4. Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of the Incarnate God
Relevant Words of God:
God’s saving of man is not done directly using the method of the Spirit and the identity of the Spirit, for His Spirit can neither be touched nor seen by man, neither can man draw near. If He tried to save man directly using the perspective of the Spirit, man would be unable to receive His salvation. If God did not put on the outward form of a created man, there would be no way for man to receive this salvation. For man has no way of approaching Him, much as no one was able to go near the cloud of Jehovah. Only by becoming a created human being, that is, only by putting His word into the body of flesh that He is about to become, can He personally work the word into all who follow Him. Only then can man personally see and hear His word, and moreover enter into possession of His word, and by this means come to be fully saved. If God did not become flesh, no one of flesh and blood would be able to receive such great salvation, nor would a single person be saved. If the Spirit of God worked directly in the midst of mankind, all humanity would be struck down, or else, with no way of coming into touch with God, they would be completely carried away captive by Satan. The first incarnation was to redeem man from sin, to redeem him by means of the fleshly body of Jesus, that is, He saved man from the cross, but the corrupt satanic disposition still remained within man. The second incarnation is no longer to serve as a sin offering but rather to save fully those who were redeemed from sin. This is done so that those who have been forgiven may be delivered from their sins and made fully clean, and by attaining a changed disposition, break free of Satan’s influence of darkness and return before the throne of God. Only in this way can man be fully sanctified.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)
Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of the Incarnate God
(A Selected Chapter of God’s Word)
God became flesh because the object of His work is not the spirit of Satan, or any incorporeal thing, but man, who is of the flesh and has been corrupted by Satan. It is precisely because the flesh of man has been corrupted that God has made fleshly man the object of His work; moreover, because man is the object of corruption, God has made man the only object of His work throughout all the stages of His salvation work. Man is a mortal being, is of flesh and blood, and God is the only One who can save man. In this way, God must become a flesh that possesses the same attributes as man in order to do His work, so that His work might achieve better effects. God must become flesh to do His work precisely because man is of the flesh, and incapable of overcoming sin or divesting himself of the flesh. Though the essence and identity of God incarnate differ greatly from the essence and identity of man, yet His appearance is identical to that of man; He has the appearance of a normal person, and leads the life of a normal person, and those who see Him can discern no difference to a normal person. This normal appearance and normal humanity are sufficient for Him to do His divine work in normal humanity. His flesh allows Him to do His work in normal humanity, and helps Him do His work among man, and His normal humanity, moreover, helps Him carry out the work of salvation among man. Although His normal humanity has caused much tumult among man, such tumult has not impacted the normal effects of His work. In short, the work of His normal flesh is of supreme benefit to man. Though most people do not accept His normal humanity, His work can still achieve results, and these results are achieved thanks to His normal humanity. Of this there is no doubt. From His work in the flesh, man gains ten times or dozens of times more things than the notions that exist among man about His normal humanity, and such notions shall all ultimately be swallowed by His work. And the effect that His work has achieved, which is to say, the knowledge that man has toward Him, far outweighs man’s notions about Him. There is no way to imagine or measure the work He does in the flesh, for His flesh is unlike that of any fleshly human being; although the outer shell is identical, the essence is not the same. His flesh engenders many notions among man about God, yet His flesh can also allow man to acquire much knowledge, and can even conquer any person possessed of a similar outer shell. For He is not merely human, but is God with the outer shell of a human, and none can completely fathom or understand Him. An invisible and intangible God is loved and welcomed by all. If God is just a Spirit that is invisible to man, it is so easy for man to believe in God. People can give free rein to their imaginations, can choose whatever image they like as God’s image to please themselves and make themselves feel happy. In this way, people may do whatever their own God most likes and wishes for them to do, without any scruples. What is more, people believe that no one is more loyal and devout than they toward God, and that all others are Gentile dogs, and disloyal to God. It can be said that this is what is sought by those whose belief in God is vague and based on doctrine; what they seek is all much the same, with little variation. It is merely that the images of God in their imaginations are different, yet their essence is actually the same.
