4. The Four Stages of Life Experience for Being Saved and Perfected
God’s work of judgment and chastisement in the last days began with conquering “service-doers.” First, God used words of judgment and revelation to try service-doers. Only after all of God’s chosen people completely entered into experiencing the trial of service-doers did God officially begin His work of judgment and chastisement in the last days. Therefore, the life experiences of God’s chosen people began in the stage of doing service. Only after they experienced the trial of service-doers were they qualified to become people of the kingdom and they began entering the second stage of life experience—the stage of fulfilling duties. What is the significance of experiencing the trial of service-doers? Those who have experienced it all know that there is profound significance in this: Only by experiencing the trial of service-doers can one enter onto the right track of believing in God. Because people are so deeply corrupt, no matter what they do, they harbor their intentions, and their belief in God is no exception. People all believe in God to obtain blessings and to escape catastrophes and death. No one believes in God to pursue truth and attain salvation. If people believed in God according to their notions, then they would not be able to enter onto the right track of believing in God. They wouldn’t be able to be saved, but instead would be eliminated. After experiencing the trial of service-doers, hearts that were desirous of good fortune and blessings were pierced by the sharp sword of God’s word. It was very painful and people suffered great refinement, but their extravagant desires subsequently faded away and their desire to obtain blessings was shattered. They would do service for God willingly, and they totally gave up on their past pursuit of “entering the kingdom, obtaining eternal life, and wielding power.” Their enthusiasm for obtaining blessings waned, and they had no choice but to bow their heads and accept their fate, saying: “Who made us children of the great red dragon?” The trial of service doers indeed resolved people’s desire to believe in God in order to obtain blessings. It also caused people to clearly see their own status and substance as children of the great red dragon and their pitiful state after being corrupted by Satan. Only then did they know that they were unworthy of blessings and enjoying God’s grace. After God’s chosen people were completely conquered, ashamed and defeated, and suffered the pain of refinement, God spoke, changing the status of the service-doers to be people of the kingdom. At that time, they all shed excited tears, unable to express their remorse. Their status of being the people of the kingdom made them feel humiliated and ashamed. Their attitudes toward believing in God improved greatly after this, and only then did they begin to get onto the right track of believing in God and formally accept God’s work of judgment and chastisement. This transition at the beginning is highly significant and is truly something that those experiencing it can never forget! While experiencing the trial of service-doers, people all raised their heads and looked to heaven with tears in their eyes and inexpressible suffering in their hearts. It was truly painful, but now they remember it as an incomparable sweetness. This trial brought about a major transformation in them, which has benefited them greatly. Experiencing the trial of service-doers is really a fortunate and blessed event! God’s work of conquering and saving people in the last days is extremely significant, and each stage tries, refines, reveals, and transforms people. The work is solely for the purpose of saving and perfecting people.
Those who experience God’s work of judgment and chastisement in the last days are completely able to attain salvation and be perfected. If we look at the stages of mankind’s life experience for being saved and perfected, it can be reasonably divided into four stages. The first stage is the stage of doing service, the second stage is the stage of fulfilling duties, the third stage is the stage of submitting to God, and the fourth stage is the stage of bearing witness to God. The first and the second stage of life experience require around three years individually, the third stage—the stage of submitting to God—requires around five years, and the fourth stage, the stage of bearing witness to God requires around seven years. Of course, this is referring to people who pursue the truth more ardently than others. If God gives special trials and refinement in a special context and environment, then that would be a different matter, and it would break the normal time frame rule of life experiences. It is impossible for people to fathom God’s work. The inner meaning of life experience refers to the transformation process of people’s life disposition while experiencing God’s work. Only those who diligently pursue the truth are able to attain this kind of outcome. Just like the wheat and the tares growing together on the same plot of ground: When the wheat begins to grow ears the tares are still tares and will be weeded out. Believers who are not fond of the truth are just like the tares: They have no life experiences. They can’t move past the stage of doing service, and in the end, the majority of them will be weeded out. Ultimately, only the loyal service-doers are able to serve to the end and survive. Those who are fond of the truth and who pursue the truth have long entered the second and third stages of life experience. Among those who enter into life experiences, only those honest ones who have a sense of justice, those who truly love God and do their utmost to pursue the truth will eventually be able to enter the fourth stage—the stage of bearing witness to God. This is the highest realm of life experience and is the stage of being perfected by God. Only those who enter and finish the stage of bearing witness to God are completely perfected, suitable for God’s use, and are entirely worthy of being witnesses of Christ. Of course, they can be regarded as ones who know God, truly love God, have been obtained by God, truly submit to God, are loyal to God, and are God’s elite troops who are in tune with Christ. They are people who are intimate with God and of the same heart and mind as God. There are some perfected people who are like Peter, but the majority of them are honest people who truly love God and are of ordinary caliber. Regardless of which stage in life experience people who pursue the truth to be saved are in, they must all work diligently and pay the price in order to enter it. Without price, the outcome cannot be achieved. This is in full compliance with the principle of fair competition, which proves that God treats everyone with righteousness and that God does not favor people.
