31. How to View Success or Failure of Man’s Belief in God
—Communicating the Understanding of God’s Word “Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks”
With regard to success and failure of belief in God, God has used two typical representatives by way of explanation and elucidation, and He has explained it extremely clearly. Paul is the representative of all who have failed, while Peter is the model of those who have succeeded. God allows all who have accepted God’s work of the last days to refer to these two typical representatives to choose their own path. This is of great significance for those who believe in God to achieve salvation and be made perfect. The key to success or failure in belief in God is in the path that man walks. Whether or not the path that man walks in his belief in God is correct decides the success and failure of man’s belief in God. We may see that the path that man walks in his belief in God is extremely important, because this can decide a person’s success or failure in believing in God, and it has a direct bearing on man’s destination and outcome. Therefore, which path should be taken in belief in God has to be investigated clearly, and choices must be made, you absolutely cannot be wooly-headed and just muddle along.
The path to success in belief in God is the path of pursuing the truth. Pursuing the truth means that people must undergo God’s work on the basis of believing and acknowledging that God is the Master of everything and the Creator of all things, that is, they must experience and obey God’s judgment and chastisement and pruning and dealing to arrive at knowledge of the origins and factual reality of mankind’s corruption and wickedness, and to see clearly the developments in the struggle of the spiritual realm that have been initiated by Satan’s betrayal of God and Satan’s corruption of mankind. The great red dragon is the embodiment of Satan in the contemporary world, it is God’s enemy, and it is the antagonistic force that must be defeated and annihilated in God’s salvation of mankind. It is necessary as well to know that God’s wisdom is exercised based on Satan’s crafty schemes, and to know how to cooperate with God’s work before being able to bear beautiful and resounding witness and arrive at salvation and being made perfect, which is the key of pursuing the truth and knowing God’s work. Corrupted mankind believes in God in order to be freed from the bonds and control of Satan’s dark influence so as to completely return before God. He must obey the Lord of creation, and worship the Lord of creation, this is right and proper, and it is also the true meaning of arriving at salvation through belief in God. Mankind has been corrupted very greatly, and has been firmly controlled and bound up by Satan. He has become an accomplice and slave of Satan’s wicked force resisting God, and has sunken so deeply into evil and vice from which he is unable to extricate himself. So, in believing in God man must choose the path of pursuing the truth before he can be freed from Satan’s dark influence, thoroughly forsake Satan and break from Satan to arrive at true obedience to God, eternal worship of God. This is the path to salvation that man must follow in his belief in God. God is undertaking His work of the last days in China, and the great red dragon is Satan’s evil force that is antagonistic to God. Accordingly, to wage battle with the great red dragon is to battle against Satan’s force, and only those who are able to be victorious over the great red dragon and break away from the restraints and ties of the great red dragon’s influence are ones who are saved, that is, the overcomers who have been made and have stood witness. Peter placed emphasis on observing developments in the battle of the spiritual realm and, based on developments in the battle of the spiritual realm, he was able to understand God’s intention in all things, he was able to pursue the truth and enter into reality according to God’s demands, and to devote his efforts to pursuing to love God and to achieve obedience even unto death as a witness to God. Therefore, the path that Peter walked was a successful path that won God’s praise.
The success or failure in belief in God is closely related to the path that we choose to walk, and it is an inextricable link. Regardless of the form of belief in God, if its essence is generalized, it is directly involved with the question of what path is followed. Regardless of how man believes or how he acts, it cannot be divorced from the path that he walks. If a person is unclear about the road that he himself walks, and he isn’t serious about it, then he will always think that there is no great problem if he has not committed sins. As long as he persists in his belief, his path is correct. When man walks to the end of the road and is defeated, falls down and is exposed, only then will he suddenly see the light and finally understand the true meaning of “success or failure depends on the path that man walks.” By this time, however, it is already too late for regrets, the passing of time cannot be reversed and the final outcome has already been decided. No man has the power to be able to turn the situation around radically. Therefore, when first believing, it is most important to choose the correct path that ought to be followed in belief in God. If you wait until God has completed His work before knowing to choose the path of pursuing the truth, it is already too late and you will have fallen into the darkness wailing and gnashing your teeth. Time is efficiency, time is life, there is nothing wrong about this.
The substantive question regarding whether the path that is walked in belief in God is a failure or a success is whether or not man is able to accept the truth, and pursue the truth. This is the essence and key of weighing up which path man takes. If man can pursue the truth he is then able to know God, obey God and enter into the reality of the truth, and he is then able to arrive at salvation, and being made perfect. This then can substantiate that the road that he has walked is the successful road; if man does not pursue the truth but places emphasis on pursuing fame and position or if he focuses on making deals with God to receive rewards then he cannot reach salvation, be made perfect, and the result is that he is exposed and eliminated. Therefore, the road that he has walked is a failed road. Walking a failed road is because man has not pursued the truth, and therefore he believes in God for many years but is unable truly to know himself, he has not truly repented, and even less has there been change in his life disposition. He is still a man who lives under Satan’s domain resisting God and rebelling against God. Therefore, he ultimately becomes an antichrist when he believes to the end. It is clear that the failed road belongs to the road of the antichrist, this is completely correct. The road that Paul walked was the failed road, the road of the antichrist. The pastors and elders of every sect all worship Paul, and follow Paul. They certainly do not seek the truth, or pursue the truth, and they convict and resist the incarnate Christ in the last days. Therefore, they have all become perfect antichrists. So, to measure whether the road that is taken in belief in God is the successful road or the failed road, principally relies on whether or not a person is pursuing the truth, whether or not he is able to put the truth into practice and enter into the reality of the truth, whether or not he has confirmation of the work of the Holy Spirit, whether or not he has genuine knowledge of God and obedience to God, whether or not he has the results and changes of pursuit of the truth, whether or not he has become an honest person. Then the fact will have come out. It is no use if a person does not have the reality of the truth and is able to pretend and to deceive. A man can deceive other men but he cannot deceive God, because God examines everything, and God’s disposition of righteousness makes an exception of no man.
If the road that man walks is in pursuit of the truth then he is able to arrive at understanding of the truth and knowledge of himself and entering into the reality of the truth. He is then able to arrive at knowledge of God and obedience to God and obtain change of life disposition, and he can then become an honest person living out the likeness of a genuine man. This then is a successful road. If a man does not walk the road in pursuit of the truth he definitely does not have confirmation of the work of the Holy Spirit. Even if at the outset of his belief he is somewhat moved, led and disciplined by the Holy Spirit, if throughout he has not truly repented and does not place importance on entering into the reality of the truth then he will completely lose the work of the Holy Spirit, and the result will certainly be that he is exposed and eliminated. This is the eventual outcome of man walking the failed road. If he has believed in God for many years and still does not pursue the truth and has not truly repented then he is already beyond recovery and cannot be rescued. Such a person is precisely walking a failed road.
It is no simple matter at all to pursue the truth. In pursuit of the truth one must place emphasis on observing and seeing clearly trends in battles of the spiritual realm, place emphasis on resolving actual problems, know God’s work, and cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit. Not only should one know one’s own true state, but even more know God’s disposition and essence, arriving at real change in viewpoints on things and in life disposition. In particular in the actual question of breaking away from the influence of Satan one must know the evil substance of the great red dragon and the true face of Satan the devil. It is only in this way that one is able to achieve true hatred of the great red dragon, and rebel against the great red dragon. These aspects are all the reality that must be entered into in pursuit of the truth. The most fundamental principle of practice in pursuit of the truth is established on the basis of obedience to God’s judgment and chastisement, and this is also the most basic principle of practice in experiencing God’s work. As long as you truly enter into life through acceptance of and obedience to God’s judgment and chastisement, pruning and dealing, then you can definitely receive results in a number of areas of entering into the reality of the truth. If you are able truly to pursue the truth you can then be made perfect by God through the experience of many trials and refinement. We can see clearly from the road that Peter and Paul walked that Peter was someone who underwent being pruned and dealt with, judgment and chastisement, and trials and refinement. Therefore, Peter had real knowledge of himself as well as God’s disposition, Peter was able to love Jesus deeply because Peter came to know that it was only by attaching importance to loving the practical God on earth that one could truly love God, and this was the symbol of entering into the reality of the truth. For this reason, Peter was able in carrying out his work to speak of true experience and knowledge and he was able to place emphasis on fulfilling his duty as a created thing in order to satisfy God. Because Peter was able truly to love God, therefore Peter could obey God to death, be utterly devoted, and in the end bear beautiful and resounding witness to God. These realities of truth that Peter possessed were all results that had been achieved on the basis of acceptance of and obedience to God’s judgment and chastisement, pruning and dealing, and trials and refinement. It was exactly the case that Peter through true obedience to God’s work walked the road of pursuing the truth and being made perfect. However, Paul was different. When Paul first began to believe in God he attached importance to pursuing scriptural knowledge, position and fame, following and devoting himself heart and soul to Judaism and the chief priests. What he walked was in no way the road of pursuit of the truth. Therefore, during the time of Jesus’ work he acted as the vanguard resisting Jesus. It is clear that Paul walked the road of the antichrist. Why was Paul able to act as the vanguard resisting God and become the rival of the incarnate Christ? This was completely decided by man’s nature and substance as only those men who hate the truth and lack humanity are able to become genuine antichrists. This has been confirmed beyond doubt. All who hate the truth certainly walk the road of the antichrist and certainly are genuine antichrists. Of course, what is walked by all those who believe in God and do not pursue the truth is the road of the antichrist. God appeared to Paul and called on him to spread the gospel for God because God wanted to make use of Paul’s gifts for God’s service. After he was struck down by God and saw His appearance, he had not genuinely reflected on himself, or known himself, throughout he had not truly experienced God’s judgment and chastisement, pruning and dealing. He did not have the slightest knowledge of his own nature and essence and the road that he was walking. This is sufficient to substantiate that Paul had not accepted and obeyed God’s judgment and chastisement, pruning and dealing. This was decided by Paul’s nature of arrogance and self-importance and hating the truth. Paul’s ability to carry out his duties with devotion is entirely a result caused by his having seen Jesus’ appearance and being struck down. Because Paul attached particular importance to receiving rewards, being crowned, and standing above others, therefore in order to achieve his aims he did not flagrantly resist God, or rebel against God, and he had to patiently suffer hardship and perform more work. However, Paul’s nature as the antichrist did not change in the slightest, this is obvious. From Paul’s lack of true knowledge of his own nature and essence of the antichrist from beginning to end, it is sufficient to see that in carrying out his duties Paul did not have a true entry, he only attached importance to bearing witness of the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and illumination to others, and he supplied it to the church. However, he himself certainly did not enter into the reality of the truth. We see that in the last period of his work Paul was able shamelessly to bear witness that for him to live was Christ, and bear witness to the hardships that he himself had suffered, he showed himself off everywhere but he never spoke of knowing himself and how to enter the reality of the truth. He had no road to enter into life whatsoever. Therefore, although Paul’s writings were many, he did not truly resolve any actual problems of the church at that time. This confirms all the more that Paul had little true knowledge of God, and even less did he have a change in his disposition of life. He did not obtain the truth in the end through his belief in God, and this is sufficient evidence that the road that Paul walked was a failed road.
