160. The Principles of Observing God’s Administrative Decrees and Commandments
(1) It is necessary to understand the essence and true meaning of the administrative decrees and commandments. Understand God’s will and revere Him in your heart, lest you offend His disposition;
(2) It is necessary to seek the truth and know God’s disposition through His administrative decrees and commandments. Become able truly to observe His administrative decrees and commandments;
(3) It is necessary to know one’s own vulnerabilities and vital weaknesses in order to formulate one’s principles of practice, thus ensuring an adherence to God’s administrative decrees and commandments;
(4) God’s administrative decrees and commandments are most revealing of whether a person possesses humanity. One who cannot observe the administrative decrees and commandments is one without humanity, and is surely to be eliminated.
Relevant Words of God:
The Ten Administrative Decrees That Must Be Obeyed by God’s Chosen People in the Age of Kingdom
(A Selected Chapter of God’s Word)
1. Man should not magnify himself, nor exalt himself. He should worship and exalt God.
2. Do everything that is beneficial to God’s work and nothing that is detrimental to the interests of God’s work. Defend God’s name, God’s testimony, and God’s work.
3. The money, material objects, and all property in God’s household are the offerings that should be given by man. These offerings may be enjoyed by none but the priest and God, for the offerings of man are for the enjoyment of God. God only shares these offerings with the priest; no one else is qualified or entitled to enjoy any part of them. All of man’s offerings (including money and material things that can be enjoyed) are given to God, not to man, and so these things should not be enjoyed by man; if man were to enjoy them, then he would be stealing offerings. Anyone who does this is a Judas, for, in addition to being a traitor, Judas also helped himself to what was put in the money bag.
4. Man has a corrupt disposition and is moreover possessed of emotions. As such, it is absolutely prohibited for two members of the opposite sex to work together unaccompanied when serving God. Any who are discovered doing so will be expelled, without exception.
5. Do not pass judgment on God nor casually discuss matters related to God. Do as man ought to do, and speak as man ought to speak, and do not overstep limits nor transgress boundaries. Guard your own tongue and take care where you step, to avoid doing anything that offends God’s disposition.
6. Do that which ought to be done by man, and carry out your obligations, and fulfill your responsibilities, and hold to your duty. Since you believe in God, you should make your contribution to God’s work; if you do not, then you are unfit to eat and drink the words of God, and unfit to live in God’s household.
7. In work and matters of the church, apart from obeying God, follow the instructions of the man who is used by the Holy Spirit in everything. Even the slightest infraction is unacceptable. Be absolute in your compliance, and do not analyze right or wrong; what is right or wrong has nothing to do with you. You must concern yourself only with total obedience.
8. People who believe in God should obey God and worship Him. Do not exalt or look up to any person; do not put God first, the people you look up to second, and yourself third. No person should hold a place in your heart, and you should not consider people—particularly those you venerate—to be on a par with God or to be His equal. This is intolerable to God.
9. Keep your thoughts on the work of the church. Put aside the prospects of your own flesh, be decisive about family matters, wholeheartedly devote yourself to the work of God, and put God’s work first and your own life second. This is the decency of a saint.
10. Kin who are not of the faith (your children, your husband or wife, your sisters or your parents, and so on) should not be forced into the church. God’s household is not short of members, and there is no need to make up its numbers with people who have no use. All those who do not believe gladly must not be led into the church. This decree is directed at all people. You should check, monitor, and remind each other of this matter; no one may violate it. Even when kin who are not of the faith do reluctantly enter the church, they must not be issued books nor given a new name; such people are not of God’s household, and their entry into the church must be halted by any means necessary. If trouble is brought upon the church due to the invasion of demons, then you yourself will be expelled or will have restrictions placed upon you. In short, everyone has a responsibility in this matter, though you should not be reckless, nor use it to settle personal scores.
