“For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).
“He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).
“For this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).
“Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
“You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45).
“Not every one that said to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
“These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God” (Revelation 14:4–5).
At the time Jesus’ work was the redemption of all mankind. The sins of all who believed in Him were forgiven; as long as you believed in Him, He would redeem you; if you believed in Him, you were no longer a sinner, you were relieved of your sins. This is what it meant to be saved, and to be justified by faith. Yet in those who believed, there remained that which was rebellious and opposed God, and which still had to be slowly removed ... (“The Vision of God’s Work (2)”).
Mankind had only to accept the Lord Jesus as the Savior, and his sins would be forgiven. Nominally speaking, the sins of man were no longer a barrier to his achieving salvation and coming before God, and were no longer the leverage by which Satan accused man. That is because God Himself had done real work, had become the likeness and foretaste of sinful flesh, and God Himself was the sin offering. In this way, man descended from the cross, and was redeemed and saved through the flesh of God—the likeness of this sinful flesh.
For, in the Age of Grace, the demons were cast out from man with the laying on of hands and prayer, but the corrupt dispositions within man still remained. Man was healed of his sickness and forgiven his sins, but as for just how man was to be purged of the corrupt satanic dispositions within him, this work had yet to be done. Man was only saved and forgiven his sins for his faith, but the sinful nature of man was not extirpated and still remained within him. The sins of man were forgiven through the agency of the incarnate God, but this does not mean that man no longer has sin within him. The sins of man could be forgiven through the sin offering, but as for just how man can be made to sin no more, and how his sinful nature may be extirpated completely and transformed, he has no way of solving this problem. The sins of man were forgiven, and this is because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live within the corrupt satanic disposition of old. This being so, man must be completely saved from his corrupt satanic disposition, so that his sinful nature may be completely extirpated, never to develop again, thus enabling the disposition of man to be transformed. This would require man to grasp the path of growth in life, to grasp the way of life, and to grasp the way to change his disposition. Furthermore, it would require man to act in accordance with this path, so that his disposition may gradually be changed and he may live under the shining of the light, so that all that he does may be in accord with the will of God, so that he may cast away his corrupt satanic disposition, and so that he may break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation. At the time that Jesus was doing His work, man’s knowledge of Him was still vague and unclear. Man always believed Him to be the son of David, and proclaimed Him to be a great prophet, the benevolent Lord who redeemed man’s sins. Some, on the strength of their faith, were healed just from touching the edge of His garment; the blind could see and even the dead could be restored to life. However, man was unable to discover the corrupt satanic disposition deeply rooted within himself, neither did he know how to cast it away. Man received much grace, such as the peace and happiness of the flesh, the faith of one member bringing blessing on an entire family, the healing of sickness, and so on. The rest were the good deeds of man and his godly appearance; if man could live on the basis of these, he was considered an acceptable believer. Only believers of this kind could enter heaven after death, which means that they were saved. But, in their lifetime, these people did not understand at all the way of life. All they did was to commit sins and then confess their sins in a constant cycle without making any path toward changing their disposition: Such was the condition of man in the Age of Grace. Has man received complete salvation? No! Therefore, after that stage of work was finished, there still remained the work of judgment and chastisement. This stage is to make man pure by means of the word and thereby give him a path to follow. This stage would not be fruitful or meaningful if it continued with the casting out of demons, for it would fail to extirpate man’s sinful nature, and man would come to a standstill at the forgiveness of his sins. Through the sin offering, man has been forgiven his sins, for the work of the crucifixion has already come to an end and God has prevailed over Satan. But the corrupt disposition of man still remaining within him, man can still sin and resist God, and God has not gained mankind. That is why in this stage of work God uses the word to expose the corrupt disposition of man, causing him to practice in accordance with the right path.
Man’s flesh is of Satan, it is full of rebellious dispositions, it is deplorably filthy, and it is something unclean. People covet the enjoyment of the flesh too much and there are too many manifestations of the flesh; this is why God despises man’s flesh to a certain extent. When people cast off the filthy, corrupt things of Satan, they gain God’s salvation. But if they still do not divest themselves of filth and corruption, then they are still living under the domain of Satan. People’s conniving, deceitfulness, and crookedness are all things of Satan. Saving you is allowing you to escape from these things. God’s work cannot be wrong; it is all done in order to save people from darkness. When you have believed to a certain point and can divest yourself of the corruption of the flesh, and are no longer enshackled by this corruption, will you not have been saved? When you live under Satan’s domain you are incapable of manifesting God, you are something filthy, and cannot receive God’s inheritance. Once you have been cleansed and made perfect, you will be holy, you will be a proper person, and you will be blessed by God and delightful to God.