Whatever road man walks in belief in God is entirely decided by man’s nature. It is totally correct that whatever kind of person a man is, he will walk whatever road. Whatever sort of person a man is, is completely revealed by the road that he walks. In fact, the road that man walks in belief in God has nothing to do with other people. The influence that man has on whatever road is walked by a person is extremely limited, we may say that it is negligible. No man is able to decide what road others walk. With regard to those who do not in the slightest pursue the truth, even if a man waters he cannot perform the deciding function. For those who do not love the truth, no one’s watering can attain any results, I am able to verify this from my many years of actual experience. This can completely be verified by the road followed by Peter and Paul. From when he was at school, Peter began to love the truth, and to yearn for the truth. Therefore, he was able to discontinue his studies and leave his family to walk the road of belief in God and pursuit of the truth. When he heard of Jesus’ preaching he particularly yearned to see Him. After he had heard Jesus’ sermons he was resolute to cast all else aside to follow Christ. This was because he loved the sermons of which Jesus spoke, he yearned to obtain all the truth that Jesus communicated. This is sufficient evidence that Peter was a person who loved the truth, and pursued the truth. Paul, however, was completely different. When Paul heard Jesus working and preaching he convicted, and resisted Him, and his heart was full of hatred toward Christ. Therefore, he became an antichrist who resisted Jesus and seized Jesus’ disciples. When Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples Paul continued hunting Jesus. It is clear that Paul did not in the slightest have a heart that revered God. After having seen the miracle of Jesus appearing before His disciples on rising from the dead, he was still able to brazenly oppose God, right up until when Jesus appeared before him did he only then prostrate himself and be willing to devote several decades to God preaching the gospel. However, he did not truly love Jesus throughout and in the end he even bore witness that he himself was Christ, intending to replace the position of Jesus in the hearts of men. This is sufficient evidence that Paul’s nature of the antichrist of hating the truth did not change in the least. It is not easy for those who inherently do not love the truth to walk the road of pursuing the truth, therefore what they choose is definitely the road of the antichrist, namely the road of failure in belief in God and suffering punishment. This is confirmed beyond doubt. The majority of pastors and elders in today’s religious world are all haters of the truth like Paul, therefore for the sake of preserving their own positions and livelihood, with one voice they resist and convict Christ in the last days. They have all become genuine antichrists and the outcome for them will be the same as for Paul, they will all eternally be the objects of punishment.
Now the majority of God’s chosen people wish to pursue the truth, but many new believers are still unable to experience, practice and choose a path. This is a practical problem in belief in God that needs to be resolved. Pursuing the truth is attaching importance to eating and drinking the word of God, to understanding all of the truths of God’s word and attaining entering into reality. The aim of pursuing the truth is to arrive at true knowledge of God and it is not to understand doctrines. It is only by attaining true knowledge of God that man’s heart can truly revere God, magnify God, truly obey God, and truly love God. When man’s heart is able to truly love God and attain absolute obedience to God, man’s life disposition changes completely, and he is obtained by God and becomes a person who belongs to God. The attainment of life dispositional change through belief in God is completely established on the basis of accepting God’s judgment and chastisement and arriving at knowledge of God. The more profound a man’s knowledge of God, the greater the change in him, and the more absolute his obedience. If he only understands many doctrines regarding knowledge of God, then he will be unable to have true change of life disposition. It is clear that whether or not man is able to attain true knowledge of God determines the success or failure of his belief in God. Pursuing the truth in essence is pursuing to know God. Eating and drinking the word of God is in order to understand all truths expressed by God, while the aim of understanding the truth is in order to attain knowledge of God, and obedience to God. When man truly understands a few truths he will then have a little true knowledge of God, and within his heart will be produced love and admiration for the truth of God’s word. In this way, he is able to grow close to God, pray to God and communicate with God. The relationship between man and God gradually becomes normal, and man’s obedience to God becomes more and more real, and man can gradually enter onto the right track of belief in God. These are all outcomes that are achieved by eating and drinking the word of God and understanding the truth. All who do not place importance on understanding the truth will never be able to understand the truth, and it is even more out of the question that they enter into reality. No matter how many years such people have believed in God, if they do not pursue the truth they are certain to be objects of elimination, and they will not be counted by God. Therefore, they are all people who have failed in their belief in God. How do we measure whether or not a man is truly pursuing the truth? To begin with, you must know there are principally seven aspects to outcomes that are able to be attained in understanding the truth, which can be explained in concrete terms as follows:
1. By understanding the truth one is then able truly to know their own corrupt states and what they are truly lacking, and then is able gradually to see through and to know the essence of their own nature and the truth of their corruption. One can then see that the corrupt mankind has not the slightest likeness of a man, he is simply a beast in human clothing. One then is able to see that the true facts of Satan’s corruption of mankind into living demons that are not fit to be regarded as men. From this, one is able from the heart to firmly believe that pursuing the truth and attaining salvation are more important than anything else. This is the first aspect of the outcomes obtained in understanding the truth.
2. By understanding the truth one is then able to understand God’s demands of man, and to grasp God’s will. The things that God has to say to man are God’s requirements of man, and these are all the reality of the truth that man ought to possess, and they all can become man’s life. Therefore, the more one eats and drinks the word of God and understands the truth, the more one sees that God’s requirements of man are extremely practical and that they are the realities of life which man should enter into, they are all the truth and all represent God’s will. For this reason, the more man understands the truth, the more man longs for entering into the reality of the truth, and looks forward to living out the likeness of a genuine man. In this way, he then walks onto the path of pursuing the truth and arriving at being made perfect.
3. Man can only know to show consideration for God’s will and fulfill his duty properly if he understands the truth, and it is only by understanding the truth that man has genuine faith, and only then can he hold God high, and bear witness to God. If man does not understand the truth and only knows to speak letters and doctrines, then in fulfilling his duty he is only doing external things by abiding by rules, he is not conforming in the slightest to the criteria for fulfilling his duty adequately. Those who understand the truth go about things with principles, and the fulfillment of their duty has practical outcomes. When preaching the gospel they are able to convert people, and they are not fooling and deceiving God. Therefore, pursuit of the truth is the only avenue to arrive at fulfilling one’s duty up to the required standard.
4. Regardless of which aspect of the truth man understands, they are all one aspect of knowledge of God. The more complete and the more penetrating is one’s understanding of the truth, the more complete and the more practical is one’s knowledge of God. Therefore, by understanding the truth one is able to attain knowledge of God, able to arrive at true love of God, and then able to achieve devotion to God, and obedience to God. In this way there is brought change of life disposition, and the relationship between man and God is more and more normal. From this time onward, one increasingly yearns to obtain the truth, to obtain God, and one is then able to fulfill the duty of a created being, and able to obey the orchestrations and arrangements of God. In this way, without knowing it one attains being of one mind in compliance with God.
5. Understanding the truth can bring about the outcome of being able to distinguish. Accordingly, man knows whether or not he has the reality of the truth. At the same time he can also see through whether or not others have the reality of the truth. For this reason, the truth that man understands then becomes the criterion by which he distinguishes different categories of men and measures different types of things. The more that man understands the truth, and the more penetrating his understanding of the truth, then the stronger will his power of differentiation be, and the more clearly will he see the states of all types of men among the corrupt mankind. Not only can he see through the essence of the nature of all kinds of men, he can also see clearly trends in the battles of the spiritual world and Satan’s schemes. He can also distinguish all kinds of fallacies and absurdities, without again being deceived and corrupted by Satan. Therefore, one can see through men only once one has understood the truth, one can distinguish only after having understood the truth, only then can one see through all things, only then can one be guaranteed to not be deceived and corrupted by Satan again, and only then can one truly rid oneself of the influence of Satan to arrive at salvation.
6. By understanding the truth man is able to see through the true evil and ugly appearance of the great red dragon, and is able to see through Satan’s schemes. Accordingly, he can despise the great red dragon from his heart, and he can see clearly, from the evil, sham, lies and violence displayed by the great red dragon, the true features of Satan the devil, and he can discern that the great red dragon is the precise embodiment of Satan, the precise source of mankind’s darkness and wickedness, precisely the real enemy of God, the precise target of God’s hatred and annihilation. Justice could not bear it if the great red dragon were not annihilated. From this it is evident that only those people who truly despise and rebel against the great red dragon can truly break away from Satan’s influence to attain salvation. All who cannot truly despise the great red dragon, those people who are unable to stand by God’s side in total devotion to God will be buried with the great red dragon, being its victims. Whether or not man can truly despise and rebel against the great red dragon becomes the crux of whether or not man can truly break away from the influence of Satan to arrive at salvation.
7. The more that man understands the truth the more he knows how to be an honest person in harmony with God’s intentions, and within his heart he has the standards for being a person. The more that he understands the truth the more he knows how to be a person, and so he has principles for being a person that accord with the truth, and he is then able to follow the successful path of belief in God, and he can treat people with compassion, and treat them fairly. He is then able to love that which God loves, and despise that which God despises. When man is perfectly clear about all aspects of the truth, he can then see true life, and understand how to conduct himself meaningfully. He knows which road he ought to follow to be a person. Because of truly understanding the truth, the outlook and viewpoint of men gradually begin to change, an accurate view of life and outlook on values can naturally develop. This is also the beginning of change of man’s life disposition and it is clear that if man pursues the truth, he can then attain salvation and be made perfect to live a genuine life.
