Do you know how to listen to God’s voice and welcome the Lord?
How to know that Christ is the truth, the way, and the life is a crucial question. The essence of Christ is the truth, the way, and the life. But how do you experience and understand the word of God in the words spoken by Christ, so that you’ll truly see Christ in your heart as the truth, the way, and the life? Now we all believe in Christ, which is to believe in the practical God. Because Christ is God incarnate, therefore Christ is the practical God. What this practical God has and is is the truth, the way, and the life. Although from the outside God incarnate is a totally ordinary human being, however the essence of His life is the truth, the way, and the life. What would you say is the difference between belief in such a practical God and believing in God in heaven? Does faith in Christ have meaning, or does believing in God in heaven have meaning? Christ has an external appearance of a flesh, a normal humanity, He does not have the authority and especial power like God in heaven and like the Spirit of God. In believing in the practical God, from the outside people have faith in a person. Externally, the practical God and God in heaven are as different as the gulf between heaven and earth. In the case of God in heaven, He is supremely omnipotent, dominating over the entire universe. With one word, He can alter everything, He can bring about enormous change in heaven and earth. However, the practical God does not have the great ability of God in heaven. Therefore, those who believe in the practical God are few, while those whoin heaven are particularly numerous. Everyone looks up at the power and authority of God in heaven and they feel that the more that God cannot be seen, the more powerful He is, and the more that God like ordinary flesh and blood can be seen and felt, then He has no omnipotence at all. Man selects his belief in God according to human conceptions and imagination. In fact, in believing in God man ought not to care about how omnipotent or how great God is from the outside, but he should care about what he is able to obtain and what results he can achieve through a ; this is most crucial. Today, we, this group of people, believe in the practical God and now we all know why God has come to carry out His work, what work God has come to do, what man ought to obtain from believing in God. We know that what man ought to obtain is the truth and salvation. If man wants to obtain salvation and the truth, can he obtain these through faith in a vague God in heaven? He cannot. But as it happens he can obtain these by believing in Christ because Christ is the truth, the way and the life, everything that He has is the truth, the way and the life. Apart from the truth, the way, and the life, He has nothing else, and He does nothing else. What He has, and what He is, is just that which corrupted mankind ought to obtain. Therefore, it is precisely appropriate that we believe in the practical God as this completely accords with God’s intention. Now that we have experienced the work of the practical God and we are all receiving God’s judgment and chastisement, and we are receiving God’s pruning and dealing as well as all manner of trials and refinement, what sort of knowledge do we have of Christ? All the truth that Christ delivers is exactly a direct expression of God’s Spirit, it is exactly the expression of God in heaven; it is God in heaven taking on a flesh to carry out His work among men on earth. What corrupted mankind requires is salvation, what it needs is the truth. God incarnate has brought to mankind all that it needs, and that which He has brought is God’s salvation, God’s love, and also the truth, the way, and the life. The more that we experience the work that Christ undertakes, the more we know the disposition of God in heaven, the more we know what God in heaven has, and what He is, the more we know the omnipotence and wisdom of God in heaven; what God in heaven has, and what He is, is entirely expressed through Christ. It is only through faith in Christ that it is possible to truly know what God has and is, and to truly understand the disposition of the Creator. So, our faith in Christ is entirely faith in God in heaven because He is the expression of God in heaven. It is only those who believe in Christ who can truly know God in heaven. If you do not believe in Christ, you cannot arrive at a knowledge of God in heaven. This is the meaning of knowing Christ. Christ is the practical God, and God’s essence is within Him. He has what God has and what God is, and what He brings is one stage of God’s work. What He delivers is precisely the truth, the way, and the life that corrupted mankind needs. In our experience of God’s work, we have all basically seen God’s disposition which gives primacy to righteousness, and God’s disposition which does not tolerate man’s offense; we have seen God’s holiness, we have seen His omnipotence, we have seen God’s wisdom; all of these are a true knowledge of God. When we have come to such knowledge of God, we then see that Christ really is the truth, the way, and the life. After we have experienced the judgment and chastisement of Christ, we have a true knowledge of Christ’s disposition, and an understanding that God’s disposition is righteousness, it is dignity, it is wrath. With this understanding, we then obtain a truth from Christ—God’s disposition is righteousness. If we have not experienced the work of God, and we have not experienced God’s judgment and chastisement, then we cannot understand that the disposition of God is righteousness.
