Fellowship About the Hymn “For Love”
(Fellowship with the hymnal group)
Among the hymns about church life that I hear you sing, there are still too few of them that are about practical experience. In most of the hymns, the experiences are too shallow; singing them does not do much to benefit people. Some of the hymns are comprised of only empty theory, lacking the slightest practicality. Take, for example, “For Love,” “God Loves Us Most Deeply,” and “Eternal Love,” all of which are empty, theoretical, and comprised of vacuous words; they are not practical at all. What do you think about the lyrics to these three hymns? They are all nonsense, they are all the words of people’s notions and imaginings; they don’t feature any words of practical experience whatsoever. If one cannot even write hymns about experience, but they still want to write hymns in praise of God, isn’t that biting off more than one can chew? Is it possible for an ordinary person to witness what God has and is, and to witness His essence? How many people are able to do this? If you know nothing about God and commit all these notions and imaginings to paper, is this consistent with the essence of God? Is it consistent with the facts of God’s work? Is it praising God, to spout these notions and imaginings? If you have no knowledge of God, the hymns in praise of Him that you write will not be practical. You should write instead about your own real experience, real knowledge, and personal understanding, speaking modestly of things that are realistic and concrete, eschewing big talk and exaggerations. You write these words, topics like God’s management plan, His righteous disposition, His love, His honorableness, His greatness, His supremacy, and His uniqueness—do you actually grasp these things? Do you understand them? If you do not understand them but still insist on writing about them, then you are just writing blindly, showing off and flaunting yourself. It makes people feel bewildered when they sing along, following you in showing off as they sing such hollow words, and it brings no benefit to anyone when the singing is done. What are the consequences of this? Isn’t this toying with people and wasting their time? Isn’t this cheating and deceiving God? Do you not feel ashamed?
Look, how do the lyrics to the hymn “For Love” go? “For love, God made mankind and has always cared for and watched over them.” Is there anything right in that sentence? Does any of it correspond to the truth? Because of love, God created Adam and Eve, is that not so? (It is not.) Why did He create them then? (It was because of God’s management plan.) It is God’s wish to carry out a management plan through the mankind He created—a 6,000-year management plan. Whatever the course of this 6,000-year management plan, God will ultimately gain a group of people who can obey Him and bear witness to Him, who are able to become true created beings and true masters of all things. Does the fact that God first had a management plan and then went about creating the world and mankind have anything to do with love? This was one of God’s thoughts, it was part of His plan. It’s just like how people have intentions and plans; for example, one may have a plan to become a manager in ten years’ time and earn 100,000 yuan, or a plan to have certain academic credentials or a certain family life in ten years’ time—do these have anything to do with love? They do not; in daily life, people just have a stage-based, step-by-step plan, a blueprint, a goal, an ideal. As for God, at the same time that He reigns sovereign over the universe and all things, He has a plan on earth, and that plan started with God creating all things, and creating living things; then, God created two humans. Is that not in fact what happened? What relation does love have with God producing such a plan? None whatsoever. In your view, then, is the statement “For love, God made mankind and has always cared for and watched over them” correct? How could God love mankind before He created them? Wouldn’t such a love be hollow? You define God’s creation of mankind as an act of God’s love—is that not slandering God? Is that not blasphemy? Is this not much too subjective? How is this subjectivity characterized? Is it lacking reason? (Yes.) God has revealed the mystery of the 6,000-year management plan and the mystery of His three-stage work. You think that you have understood a little, that you have some superficial understanding of God, but this is merely a literal understanding. And yet you dare to define things in such a way, claiming that it is for love that God does something, carries out a certain work, or has a certain plan. Is that not all too foolish and unreasonable? So is there anything correct about the statement “For love, God made mankind”? (No. It is not in accordance with the truth.) Let us first put aside the matter of whether it is in accordance with the truth; instead, let us see whether it is in accordance with actual situations. Do you think this statement is practical? (It is not practical.) Isn’t this just wishful thinking? God creating mankind has nothing to do with love, so the statement “For love, God made mankind” is groundless; it is purely a figment of man’s imagination, it is nonsense. You are blindly delimiting God, which is to blaspheme against and disrespect Him, and you are measuring Him with human perspectives and with human imaginings and notions, which is an egregious mistake, unreasonable, and shameless. Thus, the phrase “For love, God made mankind” is simply drivel.
Further down, the lyrics go, “God made mankind and has always cared for and watched over them.” The person who wrote this hymn is implying that this is also because of love. So, if it is wrong to say that God created mankind because of love, is it correct to say that, because of love, God has always cared for and watched over mankind? (It is not.) Why is it not correct? What kind of behavior is it, to have “always cared for and watched over them”? What is the essence of this behavior? Is it one of responsibility? (Yes.) Can God love a newly created human being who understands nothing, who cannot speak, who has no discernment, and who can be tempted by the serpent? And how about how love is given, how it is revealed, how it is manifested, how it is expressed—are there any specific details about this? There are not. It is responsibility; the true emotion at play here is the responsibility of God. Being that God created mankind, He must be watching over them, caring for and protecting them, and leading them. This is God’s responsibility; it is not for love that He does this. If you characterize this as being because of God’s love, then you have a serious misunderstanding of God; understanding Him in this way is inaccurate. What did those two newly created humans know? Other than having a puff of breath given to them by God, they understood nothing, they knew nothing; they especially had no knowledge of God, they did not know who God was or what He was all about, and they did not know how to heed God’s words and obey Him—they did not even know that distancing themselves from God and hiding from Him was a problem. How can God love a mankind that denies and resists Him like this? Can He love them? In essence, God cares for and watches over mankind, and what God does can only represent one of His responsibilities. Because God has a plan and a wish in His heart, He must watch over and protect the mankind He has created. If you rigidly and thoughtlessly say that God’s protection and care for mankind is for love, then how much content must that love actually entail? Are people really worthy of God loving them like this? At the very least, in people’s hearts they must have true love for God and genuinely trust in Him, and only then will God love them. If people do not love God but instead resist Him, betray Him, and even crucify Him, are they worthy of God’s love? What does God base His love of people on? No matter the situation, people always say that God loves them; this is their imagination, it is wishful thinking.
Next is, “For love, God issued laws and commandments to guide man’s life on earth. For love, God became flesh and gave His life to redeem mankind.” This summarizes things quite comprehensively. From the creation of the world to the Age of Law, and then to the Age of Grace, when God became flesh to do the work of redemption, these two lines encapsulate two stages of God’s work. Unfortunately, it was a mistake to define this hymn by these first two words, “for love,” to use these words as the directional marker for its characterization. After God created mankind, whether it was issuing laws to lead mankind or redeeming mankind, this was all done because of His management plan, His wishes, and what He intends to accomplish; it was not merely for love. Some people say, “So You’re saying there’s no component of love in God doing these things?” Is that correct? (No.) God has the essence of love, but if you say that the essence of God doing His three-stage work is because of love, then that is extremely wrong; it is slander and blasphemy. Then what is the main reason God does His three-stage work? It is because of God’s management plan, God’s wishes, and because of what God is about to accomplish; the root lies in these, not just in love. Of course, during the period of His three-stage work, the essence and disposition that God reveals contains love. What are the concrete manifestations of “love”? It’s tolerance and patience, isn’t it? And compassion? And bestowing grace and blessing on people? Isn’t it enlightenment and guidance? Isn’t it judgment and chastisement? It is all of these. Dealing with and pruning, judging and chastising, exposing and dissecting, testing and refining, and so on, are all love—this love is incredibly comprehensive. However, if people delimit God’s three-stage work as being done for love, only emphasizing love, then this is too one-sided; it is delimiting God. When people hear these lines, they will think, “God is love, and nothing else.” They will develop misunderstandings about God, won’t they? (Yes.) Therefore, not only does this hymn not really bring people into the presence of God, but on the contrary, it makes people misunderstand Him. What sort of state will arise in people if they are always singing “For love, for love”? What sort of feelings will that give rise to? Will these feelings ultimately be an understanding or a misunderstanding of God’s disposition? If one cannot fully understand this matter, yet still speak and sing in this way, then this is wishful thinking, which is even more irrational. When people fall into a state of wishful thinking, irrationality, and self-abasement, that is troubling. Can such people genuinely praise God in their hearts? It is impossible. This hymn does not truly praise God; it can only lead people astray.