The above seven aspects are all entirely the outcome that is arrived at by understanding the truth. The deeper and more penetrating a man’s understanding of the truth, the better the outcome that is achieved, this is absolute. It is evident that the truth really can change a person, it is able to change his disposition, and serve as eternal life for man. If a man puts all his effort into pursuit of the truth he is certainly able to be made perfect by God, because the truth can change man, and perfect man. Therefore, it is only the truth that serves as man’s real eternal life. If man pursues the truth, he can obtain life, but if he does not pursue the truth then he can never obtain life. Once he obtains the truth he then obtains life, this is confirmed beyond any doubt. Now, all of God’s chosen people who pursue the truth have some real experiences, and they have all seen the real outcomes of understanding the truth. The truth can change man, and perfect man. Therefore, whether or not man can accept the truth, and pursue the truth is absolutely crucial, and most important. Although it is already clear what road ought to be followed in man’s belief in God, if man does not love the truth and does not have the will, then he cannot follow the road of pursuit of the truth. If man truly loves the truth, pursues the truth, then the road that he follows is pure and accurate, and in this way he is certainly able to attain salvation, and be made perfect. If God’s chosen people are able to see clearly these seven outcomes that can be attained through understanding the truth, then naturally they will all select the path of pursuit of the truth. So, how to pursue the truth as the kingdom gospel is spreading before one is able to attain salvation and be made perfect is a question that is laid out before God’s chosen people that needs to be resolved, because only those who understand the truth and enter into reality are able truly to bear witness to God’s work of the last days, and bear witness clearly to how God saves man and perfects man, and to God’s love. If they do not understand the truth then they cannot perform their duty up to the required standard, they do not have the reality of the truth, and they are not men who are saved, and made perfect. For this reason, in believing in God and following the path of pursuit of the truth one must first know God’s work. The significance of God incarnate undertaking the last days’ work in China is far-reaching. China is the place where the great red dragon lies coiled. God wants to make use of the contrast and service of the great red dragon to make a group of overcomers as the firstfruits, obtaining a group that is of one mind with God, and this is really of great significance. They are originally the spawn of the great red dragon, full of the great red dragon’s poisons and satanic disposition, particularly arrogant and conceited, regarding oneself as infallible, obeying no one, selfish and vile, corrupted to the extreme, and yet through God’s judgment and chastisement, trials and refinement they are gradually made perfect and become men who sincerely love God and selflessly dedicate themselves to Him, to devote themselves exclusively to Him and be of one heart and mind with God. This is precisely the outcome that is arrived at by God’s work of salvation. Without the contrast and service of the great red dragon in God’s work of the last days, the outcome would have fallen far short. This then makes man see the wisdom of God’s work and God’s omnipotence.
From the successful road that Peter walked we can see that in order to arrive at throwing off Satan’s influence and receiving God’s salvation in believing in God man must experience God’s judgment and chastisement and trials and refinement. Although Peter when he first believed in God did so in the fullness of his heart, nevertheless he was able to deny the Lord three times, which was entirely the result of being under the restraint of Satan’s influence of death. But because Peter was a man who loved the truth and pursued the truth, he was able to know his own failings and the source of his setbacks, and summarize lessons from his experiences to find the way of entering into life. In the end, he was made perfect, and was able to sincerely love God, to obey God until death, to be crucified upside down for God. This is the outcome of pursuit of the truth and being made perfect. Man is restrained by the death and has a cowardly fear of death under Satan’s domain. However, after understanding the truth and seeing through human life, he can transcend the bondage of death to devote himself to God and risk his life to expend for God. This is the outcome achieved by attaining the truth. We can see from Paul that he, for the sake of status and fame, wholeheartedly followed and devoted himself to Judaism and the chief priests and, at all costs opposed the Lord Jesus and was hostile to the truth, and paid the catastrophic price of losing his life. This is the pitiful outcome of living under the domain of Satan, and it is also the inevitable end for all who hate the truth and are hostile to God. The difference between Peter and Paul is that one was a man who loved the truth and pursued the truth, and the other was a man who sought status and fame and gain and resisted God. For this reason, their eventual outcome was entirely different. Peter attained being made perfect by following the road of pursuit of the truth, while Paul suffered eternal punishment because he did not love the truth and followed the road of the antichrist and resisted God.
God’s work of the last days is the work of saving mankind and bringing to an end the era of darkness. Why has God become incarnate in China? We may say that this is in order to save God’s chosen people from Satan’s influence and to chastise the great red dragon, and to end the dark violent rule of the great red dragon. Accordingly, it is also the work of God to finally defeat Satan and to exterminate the great red dragon. The great red dragon’s frenzied assault on and antagonism to God have completely revealed and laid bare the satanic and demoniac nature of the great red dragon. The fiercer the great red dragon’s frenzied resistance, the greater is God’s chastisement of it; the more God’s chosen people mature, the greater is the collapse of the great red dragon, and the faster its annihilation. Therefore, God’s use of the great red dragon as a foil in service to perfecting God’s chosen people is something of enormous significance. How should God’s chosen people confront the frenzied assault and cruel suppression of the great red dragon? “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world.” The great red dragon’s corruption, torture, trample on and entrapment of the Chinese people are extremely grave and have brought very serious disasters to the Chinese nation. This is a fact that is obvious to all. The great red dragon has corrupted and brainwashed the Chinese people for over sixty years and it has completely drowned all vestiges of conscience, sense and affection and turned people into beasts in human clothing. In this way the great red dragon has corrupted mankind into living demons. When God came to China in the last days to save mankind, the great red dragon resists in a frenzy, cruelly suppressing and persecuting God’s chosen people. When God’s chosen people preach the gospel and bear witness to God for the expansion of the kingdom, the great red dragon launches another frenzied attack and makes a comeback, implementing wholesale hunting down and arresting of God’s chosen people in a vain attempt to haul them all in one fell swoop. This really is the height of madness! The crimes of the great red dragon are monstrous, wreaking disaster and catastrophe upon tens of millions of believers in God and their families, leading tens of millions of people because of their faith in God to be arrested and imprisoned or have difficulty in returning to their homes. This is a huge incident of resisting God and harming God’s chosen people that shakes the world, and enables God’s chosen people to see clearly the true satanic and demoniac face of the great red dragon. The words spoken by the great red dragon to resist God and deceive people are a complete distortion of the facts, confusing right and wrong, fabrications out of thin air, framing people, full of lies, not a word of it is true. The great red dragon makes use of methods of complete lies, violence and slaughter to carry out its so-called “maintaining stability,” and the great red dragon is a demon who regards human life as worthless and kills people without batting an eyelid. The facts of the great red dragon’s frenzied suppression and cruel persecution inflicted upon God’s chosen people have finally made mankind see clearly the origins of society’s darkness and evil and the base intentions harbored by the great red dragon in grievously resisting God and harming God’s chosen people. Because of the contrast and service of the great red dragon, God’s chosen people have finally come to know that only God is the truth and righteousness, only God can save corrupt mankind from the influence and the claws of the great red dragon. The great red dragon wielding power is Satan the devil wielding power, which brings mankind endless disasters and darkness, and even more so inexhaustible catastrophe and ruination. While the great red dragon is in power, mankind will never have a day of peace, and it is only through belief in Almighty God that man will be able to throw off the dark rule of the great red dragon, only Almighty God can save mankind from the confusion, poison, shackles and control of the great red dragon, only Almighty God can bring mankind true happiness and peace, only Almighty God deserves praise, deserves the love of man, and deserves man’s eternal worship. This true knowledge is the outcome that is reached by God’s chosen people who have finally understood the truth by eating and drinking God’s word and undergoing the frenzied suppression, and cruel persecution of the great red dragon. It is clear that this would not be possible without the great red dragon functioning as a foil and a serving object, and this is the key to knowing God’s work.
Having undergone the suppression and hunting down, and cruel persecution of the great red dragon, all of God’s chosen people who pursue the truth have greater confidence in God over time, and in their hearts despise the great red dragon more and more. They increasingly feel over time that only God is to be loved, only God is to be revered, only God is righteous, only God is goodness. For this reason, they are all able to love that which God loves, and to detest that which God detests, and only then are they able to be people who are saved by God and obtained by God. If they are intimidated by the wicked force of the great red dragon, and if they are always subject to the restraint of the great red dragon and unable to loyally do their duties and they even passively withdraw, then they will be exposed as insincere believers in God, and even less would they be lovers of the truth and detesters of wickedness. Such people have no way of attaining salvation. All those who are cowardly and do not despise the great red dragon in their hearts, those who are not dutiful and obedient to God are all out-and-out descendants of the great red dragon who muddle along from day to day living under Satan’s domain. The great red dragon’s frenzied attacks and cruel persecution have greatly exposed people. Only those who are still able in this vile environment to resolutely employ their wisdom to preach the gospel and bear witness to God and to do their duties are genuinely faithful to God and obey God, and they are precisely the people of the kingdom whom God has made perfect in adversity. All those who have not been intimidated and beaten up by the great red dragon certainly love the truth and pursue the truth, they are all people who truly believe in God and strongly desire God. The more that these people see the frenzied assaults and heinous crimes of the great red dragon, the more they hate the great red dragon, the more they see the vile ugly features of the great red dragon, the more they then pursue the truth and are even more devoted to God and obey God. In this way the frenzied attacks and cruel oppression of the great red dragon on the contrary stimulates and achieves the will of people who are pursuing the truth. If it were not for God’s work of the last days, the evil, ugly, savage features of the great red dragon would have no means of being thoroughly revealed, nor could they have been exposed so exhaustively. If at this time people were not pursuing the truth there would be no way that they could see God’s wondrous deeds, and they would have no way of knowing God’s omnipotence and wisdom. For this reason, they would have missed out on the once in a lifetime opportunity of being saved, and of being made perfect. God’s work of the last days is the true arena of the battle waged between good and evil, and it is also the practical ground for the exercises and training of the kingdom. God’s chosen people should know that since God incarnate is working to save mankind in the place where the great red dragon lies coiled there is definitely an even deeper truth and mystery. God has said: “‘When the angels play music in praise of Me, this cannot but stir up My sympathy for man. On the instant, My heart is filled with sadness, and it is impossible to rid Myself of this painful emotion.’ It is for this reason that God says the words: ‘I will correct the injustices of the human world. I will do My work with My own hands throughout the world, forbidding Satan from harming My people again, forbidding the enemies from doing whatever they please again. I will become King on earth and move My throne there, making all My enemies fall to the ground and confess their crimes before Me.’ God’s sadness increases His hate toward devils, and thus He reveals their end to the masses in advance. This is the work of God. God has always wished to be reunited with all people and bring the old age to a close. All people throughout the universe are beginning to move—which is to say, all people beneath the cosmos are entering the guidance of God. As a result, their thoughts turn to revolting against their emperors. Before long, the people of the world will erupt into chaos and the heads of all countries will flee in every direction, ultimately being pushed onto the guillotine by their people. This is the final end of the kings of devils; ultimately, no one will be able to escape, all must pass through it. Today, those who are ‘clever’ have begun to step back. Seeing that things aren’t looking good, they use this opportunity to back down and escape the hardship of catastrophe. But I say plainly, the work that God does during the last days is chiefly the chastisement of man, so how could these people be capable of escaping?” God’s words have already indicated clearly that God’s throne will move to the earth, that God will wield power on earth. This heralds that the Age of Kingdom has already befallen and that the entire old world will immediately end. This further increases the confidence of God’s chosen people to follow God, enabling them to see God’s love of mankind, His sympathy and concern for mankind, so that they are profoundly moved and come to know that God is truly greatly to be loved.
