Chapter 73. Man is the Greatest Beneficiary of God’s Management Plan
Now people certainly cannot do obviously bad things in the course of their duties, but can they perform their duties well? This is a matter of humanity. How can they be done well? What must one possess in order to do things well? In anything one does, they must be serious, conscientious, take responsibility, be considerate and fulfill their responsibility. What is fulfilling one’s responsibility? You are asked to perform a duty, it is assigned to you and you are given some principles. But there are some things you are not told, so what must you rely on to do this duty? (Conscience.) At the very least you must rely on your conscience to do it. “Rely on your conscience to do it” are a few words, but how can they be put to practical use? How do you apply these words? These words must be put to practical use. (We must consider the interests of God’s family, and not do anything that shames God.) This is one aspect. Another is that, when doing anything, you must repeatedly scrutinize it. You look over it and feel it’s okay. But afterward, you feel uneasy and it seems there’s another problem. You have a check and really discover there is, and so you should sort it out as quickly as possible. What attitude is this? It is being serious and meticulous. This is having a conscientious and rigorous attitude. How does this attitude come about? (By relying on conscience, by giving more consideration to the interests of God’s family and by being more well-meaning and more responsible.) You must take a conscientious and responsible attitude, and say, “This job has been assigned to me, so I must do it well and not do it wrong. I will do this job well to the best of my ability and my understanding, and I’ll try my utmost to do it well.” You mustn’t always be thinking to “do something 80 percent,” or thinking “maybe,” “perhaps,” or “that’ll do.” Always with this kind of thinking, can you do this job well? Can you perform your duty well? What kind of thinking is this? (It is being slipshod.) How does being slipshod come about? Does it come from the corrupt satanic disposition? Is the corrupt satanic disposition the driving force behind being slipshod? With this kind of disposition driving them from within, people act this way. Are they then without conscience, and without humanity? Someone with no conscience and no humanity can be slipshod at any time and in any place. So can you depend on someone like this? (No.) No, you really can’t. What are they capable of doing, these people that you really can’t rely on? (Shaming the name of God.) (They are capable of anything.) There is no line they won’t cross, is there? They are not dependable and there are no limits to what they do because they have no restrictions and they do whatever they want, depending on their mood. “The weather today is fine and I’m in a good mood. I slept well and have eaten my fill. I can work more.” And they do less of a slapdash job. The next day they are in a bad mood, they had a nightmare, they miss their family a little and their feelings are running a little low, so they say, “It’ll be fine if I do my work more or less, if I just go through the motions, and do this job as quickly as possible to get it over and done with. There’s no need to check anything; how many days has it been dragged out?” Finishing a job in such a slapdash way, there really is no line they won’t cross. Loyalty to their duty, doing things conscientiously and responsibly, considering the interests of God’s family, and not shaming the name of God—they ignore all of these things and they are not restricted by any of them. Isn’t this the case? So can someone like this revere God? (No, they cannot.) Why can’t they revere God? (They have no standards of conscience, no humanity and there is no line they won’t cross.) They do things without any standards of conscience and without any standards at all, so they do things completely in reliance on their own likes, and they do as they wish, depending on their mood. Whether they do things well or not depends on their mood and how well or how poorly they do something depends on their mood. This is so troublesome. If people don’t do things on the basis of the truth which they understand, then it is very difficult to satisfy God’s will and very difficult to put the truth into practice, therefore it is so troublesome.
Doing anything involves putting the truth into practice, people’s humanity and their attitude. Much of the time, when people do things in an unprincipled way it is because they don’t understand the principles behind them. But a lot of the time, not only do people not understand the principles, but neither do they wish to understand them. Though they may know a little about them, they still don’t wish to do their task well; this standard is not in their hearts, and neither is this requirement. So it is very hard for them to do things well, to do things in a way that satisfies others and satisfies God. This depends on what a person seeks and whether or not they love positive things. If someone doesn’t love positive things, then it is hard, isn’t it? So when you do something, regardless of how much you understand or whether you know the principles behind it, if you only do it relying on your conscience, then won’t you be able to get at least 60 or 70 percent of the task right? For the rest, you seek the principles, seek the truth and continually improve yourself in the professional aspect, and in this way you will do your duty better and better. At the very least your attitude and your intentions are oriented toward God and moving upward. Does God require of man that they do things perfectly, seamlessly and achieve the best possible outcome 100 percent of the time? (No.) What does God require? (With all one’s heart and all one’s strength.) How do you understand “with all one’s heart and all one’s strength?” Ordinarily, is it easy to do something with all one’s heart? If someone has no heart, can they do something with all their heart? (No, they cannot.) So if someone has this heart, can they do it with all their heart? (Yes.) But are there times when people can fall short? At first they have this heart and this desire, and they have expressed this resolution and taken this vow, but when they do something, they come across many difficulties or many frustrations, and this heart is diminished—are there such times? (Yes.) So is the “Yes” that you said just now a tenable position to take? No matter what you do, you should not rely on your temperament, on your imagination, even less on your passion, and you should not rely on your feelings or follow anyone, so you need to continually seek the truth, pursue the truth. If you rely on your enthusiasm, your feelings, or you rely on your passion or your temperament in that moment, then it cannot be guaranteed that you will do anything well or perform your duty well. Isn’t this the case? (Yes.)
See, when children are about five or six, or seven or eight, they all have this desire, saying: “After I grow up, I’ll show filial piety to my parents. When they are sick I will care for them.” Do you get this impression, that you had this desire when you were young? (Yes.) When you grew up, however, was this desire realized? Did you live up to that desire? When you wanted to fulfill this desire, what difficulties stopped you? You always think in your heart, “This is righteous and good. This is a part of traditional culture and is a part of humanity. I cannot fail my conscience; I must realize the desire I had when I was young.” But what difficulties do you face when doing this? This involves the problem of reality. To each and every person, the difficulties and hardships of reality are much greater than your imagined ideals, aren’t they? For example, someone grows up, graduates from college and starts earning money. They think: “I’m earning money now. I’ll buy my mom a nice piece of clothing and my dad some good health products. I’ll make my folks really happy so they can live a happy life.” You have this desire before you get a job, and you have this desire when you’ve just started work. But as soon as you get paid, you pay your rent, living expenses and phone bill, and pay all manner of expenses, so you do not have much left. Now there’re many people who live from paycheck to paycheck, aren’t there? This is the problem of reality. By the same token, a girl likes to get dressed up so she goes and buys some decent cosmetics that aren’t too harmful to the skin, she has her hair done and buys some nice clothes. People usually reward themselves in this way in their first month of earning money. Once the money has all been spent, their conscience then rebukes them, “I haven’t fulfilled the ideal I had when I was young. Aren’t I not being filial to my parents? Never mind. There’s always next month. I’ll save and put some money away next month.” Next month as soon as they get paid they pay for this or for that, spending on all manner of things and again they have nothing left: “Where does all my money go to? Okay, I’ll save some next month. I won’t buy any clothes or cosmetics. I’ll save my money.” Then the next month comes, and they don’t buy clothes or cosmetics, they don’t eat so much nice food and they don’t treat their friends, so they put some money away. Then they ponder: “Renting somewhere long-term is no good. If I keep saving like this I can put it toward a house. Right, I will keep this money to buy a house. With a loan I will be able to buy a small home, and this will put me in a better position than renting and living under someone else’s roof. Right, I’ll keep saving then.” And then they think: “So when will I show filial piety to my parents? There is still time. They are still fit and healthy.” Gradually, slowly, some people find partners, get married, and have children, and money gets tighter and tighter. As for the ideal of being filial to their parents, it gets harder and harder to realize, doesn’t it? At the very least, the naive desire you had in your mind when you were young—the desire to be filial to your parents, to unhesitatingly spend all your earnings on your parents—is now very difficult to achieve in your current circumstances and the environment you now live in. So in your current circumstances, do you face ever greater difficulties when it comes to being filial to your parents? And moreover you come up with many reasons, saying, “I also need to live and support my family. I also need to raise my children and wine and dine my boss. What’s more, I also need to put some money away for my children’s future.” You come up with a great pile of reasons. “My parents can’t depend on me alone. Besides, I’m not completely without filial piety. I do have a filial heart. It’s just that it took a lot to earn money and it’s hard to get by. It’ll be fine if I buy them something to eat at New Year and on festival days. The old folks don’t ask for much.” What is happening here? This filial heart gradually disappears, doesn’t it? Where does it go? (It is worn down by reality.) So is your filial piety then a tenable position to hold? (No, it isn’t.) It is gone. So was your desire back then real or false? (It was real.) Your desire back then was real, but it was naive, laughable, foolish and unreliable. It was a kind of mirage—you could see it but you couldn’t touch it or enter into it. It was not a real entity, but was a fantasy, wasn’t it? What only is the true you? What only is the real you? (Only that which I show in the midst of practical difficulties is my true self.) Correct. That is the true you: your humanity, your substance, your essence, as well as your attitude in how you treat your family, your real attitude. You constantly postpone your filial obligations and then, unknowingly, your conscience is dulled, you no longer feel any reproach, you no longer feel any sense of responsibility or obligation and you think, “I’ve done very well.” “Why do you think you have done very well?” “Because everyone is like this. I haven’t done any worse than anyone else. Besides, I also have practical difficulties to face.” Every excuse you make, every time you shirk and every reason you give—what are all these? They are all things within your corrupt humanity and are things within your corrupt disposition. No matter how real reality is to you, and no matter how many reasons or excuses it gives you, no matter how much your excuses hold up, what you show in the end is your completely true self.