Let us look at the chorus that follows. The chorus is even more nauseating, the way it brings its “praise” to a climax. Is the line “Oh God! Everything revealed in Your work and Your words is love” accurate? (No.) In what way is it inaccurate? (It prescribes God’s words and work.) What does it prescribe them into? (Only being done for love.) God’s utterances and words all reveal His disposition, which is that of righteousness and holiness. Love is nothing more than an aspect of emotion—a type of feeling—it is not God’s true essence. Is it correct to characterize love as the essence of God? What would that be taking God as? It would be taking Him as a philanthropist who is easily taken advantage of and a pushover. In the end, what is the essence of God? (Righteousness, holiness, mercy, lovingkindness, wrath—a more thorough encapsulation.) Righteousness, holiness, mercy, and lovingkindness, as well as majesty and wrath—all of these are what God has and is, and they represent the essence of God. If one characterizes a certain aspect of God’s essence one-sidedly, that reflects the one-sided understanding of people in the Age of Grace, because their experience of God’s work is limited and one-sided, as is their knowledge. Therefore, their understanding of God’s essence is characterized based on God’s work in the Age of Grace, making the basis for their characterization one-sided. Characterizing God’s essence based on a fragment of God’s work is too one-sided, does not correspond to the facts, and deviates too far from God’s essence.
Let us look at the second line. “Oh God! Your love is not just lovingkindness and mercy, but is even more so chastisement and judgment.” This is still theory; the statement is correct, but it is doctrine, so it serves no purpose to put it there. Is there anybody who’s not aware of what this line conveys? God has carried out so much work, and most people have experienced this and know it, so this is nonsense and empty talk, and it does little to edify people. Further down: “Oh God! Your judgment and chastisement are the truest love and the greatest salvation.” What does “the greatest salvation” mean? It means that judgment and chastisement are not ordinary salvation, but the greatest salvation. If God did not do the work of judgment and chastisement, wouldn’t His redemption of mankind be the greatest salvation? Wouldn’t His issuance of laws be the greatest salvation? You have split God’s three-stage work into grades, as if the issuance of laws was the first grade of salvation, the crucifixion was the second grade of salvation, and judgment and chastisement were the greatest salvation. Is this not nonsensical? Is it appropriate to say something like this? Is it accurate? If you say these empty words to a person of religion, they will not be able to find any problem with them. They don’t understand; they will not have heard about any of these things you say to them, they will not know of them—they will think it all sounds fresh, original, and quite good. But if you say those same words to someone who understands the truth, they will immediately realize that these are empty words and summarized doctrines, devoid of anyone’s essential or experiential understanding. Further down, it says, “We will bear witness to Your holy and righteous love.” Here, God’s love is characterized as holy and righteous love. The hymnwriter does not state that God’s essence is holy and righteous, but rather that God’s love is holy and righteous, advocating that God ought to love man. What they mean is: God should not express judgment and chastisement, and He should not express wrath and majesty; only His expression of love is correct, and that love is holy and righteous. Immediately thereafter, it says, “You deserve our eternal praise.” Why does the hymnwriter praise God? They praise God only because God loves man. Is the problem in these words a big one? (Yes.) Why do we say there is a big problem here? (Because it is viewing matters according to human notions and imaginings; it lacks an understanding of God, and tries to delimit Him.) This is delimiting God. Not understanding the truth and lacking genuine knowledge of God, yet still attempting to summarize, your summary is inconsistent with God’s words and far from the truth, and it even leads people somewhat astray. This amounts to judging God. What do you think people can gain from singing the first verse of this hymn? (They will gain notions about God.) What notions? (They will believe that God is love, and that God has only love and nothing else.) What is wrong with people feeling this way? What is wrong with people living in the embrace of God’s love, with God’s love surrounding and accompanying them? What is wrong with people enjoying the fullness of God’s love and care? (Understanding God in this way is too partial, for there is more than just love within God’s disposition.) Is it only partial? Speaking precisely, it is too hollow for man to only know God’s love; it is an empty, one-sided, theoretical, emotional kind of feeling. Consider this: If people think that believing and knowing that God is love is enough, will it be easy for them to achieve true obedience when they experience God’s judgment and chastisement? (No.) But they have God’s love as a foundation—why would it not be easy to obey? Will bearing witness to God’s love in this way influence people to accept judgment and chastisement? (No.) Then tell Me, what are the actual situation and the practical difficulties involved? (People always think that God is love, so they want to enjoy God’s grace every day. When God’s judgment and chastisement bring people fleshly suffering, they think that God does not love them, so it becomes difficult for them to accept and submit to God’s judgment and chastisement.) Keep going; is there anything else? (People believe that God is love, so when they rebel against and betray God, they will decide that God still loves them, and will show them mercy and forgiveness. As a result, they will not go and repent.) If people are always living in a state where they fancifully assume that God especially loves and favors them, can they accept the fact that they have a corrupt disposition? Can they accept the various states and corruptions of man that are revealed in God’s words? (No.) It is difficult for them to move from that state to one of obedience, to accept God’s judgment and chastisement; they can only remain stuck in the Age of Grace, believing that God will always be their sin offering, and that this sin offering for them is a form of love, an inexhaustible and unending love. If they understand God’s love in this way, what would the consequence be? It would be like people in religion: They do not care about how they sin; they just say their prayers at night and confess their sins, and that is the end of it. They think that God will continue to forgive them and will continue to bestow mercy and lovingkindness, and provide grace. This makes it difficult for them to admit they have a corrupt disposition, to accept God’s judgment and chastisement, and to submit to God’s work and reach the point where they can receive His salvation. For people remaining in this condition, what will the repercussions be? Will they resist and reject God when He comes again to do new work? (Yes.) So will they be able to welcome God’s return? Why can the religious world not accept God’s end-time work? Is it not all because of a fallacious understanding of God? This is a most terrible repercussion! If people do not know God, it will be very difficult for them to obey Him—what does this fact show? It shows that people have corrupt dispositions, and that it is their inherent tendency to resist and rebel against God, to be incompatible with God. People are capable of going against God’s will at every turn, and of going against the truth at every turn. People’s nature and inherent tendency is to dislike the truth; their inherent tendency is to resist and rebel against God. Can God love such a person? (He cannot.) Regardless of whether God loves them, regardless of whether they are worthy of God’s love, God cannot bring Himself to love such a person. Isn’t this a fact?
