Chapter 77. Only If You Live Before God at All Times Can You Walk the Path of Salvation
Knowing yourself isn’t easy, and knowing your own corrupt disposition and substance is even harder. When people don’t know their own corrupt disposition, and don’t know what their corrupt substance is, do they know what kind of relationship they have with God? Do they know what their importance is before God? And whether or not God favors them? (No.) They definitely don’t, yes? If that’s the case, why are most people happy in their belief, why do they feel good about themselves? And if you don’t know these things, what direction do you take when performing your duty? It’s not easy to know yourself, and it’s even harder to know your real stature, your own corrupt disposition, and your position and rank before God, yes? So what have people gained during these years that they’ve believed in God? Have they gained the truth? Have they set foot upon the path to salvation? Does eating and drinking the words of God, leading the life of the church, and performing one’s duty after coming to believe in God count as having a connection to God? (No.) So how can people have a connection with God? What do they need to do, what kind of path must they take, what must they pursue, and what stance must they take in order to have a connection to the Creator? Do you know? You’re stumped again—you’ve never encountered this topic, yes? (Yes.) Why is it you go into a daze as soon as you encounter the truth? Ordinarily, you do work relating to literature, which covers a lot of different content and projects. Hymns, essay, preachings and fellowships—it covers a lot. If you don’t know these things, then how can you make edits? Does it take a lot of effort to do this? Sometimes you’re stuck for words, and try as you might, you can’t come up with anything. You search through all the spiritual words, trying one after the other, and say to yourselves:[a] “Ugh, I’ve used all of these before, if I use them again I’ll be repeating myself. What can I do?” This is something you come across a lot, yes? (Yes.) And what’s even more troublesome? You add the word, the grammar’s right, but you don’t know if this is the right place to put it; is it doctrinal words, or the reality of the truth? Is it OK to add it here? Is it needed here? If you add it here, will it cause people problems? Or will it be useful? You don’t know—you can’t tell. Is this a problem? (Yes.) When this happens, how do you resolve this? Most of the time it’s a case of, “I’ll put it here for the moment. I can reconsider later, I’ll experience bit by bit; this is all I can manage for now.” Is that your solution? (Yes.) So if it is, in your hearts do you feel pained and embarrassed? (Yes.) You’ve run into difficulty in your belief in God, yes? You didn’t have any problems when you weren’t doing this duty, but when you do, you have a lot of problems. And what caused these problems? Is it because the duty is too hard? Or is it because you were half-hearted toward God’s commission? Or is it because you haven’t equipped yourselves with enough words of the truth? (We don’t have the reality of the truth.) What causes you to be without the reality of the truth? Could it be that you haven’t pursued it? Those who haven’t, raise your hands. What was I just saying about lacking the reality of the truth? (What causes you to be without the reality of the truth? Could it be that you haven’t pursued it?) That’s what I asked, yes? (Yes.) Am I hard to understand when I speak? Or am I going too fast? (We can keep up.) Sometimes I wonder—when I don’t see any reaction in you, I have to ask if you remember, if you heard what I said before—only then can I move on. If you didn’t hear, and I’m speaking blindly—am I not wasting My time? When someone is being fed, what determines how fast they are fed? (How fast they can eat.) It is based on how fast they chew and swallow. They swallow a mouthful, take a breath, open their mouth—and what does this mean? It means they’ve finished that mouthful and are ready for another. This is the speed, yes? And the person doing the feeding needs to control the speed. What will happen to the person being fed if this goes too fast? (They’ll choke.) They’ll choke, although not to the point they die. When they’re about to choke, the person doing the feeding will see and will stop; but the person being fed is having a hard time, as the speed is wrong. So what do you think about My speed at the moment? (We’re able to understand and keep up.) So why are you always glassy-eyed and unresponsive? See if this is what’s going on: Most of the time, you never give these details any consideration, you never think to pray-read, fellowship, and search for these details together; when it comes to the spiritual terms and sayings often mentioned in the belief in God, your mouth often chants these words that you see frequently written down or are often spoken—but you don’t take them seriously, you don’t turn to your spirit and quiet down, asking, “What is the meaning of this? When it occurs in real life, how can I hold it up against myself? How do I turn it into reality? How do I make it come true, and turn it into my own reality?” Go beyond doctrines and theory, make it part of your life, and the direction you’re moving in. You begin to think: “How do I make this part of my life? In what ways must this be expressed?” When you start thinking about this, a lot of details emerge. But most of the time you don’t give them any thought. When you don’t think about these details, most of the truths that are often spoken from your mouth don’t go beyond their literal meaning, their literal understanding. What can be seen in people who have not moved beyond a literal understanding? They often preach these theories, sayings, and spiritual terms, but there is no sign of the real revelation and living out of these things in what they put into practice and apply in their lives. Isn’t this a problem?