from The Word Appears in the Flesh
People must adhere to the many duties that they should perform. This is what people should adhere to, and this is what they must carry out. Let the Holy Spirit do what must be done by the Holy Spirit; man can play no part in it. Man should adhere to what ought to be done by man, which bears no relation to the Holy Spirit. It is nothing but that which ought to be done by man, and should be adhered to as commandment, just like adherence to the law in the Old Testament. Although now is not the Age of Law, there are still many words that should be adhered to which are of the same kind as words spoken in the Age of Law. These words are not carried out merely by relying on the touch of the Holy Spirit, but rather, they are something that man should adhere to. For example: You shall not pass judgment on the work of the practical God. You shall not oppose the man who is testified to by God. Before God, you shall keep your place and shall not be dissolute. You should be moderate in speech, and your words and actions must follow the arrangements of the man testified to by God. You should revere the testimony of God. You shall not ignore the work of God and the words from His mouth. You shall not imitate the tone and aims of God’s utterances. Externally, you shall not do anything that manifestly opposes the man who is testified to by God. And so on. These are what each person should adhere to. In each age, God specifies many rules that are akin to the laws and are to be adhered to by man. Through this, He constrains man’s disposition and detects his sincerity. Consider the words “Honor your father and your mother” of the Old Testament age, for example. These words do not apply today; at the time, they merely constrained some of man’s external disposition, were used to demonstrate the sincerity of man’s belief in God, and were a mark of those who believed in God. Although now is the Age of Kingdom, there are still many rules that man must adhere to. The rules of the past do not apply, and today there are many more fitting practices for man to carry out, and which are necessary. They do not involve the work of the Holy Spirit and must be done by man.
In the Age of Grace, many of the practices of the Age of Law were discarded because these laws were not particularly effective for the work at that time. After they were discarded, many practices were set out that were suitable for the age, and which have become the many rules of today. When the God of today came, these rules were dispensed with and it was no longer required that they be adhered to, and many practices were set out that are suitable for the work of today. Today, these practices are not rules, but are instead intended to achieve effects; they are suitable for today—tomorrow, perhaps they will become rules. In sum, you should adhere to that which is fruitful for the work of today. Pay no heed to tomorrow: What is done today is for the sake of today. Maybe when tomorrow comes, there will be better practices which you will be required to carry out—but do not pay too much attention to that. Rather, adhere to that which should be adhered to today so as to avoid opposing God. Today, nothing is more crucial for man to adhere to than the following: You must not try to wheedle the God that stands before your eyes, or conceal anything from Him. You shall not utter filthiness or arrogant talk in front of the God before you. You shall not deceive the God before your eyes by honeyed words and fair speeches in order to gain His trust. You shall not act irreverently before God. You shall obey all that is spoken from the mouth of God, and shall not resist, oppose, or dispute His words. You shall not interpret as you see fit the words spoken from the mouth of God. You should guard your tongue to avoid it causing you to fall prey to the deceitful schemes of the wicked. You should guard your footsteps to avoid transgressing the boundaries set out for you by God. If you transgress, this will cause you to stand in the position of God and speak words which are conceited and pompous, and thus you will become loathed by God. You shall not carelessly spread the words spoken from the mouth of God, lest others mock you and the devils make a fool of you. You shall obey all of the work of the God of today. Even if you do not understand it, you shall not pass judgment on it; all you can do is seek and fellowship. No person shall transgress God’s original place. You can do nothing more than serve the God of today from the position of man. You cannot teach the God of today from the position of man—to do so is misguided. No one may stand in the place of the man testified to by God; in your words, actions, and innermost thoughts, you stand in the position of man. This is to be abided by, it is the responsibility of man, and no one may alter it; attempting to would violate the administrative decrees. This should be remembered by all.