So how can this matter be resolved? How can an ideal, a positive ideal, whether it be delusional or naive, be changed into reality? That is, how can an ideal be fulfilled? Before they have understood any truth or have attained any truth, what do people in real life display? Is everything they display righteous and positive? (No.) If you don’t understand the truth then no matter how well you do or how correct you think you are, what you display is still your corrupt disposition and it is not in conformity with the truth. So if you don’t pursue the truth and don’t understand the truth, you will find it very difficult to put the truth into practice. It being very difficult to put the truth into practice, everything you live out will be expressions of your corrupt disposition. No matter how good, or great or upright you think you are, anything you do on this basis cannot possibly conform to the truth. Have you understood any of this? (We have understood some.) What have you understood? (People may have this kind of desire and this kind of heart inside them to satisfy God. But this is just enthusiasm and is very naive. Sometimes it can even be very foolish. Because when people encounter practical environments and practical difficulties, they cannot achieve their desire, and they don’t measure up to that which they desire to do.) Someone else tells Me, what have you understood? (People have desires and good thoughts, but they cannot act on them because they are under the domination of their own natures. Under the influence of their own corrupt dispositions, they desire something but have no way to realize it, so they must satisfy God by resolving their own corrupt dispositions.) (I feel that, only by seeking the truth, by praying that God’s word and the truth guide oneself can one do things without relying on momentary impulses or on one’s temperament. Only by doing this can one speak less idle talk, be more pragmatic, do more practical work and take practical action to repay God.) That’s it, more or less. (Under the premise of having not understood the truth, even if people do things which seem to others to be righteous and reasonable, but if they are not done on the basis of God’s word, then doing those things is without worth or meaning and they are not approved by God.) Well said. You have all made progress during this time.
To attain the truth, people must be prepared to shed their old skin; they must all be purified and must undergo refinement. You acknowledge that you have corrupt disposition and you acknowledge the truth but, when you put the truth into practice, does your corrupt disposition allow you to practice it very successfully? (No, it doesn’t.) So at times like this, what things will arise within you? (We talk of reason, give reasons and excuses, and we compromise ourselves little by little.) (We are also selfish and we care about things like our own reputation and vanity.) There is a disposition problem here. We often say things like this: See this person’s disposition when they do something. Although they have said nothing at all nor revealed anything, as soon as you look at their disposition then you can see clearly that there is rebelliousness. “Rebelliousness” is a general term, and it can be explained in the colloquial way: It is a kind of disposition. Regardless of whether someone talks of reason or seeks excuses, or whether they are all for their own various interests, reputation, status or vanity, or whether they wish to obtain something, or for some intent they have, they find it very difficult to give these things up. Whatever their purpose, if they have this kind of disposition within them, this condition makes them hostile to God and makes them oppose Him. What is “rebelliousness”? It is pitting oneself against God, saying, “How could I not think that whatever You say is right? How could I think otherwise? How could I not love listening to You talk? How could there be differences between what You say and what I think? How could I not understand this matter? How could I not love to listen to You?” Pitting yourself against God, being wayward and disobedient—this is man’s greatest difficulty, isn’t it? Opposing reality, opposing what God does and opposing what He requires of you. Regardless of whether you give reasons, seek excuses, or whether you give various objective reasons or put forward various objective conditions and environments—whatever the case may be—there is a kind of rebellious disposition that is up to no good here. If this rebellious disposition, this condition, could be turned around, when encountering some issue you’ll say: “I really don’t understand the truth about it, what then can be done? Whichever condition and whichever disposition is in conformity with the truth and which is not rebellious against God, then I’ll live that way and do things that way.” See, at that time when God tested Job, could he understand very precisely and know accurately what God meant for him, according to what he had understood then? (No, he couldn’t.) So what was it that Job expressed? Was it rebelliousness, obedience, resistance or did he complain? (It was obedience.) His whole being, from his innermost heart to his external behavior—what condition was he in? Did he reveal the tiniest bit of unwillingness or opposition? He didn’t, did he? Though we may only read the description of these events in simple written words, within this description we can read of no rebellious condition at all on Job’s part. However, can you read in these words that Job understood much truth? (No.) In actual fact, what truth did Job understand at that time? Did God speak of the truth of obedience? Did He say that man should not rebel against God? He didn’t talk about any of these. But what was Job’s condition at that time? Although he didn’t have the theory of these truths as a foundation, his behavior and all that he did allowed people to see what he thought in his heart, and what the condition of his heart was. Is this something that people can see and feel? (Yes.) Some people say: “We don’t know what he was thinking in his heart or in his head.” You don’t need to know this; you should be able to see his external actions, right? What did he do? He did something that was representative of someone who was obedient to God, someone who, when trials befell, was without any rebelliousness and was able to obey God entirely: He tore his robe and fell to the ground. His falling to the ground represents his condition, and this kind of condition represents what he thought in his heart. His external actions tally up with what he thought in his heart, and they represent his pursuit and his attitude toward God. Isn’t this the case? (Yes.) So what was his attitude toward God? What was his reaction to the things God did to him? (Acceptance and obedience.) Acceptance and obedience, there are no objections to that. Said simply, there are no differing views: His first reaction was acceptance. Some fools say, “Then do people live in a vacuum? Selfless and without desire? Is there anyone like that? Is this not a sage? This just doesn’t happen, does it?” In actual fact, there really are people like this, aren’t there? Job was of this condition, as the unbelievers say “selfless and without desire.” When God’s trial came upon him, he didn’t say anything, but instead let his actions express his attitude toward God. His falling to the ground proves his true obedience to God and his true acceptance of God’s trial. There was no opposition. It was not done for show, it was not an act, nor was it done for other people to see; it was done for God to see.
So how did Job reach this level of obedience? This level of obedience certainly doesn’t come about through enduring one trial, after which he understood what obedience and acceptance is. As corrupt mankind, everyone living on earth has been corrupted by Satan, they all have a rebellious disposition, selfish motives and they are all capable of rebelling against God. This is man’s nature; it is the nature of everyone who has been corrupted by Satan. But did Job reach the level he reached overnight? He certainly didn’t. He had to seek and have explicit goals to seek for, he had to be on the correct path, to have God’s guidance and, moreover, to have God’s care and protection. As he sought to walk the right path, he was able to attain God’s grace, mercy and blessings. Then, he unceasingly saw God’s hand, saw God’s guidance, and obtained God’s care. Only in this way could he make any progress, right? So tell Me, why didn’t God make him undergo this kind of trial when he was 20 years old? (He didn’t have enough stature.) Simply speaking, the time had not arrived. Why wasn’t he made to undergo such a great trial when he was 40 years old? It still wasn’t time, was it? Why did it happen to him when he was 70 years old? (The time appointed by God had come.) Yes, the time had come. So do you now need to wait until you are 70? (No.) Why not? That age of God’s work was different from the current age of God’s work. There is a difference. The pattern they follow is different. In that age, He didn’t speak of the truth, nor speak to man. He did some simple, representative work, and those who sought made gains. Those who did not seek were muddleheaded—they kept the Sabbath, offered sacrifice, said their prayers, and that would be good enough. Weren’t Job’s friends back then also believers? Did their belief fall far short of Job’s? (Yes.) Did they not live in the same age as Job? So why were they so wanting? Wasn’t Job much better than they were? Why was that? Why was there such a great difference between them? It has to do with what they seek. If you sow melons, you reap melons. If you sow beans, you reap beans. If you don’t sow anything, then when the time comes you certainly won’t reap a single grain, will you? Those fools didn’t seek anything, but instead just followed the rules, just like some people nowadays who just follow the rules, who don’t seek the truth, who aren’t serious about anything, who muddle along in a confused state, who will all end up as “friends of Job.” When the trial befell, they said to Job: “Job, admit your sins quickly! See that God’s punishment has come.” What attitude did God have toward them in the end? God said: “You have lived to such an old age yet My deeds you do not see clearly. You do not see clearly My attitude toward man, nor do you see clearly the laws with which I do things. You truly are fools! Rather it is Job that sees clearly.” So God appeared to Job, and did not appear to them, as they were unworthy, they didn’t seek God, and they didn’t seek the path of fearing God and shunning evil.
