What does it mean to be perfected? What does it mean to be conquered? What criteria must one meet in order to be conquered? And what criteria must one meet in order to be perfected? Conquering and perfecting are both for the purpose of working man so he can return to his original likeness and be free of his corrupt satanic disposition and Satan’s influence. This conquering comes early in the process of working man, meaning it is the first step of the work. Perfecting is the second step, or the concluding work. Every human being has to go through being conquered; otherwise he would not be able to know God and would not know there is a God, that is, he would not be able to acknowledge God. And if a person does not acknowledge God, it would be impossible for him to be made complete by God because he would not meet the criteria for this completion. If you do not even acknowledge God, how would you be able to know Him? And how would you seek after Him? You would also be unable to bear witness to Him, much less have the faith to satisfy Him. So, for anyone who wants to be made complete, the first step has to be to go through the conquering work. This is the first condition. But be it conquering or perfecting, each is for the goal of working man and changing him, and each is an item in the work of managing man. These two steps are what are required in turning someone into a complete person; neither step can be skipped. It is true that “being conquered” does not sound very nice, but in fact the process of conquering someone is the process of changing him. After being conquered, you may not have gotten rid of your corrupt disposition completely, but you will have known it. Through the conquering work you will have come to know the low humanity of yours and also to know much disobedience of yours. Although you will be unable to discard or to change them within the short period of the conquering work, you will come to know them. This lays the foundation for your perfection. So conquering and perfecting are both done to change man, both done to rid man of his corrupt satanic disposition so he can give himself fully to God. It is just that being conquered is the first step in changing the human disposition and also the first step in man fully giving himself to God, a step that is lower than being perfected. A conquered person’s life disposition changes far less than a perfected person’s. Being conquered and being perfected are conceptually different from each other because they are different phases of work and because they hold people to different standards, with conquest holding them to lower standards and perfection holding them to higher ones. The perfected are righteous people, people made holy and pure; they are crystallizations of the work of managing humanity, or end products. Although they are not blameless humans, they are people who seek to live meaningful lives. But what about the conquered? They only verbally acknowledge that God exists; they acknowledge that God has incarnated Himself, that the Word appears in the flesh, and that God has come to the earth to do the work of judgment and chastisement. They also acknowledge that God’s judgment and chastisement and His smiting and refinement are all beneficial to man. That is, they are just starting to have the human likeness, and they have some understanding of life but are still foggy about it. In other words, they are just starting to possess humanity. These are the results of being conquered. When people step onto the path of perfection, their old disposition can be changed. Further, their lives keep growing and they gradually enter more deeply into the truth. They are able to loathe the world and loathe all those who do not seek after the truth. They especially loathe themselves, but more than that, they clearly know themselves. They are willing to live by the truth and they make it their goal to seek after the truth. They are unwilling to live within the thoughts generated by their own brains, and they feel loathing for man’s self-rightness, haughtiness, and self-conceit. They speak with a strong sense of propriety, handle things with discernment, are possessed of wisdom, and are loyally obedient to God. If they experience an instance of chastisement and judgment, not only do they not become passive or weak, but they are grateful for it. They cannot do without God’s chastisement and judgment; they can receive His protection through it. They do not pursue a faith of peace and joy and of seeking bread to satisfy hunger. Neither do they go after temporary fleshly enjoyments. This is what the perfected have. After people are conquered, they acknowledge that there is a God. But whatever actions come with acknowledging God’s existence, these actions are limited in them. What does the Word appearing in the flesh actually mean? What does incarnation mean? What has God incarnate done? What is the goal and significance of His work? After experiencing so much of His work, experiencing His deeds in the flesh, what have you gained? Only after understanding all these things will you be a conquered person. If you only say “I acknowledge there is a God,” but do not abandon the husband that you should abandon and fail to give up the fleshly enjoyments that you should give up, and instead you keep coveting fleshly comforts as you always do, you are unable to let go of any prejudices against the brothers and sisters, and for many simple practices you are unable to pay your due to fulfill the actions, then that proves you still have not been conquered. In that case, even if you understand a lot, it will all be for nothing. The conquered are people who have achieved some initial changes and initial entry. Experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement causes them to have an initial knowledge of God and an initial understanding of the truth. Even though for many deeper, more granular truths you are unable to completely enter into the reality of them, you are able to put many rudimentary truths into practice in your actual life, such as those involving your fleshly enjoyments or your personal status. All this, of course, is what is achieved in those going through the conquering. Some changes in disposition can also be seen in the conquered. For example, their dress and grooming and their life—these can change. Their perspective on belief in God changes, they gain clarity on the object of their pursuit, and their aspirations rise. In the course of being conquered, their life disposition can also change correspondingly. It is not that they do not change at all. It is just that their change is shallow, initial, and much smaller than the change in disposition and the object of pursuit that would be seen after one is perfected. If in the course of being conquered, a person’s disposition does not change at all and he gains not even a bit of truth, then this kind of person becomes just a piece of waste and is completely useless! People who have not been conquered cannot be perfected! And if a person only seeks to be conquered, he cannot be fully made complete, even if his disposition showed some corresponding changes during the conquering work. He will also lose the initial truths he gained. There is a vast difference between the amount of disposition change in the conquered and the perfected. But being conquered is the first step in change; it is the foundation. Lack of this initial change is proof that a person does not actually know God at all because this knowledge comes from judgment, and this judgment is a main item of the conquering work. So, every perfected person has gone through being conquered. Otherwise, they could not possibly have been perfected.