Excerpted from “The Commandments of the New Age” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
People often say God has His administrative decrees, and that He uses these decrees to punish people and keep them in check if they are disobedient. The words “administrative decrees” are often on their lips—but they do not actually understand what they essentially mean. Just what are the administrative decrees? They are a class of words set forth by God that address man’s nature and corrupt disposition, in order to keep his behavior in check. The administrative decrees are not Jehovah’s[a] laws or a legal system, much less are they comparable to the constitutions of the world of man. They are a set of parameters defined by God meant to keep man’s behavior in check. They involve how to fear God, how to worship God, how to obey God, how to act as a created being, how to act as a person, how to testify to God, and how not to bring shame on God’s name. Some people say, “The Spirit of God can do things. He can punish people, and repay every person in kind. There is also the truth, which guides all people. Why must there be administrative decrees?” The truth relates to people’s entry into life; it concerns the specific states of their corrupt dispositions. The administrative decrees are clearly defined stipulations. Whatever your state, whatever kind of person you are, if you believe in God, you must carry out all that is stipulated by the administrative decrees—and if you cannot, your name shall be struck off, and, in the eyes of God, you shall become one to be detested and rejected. The administrative decrees, in truth, are the very least that is required of people to believe in God, as when, in the Age of Law, Jehovah did certain works, spoke many words, and set forth numerous laws, and those laws naturally included much that man should do: how they should fear Jehovah, for example, or how to make sacrifices to Jehovah, pay tithes, make donations. At that time, they were called laws, and in the Age of Grace, they came to be called the commandments.
The commandments of the Age of Grace cannot serve as administrative decrees today, because what is required of man in each age is different. Every age has commandments, and every age has God’s requirements and criteria for man, criteria which change according to changes in the age and in the requirements of God’s work. … Today, God has issued administrative decrees as befits the states and needs of man. Some people ask, “Why issue more administrative decrees? That’s already been done once, and people are aware of them and do what is asked. That should be the end of it. Why keep issuing new ones?” With people as corrupt as they are now, would it do not to issue the administrative decrees? All people have corrupt dispositions and are governed by their natures; it is not the case that once they accept the work of God and are able to follow the commandments, they become holy and righteous. That is not how it works. People live always amid their corrupt dispositions, so there is always need for corresponding administrative decrees to keep their behavior in check. If people truly violate these administrative decrees, they can be disciplined, or have limitations placed on them, or eliminated and expelled. Any kind of consequence is possible.
Excerpted from “A Talk About God’s Administrative Decrees in the Age of Kingdom” in Records of Christ’s Talks
The key to keeping the commandments is having an understanding of the practical God. Once you have an understanding of the practical God, you will be able to keep the commandments. There are two components to keeping them: One is holding onto the essence of His Spirit, and before the Spirit, being able to accept the Spirit’s examination; the other is being able to have a genuine understanding of the incarnate flesh, and achieving genuine submission. Whether before the flesh or before the Spirit, one must always harbor submission to and reverence for God. Only one such as this is qualified to be perfected. If you have an understanding of the practicality of the practical God—that is, if you have stood firm in this trial—then nothing will be too much for you.
Some people say, “The commandments are easy to keep; you just need to speak frankly and devoutly when before God, and not make any gesticulations; this is what keeping the commandments is.” Is that right? So, if you do a few things behind God’s back that are in resistance to Him, does that count as keeping the commandments? You must have a thorough understanding of what keeping the commandments involves. It relates to whether or not you have a real understanding of the practicality of God; if you have an understanding of practicality and do not stumble and fall during this trial, then you can be counted as having strong testimony. Bearing a resounding witness for God primarily relates to whether or not you have an understanding of the practical God, and to whether or not you are able to submit before this person who is not only ordinary, but normal, and submit even unto death. If, by way of this submission, you truly bear witness for God, that means you have been obtained by God. If you can submit unto death and, before Him, be free of complaints, not make judgments, not slander, not have any notions, and not have any ulterior motives, then in this way God will gain glory. Submission before a regular person who is looked down upon by man, and being able to submit unto death without any notions—this is true testimony.