If that is the case, you’re facing a huge problem. What is it? When your belief in God has reached a certain point, if there’s no one to guide you, support you, or show you where to go, what will you start to feel? “This is all there is to believing in God—I’ve got the hang of these oft-spoken spiritual terms, sayings, and theories, I just need to remember them, that’s all. I’ve been successful in believing in God, I’ve understood the truth—so I’ve probably satisfied God.” When people enter this state, when they fall into this state, when they get to this point, what will emerge? What revelations will there be of their corrupt disposition? And will they be able to solve their arrogant disposition? They show off their seniority, flaunt how well-qualified they are and talk about their length of service—will this be their state? Will they compete over who’s believed in God the longest? Will they talk about who has the higher status, and who performed what duty? Who’s met the above, who’s done things for the above, who’s been in contact with the above—will they compare these superficial things? For example, you perform your duty in the Literature Team. You do this often, but you haven’t made any progress in entry into life, haven’t made any breakthroughs, you have but a limited understanding of theory, and for a long time you haven’t had any knowledge of the reality of the truth. So how will you think? How will you act? Do you know? What revelations of a corrupt disposition will there be in you? (Arrogance and conceitedness.) Will you become even more arrogant and conceited, or will you stay as you are? (We’ll become even more arrogant and conceited.) Why is that? (We’ll think we have capital.) You’ll think you have seniority, yes? And what is the level of this seniority based on? Is it based on how many years you’ve been performing this duty? In addition, is it based on how much experience you’ve accrued from performing this duty? Slowly but surely, will you start judging people according to their seniority? (Yes.) And why will you take this path? Say, for example, there’s someone called Sister Zhang: She’s believed for many years, she’s a veteran—the first one who performed this duty. So she’s most qualified to speak. Brother Li came last; he might have a little caliber, but he doesn’t have enough experience to perform this duty, nor has he been a believer for very long. He is the least qualified to talk. And then what does the person who’s most qualified to speak feel? “Well, since I have this seniority, then I must be up to the task of performing this duty. I don’t need to keep trying to improve, and there’s nothing I should enter into. I’ve performed my duty well, I’ve done my work OK, so God should be satisfied.” Is this an expression of entry into the reality of the truth? (No.) So what is it? See how when people don’t have any capital, they’re aware that they should be careful not to make any mistakes; with a little seniority, they become full of themselves—and when they become full of themselves, they face a problem. And what is the problem they face? Do you know? (Arrogance, self-righteousness, disdain for others, disdain for God.) When they become full of themselves, they’re in trouble, that’s for sure. When people become full of themselves, and rank themselves according to their seniority, and feel they have capital, what is their connection to God? Do they have a connection to God? (No.) They don’t, and that’s very dangerous. They don’t have a connection to God, and they cast Him to one side. They create their own group in private, an independent group, an independent team, and they make the place where people perform their duty the setting for creating their own kingdom. What do they turn the place where people serve and worship God into? They turn it into their own gang! And when it becomes a gang, is this a place of true worship of God? (No.) No. And is there entry into the truth and life? (No.) What are these people doing? Are they performing their duty? (They are not.) So what are they up to? Are they making a career for themselves? Are they setting up their own management? If they are, then no matter how successful they are, God will not be in their hearts; when they act, and perform their duty, it will not be based on the truth. And so will they have no connection to God? Isn’t that frightful? In a group of people, is it easy for people to take this path? (Yes.) It’s very easy for them to.
It’s like if you were asked to have a vote—to vote for an organizer, a leader. After voting, if you don’t go along, you’ll keep resisting and being disruptive, you’ll keep being uncooperative and will oppose, and then you will be liable to cast your duty aside. And yet, if you obey—if you completely obey them—will you end up following this person, and doing everything they say? (Yes.) When you do everything they say, have you been led astray by this person? (Yes.) And is being led astray by them equivalent to these people becoming a gang with this person as their leader? (Yes.) And is a gang with this person as the leader performing their duty? Is it serving God? (No.) This is not serving God or performing one’s duty, so do these people still have a connection to God? (No.) They do not. Does a group of people that has no connection with God believe in God? (No.) And can a group of people that does not believe in God be saved by God? (No.) It cannot—that would be very difficult, yes? It would be very difficult. In other words, no matter where people perform their duty, whether there are two of them, or ten, or twenty, if they become a group that appears to be performing its duty, but in fact is a gang, a group, that has no connection to faith in God and God, then is this group very dangerous? In everything they do, they don’t search for the truth, or follow the truth, they don’t act according to the principles of the truth, but are subject to the arrangements and manipulations of people. There are even many who, while performing their duty, never pray or search for the principles of the truth; they only ask others and do as others say, they act on cues from others, and go wherever they’re told. They feel the belief in God is vague and difficult, so they take the simple, easy approach. They feel that relying on others and doing what others say is easy and most practical, so they just do what others tell them to. In everything, they ask others and do as they say—with the result that, after believing for many years, when something happens to them, they have never come before God and asked God, searching for God’s intention, searching for the truth, and then achieving an understanding of the truth, and acting and behaving according to God’s will—they’ve never had such an experience. Do such people believe in God? I wonder: Why, as soon as they become part of a group of people, is it easy for some people—in form—to instantly change from being someone who believes in God to someone who believes in a person, and from being someone who follows God to someone who follows a person? Why do they change so quickly? Why do they do that after believing in God for so many years? They’ve believed in God all these years, but God actually has no place in their hearts. They’ve never had any connection to God. Their actions, words, life, way of treating others and handling things, even the performance of their duty and their service to God—all that they do, all of the behaviors they reveal, all that they express, and even their every thought—none of this has any connection to faith in God. So how have they followed through all those years? Does how many years someone has believed in God determine, does it show, whether they have stature in their belief in God, and whether the relationship between them and God is normal? Can it show this? (No.) It can’t. So what is the point of Me saying this? Think about why I’m telling you this.