In the end, the things within people that are of Satan and the things of their nature must change and must become compatible with the requirements of the truth; only in this way can one truly attain salvation. If, as you used to when you were within the religion, you just spout some words of doctrine or shout out slogans, and then do a few good deeds, exhibit a bit more good behavior and refrain from committing some sins, some obvious sins, this still does not mean that you have set foot upon the right track of believing in God. Does being able to abide by the rules indicate that you are walking the correct path? Does it mean that you have chosen correctly? If the things within your nature have not changed, and in the end you are still resisting and offending God, then this is your biggest problem. If, in your belief in God, you do not resolve this problem, then can you be considered to have been saved?
If one can satisfy God while fulfilling one’s duty, is principled in one’s words and actions, and can enter the reality of all aspects of the truth, then one is a person who becomes perfected by God. It can be said that the work and the words of God have been completely effective for such people, that God’s words have become their life, they have obtained the truth, and they are able to live in accordance with God’s words. After this, the nature of their flesh—that is, the very foundation of their original existence—will shake apart and collapse. After people possess God’s words as their life, they will become new people. If the words of God become their life, if the vision of God’s work, His requirements of humanity, His revelations to humans, and the standards for a true life that God requires them to meet become their life, if they live according to these words and truths, then they are perfected by the words of God. Such people are reborn, and have become new people through God’s words.
The significance of belief in God is to be saved, so what does being saved mean? “Being saved,” “breaking away from the dark influence of Satan”—people talk about these topics often, but they don’t know what being saved means. Does being saved mean breaking away from corrupt dispositions? Does being saved mean not telling lies? Does being saved mean being an honest person, and not rebelling against God? What exactly will man be like when they are saved? This relates to God’s will. To be saved, speaking in the vernacular, means you can keep on living, and that you are brought back to life. So before that, you can speak, you can breathe, are you dead? (The spirit is dead.) Why is it said that people are dead if their spirit is dead? What is the basis for this saying? Before being saved, where are they? (Under the domain of Satan.) People live under Satan’s influence. What do they rely on to live? They rely on their satanic nature and corrupt nature to live. When a person lives by their corrupt satanic nature, their whole being—their flesh, and all other aspects such as their soul and their thought—are they alive or dead? From God’s point of view, they are dead. On the surface, you appear to be breathing, blinking your eyes, and thinking, but what are all your thoughts of? Everything you are constantly thinking about is evil; you think about things that are in defiance of God and in rebellion against God, things that God detests, hates, and condemns. In God’s eyes, all these things not only belong to the flesh, but also entirely belong to Satan and to devils. So what are people in God’s eyes? Are they humans? God sees them as devils, as animals, and as Satans, living Satans! People live by the things and the essence of Satan, and in God’s eyes, they are living Satans wearing human flesh. God defines such people as walking corpses; as dead people. God does His current work of salvation to take such people—these walking corpses who live by their corrupt satanic disposition and by their corrupt satanic essence—He takes these so-called dead people and turns them into the living. This is what it means to be saved.
Regardless of what God does or the means by which He does it, regardless of the cost, or His objective, the purpose of His actions does not change. His purpose is to work into man God’s words, God’s requirements, and God’s will for man; in other words, it is to work into man all that God believes to be positive in accordance with His steps, enabling man to understand God’s heart and comprehend God’s substance, and allowing him to obey God’s sovereignty and arrangements, and thus allowing man to attain the fear of God and shunning of evil—all of which is one aspect of God’s purpose in all He does. The other aspect is that, because Satan is the foil and serving object in God’s work, man is often given to Satan; this is the means God uses to allow people to see the wickedness, ugliness, and contemptibility of Satan amid Satan’s temptations and attacks, thus causing people to hate Satan and be able to know and recognize that which is negative. This process allows them to gradually free themselves from Satan’s control, and from Satan’s accusations, interference, and attacks—until, thanks to God’s words, their knowledge and obedience of God, and their faith in God and fear of Him, they triumph over the attacks of Satan, and triumph over the accusations of Satan; only then will they have been completely delivered from the domain of Satan. People’s deliverance means that Satan has been defeated, it means that they are no longer the food in Satan’s mouth—that instead of swallowing them, Satan has relinquished them. This is because such people are upright, because they have faith, obedience, and fear toward God, and because they completely break with Satan. They bring shame upon Satan, they make a coward of Satan, and they utterly defeat Satan. Their conviction in following God, and obedience to and fear of God defeat Satan, and make Satan completely give them up. Only people such as this have truly been gained by God, and it is this which is God’s ultimate objective in saving man. If they wish to be saved, and wish to be completely gained by God, then all those who follow God must face temptations and attacks both great and small from Satan. Those who emerge from these temptations and attacks and are able to fully defeat Satan are those who have been saved by God. Which is to say, those who have been saved unto God are those who have undergone God’s trials, and who have been tempted and attacked by Satan an untold number of times. Those who have been saved unto God understand God’s will and requirements, and are able to acquiesce to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, and they do not forsake the way of fearing God and shunning evil amid Satan’s temptations. Those who are saved unto God possess honesty, they are kindhearted, they differentiate between love and hate, they have a sense of justice and are rational, and they are able to care for God and treasure all that is of God. Such people are not bound, spied upon, accused, or abused by Satan, they are completely free, they have been completely liberated and released.