From the time God began to do the work of judgment and to reveal the essence of mankind’s corruption until the present, God has been expressing the truth; He has spoken many words to save mankind and has also uttered many a harsh word of judgment. Can you perceive God’s true attitude toward mankind? In the end, does God love or hate mankind? There are some who say, “From the fact that God gave Adam and Eve clothes made of skins, I have found and learned that God loves people, and that His attitude toward mankind is one of love; there is no hate.” Is this way of comprehending things correct? (It is not.) What is wrong with it? It takes God’s various responsibilities, duties, and obligations toward mankind as though they were done because God loves man, and because man is lovely, deserving of love, and worthy of God’s love. Is this not a fallacious way of comprehending things? (It is.) All that God does is out of responsibility and obligation, and it is also because of His essence. It is first of all because of His plan, and after that, it is because of His obligation. Of course, while God fulfills this obligation, He reveals His disposition, as He does His essence. So, what is His disposition and essence? It is righteousness, holiness, majesty, and unoffendableness. With such a disposition and essence, and confronted with a mankind that has been so deeply corrupted by Satan, what should God’s most accurate attitude and thoughts toward mankind be? Should they be to love mankind so much that He cannot part with them? (It should more so be a responsibility.) His responsibility is His work. He does not love mankind so much that He cannot bear to part from them, cherishing them to extremes; He is not overcome with love for them, nor does He treasure them like the apple of His eye—God’s true attitude toward such a mankind is one of being sickened to the core. So, why do I say this hymn is disgusting to the core? Because it expresses people’s wishful thinking. God has love, so people think that He has done all this because man is lovely and worthy of love. You are wrong, and so self-indulgently sentimental! God does all this because of His plan and responsibility, and the disposition and essence God reveals in doing all this are righteousness and holiness. No matter what God reveals, there is of course love in God’s essence, and what God does to mankind is merely because there is love in God’s essence. But God does not love people in His subjective will; He does not love a corrupted mankind, He hates corrupt mankind. Why does God do the work of judgment in the last days? Why does God have this attitude in revealing corrupt mankind? This is decided by God’s essence and disposition, and moreover this can illustrate a practical issue: Mankind lives under Satan’s power and are all followers and worshipers of Satan; they do not truly obey and worship God, they are His enemies. Can God love His enemies? (No.) God reveals love, and God has the essence of love, but He does not do all this for love. If you think that God does all this for love, I’m telling you, that is completely mistaken and a shameless thought. If that is what you think, then you are slandering God. Do not feel too good about yourself, do not feel excessively sentimental! Some people say, “God didn’t do all this for love, so in that sense, is there no love in God’s essence?” Is that right? (No.) Where does it go wrong? (God has lovingkindness and mercy in His disposition.) God has love, but He does not love indiscriminately. God is righteous and holy, it is impossible for Him to love a mankind so deeply corrupted by Satan—in fact, God abhors and hates this mankind. Some people ask, “Since God abhors and hates this mankind, why does He still do all this work on them?” God has a management plan, and He is willing to take on and fulfill this responsibility, so He will do this work—that is God’s right, and man cannot interfere. God has this power, and He also has the authority to complete this management plan, of which the ultimate beneficiary is mankind, is all of you. It is already quite something that man should reap such advantages and obtain such great blessings; do not demand of God: “Since You have love, You have to love us.” Love you for what reason? Because God has chosen you? That couldn’t be it, could it? Because of your loveliness? What is so lovely about you? Because you betray God? Because you disobey God? Because you are replete with Satan’s corrupt disposition? Because you oppose God? Because you resist God at every turn? With all of this, can God still love you? Can He still love those who resist Him? Can He still love devils and Satan? If you say that God can still love those who resist Him, and that He can still love devils and Satan, is this not blaspheming God? In your view, can God love devils and Satan? Can God love His enemies? Can God love in the indiscriminate way corrupt mankind does? He absolutely cannot. God’s love is principled. Therefore, this love in man’s imagination does not exist, it is purely wishful and overly sentimental thinking; it belongs to man’s notions and is not at all consistent with the facts, so I must clarify it here. Why does God not love you? (Because man’s disposition is fully corrupt, and he is not worthy of God’s love.) “Not worthy of God’s love” is a platitude. Does God have to love you just because He created you? That’s not the case, is it? God created all things and the entire universe; must He necessarily love each and every last thing? God can choose to love you, and He can choose to not love you; that is God’s right—this is a fact. Another fact is that, if you want to make God love you—if you want to receive God’s love—then you have to do something worthy of His love. Have you done anything worthy of His love? Do you possess behavior, humanity, or a disposition that pleases God? (No.) Perhaps not in the first few years of believing in God, but in later years, some people display some of these behaviors: doing one’s duty and work with less and less carelessness and perfunctoriness, being able to seek principles, learning to comply and submit, and not acting arbitrarily; not relying on imaginings and notions when confronted with something, being able to pray to and seek God, collaborating with brothers and sisters and seeking fellowship with them more often, and having a more humble and rigorous mentality; having a bit of sincerity and a bit of true faith in God, even though they cannot be said to be loyal to the work entrusted to them by God’s house and God’s commission; and being able to focus on pursuing the truth and be attentive to changes in their dispositions, being able to take the initiative in knowing their own corruption, knowing their own arrogance and deceitfulness, praying often before God, asking Him to orchestrate the environment, accepting God’s discipline, and having more positive things within themselves. In God’s eyes, these behaviors are precious. But when it comes to whether God loves people or not, should they insist? (They should not.) If people’s behavior exhibits these positive pursuits, these improvements, these changes, then from a human perspective, they have a little bit of loveliness and an expression of some obedience. But having these behaviors is just the hope seen in you. This hope is that through God’s work and leadership, people will be of a positive, active, and cooperative mind, and at the same time, these behaviors and revelations will bear witness to God before Satan. From this point of view, that is, when I look at this from a human perspective, people have a little loveliness—but seen from the perspective of God’s Spirit, does God ultimately love you or not? Do you have somewhat lovable aspects or not? If you ask Me, you are still a long way off. Because based on people’s caliber, talents, and the circumstances in which they live, people should be able to do better. In fact, what you have now experienced, obtained, and recognized, as well as the changes you’ve attained, can be attained in five years if you pursue them with all your strength, but it has taken you ten whole years to achieve these results. Isn’t that too long? Your minds are a little numb, your responses slow, your actions sluggish; in many places, it was only through being promptly dealt with, pruned, disciplined, and overseen by the Above that you have attained anything. These achievements are hard won, people have paid a certain price, and from the results of what has been reaped, there are some aspects of people’s behaviors and expressions that can offer some comfort when looked at. However, they are still far from the standard of loveliness that God has spoken of. Do you all feel that you are lovelier now than you were before? (No.) No, not yet. You will discover what things you reveal about yourself with a bit of self-examination: “Oh, there is still too much impurity within me, as soon as I ponder something, cunning schemes arise in my mind, and I go about things in a careless and perfunctory manner. Once I’ve muddled by like this, problems emerge again and, after mulling them over, those cunning schemes come out once more, and I pass the buck again and revert to being a people pleaser.” As you can see, just by casually reflecting throughout the day, you revealed quite a bit of corruption—so what is so lovely about you? You still ask God to love you, yet you look down on yourself; you feel that you are utterly worthless and that nothing about you deserves praise or other people’s love. If people can’t even bring themselves to love you, how could God be expected to love you? Would that be possible? (No.) Now that we have sufficiently clarified these facts, shouldn’t this hymn be scrapped? It should be. It is full of words from notions and imaginings and words from religion; so does your singing of this hymn do others any good? Do you enjoy singing it and listening to it? Not only does singing this hymn not enable an understanding of the truth, but it also misguides people; it does not just fail to relieve them of their notions, but it deepens and strengthens those notions. Does this not harm people? Singing this hymn, it isn’t just more difficult for you to understand the truth; it becomes even easier for you to live within your notions and your imaginings of God; such a hymn does no good at all to anyone. Therefore, My heart fills with fury when I hear you all singing this hymn—you listened to so many years of sermons in vain, you read so many of God’s words in vain; even now you still have no true knowledge of God’s disposition, I really want to give you a couple of slaps. Who writes lyrics full of such notions and imaginings? And still you sing with great infatuation. Have you no discernment at all? You disappoint Me bitterly. You have believed until now without gaining any truth reality; you cannot even distinguish words of notions, imaginings, or absurdities, and yet you sing them all the same. Yours is truly a confused faith! What more can I say!