When people believe in God, they act for appearance’s sake, and they pursue superficial spirituality, but is this the true belief in God? (No.) So what is the true belief in God? You’ve heard many truths, you’ve believed and followed for many years, and you understand a lot of theory. Of course, part of this couldn’t be considered theory; it’s not all theory, there is some that counts as the reality of the truth—but before you have been completely saved, can you say for sure that you will never follow Satan, and will never walk with another person? Can you guarantee that you won’t go back on yourselves, that you won’t be like the people who believe in Christianity, for whom the belief in God is merely a kind of faith, and not the true belief in God? Can you guarantee that you won’t take that path? (We cannot.) So where is the problem? Think about this: Today, which of your means of belief, views, and states are the same as, or similar to those of believers in Christianity? In what do you share the same state? If people treat the truth as dogma, is it easy for them to fall into religious ceremony? (It is.) And what is the difference between this kind of religious ceremony and Christianity? It could be that what is said is deeper, more progressive, and newer, it’s deeper and more profound, but if it becomes doctrine and a form of ceremony, then does it become Christianity? There is a difference between the old and new teachings, but if the teachings are merely a kind of theory, and if they merely become a form of ceremony in people, a kind of doctrine—and, likewise, people don’t gain the reality of the truth from within, and haven’t entered into the reality of the truth, then is their belief the belief of Christianity? In substance, is this Christianity? (Yes.) So in your performance of your duty, in which things do you hold similar views to believers in Christianity? (Abiding by doctrine, equipping ourselves with words and theory.) Abiding by doctrine, equipping yourselves with words and theory, treating the truth like words and theory. Anything else? (Focusing on work, and not focusing on entry into life.) Only focusing on putting in effort, not focusing on gaining life, or on entering the reality of the truth. Anything else? (Focusing on superficial spirituality, humility, and obedience.) (Superficial piety, behaving well.) You’ve said a few things, so I’ll summarize for you: The pursuit of superficial good behavior, then doing your utmost to create a pretense using the appearance of spirituality, doing a few things that, in people’s conceptions and imaginings, are praiseworthy—this is the pursuit of false spirituality, it is hypocrisy, standing upon high speaking words and theory, telling people to do good deeds and be kind, to be good, and to understand the truth. What else? Is never searching for the truth in what you do, and only acting according to human will, one of them? (Yes.) When something happens to you, you completely rely on human will, and cast God to one side. Anything else? (Going through the motions when praying.) Going through the motions when praying—what’s that? This is the pursuit of false spirituality, yes? You pursue to be someone spiritual. This is one of them. Speaking spiritual theory, saying the right spiritual words, and pretending to be someone spiritual, impersonating someone who is spiritual, giving the appearance of spirituality in what you say, do, and reveal. But in your behavior and the performance of your duty, you have never searched for the truth, you have never acted according to the principles of the truth, you have never known what is spoken by the truth, what God’s will is, what the standards He asks of man are—you’ve never taken any of this seriously, you’ve never paid it any attention, you’ve never paid any heed to these things.
Try and summarize all of these expressions, these states, these external actions and internal states, all of these means of belief. What are they, above all? Are they the fear of God and shunning of evil? (No.) Then what are they? (Religious faith.) Without doubt, they are religious faith. That’s why we’re analyzing it. So why are they said to be religious faith? You don’t understand, yes? If there is no connection between people’s belief in God and the pursuit of the truth, do they believe in God? (No.) For people who have no connection to pursuing the truth, no matter how many years they have believed in God, are they capable of truly fearing God and shunning evil? (No.) And so what is expressed in these people who are incapable of fearing God and shunning evil? What path would they walk? What do they spend all day equipping themselves with? What is the path they walk? Do they spend all day equipping themselves with words and theory? They spend all day arming themselves with words and theory, to create an impression, to make themselves more like the Pharisees, more spiritual, more like people who serve God, yes? (Yes.) So what are all these actions? Do these people worship God? Do they truly believe in God? (No.) So what are they doing? (Deceiving and opposing God.) Yes, they are deceiving God, they’re just going through the motions, they’re performing religious ceremony; using the belief in God to put on a pretense, they’re performing religious ceremony and trying to deceive God in order to achieve their aim of being blessed. They do not worship God. Will such a group of people end up like those who supposedly serve God in church buildings, and who supposedly believe in God and follow God—will they be any different?
What is the difference between those who believed in God during the Age of Law—the scribes and Pharisees—and the people who serve and follow God in the churches of Christianity now? Put it like this: What is the difference between the people who believed in Jehovah and those who believe in Jesus? Is the name they believe in the same? (No.) So what name did the people who believed in Jehovah believe in? (Jehovah.) Jehovah God. And what is the name that people in the churches of Christianity today believe in? (The Lord Jesus.) They believe in the Lord Jesus. Is there a difference here? (Yes.) So what did the people who believed in Jehovah abide by? What were their means of belief? (They abided by the laws and commandments.) They abided by the laws and commandments. Did they understand the work of the Holy Spirit? (No.) Did they understand sin? (Yes.) They understood sin, they knew sin, that’s right! Did they understand the way of bearing the cross? (No.) So did they have a concept of the following: Did they know that God is the truth, the way, and the life? (No.) They did not. In other words, did they know the messages heard by believers in Jesus? (No.) So after the arrival of Christianity and those who believe in Jesus, how were they viewed by the people of the Age of Grace? (As backward, conservative, and having fallen behind the work of the Holy Spirit.) Above all, they were recognized as having fallen behind the steps of God. God had arrived, who was the Messiah. God said He would be called the Messiah—but when He came, God become flesh was called Jesus Christ, and so they did not accept Him, they stubbornly resisted, not accepting, not acknowledging that the Lord Jesus was God incarnate. And they fell behind, and were eliminated; they were eliminated by the Age of Grace. They were ignorant of many of the messages preached during the Age of Grace. They didn’t know the messages of redemption and the cross, nor the message of repentance—there were many they did not know. Is this the difference? (Yes.) So with the arrival of the Age of Grace, what did the people of the Age of Grace preach? How were they different to those who believed in Jehovah? And what did they know? Firstly, the name they believed in was different. Did they acknowledge, however, that the belief in Jehovah was right? They acknowledged that Jehovah God was right, that Jehovah was God—but did those who believed in Jehovah acknowledge that the Lord Jesus Christ was God? (No.) No, they did not. And what is the difference between those who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and those who believed in Jehovah? Firstly, in terms of the Bible, they read the Old and New Testament—they read both. And in terms of what name they believed in? When it came to the name they believed in, they no longer called God Jehovah; instead, they most commonly called Him Jesus Christ, yes? And what did they practice? Repentance, confessing their sins, patience, humility, obeying the commandments, bearing the cross, walking the way of the cross of suffering, and going to heaven after they die. In many things, they differed from those who believed in Jehovah, yes? They preached the work of the Holy Spirit, prayer, being filled by the Holy Spirit, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the presence of the Lord, peace and joy—were all these things different? (Yes.) What they preached was completely different. We’ve come back to the topic just mentioned at the start: In these two stages, they might have differed in the name they believed in, and in various other respects, but God has ultimately reached the same verdict about them. Why? What does God name those who believed in Jehovah? Judaism. They became a kind of religion. And how does God define those who believed in Jesus? Is it defined as Christianity? (Yes.) God’s eyes see Judaism and Christianity as religious groups. Why does God define them thus? I’ll ask you a very simple question: Among all those defined as religions by God, are there any who fear God and shun evil, carry out God’s will, and follow the way of God? (No.) So can you see whether, in God’s eyes, those who nominally follow God are those whom God acknowledges as believers in God? In God’s eyes, do they all have a connection with God? Will they be saved by God? (No.) So will a day come when you are reduced to what God sees as a religion? You don’t know, right? Being reduced to a religion, that seems inconceivable. But will those who have become a religion—who have become a religion in God’s eyes—be saved by God? Are they of the house of God? (No.)