God’s chosen people now fulfilling their duty by preaching the gospel and bearing witness to God is doing battle with the dark and wicked satanic force, as a matter of fact, they are battling against the great red dragon. God’s work of the last days and all the truths that God has expressed have thoroughly revealed and exposed these demons who belong to Satan’s dark force. These evil forces that resist God, having seen the appearance of the true light and the coming of the truth, intensify their hatred of God and resist God in a frenzy, judge God’s work and assume a posture of fighting God to the death. In this way China has become the site of God’s destruction by His own hand of the great red dragon and it has become the place where the great red dragon is to be buried, which just happens to confirm God’s words that “the great red dragon is the first to be destroyed.” The more frenzied the assaults by the great red dragon, the greater will be the chastising of it by God. The more the great red dragon resists, the speedier its annihilation. This confirms the famous western saying: “Whomsoever God allows to perish, He must first make him mad.” This has already become a law of extermination which none can change. God’s chosen people can wait and see, to observe how God brings down disasters to chastise the great red dragon. The more that the great red dragon resists God the greater the disasters that will descend on it, and finally the great red dragon will be completely overwhelmed by catastrophic annihilation, in dire straits both at home and abroad with no way out until finally it collapses impotently into eternal oblivion. This is precisely God’s method of chastising the great red dragon, which completely reveals God’s disposition of righteousness and His omnipotence and wisdom. During this period all who do their duties with devotion and stand witness are blessed, all those who are arrested and persecuted yet still remain devoted to God and stand witness are blessed, all those who can fulfill their duties up to the required standard and are able to put into practice the truth and genuinely obey God are blessed, all those who pursue the truth have the good fortune to see God’s omnipotence and wisdom, and to know God’s righteous disposition, and to see God as if face to face. All of these people are people of God who have been perfected by God. All who have been intimidated by the great red dragon and no longer dare to do their duties, who deny God and distance themselves from God, have been revealed to be craven cowards. If they are unable to repent they are all objects of elimination. Whether or not man is successful in belief in God depends on the road that man follows, this is totally true. Those who pursue the truth, even though they fail and stumble and fall, however they are still able to get back up on their feet and do all they can to catch up. In the end, they can still stand witness. All those who do not love the truth are easily intimidated by the great red dragon and beaten down. The success or failure of belief in God is also obvious here. God determines a man’s final outcome based on his last real behavior, this is completely fair and reasonable and it convinces man, this is precisely God’s righteousness.
We have already seen how God is using the great red dragon as a foil for saving and perfecting God’s chosen people. God has already made a group of overcomers, and perfected a group of people into those who are of one heart and mind with God. This is already a fact that has been achieved. All God’s chosen people who pursue the truth know the true meaning of the great red dragon acting as a foil and a serving object. All God’s chosen people have experienced the frenzied assaults and cruel persecution by the great red dragon demon and in the end they have seen clearly the satanic and demoniac essence and nature of the great red dragon. The great red dragon is especially arrogant and conceited, obeying no one and completely lawless, still wanting to unify and dominate the world. The great red dragon demon is an executioner who treats human life as worthless, a devil who kills people without batting an eyelid. The great red dragon implements a practice of rewarding those who submit to it and destroying those who resist. It attempts to dominate the world and to rule mankind for eternity, but it is truly laboring under a delusion; how can it not know that God is the Master of all? The great red dragon is a complex of various poisons, the synthesis of all evil forces in China and abroad from ancient times to the present day. For this reason, the great red dragon is the embodiment of Satan, it is precisely a demon that is the reincarnation of Satan. Accordingly, God’s use of the great red dragon as a foil and a serving object is sufficient to enable mankind to know the true evil and ugly features of Satan in the spiritual world. This truly has great significance with regard to the salvation of mankind and perfecting God’s chosen people. Without the negative example of the great red dragon as a foil, we have no way of seeing clearly the true features and evil substance of Satan in the spiritual world, and it would be difficult for us to know God’s substance of righteousness, holiness, trustworthiness and goodness. It is precisely all the various kinds of poisons the great red dragon possesses that serve as a negative example for all the reality of the truth that God’s chosen people ought to enter into. If we can according to the word of God sum up completely all the different kinds of poisons of the great red dragon, we are then able to know clearly all the reality of the truth that man should enter into, and from this we can make out that the truth expressed by God can be contrasted with the crimes of Satan the devil and the negative things full of poison that act as a foil. In this way God’s chosen people can completely know clearly what after all are righteousness and holiness, what are evil and filth, what are trustworthiness and goodness, what are lying and violence, what is true love, what is hate, what is light, what is darkness, what are positive things, what are negative things, what ought to be destroyed, and what should be preserved forever. Once God’s chosen people have these true distinctions they are then able to love that which God loves, and to hate that which God hates, and they can then from the heart hate the great red dragon and rebel against the great red dragon, and they can then from the heart truly love God, obey God, worship God. When God’s work is completed, God’s chosen people will have arrived at being saved, and being perfected. This then is the true meaning of God using the great red dragon as a foil and a serving object. Now all who pursue the truth have already seen that God’s work is extremely practical, that God’s wisdom is exercised based on Satan’s schemes, and that the more God’s chosen people mature the more the great red dragon perishes in defeat. When God’s chosen people are made complete God then begins formal chastising of the great red dragon, and destroys the great red dragon, because the great red dragon no longer has any value of exploitation, its service is complete and it should return to the deep bottomless pit. At this time God is completely victorious over Satan’s evil force and God completely obtains glory.
Just when God’s chosen people are following God and obeying God’s work, and when they are all exercising the fulfilling of their duties and beginning to enter into the reality of the truth, they suffer oppression, hunting down and cruel persecution by the great red dragon. This is sufficient evidence that the great red dragon is the evil force resisting God. When we think back to the time when the Israelites were slaves under the power of Egypt’s Pharaoh, at the time they accepted God’s guidance and prepared to discard the influence of the Egyptian Pharaoh, they were blocked and hunted down in all manner of ways by the Egyptian Pharaoh. The Pharaoh impeded the Israelites in every possible way by not permitting them to follow God, to serve God, and to worship God, and he only allowed them to live under his power and render service for him. The great red dragon in the last days is even more frenzied and fierce than the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh. Not only does it block people from believing in God, it also wants to ban God’s last days work in mainland China and it even wants to round up God’s chosen people in one fell swoop, in the futile attempt to turn China into a godless zone to become a place eternally ruled by the great red dragon, as a guarantee that the state power of the great red dragon for generation after generation will never change. This truly is pure satanic ambition, sufficient to prove that the great red dragon is a satanic reincarnated demon. This evil spirit has been cast down to earth from heaven. Having changed from the snake of old into the great red dragon, it wants to wage a battle to death with God in the last days. This is also the true dynamic of the war in the spiritual world of the last days. God’s chosen people must see it clearly, and they must pursue the truth before they can cast off the deceptions and poison of the great red dragon. If you believe in God, follow God, and obey God’s work then you cannot avoid being oppressed, hunted down and persecuted by the great red dragon. To be an overcomer, you must cast off the restraint and shackles of the influence of the great red dragon. Therefore, the battle between God’s chosen people and Satan’s forces is a battle waged with the great red dragon. In order to be victorious over Satan and to cast off the influence of the great red dragon you need to pursue the truth, and truly experience and know God’s work. Only in this way can you detest the great red dragon from the heart, only then can you see through the true face of the great red dragon, the satanic demon, and only then can you thoroughly rebel against the great red dragon and truly cast off the dark influence of the great red dragon to turn to God and be obtained by God.
Now God’s chosen people are already clear with regard to how to walk the road of pursuit of the truth to arrive at successful belief in God. Casting off Satan’s influence without engaging in battle will not do, you need to confront the fact of the great red dragon’s oppression, hunting down and frenzied attacks. The great red dragon forcibly stops our path of advance, making threatening gestures, throwing its weight around, being all high and mighty. This is much more serious than the obstruction and restraint of the non-believers in the family of God’s chosen people. God’s heart has already been broken by people who, subjected to emotional restraint, are unable to fulfill their duties and be devoted to God. If they are also subjected to the great red dragon’s deceptions and control, resisting God, betraying God, they become targets for elimination and being cursed at. Accordingly, the great red dragon’s oppression, hunting down and cruel persecution present God’s chosen people with an enormous challenge in pursuing the truth and arriving at salvation. How to deal with the great red dragon’s oppression, persecution and frenzied attacks, this is the important question that God’s chosen people must face in choosing the successful path in belief in God. For this reason, when God’s chosen people face oppression and persecution by the great red dragon, they need to pursue the truth to thoroughly resolve the practical problem of breaking away from Satan’s dark influence. It is no wonder that God always says: “Do you truly hate the great red dragon? Do you truly, sincerely hate it? Why have I asked you so many times? Why do I keep asking you this question, again and again? What image is there of the great red dragon in your heart? Has it really been removed? Do you truly not consider it your father? All people should perceive My intention in My questions. It is not to provoke the anger of the people, nor to incite rebellion among man, nor so that man may find his own way out, but is to allow all people to liberate themselves from the bondage of the great red dragon. Yet no one should worry. All will be accomplished by My words; no man may partake, and no man can do the work that I will carry out. I will wipe clean the air of all lands and eradicate all trace of the demons on earth. I have already begun, and I will commence the first step of My work of chastisement in the dwelling place of the great red dragon. Thus it can be seen that My chastisement has befallen the entire universe, and that the great red dragon and all kinds of unclean spirits will be powerless to escape My chastisement, for I look upon all lands. When My work on earth is completed, that is, when the era of judgment comes to an end, I will formally chastise the great red dragon. My people will see My righteous chastisement of the great red dragon, will pour forth praise because of My righteousness, and will forever extol My holy name because of My righteousness. Hence you will formally perform your duty, and will formally praise Me throughout the lands, forever and ever! When the era of judgment reaches its peak, I will not hasten to conclude My work, but will integrate into it the evidence of the era of chastisement and allow this evidence to be seen by all My people; and in this will be borne greater fruit. This evidence is the means by which I chastise the great red dragon, and I will cause My people to behold it with their own eyes so that they will know more of My disposition. The time that My people enjoy Me is when the great red dragon is chastised. Causing the people of the great red dragon to rise up and revolt against it is My plan, and the method by which I make perfect My people, and is a great opportunity for all My people to grow in life.” It seems that using the great red dragon as a foil and a serving object really has great significance as in this way it is even more beneficial for us to resolve the practical problem of breaking away from Satan’s influence. Accordingly, hating the great red dragon and rebelling against the great red dragon have thus become a practical lesson of God’s chosen people’s life entry. It is not that you pay lip service and you are clear in your mind and that is the end of the matter. The fact that God allows the great red dragon to attack in a frenzy and to cruelly persecute, is not only real judgment and chastisement and trials and refinement of God’s chosen people, but even more a crucial point to salvation and perfecting of God’s chosen people in order to enter into the reality of the truth and arrive at dispositional change. Whether or not man is able to hate the great red dragon and rebel against the great red dragon is directly related to the question of whether or not he can be saved and be made perfect. If man is unable to truly hate the great red dragon and rebel against the great red dragon he then has no means of truly breaking away from Satan’s influence, nor can he arrive at truly turning to God. It is only those men who truly hate the great red dragon and rebel against the great red dragon who are able to sincerely expend themselves for God, and who are able to attain fulfillment of their duties up to the required standard. Only this is true bearing of witness that breaks away from Satan’s influence and is victorious over the great red dragon. Accordingly, whether or not man can truly hate the great red dragon and rebel against the great red dragon is extremely important.