What is the way of fearing God and shunning evil? Use the truth that you now understand to tell Me. (Seeking to know God and satisfy God’s will.) Seeking to obey God, to obey God completely, to obey God absolutely. It is to have a true fear and reverence for God. It is to not cheat, defy or rebel in any way whatsoever. It is having a heart that is completely purified and it is being absolutely loyal and obedient to God. This is absolute, not relative, taking not into consideration time or place, or how old you are. This is the way of fearing God and shunning evil. When you are on this journey of seeking in this way, you will then gradually come to know God and experience God’s deeds, you will feel God’s care and protection, feel God’s true existence, and feel God’s sovereignty. Only then will you finally really feel God’s existence in all things, and feel Him beside you. Only then will you have this kind of experience. If you don’t seek this way, then you will never attain this understanding. “God dominates all things.” “Ah, I can’t see it.” “How many years have you believed?” “20 years.” Your experience is not very deep. “God is omnipresent. God is omnipotent.” “Really? Is this true? Perhaps.” Troublesome. What have you been doing these few years? You have read much of God’s word, preached many sermons and listened to many sermons. You have gained some people by spreading the gospel, have performed many duties and traveled many roads. So why don’t you understand this matter? You just did it to get by, didn’t you? You are like a blind person who has their eyes wide open. The true way is clearly laid out before you, the path is laid out before you, but you don’t know to walk it, don’t know what path is the most appropriate, the most correct to take. You think that, by carrying a book of God’s word, by living the church life and listening to sermons every day, and by entering into the church, you are a member of the church. No matter what is going on in the church, you know about it all, and you have all the literature the church has put out—you seem to be a member of the church. But you haven’t attained the true way that God wants you to seek, so God does not acknowledge you and you are not a member of God’s family. Isn’t this the case? If you are not a member of His family, God sees you as being someone who “just does it to get by,” and God does not heed you. You say, “I do my duty, so You must acknowledge me.” God says, “Move aside. You don’t know yet what the truth is.” He says, “I am the truth, the way, and the life.” For you, however, there is fundamentally no feeling, understanding or experience of these three words in your heart. You have no proof nor any practical experience to corroborate that the God in whom you believe is the truth, the way, and the life. This means that you are not able to bear witness for God. When you encounter things, you just persist in your old ways and do whatever you want, being no different from when you were a new believer. You find it difficult to forsake and purify your little pettiness that is selfish and mean. Every time God arranges some environments for you, you are unable to attain anything, and they cannot bring you to attain purification. That is to say, whether you believe in God for 20 years or 30 years or even longer, your rebellious and corrupt disposition is not cast off gradually, nor is it gradually purified. That is, your rebellious disposition is just the same as it was when you first started believing—this means the end for you; it is so dangerous and troublesome!
Those in our church who have believed in God the longest—we’re not talking about their time believing in Jesus here, but rather from when this current stage of work began until now, almost 30 years—when one makes contact with them, though this is of course a condition for many people, irrespective of what year they began to believe or how long they have believed, there are some among them who have this condition: These people have listened to many sermons and they understand much. They think they have attained the true way and have gained God, that they do not believe in vain and that they have gained life. But when they encounter a very small matter, something so small as to be hardly worth mentioning, they act selfish and mean, they make their own selfish and mean choices to satisfy themselves. When they have this kind of expression, their current behavior is just the same as when they first started to believe. How they go about things now is how they went about things back then, and yet they feel nothing about their behavior at all. Say a very obvious and very small matter; so long as they exert some effort and grit their teeth, they would very easily let their self-interest, their personal interests go. They, however, see their own interests, their own intents and desires to be more important than anything else, and they can’t let them go. They were like this when they first started to believe and they are still like this now. But they themselves think they are great, and they feel good about themselves. Why is this? They feel that they make a great contribution, that they have believed in God for many years and that they are superior to everyone else in every aspect. But the more these people are like this—the more sermons they listen to and the more they behave as though they think they are superior—the more I feel pained and bitterly disappointed for them when I come into contact with them. The pledges they make and the determination they express are exactly the same as when they first started believing. Their determination has not changed and neither have their pledges. Moreover, their enthusiasm and resolution have not changed and the energy they expend is still great. But there is one thing that has not changed. Their arrogant disposition, rebelliousness and deceitfulness have not changed. These things have not changed at all. So I think: What on earth have these people been doing all these years? They carry books with them every day and read them from dawn to dusk, even spending most of their lives on this pursuit. But in their hearts they believe that they have already gained God and attained the true way—is their feeling then correct? Are they able to obtain God’s confirmation? What does God want to see? Is this problem worth thinking deeply about? If there is an obvious conflict between someone feeling good about themselves and God’s opinion of them, then whose problem is this! (It is the person’s problem.) This is for certain. Although what I just said was a question, it ended with an exclamation mark. It should be an exclamation mark because God cannot be wrong. God’s standard of His requirements of man has never changed, but it is people themselves who continually distort it and continually turn their understanding to benefit themselves, right? This is so pitiful! You tell Me, is this kind of person worthy of pity? Someone may say: “They’ve believed for most of their lives; if God really doesn’t commend them for it, isn’t that really so pitiful?” Are they worthy of sympathy? If they are not worthy of pity and not worthy of sympathy, isn’t that being a little too hard on them? Isn’t that being a little too cruel? Isn’t it an actual problem? Is it cruel or not? (No, it isn’t cruel.) Why not? (They reap what they sow.) To put it crudely, it’s what they deserve; they aren’t worthy of pity. But what if this happened to you? When talking about others, you think, “You reap what you sow. No one made you not hear God’s words! You get what you deserve! God doesn’t want you so neither do I. I don’t have any sympathy for you, nor do I pity you. You get what you deserve!” So what if this happened to you? Would you look into your own heart? Would you reflect on this? (I feel that I would make many complaints, but I would not often look at myself for the reasons, and that I would never clearly think about why I end up in this situation or see this result.) So you must look at yourselves and have a think. If I now think from My own point of view, there is something very unfair about this. If you think of it from your point of view, how should you think? Tell Me. In what way should you think for your thinking to be rational, appropriate, reasonable, fair and with conscience, and for it to be the point of view, the way of thinking, and the attitude that a created being should have? And how should you act, how should you think that is most appropriate and most fair and gives a most reasonable and fair account to both God and man? Let’s discuss this matter. (I think that if I believed in God for many years yet did not gain the truth, this would not be God that has done wrong, and it would not be that God’s work has not attained any results, but rather it would be me who has not been seeking. I think of an example the Lord Jesus gave, which is that the wages for those who started work early in the vineyard and the wages for those who started to work late in the vineyard were the same. What God gives to those who accept God’s work early and those who accept God’s work late is all very fair and reasonable, as the time that is given to them is given according to their nature. But if someone doesn’t seek the truth, and in the end doesn’t gain the truth that God has given, it isn’t that God hasn’t given them enough time, but rather that their own nature doesn’t love the truth or seek the truth and they waste the opportunities God gives them time after time. Despite having believed in God for only a short time, there are some who go in search of the truth and seek to satisfy God when they encounter things, and in the end gain God’s work. So everything God does is righteous.) Excellent!