Question: The Bible says: “For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation” (Rom 10:10). We believe that the Lord Jesus has absolved us of our sins and made us righteous through faith. Furthermore, we believe that if someone is saved once, then they are forever saved, and when the Lord returns we will be immediately raptured and will enter the kingdom of heaven. So why do you testify that we must accept God’s work of judgment in the last days before we can be saved and brought into the kingdom of heaven?
“Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin. And the servant stays not in the house for ever” (John 8:34–35).
“I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:12–13).
“And if any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:47–48).
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17).
“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin to salvation” (Hebrews 9:28).
Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering, and did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to take on the sins of man as the sin offering, but also required God to do greater work to completely rid man of his disposition, which has been corrupted by Satan. And so, after man was forgiven his sins, God has returned to flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment, ... (“Only He Who Experiences the Work of God Truly Believes in God”).
The first incarnation was to redeem man from sin, to redeem him by means of the fleshly body of Jesus, that is, He saved man from the cross, but the corrupt satanic disposition still remained within man. The second incarnation is no longer to serve as a sin offering but rather to save fully those who were redeemed from sin. This is done so that those who have been forgiven may be delivered from their sins and made fully clean, and by attaining a changed disposition, break free of Satan’s influence of darkness and return before the throne of God. Only in this way can man be fully sanctified. After the Age of Law had come to an end, and beginning with the Age of Grace, God began the work of salvation, which continues until the last days when, in judging and chastising the human race for their rebelliousness, He will completely purify mankind. Only then will God conclude His work of salvation and enter into rest.
A sinner such as you, who has just been redeemed, and has not been changed, or been perfected by God, can you be after God’s heart? For you, you who are still of your old self, it is true that you were saved by Jesus, and that you are not counted as a sinner because of the salvation of God, but this does not prove that you are not sinful, and are not impure. How can you be saintly if you have not been changed? Within, you are beset by impurity, selfish and mean, yet you still wish to descend with Jesus—you should be so lucky! You have missed a step in your belief in God: You have merely been redeemed, but have not been changed. For you to be after God’s heart, God must personally do the work of changing and cleansing you; if you are only redeemed, you will be incapable of attaining sanctity. In this way you will be unqualified to share in the good blessings of God, for you have missed out a step in God’s work of managing man, which is the key step of changing and perfecting. And so you, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance.
The work of the last days is to speak words. Great changes can be effected in man by means of words. The changes now effected in these people upon their accepting these words are much greater than those effected in people upon their accepting the signs and wonders of the Age of Grace. For, in the Age of Grace, the demons were cast out from man with the laying on of hands and prayer, but the corrupt dispositions within man still remained. Man was healed of his sickness and forgiven his sins, but as for just how man was to be purged of the corrupt satanic dispositions within him, this work had yet to be done. Man was only saved and forgiven his sins for his faith, but the sinful nature of man was not extirpated and still remained within him. The sins of man were forgiven through the agency of the incarnate God, but this does not mean that man no longer has sin within him. The sins of man could be forgiven through the sin offering, but as for just how man can be made to sin no more, and how his sinful nature may be extirpated completely and transformed, he has no way of solving this problem. The sins of man were forgiven, and this is because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live within the corrupt satanic disposition of old. This being so, man must be completely saved from his corrupt satanic disposition, so that his sinful nature may be completely extirpated, never to develop again, thus enabling the disposition of man to be transformed. This would require man to grasp the path of growth in life, to grasp the way of life, and to grasp the way to change his disposition. Furthermore, it would require man to act in accordance with this path, so that his disposition may gradually be changed and he may live under the shining of the light, so that all that he does may be in accord with the will of God, so that he may cast away his corrupt satanic disposition, and so that he may break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation. At the time that Jesus was doing His work, man’s knowledge of Him was still vague and unclear. Man always believed Him to be the son of David, and proclaimed Him to be a great prophet, the benevolent Lord who redeemed man’s sins. Some, on the strength of their faith, were healed just from touching the edge of His garment; the blind could see and even the dead could be restored to life. However, man was unable to discover the corrupt satanic disposition deeply rooted within himself, neither did he know how to cast it away. Man received much grace, such as the peace and happiness of the flesh, the faith of one member bringing blessing on an entire family, the healing of sickness, and so on. The rest were the good deeds of man and his godly appearance; if man could live on the basis of these, he was considered an acceptable believer. Only believers of this kind could enter heaven after death, which means that they were saved. But, in their lifetime, these people did not understand at all the way of life. All they did was to commit sins and then confess their sins in a constant cycle without making any path toward changing their disposition: Such was the condition of man in the Age of Grace. Has man received complete salvation? No! Therefore, after that stage of work was finished, there still remained the work of judgment and chastisement. This stage is to make man pure by means of the word and thereby give him a path to follow. This stage would not be fruitful or meaningful if it continued with the casting out of demons, for it would fail to extirpate man’s sinful nature, and man would come to a standstill at the forgiveness of his sins. Through the sin offering, man has been forgiven his sins, for the work of the crucifixion has already come to an end and God has prevailed over Satan. But the corrupt disposition of man still remaining within him, man can still sin and resist God, and God has not gained mankind. That is why in this stage of work God uses the word to expose the corrupt disposition of man, causing him to practice in accordance with the right path. This stage is more meaningful than the previous one, as well as more fruitful, for now it is the word that directly supplies man’s life and enables the disposition of man to be completely renewed; it is a much more thorough stage of work. Therefore, the incarnation in the last days has completed the significance of God’s incarnation and completely finished God’s plan of management for man’s salvation.