Below I will fellowship about the specific states for entering each stage of life experience.
1. The first stage of life experience—the stage of doing service
The stage of doing service is primarily the period when people first begin believing in God. These people only do service to obtain blessings, and rely on their enthusiasm to get things done. They are basically unaware of their responsibility as a created being to fulfill their duties, and are full of natural corruptions. They don’t understand the true significance of believing in God to the slightest degree, and their conduct is driven by their corrupt intentions, which in substance is an act of rebelliousness and resistance against God and cannot be accepted by God at all. This is all determined by the fact that they believe in and do service to God only to obtain blessings. Because mankind is so corrupt, they only know how to live for themselves. Anything that is to their own advantage is acceptable and as long as blessings are obtained, it is OK to them. Their hearts have no desire to worship God, no one seeks the answers to why they live and how they can live a meaningful life, they don’t have any purpose in life, their hearts are full of corruptions, and all their thoughts are totally evil. Therefore, they believe in God and do service to obtain blessings, to stand out from the pack, and to satisfy their own selfish desires. They do service for God’s family against their will in exchange for attaining the blessings of escaping catastrophes and death. This is the basic state of people who are just beginning their faith in God. Everyone is more or less the same in this regard and there is no big difference between them, although some people are more enthusiastic and sincere in their faith than others when they first begin to believe in God. Because the corrupt dispositions of those who have not been conquered by God’s words haven’t been broken down or eliminated, they hold onto deeply rooted notions of believing in God to obtain blessings and to survive catastrophes. So their efforts for God’s house are just a kind of transaction: They want to pay a small price to gain great blessings or they give a lot but only in exchange for honor and prestige. This intention to obtain blessings originates from people’s nature and is something from Satan that is deep-rooted. Without experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement, without much pruning and dealing, without suffering the refinement of several large trials (such as the trial of service-doers, the trial of the times of chastisement, and the trial of death), people will have a hard time changing their desire for blessings and their inclination toward making deals. These large trials are very beneficial for people. The transformation of people’s corrupt dispositions starts from changing their desire for blessings and inclination toward making deals, and of course they must rely on pursuing the truth and cooperating in the working of the Holy Spirit in order to attain this transformation. People’s corrupt nature of resisting God is just like a stubborn fortress: Without God’s stringent words blasting it, this satanic fortress would be very difficult to breach. People’s desires to obtain blessings and inclination toward making deals are the first barrier on the right path of believing in God. Once this most difficult barrier is broken, people’s faith in God will undergo a great change. This takes place after people completely experience the trial of service-doers, the trial of the times of chastisement, and the trial of death. That’s when their desire for blessings and inclination toward making deals are beginning to collapse. Their viewpoint toward their belief in God will subsequently transform, and as if waking up from a dream, they will suddenly understand that it is the law of heaven and earth that people believe in God, and it is the law of heaven and earth that created mankind worship God and fulfill their duties. As long as people have a conscience and reason, they should fulfill their duties. At this time, people’s state will undergo a greater transformation. From the trial of service-doers to the trial of the times of chastisement to the trial of death—just three short years of experience—people’s desire for blessings and inclination toward making deals will be fundamentally uprooted. Because their views on their belief in God have transformed, their life disposition will have subsequently changed. They will be willing to do their very best, and as long as they are able to satisfy God and comfort His heart, that is enough. They will all detest their much resistance to God in the past, their causing God great sorrow, and their being deeply corrupted by Satan. Now that they have received God’s great salvation, they should reciprocate God’s love. If they are unable to reciprocate God’s love, it shows that they don’t have a conscience or humanity. All this is certainly a beginning to a transformation in one’s life disposition and this transformation brings one’s life experience to the second stage—the stage of fulfilling duties.