Let’s talk from the point of view of man. First let’s talk about what happens if God doesn’t save you; that is, if you don’t believe in God, where will you be? You will be entirely under Satan’s domain, you will be caught up in evil trends and you will be in the midst of corrupt mankind. Being in the midst of corrupt mankind is the same as being inside what? Where will you be? (In a nest of devils.) In a nest of devils, inside a dye vat, right? So if someone doesn’t believe in God, what will their final end be? (They will go down into hell.) If someone doesn’t believe in God then naturally they will do whatever they desire, do bad things, do evil, will become corrupted deeper and deeper, become more and more evil and increasingly deaf to reason, so what will they become in the end? In the end they will become living ghosts, won’t they? They will seem to speak and work just like people, but their whole disposition, their whole temperament will have become entirely that of a ghost. If they wholly become ghosts, what then is their final end? Won’t they share the same end as Satan? They will be completely captured by Satan and become one with it. Going against God leaves them no room to turn themselves back around. They become Satan’s accomplices, its running dogs or in cahoots with it. However you say it, it’s all the same. In the end they will be punished, they will perish and they will be destroyed. This is the kind of end that awaits them. This is what lies in wait for man, if they don’t believe in God. If you don’t believe in God then He won’t save you. If you don’t believe in God then maybe you can live very freely in the world, do whatever you desire, do whatever you can think of, suffer no restrictions and not bother with any restrictions of morality, conscience or ethics, or any restrictions of just or positive sayings. You can then act in accordance with and centered around whatever you think in your heart, and live a life that revolves around worldly trends, until you change utterly into someone with no sense of conscience or reason, who has degenerated thoroughly and completely into a devil, into a living ghost. That is, you will have changed utterly into the living Satan. There will be no need for disguise or to wrap yourself up as Satan—you will be Satan. Your conscience will be no more and the positive things within your humanity will be no more. There will be no way back. You will have reached that stage, reached the irreversible stage where you are beyond saving. There will be no way back and God will not save you, so there is no need to say what your final end will be. At this point, whether this kind of living being has life or not, it has run its course and its final end is fixed. It is like this. This isn’t so good, and it’s too bad, isn’t it? (Yes.) What feeling does this kind of end give people? This kind of end gives people a dull ache, makes them feel uncomfortable, unhappy and hurt. It makes them feel abandoned and like they are floating in an endless sea without anything to hold onto that can save their life. It makes them feel pitiful and helpless. You may think this way when you haven’t yet fallen to such an extent, but as soon as you reach that level, then it is irreversible, isn’t it? This is the fate people approach in the end, when God does not save them.
However, as far as God is concerned, does He suffer any loss when someone has this fate and ends this way? Is there a possibility of God suffering any loss because someone was created by Him and then they approach this end, this end of being destroyed? Is there a possibility of God not being God anymore, of losing His identity, His position, of losing His essence because a created being is destroyed? Can this change the fact of God’s dominion over all things? (No.) No, it cannot. What does this show? What can we see here? (The one affected by any end is oneself. It cannot affect God, much less can it affect God’s work.) This is one aspect. If man doesn’t believe in God and God doesn’t work on them either, then God hasn’t lost anything at all. Satan is still Satan; God is still God. The One who has dominion over all things is still God, God is also the One who created all things, and He is still the One who administers all things. The fate of mankind, the fate of Satan and the fate of all things are held in God’s hands. There can be no change, no staining and no loss of God’s position, God’s uniqueness, God’s disposition and God’s essence; God is still God. This allows people to understand one fact: No matter how numerous mankind gets, in God’s eyes it is just a number. It does not amount to any kind of force and it poses no threat to God. No matter what course mankind follows, they are held in God’s hands. But no matter what end mankind faces, whether they believe in God or acknowledge God, or whether they acknowledge God’s dominion or existence, none of it can affect God’s intrinsic identity or position, and neither can it affect God’s essence. This fact is unchangeable. But there is one fact that people have perhaps not yet understood clearly or experienced. If God abandons any one among mankind and doesn’t save them, then there is only one final end for them, and that is irreversible. In the entire universe and all things, no matter how big they are, no matter how many planets there are, how much life there is, they cannot change the fact of God’s existence, and the fate of all things is held in the hands of the One alone. From a living organism to a star, nothing can affect God’s existence, nor affect God’s dominion, much less can anything control any idea God has. This is a fact. What then do some people believe? “I don’t believe in You, so You are not God.” Is this a tenable thing to say? (No, it isn’t.) They say: “Not many people believe in You, so You are not God.” “Only we believe in you, so Your power to dominate all things is only this great, and Your power to dominate mankind only extends this much.” Is this the case? (No.) This is so ignorant, isn’t it?
This is talking about how people will be and how God will be if God doesn’t save them. You see this fact clearly, don’t you? (Yes.) Nothing will happen to God—God doesn’t change. Yet there is great variance in the fate of mankind. Within whose hands is this variance held? People themselves? Some country? Some ruler? Some force? No. The One who holds your fate, who holds the fate of mankind, is God. It is in God’s hands. So you must see this fact clearly: God’s salvation of mankind, His saving you, is His kindness and great salvation. It is the greatest grace. Why is it the greatest grace? It is because God’s salvation of mankind is not an inexorable law, nor is it an inevitable trend. It is not something that has to happen; God can choose freely. Is it okay if He doesn’t save you? Must He save you? Does He owe you salvation? Can it be changed? He says: “Your being chosen was preordained, but now I don’t wish to choose you. I’ve changed My mind.” “How can You change Your mind just like that?” “I just can. I’ve changed My mind so now you cannot attain this grace. Where can you go to dispute it?” You cannot attain this grace. So what should you do? You must be on your best behavior and try your best to use your actions and your heart, use your true faith to move God and to obtain God’s grace. This is not impossible, is it? At that time, when the Lord Jesus was in Canaan, a Canaanite woman did something that is recorded in the Bible. Who among you can tell this story? (There was a Canaanite woman whose daughter became possessed by a devil and she came to beg the Lord to help her. The Lord Jesus said: “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” The woman said: “Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” (See Mat 15: 22-27)) And then, what did the Lord Jesus say? (“O woman, great is your faith: be it to you even as you will” (Mat 15: 28).) What did the Lord Jesus praise her for? (He praised her faith.) What exactly was her faith? How can this faith be understood? (Because she acknowledged that the Lord Jesus was God.) But the Lord Jesus called her a dog, so how was she not saddened by this? (It’s like those people who have believed for a long time and have the foundation. Perhaps God doesn’t want them anymore, but they can still follow God today. Even if they were expelled, they would rather be a dog in God’s family than return to the world.) You’re not speaking too clearly about this matter. It won’t do to speak doctrine. Doctrine cannot solve any problems. Why did the Lord Jesus praise the faith of this person? It was not because she was willing to be a dog, nor was it because she was willing to eat bread crumbs. This is all secondary. What was it that the Lord Jesus praised her for? It was that she didn’t care whether the Lord Jesus saw her as a dog, as a person, or as the devil Satan. She didn’t care what He saw her as. The most important point was that she regarded the Lord Jesus as God, and that she affirmed the Lord Jesus to be the Lord, and to be God. This is a truth and a fact that is eternally unchanging. The Lord Jesus was God, was the Lord, was the One affirmed as such in her heart, and that was enough. Irrespective of whether the Lord Jesus saved her or didn’t save her, whether He saw her as someone to eat with together at table, or as a disciple, or a follower, or whether He saw her as a lapdog or guard dog, it was all fine, she didn’t care. In any case, it was enough for her to acknowledge that the Lord Jesus was the Lord of her heart; this was her greatest faith. Do you have this faith? If it is said one day that you are the guard dog of God’s family, would you be willing to accept this role? If it is said that you are the great tiger that guards the doors of God’s family, you would possibly be very happy about this, wouldn’t you? Or some say: “You are a little darling, a little dear, one of God’s people, an angel, a little baby in God’s family.” These are all pretty good, these are all fine. To be called a dog, however, you wouldn’t be happy. Why wouldn’t you be happy? You regard yourself as being very important; you think, “I have acknowledged that You are God. How can You say I am a dog? I have acknowledged that You are God. You should be fair and reasonable. We two are cut from the same cloth, we’re buddies! We’re buddies! I believe in You, so You should respect me. You mustn’t disrespect me. How can You say I am a dog? I believe in You, and I have such great courage, such great love, such great faith. How can You say I am a dog? You have no love for man. We two are buddies and should be on an equal footing. I respect You, I revere You, venerate You, admire You, so You should respect me and treat me like a human. I’m a human!” What do you think of this attitude? (It is unreasonable.) People want to be on an equal footing with God, want to consider themselves as being cut from the same cloth and be buddies. Isn’t this troublesome? They say: “You eat too, and You cough when You have a cold. If You drink water and it goes down the wrong way then You choke too. You get tired too after talking for a long time. You cannot endure staying up all night too many times either. Isn’t this pretty much the same as me? It’s just that You can talk better than I can, and I can’t yet talk as well as You. If I had as many years of experience as You then I’d be just as capable. Besides, there is one thing that I’m good at that You aren’t. I can dance and sing, and You can’t. Weighing us both up, You don’t carry as much weight as me. I was born in the modern age. You were almost born in ancient times.” After mulling it over, they say: “There’s not much difference between us. We should respect each other. Our friendship should be built on the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual trust. Only this kind of friendship will last.” What do you think of this viewpoint? (It’s wrong.) How is it wrong? (Their relationship with God is not as a created being to the Lord of creation.) (In their heart they’re not treating God as God, but as a normal person.) What mistake has been made here? (They are only seeing the aspect of humanity of the incarnate God, and not seeing the aspect of His divinity.) To put it plainly, on the one hand their humanity is bad. On the other, they have not seen God’s real person. When they come into contact with the incarnate God, they think, “God incarnate is nothing special.” As their contact with Him goes on, they think, “The incarnate God, the Christ, is easy to push around, and is pretty much the same as us people.” As time goes on, they feel this way and God disappears from their hearts. This is what happens and this is the kind of thing man is. If you don’t seek the truth, then as time goes by this is what happens; you will not have a God-fearing heart, nor will you have a God-revering heart. The goal of people’s pursuit of the truth is to obey God. Irrespective of what God does, what form He appears in or what method He uses to speak to you, the position God has in your heart cannot change, your reverence for God cannot change, the distance between you and God cannot change and your true faith in God cannot change; in your heart, God’s essence and His position cannot change. That is, you can manage your relationship with God very well, in a suitable, rational way, with lines and boundaries. But if you don’t seek the truth, then this point is hard to reach and very difficult to accomplish.