In the work of the last days, the word is mightier than the manifestation of signs and wonders, and the authority of the word surpasses that of signs and wonders. The word exposes all the corrupt dispositions buried deep in the heart of man. You have no way of recognizing them on your own. When they are laid bare before you through the word, you will naturally come to discover them; you will not be able to deny them, and you will be utterly convinced. Is this not the authority of the word? This is the result achieved by the work of the word today. Therefore, it is not through the healing of sickness and casting out of demons that man can be fully saved from his sins, nor can he be fully made complete by the manifestation of signs and wonders. The authority to heal sickness and cast out demons only gives man grace, but the flesh of man still belongs to Satan and the corrupt satanic disposition still remains within man. In other words, that which has not been made clean still belongs to sin and to filth. Only after he has been made clean through the agency of the word can he be gained by God and become a sanctified man. When the demons were cast out of man and he was redeemed, this meant only that he was wrested out of Satan’s hands and returned to God. However, without being made clean or changed by God, he remains a corrupt man. Within man still exist filth, opposition, and rebelliousness; man has only returned to God through His redemption, but he has not the slightest knowledge of God and still resists and rebels against Him. Before man was redeemed, many of Satan’s poisons had already been planted within him and, after thousands of years of being corrupted by Satan, he has within him an established nature that resists God. Therefore, when man has been redeemed, it is nothing more than a case of redemption in which man is bought at a high price, but the poisonous nature within him has not been eliminated. Man that is so defiled must undergo a change before becoming worthy to serve God. By means of this work of judgment and chastisement, man will fully come to know the filthy and corrupt substance within his own self, and he will be able to change completely and become clean. Only in this way can man become worthy to return before the throne of God. All the work done this day is so that man can be made clean and be changed; through judgment and chastisement by the word, as well as through refinement, man can purge away his corruption and be made pure. Rather than deeming this stage of work to be that of salvation, it would be more apt to say it is the work of purification. In truth, this stage is that of conquest as well as the second stage in the work of salvation.
In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, to expose the essence of man, and to dissect the words and deeds of man. These words comprise various truths, such as man’s duty, how man should obey God, how man should be loyal to God, how man ought to live out normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and the disposition of God, and so on. These words are all directed at the essence of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, the words that expose how man spurns God are spoken in regard to how man is an embodiment of Satan, and an enemy force against God. In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth of which man is utterly bereft. Only methods such as these can be called judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced into submission to God, and moreover gain true knowledge of God. What the work of judgment brings about is man’s understanding of the true face of God and the truth about his own rebelliousness. The work of judgment allows man to gain much understanding of the will of God, of the purpose of God’s work, and of the mysteries that are incomprehensible to him. It also allows man to recognize and know his corrupt substance and the roots of his corruption, as well as to discover the ugliness of man. These effects are all brought about by the work of judgment, for the substance of this work is actually the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life of God to all those who have faith in Him. This work is the work of judgment done by God.
Through what is God’s perfection of man accomplished? Through His righteous disposition. God’s disposition primarily consists of righteousness, wrath, majesty, judgment, and curse, and His perfection of man is primarily through judgment. Some people don’t understand, and ask why it is that God is only able to make man perfect through judgment and curse. They say, “If God were to curse man, wouldn’t man die? If God were to judge man, wouldn’t man be condemned? Then how can he still be made perfect?” Such are the words of people who do not know the work of God. What God curses is the disobedience of man, and what He judges are the sins of man. Although He speaks harshly, and without the slightest sensitivity, He reveals all that is within man, and through these stern words He reveals that which is essential within man, yet through such judgment, He gives man a profound knowledge of the essence of the flesh, and thus man submits to obedience before God. The flesh of man is of sin, and of Satan, it is disobedient, and the object of God’s chastisement—and so, to allow man to know himself, the words of God’s judgment must befall him and there must be employed every kind of refinement; only then can God’s work be effective.