Man is untroubled by his carefree belief in God and believes in God however he pleases. This is one of the “rights and freedoms of man,” with which no one may interfere, for people believe in their own God and not the God of anyone else; it is their own private property, and almost everyone possesses this kind of private property. People regard this property as a precious treasure, but to God there is nothing more lowly or worthless, for there is no clearer indication of opposition to God than this private property of man. It is because of the work of God incarnate that God becomes a flesh with a tangible form, and who can be seen and touched by man. He is not a formless Spirit, but a flesh that man can see and come into contact with. However, most of the Gods people believe in are fleshless deities that are formless, which are also of a free form. In this way, the incarnate God has become the enemy of most of those who believe in God, and those who cannot accept the fact of God’s incarnation have, similarly, become the adversaries of God. Man is possessed of notions not because of his way of thinking, or because of his rebelliousness, but because of this private property of man. It is because of this property that most people die, and it is this vague God that cannot be touched, cannot be seen, and does not exist in reality that ruins man’s life. Man’s life is forfeited not by the incarnate God, much less by the God of heaven, but by the God of man’s own imagining. The only reason that the incarnate God has come into the flesh is because of the needs of corrupt man. It is because of the needs of man, not of God, and all His sacrifices and sufferings are for the sake of mankind, and not for the benefit of God Himself. There are no pros and cons or rewards for God; He shall not reap some future harvest, but that which was originally owed to Him. All that He does and sacrifices for mankind is not so that He might gain great rewards, but purely for the sake of mankind. Though God’s work in the flesh involves many unimaginable difficulties, the effects that it ultimately achieves far exceed those of the work done directly by the Spirit. The work of the flesh entails much hardship, and the flesh cannot possess the same great identity as the Spirit, He cannot carry out the same supernatural deeds as the Spirit, much less can He possess the same authority as the Spirit. Yet the essence of the work done by this unremarkable flesh is far superior to that of the work done directly by the Spirit, and this flesh Himself is the answer to the needs of all mankind. For those to be saved, the use value of the Spirit is far inferior to that of the flesh: The work of the Spirit is able to cover the entire universe, across all mountains, rivers, lakes, and oceans, yet the work of the flesh more effectively relates to every person with whom He comes into contact. What is more, God’s flesh with tangible form can better be understood and trusted by man, and can further deepen man’s knowledge of God, and can leave upon man a more profound impression of the actual deeds of God. The work of the Spirit is shrouded in mystery; it is difficult for mortal beings to fathom, and even harder for them to see, and so they can only rely on hollow imaginings. The work of the flesh, however, is normal, and based on reality, and possessed of rich wisdom, and is a fact that can be beheld by the physical eye of man; man can personally experience the wisdom of the work of God, and has no need to employ his bountiful imagination. This is the accuracy and real value of the work of God in the flesh. The Spirit can only do things that are invisible to man and difficult for him to imagine, for example the enlightenment of the Spirit, the moving of the Spirit, and the guidance of the Spirit, but for man who has a mind, these do not provide any clear meaning. They only provide a moving, or a broad meaning, and cannot give an instruction with words. The work of God in the flesh, however, is greatly different: It involves the accurate guidance of words, it has clear will, and has clear required goals. And so man does not need to grope around, or employ his imagination, much less make guesses. This is the clarity of the work in the flesh, and its great difference from the work of the Spirit. The work of the Spirit is only suitable for a limited scope and cannot replace the work of the flesh. The work of the flesh gives man far more exact and necessary goals and far more real, valuable knowledge than the work of the Spirit. The work that is of greatest value to corrupt man is that which provides accurate words, clear goals to pursue, and which can be seen and touched. Only realistic work and timely guidance are suited to man’s tastes, and only real work can save man from his corrupt and depraved disposition. This can only be achieved by the incarnate God; only the incarnate God can save man from his formerly corrupt and depraved disposition. Although the Spirit is the inherent essence of God, work such as this can only be done by His flesh. If the Spirit worked single-handedly, then it would not be possible for His work to be effective—this is a plain truth. Though most people have become the enemies of God because of this flesh, when He concludes His work, those who are against Him will not only cease to be His enemies, but on the contrary will become His witnesses. They will become the witnesses that have been conquered by Him, witnesses that are compatible with Him and inseparable from Him. He shall cause man to know the importance of His work in the flesh to man, and man shall know the importance of this flesh to the meaning of man’s existence, shall know His real value to the growth of man’s life, and, moreover, shall know that this flesh will become a living fountain of life from which man cannot bear to part. Though the incarnate flesh of God is far from matching God’s identity and position, and seems to man to be incompatible with His actual status, this flesh, who does not possess the true image of God, or the true identity of God, can do the work that God’s Spirit is unable to do directly. Such is the true significance and value of God’s incarnation, and it is this significance and value which man is unable to appreciate and acknowledge. Though all mankind look up to God’s Spirit and look down on God’s flesh, irrespective of how they view or think, the real significance and value of the flesh far exceed those of the Spirit. Of course, this is only with regard to corrupt mankind. For everyone who seeks the truth and longs for the appearance of God, the Spirit’s work can only provide moving or inspiration, and a sense of wondrousness that it is inexplicable and unimaginable, and a sense that it is great, transcendent, and admirable, yet also unattainable and unobtainable to all. Man and the Spirit of God can only look upon each other from afar, as if there were a great distance between them, and they can never be alike, as if man and God were separated by an invisible divide. In fact, this is an illusion given to man by the Spirit, which is because the Spirit and man are not of the same kind and shall never coexist in the same world, and because the Spirit possesses nothing of man. So man does not have need of the Spirit, for the Spirit cannot directly do the work most needed by man. The work of the flesh offers man real objectives to pursue, clear words, and a sense that He is real and normal, that He is humble and ordinary. Although man may fear Him, for most people He is easy to relate to: Man can behold His face, and hear His voice, and he does not need to look at Him from afar. This flesh feels approachable to man, not distant, or unfathomable, but visible and touchable, for this flesh is in the same world as man.
