5. How Must You Believe in God in Order to Be Saved and Made Perfect?
Relevant Words of God:
Though many people believe in God, few understand what faith in God means, and what they must do to be after God’s heart. This is because, though people are familiar with the word “God” and phrases such as “the work of God,” they do not know God, much less do they know His work. No wonder, then, that all those who do not know God are possessed of a muddled belief. People do not take belief in God seriously because believing in God is too unfamiliar, too strange for them. In this way, they fall short of the demands of God. In other words, if people do not know God, do not know His work, then they are not fit for God’s use, much less can they fulfill the desire of God.
“Belief in God” means believing that there is a God; this is the simplest concept of faith in God. What’s more, believing that there is a God is not the same as truly believing in God; rather, it is a kind of simple faith with strong religious overtones. True faith in God means experiencing the words and work of God based on a belief that God holds sovereignty over all things. So you shall be freed of your corrupt disposition, shall fulfill the desire of God, and shall come to know God. Only through such a journey can you be said to believe in God. Yet people often see belief in God as something very simple and frivolous. The belief of such people is meaningless and shall never gain the approval of God, because they tread the wrong path. Today, there are still those who believe in God in letters, in hollow doctrines. They are unaware that their belief in God has no substance, and that they are unable to gain the approval of God, and they still pray for peace and sufficient grace from God. We should stop and ask ourselves: Could believing in God really be the easiest thing on earth? Does believing in God mean nothing more than receiving much grace from God? Can people who believe in God but do not know Him, and believe in God yet oppose Him, really fulfill the desire of God?
from Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh
It is Heaven’s law and earth’s principle to believe in God and know God, and today — during an age when God incarnate is doing His work in person — is an especially good time to know God. Satisfying God is something that is achieved by building on the foundation of understanding God’s will, and in order to understand God’s will, it is necessary to have some knowledge of God. This knowledge of God is the vision that one who believes in God must have; it is the basis of man’s belief in God. In the absence of this knowledge, man’s belief in God would exist in a vague state, in the midst of empty theory. Even if it is the resolution of people like this to follow God, they will gain nothing. All those who gain nothing in this stream are the ones who will be eliminated — they are all freeloaders. Whichever step of God’s work you experience, you should be accompanied by a mighty vision. Otherwise, it would be difficult for you to accept each step of new work, for the new work of God lies beyond man’s capacity to imagine, and is outside the bounds of his conception. And so, without a shepherd to tend to man, without a shepherd to engage in fellowship about visions, man is incapable of accepting this new work. If man cannot receive visions, then he cannot receive the new work of God, and if man cannot obey God’s new work, then man will be unable to understand God’s will, and so his knowledge of God will amount to nothing. Before man carries out the word of God, he must know the word of God, that is, he must understand God’s will; only in this way can God’s word be carried out accurately and in accordance with God’s will. This is something that everyone who seeks the truth must possess, and it is also the process that everyone who tries to know God must undergo. The process of coming to know the word of God is the process of coming to know God, and also the process of coming to know the work of God. And so, knowing visions not only refers to knowing the humanity of God incarnate, but also includes knowing the word and the work of God. From the word of God people come to understand God’s will, and from the work of God they come to know God’s disposition and what God is. Belief in God is the first step to knowing God. The process of advancing from this initial belief in God to the most profound belief in Him is the process of coming to know God, and the process of experiencing the work of God. If you only believe in God for the sake of believing in God, and not for the sake of coming to know Him, then there is no reality to your faith, and your faith cannot become pure — of this there is no doubt. If, during the process by which he experiences God, man gradually comes to know God, then his disposition will gradually change, and his belief will become increasingly true. In this way, when man achieves success in his belief in God, he will have completely gained God. The reason why God went to such great lengths to become flesh for the second time to do His work in person was so that man would be able to know Him and to see Him. Knowing God[a] is the final effect to be achieved at the conclusion of God’s work; it is the last requirement God makes of mankind. The reason why He does this is for the sake of His final testimony; it is in order that man may finally and completely turn to Him that He does this work. Man can only come to love God by knowing God, and to love God he must know God. No matter how he seeks, or what he seeks to gain, he must be able to achieve knowledge of God. Only in this way can man satisfy God’s heart. Only by knowing God can man have true faith in God, and only by knowing God can he truly revere and obey God. Those who do not know God will never arrive at true obedience and reverence of God. Knowing God includes knowing His disposition, understanding His will, and knowing what He is. Yet whichever aspect one comes to know, each one requires man to pay a price, and requires the will to obey, without which no one would be able to continue following to the end. The work of God is too incompatible with the conceptions of man, God’s disposition and what God is are too difficult for man to know, and everything that God says and does is too incomprehensible to man: If man wishes to follow God and yet is unwilling to obey Him, then man will gain nothing. From the creation of the world until today, God has done much work that is incomprehensible to man and that man has found hard to accept, and God has spoken much that makes the conceptions of man difficult to heal. But He has never ceased His work on account of man’s having too many difficulties; rather, He has carried on working and speaking, and even though great numbers of “warriors” have fallen by the wayside, He is still doing His work, and continues without intermission to choose one group after another of people who are willing to submit to His new work. He has no pity for those fallen “heroes,” and instead treasures those who accept His new work and words. But to what end does He work in this way, step-by-step? Why is He always eliminating some people and choosing others? Why is it that He always employs such a method? The aim of His work is to allow man to know Him, and thus be gained by Him. The principle of His work is to work on those who are able to submit to the work He does today, and not to work on those who submit to the work He has done in the past while opposing the work He does today. Herein lies the reason why He has been eliminating so many people.