Where did we get up to just now? (Talking about people not treating God as God mainly because their humanity is bad and they have no knowledge of the divine essence of the incarnate God.) If people don’t seek the truth, then they can never see the aspect of God’s essence, the aspect of His divinity, and they can never know what are God’s dispositions and His true expressions. Though you may be told about them, you still cannot see, nor can you know what these things are applied to. Let’s go back further—where did we get to? If God doesn’t save someone, what will their end be? (They will perish.) What effect will this have on God? (God will have no misgivings. It will have no effect on Him.) This is said in regard to God not saving someone. God is not affected, but that person’s fate will be wretched. Their end differs greatly from the end of those like Job and Abraham. They are ranked entirely within the hostile forces of God, within the enemies of God. This end will obviously be very bad, won’t it? Let’s then talk about this: If God wants to save someone and work on them, what do they obtain? Why do people believe in God? Think about this question. What are people aiming toward by believing in God? Are they aiming toward satisfying God? Are they aiming toward doing the duty of a created being? (No.) Are they aiming for humiliating Satan and bearing witness for God? These reasons are all a little high-sounding, a little too far-fetched. If they were now talking about their original intentions of believing in God, then they would feel somewhat diffident to say these words, they would blush and wouldn’t quite be able to get such words out, because the facts are not like this. What exactly then are the facts? (They are aiming for blessings.) (It is for their final destination and spiritual sustenance. Things like this.) In general, these things are not too respectable and they wouldn’t own up to them, would they? But if people don’t aim for these things in the beginning, can they believe in God? They don’t plan on believing, nor do they wish to believe, and they say: “If there’s no benefit then who wants to believe? If You don’t give any money, You don’t give any benefits, then shouldn’t You give some promises? At the very least You should give some promises. A verbal commitment would be okay too.” Isn’t that right? “What benefit is there to believing in God?” “You must suffer in this life because of persecution, being abandoned by the times, by the world and by your own family.” “It’s fine to suffer in this way, but it has to be worth it. What do I gain afterward?” “God has spoken and promised that you shall receive a hundredfold in this present time, and shall inherit everlasting life in the world to come.” “So what does everlasting life signify?” “What everlasting life signifies is to live forever, to never die.” “Though I may never die, it’s not acceptable to suffer; it’s not acceptable to live a hard life. To never die must mean to live well, to live comfortably, happily and joyfully. Only living a thousand times or ten thousand times better than now will do. Only that will be worth it.” Won’t people first weigh this up? Listening to it and mulling it over, people think: “If it is like that, then it is worth it to suffer now.” Why say this? “The promise God gave, that one shall receive a hundredfold in this present time and inherit everlasting life in the world to come, is a blessing that no one throughout the ages has ever enjoyed, a blessing that no one has ever obtained before. Besides, if you believe in God in this age, God will give you some grace, blessings and protection.” There are even some who think: “Maybe I can strike it rich in business. Can I not get rich with such a great backer behind me?” This is an exceptional case and maybe there are people who think like that. And maybe there are now people who don’t think that, but who go even further. In general, when someone first believes in God, they don’t come before God with a clean and unadulterated heart—their purpose is not so they can be a good person, and do good things, do the duty of a created being, live like a human, and in the end live out the image of someone God loves, live to honor God and to bear witness for God, and after they die, to bring no shame on God but bear witness for Him, and that if they are reborn in the world to come, then they can attain even greater blessings. Right? Regardless of how it is, as God sees it, if someone believes in God, it’s because they will obtain great promises. They come with these desires, these objectives and these intentions. It’s okay however you may say it. This is when someone first starts to believe. We have to analyze this matter bit by bit, talk about it bit by bit.
At the start, people believe through these promises and God doesn’t delve into this matter; it can be regarded as being appropriate. But as people believe, they are ever ignorant and they don’t understand anything until, little by little, they come to understand some of the truth, understand some of the significance of man’s belief in God, some of the truth and God’s requirements that people should understand when believing in God. In this process, they come to enjoy God’s care and protection. Furthermore, there are some whose illnesses are cured, whose bodies are in good condition, who have a peaceful home life and a happy marriage. In every aspect, people enjoy different degrees of grace and blessings. All these are of course secondary, and to God these are not the most exacting things. What costs God the most? (The expectations He has for man and the painstaking price He pays.) “The painstaking price He pays” has some practical elements to it, whereas “expectations” is a little empty. What is the most substantial thing you obtain from God? What is the most precious thing? Of course, it is definitely not what you call grace or blessings. So are the most precious things obtained from God His life, His word and His truth, as well as the way that God lets man understand and that man should walk as a created being? Generally speaking, isn’t the most precious thing that man obtains from God the truth, the life and the way? (Yes.) Have you obtained them? Though what you feel you obtain is not as substantial as someone giving you 100 dollars, or as substantial or as solid as if someone gives you a plate of pancakes when you’re hungry. But the truth, the way and the life that come from God are bestowed indeed on each and every person. Isn’t that a fact? (Yes.) That is a fact. No matter how much you are able to accept, no matter how much you have heard, how much you have understood, how much you live out or how much you obtain, there is one fact: The truth, the way and the life of God is bestowed freely on each and every person, and this is fair to each and every person. God will not favor one person over another due to someone being a new believer, who has only believed for a couple of months, or someone who has believed for two years, for 10 years or for 20 years; nor will He treat anyone differently because of their age, their appearance, their gender, the family they were born into or their family’s background. Each and every person obtains the same from God. He doesn’t make anyone obtain less, or make anyone obtain much more. To each and every person this is fair and reasonable. He provides for man in time and in proportion, not letting them go hungry, cold or thirsty. When God does these things, what does God require of man? That is, when God bestows these things on man, does He have a selfish motive? (No.) He doesn’t have any selfish motive. This is for certain. But can you put forward any facts to prove this? If you can’t put forward any facts to prove this, then by saying this you are being hypocritical and are just saying platitudes. Can I say this? For example, God tells people not to be deceitful, but to be honest, to speak honestly and do honest things. The significance of God saying this is so that people have the appearance of a real man, and so that they do not become like Satan, who speaks like a snake slithering along the ground. It is said so that people, whether in word or deed, can live a life that is dignified and upright, live cleanly, without a dark side, without anything shameful, with a clean heart, with their outside and inside as one; they say whatever they think in their heart and they don’t cheat anyone or cheat God, keeping nothing back, with their heart like a piece of pure land. This is what God requires; this is God’s objective by requiring people to be honest people. So for whom is this requirement of God aimed at? Some people say: “If we are never honest, we speak deceitful words, then God cannot elicit our real situation from us, and there will be no way to fellowship with us. So we have to tell the truth, that God may elicit from us our real situation. Then He will stimulate us and orchestrate us.” Is there anyone who thinks like this? “God asking people to be honest is so He can control us.” Is this the case? (No.) So what is the case then? God asks people to be honest, to be someone with no secrets and no dark side in their heart. What is the significance of being someone like this? What is God’s objective? If you become someone like this, what does God get out of it? In asking you to be someone who is honest, does God have some purpose? Does He gain anything? (No.) So when someone is honest, who is the greatest beneficiary? (The person.) What benefits do they obtain? What advantages? (Their heart can attain liberation and freedom, they can feel more and more at ease, they can gain more and more trust in their relationships with others and can maintain normal relationships with other people.) Yes. Any others? (I feel that when I conduct myself in accordance with God’s word and His requirements, I’m not tired and I no longer live under the domain of Satan. I live easily.) You feel just this? This feeling is very real, very solid. What else? You can’t speak clearly, can you? What is God’s objective to save man? (Changing people, purifying them, so that in the end they can be obtained by God.) What is the objective behind being obtained by God? Who gets the benefits? Who is the greatest beneficiary? (Man themselves.) Man is the greatest beneficiary.
