The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment
When he was being chastised by God, Peter prayed, “O God! My flesh is disobedient, and You chastise me and judge me. I rejoice in Your chastisement and judgment, and even if You do not want me, in Your judgment I behold Your holy and righteous disposition. When You judge me, so that others may behold Your righteous disposition in Your judgment, I feel content. If it can show forth Your disposition, and allow Your righteous disposition to be seen by all creatures, and if it can make my love of You purer, so that I can attain the image of one who is righteous, then Your judgment is good, for such is Your gracious will. I know that there is still much in me that is rebellious, and that I am still not fit to come before You. I wish for You to judge me even more, whether through a hostile environment or great tribulations; no matter how You judge me, to me it is precious. Your love is so profound, and I am willing to lay myself at Your mercy without the slightest complaint.” This is Peter’s knowledge after he experienced the work of God, and is also a testimony to his love of God. Today, you have already been conquered—but how is this conquest expressed in you? Some people say, “My conquest is the supreme grace and exaltation of God. Only now do I realize that the life of man is hollow and without significance. Living is so pointless, I’d rather be dead. Though man spends his life rushing about, producing and raising generation after generation of children, man is ultimately left with nothing. Today, only after being conquered by God have I seen that there is no value to living in this way; it really is a meaningless life. I may as well die and be done with it!” Can such people who have been conquered be gained by God? Can they become specimens and models? Such people are a lesson in passiveness, they have no aspirations, and do not strive to improve themselves! Even though they count as having been conquered, such passive people are incapable of being made perfect. At the near end of his life, after he had been made perfect, Peter said, “O God! If I were to live a few more years, I would wish to achieve a purer and deeper love of You.” When he was about to be nailed to the cross, in his heart he prayed, “O God! Your time has now arrived, the time You prepared for me has arrived. I must be crucified for You, I must bear this testimony to You, and I hope that my love can satisfy Your requirements, and that it can become purer. Today, to be able to die for You, and be nailed to the cross for You, is comforting and reassuring to me, for nothing is more gratifying to me than to be able to be crucified for You and satisfy Your wishes, and to be able to give myself to You, to offer up my life to You. O God! You are so lovely! Were You to allow me to live, I would be even more willing to love You. As long as I am alive, I will love You. I wish to love You more deeply. You judge me, and chastise me, and try me because I am not righteous, because I have sinned. And Your righteous disposition becomes more apparent to me. This is a blessing to me, for I am able to love You more deeply, and I am willing to love You in this way even if You do not love me. I am willing to behold Your righteous disposition, for this makes me more able to live out a life of meaning. I feel that my life now is more meaningful, for I am crucified for Your sake, and it is meaningful to die for You. Yet still I do not feel satisfied, for I know too little of You, I know that I cannot completely fulfill Your wishes, and have repaid You too little. In my life, I have been incapable of returning my entirety to You; I am far from that. As I look back at this moment, I feel so indebted to You, and I have but this moment to make up for all of my mistakes and all the love that I have not repaid You.”
Man must pursue to live out a life of meaning, and should not be satisfied with his current circumstances. To live out the image of Peter, he must possess the knowledge and experiences of Peter. Man must pursue things that are higher and more profound. He must pursue a deeper, purer love of God, and a life that has value and meaning. Only this is life; only then will man be the same as Peter. You must focus on being proactive toward your entry on the positive side, and must not submissively allow yourself to backslide for the sake of momentary ease while ignoring more profound, more specific, and more practical truths. Your love must be practical, and you must find ways to free yourself from this depraved, carefree life that is no different from an animal’s. You must live out a life of meaning, a life of value, and you must not fool yourself, or treat your life like a toy to be played with. For everyone who aspires to love God, there are no unobtainable truths, and no justice for which they cannot stand firm. How should you live your life? How should you love God, and use this love to satisfy His desire? There is no greater matter in your life. Above all, you must have such aspirations and perseverance, and should not be like those spineless weaklings. You must learn how to experience a meaningful life, and experience meaningful truths, and should not treat yourself perfunctorily in that way. Without you realizing it, your life will pass you by; and after that, will you have another opportunity to love God? Can man love God after he is dead? You must have the same aspirations and conscience as Peter; your life must be meaningful, and you must not play games with yourself! As a human being, and as a person who pursues God, you must be able to carefully consider how you treat your life, how you should offer yourself to God, how you should have a more meaningful faith in God, and how, since you love God, you should love Him in a way that is more pure, more beautiful, and more good. Today, you cannot only be content with how you are conquered, but must also consider the path that you will walk in the future. You must have aspirations and the courage to be made perfect, and should not always think yourself incapable. Does the truth have favorites? Can the truth deliberately oppose people? If you pursue the truth, can it overwhelm you? If you stand firm for justice, will it knock you down? If it is truly your aspiration to pursue life, can life elude you? If you are without the truth, that is not because the truth does not acknowledge you, but because you stay away from the truth; if you cannot stand fast for justice, that is not because there is something wrong with justice, but because you believe it is out of line with the facts; if you have not gained life after pursuing it for many years, that is not because life has no conscience toward you, but because you have no conscience toward life, and have driven away life; if you live in the light, and have been incapable of gaining the light, that is not because it is impossible for the light to shine upon you, but because you have not paid any attention to the existence of the light, and so the light has quietly departed from you. If you do not pursue, then it can only be said that you are worthless trash, and have no courage in your life, and do not have the spirit to resist the forces of darkness. You are too weak! You are unable to escape the forces of Satan that lay siege to you, and are only willing to lead this kind of safe and secure life and die in ignorance. What you should achieve is your pursuit of being conquered; this is your bounden duty. If you are content to be conquered, then you drive out the existence of the light. You must suffer hardship for the truth, you must give yourself to the truth, you must endure humiliation for the truth, and to gain more of the truth you must undergo more suffering. This is what you should do. You must not throw away the truth for the sake of a peaceful family life, and you must not lose your life’s dignity and integrity for the sake of momentary enjoyment. You should pursue all that is beautiful and good, and should pursue a path in life that is more meaningful. If you lead such a vulgar life, and do not pursue any objectives, do you not waste your life? What can you gain from such a life? You should forsake all enjoyments of the flesh for the sake of one truth, and should not throw away all truths for the sake of a little enjoyment. People like this have no integrity or dignity; there is no meaning to their existence!