So now have a think, try to summarize: These people who are not of the house of God, whom God believes to be a religion, and who only nominally believe in the true God—what path do they walk? Could it be said that these people walk the path of waving the flag of belief in God but never following the way of God, of believing in God yet never worshiping God, and instead forsaking God? That is, they walk the path of believing in God but not following the way of God and forsaking God; their way is one in which they believe in God but worship Satan, they worship the devil, they try to set up their own management, and try to establish their own kingdom—is this the substance? (Yes.) Do people like this have any connection to God’s management plan for the salvation of man? (No.) How do you know? Regardless of how many there are who believe in God, as soon as their ways of belief are defined by God as being a religion or group, then God has determined that they can no longer be saved. Why do I say this? In a gang or crowd of people who are without the work of God, without the guidance of God, and who do not worship God at all, who do they worship? Who do they follow? To all appearances, they follow people—but who do they follow in substance? (Satan.) In form and name, they follow a person; in their hearts they acknowledge God, but in fact, they are subject to the manipulation, arrangements, and control of a person; they follow Satan, they follow the devil, they follow the forces that are hostile to God, the enemies of God. Does God save people such as this? (No.) Why doesn’t He save them? Are they able to repent? These people are incapable of repentance. They wave the flag of belief in God to try to make a career for themselves, and try to set up their own management, and they run counter to God’s management plan for the salvation of mankind. The final outcome is that they are detested and rejected by God; God could not possibly save these people, they could not possibly repent, they have already been taken by Satan—they are entirely in Satan’s hands.
When you believe in God, does it matter how many years you’ve believed for? When you believe in God, does how many years you’ve believed in God matter to whether you are praised by God? Do the rituals and doctrines you abide by matter? Do these things matter? (No.) Does God look at people’s ways of practice? (No.) Does God look at how many of them there are? (No.) So what does He look at? God has selected one portion of mankind, and what is whether they can be saved, whether God will save them, based on? (It is based on the path they walk.) Yes, it is based on the path these people walk. In the messages of the Age of Grace, although the truths that people understood and which God told people were less numerous than today, and not as specific, at that time God still made people perfect, and there were still those who could be saved. And so for the people of this age, who have heard many truths, and have come to understand God’s will, if they are incapable of following the way of God, incapable of walking the path of salvation, what will be the final outcome? The final outcome will be the same as those who believe in Christianity and Judaism, there will be no difference. This is God’s righteous disposition! Regardless of how many messages you’ve heard, and how many truths you’ve understood, ultimately, you will still follow people, and Satan; ultimately, you will still be incapable of following the way of God, you will be unable to fear God and shun evil—and people such as this will be detested and rejected by God. To all appearances, these people who have been detested and rejected by God talk about many words and theories, and have come to understand many truths. And yet, they are incapable of worshiping God; they are incapable of fearing God and shunning evil, and are incapable of total obedience to God. In God’s eyes, God defines them as a religion, as a group of people, a gang of people, as the land of Satan. They are collectively referred to as a gang of Satan, and they are utterly despised by God.
And so what is it imperative for you to do today? Is it imperative for you to do the work that needs doing? (No.) What’s imperative now is while not falling behind in performing your duty, you should strive to set foot upon the path of salvation as quickly as you can, in short order. Do not be forsaken by God, that would be terrible! When God defines someone, saying that this person has never followed His way, and is utterly incapable of fearing God and shunning evil, when God determines that you shall be rejected, God no longer reproaches you, disciplines you, prunes and deals with you, or judges and chastises you—He completely abandons you. At that time you’ll feel great, very carefree. No one will be in charge of you, you’ll be free. When you worship Satan, you feel no reproach; when you are not faithful in performing your duty, causing disturbance and interruption, acting entirely according to your own desires, you feel no reproach or discipline; even when there are conceptions about God in your heart, you feel no reproach or discipline; even when you resist and oppose pruning and dealing, even when you pass judgment, when you undermine or try to win others over in secret, you feel no reproach or discipline. Isn’t that great? (No.) What kind of a signal is this? Does it signify something good? No one in charge of you, no one asking after you, no one pruning or dealing with you, God not reproaching you, everything going as you’d like, doing whatever you want—is this a good signal? (No.) Clearly not! When God is about to abandon you, you will no longer be reproached, you will no longer feel discipline, nor judgment and chastisement. What does it mean when God abandons someone, do you know? The first thing that happens when God abandons someone is that they feel no blame. Every day, their heart is filled with joy, they revel in excess and depravity, they act as they please, indulge their every wish, do whatever they want, they are not blamed or disciplined no matter what debauchery they commit, much less do they feel uneasy or disquieted. When they have departed from the reproach and discipline of God, what path do they walk? Try and imagine. First say if this is something good or bad. (Bad.) They’re in trouble! So then, what do they do next? (They become more and more depraved and debauched.) They begin to be depraved, debauched, indulgent, they begin to do bad things, and they’re in trouble, yes? When people who possess the reality of the truth and fear God see someone who spends all day enjoying themselves, they say, “Oh, he’s in danger; he’s in trouble. Look at how he behaves and you can tell he’s in trouble—God doesn’t want him. How could he act like that? God doesn’t want him, God has left him, but he doesn’t even know it!” Do you often hear about the bad things done by the religious community? You’ve all heard something of this. Apart from the great punishment they received, have you seen any one of them being disciplined ordinarily? Were they reproached? (No.) Do you see God’s will in this? Do you see God’s attitude? (Yes, we do.) And if you go there, will you be the same as them? (Yes.) You certainly will be.