Look at the second verse of the hymn “For Love.” “For love, God returned in the flesh in the last days and came to the nation of the great red dragon.” How great must God’s love be? Is it right to think that you have made God endure humiliation because of love, to incarnate and come to the nation of the great red dragon, where He faced utmost humiliation, in order to love and save people? Does God do all of this only because of love? You’re only thinking of the good—God does this because of His management plan. There is an essence in God’s disposition encapsulated by the statement, “He is as good as His word, and His word will be accomplished, and that which He accomplishes lasts forever.” This is the revelation of God’s authority; how could it be because of love? Tell Me, are these corrupt people worthy of having God suffer great humiliation in coming to the nation of the great red dragon? (No.) They are not worthy, they are worse than ants and maggots, they are undeserving. Do you mean for God to become flesh and continue to endure humiliation and Satan’s persecution, while continuing to offer His love to this corrupt mankind? Is this what you mean? This idea is ridiculous. In fact, this is God’s management plan. Whether God returns in the flesh and comes to the nation of the great red dragon or does any other kind of work, it is a step in His work; now that the step has reached this point, God must act this way. Just why does God do this work? He does it for His management plan, and in His management plan, the recipient of His salvation is corrupt mankind. From any point of view, corrupt mankind—no matter from which country or of what race—is just an object of work, a foil, in God’s management plan. Is a foil worthy of God bestowing His entire love? No, it is not. It is wrong to say that, it should not be characterized that way. Because God has a management plan and because of the fact that He will accomplish in His management work, you as a human being are qualified to bear this fact, which is a great blessing. And yet still, you shamelessly say, “God does all this because of His love for us.” This is a grievous error, it is misguided, and it is pure nonsense.
Look at the next line. “For love, God endures rejection and slander, and suffers great persecution and tribulations.” Is that correct? God endures rejection and slander, and suffers great persecution and tribulations. No matter what He endures, the thought, desire, and goal in His heart is to fulfill His management plan. God has a greater goal, but He does all this not as a dedication to mankind, not as an offering of love or giving of His all to this mankind that is corrupt, hostile to Him, and that regards Him as an enemy—it is not for this reason. Some people say, “Since God does not do all this work out of love for mankind, and since His endurance of rejection, slander, and tribulations is actually for the sake of His management plan, then God is not worthy of man’s love.” Is this correct? (No.) Where does it go wrong? Tell Me what you think. (God does all this work for the sake of His management plan, but actually in this process people reap much benefit, come to understand some truths, and achieve some changes.) Is that all? Tell Me, is the fact that God suffers rejection and slander, and endures great persecution and tribulations for the sake of His management plan a positive thing or a negative thing? (It is a positive thing.) God endures rejection and slander, and suffers great humiliation for the sake of His management plan; this is a positive thing. Do you know why it is a positive thing? What is the content of God’s management plan? (To defeat Satan and lead people out of Satan’s bondage.) How is Satan to be defeated? What is the specific content? What is the specific work project? It is saving mankind. That’s not vague, is it? Defeating Satan is one aspect; the specific content of God’s management plan, that is, the specific project of God’s work, is to save mankind. In human terms, is the matter of saving mankind a just cause or an unjust cause? (A just cause.) It is a just cause. Is it wrong for God to endure rejection and slander and all manner of pain and humiliation to save mankind? (No.) Isn’t this a positive thing? Is it selfish? (It’s not selfish.) Then how come you cannot explain it clearly? You cannot explain such clear and obvious matters; instead, you blindly interpret them and arbitrarily set rules—isn’t this the height of foolishness and ignorance? The work of God’s management plan is a grand project, and the details of this specific project entail saving mankind. Some people say, “God saves mankind in order to fulfill His own wishes, to complete His plan; God does all this for Himself and not for mankind. Isn’t this selfish?” Is it selfish? (No.) Why is it not selfish? The act God is undertaking is positive and meaningful. It is extremely valuable and meaningful for all mankind’s survival, destination, outcome, and state of existence in the next age. In light of these points, is it selfish for God to endure all of this and give all of this to complete His management plan? (No.) The purpose of God’s management plan is to save mankind, His intentions are good and beautiful, and true love; God cannot therefore be said to be selfish for satisfying His intentions. Just from this act that God has done, from this act that He planned, one can see the essence of God and see that His heart is beautiful and good. Even though this mankind has become depraved, even though they have followed Satan and are full of Satan’s corrupt disposition, full of disobedience and resistance to God, full of blasphemy and enmity, God is still able to save mankind patiently and without ever giving up. What does all this stem from? It stems from God’s management plan, from His wish. Is this selfish? Mankind is the greatest and the ultimate beneficiary of God’s entire management plan. You all are the sole bearers and inheritors of the promises, blessings, and good destinations that God has bestowed upon mankind. So, tell Me, is God selfish? (He is not.) God is not selfish. But does God do all this only for love? (No.) The significance, value, and the truths that people should understand here are too profound—how could it be just for a bit of love? Love is only a small part of emotional expression, a fragment revealed in emotions and sentiments, not the entirety. But in the work of God carrying out His management plan, and in the process of God’s salvation of mankind, what is really revealed is the entirety of God’s disposition. And His disposition is not just love, that is, it is not only lovingkindness and mercy; it also includes righteousness and majesty, wrath and curses, and a multitude of other aspects. Of course, speaking concretely, it is during His three-stage work that God’s disposition and essence are gradually revealed and made visible to people. But people are unable to recognize them, and they even say, “God has done all this because He loves us.” This notion of “love” that people hold—why does it sound so awkward, so nauseating? To define such meaningful work of God, work that has such a great impact on mankind’s destination and outcome, as merely a small emotion—love—isn’t this a defamation of God’s intentions, a defamation of God’s earnest and thoughtful efforts to save mankind?
The next line reads: “For love, God lives humbly and hiddenly with corrupt mankind.” Here, the hymnwriter says this too is done for love. God does this because it is necessary for His work; how could it be for love? Does it make sense that God would live with mankind out of love for them, and that He would be humble and hidden out of love for them? Just how alluring and lovely must mankind be, to make God so impatient and willing to live with them, and to even become flesh and be humble and hidden? Are these the facts? (They are not.) What are the facts? (God became flesh, humble and hidden, and came to earth to express the truth and save people because of His management plan.) In theory, it is because of God’s management plan. In people’s view, it seems that God’s humble and hidden life with corrupt mankind makes God very happy, that He lives quite comfortably, feeling joy each day, and is quite content watching man’s each and every move, and watching the behavior they display. Is this how it is? (No.) How, in fact, is it? (God does this because His work demands it.) Because His work demands it; this is theory. In fact, does living with mankind bring God joy? Happiness? Pleasure? (No.) Then how should God feel? For example, you all believe in God and feel yourselves to be quite upright, but if you were to live with streetwise youths, ruffians, hoodlums, and underworld thugs, speaking the same words they do, eating the same food, and doing the same things every day, how would you feel? (Fed up and disgusted.) What frame of mind would you be in, if you were to live with rapists and murderers? (Sickened.) So you do know what it is to feel sickened—tell Me, then, can God be happy living with corrupt mankind? Can He be joyful? (No.) There is neither happiness nor joy—so where would love come from? If there is no joy, happiness, or pleasure at all, is it not a contradiction for Him to love people as He loves Himself, to love them too much to part with them? Is there not an element of pretense in that? Just what exactly is the truth? What should God truly feel living among corrupt mankind, apart from having no happiness, no pleasure, and no joy? (Pain.) Pain, this is a very tangible feeling. Anything else? (Aversion.) Aversion, that is yet another feeling. Anything else? (A hatred of man’s corrupt disposition.) Hatred, disgust, and detestation. There is also the most genuine feeling, which is that living among corrupt mankind, especially when it comes to getting along, conversing, working together, and associating, feels like an incredible humiliation. In such a state of affairs, in such a persistent state, do you think a normal person can still have love? (No.) They cannot have love. In the absence of love, what would they do? (Withdraw.) Withdrawal is a wish, it is a mentality; to face the facts, however, what should be done? Shouldn’t efforts be made to change these people? (Yes.) For a mankind such as this, it is necessary to practice providing, educating, rebuking, revealing, dealing with, pruning, sometimes disciplining, and so on; this is necessary and cannot be dispensed with. But can such actions achieve instant results? (They cannot.) Then what should be done? (They must be pruned and dealt with, and judged and chastised, over a long period of time.) Is the work of pruning people, dealing with them, judging and chastising them over a long period of time easy? What does God have to endure to do this? (Humiliation and pain.) God works with incredible patience. What does this patience bring? It brings pain. Therefore, when God lives with corrupt mankind, there is neither joy nor happiness in His heart. Without joy and happiness, can He have love for people in His heart? He cannot bring Himself to love them. Then how can He do His work? On what basis? He is just fulfilling His responsibility. This is the ministry of God incarnate; it is of this nature. Fulfilling one’s responsibility means to fully accomplish all that one has seen, knows, should say, and should do to the best of one’s abilities. This is called fulfilling one’s responsibility. Why is it possible to fulfill this responsibility? Because of God’s identity and essence, because God incarnate has this commission and responsibility, of course God has this burden for mankind. So, no matter what kind of people and corrupt human beings He lives with, this is the state of affairs. Do you know what this state of affairs is? It is the state in which God has neither happiness nor joy, and He must endure humiliation; at the same time, He must tirelessly and repeatedly endure all sorts of human corruption and disobedience. While enduring all of this, He must also tirelessly say what He ought and do what He ought; He must explain clearly the things people do not understand, and to those who knowingly commit offenses, He must mete out some discipline, some judgment and chastisement. All of this that God does is related to His management plan and to the steps of His work. Of course, it has even more to do with God’s specific work project of saving mankind. In short, it has to do with God’s own responsibilities. All of this that God does is fulfilling His responsibility; of course, what He reveals while fulfilling His responsibility is His essence and His disposition. What, then, is the essence of God incarnate, that is, the essence of this ordinary person? Especially in doing this end-time stage of His work, He does not manifest signs and wonders, nor does He display any miracles; all He can do is tell people the truths they should possess and understand. He reveals to people the corrupt disposition that they themselves are unable to recognize, so that they may know and recognize it, and that they may know the essence and the actual facts of mankind’s corruption; this is so that people may have true repentance and be brought to the right path. When people are able to genuinely repent, when they are able to understand and practice the truth, they enter into the truth reality and gain hope of receiving salvation, and the work and responsibility of God incarnate is accomplished. Once people are on the right track, what remains is to receive God’s trials and refinements—the work of God incarnate concludes; His responsibilities are fulfilled and His work is completed. When the work of God incarnate is completed, bringing you to the right track, it means that His ministry is completed, and He no longer has any obligation toward you. What does it mean to have no obligation? It means He no longer has to be with these people and endure things like their corruption, notions, disobedience, resistance, rejection, and so on.