from “Only Those Who Know God Can Bear Testimony to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
It is the belief in God so that you may obey God, love God, and perform the duty that should be performed by a creature of God. This is the aim of believing in God. You must achieve a knowledge of the loveliness of God, of how worthy God is of reverence, of how, in His creatures, God does the work of salvation and making them perfect — this is the minimum that you should possess in your belief in God. Belief in God is principally the switch from a life in the flesh to a life of loving God, from a life within naturalness to a life within the being of God, it is coming out from under the domain of Satan and living under the care and protection of God, it is being able to achieve obedience to God and not obedience to the flesh, it is allowing God to gain your entire heart, allowing God to make you perfect, and freeing yourself from the corrupt satanic disposition. Belief in God is principally so that the power and glory of God may be manifested in you, so that you may do God’s will, and accomplish God’s plan, and be able to bear testimony to God before Satan. Belief in God should not be in order to behold signs and wonders, nor should it be for the sake of your personal flesh. It should be for the pursuit of knowing God, and being able to obey God, and like Peter, obeying Him until death. This is what it is mainly in order to achieve. Eating and drinking the word of God is in order to know God and in order to satisfy God. Eating and drinking the word of God gives you a greater knowledge of God, only after which can you obey God. Only if you know God can you love Him, and the attainment of this aim is the only aim man should have in his belief in God. If, in your belief in God, you always try to behold signs and wonders, then the viewpoint of this belief in God is wrong. Belief in God is principally the acceptance of the word of God as the reality of life. Only putting into practice the words of God from His mouth and carrying them out within yourself is the attainment of the aim of God. In believing in God, man should pursue being made perfect by God, being able to submit to God, and the complete obedience to God. If you can obey God without complaint, be mindful of God’s desires, achieve the stature of Peter, and possess the style of Peter spoken of by God, then that will be when you have achieved success in belief in God, and it will signify that you have been gained by God.
from “All Is Achieved by the Word of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Since you do believe in God, then you must eat and drink of His word, experience His word, and live out His word. Only this can be called belief in God! If you say you believe in God with your mouth and yet are unable to speak out any of His words or put them into practice, this is not called believing in God. Rather, it is “seeking bread to satisfy hunger.” … Believers in God should, at the very least, have good behavior on the outside; most important of all is to be possessed of the word of God. No matter what, you can never turn away from His word. Knowing God and fulfilling His will are all achieved through His word. In future, every nation, denomination, religion, and sector will be conquered through the word. God will speak directly, and all people will hold the word of God in their hands; by means of this, humanity will be perfected. Within and without, the word of God pervades throughout: Humanity will speak God’s word with their mouths, practice in accordance with God’s word, and keep the word of God within, remaining steeped in God’s word both inside and out. Thus will humanity be perfected. Those who fulfill the will of God and are able to bear witness to Him, these are the people who possess the word of God as their reality.
Entering into the Age of Word, that is, the Age of Millennial Kingdom, is the work that is being completed now. From now on, practice engaging in fellowship about the word of God. Only by means of eating and drinking as well as experiencing the word of God will you be able to manifest the word of God. Only through your words of experience can others be persuaded by you. If you do not have the word of God, no one will be convinced! All those used by God are able to speak the word of God. If you cannot, this shows that the Holy Spirit has not worked in you and you have not been perfected. This is the importance of the word of God.
from “The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The process by which people experience God’s words is the same as the process by which they know the appearance of God’s words in the flesh. The more people experience God’s words, the more they know the Spirit of God; through experiencing God’s words, people grasp the principles of the Spirit’s work and come to know the practical God Himself. In fact, when God makes people perfect and gains them, He is making them know the deeds of the practical God; He is using the work of the practical God to show people the actual significance of the incarnation, and to show them that the Spirit of God has actually appeared before man. When people are gained by God and made perfect by God, the expressions of the practical God have conquered them, the words of the practical God have changed them, and given His life to them inside, filling them with what He is (whether it be what He humanly is, or what He divinely is), filling them with the substance of His words, and making people live out His words. When God gains people, He does so primarily by using the words and utterances of the practical God in order to deal with people’s deficiencies, and to judge and reveal their rebellious disposition, causing them to gain what they need, and showing them that God has come among man. Most important, the work done by the practical God is saving every person from the influence of Satan, taking them away from the land of filth, and dispelling their corrupt disposition. The most profound significance of being gained by the practical God is being able to take the practical God as an exemplar, as a model, and living out normal humanity, being able to practice according to the words and requirements of the practical God, without the slightest deviation or departure, practicing however He says, and being able to achieve whatever He asks. In this way, you will have been gained by God.