God chastises and judges man because it is required by His work, and, moreover, because it is needed by man. Man needs to be chastised and judged, and only then can he achieve the love of God. Today, you have been utterly convinced, but when you encounter the slightest setback you’re in trouble; your stature is still too small, and you still need to experience more of such chastisement and judgment in order to achieve a deeper knowledge. Today, you have some reverence for God, and you fear God, and you know He is the true God, but you do not have a great love of Him, much less have you achieved a pure love; your knowledge is too superficial, and your stature is still insufficient. When you truly encounter an environment, you still have not borne witness, too little of your entry is proactive, and you have no idea how to practice. Most people are passive and inactive; they only secretly love God in their hearts, but have no way of practice, nor are they clear about what their goals are. Those who have been made perfect not only possess normal humanity, but are possessed of truths that exceed the measures of conscience, and that are higher than the standards of conscience; they not only use their conscience to pay back God’s love, but, more than that, they have known God, and have seen that God is lovely, and worthy of man’s love, and that there is so much to love in God that man cannot help but love Him. The love of God of those who have been made perfect is in order to fulfill their own personal aspirations. Theirs is a spontaneous love, a love that asks for nothing in return, and which is not a trade. They love God because of nothing other than their knowledge of Him. Such people care not whether God bestows graces upon them, and are content with nothing more than to satisfy God. They do not strike bargains with God, nor do they measure their love of God by conscience: You have given to me, thus I love You in return; if You do not give to me, then I have nothing for You in return. Those who have been made perfect always believe that God is the Creator, that He carries out His work upon them, and that, since they have this opportunity, and condition, and qualification to be able to be made perfect, their pursuit should be to live out a life of meaning, and they should satisfy Him. It is just like that which was experienced by Peter: When he was at his weakest, he prayed to God and said, “O God! Regardless of the time or place, You know that I always remember You. No matter the time or place, You know that I want to love You, but my stature is too small, I am too weak and powerless, my love is too limited, and my sincerity toward You is too meager. Compared to Your love, I am simply unfit to live. I wish only that my life is not in vain, and that I can not only repay Your love, but, moreover, that I can devote all I have to You. If I can satisfy You, then as a creature, I shall have peace of mind, and will ask for nothing more. Although I am weak and powerless now, I will not forget Your exhortations, and will not forget Your love. Now I am doing nothing more than repaying Your love. O God, I feel awful! How can I give back the love in my heart to You, how can I do all I can, and be able to fulfill Your wishes, and be able to offer all that I have to You? You know the weakness of man; how can I be worthy of Your love? O God! You know I am of small stature, that my love is too meager. How can I do the best that I can in this kind of environment? I know I should repay Your love, I know that I should give all that I have to You, but today my stature is too small. I ask that You give me strength, and give me confidence, so that I will be more able to possess a pure love to devote to You, and more able to devote all that I have to You; not only will I be able to repay Your love, but more able to experience Your chastisement, judgment and trials, and even more severe curses. You have allowed me to behold Your love, and I am incapable of not loving You, and though I am weak and powerless today, how could I forget You? Your love, chastisement and judgment have all caused me to know You, yet I also feel incapable of fulfilling Your love, for You are so great. How can I devote all that I have to the Creator?” Such was Peter’s request, yet his stature was too inadequate. At this moment, he felt as if a knife were being twisted in his heart and he was in agony; he knew not what to do under such conditions. Yet he still continued to pray: “O God! Man is of childish stature, his conscience is feeble, and the only thing I can achieve is to repay Your love. Today, I know not how to satisfy Your desires, or do all I can, or give all I have, or how to devote all I have to You. Regardless of Your judgment, regardless of Your chastisement, regardless of what You bestow upon me, regardless of what You take away from me, make me free from the slightest complaint toward You. Many times, when You chastised me and judged me, I grumbled to myself, and was incapable of achieving purity, or of fulfilling Your wishes. My repayment of Your love was born out of compulsion, and at this moment I hate myself even more.” It was because he sought a purer love of God that Peter prayed in this way. He was seeking, and entreating, and, furthermore, he was recriminating himself, and confessing his sins to God. He felt indebted to God, and felt hatred of himself, yet he was also somewhat sad and passive. He always felt thus, as if he was not good enough for God’s wishes, and unable to do his best. Under such conditions, Peter still pursued the faith of Job. He saw how great had been the faith of Job, for Job had seen that his all was bestowed by God, and it was natural for God to take everything from him, that God would give to whoever He wished—such was the righteous disposition of God. Job had no complaints, and could still praise God. Peter also knew himself, and in his heart he prayed, “Today I should not be content with repaying Your love using my conscience and with however much love I give back to You, because my thoughts are too corrupt, and because I am incapable of seeing You as the Creator. Because I am still unfit to love You, I must accomplish the ability to devote all that I have to You, which I would do willingly. I must know all that You have done, and have no choice, and I must behold Your love, and be able to speak Your praises, and extol Your holy name, so that You may gain great glory through me. I am willing to stand fast in this testimony to You. O God! Your love is so precious and beautiful; how could I wish to live in the hands of