Whether from the perspective of God’s entire management plan or a specific work done by God incarnate, is either only done for love? Neither of them is. God’s Spirit observes mankind from heaven in a certain way, and God incarnate on earth nearly shares the same perspective. Why do I say “nearly”? The incarnate God on earth is able to look at mankind’s weakness from a relatively more considerate perspective because of His humanity, because of His coexistence with created mankind within the same space, and also because, like corrupt mankind, He shares the outward attribute of being human. Consequently, the incarnate God can live with people in a somewhat more harmonious manner compared to God in heaven. Looking at it this way, had God not become flesh, would you all be sitting here right now? You would not. All of this is due to the requirements of God’s work—it is the only reason He paid such a great price, and He came here to do it Himself. If God were to speak to people from heaven, in one sense, due to spatial separation, it would be inconvenient for them to hear His words. In another, given the extensive and voluminous utterances of God in the last days, if He were to speak from heaven in such a manner, it would be unsuitable, no matter from which perspective or angle you look at it. Therefore, the only and best choice, and the one that is the most beneficial to mankind, to God’s management plan, and to the work of saving mankind, is for God to become flesh; God becoming flesh is the only choice and the only way to do the work. It is only God incarnate who can perform this work, who is capable of performing this work, and who can achieve these results. If you look at these words spoken by God in the last days, in terms of quantity, so many have been uttered; how could so many be conveyed without the method of becoming flesh? If God were to speak from heaven in the form of thunder, how many people would be struck dead each time He judged and condemned evildoers? There would not be many left alive. If God were to speak from within a whirlwind or from within flames, how many whirlwinds and fires would have to occur before He could finish speaking these words? All of mankind would be disturbed by this approach. And after these years of speaking, have God incarnate’s words affected the normal life of mankind? Not at all, and the whole world neither cares nor is affected in the least. This completely achieves the purpose of the work done by God incarnate; without God incarnate, this work would indeed be unfeasible. There is a secretiveness to the work of God incarnate itself. God does not want the whole world and all mankind to know of it; He does not want those unbelievers who are not chosen by God to know. He can only express these words in a state of hiddenness, so adopting the method of becoming flesh is the most meaningful; it is also the wisest method. Only by God becoming flesh can it remain secret. It is God’s wisdom and omnipotence for His incarnation to live in the same space as mankind, providing mankind with the truth in human language, in a way and in a form that mankind can accept. This is something that only God is capable of; it is beyond mankind. All of this relates to God’s great management plan. It would be overly simplistic, contrary to the facts, and really unjustifiable if man were to one-sidedly describe such a great management plan of God’s as being done only for love. In short, regardless of the content of the work being done, this form of God becoming flesh this time has indeed caused a considerable stir and had a significant impact throughout the world and among all mankind, which shows just how tremendous an event this fact is. The fact and the form of God becoming flesh are in themselves a matter of controversy in the whole world and in the entire religious community; it is an event to which mankind is hostile, which mankind condemns and rejects, and which is most difficult for mankind to fathom and imagine. That God can work in this way shows His wisdom, His power, His almightiness, and His authority; it is not done at all for some minor love, or for some trivial matter or minor reason as small as a sesame seed. That is to say, a major event that can shake the entire religious world, the entire political world, all of mankind, and even the entire universe does not arise because of love, but because of God’s management plan and wish to save mankind. This is the greatest vision of the third stage of God’s work; it is the greatest vision that people should understand, know, and comprehend. If you merely define this vision as, “It is because of God’s love; God loves us. See, God already became flesh and was crucified out of love for us once, and this time He has become flesh and come to love us once more”—is this not a grave error? Defining such a great vision of God’s work as being done for love is far too superficial. If you don’t know God, then so be it; but hurry and cover your mouth, don’t speak nonsense, and do not randomly express opinions. I have told you before, for anything pertaining to God’s disposition, God’s essence, and the vision of God’s work, people should not judge rashly, arbitrarily draw conclusions, or carelessly delimit. If you do not understand, just admit you don’t understand. If you understand a little, then quickly say, “I only understand this much; I don’t dare to delimit arbitrarily and I don’t know if it’s correct.” You must add on these sorts of explanations and clarifications—do not speak without consideration. If you speak without consideration, then on a small scale, you can wrongly influence others, giving them misconceptions and misguiding them; on a large scale, you may offend God’s disposition. You characterize God’s management plan and such great work of God saving mankind as love, as being done for love—is this not talking nonsense? Should people who say this be slapped? (Yes.) Why should they be slapped? Because it is speaking without thinking, it is taking things out of context. Is this not caused by an arrogant disposition? Didn’t you just start believing in God a few days ago? Have you seen Him? Do you understand His disposition? You cannot explain the truth about the vision of God’s management plan clearly or thoroughly, and yet you dare to define God’s essence and disposition. Is this not audacious in the extreme? You dare to use the word “love” to define such a great matter; this is something that offends God’s disposition. Is it a great transgression to offend God’s disposition? It is indeed. Some people say: “I don’t know; I don’t understand either.” That’s right. It is precisely because you neither understand nor know, and because you are ignorant and foolish, that you should not speak without consideration. Can you, an ordinary person, arbitrarily judge or casually conclude on God’s affairs? All of mankind combined and bundled up together would be unable to explain God’s affairs clearly, yet you alone want to define God’s disposition, His work, and His essence with just a word or two. Isn’t this offensive to God’s disposition? (Yes.) Then there is a serious problem with this hymn. Not only is it full of muddled, empty, blasphemous words, but most crucially it can misguide people, deceive them, and trap them in their notions. Can this hymn be retained, given the serious consequences it leads to? Absolutely not; it must be scrapped.