So what is it that man obtains? Figure it out. We won’t talk of profound things, and we won’t talk just yet of the positive aspect. We’ll talk first of what man obtains in the negative aspect. First of all, does man have any discernment about this evil and corrupt world? (Yes.) They have some, right? I don’t now dare to say all people, but at the very least those of you sitting here, if you were asked to go back to college to study again, would you do it? (No.) You wouldn’t go in any way. Why wouldn’t you go? (It would have no meaning.) Is it something that has no meaning? (I feel that living in God’s family is wonderful.) Let’s say the most practical things: Being lumped together with those people, what would you feel every day? Tired, annoyed, angry, suffocated, oppressed. You wouldn’t dare to vent your feelings. If you did, those evil people would fix you. You wouldn’t be able to win against them. That is to say, in the world of the unbelievers, muddling along in this evil world, you feel uncomfortable through and through. This is most easy to perceive. But once you believe in God, what does this simple perception turn into? What does your sense of conscience and morality turn into? Does it turn into the driving force of your belief in God? It doesn’t, does it? It turns into a real understanding of this evil age, doesn’t it? In the past you merely thought: “Everyone is like this. How come people just get worse and worse? It’s beyond comprehension.” Can you still say this now? You now have an understanding of some people, you have some understanding and some discernment about evil people, and about those wicked devils that belong to the world, right? If you are asked to regard them as buddies and to make friends with them, would you be willing to do so? (No.) Perhaps a year ago you would have been willing, and you would have had some attachment to them. But today, one year later, you feel that if you made friends with them and mixed with them, you would gasp and say, “I’m afraid. I can’t win against them. Those people are too evil; they are just too evil.” Why have you been changed so much within one year? Is it that God’s word has produced this effect? Is it because we always talk about how to discern evil people, how to discern this wicked age, and how to discern evil trends that you have a little understanding of this age and of mankind? You now understand so you are no longer willing to mix with them. So what has that little bit of moral conscience that you have turned into? It has now matured and turned into discernment and into a true understanding of them. You are sick of them and disgusted by them from the bottom of your heart. You are no longer willing to mix with them; if you did, then you would feel as though you cannot go on living and you would feel so distressed. Your heart would be in so much pain, right?
When some people have just started to come into contact with brothers and sisters, they think: “How can these people say all these things? How can they be so open? How can they be so stupid? See, I’m really smart. I don’t say anything.” As time passes, they begin to ponder and think: “By not saying anything, how come it seems I am really setting myself apart and not getting on well with others?” Then they try to open up their heart, to speak, to chat with others, to talk about believing in God, to say the words they have in their hearts. One day they suddenly feel that this way of life is so great, and they don’t feel weary or constrained. They finally find the courage to open up the thoughts they have in their hearts and they say: “Living this way is great. Only God’s family is the real pure land. Only in God’s family can people look more and more human as they live.” The more you feel like this, the less possibly you will leave. So what is it that has gotten hold of you? Has anyone gotten hold of you? Are you being pulled along with a rope? So why don’t you leave? Some people say: “I don’t dare to leave. Once I leave God will punish me, He is so powerful!” I will tell you the truth. You can simply leave boldly, and God will not punish you; God gives man freedom. You can leave, as you wish, at any time and any place. There are no restrictions. The door to God’s family is always open, but not just anyone can come in. Which provision in the church’s administrative decrees says that so-and-so cannot leave, that such-and-such a person cannot be let go, that they should be tied up or kept in chains? Is there such a provision? (No.) You haven’t seen this written down anywhere. Have you seen this actually done anywhere? When someone wants to leave, are there some who say: “Don’t go. The church cannot do without you, you’re so talented”? Of course, some people have this kind of love. We can’t deny it and neither can we say that they are not allowed to do that; they can do that. But is this a way of controlling you, of not allowing you to leave? (No.) It benefits you to show you some love. Perhaps you would be persuaded to stay, then after a couple of years your stature would be a little greater and you would think how foolish your decision was back then. “It’s so fortunate that I didn’t leave. My stature has grown greater these last two years. I was so immature back then. How could I have made such a preposterous decision? It’s fortunate that I didn’t leave. If I had left, what would have become of me? Would I not be like a devil?” You’ll feel you are fortunate. You won’t have any regrets, will you? Although you haven’t believed in God for very long, deep in your heart there are already some perceptual things that say to you faintly, “I have obtained a lot from God.” But if you use your fingers to count what you have obtained, you won’t even need all 10 fingers, because you cannot speak clearly. But you feel good, you are progressing toward being a good person and are not falling back toward being a bad person. You continually tell yourself: “I must be a good person, someone who satisfies God. I mustn’t be bad, I mustn’t be a scoundrel, and I mustn’t be a follower of evil or someone who is hated by God.” Although you often admonish yourself, you still think that you become more and more like a human as you live, right? From the truest feelings, the truest experiences of each and every person, it can be seen that man is the greatest beneficiary of God’s work of saving man, right? You have believed in God up till now, so what have you gone without? I’ll list the things that you have been without. You have been without indulgence, without doing as you wished, without a life of heartlessness; you have been without opportunities to take ecstasy, without opportunities to go to nightclubs and bars to dance, sing or go to discos, without opportunities to muddle along eating and drinking amidst evil trends. You haven’t been able to have that kind of life. But much more, what have you obtained? People can often feel that believing in God is a joyful thing, free from worry, that if one can live this way for all one’s life, then that would be great, that would be wonderful, and what has been obtained more is joy, happiness and peace. Are these things substantial? Of course some people say: “I’m a little tired after performing my duty these last two years.” You may be a little tired from performing your duty, but your heart is at peace. This peace cannot be bought for any price, this peace cannot be gotten in exchange for any money, status or even for any degree gained through study. Ask those who are at college, those who are taking exams to study at postgraduate or doctoral level what their feelings are. Generally speaking, they have no joy and no peace. Whatever they attain, they don’t feel peace.