For all of those who live in the flesh, changing their disposition requires goals to pursue, and knowing God requires witnessing the real deeds and the real face of God. Both can only be achieved by God’s incarnate flesh, and both can only be accomplished by the normal and real flesh. This is why the incarnation is necessary, and why it is needed by all corrupt mankind. Since people are required to know God, the images of the vague and supernatural Gods must be dispelled from their hearts, and since they are required to cast off their corrupt disposition, they must first know their corrupt disposition. If only man does the work to dispel the images of the vague Gods from people’s hearts, then he will fail to achieve the proper effect. The images of the vague Gods in people’s hearts cannot be exposed, cast off, or completely expelled by words alone. In doing so, ultimately it would still not be possible to dispel these deep-rooted things from people. Only by replacing these vague and supernatural things with the practical God and the true image of God, and making people gradually know them, can the due effect be achieved. Man recognizes that the God whom he sought in times past is vague and supernatural. That which can achieve this effect is not the direct leadership of the Spirit, much less the teachings of a certain individual, but the incarnate God. The notions of man are laid bare when the incarnate God officially does His work, because the normality and reality of the incarnate God is the antithesis of the vague and supernatural God in man’s imagination. The original notions of man can only be revealed when contrasted against the incarnate God. Without the comparison to the incarnate God, the notions of man could not be revealed; in other words, without reality as a foil, the vague things could not be revealed. No one is capable of using words to do this work, and no one is capable of articulating this work using words. Only God Himself can do His own work, and no one else can do this work on His behalf. No matter how rich the language of man is, he is incapable of articulating the reality and normality of God. Man can only know God more practically, and can only see Him more clearly, if God personally works among man and completely shows forth His image and His being. This effect cannot be achieved by any human being of flesh. Of course, God’s Spirit is also incapable of achieving this effect. God can save corrupt man from the influence of Satan, but this work cannot be directly accomplished by the Spirit of God; rather, it can only be done by the flesh God’s Spirit wears, by God’s incarnate flesh. This flesh is man and is also God, is a man possessed of normal humanity and also God possessed of full divinity. And so, even though this flesh is not the Spirit of God, and differs greatly from the Spirit, it is still the incarnate God Himself who saves man, who is the Spirit and also the flesh. No matter what He is called by, ultimately it is still God Himself who saves mankind. For the Spirit of God is indivisible from the flesh, and the work of the flesh is also the work of the Spirit of God; it is just that this work is not done using the identity of the Spirit, but is done using the identity of the flesh. Work that needs to be done directly by the Spirit does not require incarnation, and work that requires the flesh to do cannot be done directly by the Spirit, and can only be done by God incarnate. This is what is required for this work, and it is what is required by corrupt mankind. In the three stages of God’s work, only one stage was carried out directly by the Spirit, and the remaining two stages are carried out by the incarnate God, and not directly by the Spirit. The work of the Age of Law done by the Spirit did not involve changing the corrupt disposition of man, and neither did it bear any relation to man’s knowledge of God. The work of God’s flesh in the Age of Grace and the Age of Kingdom, however, involves man’s corrupt disposition and his knowledge of God, and is an important and crucial part of the work of salvation. Therefore, corrupt mankind is more in need of the salvation of the incarnate God, and is more in need of the direct work of the incarnate God. Mankind needs the incarnate God to shepherd him, support him, water him, feed him, judge and chastise him, and he needs more grace and greater redemption from the incarnate God. Only God in the flesh can be the confidant of man, the shepherd of man, the very present help of man, and all of this is the necessity of the incarnation both today and in times past.