The time between the first stage of believing in God (the stage of doing service) and the second stage (the stage of fulfilling duties) takes at least about 3 years, and of course, this is referring to those who pursue the truth. Those who don’t pursue the truth won’t change, no matter how many years they believe for, but will only be able to remain in the stage of doing service. Look at all those who believe in God for many years yet don’t obtain the truth: They have experienced all manner of trials, but why don’t they change? It is because they don’t pursue the truth. They are crooked and deceitful people who are not fond of the truth or of positive things. They base their existence on Satan’s crafty and treacherous philosophies, they only pursue philosophies that allow them to take advantage of others without losing anything, they hold on to Satan and won’t let go, thinking they are very clever, but as a result, they forfeit themselves. The intention to always obtain blessings and make deals hidden within people’s hearts is a time bomb, and if they are unable to rely on pursuing the truth to gradually diffuse the bomb, then once it goes off they will be completely destroyed. These people who reveal their true colors at the final critical moment complain and blaspheme against God a lot and give themselves up to vice. They are like devils revealing their true form and should be thoroughly sorted out. Those who pursue the truth accept what God says regardless of what He says and they submit to God no matter what He does. Even though they suffer enormous refinement, after they finish experiencing the trials, they understand many of God’s words and obtain the truth. This brings a gratifying transformation to their life disposition, brings sweetness after the bitterness, and gives them a gratifying step toward believing in God. This makes them happy and also satisfies God. From then on, they are gladly willing to fulfill their duties as created beings, and begin to believe in God justifiably, believing in God for the sake of being saved. They are steadfast in their submission to God’s work, they submit to God’s judgment and chastisement and all manner of trials and refinement. This is truly getting onto the right track of believing in God. Those who only believe in God to obtain blessings but don’t pursue the truth, those who are not willing to fulfill their duties and reciprocate God’s love, those who always have a mentality geared toward making deals while they exert themselves for God’s family, and those who are always of a mind to ask for rewards while they fulfill their duties, they are all stuck in the stage of doing service. Mankind’s corrupt disposition is resolved by pursuing the truth. The corrupt dispositions of those who don’t pursue the truth will never be changed. Merely suffering years of hardship while believing in God will not resolve people’s corrupt dispositions. They must rely on pursuing the truth and submitting to God’s judgment, chastisement, trials, and refinement in order to be able to resolve the issue of their corrupt dispositions. Whenever a person’s viewpoint on belief in God is correct—they are able to willingly fulfill their duties as a created being and won’t seek to make deals with God—then they will have entered into the second stage of life experience—the stage of fulfilling duties. Therefore, those who don’t pursue the truth are service-doers, and if they never pursue the truth, then they are permanent service-doers. In fact, this is how service-doers are produced. Among the service-doers, only the devoted service-doers are able to do service to the end, receive God’s grace and survive. This is the good fortune of a service-doer. Those service-doers who don’t have a conscience or sense, who have no humanity, and who are not fond of the truth, that is, those opportunistic service-doers who stubbornly hold onto the intention to obtain blessings, withdraw midway in their belief in God, because they don’t have any interest in pursuing the truth and feel hopeless about being saved. Even though there are some people who continue doing service to the end, they are still eliminated because their humanity is too bad and they don’t perform enough good deeds. Some people commit all manner of evil, revealing their devilish features of Satan, and thus are forsaken and eliminated. The initial stage of doing service is the most dangerous and revealing period. If people are able to stand and stay with God’s family during the stage of doing service, then they have hope to enter the second stage of life experience—the stage of fulfilling duties.
2. The second stage of life experience—the stage of fulfilling duties
The stage of fulfilling duties takes place after one has been completely conquered by God’s words during the stage of doing service. They have not merely seen that God truly exists, but have also experienced the power of God’s words and that God’s disposition is righteous and majestic and does not tolerate man’s offense. They have seen the utter filthiness of the corrupt mankind and their nature of resisting and betraying God. They have further realized that they are truly unworthy to receive God’s blessings, even to do service, and that since they are created beings they ought to fulfill their duties, and this is the law of heaven and earth and their bounden duty. At this time, people will have an awakening in their consciences and know how to be human. From this time on, their faith in God will begin to improve. They will no longer live just to obtain blessings or to escape catastrophes and ruin, but will live to obtain truth and salvation and to live out a meaningful life. In this way, people’s belief in God will get on the right track, as God requires, and they will begin to truly be willing to fulfill their duties as created beings. They will pursue the truth for the sake of being saved, they will believe in God for the sake of being saved and living out a real life. Then they will have entered into the second stage of life experience—the stage of fulfilling duties.
The main state for those who enter the second stage of life experience—the stage of fulfilling duties—is that they have fundamentally resolved their desire to obtain blessings. They no longer try to make deals with God in order to obtain blessings and no longer do service in order to obtain blessings. Instead, they are now willing to fulfill their duties to satisfy God and reciprocate God’s love and are willing to fulfill their duties as created beings. They know that this is the kind of conscience and sense that a person should have, and if they believe in God but don’t fulfill their duties they are unworthy to be called a human and are unworthy to enjoy God’s salvation and grace. If believers attain this state, then they will have truly entered the second stage of life experience—the stage of fulfilling duties. If believers don’t have this understanding and still do service to obtain blessings, and still stubbornly hold onto their desires to obtain blessings even to the point that they won’t continue their faith in God and will leave God if they are unable to obtain blessings, then they will still remain in the stage of doing service. Those believers who enter the second stage of life experience are completely able to see the hope of being saved, because they know what it means to believe in God, they know how people can live a meaningful life, they see how God saves mankind, and they are able to clearly sense what transformations they have undergone, what they need to pursue and how they ought to be human. They begin to have goals to pursue regarding their faith in God, as if they have suddenly understood what true faith is, what the significance is in pursuing the truth. They know that they are on the right path and see clearly how they ought to pursue the truth to completely obtain God’s salvation. From then on, they no longer seek high and low or fumble around for their faith in God, but rather they truly see the luminous path of life and they begin to be steadfast when experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement as well as His trials and refinement. They pursue a transformation of their life disposition and pursue being perfected by God. This is the mark of entering the right track of believing in God.