Man obtains substantial things by believing in God, right? So while man obtains these substantial things, what does God gain from man? What does God require from man? What does God need to get from man in exchange? Does God engage in trade? Whether in word or deed, has God ever said: “For Me to say these words, you must give Me 10 bars of gold”? Has He ever demanded one penny from you? “This book is worth however much, so hand the money over! You hand over the money and I’ll hand over the book.” Has He ever demanded such a thing? (No.) Some people ponder: “Maybe He hasn’t demanded this of us, but we can’t say for sure that He hasn’t demanded it of others. We must investigate this matter later. Perhaps He really has demanded such a thing.” You may investigate this matter. Some suspicious people can never believe that someone could so selflessly, so freely take such great things and bestow them in vain on people who have no connection to them. They think that everything must be connected with trade; they believe the logic of the unbelievers, that there is no such thing as a free lunch. This is the trade of the unbelievers and the demon logic, so they don’t believe that this can happen. But everything God does is indeed done freely, right? Whenever God requires something of man, such as “You must be an honest person,” what does God follow it with? “If you are honest people then you will obtain benefits, so what will you give Me in return?” The people answer from below: “My being an honest person is the best way to repay You.” How would God respond? Tell Me, how should God respond? God would comment in response to their answer: That is completely correct. This is a good trade! This is a tacit understanding between God and man, it is the relationship between God and man, and it is also what God wants for man for His salvation of them. God wants this little thing, so can man give it to Him? How many people can take this requirement that God has of man as the most precious thing with which to repay God? Has anyone come to know this heart of God? They haven’t, have they? They can’t realize that. People have already obtained this most precious of things. Why do I say it is the most precious of things? God has bestowed His life, and what He is and has on man, so that man is able to live it out, so that man is able to transform what God is and has and the truth He bestows on them into the direction and the path for them to live. That is, man can rely on this to live, and they can take His word and turn it into their life. With this kind of reasoning, can we say that God has bestowed His life on man and bestowed it freely, thus making Him become the life of man? So what is it that man obtains from God? God’s expectation? God’s promise? Or what? It’s not just empty words—it’s God’s life! As well as bestowing life on man, the one requirement He has for man is that people take this life of God and turn it into their own life, and live it out. When God sees man living this life out, He is satisfied. This is God’s only requirement. So what man obtains from God is priceless and, while God is bestowing this most priceless of things on man, God gains nothing; the greatest beneficiary is man. Man obtains the greatest gains; man is the greatest beneficiary. At the same time as man accepting God’s life as their own life, they come to understand the truth, they grow roots, they gain the principles of what it is to be a human, they grow the roots they need to be a human, and they gain the direction they need to walk in to be a human. They no longer suffer the deception of Satan, are no longer deceived by evil people, no longer bound by Satan, no longer used by evil people, no longer polluted, besmirched, bound or seduced by evil trends. Man lives free between heaven and earth and they are released, no longer to be bound or to feel pain. There are no more difficulties, they live free, and they are able to live genuinely under the dominion of God, no longer to suffer harm by any evil and dark forces. That is, while they are living out this life, taking this life as their own life, they no longer have any pain, but live happily, without difficulties; they live freely, with a normal relationship with God. They can no longer rebel against God or oppose Him, but instead can live genuinely under God’s domination; they live the right and proper life, from the inside out. Now, when we compare such a great benefit obtained by people with the promises that people imagine God gives them, or the good fortune people want, which is the best? Which is better? Which one does man most need? Which one can allow man to live forever, can allow them to genuinely worship God, so that they are not destroyed or punished by God? Which is more important, your desire for blessings or to genuinely live out the life that God gives to you? Which one can better allow you to come before God, that doesn’t make God detest, abandon or punish you? Which one can save your life? (The life given by God.) Only by accepting the life that comes from God can you save your own life. If you don’t obtain this life, then your life will be short, it will be terminable. If you obtain this life, then your life will be unlimited; this is eternal life. So does this imply that, if someone doesn’t obtain the life that comes from God then they must surely die, that their life is limited, that their lifespan has an end, that it is terminable? Can a terminable life be called an eternal life? This kind of life is not what is called an eternal life. So can your desire for blessings be a substitute for this? Can it replace this life? That is, can people’s desire for blessings save them from dying? (No, it cannot.) It cannot. This is for certain.
To continue in this vein, when someone obtains eternal life, when they obtain the life that comes from God, does God change in any way? In theory, God’s magnificent project for man’s salvation finally qualifies man to be able to live on and never die. On this level, it seems that God will have fulfilled His heart’s desire and His six-thousand-year management plan—the work to save man—and His great work will have been accomplished. It looks as though He will have benefited and obtained His heart’s desire; but in actual fact, who is the object of immortality? Who is the object that obtains the greatest of good fortunes? It’s mankind, isn’t it? If God cannot obtain these people, will His position change? (No.) God’s position will not change, God’s essence will not change, nothing of God, no affair, no fact, will change. On the contrary, man’s fate will see a great change. This difference is not tiny, but rather it makes all the difference in the world! On the one hand there is eternal death, and on the other eternal life—which one will you choose? (Eternal life.) What does God desire to see? What is His greatest expectation of man? Why would God pay such a great price and bestow His own life freely on man? He bestows His life freely on man without asking for anything in return or wanting anything in exchange. Nor does He require anything more of man, only that they eat His word and take it within them, and live it out in accordance with His requirement. In this way, things will be complete and God’s heart’s desire will be satisfied. Is this the case? (Yes.) People are extremely petty and they think: “God gives us so many words and asks us to learn them, always listen to them, and also enter into them; He also asks us to abandon and expend things, rebel against ourselves and relinquish ourselves, and then to worship Him constantly. It’s hard to say how greatly God profits.” What in fact is the real situation? (God is selfless and bestows on man freely and selflessly. He doesn’t ask for anything or demand anything in return.) Through this matter, is it true for us to say “God is selfless”? (Yes.) God is selfless. That is, God doesn’t have any selfish motives in anything He does—for example, He does something for Himself and not for man, that actually has nothing to do with man at all, but then He says it is all done for man, making them think it sounds good by saying this euphemistically. God has never done anything like this before, right? Have you discovered anything like this before? Is it that you don’t dare to speak, or that it is not easy to say? You will come to know this through experience. While God allows man to understand the truth and to obtain the life that comes from God, He orchestrates many environments, people, matters and things, then provides suitable opportunities for man that allow them to perform their duties, to have a suitable environment and the right conditions to be able to fully experience the authenticity of God’s word and the truth of God’s word. He uses various methods—such as trials, disciplining, refining, reminding, exhorting, and also the church life, mutual fellowship between brothers and sisters, watering and feeding—so that man understands God’s will, so that they don’t misunderstand His heart, so that they walk the right path. While God is doing all this, does God raise any other additional requirement for man? Does He say something like: “Whether you are at rest or performing your duty, don’t forget to prepare water so I can wash My feet, just do it for Me in passing. Oh, also do some other little jobs for Me”? (No.) Generally speaking, whilst God is engaged in saving people, He gives them all the opportunities and room that they need, and He provides all the necessary beneficial and convenient conditions and environments to edify each and every person. At the same time, He purifies each and every person, in the end perfecting those who are capable of being perfected, who seek the truth and who love the truth. He never ceases to encourage these people and give them opportunities. In a word, everything God does—whether it be the words He says to people, the work He does on them or the price He pays for them—is all done freely.