Man has been corrupted by Satan and is the highest of all God’s creatures, therefore man is in need of God’s salvation. The object of God’s salvation is man, not Satan, and that which shall be saved is the flesh of man, and the soul of man, and not the devil. Satan is the object of God’s annihilation, man is the object of God’s salvation, and the flesh of man has been corrupted by Satan, so the first to be saved must be the flesh of man. The flesh of man has been most profoundly corrupted, and it has become something which opposes God, so much so that it even openly opposes and denies the existence of God. This corrupt flesh is simply too intractable, and nothing is more difficult to deal with or change than the corrupt disposition of the flesh. Satan comes into the flesh of man to stir up disturbances, and it uses the flesh of man to disturb the work of God and impair the plan of God, and thus man has become Satan, and become the enemy of God. For man to be saved, he must first be conquered. It is because of this that God rises to the challenge and comes into the flesh to do the work He intends to do, and to do battle with Satan. His aim is the salvation of man, who has been corrupted, and the defeat and annihilation of Satan, which rebels against Him. He defeats Satan through His work of conquering man, while at the same time He saves corrupt mankind. Thus, it is a work that achieves two aims at once. He works in the flesh, and speaks in the flesh, and undertakes all work in the flesh in order to better engage with man, and better conquer man. The last time that God becomes flesh, His work of the last days will be concluded in the flesh. He will class all men according to kind, conclude His entire management, and also conclude all His work in the flesh. After all His work on earth comes to an end, He will be completely victorious. Working in the flesh, God will have fully conquered mankind, and fully gained mankind. Does this not mean that His entire management will have come to an end? When God concludes His work in the flesh, as He has fully defeated Satan and has been victorious, Satan will have no further opportunity to corrupt man. The work of the first incarnation of God was the redemption and forgiveness of man’s sins. Now it is the work of conquering and fully gaining mankind, so that Satan will no longer have any way to do its work, and will have completely lost, and God will have been completely victorious. This is the work of the flesh, and is the work done by God Himself. The initial work of the three stages of God’s work was done directly by the Spirit, and not by the flesh. The final work of the three stages of God’s work, however, is done by the incarnate God, and not directly by the Spirit. The work of redemption of the intermediary stage was also done by God in the flesh. Throughout the entire management work, the most important work is to save man from the influence of Satan. The key work is the complete conquest of corrupt man, thus restoring the original reverence of God in the heart of conquered man, and allowing him to achieve a normal life, which is to say, the normal life of a creature of God. This work is crucial, and it is the core of the management work. In the three stages of the work of salvation, the first stage of the work of the Age of Law was far from the core of the management work; it only had the slight appearance of the work of salvation, and was not the beginning of God’s work of saving man from the domain of Satan. The first stage of work was done directly by the Spirit because, under the law, man only knew to abide by the law, and man did not have more truth, and because the work in the Age of Law hardly involved changes in the disposition of man, much less was it concerned with the work of how to save man from the domain of Satan. Thus the Spirit of God completed this supremely simple stage of work that did not concern the corrupt disposition of man. This stage of work bore little relation to the core of the management, and it had no great correlation to the official work of the salvation of man, and so it did not require God to become flesh to personally do His work. The work done by the Spirit is implicit and unfathomable, and it is deeply frightening and unapproachable to man; the Spirit is not suited to directly doing the work of salvation, and is not suited to directly providing life to man. Most suitable for man is to transform the work of the Spirit into an approach that is close to man, which is to say, what is most suitable for man is for God to become an ordinary, normal person to do His work. This requires God to be incarnated to take the place of the Spirit in His work, and for man, there is no more suitable way for God to work. Among these three stages of work, two stages are carried out by the flesh, and these two stages are the key phases of the management work. The two incarnations are mutually complementary and they complement each other perfectly. The first stage of God’s incarnation laid the foundation for the second stage, and it can be said that the two incarnations of God form one whole and are not incompatible with each other. These two stages of God’s work are carried out by God in His incarnate identity because they are so important to the entire management work. It could almost be said that, without the work of the two incarnations of God, the entire management work would have ground to a halt, and the work of saving mankind would be nothing but empty talk. Whether or not this work is important is based on the needs of mankind, on the reality of mankind’s depravity, and on the severity of Satan’s disobedience and its disturbance of the work. The right one who is up to the task is predicated upon the nature of the work performed by the worker, and the importance of the work. When it comes to the importance of this work, in terms of what method of work to adopt—work done directly by God’s Spirit, or work done by God incarnate, or work done through man—the first to be eliminated is work done through man, and, based on the nature of the work, and the nature of the Spirit’s work versus that of the flesh, it is ultimately decided that work done by the flesh is more beneficial for man than work done directly by the Spirit, and that it offers more advantages. This is God’s thought at the time when He decided whether the work was to be done by the Spirit or by the flesh. There is a significance and a basis to each stage of work. They are not groundless imaginings, nor are they carried out arbitrarily; there is a certain wisdom to them. Such is the truth behind all of God’s work. In particular, there is even more of God’s plan in such a great work as God incarnate personally working among man. Therefore, God’s wisdom and the entirety of His being are reflected in every action, thought, and idea in His work; this is the more concrete and systematic being of God. These subtle thoughts and ideas are difficult for man to imagine, and difficult for man to believe, and, moreover, difficult for man to know. Work done by man is done according to general principle, which, for man, is highly satisfactory. Yet compared to the work of God, there is simply too great a disparity; although the deeds of God are great and the work of God is of a magnificent scale, behind them are many minute and precise plans and arrangements that are unimaginable to man. Each stage of His work is not only performed according to principle, but each stage also contains many things that cannot be articulated by human language, and these are the things that are invisible to man. Regardless of whether it is the work of the Spirit or the work of God incarnate, each contains the plans of His work. He does not work groundlessly, and He does not do insignificant work. When the Spirit works directly, it is with His goals, and when He becomes man (which is to say, when He transforms His outer shell) to work, it is even more with His purpose. Why else would He readily change His identity? Why else would He readily become a person who is regarded as lowly and is persecuted?
