3. How should one experience God’s judgment and chastisement in order to attain salvation?
Relevant Words of God:
In summary, taking Peter’s path in one’s faith means to walk the path of pursuing the truth, which is also the path of truly getting to know oneself and changing one’s disposition. Only by walking the path of Peter will one be on the path of being perfected by God. One must be clear on how, exactly, to walk Peter’s path, as well as how to put it into practice. First, one must put aside one’s own intentions, improper pursuits, and even family and all things of one’s own flesh. One must be wholeheartedly devoted; that is, one must completely devote oneself to the word of God, focus on eating and drinking of God’s words, concentrate on the search for the truth and the search for God’s intentions in His words, and try to grasp God’s will in everything. This is the most fundamental and vital method of practice. This was what Peter did after seeing Jesus, and it is only by practicing in this way that one can achieve the best results. Wholehearted devotion to the words of God primarily involves seeking the truth, seeking God’s intentions within His words, focusing on grasping the will of God, and understanding and obtaining more truth from God’s words. When reading His words, Peter was not focused on understanding doctrines, much less was he focused on obtaining theological knowledge; instead, he concentrated on comprehending the truth and grasping God’s will, as well as achieving an understanding of His disposition and His loveliness. Peter also attempted to understand the various corrupt states of man from God’s words, as well as man’s corrupt nature and actual shortcoming, thus meeting all aspects of God’s requirements of man in order to satisfy Him. Peter had so many correct practices that abided by the words of God; this was most in line with God’s will, and it was the best way a person could cooperate while experiencing God’s work. When experiencing the hundreds of trials from God, Peter examined himself strictly against every word of God’s judgment of man, every word of God’s revelation of man, and every word of His demands of man, and strived to fathom the meaning of those words. He tried in earnest to ponder and memorize every word that Jesus said to him, and achieved very good results. Through this manner of practicing, he was able to achieve an understanding of himself from God’s words, and he not only came to understand the various corrupt states of man, but also came to understand man’s essence, nature, and various shortcomings. This is what it means to truly understand oneself. From God’s words, Peter not only achieved a true understanding of himself, but from the things expressed in God’s words—God’s righteous disposition, what He has and is, God’s will for His work, His demands of mankind—from these words he came to know God completely. He came to know God’s disposition, and His essence; he came to know and understand what God has and is, as well as God’s loveliness and God’s demands for man. Although God did not speak back then as much as He does today, results in these aspects were nevertheless achieved in Peter. This was a rare and precious thing.
from “How to Take the Path of Peter” in Records of Christ’s Talks
When receiving the judgment of God’s words, we must not fear suffering, nor should we be afraid of pain; much less should we fear that God’s words will pierce our hearts. We should read more of His utterances about how He judges and chastises us and exposes our corrupt essences. We must read them and hold ourselves up to them more. Don’t compare others to them—compare ourselves against them. We are not lacking in any single one of these things; we can all square with them. If you don’t believe it, go experience it yourself. … In our faith, we must firmly maintain that God’s words are the truth. Since they are indeed the truth, we should accept them rationally. Whether or not we are able to recognize or admit it, our first attitude toward God’s words should be one of absolute acceptance. Every single line of God’s words pertains to a specific state. That is, all the lines of His utterances are not about external phenomena, much less about external rules or a simple form of behavior in people. It’s not like that. If you see every line uttered by God as a simple kind of human behavior or as an external phenomenon, then you have no spiritual understanding and you do not understand what the truth is. God’s words are profound. How are they profound? Everything that God says, that He reveals is about people’s corrupt dispositions, and substantive and deep-rooted things within their lives. They are essential things, not external phenomena, and particularly not external behaviors.