You say that you acknowledge God incarnate and you acknowledge that the Word appears in the flesh, yet you do some things behind His back, and you do not act the way He wants you to, and do not fear Him. Is this acknowledging God? You acknowledge what He says, but you refuse to put into practice even those things that you are able to and you do not abide by His way. Is this acknowledgment? You acknowledge Him, but your only mindset is to guard against Him, never to revere Him. If you have seen and acknowledged His work and you know that He is God, yet you remain lukewarm and completely unchanged, then you are still an unconquered person. A conquered person has to do everything he can; he wants to enter and reach higher truths even though he is not yet able to. It is only because he is limited in what he can take in that his practices are bounded and limited. But at the very least he has to do everything in his abilities. If you can do these things, it will be because of the conquering work. Suppose you say, “Given that He can put forth so many words that man cannot, if He is not God, who is?” Having this kind of thinking does not mean you acknowledge God. If you acknowledge God, you have to show it through your actions. Leading a church but being unable to do righteousness, and coveting money and always secretly funneling the church’s money into your own pockets—is this acknowledging that there is a God? God is almighty and to be feared. How can you not be afraid if you truly acknowledge that there is a God? How can you have done such despicable things? Can that be called believing? Do you really acknowledge Him? Is God what you believe in? What you believe in is a vague God; that is why you are not afraid! Those who truly acknowledge and know God all fear Him and are afraid to do anything that opposes Him or that goes against their conscience; they are especially afraid to do anything that they know is against God’s will. Only this can be considered acknowledging God’s existence. What should you do when your parents deter you from believing in God? How should you love God when your unbelieving husband treats you well? And how should you love God when the brothers and sisters loathe you? If you acknowledge Him, then you will act appropriately and live out reality in all these situations. If you fail to act concretely but only say that you acknowledge God’s existence, then you are just a talker! You say you believe in Him and acknowledge Him. But in what way do you acknowledge Him? In what way do you believe in Him? Do you fear Him? Do you revere Him? Do you love Him deep down inside? When you are distressed and have no one to lean on, you feel that God is to be loved, and then afterward you forget all about it. That is not loving God or believing in God! What ultimately does God want man to achieve? All the states that I mentioned, such as thinking you are a big shot, feeling you are quick to pick things up, controlling others, looking down on others, judging people by their appearance, bullying honest people, coveting church money, and so forth—to be rid of a portion of such corrupt satanic dispositions is what should be seen in you after you are conquered.
The conquering work done on you people is of the deepest significance. On the one hand, the purpose of this work is to perfect a group of people, that is, to perfect them into a group of overcomers, as the first group of people made complete, meaning the firstfruits. On the other hand, it is to let created beings enjoy God’s love, receive God’s greatest salvation, and receive God’s full salvation, to let man enjoy not only mercy and lovingkindness, but more importantly chastisement and judgment. From the creation of the world until now, all that God has done in His work is love, without any hatred for man. Even the chastisement and judgment you have seen are also love, a truer and more real love, a love that leads man to the right way of human life. On the third hand, it is to bear testimony before Satan. And on the fourth hand, it is to lay a foundation for spreading future gospel work. All the work He has done is for the purpose of leading people to the right way of human life, so that they can have the normal life of mankind, because man does not know how to lead a life. Without such leading, you would only be able to live an empty life, would only be able to live a worthless and meaningless life, and would not know at all how to be a normal person. This is the deepest significance of conquering man. All of you are descended of Moab. To do conquering work on you is your great salvation. All of you live in a place of sin and licentiousness; you are all licentious and sinful people. Today you not only can see God, but more importantly, you have received chastisement and judgment, received such deepest salvation, that is, received God’s greatest love. All that He does is true love for you; He has no ill intention. It is because of your sins that He judges you, so that you will examine yourselves and receive this tremendous salvation. All this is done to work man. From beginning to end, God has been doing His utmost to save man, and He is certainly not willing to completely destroy the men He created with His own hands. Now He has come among you to work; isn’t this even more salvation? If He hated you, would He still do work of such magnitude to personally lead you? Why should He suffer so? God does not hate you or have any ill intention toward you. You should know that God’s love is the truest love. It is only because of people’s disobedience that He has to save them through judgment; otherwise, they would not be saved. As you do not know how to lead a life or how to live, and you live in this licentious and sinful place and are licentious and filthy devils, He does not have the heart to let you become even more depraved; neither has He the heart to see you living in the filthy place like this, being trampled by Satan at will, or the heart to let you fall into Hades. He only wants to gain this group of you and thoroughly save you. This is the main purpose of doing the conquering work on you—it is just for salvation. If you cannot see that everything done on you is love and salvation, if you think it is just a method, a way to torment man and something untrustworthy, then you might as well go back to your world to suffer pain and hardship! If you are willing to be in this stream and enjoy this judgment and this immense salvation, enjoy all of this blessing that cannot be found anywhere in the human world, and enjoy this love, then stay submissively in this stream to accept the conquering work so you can become perfected. Though now you are suffering some pain and refinement because of the judgment, this pain is valuable and meaningful. Although chastisement and judgment are refinements and merciless disclosures to man, meant to punish his sins and punish his flesh, none of this work is intended to condemn and extinguish his flesh. The severe disclosures of the word are all for the purpose of leading you to the right path. You have personally experienced so much of this work and, clearly, it has not led you to an evil path! All of it is to enable you to live out a normal humanity; all of it is something your normal humanity can achieve. Every step of the work is done based on your needs, according to your weaknesses, and according to your actual stature, and no unbearable burden is placed on you. Although you are unable to see this clearly now and you feel as if I am being hard on you, although you keep thinking that the reason I chastise and judge you every day and reproach you every day is because I hate you, and although what you receive is chastisement and judgment, in reality it is all love for you, also a great protection for you. If you cannot grasp the deeper meaning of this work, then there is simply no way for you to go on in your experience. You should be comforted for such salvation. Do not refuse to come to your senses. Having come this far, you should see clearly the significance of this conquering work. You should no longer hold such and such a view!