His work in the flesh is of the utmost significance, which is spoken with regard to the work, and the One who ultimately concludes the work is the incarnate God, and not the Spirit. Some believe that God may at some unknown time come to earth and appear to man, whereupon He shall personally judge the whole of mankind, testing them one by one without anyone being left out. Those who think in this way do not know this stage of work of the incarnation. God does not judge man one by one, and He does not test man one by one; to do thus would not be the work of judgment. Is not the corruption of all mankind the same? Is not the essence of all mankind the same? What is judged is mankind’s corrupt essence, man’s essence corrupted by Satan, and all the sins of man. God does not judge the trifling and insignificant faults of man. The work of judgment is representative, and it is not carried out especially for a certain person. Rather, it is work in which a group of people are judged in order to represent the judgment of all of mankind. By personally carrying out His work on a group of people, God in the flesh uses His work to represent the work of the whole of mankind, after which it is gradually spread. This is also how the work of judgment is. God does not judge a certain kind of person or a certain group of people, but instead judges the unrighteousness of the whole of mankind—man’s opposition to God, for example, or man’s irreverence toward Him, or man’s disturbance of the work of God, and so on. What is judged is mankind’s essence of opposition to God, and this work is the work of conquest of the last days. The work and word of the incarnate God witnessed by man are the work of judgment before the great white throne during the last days, which was conceived by man during times past. The work that is currently being done by the incarnate God is exactly the judgment before the great white throne. The incarnate God of today is the God who judges the whole of mankind during the last days. This flesh and His work, His word, and His entire disposition are the entirety of Him. Although the scope of His work is limited, and does not directly involve the entire universe, the essence of the work of judgment is the direct judgment of all mankind—not only for the sake of the chosen people of China, nor for the sake of a small number of people. During the work of God in the flesh, although the scope of this work does not involve the entire universe, it represents the work of the entire universe, and after He concludes the work within the work scope of His flesh, He will immediately expand this work to the entire universe, in the same way that the gospel of Jesus spread throughout the universe following His resurrection and ascension. Regardless of whether it is the work of the Spirit or the work of the flesh, it is work that is carried out within a limited scope, but which represents the work of the entire universe. During the last days, God performs His work by appearing in His incarnate identity, and God in the flesh is the God who judges man before the great white throne. Regardless of whether He is the Spirit or the flesh, He who does the work of judgment is the God who judges mankind during the last days. This is defined based on His work, and it is not defined according to His external appearance or several other factors. Although man harbors notions about these words, no one can deny the fact of the incarnate God’s judgment and conquest of all mankind. Regardless of what man thinks of it, facts are, after all, facts. No one can say that “The work is done by God, but the flesh is not God.” This is nonsense, for this work can be done by no one except God in the flesh. Since this work has already been completed, following this work the work of God’s judgment of man shall not appear for a second time; God in His second incarnation has already concluded all of the work of the entire management, and there shall not be a fourth stage of God’s work. Because the one who is judged is man, man who is of the flesh and has been corrupted, and it is not the spirit of Satan that is judged directly, the work of judgment is therefore not carried out in the spiritual world, but among man. No one is more suitable, and qualified, than God in the flesh for the work of judging the corruption of man’s flesh. If judgment were carried out directly by the Spirit of God, then it would not be all-embracing. Furthermore, such work would be difficult for man to accept, for the Spirit is unable to come face-to-face with man, and because of this, the effects would not be immediate, much less would man be able to behold the unoffendable disposition of God more clearly. Satan can only be fully defeated if God in the flesh judges the corruption of mankind. Being the same as man possessed of normal humanity, God in the flesh can directly judge the unrighteousness of man; this is the mark of His innate holiness, and of His extraordinariness. Only God is qualified to, and is in the position to, judge man, for He is possessed of the truth, and righteousness, and so He is able to judge man. Those who are without truth and righteousness are not fit to judge others. If this work were done by the Spirit of God, then it would not mean victory over Satan. The Spirit is inherently more exalted than mortal beings, and the Spirit of God is inherently holy, and triumphant over the flesh. If the Spirit did this work directly, He would not be able to judge all of man’s disobedience and could not reveal all of man’s unrighteousness. For the work of judgment is also carried out through man’s notions about God, and man has never had any notions about the Spirit, and so the Spirit is incapable of better revealing the unrighteousness of man, much less of completely disclosing such unrighteousness. The incarnate God is the enemy of all those who do not know Him. Through judging man’s notions and opposition to Him, He discloses all the disobedience of mankind. The effects of His work in the flesh are more apparent than those of the work of the Spirit. And so, the judgment of all mankind is not carried out directly by the Spirit but is the work of the incarnate God. God in the flesh can be seen and touched by man, and God in the flesh can completely conquer man. In his relationship with God in the flesh, man progresses from opposition to obedience, from persecution to acceptance, from notions to knowledge, and from rejection to love—these are the effects of the work of the incarnate God. Man is only saved through the acceptance of His judgment, man only gradually comes to know Him through the words of His mouth, man is conquered by Him during his opposition to Him, and he receives the life supply from Him during the acceptance of His chastisement. All of this work is the work of God in the flesh, and not the work of God in His identity as the Spirit. The work done by God incarnate is the greatest work, and the most profound work, and the crucial part of the three stages of God’s work are the two stages of the work of incarnation. The profound corruption of man is a great obstacle to the work of God incarnate. In particular, the work carried out on the people of the last days is tremendously difficult, and the environment is hostile, and the caliber of every kind of person is quite poor. Yet at the end of this work, it will still achieve the proper effect, without any flaws; this is the effect of the work of the flesh, and this effect is more persuasive than that of the work of the Spirit. The three stages of God’s work shall be concluded in the flesh, and they must be concluded by the incarnate God. The most important and most crucial work is done in the flesh, and the salvation of man must be personally carried out by God in the flesh. Even though all mankind feels that God in the flesh seems unrelated to man, in fact this flesh concerns the fate and existence of the whole of mankind.