When men first experience God’s judgment and chastisement they often feel that the sternness of God’s words of judgment and His wrath are inconceivable. Now we have found a response to this: “God hates all the descendants of the great red dragon, and He hates the great red dragon even more. This is the root of the wrath within God’s heart. It seems that God wants to cast all things that belong to the great red dragon into the lake of fire and brimstone to thoroughly incinerate them. There are times that it even seems that God wants to extend His hand to personally wipe it out—only that could erase the hatred in His heart. Every single person in the house of the great red dragon is a beast who is lacking in humanity, which is why God strongly suppressed His anger to say the following: ‘Among all My people, and among all My sons, that is, among the ones that I have chosen out of the whole human race, you belong to the lowest group.’ God has begun a decisive battle with the great red dragon in its own country, and when His plan comes to fruition He will destroy it, no longer allowing it to corrupt mankind or ravage their souls.” If God’s chosen people have not truly experienced the oppression, hunting down and persecution of the great red dragon they have no way of attaining true hatred of the great red dragon, and true rebelling against the great red dragon. We can see that God’s work of saving man and perfecting man is extremely practical. Therefore, God’s chosen people in fulfilling their duties and waging battle against the great red dragon must pursue the truth and as quickly as possible arrive at seven outcomes before they can be people who have vanquished the great red dragon and broken away from Satan’s influence. Now the seven outcomes that God’s chosen people must attain to hate the great red dragon and rebel against the great red dragon are illustrated as follows:
1. They must know that the great red dragon is the embodiment of Satan, a demon that is the reincarnation of Satan.
2. The substance of the nature of the great red dragon and all its poisons totally represent the image of Satan and Satan’s evil substance.
3. All the resistance, judgment and lies of the great red dragon represent the lies of Satan and Satan’s schemes.
4. The great red dragon’s upholding of lies and violence is determined by the substance of its satanic nature. From the outset Satan has been a lying demon.
5. The great red dragon’s implementation of going along with those who submit to it and going against those who resist it, its putting into practice cruel massacres, and suppression are precisely a revelation of Satan’s demoniac nature.
6. The most poisonous trick of the great red dragon is to arrive at its final aims by driving people to death and slaughtering people. This is exactly the demonic nature of the great red dragon.
7. They must see through the mysteries of life and human life and be able to transcend the bondage of death to arrive at fulfilling their duties up to the required standard and only this is vanquishing the great red dragon.
The above seven criteria are the true outcomes of God’s chosen people needing to pursue the truth to arrive at breaking away from the influence of Satan. If men are unable to pursue the truth while undergoing the oppression and persecution of the great red dragon, they then have no means of arriving at these seven outcomes. The key to the success or failure of belief in God lies in whether or not one is able to break away from Satan’s influence. If man does not pursue the truth he then has no way of seeing clearly the evil ugly features of the great red dragon and the substance of its demonic nature. He then cannot from his heart truly hate the great red dragon and rebel against the great red dragon. In this way he has no means of breaking away from the dark influence of the great red dragon. The corrupt mankind is controlled by Satan’s influence. If he is able to see God’s salvation and God’s love, then he ought to offer himself up completely to God and expend himself for God in order to repay God’s love. He must also give up his own life to God in total devotion to God. It is only by experiencing and obeying God’s work in this way that he is able to understand the truth and thoroughly rebel against the great red dragon to arrive at being made complete by God, and being obtained by God. It is just as God has said: “When people are ready to sacrifice their lives, everything becomes trifling, and no one can get the better of them. What could be more important than life? Thus, Satan becomes incapable of doing any more in people, there’s nothing it can do with man. Although, in the definition of the ‘flesh’ it is said that the flesh is corrupted by Satan, if people truly give themselves over, and are not driven by Satan, then no one can get the better of them—and at this moment, the flesh will perform its another function, and begin to officially receive the direction of the Spirit of God. This is a necessary process, it must happen step-by-step; if not, God would have no means of working in the stubborn flesh. Such is the wisdom of God.” To arrive at being saved we must achieve these seven outcomes by pursuing the truth. This is the reality of the truth that must be entered into in order to break away from the influence of Satan. It is only by attaining these seven outcomes that we can truly break away from Satan’s influence, and only then can we still resolutely and with confidence follow God, obey God and preach the gospel to bear witness to God while facing the frenzied attacks and cruel persecution of the great red dragon in the expansion of the kingdom gospel. We are sure not to be deceived or restrained by the great red dragon and moreover we can vanquish the great red dragon and transcend the bondage of death to arrive at fulfilling our duties up to the required standard. Only then can overcomers be made by God in the last days, who are precisely people made perfect by God who are of one heart and mind with God.
Why do those who live under the domain of Satan all especially fear death, and especially cherish life, and at the crucial moment prefer to betray God like Judas and go to seek refuge with Satan as Satan’s slaves muddling on from day to day? This is because men have not seen through the true facts of the death of the flesh, punishment of the soul, obtaining life, and the real destination. If men do not believe the word of God, and do not know the truth, then it is easy to live according to notions and imagination, it is easy then to follow the wrong road. Therefore, if men do not understand the truth then they do not have real confidence. If men do not have the truth it is then difficult to break away from the influence of Satan. Many saints of previous generations have fallen because of the suppression and persecution of Satan’s forces but it cannot be denied that there have also been many who have been loyal to God and been martyred for God. Why were these people able to arrive at no fear of death by following God, able to risk their lives to preach the gospel and bear witness to God, and also able to entrust their lives to God for God to orchestrate and to arrange? This is the crucial question that must be resolved by pursuit of the truth. We can also see clearly a key question from the examples of Peter and Paul. Peter’s pursuit of the truth to arrive at knowledge of God brought dispositional change while Paul was only able to devote himself to God to expend for God once he had seen God’s appearance and been struck down. Why was Peter able to give up his life and to be crucified upside down for God in the end? Why was Paul only able to devote himself to doing service for God after he had seen the appearance of God and been struck down? Why was Peter able to love God to the utmost and obey Him until death? Why was Paul unable to love God and obey Him to death? The key point here is that there is a difference between the outcomes arrived at by man’s real knowledge of God and by seeing the appearance of God. Although the outcomes of man arriving at knowledge of God by pursuit of the truth and seeing God’s appearance from the viewpoint of man’s devotion expended for God are almost the same, those who know God have life dispositional change, while those who have only seen God appearing only have confidence in God without having real knowledge. Although they can fulfill their duties with devotion and obedience, because they do not have change of life disposition they cannot truly love God, nor can they absolutely obey God. It is clear that in order to arrive at being made perfect by God, it is most important to pursue the truth, and it is also necessary to experience much judgment and chastisement, and trials and refinement to attain true knowledge of God. It is only in this way that men can be devoted to God and obey Him until death, and have sincere love of God and arrive at loving God to the utmost. Thorough renewal and change in the disposition of man’s life will only occur when man has arrived at knowledge of God by pursuing the truth. Therefore, man is able to know what obtaining life is, and what it is to lose life, only when he has understood the truth. In this way, he can then risk his life to devote himself completely to God without being in the slightest under the bondage of death. When God requires it, he can give up his life for God without the slightest difficulty. In the notions of the corrupt mankind, it seems as if when a man dies there is nothing more, everything is over. This is extremely mistaken. Peter’s death as a martyr is complete proof of God’s words: “For whoever will save his life shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” In fact, Peter’s martyrdom followed the path of glory, and it was the same as Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and entry into glory. Those who have obtained the truth have a completely different outlook on death. For this reason, they can cast off the bondage of death, they can vanquish and transcend Satan’s influence, and they can bear beautiful and resounding witness. Those without the truth can never cross the barrier of death, and they have no way of transcending the bondage of death. Accordingly, they have no means of detaching themselves from Satan’s influence. Therefore, it is only by pursuing the truth that you can be made perfect as an overcomer, and only then can you properly detach yourself from Satan’s influence. This has been confirmed beyond doubt, and it confirms the words of Holy Scripture: “These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes.” “And they loved not their lives to the death.” “And companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ.”
Now many of God’s chosen people are being apprehended because they are fulfilling their duties, preaching the gospel and bearing witness to God, and some are even imprisoned. This is also suffering that must be endured by people believing in God and pursuing the truth. It is only by experiencing the oppression, hunting down and persecution by the great red dragon that you can truly see through the demonic features of the great red dragon, and this is even more beneficial for distinguishing and seeing through the evil substance of the great red dragon and Satan’s schemes. This is greatly advantageous in attaining from the heart hatred of the great red dragon, rebelling against the great red dragon and casting off Satan’s influence. In this regard those who have experience of life have steeled themselves through much adversity and their lives have increasingly matured as they have gained experience. For this reason, fulfilling their duties and bearing witness to God have real outcomes that accord with God’s will. In the past, men who did not have personal experience of the great red dragon’s oppression, apprehension, and cruel persecution, while they paid lip service to their hatred of the great red dragon, yet in their hearts they did not feel that the great red dragon was so despicable, and some even believed that the great red dragon had a good side to it, and they even sang the praises of the great red dragon. When God exposed and damned the great red dragon many people still had notions. This is sufficient evidence that men had been profoundly deceived and corrupted by the great red dragon. If today you have not personally experienced the cruel persecution of the great red dragon, then you will have no means of seeing through the true satanic and demoniac face of the great red dragon, then how can you attain true hatred and forsaking of the great red dragon? How can you truly cast off the shackles and restraints of Satan’s influence to achieve being saved? From this we can see that the great red dragon as a foil is essential for the life entry of God’s chosen people. If God’s work of the last days did not have the contrast and service of the great red dragon, God’s chosen people would have no way of understanding so many truths, and they would be even less able to enter into the reality of the truth. In fulfilling their duties, the more that people pursue the truth the more they are hunted down and hated by the great red dragon. The great red dragon has deep hatred of all God’s chosen people who pursue the truth, in particular the leaders and workers. Why does the great red dragon have such hatred of God’s chosen people who are devoted to fulfilling their duties? This is determined by the essence of the nature of the satanic evil spirit’s hatred of God. If man did not believe in God, and was not fulfilling his duties, the great red dragon would absolutely not step up its hunting down and persecuting. If man was committing crimes in the same way as the great red dragon, and was equally corrupt, not only would he not be oppressed by the great red dragon, but he would obtain the great red dragon’s favor and guidance and support. This proves even more that the great red dragon is the embodiment of a dark evil demon. Many of God’s chosen people have become aware of this after having been arrested and persecuted. Some people have failed and fallen over because their stature is too small but this does not decide their final success or failure. As long as people can pursue the truth, and they are able to stand up and continue to expend themselves for God, when they properly enter into the reality of the truth and have true stature they will then be able to completely vanquish Satan. Now many of those who have been arrested are new believers. This practical experience enables people to see the evil and brutality of the great red dragon and it is greatly advantageous to the growth of man’s life. If men had not undergone oppression and arrest by the great red dragon then they would not have been able truly to hate the great red dragon. If men are unable in their hearts to truly hate the great red dragon, they cannot have the will to expend themselves for God, and they have no means of generating the true love of God. Therefore, it is most necessary for man to experience the oppression and persecution of the great red dragon in order to understand the truth and obtain life. It is also an essential process in the growth of life to experience God’s work in this way. It is suffering that man should undergo. We must endure suffering of all kinds in believing in God. Once man has experienced more and he has understood the truth clearly and completely seen through with absolute clarity the demonic features and satanic nature of the great red dragon, at that time man will have true knowledge of God. In this way he will naturally be able to attain victory over Satan. As long as man can be devoted to God in his heart, does not voice any complaints, and does not say anything betraying God, Satan must fail in humiliation. Those who go on to fulfill their duties as before once they are released from prison and sincerely expend themselves for God are people who are praised by God, and they have hope of being made into overcomers by God. All who pursue the truth and have suffered several years of being hunted down by the great red dragon, and have undergone a few trials, if they are able to attain fulfilling their duties up to the required standard, then they are certainly people who are being made perfect by God. As long as they possess the following seven criteria they are surly people who are able to obtain being made perfect by God:
1. to be able from the heart truly to hate the great red dragon, and vow to thoroughly rebel against the great red dragon and make a complete break from the great red dragon;
2. to firmly believe that Christ is the truth, the way and the life, and be able to vow to follow Christ until death, be devoted to Christ, and to obey Christ;
3. regardless of how much pain and torture is suffered, to endure without complaint, firmly believing that God raises them up high, this is the suffering that man should endure for God, and the witness that he ought to bear to God;
4. not to give up their duties at any time, and even more so to be devoted to God and to complete that which God has entrusted to them, to achieve fulfillment of their duties up to the required standard;
5. not to depart from the word of God at any time, as God’s word is the living water of life, and life is supplied each day from the word of God;
6. the more they eat and drink the word of God, the more they see God’s love, and God’s salvation, and accordingly even more properly do they fulfill their duties, and live as men of value and dignity;
7. to deliver their hearts to God and let them be orchestrated and arranged by God, and firm up their resolve to eternally worship God, and serve God.