the evil one? Was I not made by You? How could I live under the domain of Satan? I’d prefer that my entire being live amid Your chastisement. I am unwilling to live under the domain of the evil one. If I can be made pure, and can devote my all to You, I am willing to offer up my body and mind to Your judgment and chastisement, for I detest Satan, and am unwilling to live under its domain. Through Your judgment of me, You show forth Your righteous disposition; I am happy, and have not the slightest complaint. If I am able to perform the duty of a creature, I am willing that my entire life be accompanied by Your judgment, through which I will come to know Your righteous disposition, and will rid myself of the influence of the evil one.” Peter always prayed thus, always sought thus, and reached a higher realm. Not only was he able to repay God’s love, but, more importantly, he also fulfilled his duty as a creature. Not only was he not accused by his conscience, but he was also able to transcend the standards of conscience. His prayers continued to go up before God, such that his aspirations were ever higher, and his love of God was ever greater. Though he suffered agonizing pain, still he did not forget to love God, and still he sought to attain the ability to understand God’s will. In his prayers were uttered the following words: I have accomplished nothing more than the repayment of Your love. I have not borne testimony to You before Satan, have not freed myself from the influence of Satan, and still live amid the flesh. I wish to use my love to defeat Satan, and shame it, and thus satisfy Your desire. I wish to give my entirety to You, to not give the slightest bit of myself to Satan, for Satan is Your enemy. The more he sought in this direction, the more he was moved, and the higher his knowledge of these matters. Without realizing it, he came to know that he should free himself of the influence of Satan, and should completely return himself to God. Such was the realm he attained. He was transcending the influence of Satan, and ridding himself of the pleasures and enjoyments of the flesh, and was willing to experience more profoundly both God’s chastisement and His judgment. He said, “Even though I live amid Your chastisement, and amid Your judgment, regardless of the hardship that entails, still I am unwilling to live under the domain of Satan, still I am unwilling to suffer Satan’s trickery. I take joy from living amid Your curses, and am pained by living amid the blessings of Satan. I love You by living amid Your judgment, and this brings me great joy. Your chastisement and judgment is righteous and holy; it is in order to cleanse me, and even more to save me. I would prefer to spend my entire life amid Your judgment to be under Your care. I am unwilling to live under Satan’s domain for a single moment; I wish to be cleansed by You, to suffer hardship, and am unwilling to be exploited and tricked by Satan. I, this creature, should be used by You, possessed by You, judged by You, and chastised by You. I should even be cursed by You. My heart rejoices when You are willing to bless me, for I have seen Your love. You are the Creator, and I am a creature: I should not betray You and live under the domain of Satan, nor should I be exploited by Satan. I should be Your horse, or ox, instead of living for Satan. I’d rather live amid Your chastisement, without physical bliss, and this would bring me enjoyment even if I were to lose Your grace. Though Your grace is not with me, I enjoy being chastised and judged by You; this is Your best blessing, Your greatest grace. Though You are always majestic and wrathful toward me, still I am incapable of leaving You, still I cannot love You enough. I’d prefer to live in Your home, I’d prefer to be cursed, chastised, and smitten by You, and am unwilling to live under the domain of Satan, nor am I willing to rush and busy about only for the flesh, much less am I willing to live for the flesh.” Peter’s love was a pure love. This is the experience of being made perfect, and is the highest realm of being made perfect, and there is no life that is more meaningful. He accepted God’s chastisement and judgment, he treasured God’s righteous disposition, and nothing about Peter was more precious. He said, “Satan gives me material enjoyments, but I do not treasure them. God’s chastisement and judgment comes upon me—in this I am graced, in this I find enjoyment, and in this I am blessed. Were it not for God’s judgment I would never love God, I would still live under the domain of Satan, would still be controlled by it, and commanded by it. If that were the case, I would never become a real human being, for I would be incapable of satisfying God, and would not have devoted my entirety to God. Even though God does not bless me, leaving me without comfort inside, as if a fire is burning within me, and with no peace or joy, and even though God’s chastisement and discipline is never apart from me, in God’s chastisement and judgment I am able to behold His righteous disposition. I take delight in this; there is no more valuable or meaningful thing in life. Though His protection and care have become ruthless chastisement, judgment, curses and smiting, still I take enjoyment in these things, for they can better cleanse me, can change me, can bring me closer to God, can make me more able to love God, and can make my love of God purer. This makes me able to fulfill my duty as a creature, and takes me before God and away from the influence of Satan, so that I no longer serve Satan. When I do not live under the domain of Satan, and am able to devote everything I have and all that I can do to God, without holding anything back—that will be when I am fully satisfied. It is God’s chastisement and judgment that has saved me, and my life is inseparable from God’s chastisement and judgment. My life on earth is under the domain of Satan, and were it not for the care and protection of God’s chastisement and judgment, I would have always lived under the domain of Satan, and, moreover, I would not have had the opportunity or means to live out a life of meaning. Only if God’s chastisement and judgment never leaves me, will I be able to be cleansed by God. Only with the harsh words and righteous disposition of God, and God’s majestic judgment, have I gained supreme protection, and lived in the light, and gained the blessings of God. To be able to be cleansed, and free myself from Satan, and live under the dominion of God—this is the greatest blessing in my life today.” This is the highest realm experienced by Peter.
