Everyone should reexamine your life of believing in God to see in the course of your following God, whether you have a true comprehension, a true understanding, and a true knowledge of God, whether you truly know what attitudes God has toward various kinds of people, and whether you truly know God’s work on you and God’s definitions of your doings. About this God who accompanies you at your side, guides your direction of going forward, rules over your destiny, and supplies your needs, how much do you actually understand and know? Do you know what He does on you every day? Do you know what His principle and purpose of doing everything are? Do you know how He guides you? Do you know how He supplies you? Do you know in what way He leads you? Do you know what He wants to gain and accomplish in you? Do you know His attitudes toward your various manifestations? Do you know whether you are one He likes? Do you know the causes of His pleasure, anger, sorrow, and joy, His minds and thoughts behind them, and His substance? Do you know what kind of God this God you believe in is? And so on. Are these questions what you have never known about or thought about? In the course of your believing in God, have you ever cleared away your misunderstanding of God through your true taste and experience of God’s word? Have you ever accepted God’s discipline and chastening and thus had a true obedience and care for God? Have you ever known man’s disobedience and satanic nature in God’s chastisement and judgment and thus had some knowledge of God’s holiness? Have you begun to have a new outlook on life under the guidance and enlightenment of God’s word? Have you felt God’s intolerance of man’s offense and His requirement and salvation of you in His trial to you? If you do not know what misunderstanding of God is and how to clear away your misunderstanding of God, it can be said that you have never had a true association with God and you have never known about God, or at least that you have never wanted to know about God. If you do not know what God’s discipline and chastening are, surely you do not know what obedience and care are, or at least you have never had a true obedience and care for God. If you have never experienced God’s chastisement and judgment, surely you do not know what God’s holiness is, much less are you clear what man’s disobedience is. If you have never had a true, correct outlook on life or a correct goal of life and are still perplexed and at a loss about your future way of life, even hesitant to go forward, surely you have never received God’s enlightenment and guidance, or it can be said that you have never truly received the supply and provision of God’s word. If you have never experienced God’s trial, needless to say, you surely do not know what God’s intolerance of man’s offense is, nor do you know what God’s requirement for you is, much less know what God’s work of managing and saving man is. No matter how many years a person has believed in God, if he does not have any experience and comprehension of God’s word, surely he has not got on the way of salvation. His belief in God surely does not have practical content, and his knowledge of God is surely zero. Needless to say, he does not know at all what it means to fear God.
What God has and is, God’s substance, and God’s disposition are all expressed in God’s word to mankind. When man experiences God’s word, he will, in practice, understand the purpose of God’s word, understand the cause and background of God’s speaking, and understand and realize the result God speaks the word to achieve. To man, all these are the things he must experience, understand, and gain before he can have the truth, have the life, understand God’s will, attain the transformation of his disposition, and obey God’s sovereignty and arrangement. While man experiences, understands, and gains these things, he will gradually have understanding of God and also have knowledge of God varying in degree. Such understanding and knowledge are not from man’s imagination or invention, but from his taste, experience, feeling, and verification. It is only after man has such taste, experience, feeling, and verification that his knowledge of God will have content, and only his knowledge at that time will be practical, real, and accurate. The course of man’s tasting, experiencing, feeling, and verifying God’s word and thus having a true understanding and knowledge of God is his true association with God. In such an association, man will have a true understanding and comprehension of God’s will, have a true understanding and knowledge of what God has and is, have a true understanding and knowledge of God’s substance, have understanding and knowledge of God’s disposition gradually, have a practical certainty and an accurate definition of the fact that God rules over all things, and have a substantive definition and knowledge of God’s identity and position. In such an association, man will gradually change his thought of God, and no longer imagine about God out of nothing, suspect God according to his own will, misunderstand God, condemn God, judge God, or doubt God. Then, man’s arguments with God will become fewer and fewer, his resistance against God will become less and less, and his disobedience to God will become less and less. On the contrary, man’s care and obedience for God will increase more and more, and his fear of God will become more and more practical and deeper and deeper. In such an association, not only will man receive the supply of truth and the baptism of life, but also gain a true knowledge of God. In such an association, not only will man be transformed in his disposition and saved, but also gain a true fear and worship of God as a created being. After man has such an association, his belief in God will no longer be a piece of blank paper, a promise on the lips, or a blind following and admiration. It is only after man has such an association that his life will begin to grow day by day, his disposition will be gradually transformed, his belief in God will gradually go from a vague belief to a true obedience and care and into a true fear, and his following God will gradually go from inactive to initiative and from passive to active. It is only after man has such an association that he will truly understand and comprehend God and truly know God. Because most people have never had a true association with God, their knowledge of God remains just in theories and in letters and doctrines. That is to say, for most people, no matter how many years they have believed in God, as far as their knowledge of God is concerned, they still remain at the original point and remain at the basis of traditional worship with legendary color and feudal superstition. The fact that people’s knowledge of God remains at the original point means that their knowledge of God is almost zero, and except for their acknowledgment of God’s position and identity, their belief in God still remains in vagueness. Then, how much true fear of God do they have?