On one hand, those who enter the second stage of life experience begin to rely on their conscience and sense to do things and are basically able to fulfill their duties with a clear conscience. This is because they understand some fundamental truths about faith in God, they have much fewer impurities in their belief in God, they are somewhat less perfunctory in fulfilling their duties, and their conscience and sense that are included in normal humanity have been awakened and restored. On the other hand, even though they don’t have obvious intentions to make demands of God, they still become negative and weak when they encounter setbacks or failure, even to the point of complaining when they are pruned and dealt with, and when a major trial befalls them, they are still capable of betraying God. After all, their understanding of the truth is limited and their life experiences are shallow. They have not yet obtained the level of gaining the truth and the transformation in their disposition. So, they frequently expose their corrupt disposition and they manifest rebelliousness, resistance, and judgment. When some special matters befall them, they will still have notions and do things that resist and betray God. Because of this, those who enter the second stage of life experience are still small of stature and have shallow experiences. They are not truly devoted to God and still don’t truly submit to Him. They don’t truly understand God and their understanding of the truth is inadequate. Their stature is far too small, they are too perfunctory in fulfilling their duties, and they are still capable of deceiving God. Those who enter the second stage of life experience—the stage of fulfilling duties—begin to enter into the actual experience of God’s words and they pay attention to applying the words of God they eat and drink to their own corrupt situations. They gradually gain a true understanding of the substance of their nature and the true state of their corruption. Only then have they fully entered God’s work and salvation. During the process of their fulfilling their duties, they see that they do things too perfunctorily and they haven’t had any devotion to God. They understand that they have been too rebellious and resistant and that they haven’t revered God. They see that they have been totally lacking the truth and have been full of notions and imaginings. They understand that they have been too deeply corrupted and that they have been unable to put the truth into practice and truly submit to God. They see that they have had no likeness of a human being, because they have been revealing so much corruption, and they see that they have been completely filthy devils. While fulfilling their duties they have seen that it is not easy for God to save mankind, and without pursuing the truth and cooperating with the working of the Holy Spirit there would be no way for them to be saved. These outcomes are all obtained through fulfilling duties. Having these true insights and understanding is sufficient to prove that they have entered into the actual experience of God’s words and have begun to understand some of them. People with this true experience—purely the experience of being saved—are ones who have begun to enter into the reality of God’s words. They already clearly see the path to being saved through faith in God, they understand the true significance of God’s work and are able to sense that corrupt mankind is only able to be saved by experiencing God’s work. If God had not taken on human flesh, and performed the work of judging and chastising mankind, then mankind would have been destroyed long ago. Therefore, they can do their utmost to pursue the truth; in order to completely obtain God’s salvation, they completely offer themselves to God and are able to submit to God’s orchestration, and they realize that submitting to God will never be wrong. This shows that they have entered the third stage of life experience—the stage of submitting to God. After entering the right track of believing in God, they have a true understanding of their corrupt substance and nature. They see that God’s work is solely for the purpose of saving and perfecting mankind, and they have true goals in life. From then on, they completely offer themselves to God and are gladly willing to expend themselves for God. In this way, they will begin entering into the third stage of life experience. If they attain an understanding of their corrupt satanic substance in the second stage of life experience, truly understand the degree of their corruption, and have the objectives of their pursuit, then truly throwing off corruption, attaining a transformation, and submitting occurs in the third stage of life experience—it begins after truly offering themselves.
3. The third stage of life experience—the stage of submitting to God, or in other words, the stage of truly offering
The basic state for the stage of submitting to God is that people have a true understanding of God’s work and they see the true significance in God saving people, and so they are able to be gladly willing to offer themselves and expend themselves for God. Because they have some true understanding of God, they love God in their hearts and desire to satisfy God. Even though they still express some corruption, rebelliousness and resistance while fulfilling their duties, they are remorseful about it after it happens. They despise their flesh, and they begin to have faith in pursuing the truth, feeling that it is entirely possible to obtain the truth and be perfected by God. Therefore, while serving God they are willing to pursue an understanding of more truths and are willing to attain the ability to satisfy God in all things and do their utmost to meet God’s requirements. Even though in fulfilling their duty they sometimes do it perfunctorily or by their own will, and sometimes act recklessly, they are able to seek the truth, learn to grasp God’s will, and work hard to satisfy God. This is all an indication that they are making better progress. When people begin to formally offer themselves completely to God, are happy and willing to expend themselves for God, and begin to pursue being perfected by God, then they have entered the third stage of life experience—the stage of submitting to God. This is also the stage of truly offering, investing their whole heart and soul into God’s work to accept the salvation and perfection by God. The 5 years of experiencing the stage of submitting to God begins with being able to gladly and willingly fulfill one’s duties and being willing to accept all of God’s judgment and chastisement, as well as His trials and refinement. They will finally attain true submission to God and be able to accept God’s arrangements without complaining. These are the outcomes of experiencing the stage of submitting to God for 5 years. If someone was able to do their utmost to pursue the truth while experiencing the stage of submitting to God, then during these 5 years of experience, they would be able to become a person who truly submits to God. If they were unable to pursue the truth, and continued to only be able to submit to God in some things, then they would not be able to become a person who truly submits to God.