from “The Importance and the Path of Pursuing the Truth” in Records of Christ’s Talks
If you believe in God’s rule, then you have to believe that the things that happen every day, be they good or bad, are not random occurrences. It is not that someone is intentionally hard on you or targeting you; it is actually all arranged by God. What does God orchestrate these things for? It is not to reveal your shortcomings or to expose you; exposing you is not the end goal. The end goal is to perfect you and save you. How does God do that? Firstly, He makes you aware of your own corrupt disposition, of your nature and essence, your shortcomings, and what you lack. Only by knowing these things and understanding them in your heart can you pursue the truth and gradually cast off your corrupt disposition. This is God providing you with an opportunity. You have to know how to seize this opportunity, and don’t butt heads with God. Particularly when faced with the people, events, and things that God arranges around you, don’t always think that things aren’t as you wish them to be, always wanting to escape, always blaming and misunderstanding God. That is not undergoing God’s work, and that will make it very difficult for you to enter into the reality of the truth. Whatever the thing is that you cannot fully understand, when you have difficulties, you must learn to submit. You should first come before God and pray more. That way, before you know it there will be a shift in your internal state and you’ll be able to seek the truth to resolve your problem—you’ll be able to experience the work of God. During this period, the reality of the truth is being wrought within you, and this is how you will progress and how a change in the state of your life will occur. Once you have undergone this change and have this kind of reality of the truth, then you will possess stature, and with stature comes life. If someone always lives based on a corrupt satanic disposition, then no matter how much enthusiasm or energy they have, they still cannot be considered to possess stature, or life. God works in every single person, and no matter what His method is, what kind of people, things and matters He makes use of to do service, or what kind of tone His words have, He only has one end goal: saving you. Before saving you, He needs to transform you, so how could you not suffer a bit? You’re going to have to suffer. This suffering can involve many things. Sometimes God raises up the people, matters, and things around you so that you can come to know yourself, or else you might be directly dealt with, pruned, and exposed. Just like someone on an operating table–you have to undergo some pain for a good outcome. If every time you are pruned and dealt with, and every time He raises up people, matters, and things, it stirs up your feelings and gives you a boost, then this is correct, and you will have stature and will enter into the reality of the truth.
from “To Attain the Truth, You Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Around You” in Records of Christ’s Talks
In his belief in God, Peter sought to satisfy God in everything, and sought to obey all that came from God. Without the slightest complaint, he was able to accept chastisement and judgment, as well as refinement, tribulation and lack in his life, none of which could alter his love of God. Is this not the ultimate love of God? Is this not the fulfillment of the duty of a creature of God? Whether in chastisement, judgment, or tribulation, you are always capable of achieving obedience unto death, and this is what should be achieved by a creature of God, this is the purity of the love of God. If man can achieve this much, then he is a qualified creature of God, and there is nothing which better satisfies the desire of the Creator.
from “Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The truth that man needs to possess is found in the word of God, a truth that is the most beneficial and helpful to mankind. It is the tonic and sustenance that your body needs, something that helps man restore his normal humanity, a truth that man should be equipped with. The more you practice God’s word, the more quickly your life will blossom; the more you practice God’s word, the clearer the truth becomes. As you grow in stature, you will see things of the spiritual world more clearly, and you will be more powerful to triumph over Satan. Much of the truth that you don’t understand will be made clear when you practice the word of God. Most people are satisfied to merely understand the text of God’s word and focus on equipping themselves with doctrines without experiencing its depth in practice; isn’t that the way of the Pharisees? How can the phrase “The word of God is life” be true for them, then? Only when man practices the word of God can his life truly blossom; it cannot grow simply by reading His word. If it is your belief that to understand God’s word is all that is needed to have life, to have stature, then your understanding is warped. Truly understanding God’s word occurs when you practice the truth, and you must understand that “only by practicing the truth can it ever be understood.”
from “Practice the Truth Once You Understand It” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If one can satisfy God while fulfilling one’s duty, is principled in one’s words and actions, and can enter the reality of all aspects of the truth, then one is a person who becomes perfected by God. It can be said that the work and the words of God have been completely effective for such people, that God’s words have become their life, they have obtained the truth, and they are able to live in accordance with God’s words. After this, the nature of their flesh—that is, the very foundation of their original existence—will shake apart and collapse. After people possess God’s words as their life, they will become new people. If the words of God become their life, if the vision of God’s work, His requirements of humanity, His revelations to humans, and the standards for a true life that God requires them to meet become their life, if they live according to these words and truths, then they are perfected by the words of God. Such people are reborn, and have become new people through God’s words.