God does the work of judgment and chastisement so that man may gain knowledge of Him, and for the sake of His testimony. Without His judgment of man’s corrupt disposition, man could not possibly know His righteous disposition, which brooks no offense, nor would he be able to turn his old knowledge of God into a new one. For the sake of His testimony, and for the sake of His management, He makes His entirety public, thus enabling man, through His public appearance, to arrive at knowledge of God, to be transformed in his disposition, and to bear resounding testimony to God. The transformation of the disposition of man is achieved through many different kinds of God’s work; without such changes in his disposition, man would be unable to bear testimony to God and to be after God’s heart. The transformation of man’s disposition signifies that man has freed himself from Satan’s bondage and from the influence of darkness, and has truly become a model and specimen of God’s work, a witness of God, and one who is after God’s heart.
Question: You say that those who believe in God must accept God’s work of judgment in the last days, and only then can their corrupt disposition be purified and they themselves be saved by God. But, in accordance with the Lord’s requirements, we practice humility and patience, we love our enemies, bear our crosses, abandon worldly things, work and spread the gospel for the Lord, and so on. So aren’t all these our changes? We have always sought in this way, so can’t we also attain purification and be raptured into the kingdom of heaven?
“You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45).
“Sanctify them through Your truth: Your word is truth” (John 17:17).
“Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel you to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Revelation 3:17–19).
“For the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. … Write, Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:7–9).
Since you do believe in God, then you must eat and drink His words, experience His words, and live out His words. Only this can be called belief in God! If you say you believe in God with your mouth and yet are unable to put any of His words into practice or to produce any reality, this is not called believing in God. Rather, it is “seeking bread to satisfy hunger.” Speaking only of trivial testimonies, useless things, and superficial matters, without possessing even the slightest bit of reality: these do not constitute belief in God, and you have simply not grasped the right way of believing in God. Why must you eat and drink as many as possible of God’s words? If you do not eat and drink His words but seek only to ascend to heaven, is that believing in God? What is the first step one who believes in God should take? By what path does God perfect man? Can you be perfected without eating and drinking the words of God? Can you be considered a person of the kingdom without the words of God to serve as your reality? What exactly does belief in God mean? Believers in God should, at the very least, be well-behaved on the outside; most important of all is to be possessed of the words of God. No matter what, you can never turn away from His words. Knowing God and fulfilling His intentions are all achieved through His words. In future, every nation, denomination, religion, and sector will be conquered through God’s words. God will speak directly, and all people will hold the words of God in their hands, and by means of this, humanity will be perfected. Within and without, the words of God pervade throughout: Humanity will speak God’s words with their mouths, practice in accordance with God’s words, and keep the words of God within, remaining steeped in God’s words both inside and out. Thus will humanity be perfected. Those who fulfill the intentions of God and are able to bear witness to Him, these are the people who possess the words of God as their reality.
The truth that man needs to possess is found in the word of God, a truth that is the most beneficial and helpful to mankind. It is the tonic and sustenance that your body needs, something that helps man restore his normal humanity, a truth that man should be equipped with. The more you practice God’s word, the more quickly your life will blossom; the more you practice God’s word, the clearer the truth becomes. As you grow in stature, you will see things of the spiritual world more clearly, and you will be more powerful to triumph over Satan. Much of the truth that you don’t understand will be made clear when you practice the word of God. Most people are satisfied to merely understand the text of God’s word and focus on equipping themselves with doctrines without experiencing its depth in practice; isn’t that the way of the Pharisees? How can the phrase “The word of God is life” be true for them, then? Only when man practices the word of God can his life truly blossom; it cannot grow simply by reading His word. If it is your belief that to understand God’s word is all that is needed to have life, to have stature, then your understanding is warped. Truly understanding God’s word occurs when you practice the truth, and you must understand that “only by practicing the truth can it ever be understood.”