How do we know that Christ is the truth, the way, and the life? In the first instance we need to understand what truth is, what its essence is, and where it comes from. Would you say that since the recorded history of mankind, which is after it had been corrupted by Satan, mankind has had the truth? Is there truth in this world? There is no truth, and that is for certain. Every age on earth has had a few famous persons, and great men, but not one of them has dared to say that he is the truth, the way, and the life. No one has ventured to state in any book that he is the truth, the way, and the life. Every country on earth has its laws, education, and science. Corrupted mankind also has thought, knowledge, and learning, but no man dares to say that he is the truth, the way, and the life. What is the question that this begs? Why is it that no one dares to say of himself that he is the truth, the way, and the life? Regardless of which country the great or famous man may belong to, regardless of how many books he may have written, regardless of how much he is adored by corrupted mankind, he still would not venture to say that he is the truth, the way, and the life. What is the reason for this? The most important reason for this is that mankind does not have the truth at all. We may say that mankind has no idea of what the truth is, and this is a fact. We recollect that in the Age of Grace when thewas being interrogated before Pilate, and the Lord Jesus said that He was the truth, Pilate was taken aback on hearing this, and said: “Truth? What is the truth?” He never knew what the truth is. Even rulers of nations do not know what the truth is, even less do they know from whence the truth comes. When God incarnate said that He Himself was the truth, mankind was surprised and did not respond. This explains all the more that corrupted mankind was completely ignorant of the truth. It was only after God became incarnated and commenced to bear witness that He Himself was the Christ, was the truth, the way, and the life that corrupted mankind knew that only Christ can be the expression of the truth, the way, and the life. Now as we are experiencing God’s work of the last days and we have received the judgment and chastisement of Christ of the last days, and in the end we have some understanding of the truth that God has expressed, we are gradually coming to awareness and seeing what God has and is. We see that everything that God does is salvation, and it is all love. We see that the words expressed by God are indeed the truth. Only then do we understand that Christ is in fact the truth, the way, and the life, and that this is in no way false. Well then, how do we know that Christ is the truth, the way, and the life? Based on our own experience, that knowledge requires receiving Christ’s judgment and chastisement. By means of judging and chastising corrupted mankind, Christ expresses God’s disposition, expresses that which God has and is, and He expresses God’s management plan, and the meaning, substance, and purpose of each stage of work, thereby enabling men to see that the words of God are the truth so that they finally become totally convinced and fall down before God. This is the true process by which man knows Christ. … When every believer in God casts his mind back, is it not clear to him how he resisted them and what expressions of disobedience he had at the time when he himself had just encountered of judgment and chastisement, and when he had just begun to receive and experience God’s judgment and chastisement, and how he passed judgment and what conceptions he had in his heart when he saw God’s words of judgment? It is truly not easy for corrupted man to accept God’s judgment and chastisement! It is only when we have some understanding of the substance of our own corruption after having experienced a number of years of judgment and chastisement that we feel that God’s judgment and chastisement of corrupted mankind is absolutely necessary; without God’s judgment and chastisement there would not be our submission today, nor would there be our genuine faith in God today, and even less would there be today’s gratitude to and praise of God. Well, what is it that is expressed by God’s judgment and chastisement? It is all the truth. If God did not use the truth to judge us, would we be convinced? Would we be able to fall down before God? Because all that God says is the truth, we are ashamed in the face of the truth and totally convinced, and it is only then that we are compliant. Prior to experiencing this stage of God’s work, who have we obeyed? We have obeyed no one. No matter how correct the words spoken by anyone, we feel in our hearts that they are not the truth, and