Excerpted from “Those Who Truly Love God Are Those Who Can Submit Absolutely to His Practicality” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In practice, keeping the commandments should be linked to putting the truth into practice. While keeping the commandments, one must practice the truth. When practicing the truth, one must not violate the principles of the commandments, nor go against the commandments; you must do whatever God requires of you. Keeping the commandments and practicing the truth are interconnected, not contradictory. The more you practice the truth, the more capable you become of keeping the essence of the commandments. The more you practice the truth, the more you will understand God’s word as expressed in the commandments. Practicing the truth and keeping the commandments are not contradictory actions—they are interconnected. In the beginning, only after man kept the commandments could he practice the truth and attain enlightenment from the Holy Spirit, but this is not God’s original intention. God requires you to put your heart into worshiping Him, not merely to behave well. However, you must keep the commandments at least superficially. Gradually, through experience, after gaining a clearer understanding of God, people will stop rebelling against and resisting Him, and will no longer have any doubts about His work. This is the only way people can abide by the essence of the commandments. Therefore, merely keeping the commandments, without practicing the truth, is ineffective, and does not constitute true worship of God, for you have not yet attained real stature. Keeping the commandments without the truth only amounts to adhering rigidly to the rules. In so doing, the commandments would become your law, which would not help you grow in life. On the contrary, they would become your burden, and bind you tightly like the laws of the Old Testament, causing you to lose the Holy Spirit’s presence. Therefore, only by practicing the truth can you effectively keep the commandments, and you keep the commandments in order to practice the truth. In the process of keeping the commandments, you will put even more truths into practice, and when practicing the truth, you will gain an even deeper understanding of what the commandments actually mean. The purpose and meaning behind God’s demand that man keeps the commandments is not just to get him to follow the rules, as he may imagine; rather, it has to do with his entry into life. The extent of your growth in life dictates the degree to which you will be able to keep the commandments. Although the commandments are for man to keep, the essence of the commandments only becomes apparent through man’s life experience. Most people assume that keeping the commandments well means that they are “completely prepared, and all that remains to be done is to get caught up.” This is an extravagant sort of idea, and not in line with God’s will. Those who say such things do not wish to make progress, and they covet the flesh. It is nonsense! It is not in keeping with reality! It is not God’s will merely to practice the truth without actually keeping the commandments. Those who do this are cripples; they are as people who are missing a leg. Simply keeping the commandments as if abiding by rules, yet not possessing the truth—this is not capable of satisfying God’s will, either; like those who are missing an eye, people who do this, too, suffer from a form of disability. It can be said that if you keep the commandments well and gain a clear understanding of the practical God, then you will possess the truth; relatively speaking, you will have gained real stature. If you practice the truth that you should practice, you will also keep the commandments, and these two things do not contradict each other. Practicing the truth and keeping the commandments are two systems, both of which are integral parts of one’s life experience. One’s experience should comprise an integration, not a division, of keeping the commandments and practicing the truth. However, there are both differences and links between these two things.
Excerpted from “Keeping the Commandments and Practicing the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The long time that God has spent speaking and uttering has caused man to consider reading and memorizing the words of God to be his primary task. No one pays attention to practice, and even that which you ought to abide by you do not. This has brought many difficulties and problems to your service. If, prior to practicing the words of God, you have not adhered to that which you should adhere to, then you are one of those who are detested and rejected by God. In adhering to these practices, you should be earnest and sincere. You should not treat them like shackles, but adhere to them as commandments. Today, you ought not to concern yourself with what effects are to be achieved; in short, this is how the Holy Spirit works, and whoever commits an offense must be punished. The Holy Spirit is without emotion, and heedless of your present understanding. If you offend God today, then He will punish you. If you offend Him within the scope of His jurisdiction, then He will not spare you. He does not care how serious you are in your adherence to the words of Jesus. If you violate God’s commandments of today, He will punish you, and condemn you to death. How could it be acceptable for you not to adhere to them? You must adhere, even if it means suffering a little pain! No matter what religion, sector, nation, or denomination it is, in the future they must all adhere to these practices. None are exempt, and none will be spared! For they are what the Holy Spirit will do today, and no one may violate them. Although they are no great thing, they must be done by every person and they are the commandments set for man by Jesus, who was resurrected and who ascended to heaven. Does “The Path … (7)” not say that Jesus’ definition of whether you are righteous or sinful is according to your attitude toward God today? No one may overlook this point. In the Age of Law, generation after generation of the Pharisees believed in God, but with the arrival of the Age of Grace they did not know Jesus, and opposed Him. So it was that all they did came to nothing and was in vain, and God did not accept their deeds. If you can see through to this, then you will not easily sin. Many people, perhaps, have measured themselves against God. How does it taste to oppose God? Is it bitter or sweet? You should understand this; do not pretend that you do not know. In their hearts, perhaps, some people remain unconvinced. Yet I advise you to try it and see—see what it tastes like. This will prevent many people from always being suspicious about it. Many people read the words of God yet secretly oppose Him in their hearts. After opposing Him like this, do you not feel like a knife has been twisted in your heart? If it is not family disharmony, it is physical discomfort, or the afflictions of sons and daughters. Although your flesh is spared death, the hand of God will never leave you. Do you think it could be that simple? In particular, it is even more necessary for the many who are near to God to focus on this. As time passes, you will forget it, and, without realizing it, you will be plunged into temptation and become heedless of everything, and this will be the start of your sinning. Does this seem trivial to you? If you can do this well, then you have the chance to be made perfect—to come before God and receive His guidance from His own mouth. If you are careless, then there will be trouble for you—you will be defiant of God, your words and actions will be dissolute, and sooner or later you will be carried away by great gales and mighty waves. Every one of you should take note of these commandments. If you violate them, then although the man who is testified to by God may not condemn you, the Spirit of God will have unfinished business with you, and He will not spare you. Can you bear the consequences of your offense? Thus, no matter what God says, you must put His words into practice, and must adhere to them by any means you can. This is no simple matter!