In actual fact, regardless of how many years God works for, how much of God’s word man is able to understand, how much truth they can put into practice, and how much life they obtain from God, is there anyone in mankind who can have a dialog with God? Is there anyone in mankind who can genuinely have a dialog with God? We won’t talk about having dialog for now as this requirement is a little too high. Is anyone capable of truly understanding the heart of God? We’re not talking about satisfying God’s heart here, but is there anyone who can understand God’s heart? People can’t understand it, can they? Some people say: “God is so great. We people are so insignificant. God is on high, we are on earth. Just one idea of God’s is enough to keep us thinking and trying to figure it out for many years. How can we possibly understand God? This is not something that is easy to achieve. To have a dialog with God is even more unachievable.” So is this very difficult? Are there any difficulties? Where do the difficulties lie? God’s thought is in the words He speaks, in His expressions and in His disposition. If man doesn’t seek the truth and cannot obtain the life that comes from God, they will never be able to understand God. If man is unable to understand God, they will never be able to come before God and have a dialog with Him. No one would be able to have a dialog with God. What does it mean to have a dialog? In colloquial terms, it is to chat, to open one’s heart, to have a heart-to-heart. Can you do this? You can have a heart-to-heart with your parents, with your siblings, with your best friends; but you can never have a heart-to-heart with God. Where does the problem lie? (In not understanding God’s heart.) Why would you not understand God’s heart? (Because we don’t truly know God.) This is a main reason. People don’t understand God’s heart, they don’t know His heart, they don’t know what God thinks in His heart, what He loves, what He hates, what He grieves for, what He feels sad about. If you can’t comprehend these things, then this proves that you haven’t obtained the truth from within God’s expressions, that you are very far from God, and that your heart is very far from God. What does it signify, this being so far from God? First of all it signifies that people can walk away from God and abandon Him at any moment and any place, and rebel against Him, complain about Him, say absurd things, grieve Him, oppose Him and misunderstand Him at any moment and any place. That is, they can betray God at any moment and any place. Is all that I’ve said the truth? (Yes.) As far as God is concerned, is it good or bad for people to live in this kind of state? (It’s bad.) How is it bad? (It’s not what God wants and not what God hopes to see.) This is one aspect of why it is bad. God doesn’t hope to see such things, so what kinds of feelings will God have in His heart? (Regret and grief.) He will first be grieved, won’t He? If you have high expectations of someone and you hope they open their heart to you, but instead they always hide from you, are estranged from you, misunderstand you, if they are always hiding from you and keeping their distance from you, what would you think in your heart? Even if they opened their heart to you and spoke with you but said things that you didn’t wish to hear, what would you think in your heart? Would you feel lonely? (Yes.) You would first feel lonely, isolated, with no family, no confidants, no one to have a heart-to-heart with, and no one in whom you could believe or rely on. While you are feeling lonely, what would you think? What else would you feel? Would your heart be in pain? (Yes.) Would this pain be easily resolved? What kind of thing would ease this pain? What alone would change this situation? Giving up your desires or pretending not to see the facts—are you capable of this? (No.) So what could you do in the end? What choice should you make in the end? What alone could resolve this state of affairs? God can do two things. There may be other things people can do, but corrupt mankind is certainly different from God. Am I right? People can choose: “I will ignore you, I will kick you away. A is no good, so I choose B. Number 1 is no good, so I choose number 2.” Does God do this? He certainly doesn’t do this. God won’t give up on something that He is determined to complete. So what does God do? God’s selfless essence manifests here. On the one hand, God continues to freely provide for people’s needs: their life needs, the needs of their hearts, their environments, and other aspects of their needs; on the other hand, God can do a second thing, which is something that He has been doing for the last several thousand years. Have a think—what could the second thing be? (Waiting.) Do you think this is correct? (Yes it is. God continues to wait and continues to guide people.) It looks as if you have some experience and you have a heart. That’s right, it is waiting. God won’t choose another way to do things, a way that can allow Him to evade or give up on things, or that eases His grief. While He freely bestows on mankind the provisions for their life, He is also waiting freely. This is what God does. What do you think of what God does? Is it good? (It’s good, yes.) Using simple words, tell Me, is God sincere enough to man? (Yes!) (He does everything necessary.) In addition to God doing all this, He does it all freely, so that man can obtain eternal life. He requires nothing more, and has no unreasonable requirements. At the very least it can be said that He doesn’t place any unreasonable requirements on them. And while God is bestowing all these things on man, God takes His most precious, most valuable thing, the thing that man should most treasure and that is most worthy of being treasured, and He bestows it freely on them little by little. And while they are obtaining all this, they also attain happiness, peace, a foundation for their survival, and the roots of being a human, they obtain the greatest benefit. At the same time, does anyone think of God? They don’t think of what God is doing, or what God is thinking, do they? While they are obtaining all this, does anyone ask themselves: “God has bestowed so much on us, so what have we done to repay Him? What has God gained from us? When we obtain happiness and joy, is God happy?” People possibly won’t ask this, or think of this. When people are together fellowshiping God’s word, when they are immersed in happiness and joy, does anyone think of God? They don’t think of God, nor have they ever thought of this. They don’t know how to think, and these thoughts are not in their hearts. While man is obtaining all this from God, they think in their hearts: “I’m so lucky! It’s wonderful to obtain all this. I’m so blessed! No one is as blessed as I am and I really give thanks to God.” While they speak one sentence of thanks and merely display a slight sense of gratitude, no matter how sincere or how fervent their heart is, no matter how great a burden they think they can already carry, no matter how much truth they think they understand, or what they think they can do for God, God stands lonely beside them; He is lonely! Why do I say He is lonely? Because from the beginning to the end, irrespective of what God bestows on man, what He does on man, what form He takes to appear to man or what method He employs to work on man, God is isolated by man. Isn’t this the case? So when will the time come when this situation will change, when God no longer needs to wait, when He will no longer feel lonely? That is, what do people need to do and what level do their statures need to reach before this situation can change, before these circumstances can change? Who decides this? (It’s decided by the seeking people do.) In the end, this matter is really decided by people, not by God. Still those words: When the time comes when man can have a heart-to-heart face-to-face with God, when they have no estrangement in their hearts, when they can talk face-to-face with God, have a dialog with God, understand God’s heart, know what God is thinking, know what God wants to do, know what God likes, what He detests, what He grieves for and what makes Him happy, when this time comes, God will no longer be lonely. If people can do this, then they are truly obtained by God. This is the genuine relationship between God and man that God wants to see. You understand this, don’t you? Is God’s heart easy to know? When you read God’s word in earnest, when you use your heart to figure out and experience every sentence and every piece of truth that comes from God, you can gradually enter God’s heart, and can gradually understand God’s heart. As you come to understand God’s heart, you will know how to satisfy God’s heart. If you don’t understand it, then you can never satisfy it. It’s just not possible. What is the premise for satisfying God’s heart? Only by first understanding and comprehending can one then talk about satisfying God’s heart. Isn’t that right? But tell Me, do you think this is a difficult matter? (It isn’t if one exerts effort and uses one’s heart to think about it.) This matter is actually not difficult. The words are all there, you can hear and see them. You acknowledge these facts and you don’t deny them. It depends on the heart; if you have a heart then it is easy to achieve. If you are without a heart, then it will be hard for you. There will be no way to say these words, no way to implement them and no way to turn them into reality.
We just fellowshiped about man being the greatest beneficiary of God’s entire management plan. So after we have finished talking about this topic, do you think this is a fact? Have you seen this fact? (Yes.) Some understand it and they think: “I really have obtained something substantial. I really can obtain eternal life! This really isn’t just a story to amuse young children. I really can obtain eternal life!” So how can you obtain eternal life? (Act in accordance with God’s requirement.) Tell Me, does God need this? (God doesn’t need it. People need it.) God doesn’t need this, people need it. People need it the most, don’t they? God bestows on people that which they most need. So aren’t people the happiest? (Yes.) You don’t now need money, you don’t need big houses, and you don’t need fancy cars. If the whole world was given to you, and then eternal life was also given to you, and you were made to choose between them, which one would you choose? (Eternal life.) Some fools say: “I really don’t want eternal life. I can’t see it, I can’t touch it, and it’s so wearisome to seek it. I want money, I want a big house and a luxury car. This is so much more substantial!” Is there anyone like this? We can’t say that there is no one like this; there are such people. There are all kinds of people. No matter how you talk to them, they still don’t understand. So let them go. They are without this blessing and there’s nothing that can be done about it; it’s their own choice. What you choose is what you get in the end. You need to take responsibility and pay the price for your own choices. Whether someone will live or die rests on the path they choose. If you wish to oppose God until the end, then you will walk the path of death. If you say: “I will live to follow the path that God has led me to,” then you will live always and this will be fulfilled. Every word God has said will come true, will become reality. This is undeniable. Some people say: “So how come I don’t know about this?” You don’t know, but after I tell you, don’t you know about it? Some people say: “I do know about it, but how have I not seen it?” There is nothing I can do in that case. If you don’t believe it, then go and see for yourself! If you wish to die, will anyone stop you? No one will stop you. If you wish to live, then God will bless you. If you wish to seek the truth, walk the path God has led you to, live in accordance with the path that God has led you to, then you will live on, as this is God’s promise and this cannot be wrong. Don’t be worried. The promise God gives you and the blessings God gives you will certainly surpass anything you ever thought or wanted!