Those who are in the life experience stage of submitting to God all truly offer themselves to God, and are all willing to cooperate with the working of the Holy Spirit and be perfected by God. Even though they don’t try to make deals with God while fulfilling their duties, and don’t intend to make demands, they still reveal many human impurities and corruptions. For example, when they achieve good results in their work they can still be arrogant and conceited and show themselves off. When they run into setbacks and failures they might become negative. When they are pruned and dealt with, they might become weak and even complain. With regard to things they are unable to see through clearly, they might still formulate notions and pass judgments and they frequently manifest rebelliousness and resistance. But because they have the will and resolve to offer themselves to God, even though they are rebellious and resistant, they do not betray God or leave His family. So those who are in the stage of submitting to God all have a solid foundation and the right visions for their faith in God. If they are able to continue to go deeper into truth and are willing to pay any price, then they will certainly be perfected by God. Even though their belief in God is well-founded, they haven’t reached the stage of being perfected by God and internally they still lack a lot. For example, they are unable to attain absolute submission to the orchestrations and arrangements of God, they are unable to truly consider God’s will while serving Him, they still have their own thoughts adulterated in their work, and sometimes they follow their emotions and preferences when doing things. They may still make wrong choices and they may still be very rebellious and resistant in their service. Sometimes they choose not to take responsibility and slack off, or are negative about the work of God’s family. Sometimes they let themselves be controlled by emotions and thus delay the work of God’s family, and sometimes they even work perfunctorily and deceive God. While fulfilling their duties, they may also let themselves be influenced by their emotions and preferences, and be inconsiderate of God’s intentions even to the point that they are unable to put the truth into practice. They are unable to completely submit to God, and don’t truly love God. Sometimes they need people to push and compel them to do the work. If it weren’t for the guidance provided by the above, they would still walk the wrong paths and wouldn’t return. This is sufficient to prove that those who are not perfected cannot be fit for God to use, let alone take the helm and steer the ship.
Those who are in the life experience stage of submitting to God simply pursue the truth more and are more established in their belief in God. They are still a long way away from being perfected. They merely have an understanding of their corrupt disposition, but it has not yet been fully resolved. People who are in this stage of life experience are still unable to be used by God, let alone keep God from worry, and their service to God is still in a stage of practicing, training, and drilling. Even though they are able to provide some life experience testimonies while serving, and are able to communicate some of their understanding of the truth, their understanding of the substance of all aspects of the truth is still inferior and they can’t communicate it clearly. They still have small stature and are unable to perform substantive work in their service to God. If they continue to pursue, then after a few years of experience, they will enter the fourth stage of life experience—the stage of bearing witness to God, and only then will they be able to be preliminarily suitable for God’s use. It can be seen that those who are in the stage of submitting to God have begun to pursue being perfected by God, but have not formally experienced being perfected. As long as those who serve God do their utmost to pursue the truth and pay more price, and as long as they are able and willing to suffer all pain and submit to all the work of God, then they will certainly be perfected by God and will be completely usable by God.
Even though those who are in the life experience stage of submitting to God are not rebellious or resistant on the outside, and the shortcomings in their humanity are not apparent, they still have rebelliousness and resistance deep in their heart, as well as many other things that are not in conformance with God. These things include arrogance and self-rightness, speaking bombastically, showing oneself off, being highly opinionated, making improper judgments, and even acting recklessly. When the Spirit works on them, they become arrogant and conceited and won’t submit, but rather they dare pass judgments on anyone and then develop extravagant desires. They desire to be on an equal footing with God, even to the point that they think they are beyond the reach of the above and like to proclaim themselves to be in charge and have no regard for anyone else. These are the states of all those who are in the stage of submitting to God, to a greater or lesser extent. If God hadn’t personally judged and chastised them, and if there were no working of the Holy Spirit or special discipline, then there would be no chance for them to change. So if those who serve God have the will and resolve to pursue being perfected by God, they must completely deliver themselves into God’s hands, accept more serious judgment and chastisement as well as more serious trials and refinement, and they must suffer more trials, disciplines, prunings and dealings in order to remove the deeper rebelliousness and resistance in their hearts. If we say that receiving the judgment and chastisement of God’s words and undergoing trials during the initial stage of believing in God is like a minor surgical operation, then the judgment, chastisement, and trials that one suffers in the third and fourth stages of life experience are like a major operation, an operation of complete transformation. Therefore, the pain is greater for those who are in the third and fourth stages of life experience, and unless they have the will and resolve to suffer these hardships for the sake of obtaining the truth, then they won’t get through them. Those who are lazy and cowardly are unable to obtain such working of the Holy Spirit. Those who are in the third stage of life experience also face an important decision, which is whether to take the path of Peter or the path of Paul. This is an unavoidable decision. If they are able to do some work but then become arrogant and conceited, non-submissive, complacent, and self-satisfied, then they are still in danger of being eliminated. If there are people who dare violate the work arrangements of the above and do things their own way, then they are antichrists and will inevitably be punished. Having status is certainly a big test for corrupt people. If their humanity is not good, and they don’t have the will and resolve to suffer hardships for the sake of obtaining the truth, then their progression will halt and they will fall and be corrupted because they indulge in the pleasure of status. This is the law of life experience: You either progress or you fall behind. Only those who are perfected have a stable disposition and are reliable. People who have not yet been perfected are all in certain danger. That is what it means to say “The ninety miles is only half of a hundred miles journey.” The five-year process of the stage of submitting to God is also difficult. If people do not strive to pursue the truth, then they will be in danger of elimination and punishment. It is when they attain the ability to submit to God and follow Him regardless of what He does, not complaining or rebelling, but submitting to God’s orchestration, being devoted to the end, and revering God, that they will enter into the fourth stage of life experience—the stage of bearing witness to God.