Such are the states that man must attain after being made perfect. If you cannot achieve this much, then you cannot live out a life of meaning. Man lives amid the flesh, which means he lives in a human hell, and without God’s judgment and chastisement, man is as filthy as Satan. How could man be holy? Peter believed that chastisement and judgment by God was man’s best protection and greatest grace. Only through chastisement and judgment by God could man awaken, and hate the flesh, and hate Satan. God’s strict discipline frees man from the influence of Satan, it frees him from his own little world, and allows him to live in the light of God’s presence. There is not better salvation than chastisement and judgment! Peter prayed, “O God! As long as You chastise and judge me, I will know that You have not left me. Even if You do not give me joy or peace, and make me live in suffering, and inflict countless chastenings on me, as long as You do not leave me my heart will be at ease. Today, Your chastisement and judgment has become my best protection and my greatest blessing. The grace You give me protects me. The grace You bestow upon me today is a manifestation of Your righteous disposition, and is chastisement and judgment; moreover, it is a trial, and, more than that, it is a life of suffering.” Peter was able to put aside the pleasures of the flesh and seek a deeper love and greater protection, because he had gained so much grace from God’s chastisement and judgment. In his life, if man wishes to be cleansed and achieve changes in his disposition, if he wishes to live out a life of meaning, and fulfill his duty as a creature, then he must accept God’s chastisement and judgment, and must not allow God’s discipline and God’s smiting to depart from him, so he can free himself from the manipulation and influence of Satan and live in the light of God. Know that God’s chastisement and judgment is the light, and the light of man’s salvation, and that there is no better blessing, grace or protection for man. Man lives under the influence of Satan, and exists in the flesh; if he is not cleansed and does not receive God’s protection, then man will become ever more depraved. If he wishes to love God, then he must be cleansed and saved. Peter prayed, “God, when You treat me kindly I am delighted, and feel comfort; when You chastise me, I feel even greater comfort and joy. Although I am weak, and endure untold suffering, although there are tears and sadness, You know that this sadness is because of my disobedience, and because of my weakness. I weep because I cannot satisfy Your desires, I feel sorrow and regret because I am insufficient for Your requirements, but I am willing to attain this realm, I am willing to do all I can to satisfy You. Your chastisement has brought me protection, and has given me the best salvation; Your judgment eclipses Your tolerance and patience. Without Your chastisement and judgment, I would not enjoy Your mercy and lovingkindness. Today, I see all the more that Your love has transcended the heavens and excelled all. Your love is not just mercy and lovingkindness; even more than that, it is chastisement and judgment. Your chastisement and judgment has given me so much. Without Your chastisement and judgment, not a single person would be cleansed, and not a single person would be able to experience the love of the Creator. Though I have endured hundreds of trials and tribulations, and have even come close to death, such suffering[a] has allowed me to truly know You and gain supreme salvation. If Your chastisement, judgment and discipline were to depart from me, then I would live in darkness, under the domain of Satan. What benefits does the flesh of man have? If Your chastisement and judgment were to leave me, it would be as if Your Spirit had forsaken me, as if You were no longer with me. If that were so, how could I go on living? If You give me sickness, and take my freedom, I can continue living, but were Your chastisement and judgment to leave me, I would have no way to go on living. If I were without Your chastisement and judgment, I would have lost Your love, a love that is too deep for me to put into words. Without Your love, I would live under the domain of Satan, and would be unable to see Your glorious face. How, say You, could I continue living? Such darkness, such a life, I could not stand to endure. Having You with me is like seeing You, so how could I leave You? I implore You, I beg You not to take my greatest comfort from me, even if it is just a few words of reassurance. I have enjoyed Your love, and today I cannot be away from You; how, say You, could I not love You? I have shed many tears of sorrow because of Your love, yet I have always felt that a life such as this is more meaningful, more able to enrich me, more able to change me, and more able to allow me to attain the truth that should be possessed by the creatures.”
Man’s entire life is lived under the domain of Satan, and there is not a single person who can free themselves from the influence of Satan on their own. All live in a filthy world, in corruption and emptiness, without the slightest meaning or value; they live such carefree lives for the flesh, for lust, and for Satan. There is not the slightest value to their existence. Man is incapable of finding the truth that will free him from the influence of Satan. Even though man believes in God and reads the Bible, he does not understand how to free himself of the control of Satan’s influence. Throughout the ages, very few people have discovered this secret, very few have touched upon it. As such, even though man detests Satan, and detests the flesh, he does not know how to rid himself of the ensnaring influence of Satan. Today, are you not still under the domain of Satan? You do not regret your disobedient acts, much less do you feel that you are filthy and disobedient. After opposing God, you even have peace of mind and feel great tranquility. Is your tranquility not because you are corrupt? Does this peace of mind not come from your disobedience? Man lives in a human hell, he lives under the dark influence of Satan; across the land, ghosts live together with man, encroaching upon the flesh of man. On earth, you do not live in a beautiful paradise. The place where you are is the realm of the devil, a human hell, a netherworld. If man is not cleansed, then he is of the filth; if he is not protected and cared for by God, then he is still a captive of Satan; if he is not judged and chastised, then he will have no means of escaping the oppression of the dark influence of Satan. The corrupt disposition that you show forth and the disobedient behavior that you live out are sufficient to prove that you are still living under the domain of Satan. If your mind and thoughts have not been cleansed, and your disposition has not been judged and chastised, then your entire being is still controlled by the domain of Satan, your mind