2. Whether signs and wonders can save mankind
Relevant Words of God:
In God’s plan of several thousand years, two parts of work are done in the flesh: First is the work of the crucifixion, for which He gains glory; the other is the work of conquest and perfection in the last days, for which He gains glory. This is the management of God. So do not regard God’s work, or God’s commission to you, as a simple matter. You are all heirs to God’s far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, and this was specially ordained by God. Of the two parts of His glory, one is manifest in you; the entirety of one part of God’s glory has been bestowed upon you, that it may be your inheritance. This is God’s exaltation of you, and it is also the plan that He predetermined long ago. Given the greatness of the work God has done in the land where the great red dragon resides, if this work were moved elsewhere, it would have long ago borne great fruit and been readily accepted by man. Moreover, this work would be far too easy to accept for those clergy of the West who believe in God, for the stage of work by Jesus serves as a precedent. This is why God is unable to achieve this stage of the work of gaining glory elsewhere; when the work is supported by the people and recognized by the nations, God’s glory cannot take hold. This is precisely the extraordinary significance that this stage of work holds in this land. There is not one person among you who is protected by the law—you are, instead, sanctioned by the law. Even more problematic is that people do not understand you: Be it your relatives, your parents, your friends, or your colleagues, none of them understand you. When you are abandoned by God, it is impossible for you to continue living on earth, but even so, people cannot bear to be away from God, which is the significance of God’s conquest of people, and is the glory of God. What you have inherited this day surpasses that of the apostles and prophets throughout the ages and is greater even than that of Moses and Peter. Blessings cannot be obtained in a day or two; they must be earned through great sacrifice. Which is to say, you must possess a love that has undergone refinement, you must possess great faith, and you must have the many truths that God requires you to attain; what is more, you must turn toward justice, without being cowed or evasive, and must have a love for God that is constant unto death. You must have resolve, changes must occur in your life disposition, your corruption must be healed, you must accept all of God’s orchestrations without complaint, and you must be obedient even unto death. This is what you ought to attain, this is the final aim of God’s work, and it is what God asks of this group of people. Since He gives to you, so He will surely ask of you in return, and will surely make fitting demands of you. Therefore, there is reason to all the work God does, which shows why, time and time again, God does work that sets high standards and strict requirements. It is because of this that you should be filled with faith in God. In short, all the work of God is done for your sake, so that you may become worthy of receiving His inheritance. This is not so much for the sake of God’s own glory but for the sake of your salvation and for perfecting this group of people who have been so profoundly afflicted in the unclean land. You should understand the will of God. And so, I exhort the many ignorant people who are without any insight or sense: Do not test God, and resist no more. God has already undergone suffering never endured by any man, and long ago endured even greater humiliation in man’s stead. What else can you not let go of? What could be more important than the will of God? What could be higher than God’s love? It is hard enough for God to carry out His work in this unclean land; if, on top of this, man knowingly and willfully transgresses, the work of God will have to be prolonged. In short, this is in no one’s best interest, it does not benefit anyone. God is not bound by time; His work and His glory come first. Therefore, He will pay any price for His work, no matter how long it takes. This is the disposition of God: He will not rest until His work is done. His work will only end when He gains the second part of His glory. If, in all the universe, God does not finish the second part of His work of gaining glory, His day will never come, His hand will never leave His chosen people, His glory will never descend upon Israel, and His plan will never be concluded. You should be able to see the will of God, and should see that the work of God is not as simple as the creation of the heavens and earth and all things. That is because the work of today is the transformation of those who have been corrupted, who are numb to the utmost degree, it is to purify those who were created but processed by Satan. It is not the creation of Adam or Eve, still less is it the creation of the light, or the creation of every plant and animal. God makes pure the things that have been corrupted by Satan and then gains them anew; they become things that belong to Him, and they become His glory. This is not as man imagines, it is not as simple as the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them, or the work of cursing Satan to the bottomless pit; rather, it is the work of transforming man, turning things that are negative, and do not belong to Him, into things that are positive, and do belong to Him. This is the truth behind this stage of God’s work. You must understand this, and avoid oversimplifying matters. The work of God is unlike any ordinary work. Its wonderfulness and wisdom are beyond the mind of man. God does not create all things during this stage of work, but nor does He destroy them. Instead, He transforms all the things He created, and purifies all the things that have been defiled by Satan. And thus does God embark upon a great enterprise, which is the entire significance of the work of God. Do you see in these words that the work of God is really so simple?
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Is the Work of God As Simple As Man Imagines?