So, what is imperative today—what should people do to avoid getting to that point? (They should pursue the truth and fulfill their duty properly). Apart from fulfilling your duty properly, you must also often come before God, and accept God’s discipline and guidance of you. What is the main topic that we’ve frequently talked about over this period of time? Is it the lesson of obedience? (Yes.) This is something that’s very important. You must be able to submit to all the environments God sets out for you and all the people, things, and matters that He arranges for you. You must often pray, live with fear before God, and scrupulously do what you ought to do; you must scrupulously live before God, and often be at peace before God, and not be indulgent or dissolute. At the very least, when something happens to you, your first reaction should be to calm down. And what do you calm down in order to do? (Pray and seek.) When you’ve calmed yourself, hurry up and pray! Pray, wait, seek, and attain an understanding of God’s will. Is this the attitude of fearing God? Is this a good state, a good start, for the fear of God? (Yes.) With this mind, by cooperating like this, and practicing thus, you can be protected. You will not encounter temptation, and will not offend God, and will not do things that interrupt God’s management work, nor will you go so far as to provoke God’s loathing. Only by practicing thus, often living in this kind of state, and often being at peace and coming before God in this state, will you be able to unconsciously depart from temptation and evil. Yes? (Yes.) If you are without reverence for God, or if your heart is not before God, then there are some evils that you will be liable to commit. You’ll be liable to commit them because you have a corrupt disposition, and are incapable of controlling your corrupt disposition. As soon as you do, and this becomes disturbance and interruption, will the consequences of this be severe? The less severe consequences will be to be dealt with and pruned. And what about the severe ones? In severe cases, you’ll be detested and rejected by God, and in form you could be expelled. But if you try and obey God, if your heart is able to often be at peace before God, so that you fear God and are apprehensive toward Him in your heart, will you be able to shun many evil things? You fear God and say, “Oh, in this I’m apprehensive of God—I’m apprehensive about offending God. I’m scared of interrupting God’s work and making God loathe me.” Is this a kind of attitude? Is this a kind of state? And what produces this apprehensiveness? (The fear of God.) Yes—this apprehensiveness is produced by the fear of God. Once this apprehensiveness is produced, will you keep your distance when you see evil things? You’ll avoid them, yes? And in this way, will you be protected? (Yes.) In this way, you shall be protected. And what about if people are not apprehensive? Without apprehensiveness toward God, are people able to fear God? (No.) Are people bold if they don’t fear God, if they’re not apprehensive toward Him? (Yes.) And if they are bold, can they be held in check? (No.) If they cannot be held in check, then when the desire takes them, will they do whatever they want? (Yes.) And is there anything good in what they want to do? (No.) What do people do when they act according to their own will, their own zeal, and their natural, corrupt dispositions? (They do evil things.) Everything they do is evil—in God’s eyes, it is all evil. And so, do you now see that when people are apprehensive of God, they are able to attain the fear of God? And when people fear God, He is within their hearts. When they fear God, can they shun evil? (Yes.) So is it easy to shun evil?
For instance, someone says: “Believing in God isn’t easy! You have to perform your duty, and suffer and pay a price.” What do you feel when you hear this? Are these words good or bad? (Bad.) What would you say if you didn’t fear God? You’d say: “That’s right—I haven’t seen my child for five or six years. It will be so unfair if I don’t gain God!” When these words come out of your mouth—well, you all have a listen, analyze them: Is there any fear of God in these words? Is there any element of fear for God in these words? (No.) So what is this? It is opposition to God! The two of them are having an intimate conversation—and though it may seem harmless, they’ve found a common language! What is expressed when people have no fear of God and they say such things? Are they opposing God and complaining about God? They don’t believe in God or the righteousness of God, yes? So look: If people are not apprehensive of God, and are incapable of the reverence of God, are they likely to shun evil? (No.) They are incapable of shunning evil, yes? In one to five seconds, that person said several words. How long did it take to say those words? Less than a minute. And without a second’s pause after they’d been said, these words were immediately followed by “That’s right.” Is this shunning evil? How many words was that? “That’s right.” (Two words.) Two words, all that it takes for you to commit evil. You are not only incapable of shunning evil, but you have also committed evil—the smallest of all evils. That’s how frightful people’s corrupt dispositions are. That’s how frightful they are! Do you see this clearly? See how when people do not fear God, what is naturally expressed by their corrupt dispositions, everything they say behind people’s backs, and what they say in front of them—it’s all evil. When you have no fear of God, even the smallest thing will lay your corrupt disposition completely bare, exposing your character, pursuits, motivations, and even your dissatisfaction with God. Is this so? (Yes.) But if you fear God, when that person says those words, how would you—you who fears God, is apprehensive of God, and lives before God—reply? How would you fellowship with them? What would your conversation involve? When you fear God, your state is different. But someone who does not fear God says whatever is in their head. When their mind is thinking something, they immediately say it, and when it comes out, it takes form—it forms a fact. God thinks, “This person doesn’t fear Me, nor do they shun evil. Instead, when they see something evil they approach it; when they see evil, they fall in with it.” But what would those who fear God say? What did that person just say? Repeat it. (“Believing in God isn’t easy! You have to perform your duty, and suffer and pay a price.”) (“That’s right.”) Would the first thing someone who fears God said be, “That’s right”? (No.) So what would be the first thing they say? (They would contradict the other person, saying: In this, are you not grumbling and complaining about God?) (This is the view of an unbeliever, someone who does not fear God.) Is there any fear of God here? (No.) So what would be the first thing those who fear God say? Faced with this, you’ve nothing to say, you have no view. What do these words mean? (They’re complaining about God.) They mean they’re reluctant, yes? They’re reluctant to give up these blessings—and yet despite wanting to be blessed, they don’t want to suffer, they don’t want to pay a price, and so they say, “Believing in God isn’t easy.” Is there a mood of complaint here? There is a mood of complaint: They’re dissatisfied with God and have grievances, yes? They believe God asks too much of people, that before He blesses them a little, He asks that they pay a great price; they believe that God shouldn’t do this, that He has no love for man, that He is not truly merciful, that all He does is torment people, and it’s not easy for them to get a little blessing in return. Is this the implication? (Yes.) So how should you respond to them? You should reply like this—see if you think this is right. You should say: “What is the little hardship we suffer? Look at how much God has suffered, at how much He suffered since coming from heaven to earth. He has endured great hardship for us mankind—He even gave His life. God has endured much greater hardship