Excerpted from “The Commandments of the New Age” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If you do not understand the disposition of God, then it will be impossible for you to do the work you should do for Him. If you do not know the essence of God, then it will be impossible for you to have reverence and fear toward Him; instead, there will be only heedless perfunctoriness and prevarication, and moreover, incorrigible blasphemy. Although understanding God’s disposition is indeed important, and knowing God’s essence cannot be overlooked, no one has ever thoroughly examined or delved into these issues. It is plain to see that you have all dismissed the administrative decrees I have issued. If you do not understand the disposition of God, then you will be very likely to offend His disposition. Offending His disposition is tantamount to provoking the ire of God Himself, in which case the ultimate fruit of your actions will be the violation of the administrative decrees. Now you should realize that when you know God’s essence, so too can you understand His disposition—and when you understand His disposition, so too will you have understood the administrative decrees. Needless to say, much of what is contained within the administrative decrees touches upon the disposition of God, but not all of His disposition is expressed within the administrative decrees; hence, you must go a step further in developing your understanding of God’s disposition.
Excerpted from “It Is Very Important to Understand God’s Disposition” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Every sentence I have spoken contains within it the disposition of God. You would do well to ponder My words carefully, and you will surely profit greatly from them. The essence of God is very difficult to grasp, but I trust that you all have at least some idea about the disposition of God. I hope, then, that you will show Me and do more of that which does not offend the disposition of God. Then will I be reassured. For example, keep God in your heart at all times. When you act, do so according to His words. Seek out His intentions in all things, and refrain from doing that which disrespects and dishonors God. Even less should you put God in the back of your mind to fill the future void in your heart. If you do this, you will have offended the disposition of God. Again, supposing you never make blasphemous remarks or complaints against God throughout your life, and again, supposing you are able to discharge properly all that He has entrusted to you and also to submit to all His words throughout your life, then you will have avoided transgressing against the administrative decrees. For example, if you have ever said, “Why do I not think that He is God?” “I think that these words are nothing more than some enlightenment of the Holy Spirit,” “In my opinion, not everything God does is necessarily right,” “The humanity of God is not superior to mine,” “The words of God are simply not believable,” or other such judgmental remarks, then I exhort you to confess and repent your sins more often. Otherwise, you will never have a chance at forgiveness, for you offend not a man, but God Himself. You may believe that you are judging a man, but the Spirit of God does not consider it that way. Your disrespect of His flesh is equal to disrespecting Him. This being so, have you not offended God’s disposition? You must remember that all that is done by the Spirit of God is done in order to safeguard His work in the flesh and in order that this work be done well. If you neglect this, then I say that you are someone who will never be able to succeed in believing in God. For you have provoked the wrath of God, and so He shall use fitting punishment to teach you a lesson.