they are unable to win us over. But we fall down before Christ’s judgment seat, and we are utterly convinced in the face of the truth. This is a fact. Well, why do we fall down? Why do we arrive at total conviction in the judgment and chastisement of Christ? It is because the words of Christ are all the truth, they are the truth that we have never heard, they are the truth that entire corrupted mankind did not know. We fall down before the truth, therefore we have seen in God’s judgment and chastisement that Christ is the truth, and there can be no mistake at all about this! We acknowledge that Christ is the truth because we have experienced Christ’s judgment and chastisement and we have arrived at knowledge of the essence of Christ. Now we know that the truth is the expression of Christ, and that Christ comes from God, therefore the truth is from God. After we have been conquered by God’s judgment and chastisement, we have seen that the power of God’s word is so great, and we have seen that the power of the truth is so great; only at that time will we know that God’s righteous disposition does not tolerate man’s offense. Whoever goes against Him will be judged and chastised, whoever goes against Him will be punished by God. If man dares to keep opposing God, he will ultimately fall down under the judgment and chastisement of God. Because of God’s judgment and chastisement, we have knowledge of God’s disposition; because of God’s judgment and chastisement, we have seen God’s omnipotence, and His wisdom, we have seen God’s wonderful actions, we have seen what God has and is, we have seen many lovable aspects of God. We have seen that all these things that God has and God is are the truth, with no mistake whatsoever, they are the manifestation of God’s honor and glory. If we fail to see that all of this that has been said by God is the truth, that it is all the manifestation of God’s honor and glory, well then, we cannot know the practical God, and we cannot know that Christ is the truth, the way, and the life. Today we are able to regard Christ as a most valuable treasure, and we are able to know that Christ is the truth, the way, and the life. Is this not God’s love? This is all God’s love. If man does not have a true knowledge of Christ, and does not see that Christ is the truth, the way, and the life, can man arrive at compatibility with Christ? He cannot. Only when he truly knows that Christ is the truth, the way, and the life will he then have no conception of the practical God. It matters not how normal and ordinary are the humanity and the life of the practical God, man will have no conception of Him because Christ has both divine substance and an outer shell of humanity. The outer shell of humanity indicates nothing. The essence of Christ is the truth, the way, and the life, which is the expression of His divinity. Without His divinity, He would not be able to express the way, the truth, and the life.
How should we know that Christ is the truth, the way, and the life? In concrete terms, we need to know this from three aspects. The first aspect is how we should know that Christ is the truth. Just now we have communicated what the truth is, what the essence of the truth is, and where the truth comes from, and we already know a little about that. Christ is the truth. Now we see clearly that God incarnate expressing the truth is “the Word appearing in the flesh.” “The Word” in “the Word appearing in the flesh” is the truth. All of Christ’s words are the truth. Now as we are experiencing God’s work, we have begun to understand the word of God and we see that God’s word is all the expression of God, without the slightest expression of man. When we hold the book of God’s word in our hands, however we read, we see that what the word expresses is what God has and is, and it bears witness to God. We can see no trace of the word of man in what is said, and no matter how we read it, no matter how we ponder it, we believe that the word was not spoken by an ordinary man, and that the person who spoke the word was expressing God, expressing what God has and is. You have seen this, haven’t you? If you take what a man says, regardless of what is said by whatever sort of famous man or great man, once you ponder over it, then you can see that it has been written by a man, it has been said by a man. But what about the word of God? When you read and ponder over it, you will then discover that it is something that cannot be said by any man, and that however you read it, you feel it is the word of God, it bears witness to God and it expresses God. The words of man can only explain the things of man, they are only able to speak of what man has and is, and they cannot speak of what God has and is. Regardless of what kind of famous man or great man, the books that he writes only bear witness to what man has and is. They only bear witness to himself, how he has lived, what his knowledge is, and what his views are. He writes of what he has experienced, the various kinds of people, things, and events that he has seen. When you read the words of a man, you can see that they are man’s words. But when you have got and read the words