than us, the little hardship we’ve suffered is nothing. What’s more, we should suffer, is this not for the sake of being blessed? God paid a price for us, and He humbly and secretly came among man, so He has suffered great hardship. People are unfit to suffer for God!” What do you think of these words? Superficially, they are right. Theoretically speaking, these words are not wrong. But do they carry any weight? Is there any testimony in this? (No.) There is no testimony. These words are cursory, they are the use of theory to exhort people, they are the theory of admonishment, they are theory that admonishes people, but they can’t solve any problems—they’re merely cosmetic. If you want to solve the problem, how should you fellowship with them? What do people feel inside when they hear such words? They have a think, and say to themselves: “Ah! They doesn’t seem very willing to believe in God. They don’t seem too willing to suffer in order to perform their duty.” But when they reflect on it, they say: “Whether they’re willing or not doesn’t matter. Many people are not willing; it has nothing to do with me. They’re complaining about God, not me. And this doesn’t concern my own personal interests. Complaining about God is something between them and God. They should deal with it themselves, it has nothing to do with me!” This, it would seem, is often what people feel—and there’s nothing wrong with it. But for those who fear God, the first thing they think when they encounter this is: “Ah! This person believes in God but complains about God. What they’re saying is wrong! Being saved is a big deal, how could it be OK for people not to suffer a little? What’s more, what do people suffer because of? Is it not because of their corrupt dispositions? God has good intentions in making people suffer! It’s for their own good! It makes them perfect, and builds them up. If people don’t suffer, they can’t be saved. This is God’s mercy and grace, this is God’s love for mankind, this is salvation! How could that person say that? I can’t let them say such things. I have to try and fellowship with them, I can’t let them misunderstand God or complain about God. I’ll solve this for them—I can’t let them go about spreading it and influencing others. In this, I must speak in God’s stead, I must speak for God, I must solve their misunderstanding of God, and give them the proper understanding of belief in God. I can’t let them misunderstand God. Misunderstanding God like this, are they not doing God an injustice? God’s love and salvation of people is so great, how could they believe that?” When you think this, do you have the reality of fear of God? Your fear of God doesn’t just stop at words, but is elevated to reality; there is real expression, real revelation, and real practice. You have the truth within you, you possess the truth of fearing God. You have gained the truth, you’re not just speaking slogans, you are able to bear testimony to God, and you are able to stand firm in your testimony to God. So with this knowledge, what should you say to them? You should say: “God is earnest and thoughtful in His salvation of man. People have corrupt dispositions, and often oppose God; in nature, they are hostile to God. God does not mean to make people suffer. When they pay some little price, or forsake something, or make some small commitment, it is for themselves, not God. You suffer because you have a corrupt disposition and you wish to gain the truth. So to put it bluntly, you deserve to suffer! It is not something God has given to people, it is not God who makes you suffer. With your rebellious disposition, how could it be alright for you not to suffer? If you don’t suffer you must die, you must be destroyed, you must be punished. Which do you choose? God doesn’t want to make you suffer, but could you obey God if you didn’t? If you didn’t suffer, could you act according to the principles of the truth? If you didn’t suffer, could you obey God’s words?” If you say this, will the other person understand? Firstly, do you think these words are after God’s heart? Are they in line with the truth? (Yes.) They are in line with the reality of the truth, and in line with the truth. Is this what someone who fears God ought to do? (Yes.) Do the people who say such things shun evil, or is what they’re doing still evil? (They’re shunning evil.) In this, they’re shunning evil. And so, what do people need to have in order to shun evil? (Fear of God.) Yes—only if they fear God can they shun evil; only when people fear God can they stand firm in their testimony to God, only then can they bear testimony to God. Is that the case? (Yes.) So what makes people shun evil? (Fearing God.) Only those who fear God are able to shun evil—you understand this, yes?
So what state would you say those who don’t fear God frequently live in? Is there a connection between them and God? (No.) How so? Every day they pray and read the words of God, they gather at the proper time, and perform as much of their duty as they should. How can it be said that they have no connection with God? If it is not for the sake of their faith in God, can people achieve these things? Are they capable of these things? You don’t understand again, yes? (If, when they do things, they don’t seek the truth, then they don’t fear God, and nothing they do has any connection to God—it’s all superficial.) If, in their belief in God, people don’t frequently live before God, they have no fear for God in their hearts, and so are incapable of shunning evil. These are connected. If your heart often lives before God, you will be held in check, and will fear God in many things. You will not go too far, or do anything that is dissolute. You will not do that which is loathed by God, and will not speak words that have no sense. If you accept God’s observation, and accept God’s discipline, you will avoid doing many evil things—and will you thus shun evil? (Yes.) If, in your belief in God, you often exist in a state of bewilderment, not knowing whether God is in your heart, not knowing what you wish to do in your heart, if you are incapable of being at peace before God, and don’t pray when something happens to you, if you’re often impulsive, often act according to your own will, often reveal your naturalness and arrogant disposition, and if you do not accept God’s observation of you, nor God’s discipline of you, and you do not obey God, the hearts of people like this commonly live before Satan; their hearts are controlled by Satan and their own corrupt dispositions. And so, such people are without the slightest reverence for God. They are fundamentally incapable of shunning evil, and even if they don’t do evil things, everything they think is still evil, and unconnected to the truth or the way of God. So do such people basically have no connection to God? Though they are ruled by God, they have never reported before God, they have never treated God as God, they have never treated God as the Creator who rules over them, they have never acknowledged that God is their God, that God is their Lord, and they have never considered worshiping God with their hearts. Such people don’t understand what it means to fear God, and they think it’s their right to commit evil, saying: “I’ll do what I want. I’ll take care of my own business, it’s not up to anyone else.” They think it’s their right to commit evil, and treat believing in God as a kind of mantra, as a form of ceremony—and in this, are they not of the unbelievers? (Yes.) They are unbelievers! In God’s heart, what are these people? (Unbelievers.) All day, everything they think is evil. They are the degenerates of God’s house, and God does not acknowledge them as people of the house of God. Who are the people of the house of God? (Those who fear God and shun evil.) So are those who don’t recognize that God is their Lord, and the One who rules them, of the house of God? (No.) They do not accept that God is the Creator, nor the fact of God being the truth, are they of the house of God? (No.) They are not of the house of God.