Continuing on: “For love, God expresses the truth and brings the way of eternal life.” Isn’t it nauseating the way these words delimit things? (It is.) Reading on: “For love, God judges and exposes mankind’s satanic nature with His words.” Tell Me, when God expresses harsh words to expose man’s corrupt disposition, is it because God loves man, or is it because God is disgusted with and loathes man? (It is because God is disgusted with and loathes man.) What disposition of God’s is it, then, if He is disgusted with man? (Righteousness, holiness.) That is correct; it is not because of love. Is it not misplaced and misunderstood for people to define things so? Is there any real knowledge of the truth in this statement? This is a distorted and one-sided understanding, a misinterpretation, a fallacious understanding; the line is a mischaracterization. Then look at, “For love, God tries, refines, prunes and deals with us to cleanse our corruption.” Is this not the same problem as with the previous line? (Yes.) The problem is the same. And further down, “Oh God! Everything revealed in Your work and Your words is love.” Isn’t this delimiting God yet again? What is it that God reveals? His holiness and loveliness, and His righteous disposition. God has wrath, majesty, as well as mercy and lovingkindness, so how can it be said that it’s all because of love? This delimitation is so nauseating and arbitrary! Is it not caused by arrogance? What the hymnwriter is explaining and summarizing has nothing to do with the disposition and essence revealed by God’s words and utterances. It then says that everything is love, which is not only irrelevant but also distorted and wrong—it is a complete mischaracterization. Love is an emotion, and it can also serve as an action or a behavior, but it is not the primary essence of God; God does not love people indiscriminately. Could it be that God’s love is so overflowing that there is not enough room for it, to the point that He loves even Satan, corrupt mankind, and His enemies? Is that so? God’s love is not without principles; it is principled. He loves positive things and hates negative and evil things. Tell Me, does God love people who sincerely believe in Him? Does He love those who do their duty loyally? Does He love those who are obedient to Him? Does God love people who, through receiving His judgment and chastisement, have true repentance, have true submission to God, and truly love God in their hearts? If people understand the truth and hate their own corrupt dispositions, then their “hatred” is a positive thing. And does God love them? (Yes.) Those who are able to accept the truth are positive people, and those who are able to obey God are even more positive. It is positive people whom God loves; He hates devils and Satan. Those whom He curses and punishes are all evildoers, but those whom God loves are all honest people, people who pursue the truth. Therefore, God’s love is principled; it is not without principles. For some people, God is only merciful, which does not mean that He loves those people. These things must be clearly understood; one cannot blindly define God’s love. To speak carelessly of God’s love and to define it blindly is undoubtedly to judge and blaspheme against God.
Looking further down: Is it right to say, “Oh God! Your love is not just lovingkindness and mercy, but is even more so chastisement and judgment”? (It is right in theory, but it is not practical.) There is no issue in theory, but it is very much a stretch to connect this with God’s love. These words should not be considered incorrect, but they should not be considered correct, either; they are nonsense, which barely needs mentioning. Moving down: “Oh God! Your judgment and chastisement are the truest love and the greatest salvation.” What do you all think of that? (That line is incorrect; it establishes God’s judgment and chastisement as the greatest salvation, when in fact, God’s salvation does not consist of these alone.) Aren’t the crucifixion of God’s incarnation and His atonement for and bearing of all mankind’s sins not the truest love? Are they not the greatest salvation? (They are.) Then, compared to judgment and chastisement, which is the “greatest”? In fact, upon serious analysis, this statement is inaccurate, inappropriate, and too rigidly delimited; it should not be stated the way it is. It should not be said that everything God does is love, but it is correct to say that everything God does has a positive effect on people, and that it is all salvation and mercy for people, because it is all done for the sake of mankind. If you say of God’s judgment and chastisement that is the “most” and elevate it to the highest level, this is not right. Something that is “the most” should be the only one, without comparison; God’s judgment and chastisement cannot be said to be “the most” if compared with other work of God. Someone once wrote a hymn, and one of the lyrics was “I love God’s righteous disposition more than His lovingkindness and mercy.” Are these words correct or incorrect? (They are incorrect.) What is wrong with them? (They divide God’s righteousness, holiness, lovingkindness, and mercy into a hierarchy.) In fact, this statement is correct, and it is the genuine experience of people after they have experienced God’s judgment and chastisement. What is the background to this genuine experience? There is a story here, namely: When someone enjoys God’s lovingkindness and mercy, they can only gain grace; they can never recognize their own corrupt dispositions and can never rid themselves of them. All they can do is to experience God’s chastisement and judgment and endure the pain of many trials and refinements—only then can they rid themselves of these corrupt dispositions. Therefore, on this premise and in this context, this is the understanding people come to; it is accurate, consistent with the facts, and is not theoretical logic. This hymn is constructive, but none of you can see it; you truly lack discernment. What does this lack of discernment confirm? What is the reason for this lack? The reason is not understanding the truth. The hymn “For Love” is full of nonsense: It is not practical, I do not like it, and I refuse to sing a word of it. How small must all of you be in stature, to sing it with such great enthusiasm and infectiousness! You are unable to grasp anything, and you do not even understand the truths people should enter into, yet you want to comment on God’s essence and on His management plan. Is this not lacking in reason? People without reason who dare to speak out of turn are not attending to their proper tasks; they are not pragmatic in the least.
Further down: “We will bear witness to Your holy and righteous love and You deserve our eternal praise.” It is of course necessary that God deserves eternal praise, but can it be considered praise of God if this is the way people know Him? Say that God does not love someone; He is disgusted by them and loathes them to the utmost. If this person can nonetheless love and praise God, then that person has some stature and some true knowledge of God. In the line “We will bear witness to Your holy and righteous love and You deserve our eternal praise,” what adjectives are modifying “God’s love”? “Holy” and “righteous.” Look how great the hymnwriter believes God’s love to be, using God’s essence to define God’s love, saying that God’s love is a righteous and holy love—isn’t this self-evident? People are unwilling to enjoy a generic love, nor do they enjoy a merciful love or a love that is cherishing of people; they will only praise God when they enjoy His holy and righteous love, and this is why they say God deserves eternal praise. Is this right? Whether from fact or from logical reasoning, this statement is so wrong, it is simply nonsense; it is a mentally disordered mess of verbiage meant to confuse people. Do you think this is the secular world? In the world, all sorts of evil and filthy spirits, all sorts of characters and troublesome lowlifes, and those with a bit of skill, eloquence, or impudence all dare to get on their soapboxes and perform; but in the house of God, the truth holds authority. All those imps have to be pulled offstage; they must be removed from the church. All their heresies and fallacies must be dissected, so that everyone can openly discern them and characterize them. Looking at it now, what is God’s love? If you say it is righteousness and holiness, is that correct? (No; God’s love is not only these things.) Then what is God’s love? (There is also judgment and chastisement, and majesty and wrath; all of these are God’s love.) God’s love is God’s love, and God’s essence is God’s essence. The love of God is in God’s heart and mind, in His emotions, His essence, and His deeds. Can you explain that clearly? Yet you speak of God’s love as righteousness and holiness, you dare to define it in that way—how brazen of you! Does God accept your use of such definitions to praise Him? (He does not.) Why not? (Because it is blasphemy against Him.) God is disgusted, and you are talking sheer and utter nonsense! Your blind praise is useless, and God is not pleased with it. God’s need for mankind’s praise is not that great. He has no desire for it; it’s not like He needs man’s praise in order to live comfortably or to have confidence. Does He have this need? (He does not.) The work God does is to save mankind, to give mankind a good destination, and He does some work for the survival of mankind in the next age; the purpose is not to obtain people’s praise. It is just that one of the results of God’s work is that mankind offers Him praise, but if people have misunderstandings about God and praise Him blindly, then God will not allow it, and He will not accept it. If people are so self-indulgent as to feel that mankind’s praise of God is of so much importance to Him, is that not a misinterpretation? Because mankind has this bit of praise for God and this bit of testimony, they think that God is greatly touched, but in fact, He is not touched at all. Is this not what God deserves? This is a very normal thing.