Regardless of how many trials and how much hardship man undergoes, as long as he attains outcomes in these seven aspects he will be an overcomer made by God, that is, he will be of one heart and mind with God. In order to attain salvation and be made perfect there are some hardships that must be suffered. All men have fatal points and weak points. They need to undergo trials and refinement to attain understanding of the truth and produce dispositional change before they can be supplemented and obtain being made perfect by God. Although each man will suffer different kinds of hardship, not to suffer hardship, or to suffer little hardship, will not do at all. Once we have suffered all the hardship that we ought to endure, then we completely obtain the life that God bestows upon us, that is to say, words become faith, words become life. This is also an outcome that is arrived at by being made perfect by God. Some people develop the faith to pursue the truth because they have been arrested and jailed, and hatred and cursing of the great red dragon is aroused in their hearts. The will to love God and obey God is also aroused. Had they not been arrested, they would still be living in a comfortable cocoon muddling on from day to day, never being able to obtain the truth, and to obtain change. Therefore, from the perspective of those who love the truth and have a sense of justice, being arrested and persecuted is absolutely a good thing, and not a bad thing. The more that a man suffers hardship the more he is able to understand the truth, and the more his life changes and grows, he is then able to attain maturity and experience to reach adulthood. The flowers in a hothouse can never stand wind and rain; if a man has not been tempered his life will grow with difficulty; if a man does not undergo a lot of hardships and trials he cannot truly bear witness. This is a fact. Although there are some who fail and fall over, yet as long as in their hearts they love the truth and have a sense of justice, they will firmly not concede defeat, they are unwilling to fail, such a person will still be able to stand up. Even though those with a will to pursue the truth fail and fall over a number of times, if they are still able to get back up and stand firm as before, Satan has no way of striking down such people. Having undergone this great seizure, all of God’s chosen people who love the truth and pursue the truth are able to stand up and sincerely expend themselves for God. They are all overcomers whom Satan has no means of deceiving and corrupting, and no way of oppressing them and striking them down. They are all people who receive God’s love, and God will never abandon them. They certainly have the work and guidance of the Holy Spirit and they are all able to follow the path of salvation and being made perfect. In this way all hardship that is suffered in fulfilling a man’s duties becomes bearing witness to the truth of vanquishing Satan and breaking away from the dark influence of Satan. These people are precisely the first group of overcomers made in God’s work of the last days, that is, the firstfruits. It is just as the word of God has said: “When My people, through My working, are glorified together with Me, at that moment the great red dragon’s lair will be unearthed, all the mud and dirt swept clean away, and the polluted water, accumulated over countless years, dried up in My burning fires, to exist no more. Thereupon the great red dragon will perish in the lake of fire and brimstone. Are you truly willing to remain under My watchful care so as not to be snatched away by the dragon? Do you really hate its deceitful stratagems? Who is able to bear staunch witness for Me? For the sake of My name, for the sake of My Spirit, for the sake of My whole plan of management—who is able to offer up all the strength in his body? Today, when the kingdom is in the world of men, is the time that I have come in person into the world of men. If this were not so, is there anyone who could, intrepidly, go into the battlefield in My behalf? So that the kingdom may take shape, so that My heart may be contented, and again, so that My day may come, so that the time may come when the myriad things of creation are reborn and grow abundant, so that man may be rescued out of the sea of suffering, so that tomorrow may come, and so that it may be wondrous, and blossom and flourish, and again, so that the enjoyment of the future may come to pass, all of humanity is striving with all their might, sparing nothing in sacrificing themselves for Me. Is this not a sign that victory is already Mine, and a mark of the completion of My plan?”
The following 25 passages of God’s word must be communicated too:
1. Over the last several thousand years, many believers have died, and many have died and been born again. It is not just one or two people who seek after God, nor even one or two thousand, yet the pursuit of most of these people is for the sake of their own prospects or their glorious hopes for the future. Those who are devoted to Christ are few and far between. Many devout believers have still died ensnared in their own nets, and the number of people who have achieved success, moreover, is pifflingly small. To this day, the reasons why people fail, or the secrets of their success, are still unknown. Those who are obsessed with seeking after Christ have still not had their moment of sudden insight, they have not gotten to the bottom of these mysteries, because they simply do not know. Though they make painstaking efforts in their pursuit, the path they walk is the path of failure once walked by their predecessors, and not the one of success. In this way, regardless of how they seek, do they not walk the path that leads to darkness? Is what they gain not bitter fruit? It is hard enough to predict whether the people who emulate those who succeeded in times past will ultimately come to fortune or calamity. How much worse are the odds, then, for the people who seek by following in the footsteps of those who failed? Do they not stand an even greater chance of failure? What value is there to the path they walk? Are they not wasting their time? Irrespective of whether people succeed or fail in their pursuit, there is, in short, a reason why they do so, and it is not the case that their success or failure is determined by seeking however they please.
2. The most fundamental requirement of man’s belief in God is that he have an honest heart, and that he fully devote himself, and truly obey. What is hardest for man is to provide his whole life in exchange for true belief, through which he can gain the entire truth, and fulfill his duty as a creature of God. This is what is unattainable by those who fail, and is even more unattainable by those who cannot find Christ. Because man is not good at wholly devoting himself to God, because man is not willing to perform his duty to the Creator, because man has seen the truth but avoids it and walks his own path, because man always seeks by following the path of those who have failed, because man always defies Heaven, thus, man always fails, is always taken in by Satan’s trickery, and ensnared in his own net. Because man does not know Christ, because man is not adept at understanding and experiencing the truth, because man is too worshipful of Paul and too covetous of heaven, because man is always demanding that Christ obey him and ordering about God, thus those great figures and those who have experienced the vicissitudes of the world are still mortal, and still die amid God’s chastisement. All I can say of such people is that they die a tragic death, and that the consequence for them—their death—is not without justification. Is their failure not even more intolerable to the law of Heaven?
3. The truth comes from the world of man, yet the truth among man is passed on by Christ. It originates from Christ, that is, from God Himself, and is unattainable by man. Yet Christ provides only the truth; He does not come to decide whether man will be successful in his pursuit of the truth. Thus it follows that success or failure in the truth is all down to man’s pursuit. Man’s success or failure in the truth has never had anything to do with Christ, but is instead determined by his pursuit. Man’s destination and his success or failure cannot be heaped upon the head of God, so that God Himself is made to bear it, because this is not a matter for God Himself, but is directly related to the duty that the creatures of God should perform. Most people do have a little knowledge of the pursuit and destination of Paul and Peter, yet people know nothing more than the outcome for Peter and Paul, and are ignorant of the secret behind Peter’s success, or the deficiencies that led to Paul’s failure. And so, if you are completely incapable of seeing through to the substance of their pursuit, then the pursuit of most of you will still fail, and even if a small number of you will be successful, still they will not be the equal of Peter. If the path of your pursuit is the right one, then you have a hope of success; if the path you tread in pursuit of the truth is the wrong one, then you will forever be incapable of success, and will meet the same end as Paul.
4. Peter was a man who was made perfect. Only after experiencing chastisement and judgment, and thus gaining a pure love of God, was he fully made perfect; the path he walked was the path of being made perfect. Which is to say that, from the very beginning, the path that Peter walked was the right one, and his motivation for believing in God was the right one, and so he became someone who was made perfect. He trod a new path that man had never walked upon before.
5. Whereas the path that Paul had walked upon since the beginning was the path of opposition to Christ, and it was only because the Holy Spirit wished to use him, and to take advantage of his gifts and all his merits for His work, that he worked for Christ for several decades. He was merely someone who was used by the Holy Spirit, and he was not used because Jesus looked favorably upon his humanity, but because of his gifts. He was able to work for Jesus because he was struck down, not because he was happy to do so. He was able to do such work because of the enlightenment and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the work he did by no means represents his pursuit, or his humanity. The work of Paul represents the work of a servant, which is to say that he did the work of an apostle.
6. Peter, though, was different: He also did some work, yet it was not as great as the work of Paul; he worked amid the pursuit of his own entry, and his work was different from the work of Paul. Peter’s work was the performance of the duty of a creature of God. He did not work in the role of an apostle, but during the course of his pursuit of a love of God.
7. The course of Paul’s work also contained his personal pursuit: His pursuit was for the sake of nothing more than his hopes for the future, and his desire for a good destination. He did not accept refinement during his work, nor did he accept pruning and dealing. He believed that as long as the work he did satisfied God’s desire, and all that he did was pleasing to God, then a reward ultimately awaited him. There were no personal experiences in his work—it was all for its own sake, and not carried out amid the pursuit of change. Everything in his work was a transaction, it contained none of the duty or submission of a creature of God. During the course of his work, there occurred no change in Paul’s old disposition. His work was merely of service to others, and was incapable of bringing about changes in his disposition. Paul carried out his work directly, without having been made perfect or dealt with, and he was motivated by reward.