is controlled by Satan, your thoughts are manipulated by Satan, and your entire being is controlled by the hands of Satan. Do you know just how far you are, now, from the standards of Peter? Are you of caliber? How much do you know of the chastisement and judgment of today? How much do you possess of that which Peter came to know? If, today, you are unable to know, will you be able to achieve this knowledge in the future? Someone as lazy and cowardly as you is simply incapable of knowing the chastisement and judgment of God. If you pursue the peace of the flesh, and the pleasures of the flesh, then you will have no means of being cleansed, and in the end you will return to Satan, for what you live out is Satan, and the flesh. As things stand today, many people do not pursue life, which means that they do not care about being cleansed, or entering into a deeper life experience. And so how can they be made perfect? Those who do not pursue life have no opportunity to be made perfect, and those who do not pursue a knowledge of God, and do not pursue changes in their disposition, are incapable of escaping Satan’s dark influence. With regard to their knowledge of God and their entry upon changes in their disposition, they are not serious about them, like those who only believe in religion, and who merely follow ceremony in their worship. Is that not a waste of time? If, in his belief in God, man is not serious about matters of life, does not pursue entry into the truth, does not pursue changes in his disposition, much less pursue a knowledge of the work of God, then he cannot be made perfect. If you wish to be made perfect, you must understand the significance of God’s work. In particular, you must understand the significance of His chastisement and judgment, and why they are carried out upon man. Are you able to accept? During chastisement of this kind, are you able to achieve the same experiences and knowledge as Peter? If you pursue a knowledge of God and of the work of the Holy Spirit, and pursue changes in your disposition, then you have the opportunity to be made perfect. For those who are to be made perfect, this step of work of being conquered is indispensable; only once he has been conquered can man experience the work of being made perfect. There is no great value to only performing the role of being conquered, which will not render you fit for use by God. You will have no means of playing your part in spreading the gospel, for you do not pursue life, and do not pursue the changes and renewal of yourself, and so you have no actual experience of life. During this step-by-step work, you once acted as a service-doer, and a foil, but if ultimately you do not pursue to be Peter, and your pursuit is not according to the path by which Peter was made perfect, then, naturally, you will not experience changes in your disposition. If you are someone who pursues being made perfect, then you will have borne testimony, and you will say: “In this step-by-step work of God, I have accepted God’s work of chastisement and judgment, and though I have endured great suffering, I have come to know how God makes man perfect, I have gained the work done by God, I have had the knowledge of the righteousness of God, and His chastisement has saved me. His righteous disposition has come upon me, and brought me blessings and grace, and His judgment and chastisement has protected and purified me. If I had not been chastised and judged by God, and if the harsh words of God had not come upon me, I could not have known God, nor could I have been saved. Today I see that, as a creature, not only does one enjoy all things made by the Creator, but, more importantly, that all creatures should enjoy the righteous disposition of God, and enjoy His righteous judgment, because God’s disposition is worthy of man’s enjoyment. As a creature that has been corrupted by Satan, one should enjoy God’s righteous disposition. In His righteous disposition there is chastisement and judgment, and, moreover, there is great love. Although I am incapable of completely gaining God’s love today, I have had the good fortune to see it, and in this I have been blessed.” This is the path walked by those who experience being made perfect and the knowledge of which they speak. Such people are the same as Peter; they have the same experiences as Peter. Such people are also those who have gained life, and who possess the truth. If man experiences until the very end, during God’s judgment he will inevitably completely rid himself of the influence of Satan, and be gained by God.
After they have been conquered, people do not have any resounding testimony. They have merely shamed Satan, but have not lived out the reality of God’s words. You have not gained the second salvation; you have merely gained a sin offering, yet you have not been made perfect—what a great loss it is. You must understand what you should enter into, and what you should live out, and you must enter into them. If, in the end, you do not accomplish being made perfect, then you will not be a real human being, and will be filled with regret. Adam and Eve created by God in the beginning were holy people, which is to say, whilst in the Garden of Eden they were holy, untainted with filth. They were also faithful to Jehovah, and knew nothing of the betrayal of Jehovah. This is because they were without the disturbance of the influence of Satan, were without Satan’s poison, and were the purest of all mankind. They lived in the Garden of Eden, undefiled by any filth, unpossessed by the flesh, and in reverence of Jehovah. Later, when they were tempted by Satan, they had the poison of the serpent, and the desire to betray Jehovah, and they lived under the influence of Satan. In the beginning, they were holy and revered Jehovah; only like this were they human. Later on, after they were tempted by Satan, they ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and lived under the influence of Satan. They were gradually corrupted by Satan, and lost the original image of man. In the beginning, man had the breath of Jehovah, and was not the slightest bit disobedient, and had no evil in his heart. At that time, man was truly human. After being corrupted by Satan, man became a beast: His thoughts were filled with evil and filth, without good or holiness. Is this not Satan? You have experienced much of God’s work, yet you have not changed or been cleansed. You still live under the domain of Satan, and still do not submit to God. This is someone who has been conquered but has not been made perfect. And why is it said that such a person has not been made perfect? Because this person does not pursue life or a knowledge of God’s work, and covets nothing more than the pleasures of the flesh and momentary comfort. As a result, there are no changes in their life disposition, and they have not regained the original appearance of man as created by God. Such people are the walking