What, would you say, is expressed in those who accept that God is the truth, who accept that God is their Lord, and the Ruler of all things? What do they put into practice, what states do they have, what do they live out? (They seek the truth in all things.) That’s one aspect. What else? Keep going. (They obey all the environments, people, things, and matters that God sets out, and they try and learn lessons and gain the truth from these.) What else? (In their actions, they dare not oppose or offend God.) (They are able to accept God’s observation in all things.) These are all expressions. Anything else? (God has a place in their hearts.) (They exalt God in all things.) Those are empty words, they’re just cants. As you spoke more, the cants came out. You really are something—just now you managed to keep on track, but as you kept going you strayed. Above all, when something happens to them, they will say, “It doesn’t matter whether I understand the truth or not. It doesn’t matter whether I have to seek the truth later. Firstly, I must be apprehensive of God, I must not act rashly, and I must fear God. Before all else, I must not offend God.” One look at them and people will say, “Ah, this person is very precise in what they say and calm in what they do. They’re really at peace. They’re not impetuous, or dissolute—they’re really at peace, they’re able to wait. In their hearts, there is a story going on between them and God, they interact with God. They do not live superficially—they fear God.” Is this what they must live out? (Yes.) So do the people who live this out have a connection with God? (Yes.) People who often don’t live this out are reckless and insolent, they are not held in check, they are dissolute, they spend all their time laughing and joking. They do not take performing their duty seriously, they say whatever pops into their head, and are impetuous in all they do. They are not in the slightest bit at peace; they bare their teeth and show their claws in all they do and say—they look just like unbelievers. So in what they reveal and express, are they people who live before God? Is this what is expressed and revealed by someone who lives before God? (No.) So what is the state inside people who express these things? Is God in their hearts? (No.) He most certainly is not. Such people are condemned and loathed by God.
And so, what does the topic we’ve been talking about today—this biggest and most important of all topics—relate to? If you wish to be saved in your belief in God, that will never happen if your heart is incapable of living before God, if there is no relationship between you and God, if there is no connection. The path of your salvation will have come to a dead end, and you will have reached the end of the line. There will be no use if your belief in God exists in name only—do you understand? (Yes.) There will be no use if your belief is nominal, it won’t matter how much theory you are able to say, or how much you have suffered, or what great heights you can reach. God will say, “Depart from Me, you evildoer.” What will you have been classed as? (An evildoer.) You will have been classed as an evildoer. You have no connection to God. God is not your Ruler, He is not your Creator, He is not your God, He is not the One you worship, nor the One you follow. You follow Satan and demons. You are your own lord. Ultimately, such people will be eliminated, detested, rejected, and punished by God. God does not save such people. Only when people accept that God is their Lord and Ruler, only when they accept that God is the truth, the source of man’s way and life, and only when all they do and every path they walk are connected to the truth, and God, and obedience to God, and following the way of God—only then will they be saved. If not, they shall be condemned by God. Is it alright for people to think themselves fortunate? Is it OK for them to always cling to their own views? Is it OK for them to always hold on to vague and abstract imaginings? (No.) Do not think yourselves fortunate—there is no other path to take, do you understand? (We understand.) Good! Are these things important to people? (Yes.) They’re ringing alarm bells for you, yes? (Yes.)
Is there anything you don’t understand about what I just said? Let Me tell you, having heard these messages, it’s not important what you are taken by; ultimately, when all is said and done, that which makes you fear God and shun evil is the right path—and it is the only right path. You keep believing, to the point that you have no connection to God, and God is not your Lord and Creator, you do not accept that God rules your fate, and do not obey all that God arranges for you, you do not acknowledge the fact that God is the truth—if so, your dream of salvation will have been shattered. If you walk such a path, it will be the path of destruction—do you understand? What does it mean if you say, “Everything I focus on and pursue, and everything I pray and ask for each day—it increasingly makes me feel that I ought to obey the Creator. God is my Lord, and I am willing to accept and obey God’s dominion over me, what God sets out for me, and everything He arranges for me. I am increasingly able to obey, I am more and more willing, my state is more and more normal, I have a closer and closer relationship with God, my love of God is more and more pure, my extravagant desires, and complaints and misunderstandings toward God are fewer and fewer, I commit less and less evil, I shun evil more and more, and my fear of God is more and more true”? (That a person walks the path of salvation.) It means that a person walks the path of salvation. You feel that your pursuit is right, that the path of your pursuit is very good, very high level—and yet, after pursuing and pursuing, walking on and on, there is no discipline, you see nothing of God’s judgment and chastisement, you can’t sense it, nor are you willing to accept God’s observation, and you want to be your own lord. Is this the right path? (No.) If you increasingly feel that you must live before God at all times, if you are deeply afraid that one day you’ll do something wrong, that as soon as you stop being careful you’ll do something that offends God, making you feel that when someone believes in God they can’t leave God, and cannot depart from before God—that if they do leave God and His discipline, and pruning, and judgment and chastisement, then that is equivalent to losing God’s protection and care. If, one day, you realize this, you will beg of God: “O God! I beg You to judge and chastise me, I beg You to reproach and discipline me, I beg You to look upon me at all times, making me fear You and shun evil.” What of this path? Is it the right path? (Yes.) Yes—it is the right path. So have a go at measuring yourselves according to this standard. Is it easy to measure yourselves in this way? Do you walk the path of salvation? (No.) Have you reached the edge of it? (No.) You’re not. So is it easy to walk the path of salvation? (We must rely on God’s leadership.) You must rely on both God and yourselves. When people hear this message, they say, “What? I still don’t walk the path of salvation? Whether I do or don’t doesn’t matter—what’s the big deal, anyway? I’m going to get there sooner or later, there’s no need to panic.” What of this view? When you have