8. Peter was different: He was someone who had undergone pruning, and had undergone dealing and refinement. The aim and motivation of the work of Peter were fundamentally different to those of Paul. Although Peter did not do a large amount of work, his disposition underwent many changes, and what he sought was the truth, and real change. His work was not carried out simply for the sake of the work itself. Although Paul did much work, it was all the work of the Holy Spirit, and even though Paul cooperated in this work, he did not experience it. That Peter did much less work was only because the Holy Spirit did not do that much work through him.
9. The quantity of their work did not determine whether they were made perfect; the pursuit of one was in order to receive rewards, and that of the other was in order to achieve an ultimate love of God, and fulfill his duty as a creature of God, to the extent that he could live out a lovely image in order to satisfy God’s desire. Externally they were different, and so too were their substances different. You cannot determine who of them was made perfect based on how much work they did. Peter sought to live out the image of one who loves God, to be someone who obeyed God, to be someone who accepted dealing and pruning, and to be someone who fulfilled his duty as a creature of God. He was able to devote himself to God, to put the entirety of himself in the hands of God, and obey Him until death. That was what he resolved to do and, furthermore, that was what he achieved. This is the fundamental reason why finally his end was different to that of Paul.
10. The work that the Holy Spirit did in Peter was to make him perfect, and the work that the Holy Spirit did in Paul was to use him. That is because their natures and their views toward pursuit were not the same. Both had the work of the Holy Spirit. Peter applied this work to himself, and also provided it to others; Paul, meanwhile, only provided the entirety of the work of the Holy Spirit to others, and gained nothing from it himself. In this way, after he had experienced the work of the Holy Spirit for so many years, the changes in Paul were close to non-existent. He still remained almost in his natural state, and was still the Paul of before. It’s merely that after enduring the hardship of many years of work, he had learned how to work, and had learned endurance, but his old nature—his highly competitive and mercenary nature—still remained. After working for so many years, he did not know his corrupt disposition, nor had he rid himself of his old disposition, and it was still clearly visible in his work. In him there was merely more work experience, but such little experience alone was incapable of changing him, and could not alter his views about existence or the significance of his pursuit. Though he worked many years for Christ, and never again persecuted the Lord Jesus, in his heart there was no change in his knowledge of God. Which means that he did not work in order to devote himself to God, but was, rather, compelled to work for the sake of his future destination. For, in the beginning, he persecuted Christ, and did not submit to Christ; he was inherently a rebel who deliberately opposed Christ, and someone who had no knowledge of the work of the Holy Spirit. At the conclusion of his work, still he did not know the work of the Holy Spirit, and merely acted of his own accord pursuant to his own nature, without paying the slightest attention to the will of the Holy Spirit. And so his nature was in enmity to Christ and did not obey the truth. Someone like this, who had been forsaken by the work of the Holy Spirit, who did not know the work of the Holy Spirit, and who also opposed Christ—how could such a person be saved?
11. Whether or not man can be saved does not depend on how much work he does, or how much he devotes, but is instead determined by whether or not he knows the work of the Holy Spirit, whether or not he can put the truth into practice, and whether or not his views toward pursuit are in conformity with the truth. Although natural revelations did occur after Peter began to follow Jesus, in nature he was, from the very beginning, someone who was willing to submit to the Holy Spirit and seek after Christ. His obedience of the Holy Spirit was pure: He did not seek fame and fortune, but was instead motivated by obedience to the truth. Though there were three times when Peter denied knowing Christ, and though he tempted the Lord Jesus, such slight human weakness bore no relation to his nature, and did not affect his future pursuit, and cannot sufficiently prove that his temptation was an act of antichrist. Normal human weakness is something shared by all people in the world—do you expect Peter to be any different? Do people not hold certain views about Peter because he made several foolish mistakes? And do people not so adore Paul because of all the work he did, and all the epistles he wrote? How could man be capable of seeing through to the essence of man? Surely those who truly have sense can see something of such insignificance?
12. Peter’s and Paul’s substances, and the goals that they pursued, were different; man is incapable of discovering these things, and only God can know them in their entirety. For what God sees is the essence of man, whereas man knows nothing of his own substance. Man is incapable of beholding the substance within man or his actual stature, and thus is incapable of identifying the reasons for the failure and success of Paul and Peter. The reason why most people worship Paul and not Peter is because Paul was used for public work, and man is able to perceive this work, and so people acknowledge the “accomplishments” of Paul. The experiences of Peter, meanwhile, are invisible to man, and that which he sought is unattainable by man, and so man has no interest in Peter.
13. Peter was made perfect through experiencing dealing and refinement. He said, “I must satisfy God’s desire at all times. In all that I do I only seek to satisfy God’s desire, and whether I am chastised, or judged, still I am happy to do so.” Peter gave his all to God, and his work, words, and entire life were all for the sake of loving God. He was someone who sought holiness, and the more he experienced, the greater was his love for God deep within his heart.
14. Paul, meanwhile, did only outward work, and though he also worked hard, his labors were for the sake of doing his work properly and thus gaining a reward. Had he known that he would receive no reward, he would have given up his work.
15. What Peter cared about was the true love within his heart, and that which was practical and could be achieved. He did not care about whether he would receive a reward, but about whether his disposition could be changed. Paul cared about working ever harder, he cared about outward work and devotion, and the doctrines not experienced by ordinary people. He cared nothing for changes deep within him and a true love of God. The experiences of Peter were in order to achieve a true love and a true knowledge. His experiences were in order to gain a closer relationship to God, and to have a practical living out.
16. The work of Paul was because of that entrusted to him by Jesus, and in order to obtain the things that he longed for, yet these were unrelated to his knowledge of himself and God. His work was solely for the sake of escaping chastisement and judgment.
17. What Peter sought was pure love, and what Paul sought was the crown of righteousness. Peter experienced many years of the work of the Holy Spirit, and had a practical knowledge of Christ, as well as a profound knowledge of himself. And so, his love of God was pure. Many years of refinement had elevated his knowledge of Jesus and life, and his love was an unconditional love, it was a spontaneous love, and he asked for nothing in return, nor did he hope for any benefits. Paul worked for many years, yet he did not possess a great knowledge of Christ, and his knowledge of himself was also pitiably small. He simply had no love for Christ, and his work and the course that he ran were in order to obtain the final laurel. What he sought was the finest crown, not the purest love. He did not seek actively, but did so passively; he was not performing his duty, but was compelled in his pursuit after having been seized by the work of the Holy Spirit. And so, his pursuit does not prove that he was a qualified creature of God; it was Peter who was a qualified creature of God who performed his duty. Man thinks that all those who make a contribution to God should receive a reward, and that the greater the contribution, the more it is taken for granted that they should receive God’s favor. The essence of man’s viewpoint is transactional, and he does not actively seek to perform his duty as a creature of God. For God, the more that people seek a true love of God and complete obedience to God, which also means seeking to perform their duty as a creature of God, the more they are able to gain God’s approval. God’s viewpoint is to demand that man recover his original duty and status. Man is a creature of God, and so man should not overstep himself by making any demands of God, and should do nothing more than perform his duty as a creature of God. The destinations of Paul and Peter were measured according to whether they could perform their duty as creatures of God, and not according to the size of their contribution; their destinations were determined according to that which they sought from the beginning, not according to how much work they did, or other people’s estimation of them. And so, seeking to actively perform one’s duty as a creature of God is the path to success; seeking the path of a true love of God is the most correct path; seeking changes in one’s old disposition, and a pure love of God, is the path to success. Such a path to success is the path of the recovery of the original duty as well as the original appearance of a creature of God. It is the path of recovery, and is also the aim of all of God’s work from beginning to end. If the pursuit of man is tainted with personal extravagant demands and irrational longings, then the effect that is achieved will not be changes in man’s disposition. This is at odds with the work of recovery. It is undoubtedly not work done by the Holy Spirit, and so proves that pursuit of this kind is not approved of by God. What significance has pursuit that is not approved of by God?
18. The work done by Paul was exhibited before man, but how pure was his love for God, how much was his love for God deep down in his heart—these are unseeable by man. Man can only behold the work that he did, from which man knows that he was surely used by the Holy Spirit, and so man thinks that Paul was better than Peter, that his work was greater, for he was able to provide to the churches. Peter only looked to his personal experiences, and gained but a few people during his occasional work. From him there are but a few little-known epistles, but who knows how great was his love for God deep within his heart? Day in, day out, Paul worked for God: As long as there was work to be done, he did it. He felt that in this way he would be able to gain the crown, and could satisfy God, yet he did not seek ways to change himself through his work. Anything in Peter’s life that did not satisfy God’s desire made him feel uneasy. If it did not satisfy God’s desire, then he would feel remorseful, and would look for a suitable way by which he could strive to satisfy God’s heart. In even the smallest and most inconsequential aspects of his life, still he required himself to satisfy God’s desire. He was no less exacting when it came to his old disposition, ever rigorous in his requirements of himself to progress deeper into the truth. Paul sought only superficial reputation and status. He sought to show off himself before man, and did not seek to make any deeper progress in life entry. What he cared about was doctrine, not reality. Some people say, Paul did so much work for God, why was he not commemorated by God? Peter carried out but a little work for God, and did not make a great contribution to the churches, so why was he made perfect? Peter loved God to a certain point, which was required by God; only such people as this have testimony. And what of Paul? To what degree did Paul love God, do you know? What was Paul’s work for the sake of? And what was Peter’s work for the sake of? Peter did not do much work, but do you know what was deep within his heart? The work of Paul pertains to the provision to the churches, and the support of the churches. What Peter experienced were changes in his life disposition; he experienced a love of God. Now that you know the differences in their substances, you can see who, ultimately, truly believed in God, and who did not truly believe in God. One of them truly loved God, and the other did not truly love God; one underwent changes in his disposition, and the other did not; one was worshiped by people, and was of great image, and the other served humbly, and was not easily noticed by people; one sought holiness, and the other did not, and though he was not impure, he was not possessed of a pure love; one was possessed of true humanity, and the other was not; one was possessed of the sense of a creature of God, and the other was not. Such are the differences in the substances of Paul and Peter. The path that Peter walked is the path of success, which is also the path of achieving the recovery of the normal humanity and duty of a creature of God. Peter represents all those who are successful. The path walked by Paul is the path of failure, and he represents all those who only submit and expend themselves superficially, and do not genuinely love God. Paul represents all those who do not possess the truth. In his belief in God, Peter sought to satisfy God in everything, and sought to obey all that came from God. Without the slightest complaint, he was able to accept chastisement and judgment, as well as refinement, tribulation and lack in his life, none of which could alter his love of God. Is this not the ultimate love of God? Is this not the fulfillment of the duty of a creature of God? Whether in chastisement, judgment, or tribulation, you are always capable of achieving obedience unto death, and this is what should be achieved by a creature of God, this is the purity of the love of God. If man can achieve this much, then he is a qualified creature of God, and there is nothing which better satisfies the desire of the Creator. Imagine that you are able to work for God, yet you do not obey God, and are incapable of truly loving God. In this way, not only will you not have fulfilled the duty of a creature of God, but will also be condemned by God, for you are someone who does not possess the truth, who is incapable of obeying God, and who is disobedient to God. You only care about working for God, and do not care about putting the truth into practice, or knowing yourself. You do not understand or know the Creator, and do not obey or love the Creator. You are someone who is innately disobedient to God, and so such people are not beloved by the Creator.
