4. I See the Path to Knowing God
By Xiaocao, Shanxi Province
One day, I saw the following passage of God’s words in the piece “How Peter Came to Know Jesus”: “Over the time he followed Jesus, Peter observed and took to heart everything about His life: His actions, words, movements, and expressions. … From his time in contact with Jesus, Peter also realized that His character was different from that of an ordinary man. He always acted steadily and never with haste, never exaggerated nor underplayed a subject, and conducted His life in a way that was both normal and admirable. In conversation, Jesus was elegant and graceful, open and cheerful yet serene, and never lost His dignity in the execution of His work. Peter saw that Jesus was sometimes taciturn, yet other times talked incessantly. He was sometimes so happy that He became agile and lively like a dove, and yet sometimes so sad that He did not talk at all, as if He were a weather-beaten mother. At times He was filled with anger, like a brave soldier charging off to kill enemies, and sometimes even like a roaring lion. Sometimes He laughed; other times He prayed and wept. No matter how Jesus acted, Peter grew to have boundless love and respect for Him. Jesus’ laughter filled him up with happiness, His sorrow plunged him into grief, His anger frightened him, while His mercy, forgiveness, and strictness made him come to truly love Jesus, developing a true reverence and longing for Him. Of course, Peter only gradually came to realize all of this once he had lived alongside Jesus for a few years” (The Word Appears in the Flesh). After reading this passage I thought: No wonder Peter could have knowledge of God! Turns out it was because he lived alongside the Lord Jesus day and night, he personally witnessed the Lord Jesus’ every word and every move, and from that he discovered much of God’s adorableness, and so he achieved knowledge of God. Now is also the era of when God becomes flesh to personally descend upon the world of man to work. If I could also have the fortune of being able to come into contact with God and spend time together like Peter had, then wouldn’t I also know God better? Oh! It’s a shame that now I can only read God’s word but cannot see the face of Christ. Then how would I be able to gain true knowledge of God?
Just when I was disappointed over this, I thought of God’s words through His enlightenment: “My words represent Me, Myself. Remember this! Do not have doubts; you absolutely must be certain. This is a matter of life and death! This is a terrible thing! As soon as My words are spoken, what I want to do has come to pass” (“Chapter 77” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Knowing God must be done through reading God’s word and understanding God’s word. Some people say: ‘I haven’t seen God incarnate, so how can I know God?’ God’s word is actually an expression of God’s disposition. From God’s word you can see God’s love for mankind, His salvation of mankind, and the way He saves them … because God’s word is expressed by God as opposed to God using man to write it out. It is personally expressed by God. It is God Himself expressing His own words and His inner voice. Why do we call them heartfelt words? Because they are issued from deep down, expressing His disposition, His will, His thoughts, His love for mankind, His salvation of mankind, and His expectations of mankind…. Among God’s words are severe words, gentle and considerate words, and there are some revelatory words that are inhumane. If you look only at the revelatory words, you feel that God is quite stern. If you look at only the gentle words, God appears to not have much authority. You must therefore not understand out of context in this. You must look at it from every angle. Sometimes God speaks from a gentle and compassionate perspective, and people see God’s love for mankind; sometimes He speaks from a strict perspective, and people see God’s unoffendable disposition. Man is deplorably filthy and is not worthy of seeing God’s face, and is not worthy of coming before God. People’s coming before God now is purely out of God’s grace. God’s wisdom can be seen from the way God works and the meaning of His work. Even if people don’t come into contact with God, they will still be able to see these things in God’s word” (“How to Know God Incarnate” in Records of Christ’s Talks). God’s words made me suddenly see the light. As it turns out, God’s words represent God Himself! Because God’s words are the life of God Himself, the expressions of His disposition, the revelations of what He has and is, and they completely represent God’s life essence. God incarnate in the last days expresses all that is the life of God using words and utterances, allowing man to see through God’s word His great power, His supremacy, His humility and hiddenness, and His adorableness, and moreover understand His joys and sorrows, and know what He has and is. Therefore, when people hear God’s voice and read God’s words, it’s like seeing God, just as Job said in the Old Testament: “I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees you” (Job 42:5). It seemed that as long as I read and experienced God’s words in earnest, then I could truly come to know Him. If people depart from God’s words and only see God incarnate, can they know God completely? Thinking back to when the Lord Jesus appeared and performed His work, there were many thousands of people who saw the Lord Jesus, but how many truly knew Him? Didn’t the Pharisees also see the Lord Jesus back then? So why did they nail Him to the cross? Wasn’t it because they hated the truth and didn’t listen to His words, and they stubbornly held on to their own conceptions and imaginations? On the other hand, Peter was able to have a real knowledge of the Lord Jesus because he could listen closely to His words and was good at contemplating every word and sentence uttered by Him. Through the Lord Jesus’ utterances and work he got to know God’s disposition and what He has and is, ultimately gaining true knowledge of God. These facts speak volumes, and if someone wants to know God, then it does not depend entirely on whether or not they can see Christ, but crucially it depends on whether or not they love the truth. If they truly love the truth, then even if they haven’t laid eyes on the face of Christ, they can still come to know God by listening to His voice; if they do not love the truth, however, then even if they have seen Christ’s face, it will still be impossible for them to know God, and they will even look upon Christ with contempt for being an ordinary person, and defy and betray Christ.
The more I thought about the preposterous logical reasoning I used to have, the more I felt my own wretchedness, foolishness, and childishness. Every day I held God’s word in my hands, read God’s word, and experienced God’s word, but I let slip the perfect opportunity to know God and did not enter into it, and instead I lived in notions and imaginings, complaining about the situation, thinking that I could only know God by seeing the face of Christ. I really was living a blessed life without appreciating it! From this day on, I will read more of God’s word, contemplate His word, seek to understand His joys and sorrows through His word, and discover more of His adorableness, so that my knowledge of God may be deepened.