corpses, they are the dead ones that have no spirit! Those who do not pursue a knowledge of matters in the spirit, who do not pursue holiness, and who do not pursue living out the truth, who are content only to be conquered on the negative side, and are incapable of living out and showing forth the truth, and becoming one of the holy people—they are people who have not been saved. For, if he is without the truth, man is unable to stand fast during God’s trials; only those who can stand fast during God’s trials are the ones who have been saved. What I want are people like Peter, people who pursue being made perfect. Today’s truth is given to those who yearn for and seek it. This salvation is granted to those who yearn to be saved by God, and is not only meant to be gained by you, but is also so that you can be gained by God. You gain God in order that God can gain you. Today I have spoken these words to you, and you have heard them, and you should practice according to these words. In the end, when you put these words into practice will be when I have gained you through these words; at the same time, you will have also gained these words, which is to say, you will have gained this supreme salvation. Once you have been made clean, you will be a real human being. If you are incapable of living out the truth, or of living out the likeness of one who has been made perfect, then it can be said that you are not a human, you are a walking corpse, a beast, because you are without the truth, which is to say that you are without the breath of Jehovah, and thus you are a dead person that has no spirit! Although it is possible to bear testimony after being conquered, what you gain is but a little salvation, and you have not become a living being possessed of a spirit. Although you have experienced chastisement and judgment, your disposition is not renewed or changed as a result; you are still your old self, you still belong to Satan, and you are not someone who has been cleansed. Only those who have been made perfect are of value, and only people such as this have gained a true life. One day, someone will say to you, “You have experienced God’s work, so speak a little about what His work is like. David experienced God’s work, and beheld the deeds of Jehovah, Moses too beheld the deeds of Jehovah, and the two of them were able to describe the deeds of Jehovah, and could speak of the wondrousness of Jehovah. You have beheld the work done by God incarnate; can you talk of His wisdom? Can you talk of the wondrousness of His work? What demands did God make of you, and how did you experience them? You have experienced God’s work during the last days; what is your greatest vision? Can you speak of this? Can you speak of God’s righteous disposition?” How will you reply when faced with these questions? If you are able to say, “God is so righteous, He chastises and judges us, and unsparingly exposes us. God’s disposition is really intolerant of offense by man. After experiencing the work of God, I have come to know our own beastliness, and I have truly beheld God’s righteous disposition,” then the other person will continue to ask you, “What else do you know of God? How does one enter into life? Do you have any personal aspirations?” You will reply, “After being corrupted by Satan, the creatures of God became beasts, and were no different from donkeys. Today, I live in the hands of God, and so I must satisfy the Creator’s desires, and obey whatever He teaches. I have no other choice.” If you only talk in such generalities, that person will not understand what you are saying. When they ask you what knowledge you have of God’s work, they are referring to your personal experiences. They are inquiring what knowledge you have of God’s chastisement and judgment after experiencing it, and in this they are referring to your personal experiences, and asking that you speak of your knowledge of the truth. If you are unable to speak of such things, this proves you know nothing of the work of today. You always speak words that are specious, or which are universally known; you have no specific experiences, much less is there substance to your knowledge, and you have no true testimonies, and so others are unconvinced by you. Do not be a passive follower of God, and do not pursue that which is curious. Through being neither cold nor hot you will forfeit yourself and delay your life. You must rid yourself of such passivity and inactivity, and become adept at pursuing positive things and overcoming your own weaknesses, so that you may gain the truth and live out the truth. There’s nothing fearful about your weaknesses, and your shortcomings are not your biggest problem. Your biggest problem, and your greatest shortcoming, is your being neither hot nor cold and your lack of desire to seek the truth. The biggest problem with all of you is a cowardly mentality whereby you are happy with things as they are, and await passively. This is your greatest obstacle, and the greatest enemy to your pursuit of the truth. If you obey only because the words that I speak are so profound, then you do not truly possess the knowledge, nor do you treasure the truth. Obedience such as yours does not count as testimony, and I do not approve such obedience. Someone may ask you, “Where exactly does your God come from? What is the substance of this God of yours?” You will reply, “His substance is chastisement and judgment.” “Is God not compassionate and loving toward man? Do you know this?” You will say, “That is the God of others. It is the God that people of religion believe in, it is not our God.” When people such as you spread the gospel, the true way is distorted by you, and so what use do you have? How can others gain the true way from you? You are without the truth, and can speak nothing of the truth, nor, moreover, can you live out the truth. What qualifies you to live before God? When you spread the gospel to others, and when you speak of the truth, and bear testimony to God, if you are incapable of winning them over, they will refute your words. Are you not a waste of space? You have experienced so much of the work of God, yet when you speak of the truth you make no sense. Are you not a good-for-nothing? What use do you have? How can you have experienced so much of God’s work, yet not have the slightest knowledge of Him? When they ask what real knowledge you have of God, you are lost for words, or else reply with something irrelevant—saying that God is mighty, that the great blessings you have received are truly the exaltation of God, and that there is no greater privilege than to be able to behold God personally. What value is there in saying this? They are useless, empty words! Having experienced so much of God’s work, do you only know that the exaltation of God is the truth? You must know God’s work, and only then will you bear a true testimony to God. How can those who have not gained the truth bear testimony to God?