this attitude you’re in deep trouble. You’ll have a hard time setting foot upon the path of salvation—it won’t be easy. So what resolution should you have to set foot upon this path? “Ah, at the moment I have yet to walk the path of salvation—I’m in quite a bit of danger! What did God just say? He told people that they must live before God at all times. So how can they live before God at all times? By praying a lot, being at peace, and not being impetuous. Well then, from this very second I’m going to start putting this into practice.” Does this mean you’ve reached the edge of the path of salvation? When some people hear this, they say, “Ah, so it’s that simple!” It really is that simple! What kind of people go and put this into practice after hearing it? Are they good people? (Yes.) They are good people—they are people who love the truth. After hearing this, if people remain set in their ways, if they’re still hardened and unresponsive, if they don’t pay any attention, and treat it lightly, letting it go in one ear and out the other, are they good people? (No.) If they’re not good, what kind of people are they? Are they ignoramuses and good-for-nothings? (Yes.) People always ask, “Are there any shortcuts in believing in God and being saved?” and I say there are not. So, having told you of this simple path, what are you if you don’t go and put it into practice after hearing it? You’re useless, right? You don’t know good from bad, you really are trash. Can such people be saved? (No.) It can’t be said for sure that they can’t—but it’s fair to say they’ll have a hard time. One day, perhaps, when they wake up, they’ll have a think, and say: “I’m all grown up now—what am I doing? I spend the whole time neglecting my duties. What did God say the other day? People must live before God at all times. Where am I living now? I’m not living before God. I’m still napping, still dreaming. I should hurry up and pray!” They’ve awoken, grown up, they know not to be negligent in their duties. See? It’s not too late. But don’t leave it too late. If you wait until you’re seventy, or eighty, or ninety, when you’re so old you can’t move, and your speech has slowed down, as have your thoughts, when you have trouble walking, and have no energy—if you only start pursuing then, having wasted the best years of your life by neglecting your duties, then it’s not worth it—you have no destination, no end, you have missed the best time for salvation. It’s too late for regrets!
What is it imperative for you to put into practice now? Hurry up and couple your belief in God with God, connect them, and come before God. If your belief in God bears no relation to God, could God still acknowledge that you believe in Him? And if God does not acknowledge this, are you not in trouble? Your expression must be good, making God acknowledge that you are of the house of God, that you follow Him. You must come before God; don’t be obstinate, don’t rebel—come before God, and accept that God is your Lord. Do you understand? (Yes, we understand.) So what should you do after that? You should immediately put this into practice, and make it a reality—isn’t that right? Today we’ve fellowshiped for a while and spoken about a few things. If you feel they’re important, you can apply them in your lives, and make them the entirety of your lives, and then you have gained them—and I won’t have been wasting My time today.
In fact, whether we talk or not, or we meet or not, is not important. What’s crucial is that people must have God in their hearts. Next, when they act, they must be following God’s words in their hearts, and they must be able to exalt God. All they do must be placed before God, and connected to God. How to put this more simply? When you believe in God, you must do so properly. In other words, you must have the reality of belief in God. Wouldn’t you have heard these messages whether we talked and met or not? Today, you have gained the words of God, the way of God, and the life. Isn’t whether we meet or not of little importance? When I meet you, I inconvenience you; when you busy around, this delays you in performing your duty, yes? See how, when people don’t understand the truth, and don’t know what it means to satisfy God, everything they do is superficial. Wherever I go, there’s someone to bring Me tea and water, and to give Me slippers. It makes Me feel awkward! I say to them, You don’t need to do that—seeing you busying about makes Me feel exhausted. But they don’t listen, they insist on busying about. Seeing that I cause people trouble wherever I go, I don’t go. Putting people out makes Me feel uncomfortable. People’s intentions are good, but they always end up doing things that come from the flesh and their own imaginings. This is trouble. I’m just an ordinary person, but wherever I go people treat Me like a queen, like some old Buddha—how do you think that makes Me feel? This makes Me unhappy, it makes Me uncomfortable. People say: “We’re so good to You, how could it make You uncomfortable? What is there to be uncomfortable about? Most people enjoy this!” What do you say, should I enjoy this? If I don’t enjoy seeing you do this, what would I enjoy you doing, what would make Me feel good? (Us listening to God’s words, obeying God, and putting God’s words into practice.) You would sit down over there, and when I came in, no one would make a big deal about it; I would pull a chair over, sit down in front of you, and you would begin to fellowship—and when you did, most of you would understand the truth, and would be able to put it into practice. When you had an issue, you would seek. Seeing that your state was normal, that you weren’t dissolute, and didn’t have the bad habits of the unbelievers, that God was in your hearts, that you expressed fear of God, and that you were godly and had the decorum of saints, do you think there would be enjoyment in My heart? (Yes.) You must understand My state of mind. You get this, yes? (Yes.) What do you understand? (God doesn’t want people who are good to God in appearance. God hopes to see people being able to put the truth into practice, and being able to fear God and shun evil.) See—you understand after hearing the message. You understand what God’s will is. After a period of time, you have clearly changed; these words are of benefit to you, they change your state, and also change the direction in which you walk the path. You have indeed turned a corner. When I see this, I say, “Ah, this is great. My words weren’t in vain. They took them to heart, My words didn’t just go in one ear and out the other.” When I see you, I find enjoyment. If, no matter how many times I say it, you don’t listen, you don’t treat My words as important, still doing whatever you want, whatever you please, what do you say—when I see you do I hate you, or do I get angry? Should I get angry, or feel hate? Seeing you like this makes Me uncomfortable! Do you understand? It doesn’t matter how many nice things you say, or how good your external expression is—one look at you makes Me uncomfortable, I can’t bear the sight of you. That’s how it is. And so, it is very important for people to put the truth into practice, and entering into the reality of the truth is even more important—do you understand? We’ll leave it here for today.
a. The original text omits “and say to yourselves.”