Every stage of God’s work is implemented for the sake of all mankind and is directed at the whole of mankind. Even though it is His work in the flesh, it is still directed at all mankind; He is the God of all mankind, and He is the God of all created and non-created beings. Although His work in the flesh is within a limited scope, and the object of this work is also limited, each time He becomes flesh to do His work He chooses an object of His work that is supremely representative; He does not select a group of simple and unremarkable people on which to work, but instead picks as the object of His work a group of people capable of being the representatives for His work in the flesh. This group of people is chosen because the scope of His work in the flesh is limited, and is prepared especially for His incarnate flesh, and is chosen especially for His work in the flesh. God’s selection of the objects of His work is not baseless, but is done according to principle: The object of the work must be of benefit to the work of God in the flesh, and must be able to represent the whole of mankind. For example, the Jews were able to represent the whole of mankind in accepting the personal redemption of Jesus, and the Chinese are able to represent the whole of mankind in accepting the personal conquest of the incarnate God. There is a basis to the Jews’ representation of the whole of mankind, and there is also a basis to Chinese people’s representation of the whole of mankind in accepting the personal conquest of God. Nothing reveals the significance of redemption more than the work of redemption done among the Jews, and nothing reveals the thoroughness and success of the work of conquest more than the work of conquest being done among Chinese people. The work and word of God incarnate appear to only be aimed at a small group of people, but in fact, His work among this small group is the work of the entire universe, and His word is directed at the whole of mankind. After His work in the flesh comes to an end, those who follow Him shall begin to spread the work He has done among them. The best thing about His work in the flesh is that He can leave accurate words and exhortations, and His specific will for mankind to those who follow Him, so that afterward His followers can more accurately and more concretely pass on all of His work in the flesh, and His will for the whole of mankind, to those who accept this way. Only the work of God in the flesh among man truly accomplishes the fact of God’s being together and living together with man. Only this work fulfills man’s desire to behold the face of God, witness the work of God, and hear the personal word of God. The incarnate God brings to an end the age when only the back of Jehovah appeared to mankind, and He also concludes the age of mankind’s belief in the vague God. In particular, the work of the last incarnate God brings all mankind into an age that is more realistic, more practical, and more beautiful. He not only concludes the age of law and doctrine but, more importantly, He reveals to mankind a God who is real and normal, who is righteous and holy, who unlocks the work of the management plan and who demonstrates the mysteries and destination of mankind, who created mankind and brings to an end the management work, and who has remained hidden for thousands of years. He brings the age of vagueness to a complete end, He concludes the age in which the whole of mankind wished to seek God’s face but was unable to, He ends the age in which the whole of mankind served Satan, and He leads the whole of mankind all the way into a completely new era. All this is the outcome of the work of God in the flesh in place of God’s Spirit. When God works in His flesh, those who follow Him no longer seek and grope after those things which seem to both exist and not exist, and they cease to guess at the will of the vague God. When God spreads His work in the flesh, those who follow Him shall pass on the work that He has done in the flesh to all religions and denominations, and they shall communicate all of His words to the ears of the whole of mankind. All that is heard by those who receive His gospel shall be the facts of His work, shall be things personally seen and heard by man, and shall be facts and not hearsay. These facts are the evidence with which He spreads the work, and they are also the tools that He uses in spreading the work. Without the existence of facts, His gospel would not spread across all countries and to all places; without facts but only with man’s imaginings, He would never be able to do the work of conquering the entire universe. The Spirit is impalpable to man, and invisible to man, and the work of the Spirit is incapable of leaving any further evidence or facts of God’s work for man. Man shall never behold the real face of God, he shall always believe in a vague God that does not exist. Man shall never behold the face of God, nor will man ever hear words personally spoken by God. Man’s imaginings are, after all, empty, and cannot replace the true face of God; the inherent disposition of God, and the work of God Himself, cannot be impersonated by man. The invisible God in heaven and His work can only be brought to earth by God incarnate who personally does His work among man. This is the most ideal way for God to appear to man, in which man sees God and comes to know the true face of God, and it cannot be achieved by a non-incarnate God. Having carried out His work to this stage, God’s work has already achieved the optimal effect, and has been a complete success. The personal work of God in the flesh has already completed ninety percent of the work of His entire management. This flesh has provided a better beginning to all of His work, and a summary for all of His work, and has promulgated all of His work, and made the last thorough replenishment to all of this work. Henceforth, there will not be another incarnate God to do the fourth stage of God’s work, and never will there be any wondrous work of a third incarnation of God.
