The way of life is not something that can be possessed by just anyone, nor is it easily obtainable by all. That is because life can only come from God, which is to say, only God Himself possesses the substance of life, there is no way of life without God Himself, and so only God is the source of life, and the ever-flowing wellspring of living water of life. From when He created the world, God has done much work involving the vitality of life, has done much work that brings life to man, and has paid a great price so that man might gain life, for God Himself is eternal life, and God Himself is the way by which man is resurrected. God is never absent from the heart of man, and lives among man at all times. He has been the driving force of man’s living, the fundament of man’s existence, and a rich deposit for man’s existence after birth. He causes man to be reborn, and enables him to tenaciously live in his every role. Thanks to His power, and His inextinguishable life force, man has lived for generation after generation, throughout which the power of God’s life has been the mainstay of man’s existence, and for which God has paid a price that no ordinary man has ever paid. God’s life force can prevail over any power; moreover, it exceeds any power. His life is eternal, His power extraordinary, and His life force not easily overwhelmed by any created being or enemy force. The life force of God exists, and shines its brilliant radiance, regardless of time or place. God’s life remains forever unchanged throughout the upheavals of heaven and earth. All things pass away, but God’s life still remains, for God is the source of the existence of all things, and the root of their existence. Man’s life originates from God, the existence of the heaven is because of God, and the existence of the earth stems from the power of God’s life. No object possessed of vitality can transcend the sovereignty of God, and no thing with vigor can break away from the ambit of God’s authority. In this way, regardless of who they are, everyone must submit under the dominion of God, everyone must live under God’s command, and no one can escape from His control.
Perhaps, now, you wish to receive life, or perhaps you wish to gain the truth. Whatever the case, you wish to find God, to find the God that you can rely on, and who can provide you with eternal life. If you wish to gain eternal life, you must first understand the source of eternal life, and must first know where God is. I have already said that only God is immutable life, and only God possesses the way of life. Since His life is immutable, so it is eternal; since only God is the way of life, so God Himself is the way of eternal life. As such, you should first understand where God is, and how to gain this way of eternal life. Let us now fellowship about these two issues separately.
If you truly wish to gain the way of eternal life, and if you are voracious in your search for it, then first answer this question: Where is God today? Perhaps you’ll reply that God lives in heaven, of course—He wouldn’t be living in your home, would He? Perhaps you might say, God obviously lives among all things. Or you might say that God lives in each person’s heart, or that God is in the spiritual world. I don’t deny any of this, but I must clarify the issue. It isn’t totally correct to say that God lives in the heart of man, but neither is it completely wrong. That is because, among believers in God, there are those whose belief is true and those whose belief is false, there are those of whom God approves and those of whom He disapproves, there are those who please Him and those whom He detests, and there are those whom He makes perfect and those whom He eliminates. And so I say that God lives in but a few people’s hearts, and these people are undoubtedly those who truly believe in God, those of whom God approves, those who please Him, and those whom He makes perfect. They are the ones who are led by God. Since they are led by God, so they are the people who have already heard and seen God’s way of eternal life. Those whose belief in God is false, those who are not approved by God, those who are despised by God, those who are eliminated by God—they are bound to be rejected by God, are bound to remain without the way of life, and are bound to remain ignorant of where God is. In contrast, those in whose hearts God lives know where He is. They are the people unto whom God bestows the way of eternal life, and they are the ones who follow God. Do you know, now, where God is? God is both in the heart of man and at man’s side. He is not only in the spiritual world, and above all things, but even more on the earth upon which man exists. And so the arrival of the last days has taken the steps of God’s work into new territory. God holds sovereignty over all things in the universe, and He is the mainstay of man in his heart, and moreover, He exists among man. Only in this way can He bring the way of life to mankind, and bring man into the way of life. God has come to earth, and lives among man, so that man may gain the way of life, and so that man may exist. At the same time, God also commands all things in the universe, so that they might cooperate with His management among man. And so, if you only acknowledge the doctrine that God is in heaven and in the heart of man, yet do not acknowledge the truth of God’s existence among man, then you shall never gain life, and shall never gain the way of truth.
God Himself is life, and the truth, and His life and truth coexist. Those who are incapable of gaining the truth shall never gain life. Without the guidance, support, and provision of the truth, you shall only gain letters, doctrines, and, moreover, death. God’s life is ever-present, and His truth and life coexist. If you cannot find the source of truth, then you will not gain the nourishment of life; if you cannot gain the provision of life, then you will surely have no truth, and so apart from imaginations and conceptions, the entirety of your body shall be nothing but flesh, your stinking flesh. Know that the words of books do not count as life, the records of history cannot be feted as the truth, and the doctrines of the past cannot serve as an account of words presently spoken by God. Only that which is expressed by God when He comes to earth and lives among man is the truth, life, God’s will, and His current way of working. If you apply the records of words spoken by God during past ages to today, then you are an archaeologist, and the best way of describing you is as an expert on historical heritage. That is because you always believe in traces of the work that God did in times gone by, only believe in the shadow of God left from when He previously worked among man, and only believe in the way that God gave to His followers in former times. You do not believe in the direction of God’s work today, do not believe in the glorious countenance of God today, and do not believe in the way of truth presently expressed by God. And so you are undeniably a daydreamer who is completely out of touch with reality. If now you still cling to words that are incapable of bringing life to man, then you are a hopeless piece of deadwood,[a] for you are too conservative, too intractable, too impervious to reason!