Looking further down: “For love, God brings people, matters and things into service, so that we may gain truth and life.” Is this line correct? (No.) What is wrong with it? Is it the words “for love”? Everything is because of the first two words, which are so misleading and confusing that they muddle people’s minds, leaving them unable to distinguish between right and wrong. Going forward, do not misuse the words “for love.” The words after those two, “God brings people, matters and things into service, so that we may gain truth and life,” are true. Such content exists in God’s work, but it would be wrong to characterize this as God’s love. It is God’s power, God’s authority, and God’s wisdom; it is not because of love. To be precise, it is not only because of God’s love. God has this power to mobilize all people, matters, and things to render service for the mankind He wants to save. He mobilizes all things and matters to serve the mankind He wants to save and to serve His management work, and the ultimate beneficiary of this is mankind—people gain the truth and life. If you only say it is because of love, then do God’s wisdom, authority, and power no longer exist? To say that it is only because of love is not right, so the orientation and positioning of such statements are also wrong. What does it mean, to say that they are all wrong? They are not in accordance with the truth; they are said in a distorted way; they are not the reality of the truth; and they are not the practical side of the truth that people experience.
Looking at the next line: “For love, God’s judgment and chastisement enables us to cast off Satan’s influence and attain salvation.” Is there any problem with this? It is still that the two words “for love” are an inappropriate premise. There is nothing wrong with the phrase “God’s judgment and chastisement enables us to cast off Satan’s influence and attain salvation,” as this is the result of God’s work—but why must the hymnwriter always add the words “for love” in front? What lesson have you learned from this? When it comes to commenting on, defining, or delimiting God’s disposition and essence, you must be particularly careful and adopt an attitude of humility and prudence. If you are capable of talking unbridled rubbish, and if everything that you say is nonsense and empty words, tall talk, and blasphemy, then you will offend God’s disposition and cause Him to abhor and loathe you. Compared with the essence of God, to put it somewhat inadequately, man’s knowledge of God can only be said to be a drop in the ocean or a grain of sand on the beach. The gulf between the two is huge, and if people still dare to delimit things and draw conclusions at will, arbitrarily treating their own notions as truths and formulating them into words, then there will be a major issue. What major issue is that? (Blasphemy against God.) To blaspheme against God is troublesome and serious in nature. If you do not want to blaspheme against God in terms of your subjective will, then you should hold fast to what I have just told you all, that is, be cautious and guard your tongues. What does it mean, to guard one’s tongue? (Do not comment at will on God and delimit Him.) That’s right. For matters involving visions, “involving visions” is just a general expression; more specifically, it relates to matters involving God’s management plan, work, disposition, and essence. So, speak and act cautiously on matters relating to these visions, and do not arbitrarily delimit or judge. Some people say, “That is just what I thought,” but is it accurate for you to think it is just like that? Do not be too arrogant and self-righteous. If what you think is inaccurate and you still talk nonsense and delimit things arbitrarily, then that is to judge, to condemn, and to blaspheme—and you may get more than you bargained for. Some people cannot take this in, and say, “That’s just how I see things, and if You don’t let me speak, You’re asking me to disguise myself.” How is that asking you to disguise yourself? It is advising you to be cautious and not to say anything that you have not thought through and sought to confirm. It is to your benefit; it is for your protection. If what you think is wrong, do you know what the consequences will be once you have spoken? You will have to bear responsibility for your words. Whoever is an antichrist has committed many evil deeds; and what have the ultimate consequences for them been? They have had to bear responsibility for their deeds, and the church has had to handle them. Therefore, if you have an idea or a certain understanding, it is best to have it confirmed before you speak it. You need a sufficient factual basis and theoretical support before you can write it into an article, form it into a text, or compose it as a hymn. If you have insufficient facts and theoretical support, then the facts that you want to establish or what you believe to be the “truth” are too impractical; they are just empty theories and deluding words. It could be said that you are audaciously reckless, and you are speaking blasphemous words.
God has expressed so many truths from the beginning of His work until now, and there are so many words that involve the various states and corrupt dispositions of people, as well as the various needs of people. What do I mean by this? It means that there are so many hymns that can be written about topics involving people’s experience, people’s knowledge of God’s word, and people’s knowledge of God’s requirements. You can write about whichever aspect you have experience in; if you have no experience, do not write randomly. If you have experience but are not good at writing hymns, then you can find someone who understands hymns to get guidance before writing. People who do not understand hymns should definitely avoid recklessly writing them just to fill up space. People who write hymns must have experience and also grasp the principles; they must speak from the heart and say practical words, so that the hymn that is written can be of use to people. Some hymns say things that are not at all practical but are just words and doctrines that do not do anything for people; it is better not to write these kinds of hymns. Some people write hymns and get other people to modify them, and those who modify the hymns have no experience but feign experience and literary talent. Isn’t this deceiving? They have no experience of their own, yet they still want to modify a hymn for others—they lack self-knowledge. Therefore, those who have no experience or true knowledge should never write hymns. In one regard, they will do absolutely no good to anyone, and in another, they will be making a fool of themselves.
Singing hymns is partly to praise God, and partly to engage in spiritual devotion and self-reflection, allowing oneself to benefit from it. The key to whether a hymn has value lies in whether the lyrics are beneficial and do people good. If it is a good experiential hymn, there will be many words in it that do people good and that are useful. What do useful words refer to? It refers to lyrics that you can think of each time you encounter something in your experiences. These words can give you a direction and a path of practice; they can give you certain help, inspiration, and guidance, or they can give you some light, so that from these words which come from practical experiences you can find the position in which you should stand, the attitude you should adopt, the standpoint you should take, the faith you should have, and the path you should practice. Or, from those words, you can recognize certain aspects of your own distortions, and recognize certain aspects of your own corrupt state, your revelation of corruption, or your thoughts and ideas. All of these are helpful to people. Why are they helpful to people? Because they are in line with the truth, and they are people’s experiences and realizations. If there are truly practical things in the lyrics that can be beneficial to your life experience, assisting, guiding, enlightening, or warning you with regard to resolving your corrupt disposition, then these words are valuable and practical. Although some lyrics are modest, they are practical; some lyrics may not be so elegantly put, they may not resemble poetry or prose, and they may all be vernacular and heartfelt, but if those words express an understanding of the truth, and if they convey a true experience of the truth, then they are edifying to you, are practical, and are valuable. The greatest difficulty you all have now is that you do not know how to discern; you cannot perceive whether the lyrics are empty words, or words and doctrines. Whatever words are sung is fine to you; you don’t ponder whether the lyrics are practical, whether they have the light of truth, whether they are of any good to people, or whether they are of any benefit to you—none of these considerations come to mind. And you still think the hymns are quite nice and beautiful after you have sung them, but you do not know what kind of effect they have had on you. Isn’t this a person who lacks discernment?
There is a hymn called “No Heart Is Better Than God’s,” and every line in that hymn is a realization that comes from practical experience, it is of great help to people—have any of you ever heard it? The better and more edifying the lyrics, the more unwilling you are to accept them. You do not look at them or pay them any mind, you do not treasure these good things, you do not know how to hold on to something of value—once you have it, it slips from your grasp. How truly impoverished and pitiful you all are! I have recommended this hymn many times during gatherings. Singing such hymns always has a facilitating effect on your entry, on the growth of your faith in God, and on your attainment of true obedience to God. These effects are immeasurable. This is a valuable hymn, so I recommend it, yet none of you sing it. You still do not know what is reality and what is just words and doctrines, so you need to sing these hymns more often and truly feel them. Let us analyze this one.