from “You Should Know That the Practical God Is God Himself” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The greater your understanding of God’s words and the more you put them into practice, the faster you can enter onto the path of being made perfect by God. Through praying, you can be made perfect amid prayers; through eating and drinking the words of God, grasping the substance of God’s words, and living out the reality of God’s words, you can be made perfect. Through experiencing God’s words on a daily basis, you come to know what is lacking in you, and, moreover, come to know your Achilles’ heel and weaknesses, and you offer prayer to God, through which you will gradually be made perfect. The paths to being made perfect: praying, eating and drinking the words of God, grasping the essence of God’s words, entering into the experience of God’s words, coming to know what is lacking in you, obeying the work of God, being mindful of God’s burden and forsaking the flesh through your loving heart, and having frequent fellowship with brothers and sisters, which enriches your experiences. Whether it be communal life or your personal life, and whether it be large assemblies or small ones, all can allow you to acquire experiences and receive training so that your heart can be quiet before God and return to God. All of this is the process of being made perfect. Experiencing the words of God that has been spoken of means being able to actually taste the words of God and allowing them to be lived out in you so that you have greater faith and love toward God. Through this way, you will gradually shed the corrupt satanic disposition, you will gradually divest yourself of improper motivations, and live out the likeness of a normal person. The greater the love for God within you — which is to say, the more of you that has been made perfect by God — the less you are corrupted by Satan. Through your practical experiences, you will gradually enter onto the path of being made perfect. Thus, if you wish to be made perfect, being mindful of the will of God and experiencing the words of God are especially important.
from “Be Mindful of God’s Will to Attain Perfection” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If people wish to become living beings, and to bear testimony to God, and to be approved of by God, they must accept God’s salvation, they must gladly submit to His judgment and chastisement, and must gladly accept the pruning and dealing of God. Only then will they be able to put all of the truths required by God into practice, and only then will they gain God’s salvation, and truly become living beings.
from “Have You Come Alive?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
God makes people perfect through their obedience, through their eating, drinking, and enjoying of God’s words, and through the suffering and refinement in their lives. Only through faith such as this can people’s dispositions change, only then can they possess the true knowledge of God. Not being satisfied with living amid God’s graces, actively thirsting for the truth, and searching for the truth, and pursuing being gained by God — this is what it means to consciously obey God; this is precisely the kind of faith that God wants.
from “In Your Faith in God You Should Obey God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
You must seek life. Today, those who will be made perfect are the same kind as Peter: They are those who seek changes in their own disposition, and are willing to bear testimony to God and perform their duty as a creature of God. Only people such as this will be made perfect. If you only look to rewards, and do not seek to change your own life disposition, then all your efforts will be in vain — and this is an unalterable truth!
from “Success or Failure Depends on the Path That Man Walks” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
What is the transformation of disposition? You must be a lover of truth, accept the judgment and chastisement of God’s word as you experience His work, and experience all kinds of suffering and refining, through which you are purified of the satanic poisons within you. … The transformation in disposition means that a person, because he loves and can accept the truth, finally comes to know his disobedient and God-resisting nature; he understands that the corruption of man is too deep and understands man’s absurdness and deceitfulness. He knows man’s poorness and pitifulness, and finally understands man’s nature and essence. Knowing all this, he can deny and forsake himself completely, live by God’s word, and practice the truth in everything. Such a person knows God and has his disposition transformed.
from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks
A transformation in disposition mainly refers to a transformation in your nature. Nature is not something you can see from outside behaviors; nature directly involves the worth and significance of people’s existence. It directly involves the values of human life, the things deep within the soul, and the essence of people. If people couldn’t accept the truth, then they would have no transformations in these aspects. Only if people have experienced God’s work and have fully entered into the truth, changed their values and outlooks on existence and life, viewed things the same way as God, and become capable of completely submitting and devoting themselves to God can their dispositions be said to have changed.
from “What You Should Know About Transforming Your Disposition” in Records of Christ’s Talks
After experiencing to a certain point, a person’s life views, significance of existence, and foundation of existence will completely transform. That is, you will be born again, and become a completely different person. This is incredible! This is a big transformation; it is a transformation that turns everything upside down. You will feel that fame, profit, position, wealth, pleasures, and glory of the world don’t matter and that you are able to effortlessly let go of them. This is a person in the likeness of a human being. Those who are ultimately made complete will be a group like this. They will live for truth, for God, and for righteousness. This is the likeness of a person.
from “Understanding Commonalities and Differences in Human Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Only if one knows God and has the truth does he live in the light; and only when his view of the world and his view of life change does he change fundamentally. When he has a life goal and comports himself according to the truth; when he absolutely submits to God and lives by God’s word; when he feels assured and brightened deep in his soul; when his heart is free of darkness; and when he lives completely freely and unrestrained in God’s presence — only then does he live a true human life and become a person possessing truth. Besides, all the truths you have are from God’s word and from God Himself. The Ruler of the entire universe and all things — God Most High — approves of you, as a real man living the true human life. What could be more meaningful than this? Such is a person who has the truth.
from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks
a. The original text reads “The work of knowing God.”