19. Paul did not know his own substance or corruption, much less did he know his own disobedience. He never mentioned his despicable defiance of Christ, nor was he overly regretful. He only offered a brief explanation, and, deep down in his heart, did not completely submit to God. Though he fell on the road to Damascus, he did not look deep within himself. He was content merely to keep working, and did not consider knowing himself and changing his old disposition to be the most crucial of issues. He was satisfied with merely speaking the truth, with providing to others as a salve for his own conscience, and with no longer persecuting Jesus’ disciples to console himself and forgive himself for his past sins. The goal that he pursued was nothing more than a future crown and transitory work, the goal he pursued was abundant grace. He did not seek sufficient truth, nor did he seek to progress deeper into the truth which he had previously not understood. And so his knowledge of himself can be said to be false, and he did not accept chastisement or judgment. That he was able to work does not mean he possessed a knowledge of his own nature or substance; his focus was on outward practices only. What he strived for, moreover, was not change, but knowledge. His work was completely the result of the appearance of Jesus on the road to Damascus. It was not something he had resolved to do originally, nor was it work that occurred after he had accepted the pruning of his old disposition. No matter how he worked, his old disposition did not change, and so his work did not atone for his past sins but merely played a certain role among the churches of the time. For someone such as this, whose old disposition did not change—that is to say, who did not gain salvation, and was even more without the truth—he was absolutely incapable of becoming one of those accepted by the Lord Jesus. He was not someone who was filled with love and reverence for Jesus Christ, nor was he someone who was adept at seeking the truth, much less was he someone who sought the mystery of the incarnation. He was merely someone who was skilled in sophistry, and who would not yield to any who were higher than him or who were possessed of the truth. He envied people or truths that were in contrast to him, or in enmity with him, preferring those gifted people who presented a great image and possessed profound knowledge. He did not like interacting with poor people who sought the true way and cared for nothing but the truth, and instead concerned himself with senior figures from religious organizations who only spoke of doctrines, and were possessed of abundant knowledge. He had no love of the new work of the Holy Spirit, and cared not for the movement of the new work of the Holy Spirit. Instead, he favored those regulations and doctrines that were higher than general truths. In his innate essence and the entirety of what he sought, he does not deserve to be called a Christian who pursued the truth, much less a faithful servant in the house of God, for his hypocrisy was too much, and his disobedience too great. Though he is known as a servant of the Lord Jesus, he was not at all fit to enter the gate of the kingdom of heaven, for his actions from beginning to end cannot be called righteous. He can merely be seen as one who was hypocritical, and did unrighteousness, yet who also worked for Christ. Though he cannot be called evil, he can suitably be called a man who did unrighteousness. He did much work, yet he must not be judged on the quantity of work he did, but only on its quality and substance. Only in this way is it possible to get to the bottom of this matter. He always believed: I am capable of working, I am better than most people; I am considerate of the Lord’s burden as no one else, and no one repents as deeply as I, for the great light shone upon me, and I have seen the great light, and so my repentance is deeper than any other. At the time, this is what he thought within his heart. At the end of his work, Paul said: “I have fought the fight, I have finished my course, and there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.” His fight, work, and course were entirely for the sake of the crown of righteousness, and he did not actively forge ahead; though he was not perfunctory in his work, it can be said that his work was merely in order to make up for his mistakes, to make up for the accusations of his conscience. He only hoped to complete his work, finish his course, and fight his fight as soon as possible, so that he could gain his longed-for crown of righteousness all the sooner. What he longed for was not to meet the Lord Jesus with his experiences and true knowledge, but to finish his work as soon as possible, in order that he would receive the rewards that his work had earned him when he met the Lord Jesus. He used his work to comfort himself, and to make a deal in exchange for a future crown. What he sought was not the truth or God, but only the crown. How can such a pursuit be up to the standard? His motivation, his work, the price he paid, and all of his efforts—his wonderful fantasies pervaded them all, and he worked wholly according to his own desires. In the entirety of his work, there was not the slightest willingness in the price he paid; he was merely engaging in a deal. His efforts were not made willingly in order to perform his duty, but were made willingly in order to achieve the objective of the deal. Is there any worth to such efforts? Who would commend his impure efforts? Who has any interest in such efforts? His work was full of dreams for the future, full of wonderful plans, and contained no path by which to change human disposition. So much of his benevolence was a pretense; his work did not provide life, but was a sham of civility; it was the doing of a deal. How can work such as this lead man to the path of recovering his original duty?
20. All that Peter sought was after God’s heart. He sought to fulfill God’s desire, and regardless of the suffering and adversity, still he was willing to fulfill God’s desire. There is no greater pursuit by a believer in God. What Paul sought was tainted by his own flesh, by his own conceptions, and by his own plans and schemes. He was by no means a qualified creature of God, was not someone who sought to fulfill God’s desire. Peter sought to submit to God’s orchestrations, and although the work he did was not great, the motivation behind his pursuit and the path that he walked were right; though he was not able to gain many people, he was able to seek the way of truth. Because of this it can be said that he was a qualified creature of God.
21. Today, even if you are not a worker, you should be able to perform the duty of a creature of God, and seek to submit to all of God’s orchestrations. You should be able to obey whatever God says, and experience all manner of tribulations and refinement, and though you are weak, in your heart you should still be able to love God. Those who take responsibility for their own life are willing to perform the duty of a creature of God, and such people’s viewpoint toward pursuit is the right one. These are the people that God needs. If you did much work, and others gained your teachings, but you yourself did not change, and did not bear any testimony, or have any true experience, such that at the end of your life, still none of what you have done bears testimony, then are you someone who has changed? Are you someone who pursues the truth? At the time, the Holy Spirit used you, but when He used you, He used the part of you that could work, and He did not use the part of you that could not work. If you sought to change, then you would gradually be made perfect during the process of being used. Yet the Holy Spirit accepts no responsibility for whether or not you will ultimately be gained, and this depends on the manner of your pursuit. If there are no changes in your personal disposition, then that is because your viewpoint toward pursuit is wrong. If you are granted no reward, then that is your own problem, and because you yourself have not put the truth into practice, and are unable to fulfill God’s desire. And so, nothing is of greater importance than your personal experiences, and nothing is more critical than your personal entry! Some people will end up saying, “I’ve done so much work for You, and though there may not have been celebrated achievements, still I have been diligent in my efforts. Can’t You just let me into heaven to eat the fruit of life?” You must know what kind of people I desire; those who are impure are not permitted to enter into the kingdom, those who are impure are not permitted to besmirch the holy ground. Though you may have done much work, and have worked for many years, in the end if you are still deplorably filthy—it is intolerable to the law of Heaven that you wish to enter My kingdom! From the foundation of the world until today, never have I offered easy access to My kingdom to those who curry favor with Me. This is a heavenly rule, and no one can break it! You must seek life. Today, those who will be made perfect are the same kind as Peter: They are those who seek changes in their own disposition, and are willing to bear testimony to God and perform their duty as a creature of God. Only people such as this will be made perfect. If you only look to rewards, and do not seek to change your own life disposition, then all your efforts will be in vain—and this is an unalterable truth!
22. From the difference in the substances of Peter and Paul you should understand that all those who do not pursue life labor in vain! You believe in God and follow God, and so in your heart you must love God. You must cast aside your corrupt disposition, must seek to fulfill God’s desire, and must perform the duty of a creature of God. Since you believe in and follow God, you should offer everything to Him, and should not make personal choices or demands, and you should achieve the fulfillment of God’s desire. Since you were created, you should obey the Lord that created you, for you are inherently without dominion over yourself, and have no ability to control your destiny. Since you are a person that believes in God, you should seek holiness and change. Since you are a creature of God, you should adhere to your duty, and keep your place, and must not overstep your duty. This is not to constrain you, or to suppress you through doctrine, but is the path through which you can perform your duty, and can be achieved—and should be achieved—by all those who do righteousness.
23. If you compare the substances of Peter and Paul, then you will know how you should seek. Of the paths walked by Peter and Paul, one is the path of being made perfect, and one is the path of elimination; Peter and Paul represent two different paths. Though each received the work of the Holy Spirit, and each gained the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and each accepted that which had been entrusted to them by the Lord Jesus, the fruit borne in each was not the same: One truly bore fruit, and the other did not. From their substances, the work that they did, that which was outwardly expressed by them, and their final ends, you should understand which path you should take, which path you should choose to walk upon. They walked two clearly different paths. Paul and Peter, they were the quintessence of each path, and so from the very start they were held up to typify these two paths. What are the key points of Paul’s experiences, and why did he not make it? What are the key points of Peter’s experiences, and how did he experience being made perfect? If you compare what they each cared about, then you will know what exact kind of person God requires, what the will of God is, what the disposition of God is, what kind of person will ultimately be made perfect, and also what kind of person will not be made perfect, what the disposition is of those who will be made perfect, and what the disposition is of those who will not be made perfect—these issues of substance can be seen in the experiences of Peter and Paul.
24. God created all things, and so He makes all creation come under His dominion, and submit to His dominion; He will command all things, so that all things are in His hands. All creation of God, including animals, plants, mankind, the mountains and rivers, and the lakes—all must come under His dominion. All things in the skies and on the ground must come under His dominion. They cannot have any choice, and must all submit to His orchestrations. This was decreed by God, and is the authority of God. God commands everything, and orders and ranks all things, with each classed according to kind, and allotted their own position, according to God’s will. No matter how great it is, no thing can surpass God, and all things serve the mankind created by God, and no thing dares to disobey God or make any demands of God. And so man, as a creature of God, must also perform the duty of man. Regardless of whether he is the lord or ruler of all things, no matter how high man’s status among all things, still he is but a small human being under the dominion of God, and is no more than an insignificant human being, a creature of God, and he will never be above God.
25. As a creature of God, man should seek to perform the duty of a creature of God, and seek to love God without making other choices, for God is worthy of man’s love. Those who seek to love God should not seek any personal benefits or that which they personally long for; this is the most correct means of pursuit. If what you seek is the truth, what you put into practice is the truth, and what you attain is a change in your disposition, then the path that you tread is the right one. If what you seek is the blessings of the flesh, and what you put into practice is the truth of your own conceptions, and if there is no change in your disposition, and you are not at all obedient to God in the flesh, and you still live in vagueness, then what you seek will surely take you to hell, for the path that you walk is the path of failure. Whether you will be made perfect or eliminated depends on your own pursuit, which is also to say that success or failure depends on the path that man walks.