from “How to Take the Path of Peter” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Sermon and Fellowship Excerpts for Reference:
The work of God in the last days is judging through His word. If we want our corrupt disposition to be cleansed and to achieve salvation, we must first put in some effort on God’s word, genuinely eat and drink the words of God, and accept God’s judgment and revelations in His word. No matter how much God’s word cuts to the heart, how harsh it is, or how much it makes us suffer, we should first be sure that God’s word is all the truth and the reality of life that we should enter into. Every utterance of God’s word is to cleanse and change mankind, to make us shed our corrupt disposition and achieve salvation, and even more so to let us understand the truth to achieve the knowledge of God. So we must accept the judgment and chastisement, pruning and dealing of God’s word. If we want to gain the truth in God’s word, we must be able to suffer for accepting and obeying God’s word and the truth. We must seek the truth in God’s word, feel out God’s will, and reflect on and know ourselves, reflect on God’s word to know our own arrogance, deception, selfishness and despicableness, how we take advantage of God, deceive God, toy with the truth, and other satanic dispositions, as well as the various impurities in our belief in God and intentions to receive blessings. In this way, we can gradually get to know the truth of our corruption and the essence of our nature. After we understand more of the truth, our knowledge of God will gradually grow deeper, and we will naturally know what kind of person God likes and dislikes, what kind of person He would save or eliminate, what kind of person He would use, and what kind of person He would bless. Once we see through these things, we will start to understand God’s disposition. These are all the results of experiencing the judgment and chastisement of God’s word. All those who seek the truth pay attention to experiencing the judgment and chastisement of God’s word, pay attention to seeking the truth in everything, and pay attention to practicing God’s word and obeying God. Such people will be able to gradually understand the truth and enter reality through experiencing God’s word, and achieve salvation and be made perfect. As for those who don’t love the truth, they can recognize God’s appearance and work from the truth expressed by God, however, they think they can definitely achieve salvation as long as they abandon something for God and fulfill their duty. In the end, they still cannot gain the truth and life after believing in God for many years. They understand only a few words, letters, and doctrines, but think they know the truth and have reality. They are lying to themselves and will surely be eliminated by God.
from Classic Questions and Answers on the Gospel of the Kingdom
When we read God’s words today, the most important thing is that we accept God’s judgment and chastisement. The key point is to accept God’s judgment and chastisement, and this is the most fundamental thing. … You all say that you are willing to bear the suffering of judgment and chastisement. Since you are willing to bear this suffering, how will you submit? How will you accept it? If you see God’s words of judgment and chastisement, will you accept them as God’s judgment of you? Or will you maintain that these words are judging others, that they have nothing to do with you, and thus avoid the judgment and chastisement of God? Which path will you take? If you are willing to accept God’s judgment and chastisement, then you should not avoid these things when you are reading the word of God. No matter how cutting or stern the words are, you should accept them all. You pray to God: “God, I am willing to accept Your judgment and chastisement. Your words of judgment are directed toward me. I am this kind of a corrupt person, I have these problems of corruption, so I should accept Your judgment and chastisement, as this is Your love for me, it is Your exaltation. I completely accept and obey them, and I am grateful for Your love.” As soon as you pray in this way, you will accept them easily, and you will not find it difficult. Then compare God’s words to your own states to deepen your understanding. This is how it can be done. This is an expression of submission to God’s judgment and chastisement. But if you see words of God that are quite stern, and say: “God, these words are not a judgment of me, they are the judgment of others, they are the judgment of Satan. They have nothing to do with me, so I don’t need to read them,” then this is avoiding the judgment and chastisement of God. If some brothers and sisters prune and deal with you, what should you do? You should quickly pray to God: “God, I thank You! This is Your love coming to me. You have moved my brothers and sisters to prune and deal with me because of Your love for me. I submit.” You must pray. If you do not pray it will be easy for you to refuse, easy for your flesh to revolt, easy for you to get into conflict with others, easy to complain and it will be even easier for you to be negative. Therefore, you must quickly go and pray. After you have prayed, your mind will be calm, and you will be able to submit. Once you are really able to submit, you will have enjoyment in your heart, and you will say: “At that time I didn’t lose my temper but accepted it. It was because I prayed. Now I can finally submit to God.” You see a glimmer of hope and you gain some stature; this is how a person grows.
from Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life