No matter how truly you believe in God’s existence, it cannot substitute for your knowledge of God or for your fear of God; no matter how much of God’s blessing and grace you have enjoyed, it cannot substitute for your knowledge of God; no matter how willingly you offer your all and spend your all for God, it cannot substitute for your knowledge of God; maybe you are familiar with God’s word or can even recite it backward, but it cannot substitute for your knowledge of God. No matter how dead-set one is on following God, if he never has a true association with God or a true experience of God’s word, then his knowledge of God is only a blank or boundless fantasy. Even if you have ever “brushed past” God or ever been face to face with God, your knowledge of God is still zero, and your fear of God is only an empty slogan or an ideal.
Many people hold God’s word reading every day, and they even bear the typical parts of God’s word in mind and take them as treasures. Moreover, they preach God’s word everywhere and supply and help others with God’s word. They think that by doing so, they are testifying God and testifying God’s word and are walking in God’s ways. They think that by doing so, they are living by God’s word, by doing so, they have brought God’s word into the real life, and by doing so, they can be approved by God and can be saved and perfected. However, while preaching God’s word, they never practice according to God’s word or check themselves against the disclosing of God’s word, but use God’s word to win others’ admiration and trust, to do their own management, and to wangle and steal God’s glory. They vainly hope to gain God’s work and God’s approval through the opportunity of spreading God’s word. After a lapse of many years, these people not only fail to receive God’s approval in the course of “preaching God’s word,” fail to find the way they should keep in the course of “testifying God’s word,” fail to help and supply themselves in the course of “supplying and helping others with God’s word,” and fail to know God and have a true fear of God in these courses, but on the contrary, they have deeper and deeper misunderstandings of God, have more and more serious suspicions of God, and have more and more exaggerated imaginations of God. Under the supply and leading of the theories of God’s word, they seem to feel just like fish in water, seem to handle things with ease, seem to find their goal of life, seem to find their mission, seem to obtain a new life, and seem to be saved. In their fluent reciting of God’s word, they seem to gain the truth, understand God’s will, and find the way to know God. And in the course of their preaching God’s word, they seem to be often face to face with God. They are often “moved” into weeping tears and often led by the “God” in God’s word and seem to constantly understand God’s thoughtful kind intention and also understand God’s salvation of man, understand God’s management, know God’s substance, and know about God’s righteous disposition. On this basis, they seem to be more certain about God’s existence, seem to know God’s honorableness better, and seem to sense God’s greatness and supernaturalness all the more. They are immersed in the superficial knowledge of God’s word, and it seems that their faith increases, their mind to suffer is strengthened, and their knowledge of God is deepened. Little do they know that before they practically experience God’s word, their knowledge and thoughts about God all come from their wishful imagination and guess. Their faith cannot withstand any test from God. Their so-called spirituality and stature cannot withstand God’s trial and test at all. Their resolution is nothing but a floating castle built on sand, and their so-called knowledge of God is merely the fruit of their imagination. In fact, these people who “put quite a lot of effort” into God’s word never know what true faith is, what true obedience is, what true care is, or what true knowledge of God is. They take theory, imagination, knowledge, gift, tradition, and superstition, and even human ethic as the capital and weapons for their believing in and following God, even as the foundation of their believing in and following God. At the same time they take such capital and weapons as their open sesame for knowing God and as their open sesame for confronting and dealing with God’s test, God’s trial, and God’s chastisement and judgment. In the end, what they gain is still conclusions about God, which are full of religious flavor, full of feudal