In the last days, God principally uses the word to make man perfect. He does not use signs and wonders to oppress man, or convince man; this cannot make plain the power of God. If God only showed signs and wonders, then it would be impossible to make plain the reality of God, and thus impossible to make man perfect. God does not make man perfect by signs and wonders, but uses the word to water and shepherd man, after which is achieved the complete obedience of man and man’s knowledge of God. This is the aim of the work He does and the words He speaks. God does not use the method of showing signs and wonders to make man perfect—He uses words, and uses many different methods of work to make man perfect. Whether it be the refinement, dealing, pruning, or provision of words, God speaks from many different perspectives to make man perfect, and to give man a greater knowledge of the work, wisdom and wondrousness of God. When man is made complete at the time that God concludes the age in the last days, then he will be qualified to look upon signs and wonders. When you come to know God and are able to obey God no matter what He does, you will no longer have any notions about Him when you see signs and wonders. At the moment, you are corrupt and incapable of complete obedience to God—do you think you are qualified to see signs and wonders in this state? When God shows signs and wonders, that is when God punishes man, and also when the age changes, and, moreover, when the age concludes. When God’s work is being carried out normally, He does not show signs and wonders. Showing signs and wonders is laughably simple for Him, but that is not the principle of God’s work, nor is it the aim of God’s management of man. If man saw signs and wonders, and if the spiritual body of God were to appear to man, would all people not believe in God? I have previously said that a group of overcomers are gained from the East, overcomers who come from amid the great tribulation. What is meant by these words? They mean that these people who have been gained only truly obeyed after undergoing judgment and chastisement, and dealing and pruning, and all kinds of refinement. The belief of these people is not vague and abstract, but real. They have not seen any signs and wonders, or any miracles; they do not speak of abstruse letters and doctrines, or profound insights; instead they have reality, and the words of God, and a true knowledge of the reality of God. Is such a group not more capable of making plain the power of God? God’s work during the last days is real work. During the age of Jesus, He did not come to make man perfect, but to redeem man, and so He displayed some miracles to make people follow Him. For He principally came to complete the work of crucifixion, and showing signs was not part of the work of His ministry. Such signs and wonders were work that was done in order to make His work effective; they were extra work, and did not represent the work of the entire age. During the Old Testament Age of Law, God also showed some signs and wonders—but the work God does today is real work, and He would definitely not show signs and wonders now. If He showed signs and wonders, His real work would be thrown into disorder, and He would be unable to do any more work. If God said to use the word to make man perfect, but also showed signs and wonders, then could it be made plain whether or not man truly believes in Him? Thus, God does not do such things. There is too much of religion within man; God has come during the last days to expel all the religious notions and supernatural things within man, and make man know the reality of God. He has come to remove an image of a God that is abstract and fanciful—an image of a God who, in other words, does not exist at all. And so, now the only thing that is precious is for you to have a knowledge of reality! The truth overrides everything. How much truth do you possess today? Is all that shows signs and wonders God? Evil spirits can also show signs and wonders; are they all God? In his belief in God, what man searches for is the truth, and what he pursues is life, rather than signs and wonders. This should be the goal of all those who believe in God.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. All Is Achieved by the Word of God
In the work of the last days, the word is mightier than the manifestation of signs and wonders, and the authority of the word surpasses that of signs and wonders. The word exposes all the corrupt dispositions buried deep in the heart of man. You have no way of recognizing them on your own. When they are laid bare before you through the word, you will naturally come to discover them; you will not be able to deny them, and you will be utterly convinced. Is this not the authority of the word? This is the result achieved by the work of the word today. Therefore, it is not through the healing of sickness and casting out of demons that man can be fully saved from his sins, nor can he be made fully complete by the manifestation of signs and wonders. The authority to heal sickness and cast out demons only gives man grace, but the flesh of man still belongs to Satan and the corrupt satanic disposition still remains within man. In other words, that which has not been made clean still pertains to sin and to filth. Only after he has been made clean through the agency of the word can man be gained by God and become sanctified.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)
Today, it should be clear to all of you that, in the last days, it is principally the fact of “the Word becomes flesh” that is accomplished by God. Through His actual work on earth, He causes man to know Him and to engage with Him, and to see His actual deeds. He causes man to clearly see that He is able to display signs and wonders and that there are also times when He is unable to do so; this depends on the age. From this, you can see that God is not incapable of displaying signs and wonders, but instead changes His way of working according to the work to be done and according to the age. In the current stage of work, He does not show signs and wonders; that He showed some signs and wonders in the age of Jesus was because His work in that age was different. God does not do that work today, and some people believe Him incapable of displaying signs and wonders, or else they think that if He does not display signs and wonders, then He is not God. Is that not a fallacy? God is able to display signs and wonders, but He is working in a different age, and so He does not do such work. Because this is a different age, and because this is a different stage of God’s work, the deeds made plain by God are also different. Man’s belief in God is not the belief in signs and wonders, nor the belief in miracles, but the belief in His real work during the new age. Man comes to know God through the manner in which God works, and this knowledge produces in man the belief in God, which is to say, the belief in the work and deeds of God. In this stage of work, God mainly speaks. Do not wait to see signs and wonders; you will not see any! This is because you were not born during the Age of Grace. If you had been, you could have seen signs and wonders, but you were born during the last days, and so you can see only the reality and normality of God. Do not expect to see the supernatural Jesus during the last days. You are only able to see the practical God incarnate, who is no different from any normal human being. In each age, God makes plain different deeds. In each age, He makes plain part of the deeds of God, and the work of each age represents one part of the disposition of God, and one part of the deeds of God. The deeds that He makes plain vary with the age in which He works, but they all give man a knowledge of God that is deeper, a belief in God that is truer and more down-to-earth. Man believes in God because of all of the deeds of God, because God is so wondrous, so great, because He is almighty and unfathomable. If you believe in God because He is able to perform signs and wonders and can heal the sick and cast out demons, then your view is wrong, and some people will say to you, “Are not evil spirits also able to do such things?” Does this not constitute confusing the image of God with the image of Satan? Today, man’s belief in God is because of His many deeds and the great amount of work He does and the many ways in which He speaks. God uses His utterances to conquer man and make him perfect. Man believes in God because of His many deeds, not because He is able to show signs and wonders; people only get to know God by witnessing His deeds. Only by knowing the actual deeds of God, how He works, what wise methods He uses, how He speaks, and how He makes man perfect—only by knowing these aspects—can you comprehend the reality of God and understand His disposition, knowing what He likes, what He loathes, and how He works upon man. By understanding the likes and dislikes of God, you can differentiate between that which is positive and negative, and through your knowledge of God there is progress in your life. In short, you must gain a knowledge of God’s work, and you must put straight your views about believing in God.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Knowing God’s Work Today