If so much work, and so many words, have had no effect upon you, then when the time comes to spread the work of God you will be unable to perform your duty, and will be shamed and humiliated. At that time, you will feel that you owe God so much, that your knowledge of God is so superficial. If you do not pursue the knowledge of God today, while He is working, then later on it will be too late. In the end, you will have no knowledge to speak of—you will be left empty, with nothing. What, then, will you use to give an account to God? Do you have the gall to look upon God? You should work hard in your pursuit right now, so that in the end you will, like Peter, know just how beneficial God’s chastisement and judgment is to man, and that without His chastisement and judgment man cannot be saved, and can only sink ever deeper into this filthy land, ever deeper into the slurry. Men have been corrupted by Satan, have intrigued against each other and ridden roughshod over each other, have lost their fear of God, and their disobedience is too great, their conceptions are too many, and all belong to Satan. Without the chastisement and judgment of God, man’s corrupt disposition could not be cleansed and he could not be saved. What is expressed by God incarnate’s work in the flesh is precisely that which is expressed by the Spirit, and the work He does is carried out according to that which is done by the Spirit. Today, if you have no knowledge of this work, then you are so foolish, and have lost so much! If you have not gained God’s salvation, then your belief is religious faith, and you are a Christian who is of religion. Because you hold to dead doctrine, you have lost the new work of the Holy Spirit; others, who pursue a love of God, are able to acquire the truth and the life, whereas your faith is incapable of gaining God’s approval. Instead, you have become an evildoer, someone who commits ruinous and hateful acts, you have become the butt of Satan’s jokes, and a captive of Satan. God is not to be believed in by man, but loved by him, and pursued and worshiped by him. If you do not pursue today, then the day will come when you say, “If only I had followed God properly, and satisfied Him properly. If only I had pursued changes in my life disposition. How I regret not being able to submit to God at the time, and not pursuing the knowledge of God’s word. God said so much back then; how could I not have pursued? I was so stupid!” You will hate yourself to a certain point. Today, you do not believe the words I say, and you pay no attention to them; when the day comes for this work to spread, and you see the entirety of it, you will regret, and at that time you will be dumbfounded. There are blessings, yet you do not know to enjoy them, and there is the truth, yet you do not pursue it. Do you not bring contempt upon yourself? Today, although the next step of God’s work has yet to begin, there is nothing exceptional about the demands that are made of you and what you are asked to live out. There is so much work, and so many truths; are they not worthy of being known by you? Is God’s chastisement and judgment incapable of awakening your spirit? Is God’s chastisement and judgment incapable of making you hate yourself? Are you content to live under the influence of Satan, with peace and joy, and a little fleshly comfort? Are you not the lowliest of all people? None are more foolish than those who have beheld salvation but do not pursue to gain it: They are people who gorge themselves on the flesh and enjoy Satan. You hope that your faith in God will not entail any challenges or tribulations, or the slightest hardship. You always pursue those things that are worthless, and you attach no value to life, instead putting your own extravagant thoughts before the truth. You are so worthless! You live like a pig—what difference is there between you, and pigs and dogs? Are those who do not pursue the truth, and instead love the flesh, not all beasts? Are those dead ones without spirits not all the walking corpses? How many words have been spoken among you? Has only a little work been done among you? How much have I provided among you? And so why have you not gained it? What do you have to complain of? Is it not the case that you have gained nothing because you are too in love with the flesh? And is it not because your thoughts are too extravagant? Is it not because you are too stupid? If you are incapable of gaining these blessings, can you blame God for not saving you? What you pursue is to be able to gain peace after believing in God—for your children to be free from illness, for your husband to have a good job, for your son to find a good wife, for your daughter to find a decent husband, for your oxen and horses to plough the land well, for a year of good weather for your crops. This is what you seek. Your pursuit is only to live in comfort, for no accidents to befall your family, for the winds to pass you by, for your face to be untouched by grit, for your family’s crops to not be flooded, for you to be unaffected by any disaster, to live in God’s embrace, to live in a cozy nest. A coward such as you, who always pursues the flesh—do you have a heart, do you have a spirit? Are you not a beast? I give you the true way without asking for anything in return, yet you do not pursue. Are you one of those who believe in God? I bestow the real human life upon you, yet you do not pursue. Aren’t you no different from a pig or a dog? Pigs do not pursue the life of man, they do not pursue being cleansed, and they do not understand what life is. Each day, after eating their fill, they simply sleep. I have given you the true way, yet you have not gained it: You are empty-handed. Are you willing to continue in this life, the life of a pig? What is the significance of such people being alive? Your life is contemptible and ignoble, you live amid filth and licentiousness, and you do not pursue any goals; is your life not the most ignoble of all? Do you have the gall to look upon God? If you continue to experience in this way, will you not acquire nothing? The true way has been given to you, but whether or not you can ultimately gain it depends on your own personal pursuit. People say that God is a righteous God, and that as long as man follows Him to the very end, He will surely be impartial toward man, for He is most righteous. If man follows Him to the very end, could He cast aside man? I am impartial toward all men, and judge all men with My righteous disposition, yet there are suitable conditions to the requirements I make of man, and that which I require must be accomplished by all men, regardless of who they are. I care not how extensive or venerable are your qualifications; I care only whether you walk in My way, and whether or not you love and thirst for the truth. If you lack the truth, and instead bring shame upon My name, and do not act according to My way, merely following without care or concern, then at that time I will strike you down and punish you for your evil, and what will you have to say then? Will you be able to say that God is not righteous? Today, if you have complied with the words I have spoken, then you are the kind of person whom I approve. You say you have always suffered whilst following God, that you have followed Him through thick and thin, and have shared with Him the good times and the bad, but you have not lived out the words spoken by God; you wish only to run about after God each day, and have never thought to live out a life of meaning. You say that, in any case, you believe God is righteous: You have suffered for Him, run around for Him, and devoted yourself for Him, and you have worked hard despite not receiving any recognition; He is sure to remember you. It is true that God is righteous, yet this righteousness is untainted by any impurities: It contains no human will, and it is not tainted by the flesh, or human transactions. All who are rebellious and in opposition, and not in compliance with His way, will be punished; none is forgiven, and no one is spared! Some people say, “Today I run around for You; when the end comes, can You give me a little blessing?” So I ask you, “Have you complied with My words?” The righteousness that you speak of is based on a transaction. You think only that I am righteous, and impartial toward all men, and that all those who follow Me to the very end are sure to be saved and