of Christ, however you may ponder over them, they do not seem to have been written about men. “Who is this person speaking? What is the status of the person speaking, what is his position, and what is his essence? Why is it that everything he speaks are the words of God, and he has expressed God’s mysteries, how God manages mankind, how God created mankind, how God treats mankind, as well as the disposition that God expresses and what God has and is?” You just feel that this man is very much out of the ordinary, he is an uncommon man, and he seems to have come from God. “How can this man speak so clearly, and so penetratingly, of what God has and is? Why does man fail to see it however they have studied?” You then believe that these words are extraordinary, and that they are really the truth. The more that you experience God’s work, the more you will feel that the words of Christ originate from God, they express God and they are the expression of God, and they are the expression of the Spirit. The person that has spoken these words is a young person, not old. Who among you is able to see from the words of God that the person who has said these words is a young person? It is a wonderful thing for someone who has no experience of worldly affairs to be able to speak such words. Now we know that the word of God emanates from God’s Spirit. The words that are expressed by God’s Spirit only bear witness to God. They express God’s meaning, and they express what God wants to say to mankind, and they do not express a young person’s own experience of life; what this young person has expressed is the work of God, it is what God has and is, it is God’s management plan, and it is God’s judgment and chastisement of mankind; it is the truth. The truth has come from God, it cannot be said by any man, and it can only be expressed by God’s Spirit; Christ has divine substance, and therefore He is able to express what divinity is. Why are we unable to speak of what God is? We do not have divine substance, we only have human substance; if we are asked to speak of the things of man, we know a little, but if we are asked to speak of the things of God, we know nothing whatsoever. Only when we have gained some experience and knowledge of God’s work will we be able to tell a tiny amount of that knowledge, but that will be no more than a drop in the ocean, it will only be a drop of knowledge of those things spoken of by God. We see that Christ comes from God, and that He is God incarnate, entirely the expression of the Spirit of God, because only the Spirit of God can express what God is, and can bear witness to what God is. This then fulfills what God has said, “Only I Myself can bear witness to Myself, only I Myself can express Myself, and only I Myself can do My own work.” This is to say that Christ is the truth, which we have already seen from the word of God. Now that we are experiencing God’s work, we have understood a little of the truth and we are able to summarize from the word of God twenty-one truths that believers in God should at least possess to attain God’s salvation. These are the twenty-one truths that man must possess to attain God’s salvation. If you want to be made perfect, in fact, after you have understood these twenty-one truths, you will then have the truths of all the other aspects, and you will understand them directly. The most important of these twenty-one truths is that you must know the three stages of God’s work, which is the vision and basis of one’s belief in God. This is the first truth. The second truth is the need to obtain the knowledge of God’s disposition. The disposition of God in the Age of Grace is primarily compassion and love. We have seen now that this is not God’s inherent disposition in its entirety and it is only a part of God’s disposition. God’s inherent disposition is primarily righteousness. Righteousness is foremost, compassion and love are secondary and they are included within the primary disposition of righteousness. Therefore, compassion and love are not the principal disposition of God. Knowing that God’s principal disposition, His inherent disposition, is primarily righteousness, this is the second truth that believers in God must possess to receive salvation. The third truth is that you must have knowledge of the corrupt essence of mankind. Once people have true knowledge of their own corrupt essence, they will be able to discern the evil nature of Satan, and they will be able to see more clearly the true condition of the whole of corrupted mankind. Accordingly, they will be able to see the root of the world being dark and evil. They will achieve these results because they have real knowledge of their own corrupt essence. When men have understood the reality of how Satan has corrupted mankind, how Satan rebelled against God, and how Satan has resisted God and opposed God, they will then begin to hate Satan, they will then be able to truly forsake Satan and forsake the great red dragon and turn completely to God. These results will all be achieved through their knowledge of their own corrupt essence. The fourth truth is that we must know that corrupted mankind needs the salvation