Each stage of work of God in the flesh represents His work of the entire age, and it does not represent a certain period, as does the work of man. And so the end of the work of His last incarnation does not mean that His work has come to a complete end, for His work in the flesh represents the entire age, and does not only represent the period in which He does His work in the flesh. It is just that He finishes His work of the entire age during the time that He is in the flesh, after which it spreads to all places. After the incarnate God fulfills His ministry, He will entrust His future work to those who follow Him. In this way, His work of the entire age will be carried on unbroken. The work of the entire age of incarnation shall only be considered complete once it has spread throughout the entire universe. The work of God incarnate begins a new era, and those who continue His work are those who are used by Him. The work done by man is all within the ministry of God in the flesh, and it is incapable of going beyond this scope. If God incarnate had not come to do His work, man would not be able to bring the old age to an end and would not be able to usher in a new era. The work done by man is merely within the range of his duty that is humanly possible to do, and it does not represent the work of God. Only the incarnate God can come and complete the work that He should do and, besides Him, no one can do this work on His behalf. Of course, what I speak of is in regard to the work of incarnation. This incarnate God first carries out a step of work that does not conform to the notions of man, after which He does more work that does not conform to the notions of man. The aim of the work is the conquest of man. In one regard, God’s incarnation does not conform to the notions of man, in addition to which He does more work that does not conform to the notions of man, and so man develops even more critical views about Him. He just does the work of conquest among people who have myriad notions about Him. Regardless of how they treat Him, once He has fulfilled His ministry, all people will have become subject to His dominion. The fact of this work is not only reflected among Chinese people, but it also represents how the whole of mankind shall be conquered. The effects that are achieved on these people are a precursor to the effects that shall be achieved on the whole of mankind, and the effects of the work that He does in the future shall increasingly exceed even the effects on these people. The work of God in the flesh does not involve great fanfare, nor is it wreathed in obscurity. It is real and actual, and it is work in which one and one equals two. It is not hidden from anyone, nor does it deceive anyone. What people see are real and genuine things, and what man gains is real truth and knowledge. When the work ends, man shall have a new knowledge of Him, and those who truly pursue shall no longer have any notions about Him. This is not just the effect of His work on Chinese people, but it also represents the effect of His work in conquering the whole of mankind, for nothing is more beneficial to the work of conquering the whole of mankind than this flesh, and the work of this flesh, and everything of this flesh. They are beneficial to His work today, and beneficial to His work in the future. This flesh shall conquer the whole of mankind and shall gain the whole of mankind. There is no better work through which the whole of mankind shall behold God, and obey God, and know God. The work done by man only represents a limited scope, and when God does His work He does not speak to a certain person, but speaks to the whole of mankind, and all those who accept His words. The end that He proclaims is the end of all mankind, not just the end of a certain person. He does not give anyone special treatment, nor does He victimize anyone, and He works for, and speaks to, the whole of mankind. This incarnate God has therefore already classed the whole of mankind according to kind, has already judged the whole of mankind, and has arranged a suitable destination for the whole of mankind. Although God only does His work in China, in fact He has already resolved the work of the entire universe. He cannot wait until His work has spread among the whole of mankind before making His utterances and arrangements step by step. Would that not be too late? Now He is fully able to complete the future work in advance. Because the One who is working is God in the flesh, He is doing limitless work within a limited scope, and afterward He shall make man perform the duty that man should perform; this is the principle of His work. He can only live with man for a time and cannot accompany man until the work of the whole era is concluded. It is because He is God that He foretells His future work in advance. Afterward, He shall class the whole of mankind according to kind by His words, and mankind shall enter into His step-by-step work according to His words. None shall escape, and all must practice according to this. So, in the future the age shall be guided by His words, and not guided by the Spirit.