Coming to know the essence of God is no trifling matter. You must understand His disposition. In this way, you will, gradually and unknowingly, come to know the essence of God. When you have entered into this knowledge, you will find yourself stepping into a higher and more beautiful state. In the end, you will come to feel ashamed of your hideous soul, and, moreover, will feel that there is nowhere to hide from your shame. At that time, there will be less and less in your conduct to offend the disposition of God, your heart will come closer and closer to that of God, and a love for Him will gradually grow in your heart. This is a sign of mankind entering a beautiful state. But as yet, you have not attained this. As you all rush about for the sake of your destiny, who has any interest in trying to know the essence of God? Should this continue, you will unknowingly transgress against the administrative decrees, for you understand far too little of the disposition of God. So is not what you do now laying down a foundation for your offenses against the disposition of God? That I ask you to understand the disposition of God is not at odds with My work. For if you transgress against the administrative decrees often, who among you will escape punishment? Would My work then not have been entirely in vain? Therefore, I still ask that, in addition to scrutinizing your own conduct, you be cautious in the steps you take. This is the higher demand that I make of you, and I hope that you will all consider it carefully and give it your earnest regard. Should a day come when your actions provoke Me to a towering rage, then the consequences will be yours alone to consider, and there will be no one else to bear the punishment in your place.
Excerpted from “It Is Very Important to Understand God’s Disposition” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Every person, in the course of living their life of faith in God, has done things that resist and deceive God. Some misdeeds need not be recorded as an offense, but some are unforgivable; for there are many deeds that violate the administrative decrees, which offend the disposition of God. Many who are concerned about their own fates may ask what these deeds are. You should know that you are arrogant and haughty by nature, and unwilling to submit to the facts. For this reason, I shall tell you bit by bit after you have reflected upon yourselves. I exhort you to get a better understanding of the content of the administrative decrees, and to make an effort to know the disposition of God. If not, you will find it difficult to keep your lips sealed, your tongues will wag too freely with high-sounding talk, and you will unwittingly offend the disposition of God and fall into the darkness, losing the presence of the Holy Spirit and the light. Because you are unprincipled in your actions, because you do and say that which you should not, you shall receive a fitting retribution. You should know that though you are unprincipled in word and deed, God is highly principled in both. The reason you receive retribution is because you have offended God, not a person. If, in your life, you commit many offenses against the disposition of God, then you are bound to become a child of hell. To man it may appear that you have only committed a few deeds that are at odds with the truth, and nothing more. Are you aware, however, that in the eyes of God you are already someone for whom there is no more sin offering? Because you have violated the administrative decrees of God more than once and have, moreover, shown no sign of repentance, there is no other recourse but for you to plunge into hell, where God punishes man. A small number of people, while following God, committed some deeds that violated principles, but after being dealt with and given guidance, they gradually discovered their own corruption, thereafter entered on the right track of reality, and they remain well-grounded today. Such people are those who shall remain in the end. Nevertheless, it is the honest that I seek; if you are an honest person and someone who acts according to principle, then you can be a confidant of God. If in your actions you do not offend the disposition of God, and seek the will of God, and have a heart of reverence toward God, then your faith is up to the standard. Whoever does not revere God and does not have a heart that trembles in fear is highly likely to violate the administrative decrees of God. Many serve God on the strength of their passion but have no understanding of the administrative decrees of God, still less any inkling of the implications of His words. And so, with their good intentions, they often wind up doing things that disrupt God’s management. In serious cases, they are thrown out, deprived of any further chance of following Him, and are cast into hell, all association with God’s house at an end. These people work in the house of God on the strength of their ignorant good intentions, and end by angering God’s disposition. People bring their ways of serving officials and lords to the house of God and try to put them into play, vainly thinking that they can be applied with effortless ease here. Never do they imagine that God has not the disposition of a lamb, but that of a lion. Therefore, those associating with God for the first time are unable to communicate with Him, for the heart of God is unlike that of man. Only after you understand many truths can you continuously come to know God. This knowledge is not made up of words and doctrines but can be used as a treasure by means of which you enter into close confidence with God, and as proof that He delights in you. If you lack the reality of knowledge and are not equipped with the truth, then your passionate service can only bring upon you the loathing and abhorrence of God. By now you should have figured out that belief in God is no mere study in theology!
Excerpted from “Three Admonitions” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
a. The original text does not contain the word “Jehovah’s.”