of God incarnate and that rejection of Christ leads to perdition or destruction. The fifth truth is that we must know that the truth originates from God, and that only Christ is the truth, the way, and the life. The sixth truth is that we must know that everything that God does is out of real love of mankind, it is salvation, and regardless of whether it is judgment and chastisement or suffering and trials, it is the pain that corrupted mankind must endure in order to attain salvation. The seventh truth is that we must know what pursuing the truth means to one’s attaining salvation and know what the significance of obtaining the truth is, and what the value of truth is to man. The eighth truth is that we must know how Satan corrupts man, how the great red dragon slaughters people, devours people, and dominates people. The ninth truth is that we must know the darkness of the world and the wickedness of the age, and that the darkness of the trends of the world is entirely brought about through the control exercised by Satan. The tenth truth is that we must know that the great red dragon is the source of all the forces of evil in the world today, and we also need to know the substance of all manner of poisons of the great red dragon. The eleventh truth is that we must know the relationship between God’s sovereignty and Satan’s grip on the world, and must know that God’s wisdom is exercised based on Satan’s cunning schemes, and from this know the omnipotence and wisdom of God. The twelfth truth is that we must know which disasters have been brought upon mankind by the rule of the great red dragon, what the consequences of the rule of corrupted mankind are, and what the difference is between the rule of corrupted mankind and the rule of the great red dragon. The thirteenth truth is that we must know that we people, after being corrupted by the great red dragon under its grip, have become its descendants, the offspring of Satan, and only when we have truly resolved the poisons of the great red dragon within us will we have been truly purified and attained salvation. The fourteenth truth is that we must know what man’s nature is, what the origin of man’s nature is, and what the relationship is between man’s nature and his corrupt disposition. The fifteenth truth is that we must know God’s absolute righteousness, that God is righteous toward any man, and that God’s arrangements of the ends of all kinds of people are just and reasonable. The sixteenth truth is that we must know the difference between the normal humanity and the corrupt humanity, the intrinsic difference between the honest man and the deceitful man, and we must also know the significance of striving to be an honest man. The seventeenth truth is that we must know the significance of created beings fulfilling their duty and that created beings ought to possess sufficient good deeds. The eighteenth truth is that we must know the basis and principles of the work of the Holy Spirit, and know the difference between the work of the Holy Spirit and the work of evil spirits. The nineteenth truth is that we must know what true obedience to God is, what resistance against God is, how true obedience comes about, and what the root of resistance against God is. The twentieth truth is that we must know what attaining salvation and being perfected are. The twenty-first truth is that we must know the essence of Christ, which is the basis of attaining salvation. Now do we not have some basic understanding of all of the twenty-one truths? Although we have not entered into them so deeply, we all have some experience and knowledge of them. As we have some experience and knowledge of these twenty-one truths, we can achieve a fully clear understanding of them. At that time, we will have attained complete salvation. Now that we have seen that it is completely possible to achieve an understanding of these twenty-one truths, it seems that the attainment of salvation is absolutely within our grasp. If now we can go on to strive for the truth, and to pay some price, and if from that experience we are able to achieve obedience to God, and satisfy God, then we will be completely clear about these twenty-one truths. When we are completely clear about these truths, we will have basic affirmation that Christ is the truth. We have understood so many truths from the work of Christ; where do these truths come from? They have been expressed by Christ, right? They are all the words of Christ, they have been brought by Christ. If we are able to understand that these truths have all been expressed by Christ, and brought by Christ, then do we not know that Christ is the truth? If Christ did not have the truth, would we be able to obtain so many truths? It is precisely because Christ is the truth that we are able to obtain these truths through experiencing His work and obeying and putting into practice His words. Therefore, the reason why we are able today to receive God’s salvation is that Christ—the practical God—has brought us salvation; and that we believe in the practical God and have experienced the work of the practical God. Therefore, we can then truly know that Christ is the truth.