The work of God in the flesh must be done in the flesh. If it were done directly by the Spirit of God, it would yield no effects. Even if it were done by the Spirit, the work would be of no great significance, and would ultimately be unpersuasive. All creatures wish to know whether the work of the Creator has significance, and what it represents, and what it is done for the sake of, and whether the work of God is full of authority and wisdom, and whether it is of the utmost value and significance. The work He does is done for the salvation of the whole of mankind, for the sake of defeating Satan, and for bearing testimony to Himself among all things. As such, the work that He does must be of great significance. The flesh of man has been corrupted by Satan, and it has been most deeply blinded, and profoundly harmed. The most fundamental reason why God works personally in the flesh is because the object of His salvation is man, who is of the flesh, and because Satan also uses the flesh of man to disturb the work of God. The battle with Satan is actually the work of conquering man, and at the same time, man is also the object of God’s salvation. In this way, the work of God incarnate is essential. Satan corrupted the flesh of man, and man became the embodiment of Satan, and became the object to be defeated by God. In this way, the work of doing battle with Satan and saving mankind occurs on earth, and God must become human in order to do battle with Satan. This is work of the utmost practicality. When God is working in the flesh, He is actually doing battle with Satan in the flesh. When He works in the flesh, He is doing His work in the spiritual realm, and He makes the whole of His work in the spiritual realm real on earth. The one who is conquered is man, man who is disobedient to Him, and the one who is defeated is the embodiment of Satan (of course, this is also man), who is in enmity to Him, and the one who is ultimately saved is also man. In this way, it is even more necessary for God to become a human who has the outer shell of a creation, so that He is able to do real battle with Satan, to conquer man, who is disobedient to Him and possessed of the same outer shell as Him, and to save man, who is of the same outer shell as Him and has been harmed by Satan. His enemy is man, the object of His conquest is man, and the object of His salvation is man, who was created by Him. So He must become human, and in this way, His work becomes much easier. He is able to defeat Satan and conquer mankind, and, moreover, is able to save mankind. Although this flesh is normal and real, He is no common flesh: He is not flesh that is only human, but flesh that is both human and divine. This is the difference between Him and man, and it is the mark of the identity of God. Only flesh such as this can do the work that He intends to do, and fulfill the ministry of God in the flesh, and fully complete His work among man. If it were not thus, His work among man would always be empty and flawed. Even though God can do battle with the spirit of Satan and emerge victorious, the old nature of corrupted man can never be resolved, and those who are disobedient to God and oppose Him can never truly become subject to His dominion, which is to say, He can never conquer mankind, and can never gain the whole of mankind. If His work on earth cannot be resolved, then His management shall never be brought to an end, and the whole of mankind will not be able to enter rest. If God cannot enter rest with all of His creatures, then there shall never be an outcome to such management work, and the glory of God shall consequently disappear. Although His flesh has no authority, the work He does will have achieved its effect. This is the inevitable direction of His work. Regardless of whether or not His flesh is possessed of authority, as long as He is capable of doing the work of God Himself, then He is God Himself. Regardless of how normal and ordinary this flesh is, He can do the work He should do, for this flesh is God and is not just a human. The reason this flesh can do the work that man cannot is because His inner essence is unlike that of any human, and the reason He can save man is because His identity is different from that of any human. This flesh is so important to mankind because He is man and, even more so, He is God, because He can do the work that no ordinary man of flesh can do, and because He can save corrupt man, who lives together with Him on earth. Though He is identical to man, the incarnate God is more important to mankind than any person of value, for He can do the work that cannot be done by the Spirit of God, is more able than the Spirit of God to bear testimony to God Himself, and is more able than the Spirit of God to fully gain mankind. As a result, although this flesh is normal and ordinary, His contribution to mankind and His significance to the existence of mankind make Him highly precious, and the real value and significance of this flesh is immeasurable to any human. Although this flesh cannot directly destroy Satan, He can use His work to conquer mankind and defeat Satan, and make Satan fully submit to His dominion. It is because God is incarnated that He can defeat Satan and is able to save mankind. He does not directly destroy Satan, but instead becomes flesh to do the work to conquer mankind, who has been corrupted by Satan. In this way, He is better able to bear testimony to Himself among His creatures, and He is better able to save corrupted man. God incarnate’s defeat of Satan bears greater testimony, and is more persuasive, than the direct destruction of Satan by the Spirit of God. God in the flesh is better able to help man know the Creator and is better able to bear testimony to Himself among His creatures.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God