4. The fourth stage of life experience—the stage of bearing witness to God
The basic characteristics of the life experience stage of bearing witness to God are: After experiencing many years of God’s judgment and chastisement as well as pruning and dealings, they have a clear transformation of their corrupt disposition, a more practical understanding of God, and a real entering into all aspects of the truth as required by God. While serving God, they are able to understand God’s will, cooperate with the working of the Holy Spirit, care for God’s intentions, and revere God. In their service they can basically provide for and lead people, and they are able to resolve people’s corruptions by the truth. They are able to know how to act in accordance with God’s intentions in all things, and are able to submit to God through prayer, accept God’s observation, and seek God and wait upon Him in matters they don’t see through clearly. They are beginning to learn how to exalt God and bear witness to Him. They no longer act recklessly or willfully. They are able to submit to God and seek even when they don’t understand His actions, without notions, judgments, or resistance. They are more mature and experienced in work and in service, they seldom cause delay, and don’t turn negative or complain when encountering setbacks. They are basically suitable for God to use even though there is some corruption remaining. This is the basic state of people who are in the fourth stage of life experience—the stage of bearing witness to God.
Those who are in the fourth stage of life experience—the stage of bearing witness to God begin to completely enter all aspects of the truth and are able to frequently ponder the will of God and how to put the truth into practice. Since they have some true understanding of God, they are able to look up to God and submit to God in all their trials, not complaining or betraying God, but submitting to God’s orchestrations. They are able to submit and let go of their own preferences without rebelling or resisting, no matter what God’s arrangements are or how He treats them. When they are undergoing hardships or tribulations they don’t have their own requirements, and they are content with only being able to satisfy God. The material world, position, fame, wealth and all other worldly things do not hold a place in their hearts, and will no longer occupy them. However, they cannot leave God nor His words, and being without God’s words would be like losing life itself: They would have no interest in life and would rather die. They have no interest in wicked people, and even detest them, as well as anyone who does not have the truth, but they still have the patience to deal with such people. They only have a good impression of, and are willing to have long-term associations with, those who love the truth and have a sense of justice. They are able to give their all and do their utmost to play their role while serving God. They give their best at what they are able to do, and they are not restricted by anyone, anything, or any object. They are indifferent toward personal fame and profit, and they are content with doing their best to fulfill their duties to satisfy God. They know in their hearts why they were created, and that if they didn’t do their best to fulfill their duties, then their lives would be in vain. They are able to endure bitter circumstances for the sake of fulfilling their duties well, and while there is a breath left in them they will always fulfill their duties. As long as they are alive, they will believe in God, pursue the truth, and strive to fulfill their duties. This is the most important thing in life for them. All the duties fulfilled by those who are perfected are witnesses of God’s words, they are what people need, they are fully able to provide for the people, and lead them to experience God’s work.
Those who are in the fourth stage of life experience still have some remaining corruption, and when extraordinary trials befall them some of that corruption will be revealed. Of course, they still have many more trials to experience and they must continue to be cleansed and cured. Each trial brings a different harvest for them, and they are all capable of transforming some of their corruption. Moreover, they are able to understand that each trial is a blessing from God, within each trial is a “gift” that God sends them, and that they will continue until everything that is not in conformance with God becomes clean. Therefore, the more trials people undergo, the more truths they will obtain and the more abundant their lives will be. Ultimately, they will attain great abundance. It can be said that hundreds of trials have to be borne in the life experience stage of bearing witness to God, because people’s corrupt natures have deep roots. They can’t be resolved after only a few years of experience and a few great trials. No one can extricate themselves from the trials set by God. They simply need to keep striving for the truth, praying often to seek enlightenment and illumination, better understanding their own corruption and deficiencies, reading and pondering God’s words more, and striving their best to serve and satisfy God. This level of cooperation is acceptable. One should believe everything is in God’s hands and that God rules over everything forever. With this true faith they will be able to endure to the end and be perfected. The lesson of understanding God is endless, and the transformation of one’s disposition is also endless. The more people understand the truth, the more they realize how much they lack, so the pursuit of the truth is also endless. People who pursue the truth have joy and happiness in their pursuit of the truth and never get bored of it, because the more they pursue the truth, the more they understand God and the brighter and clearer their hearts become. This feels especially enriching and enjoyable.