In summary, taking Peter’s path in one’s faith means to walk the path of pursuing the truth, which is also the path of truly getting to know oneself and changing one’s disposition. Only by walking the path of Peter will one be on the path of being perfected by God. One must be clear on how, exactly, to walk Peter’s path, as well as how to put it into practice. First, one must put aside one’s own intentions, improper pursuits, and even family and all things of one’s own flesh. One must be wholeheartedly devoted; that is, one must completely devote oneself to the word of God, focus on eating and drinking of God’s words, concentrate on the search for the truth and the search for God’s intentions in His words, and try to grasp God’s will in everything. This is the most fundamental and vital method of practice. This was what Peter did after seeing Jesus, and it is only by practicing in this way that one can achieve the best results. Wholehearted devotion to the words of God primarily involves seeking the truth, seeking God’s intentions within His words, focusing on grasping the will of God, and understanding and obtaining more truth from God’s words. When reading His words, Peter was not focused on understanding doctrines, much less was he focused on obtaining theological knowledge; instead, he concentrated on comprehending the truth and grasping God’s will, as well as achieving an understanding of His disposition and His loveliness. Peter also attempted to understand the various corrupt states of man from God’s words, as well as man’s corrupt nature and actual shortcoming, thus meeting all aspects of God’s requirements of man in order to satisfy Him. Peter had so many correct practices that abided by the words of God; this was most in line with God’s will, and it was the best way a person could cooperate while experiencing God’s work. When experiencing the hundreds of trials from God, Peter examined himself strictly against every word of God’s judgment of man, every word of God’s revelation of man, and every word of His demands of man, and strived to fathom the meaning of those words. He tried in earnest to ponder and memorize every word that Jesus said to him, and achieved very good results. Through this manner of practicing, he was able to achieve an understanding of himself from God’s words, and he not only came to understand the various corrupt states of man, but also came to understand man’s essence, nature, and various shortcomings. This is what it means to truly understand oneself. From God’s words, Peter not only achieved a true understanding of himself, but from the things expressed in God’s words—God’s righteous disposition, what He has and is, God’s will for His work, His demands of mankind—from these words he came to know God completely. He came to know God’s disposition, and His essence; he came to know and understand what God has and is, as well as God’s loveliness and God’s demands for man. Although God did not speak back then as much as He does today, results in these aspects were nevertheless achieved in Peter. This was a rare and precious thing. Peter went through hundreds of trials, but did not suffer in vain. He not only came to understand himself from the words and the work of God, but he also came to know God. In addition, he particularly focused on God’s requirements of mankind within His words. In whichever aspects man should satisfy God to be in line with God’s will, Peter was able to put forth great effort in these aspects and achieve full clarity; this was extremely beneficial with regard to his own entry. No matter what God spoke of, as long as those words could become his life and they belonged to the truth, Peter was able to carve them into his heart to ponder and appreciate them frequently. After hearing the words of Jesus, he was able to take them to heart, which shows that he was especially focused on God’s words, and he truly achieved results in the end. That is, he was able to freely put the words of God into practice, accurately practice the truth and be in line with God’s will, act entirely in accordance with God’s intention, and give up his own personal opinions and imaginations. In this way, Peter entered into the reality of God’s words.
Question: We accept God’s work of the last days, but how do we experience God’s judgment and chastisement so that we can receive the truth and life, get rid of our sinful nature, and achieve salvation to enter the kingdom of heaven?
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:3–4).
“He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the middle of the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7).
“He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches; He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death” (Revelation 2:11).
“Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14).
“These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sits on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the middle of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them to living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Revelation 7:14–17).
As My words are consummated, the kingdom is gradually formed on earth and man is gradually returned to normality, and thus there is established on earth the kingdom in My heart. In the kingdom, all the people of God recover the life of normal man. Gone is the frosty winter, replaced by a world of cities of spring, where it is spring all year round. No longer are people faced with the gloomy, miserable world of man, no longer do they endure the cold chill of the world of man. People do not fight with each other, countries do not go to war against each other, no longer is there carnage and the blood that flows from carnage; all lands are filled with happiness, and everywhere teems with warmth between men. I move throughout the world, I enjoy from atop My throne, I live among the stars. And the angels offer unto Me new songs and new dances. No longer does their own fragility cause tears to run down their faces. No longer do I hear, before Me, the sound of the angels weeping, and no longer does anyone complain of hardship to Me. Today, you all live before Me; tomorrow, you will all exist in My kingdom. Is this not the greatest blessing that I bestow upon man?
My wisdom is everywhere on earth, and throughout the entire universe. Among all things are the fruits of My wisdom, among all people teem the masterworks of My wisdom; everything is like all things in My kingdom, and all people dwell in rest beneath My heavens like the sheep upon My pastures. I move above all men and am watching everywhere. Nothing ever looks old, and no person is as he used to be. I rest upon the throne, I recline across the whole universe, and I am fully satisfied, for all things have recovered their holiness, and I can peacefully reside within Zion once again, and the people on earth can lead serene, contented lives under My guidance. All peoples are managing everything in My hand, all peoples have regained their former intelligence and original appearance; they are no longer covered with dust, but, in My kingdom, are as pure as jade, each with the face like that of the holy one within man’s heart, for My kingdom has been established among man.
