substance from the perspective of the wicked. You have made a grave mistake and done that which has never been done by those before you. That is, you only serve the lofty God in heaven with a crown upon his head and never attend to the God you regard as so insignificant as to be unseen. Is this not your sin? Is this not the typical example of your offense against the disposition of God? You very much worship the God in heaven. You very much adore lofty figures and esteem those with great eloquence. You are gladly commanded by the God that gives you handfuls of riches, and greatly pine for the God who can fulfill your every desire. The only one you do not worship is this God who is not lofty; your sole object of hatred is association with this God whom no man can regard highly. The only thing you are unwilling to do is to serve this God who has never given you a single penny, and the only one for whom you do not yearn is this unlovely God. Such kind of God cannot enable you to broaden your horizons, to feel as if you have found a treasure, much less fulfill what you wish. Why, then, do you follow Him? Have you given thought to this question?
What you do does not merely offend this Christ, but more importantly, offends the God in heaven. I think that this is not the purpose of your faith in God! You desire greatly for God to delight in you, yet you are very far away from God. What is the matter here? You accept only His words, yet not His dealing or pruning, much less His every arrangement. Moreover, you are unable to have complete faith in Him. What, then, is the matter here? Fundamentally, your faith is an empty eggshell that can never give rise to a chick. For your faith has not brought you the truth or gained you life, and has instead brought you an illusory sense of hope and support. The purpose of your faith in God is for this hope and support rather than for the truth and life. Therefore, I say that the course of your faith in God is none other than trying to gain the favor of God through servility and shamelessness, and can in no way be deemed a true faith. How can a chick appear from faith such as this? In other words, what fruit can such manner of faith bear? The purpose of your faith in God is to fulfill your motives through making use of God. Is this not further a fact showing your offense against the disposition of God? You believe in the existence of the God in heaven but deny that of the God on earth. However, I approve not of your views. I commend only those men who keep their feet on the ground and serve the God on earth, never those who never acknowledge the Christ on earth. No matter how loyal such men are to the God in heaven, in the end, they will not escape My hand that punishes the wicked. Such men are the wicked; they are the wicked ones who resist God and have never gladly obeyed Christ. Of course, their number includes all those who do not know and, further, do not acknowledge Christ. You believe that you can act as you please toward Christ as long as you are loyal to the God in heaven. Wrong! Your ignorance of Christ is ignorance too of the God in heaven. No matter how loyal you are to the God in heaven, it is merely empty words and pretense, for the God on earth is not only instrumental in man receiving the truth and more profound knowledge, but even more instrumental in the condemnation of man and afterward in seizing the facts to punish the wicked. Have you understood the benefits and consequences here? Have you experienced them? I wish for you to one day soon understand this truth: To know God, you must know not only the God in heaven but, more importantly, the God on earth. Do not confuse what holds priority or allow the subordinate to supersede the dominant. Only in this way can you truly build a good relationship with God, become closer to God, and draw your heart closer to Him. If you have been of the faith for many years and long associated with Me, yet remain distant from Me, then I say it must be that you often offend the disposition of God, and your end will be very difficult to reckon. If the many years of association with Me have not changed you into a man who has humanity and the truth, and instead your evil ways become ingrained in your nature, if you are not only doubly arrogant but your misunderstandings of Me become even more grievous, such that you come to regard Me as your sidekick, then I say that your affliction is not skin deep, but has penetrated into your bones. And all you can do is wait and prepare for your funeral! You need not beseech Me then to be your God, for you have committed a sin deserving of death, an unforgivable sin. Even if I could have mercy on you, the God in heaven will insist on taking your life, for your offense against the disposition of God is no ordinary problem, but one very grave in nature. When the time comes, do not blame Me for not having informed you beforehand. It all comes back to this: When you associate with the Christ—the God on earth—as an ordinary man, that is, when you believe that this God is nothing but a man, it is then that you shall perish. This is My only admonishment to you all.
from The Word Appears in the Flesh