After experiencing God’s work of perfection while in the life experience stage of bearing witness to God, people will have had a fundamental understanding of God’s words and work, and their point of view will have changed drastically. They will have clearly seen that all of corrupt mankind live in evil and ridiculousness, that they have no light, and that they are unable to extricate themselves from it. They will be able to see God’s marvelous works among all of His creations in the heavens and on the earth, and they will see the significance of all God’s creations and the wisdom and omnipotence of God behind them. Therefore, they will be able to clearly see through the world, through mankind, and through life. They will be able to obtain a substantive understanding of Satan, evil spirits’ work, Satan’s schemes, as well as of the antichrists and wicked people of all varieties. Moreover, they will be able to reach the point that they will no longer be deceived by Satan or enticed and taken advantage of by devils and wicked people. And they will be able to differentiate between the positive and the negative. All these are attained as a result of their true knowledge of God’s words. Therefore, they are able to use the truth to resolve all types of difficulties and issues, are completely able to lead people into the reality of the words of God. It can be said that they have become usable by God, and they are completely competent as leaders in God’s family. Therefore, only those who have been perfected are usable by God, and only those who have truly obtained the truth are usable by God. If those who serve God have obtained the truth, and are able to use the truth to resolve issues and to lead people, then they are truly in the stage of serving and bearing witness to God. They are completely able to “steer the ship” in their service to God and in their leadership. God does not have to worry about them, and is able to feel at ease using them. Only this kind of person is considerate of God’s will and is able to share God’s anxiety, pain, His restlessness and His wants. And his service is in accordance with God’s will in all respects. Only this kind of person is God’s confidant, who is in complete conformance with God’s will, and is gained by God.
There are two main types of people who are in the fourth stage of life experience, the stage of bearing witness to God: One type is the Peters, who have good caliber and working capability, and thus are able to be made great use of by God. The other type is those who have average caliber and don’t have strong working capability. Even though they cannot be made great use of by God, they are numbered among those who have transformed their life dispositions, and they all understand God, truly love God, and are loyal to God. These people are at least people of God, and they obtain God’s blessings all the same. Clearly there are different categories of people who are perfected by God: Some people who are perfected are able to be made great use of by God, while others who are perfected by God are only able to be used by God. The majority of those who are perfected are people of God. For instance, in the parable Jesus gave of the “Ten Talents,” the servant who was given 5 talents gained another 5 talents and earned the lord’s reward; the servant who was given 2 talents gained another 2 talents and also earned the lord’s reward; but the “wicked and slothful” servant who was given 1 talent went and buried his silver and was punished by the lord. This shows that God is righteous toward everyone and is not concerned whether or not people have great or lowly caliber. As long as people have the will and resolve to pursue the truth and pursue being perfected, then they are able to be perfected.
The above-mentioned concerns the general states of the four stages of life experience. All the stages of life experience are different from one another. In order to allow people to see the differences in each stage more clearly, the states of each stage can be summarized as follows: The stage of doing service (the first stage of believing in God) is when people believe in God but still hold on to the intention to obtain blessings and make deals with God (inevitably involving hostility and testing), which is unable to be accepted by God at all. Therefore, this is called the stage of doing service. This is also the initial period of following Almighty God. It is a transitional stage of beginning to truly repent and get on the right track of faith in God after experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement. In the stage of fulfilling duties, people let go of their desire to obtain blessings after they understand the truth of believing in God and no longer do service just to obtain blessings or make deals. They are willing to fulfill their duties as created beings and begin to formally walk on the path of being saved through faith in God, which means completely being on the right track of faith in God. Because of these manifestations, God acknowledges the fact that they are fulfilling their duties, and while they are fulfilling their duties they come to understand some fundamental truths about faith in God. They come to truly understand the state of their own corruption, they begin to enter the stage of life experience and gain the first footholds for obtaining salvation. The stage of submitting to God is the stage of truly understanding God’s work of saving and perfecting people, seeing the true human life, beginning to truly offer one’s self to God and expending one’s self for God, beginning to serve God and moving toward receiving salvation and being perfected. It is also the stage of truly experiencing God’s words, beginning to understand all aspects of the truth, having visions of God’s work, entering into the training of the kingdom, and beginning to walk on the path to being perfected. The stage of bearing witness to God is the stage where those who have the will and resolve to pursue the truth, who have the sense of justice and who sincerely love God, walk Peter’s path to perfection, accept all kinds of trials, and have a true transformation of their life disposition. This is also where people begin to experience entering the right track of serving and bearing witness to God, as well as where they begin to completely enter the reality of the truth. These are the true states of the four stages of life experience, and the significant differences among them. God is righteous with everyone, and whether or not people are able to be perfected is determined by how they pursue the truth, how they accept and submit to God’s work, and how much of a price they are willing to pay. God does not give people preferential treatment, and the truth is impartial toward anyone; the more one works, the more one reaps, the less one works, the less one reaps, and if one doesn’t work at all, he won’t reap anything. Those who pursue the truth should know that there is so much significance in obtaining the truth!