In My light, people see the light again. In My word, people find the things that they enjoy. I have come from the East, I hail from the East. When My glory shines forth, all nations are lighted, all is brought into the light, not one thing remains in darkness. In the kingdom, the life that God’s people live with God is happy beyond measure. The waters dance with joy at the blessed lives of the people, the mountains enjoy with the people My abundance. All men are striving, working hard, showing their loyalty in My kingdom. In the kingdom, rebellion is no more, resistance no more; the heavens and the earth depend on each other, man and I draw close in deep feeling, through life’s sweet felicities, leaning one against the other…. At this time, I formally begin My life in heaven. Satan’s disturbance is no more, and the people enter into rest. Throughout the universe, My chosen people live within My glory, blessed beyond compare, not as people living among people, but as people living with God. All humanity has gone through Satan’s corruption, and drunk the bitter and the sweet of life to the lees. Now, living in My light, how can one not rejoice? How can one lightly forgo this beautiful moment and let it slip away? Ye People! Sing the song in your hearts and dance with joy for Me! Lift your sincere hearts and offer them up to Me! Beat your drums and play joyfully for Me! I radiate My delight through all the universe! To the people I reveal My glorious face! I shall call out in a loud voice! I shall transcend the universe! Already I reign among the people! I am exalted by the people! I drift in the blue heavens above and the people go walking along with Me. I walk among the people and My people surround Me! The people’s hearts are joyous, their songs shake the universe, cracking the empyrean! The universe is no longer shrouded in fog; there is no more mud, no more sewage gathering. Holy people of the universe! Under My inspection you show your true countenance. You are not men covered in filth, but saints pure as jade, you are all My beloved, you are all My delight! All things come back to life! The saints have all returned to serve Me in heaven, entering My warm embrace, no longer weeping, no longer anxious, offering themselves up to Me, coming back to My home, and in their homeland they will love Me without surcease! Never changing in all eternity! Where is the sorrow! Where are the tears! Where is the flesh! The earth passes away, but the heavens are forever. I appear to all peoples, and all peoples praise Me. This life, this beauty, from time immemorial till the end of time, shall not change. This is the life of the kingdom.
“I move above all men and am watching everywhere. Nothing ever looks old, and no person is as he used to be. I rest upon the throne, I recline across the whole universe….” This is the outcome of God’s present work. All of God’s chosen people return to their original form, because of which the angels, who have suffered for so many years, are released, just as God says, “the face like that of the holy one within man’s heart.” Because the angels work on earth and serve God on earth, and God’s glory spreads across the world, the heaven is brought to earth, and the earth is lifted up to the heaven. Therefore, man is the link that connects heaven and earth; heaven and earth are no longer apart, no longer separated, but connected as one. Throughout the world, only God and man exist. There is no dust or dirt, and all things are renewed, like a little lamb lying in a green grassland beneath the sky, enjoying all of God’s grace. And it is because of the arrival of this greenness that the breath of life shines forth, for God comes to the world to live alongside man for all eternity, just as it was said from God’s mouth that “I can peacefully reside within Zion once again.” This is the symbol of Satan’s defeat, it is the day of God’s rest, and this day shall be extolled and proclaimed by all people, and commemorated by all people. When God is at rest upon the throne is also when God concludes His work on earth, and is the very moment that all of God’s mysteries are shown to man; God and man will be forever in harmony, never apart—these are the beautiful scenes of the kingdom!
The life in rest is one without war, without filth, without persisting unrighteousness. This is to say that it lacks Satan’s harassment (here “Satan” refers to hostile forces), Satan’s corruption, as well as the invasion of any force opposed to God. Everything follows its own kind and worships the Lord of creation. Heaven and earth are entirely tranquil. This is humanity’s restful life. When God enters into rest, no more unrighteousness will persist upon the earth, and there will be no more invasion of any hostile forces. Humanity will also enter a new realm; they will no longer be a humanity corrupted by Satan, but rather a humanity that has been saved after having been corrupted by Satan. Humanity’s day of rest is also God’s day of rest. God lost His rest due to humanity’s inability to enter into rest; it was not that He was originally unable to rest. Entering into rest does not mean that all things will cease to move, or that all things will cease to develop, nor does it mean that God will cease to work or man will cease to live. The sign of entering into rest is as thus: Satan has been destroyed; those wicked people who join Satan in its evildoing have been punished and wiped out; all forces hostile to God cease to exist. God entering into rest means that He will no longer carry out His work of humanity’s salvation. Humanity entering into rest means that all of humanity will live within God’s light and under His blessings; there will be none of Satan’s corruption, nor will any unrighteous things occur. Humanity will live normally upon earth, and they will live under God’s care. When God and man enter into rest together, it will mean that humanity has been saved and that Satan has been destroyed, that God’s work in man has finished entirely. God will no longer continue to work in man, and man will no longer live under Satan’s domain. Therefore, God will no longer be busy, and man will no longer rush about; God and man will enter into rest simultaneously. God will return to His original position, and each person will return