superstitions, and full of legends, oddities, and mysteries. Their knowledge and definition of God are exactly the same as those who only believe in Heaven, Providence, yet God’s practicalness, God’s substance, God’s disposition, what God has and is, and so on, all the things related with the true God Himself, are missing in their knowledge, and it has nothing to do with them and even runs counter to them. Thus, although they are under the “supply and nurture” of God’s word, they cannot truly get on the way of fearing God and shunning evil. The real reason is that they have never known God and have never had a true “contact” and association with God. So it is impossible for them to know God or truly believe in, follow, and worship God. Their such viewpoints and attitudes toward God’s word and toward God determine that they can gain nothing and that they can never get on the way of fearing God and shunning evil. The goal and direction of their pursuit mean that they are forever God’s enemy and that they can never be saved.
For a person who has followed God and enjoyed the supply of God’s word for many years, if his definition of God, in substance, is the same as that of one who worships and enshrines an idol, it means that he has not gained the reality of God’s word. The very reason for this is that he has not entered into the reality of God’s word at all. So, the reality, the truth, God’s will, and God’s requirement for man in God’s word have nothing to do with him. That is to say, no matter how much effort such a person puts into the letter of God’s word, it is useless. As what he pursues are letters, what he gains are surely letters. God’s word, whether shallow or profound outwardly, is the truth one has to possess to enter into life and is the spring of living water for man’s spirit and flesh to live. He supplies what man needs for living, supplies man with the rules and creeds to conduct himself in daily life, supplies man with the necessary pathway, the goal, and the direction to be saved, supplies all the truths man should possess as a created being before God, and supplies all the truths on how man should obey God and how man should worship God. He is the security for man’s existence, the daily bread for man, and the solid rear guard for man to become strong and stand. He is full of the reality of the truth for created mankind to live out a normal humanity, full of the truth for mankind to break away from corruption and come out of the snare of Satan, and full of the Creator’s earnest teachings, exhortations, encouragements, and comforts to created mankind. He is the beacon light to guide and enlighten man to understand all positive things, is the assurance for man to live out and possess all just and good things, is the standard to measure all people, matters, and things, and is also the sailing beacon to lead man to be saved and walk toward the path of light. Only in the practical experience of God’s word can one receive the supply of the truth, receive the supply of life, understand what a normal humanity is, what a meaningful life is, what a real created being is, and what true obedience to God is, understand how to care for God, how to fulfill the duty of a created being, and how to have the real human likeness, understand what a true belief is and what true worship is, understand who is the Ruler of the heavens and the earth and all things, understand in what way the One who rules over all things governs, leads, and supplies all things, understand and know in what way the One who rules over all things exists, appears, and works…. Without a true experience and taste of God’s word, one will not have a true knowledge and comprehension of God’s word and of the truth. Such a person is a walking corpse through and through and is an empty body through and through, and he has no part or share in any knowledge about the Creator. In God’s eyes, such a person has never believed in God or followed God. So, God neither acknowledges he is a believer in God nor acknowledges he is a follower of God, much less acknowledges he is a real created being.
A real created being should know who the Creator is, should know what man is created for, should know how to perform the duty of a created being, should know how to worship the Creator, should comprehend, understand, know, and care for the Creator’s will, heart’s voice, and requirement, and should walk in the Creator’s ways—fear God and shun evil.
From A Continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh—The Way to Know God I