The outcomes that God designates for people are completely based on whether or not they have the truth, and so we can see clearly that God’s righteous disposition is righteous toward everyone. As to in which life stage people are while experiencing God’s work, it is determined based on their understanding of the truth, and how they have entered into the truth and to what degree. It is not based on how many years they have believed in God, how many hardships they have endured, or how much they have preached the gospel. Strictly speaking, those who have not obtained the truth have no life experience, and they are stuck in the stage of doing service. Only those who have obtained the truth understand God and have reality. Only those who have obtained the truth are able to achieve good results in their duties and service to God, serving God according to His will, and are able to be used by God. Only those believers who have completely obtained the truth are ones who are successful in their belief in God. Those who ultimately don’t obtain the truth are failures in their belief and are in danger of being eliminated. Some people betray God when they are persecuted and when they face tribulations. They are people who have not obtained the truth. Some people in the church commit all manner of evil and are thus eliminated. They are people who have not obtained the truth. Some people consistently fulfill their duties perfunctorily and always cause disturbance and destruction. They are people who have not obtained the truth. Some people gain an insatiable appetite for status after they have become leaders and act superior to everyone else. They steal offerings, frequently demand things from others, and make people wait upon them. They are people who have not obtained the truth. Some people are arrogant and conceited and do not have a place for God in their hearts. They do their utmost to pursue position, fame and profit. They form cliques, and they disturb and tear down the work of God’s family. They are people who haven’t obtained the truth. These people run amok and commit all manner of evil because they are not fond of the truth and certainly don’t pursue the truth, which results in their faith taking a step in the wrong direction and their subsequent downfall. Their failure is caused purely by them not pursuing the truth. Those who pursue the truth are also corrupted by Satan just the same, and expose their corrupt disposition just the same, but they are able to see continual progress and transformation during their life experiences, so the expression of their corrupt dispositions becomes less and less, they transgress less and less, they have fewer and fewer notions, their work becomes less and less perfunctory, and they become less and less resistant and rebellious. This is the normal state for those who pursue the truth and enter into life experience. If people have believed in God for many years, but their corrupt dispositions still don’t change and their transgressions and wicked behavior continually increase, then this is sufficient to prove that the state of those who don’t pursue the truth steadily becomes worse to the point that the corruption becomes untreatable. When the wheat grows to maturity, all the tares—people who haven’t obtained the truth (those without life)—also grow into unwanted weeds. They conform increasingly less with those who have obtained the truth until they begin to get hostile, which is when they ought to be eliminated. This is natural law. All those who have believed in God for many years without obtaining the truth, who have not had the slightest degree of transformation in their corrupt dispositions but rather show increasingly wicked behavior, are subject to elimination. It’s not that God’s family didn’t give them an opportunity to repent, but rather it is that they had ample opportunity during the many years they believed in God and still brought on their own downfall. All those who do not pursue the truth do so completely due to their satanic nature, it matters not how many opportunities they are given. Even though all people experience being corrupted by Satan, those who are fond of the truth and who pursue the truth are able to receive God’s salvation and be perfected by God. No matter how many years those who are not fond of the truth believe, they are still just as corrupt as before and do not change in the slightest. We can clearly see from the real states of the four stages of life experience that all those who pursue the truth will progress according to the four stages of life experience until they are perfected by God. The four stages of life experience have been summarized and organized based completely on the real states of the majority of those who pursue the truth and are in total compliance with the normal laws of life experience. As long as people pursue the truth, they are in one of the four stages of life experience of being saved and perfected. There is not one exception to this. I hope that all brothers and sisters will be able to compare yourselves against the states of the four stages of life experience and look at yourselves to see which stage you are in. In doing this, you will come to know yourself, and you won’t be satisfied with your current situation, considering that you have already gained the truth, or you won’t give up on yourself and resign yourself to fate because you feel that it is too difficult. Only by clearly seeing the true states of all the stages of life experience can you know which stage you are experiencing, what you still lack, and how you ought to go forward and set new goals to pursue. This will give direction to your experiences and clear goals to pursue so that you can smoothly enter into the higher realm of life experience and ultimately be perfected by God and obtain God’s complete salvation. This is the purpose for me writing this passage.
February 21, 2006