God become flesh is called Christ, and so the Christ that can give people the truth is called God. There is nothing excessive about this, for He possesses the substance of God, and possesses God’s disposition, and wisdom in His work, that are unattainable by man. Those who call themselves Christ, yet cannot do the work of God, are frauds. Christ is not merely the manifestation of God on earth, but instead, the particular flesh assumed by God as He carries out and completes His work among man. This flesh is not one that can be replaced by just any man, but one that can adequately bear God’s work on earth, and express the disposition of God, and well represent God, and provide man with life. Sooner or later, those fake Christs will all fall, for although they claim to be Christ, they possess none of the substance of Christ. And so I say that the authenticity of Christ cannot be defined by man, but is answered and decided by God Himself. In this way, if you truly wish to seek the way of life, you must first acknowledge it is by coming to earth that He bestows the way of life unto man, and you must acknowledge it is during the last days that He comes to earth to bestow the way of life unto man. This is not the past; it is happening today.
Christ of the last days brings life, and brings the enduring and everlasting way of truth. This truth is the path through which man shall gain life, and the only path by which man shall know God and be approved by God. If you do not seek the way of life provided by Christ of the last days, then you shall never gain the approval of Jesus, and shall never be qualified to enter the gate of the kingdom of heaven, for you are both a puppet and prisoner of history. Those who are controlled by regulations, by letters, and shackled by history will never be able to gain life, and will never be able to gain the perpetual way of life. That is because all they have is turbid water that has lain stagnant for thousands of years, instead of the water of life that flows from the throne. Those who are not supplied with the water of life will forever remain corpses, playthings of Satan, and sons of hell. How, then, can they behold God? If you only try to hold on to the past, only try to keep things as they are by standing still, and do not try to change the status quo and discard history, then will you not always be against God? The steps of God’s work are vast and mighty, like surging waves and rolling thunders—yet you sit and passively await destruction, sticking to your folly and doing nothing. In this way, how can you be considered someone who follows the footsteps of the Lamb? How can you justify the God that you hold on to as a God who is always new and never old? And how can the words of your yellowed books carry you across into a new age? How can they lead you to seek the steps of God’s work? And how can they take you up to heaven? What you hold in your hands is the letters that can provide but temporary solace, not the truths that are capable of giving life. The scriptures you read are that which can only enrich your tongue, not words of wisdom that can help you know human life, much less the ways that can lead you to perfection. Does this discrepancy not give you cause for reflection? Does it not allow you to understand the mysteries contained within? Are you capable of delivering yourself to heaven to meet God on your own? Without the coming of God, can you take yourself into heaven to enjoy family happiness with God? Are you still dreaming now? I suggest, then, that you stop dreaming, and look at who is working now, at who is now carrying out the work of saving man during the last days. If you do not, you shall never gain the truth, and shall never gain life.
Those who wish to gain life without relying on the truth spoken by Christ are the most ridiculous people on earth, and those who do not accept the way of life brought by Christ are lost in fantasy. And so I say that the people who do not accept Christ of the last days shall forever be despised by God. Christ is man’s gateway to the kingdom during the last days, which none may bypass. None may be perfected by God except through Christ. You believe in God, and so you must accept His words and obey His way. You must not just think of gaining blessings without receiving the truth, or accepting the provision of life. Christ comes during the last days so that all those who truly believe in Him may be provided with life. His work is for the sake of concluding the old age and entering the new one, and is the path that must be taken by all those who would enter the new age. If you are incapable of acknowledging Him, and instead condemn, blaspheme or even persecute Him, then you are bound to burn for eternity, and shall never enter the kingdom of God. For this Christ is Himself the expression of the Holy Spirit, the expression of God, the One whom God has entrusted to do His work on earth. And so I say that if you cannot accept all that is done by Christ of the last days, then you blaspheme the Holy Spirit. The retribution that should be suffered by those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit is self-evident to all. I also tell you that if you oppose Christ of the last days, and deny Him, then there is no one who can bear the consequences on your behalf. Furthermore, from this day onward you will not have another chance to gain the approval of God; even if you try to redeem yourself, you will never again behold the face of God. For what you oppose is not a man, what you deny is not some puny being, but Christ. Are you aware of this consequence? You have not made a small mistake, but committed a heinous crime. And so I advise everyone not to bare your fangs before the truth, or make careless criticisms, for only the truth can bring you life, and nothing except the truth can allow you to be reborn and behold the face of God.
from The Word Appears in the Flesh
a. A piece of deadwood: a Chinese idiom, meaning “beyond help.”