to his or her respective place. These are the destinations that God and man will respectively reside in after the end of God’s entire management. God has God’s destination, and man has man’s destination. While resting, God will continue to guide all of humanity in their lives upon earth. While in God’s light, man will worship the one true God in heaven. God will no longer live among humanity, and man will also be unable to live with God in God’s destination. God and man cannot live within the same realm; rather, both have their own respective manners of living. God is the One who guides all of humanity, while all of humanity is the crystallization of God’s management work. It is humanity who is led; in regard to essence, humanity is not similar to God. To rest means to return to one’s original place. Therefore, when God enters into rest, it means that God returns to His original place. God will no longer live upon the earth or share in humanity’s joy and suffering while among humanity. When humanity enters into rest, it means that man has become a true creation; humanity will worship God from upon the earth and have normal human lives. People will no longer be disobedient to God or resist God; they will return to the original life of Adam and Eve. These are the respective lives and destinations of God and humanity after they enter into rest. Satan’s defeat is an inevitable trend in the war between God and Satan. In this way, God’s entering into rest after the completion of His management work and man’s complete salvation and entrance into rest likewise become inevitable trends. Man’s place of rest is on earth, and God’s place of rest is in heaven. While man worships God in rest, he will live upon earth, and while God leads the remaining portion of humanity in rest, He will lead them from heaven, not from earth. God will still be the Spirit, while man will still be flesh. God and man both have their different respective manners of resting. While God rests, He will come and appear among man; while man rests, he will be led by God to visit heaven and also to enjoy life in heaven.
That “wheat cannot be made into tares, and tares cannot be made into wheat” is without doubt. All those who truly love God will ultimately remain in the kingdom, and God will not mistreat anyone who truly loves Him. Based on their different functions and testimonies, the overcomers within the kingdom will serve as priests or followers, and all those who are victorious amid tribulation will become the body of priests within the kingdom. The body of priests will be formed when the work of the gospel throughout the universe has come to an end. When that time comes, that which should be done by man will be the performance of his duty within the kingdom of God, and his living together with God within the kingdom. In the body of priests there will be chief priests and priests, and the remainder will be the sons and people of God. This is all determined by their testimonies to God during tribulation; they are not titles that are given at whim. Once man’s status has been established, the work of God will cease, for each is classed according to kind and returned to their original position, and this is the mark of the accomplishment of God’s work, this is the final outcome of the work of God and the practice of man, and is the crystallization of the visions of God’s work and the cooperation of man. In the end, man will find repose in the kingdom of God, and God, too, will return to His dwelling place to rest. This is the final outcome of 6,000 years of cooperation between God and man.
When man enters the eternal destination, man will worship the Creator, and because man has gained salvation and entered eternity, man will not pursue any objectives, nor, moreover, will he need to worry that he is besieged by Satan. At this time, man will know his place, and will perform his duty, and even if they are not chastised or judged, each person will perform their duty. At that time, man will be a creature in both identity and status. There will no longer be the distinction of high and low; each person will simply perform a different function. Yet man will still live in an orderly, suitable destination of mankind, man will perform his duty for the sake of worshiping the Creator, and a mankind such as this will be the mankind of eternity. At that time, man will have gained a life illuminated by God, a life under the care and protection of God, and a life together with God. Mankind will lead a normal life on earth, and the whole of mankind will enter onto the right track. The 6,000-year management plan will have utterly defeated Satan, which means that God will have recovered the original image of man following his creation, and as such, the original intention of God will have been fulfilled.
Those that God intends to perfect will all receive His blessings and His inheritance. That is, they take in what God has and is so that it becomes what they have within; they have all the words of God wrought into them; whatever God is, you are able to take it all in exactly as is, and thereby live out the truth. This is the kind of person who is perfected by God and who is gained by God. Only someone such as this is eligible to receive the blessings bestowed by God:1. Gaining the whole of God’s love.2. Acting in accordance with the will of God in all things.3. Gaining the guidance of God, living in the light of God, and gaining God’s enlightenment.4. Living out on earth the image that God loves; loving God truly as Peter did, crucified for God and worthy to die in recompense for God’s love; having the same glory as Peter.5. Being beloved, respected, and admired by everyone on earth.6. Overcoming every aspect of the bondage of death and Hades, giving no opportunity for Satan to do its work, being possessed by God, living within a fresh and lively spirit, and not growing weary.7. Having an ineffable sense of elation and excitement at all times throughout life, as if one has beheld the arrival of the day of God’s glory.8. Winning glory together with God and having a countenance that resembles God’s beloved saints.9. Becoming that which God loves on earth, that is, a beloved son of God.10. Changing form and ascending with God to the third heaven and transcending the flesh.