gain My blessings. There is inner meaning to My words that “all those who follow Me to the very end are sure to be saved”: Those who follow Me to the very end are the ones who will be fully gained by Me, they are those who, after being conquered by Me, seek the truth and are made perfect. What conditions have you achieved? You have only achieved following Me to the very end, but what else? Have you complied with My words? You have accomplished one of My five requirements, yet you have no intention of accomplishing the remaining four. You have simply found the simplest, easiest path, and pursued it whilst thinking yourself fortunate. Toward such a person as you My righteous disposition is one of chastisement and judgment, it is one of righteous retribution, and it is the righteous punishment of all evildoers; all those who do not walk in My way will surely be punished, even if they follow to the very end. This is the righteousness of God. When this righteous disposition is expressed in the punishment of man, man will be dumbfounded, and regret that, whilst following God, he did not walk in His way. At that time, he only suffered a little whilst following God, but did not walk in the way of God. What excuses are there? There is no option but to be chastised! Yet in his mind he is thinking, “Anyway, I have followed to the very end, so even if You chastise me, it can’t be too severe a chastisement, and after exacting this chastisement You will still want me. I know You are righteous, and will not treat me that way forever. After all, I’m not like those who will be wiped out; those who are wiped out will receive a heavy chastisement, whereas my chastisement will be lighter.” God’s righteous disposition is not as you say. It is not the case that those who are good at confessing their sins are dealt with leniently. Righteousness is holiness, and is a disposition that is intolerant of offense by man, and all that is filthy and has not changed is the target of God’s disgust. God’s righteous disposition is not law, but administrative decree: It is administrative decree within the kingdom, and this administrative decree is the righteous punishment of anyone who does not possess the truth and has not changed, and there is no margin for salvation. For when each man is classified according to kind, the good will be rewarded and the evil will be punished. It is when the destination of man will be made clear, it is the time that the work of salvation will come to an end, the work of saving man will no longer be done, and retribution will be brought upon every one of those who commit evil. Some people say, “God remembers every one of those who are often by His side. I am one of those brothers and sisters, and God could not forget any one of us. We are guaranteed to be made perfect by God. He will not remember any of those who are below us, those among them who will be made perfect are guaranteed to be less than us, who often encounter God; among us none have been forgotten by God, we have all been approved by God, and are guaranteed to be made perfect by God.” You all have such conceptions; is this righteousness? Have you put the truth into practice or not? You actually spread rumors such as these—you have no shame!
Today, some people pursue being used by God, but after being conquered they cannot be used directly. As for the words spoken today, if, when God uses people, you are still unable to accomplish them, then you have not been made perfect. In other words, the arrival of the end of the period when man is made perfect will determine whether man will be eliminated or used by God. Those who have been conquered are nothing more than examples of passiveness and negativity; they are specimens and models, but they are nothing more than a counterpoint. Only when man has life, his disposition has changed, and he has achieved changes inside and out will he have been fully made complete. Today, which do you want, to be conquered, or to be made perfect? Which do you wish to achieve? How many of the conditions for being made perfect have you fulfilled? Which have you not fulfilled? How should you equip yourself, and how should you make up for your deficiencies? How should you enter onto the path to being made perfect? How should you completely submit? You ask to be made perfect, so do you pursue holiness? Do you pursue chastisement and judgment so that you may be protected by God? You pursue being cleansed, so are you willing to accept chastisement and judgment? You ask to know God, but do you have a knowledge of His chastisement and judgment? Today, most of the work He does on you is chastisement and judgment; what is your knowledge of this work, which has been carried out upon you? Has the chastisement and judgment that you have experienced cleansed you? Has it changed you? Has it had any effect on you? Are you weary of so much work of today—curses, judgments, and disclosures—or do you feel that they are of great benefit to you? You love God, but because of what do you love Him? Do you love God because you have only received a little grace, or do you love God after having gained peace and joy? Or do you love God after being cleansed by His chastisement and judgment? What exactly makes you love God? Which conditions did Peter fulfill in order to be made perfect? After he was made perfect, what was the crucial way in which it was expressed? Did he love the Lord Jesus because he longed for Him, or because he couldn’t see Him, or because he had been reproached? Or did he love the Lord Jesus even more because he had accepted the suffering of tribulations, and had come to know his own filth and disobedience, and had come to know the holiness of the Lord? Did his love of God become purer because of God’s chastisement and judgment, or because of something else? Which is it? You love God because of God’s grace, and because today He has given you some slight blessing. Is this true love? How should you love God? Should you accept His chastisement and judgment, and, after beholding His righteous disposition, be able to truly love Him, such that you are utterly convinced, and have a knowledge of Him? Like Peter, can you say that you cannot love God enough? Is what you pursue to be conquered after chastisement and judgment, or to be cleansed, protected and cared for after chastisement and judgment? Which of these do you pursue? Is your life a meaningful one, or is it pointless and without value? Do you want the flesh, or do you want the truth? Do you wish for judgment, or comfort? Having experienced so much of God’s work, and having beheld the holiness and righteousness of God, how should you pursue? How should you walk this path? How should you put your love of God into practice? Has God’s chastisement and judgment achieved any effect in you? Whether or not you have a knowledge of God’s chastisement and judgment depends on what you live out, and to what extent you love God! Your lips say you love God, yet what you live out is the old, corrupt disposition; you have no fear of God, much less do you have a conscience. Do such people love God? Are such people loyal to God? Are they those who accept God’s chastisement and judgment? You say you love God and believe in Him, yet you do not let go of your conceptions. In your work, entry, the words you speak, and in your life, there is no manifestation of your love of God, and there is no reverence for God. Is this someone who has gained chastisement and judgment? Could someone such as this be Peter? Do those who are like Peter only have the knowledge, but not the living out? Today, what is the condition that requires man to live out a real life? Were Peter’s prayers nothing more than words that came out of his mouth? Were they not the words from deep within his heart? Did Peter only pray, and not put the truth into practice? For whose sake is your pursuit? How should you have yourself protected and cleansed during God’s chastisement and judgment? Is God’s chastisement and judgment of no benefit to man? Is all judgment punishment? Could it be that only peace and joy, only material blessings and momentary comfort, are beneficial to the life of man? If man lives in a pleasant and comfortable environment, without a life of judgment, could he be cleansed? If man wishes to change and be cleansed, how should he accept being made perfect? Which path should you choose today?
a. The original text reads “it.”