The first line of the hymn reads, “Having chosen to love God, I’d obey Him whatever He takes away from me.” Takes what away? One’s status, one’s family, one’s image, and even one’s dignity. What were the elements of the refinements that befell Job? What did God do? (He took away Job’s property and his children.) God took everything from him, and in an instant, he had nothing and his whole body was covered with boils. That is called deprivation. Concretely, it is deprivation, and the general overview of this act was that God wanted to test Job; it was a trial, and one of the specific tasks in the trial was deprivation. Looking further down: “Despite feeling a bit sad, I give no word of complaint.” Is that not a human attitude? (It is.) “Feeling a bit sad.” In your view, do people find it difficult when God takes away from them? (Yes.) They find it difficult, they feel pained, saddened, helpless, and downhearted; they want to cry, throw a tantrum, and rebel. There are many details to this sadness, so is this statement realistic? (Yes.) “I give no word of complaint.” Is man without a single complaint? It is impossible, but people need to strive upward like this; they need to experience this and adopt this sort of attitude. Do these words contain any positive guidance for people? (Yes.) “I give no word of complaint.” Having no complaints is how people ought to be; one should not have complaints. If people have complaints, they should know themselves and not blame God, they should submit—this is an attitude of man’s submission to God. People should not complain; complaining is a kind of rebellion against God’s work and trials, and it is not true submission. The next line goes: “With corrupt disposition, man deserves judgment and chastisement.” Is this not a fact? (It is.) It is a fact that people have corrupt dispositions, but if they do not recognize this fact, can they utter this statement? If people do not recognize it, then they will not admit it; if they do not admit it, then they will not make such statements, so this line is derived from people’s true experience. The phrase “man deserves judgment and chastisement” looks quite simple, but what is its implied meaning? It is that people have corrupt dispositions, they disobey and resist God, and they deserve judgment and chastisement. However much suffering it entails is deserved—all that God does is right. Are these words realistic? (Yes.) This is entirely a subjective acknowledgment of having corrupt dispositions while readily accepting judgment and chastisement, acknowledging that God’s judgment and chastisement is salvation for people, and that God should act in this way. This is an attitude of obedience toward God’s method of work in judgment and chastisement. Should people have this sort of attitude? (Yes.) They should indeed. So, after singing this hymn, does it benefit people? (Yes.) What benefits does it bring? If you do not sing these words, you will not know this fact, you won’t know what kind of viewpoint you should hold, how you should obey, or what kind of attitude you should adopt to obey and accept God’s judgment and chastisement. However, if you sing this hymn and ponder its lyrics, you will feel how very good the words are—that they are correct, you can say “amen” to them, and acknowledge that they stem from experience. Do they seem like lofty words? (No.) But they bring you positive guidance, providing a proactive and positive path. When you find that you have a corrupt disposition, and God judges and chastises you, they will give you a correct perspective and a path to practice. First of all, you have to recognize that when people have corrupt dispositions, they should accept God’s judgment and chastisement. There is nothing to say; do not argue with God. Whether you can understand His will or not, first you must submit. Who caused you to have a corrupt disposition? Who made you resist God? You deserve to be judged and chastised. Where does this submission come from? Is this not a practical path? It is the path of practice. How would one feel after singing these lyrics? Aren’t they very practical? They aren’t earth-shattering or all that lofty, they are quite ordinary, but they convey a factuality, and at the same time they give all who sing this hymn a path to practice. They may not be that beautifully crafted, but they are practical.
Looking at the next line: “God’s word is the truth; I must not misconstrue His will.” Is this statement correct? (Yes.) What is correct about it? Some people say, “‘God’s word is the truth,’ doesn’t that go without saying? Isn’t that doctrine?” This line serves as a foundation for the next one: “I must not misconstrue His will.” How did this phrase come about? What mood and what state gave rise to it? (If people truly believe that God’s word is the truth, they will not misconstrue God.) Since you maintain that God’s word is the truth, you should not misconstrue God’s will. Then, what should you do if a misunderstanding arises? Quickly put aside your own will and seek the truth. In terms of doctrine, if you know that God’s words are the truth, yet you still misconstrue God’s will, where is the mistake here? (It is in not accepting the truth.) That is correct. Therefore, people should be obedient and not misconstrue God’s will. Since you maintain that God’s word is the truth—this is a theory you understand—then why do you misconstrue God’s heart when actual events befall you? This proves that you have not truly accepted the fact that God’s word is the truth. Does this line then not serve as a hint? What does it suggest to you? (We must believe that God’s word is the truth, we must firmly recognize this fact.) You must believe that God’s word is correct, it is the truth. Since you maintain that God’s word is the truth, do not take your own will as the truth or as the objective when events befall you; instead, you must look to what God’s will is. Furthermore, is it the truth that God wants to test you? (Yes.) If you maintain that it is the truth, then can you misconstrue God’s will? Suppose you internally ponder such phrases as, “Is God going to condemn me? If I’m condemned, will I be punished? Is it that God finds me displeasing and will destroy me?” Are these not all misunderstandings? (They are.) They are all misunderstandings. So, does the sentence “God’s word is the truth; I must not misconstrue His will” not lead you all to realize something? Isn’t it that you should emerge from your misunderstandings, and accept the trials God gives you, His judgment, and His chastisement? (Yes.) What is the basis for acceptance? It is your firm acknowledgment that God’s words are right, that they are the truth. People have corrupt dispositions, and it is they who are wrong. People cannot use their own wills to speculate about God’s will; God is not wrong. Having established that God is not wrong, people should therefore accept all that He does.
Further down: “In self-reflection, I often find too much impurity.” How is this impurity identified through self-reflection? (When people reveal their corruption.) It is identified when people reveal their corruption; that is one side of it. When God tests people, when the circumstances He arranges for people are not to their liking, people often wonder, “Does God no longer love me? Isn’t God righteous? He isn’t righteous in doing this—His actions don’t conform to the truth and He isn’t being considerate of people’s difficulties.” People are always scheming against God, giving rise to all kinds of corrupt dispositions, thoughts, ideas, viewpoints, and suspicions concerning Him. Are these not impurities? (They are.) Of course, this is also an indicator of people’s corruption. In the next line, “If I don’t strive with all my might, it may be difficult to be perfected,” these words are the hymnwriter’s thoughts, which they have recognized through introspection. You do not self-reflect on your own impurity, always misunderstanding God and only verbally acknowledging that He is the truth, yet when events befall you, you insist on sticking with your own ideas, rebel against God, complain about Him, misconstrue Him, and do not accept His judgment and chastisement. If you do not let go of these, it will be very difficult for you to be made perfect; that is, it will be impossible to be made perfect, and there will be no hope, because you are unable to accept the truth. In your view, is there not a practical side to these lyrics? (There is.) Each line of this hymn includes the language and the descriptions of actual states that emerge when people actually experience situations.
Let’s look at the next line: “Though today’s hardships are many, it is an honor to enjoy God’s love.” Here, hardships are connected with God’s love and with honor. Is this not something born out of actual experience? Is it not a kind of true faith and attitude developed from one’s actual actions and experiences? These words are not plucked out of thin air, they are produced against the backdrop of a mood, an environment, an event. What do you think of this attitude? People endure many hardships, and these hardships cause a loss of integrity and dignity, depriving people of their status and interests, among other hardships, causing them a great deal of pain. But having made it this far, they develop a true faith in and knowledge of God; they feel that all of this is enjoying God’s love, is a special favor from God, that it’s not God giving them a hard time. They think it is an honor and that it is God loving them, and therefore God works in this way, depriving and testing them so, and judging and chastising them so. This is a real, positive state of mind that people should have, developed from a real-life context. What kind of person would say “Though today’s hardships are many, it is an honor to enjoy God’s love”? Not the kind of person who wrote the hymn “For Love.” All they could say were muddled, empty words, high-sounding phrases, and slogans. Would they be able to say, “Though today’s hardships are many, it is an honor to enjoy God’s love”? Would they be able to utter those words from the bottom of their heart? No. All they said were empty words, exaggerated words, and words that people are willing to listen to, and in the end, they cobbled together a hymn and thought themselves quite capable and clever. In My view, not a single word in those lyrics is worth anything. They are all nonsense, they should be scrapped, and no one should be allowed to sing such hymns in the future. If you want to sing, you should sing hymns like “No Heart Is Better Than God’s,” which contains genuine, heartfelt words—these words are edifying for people.
The last line of the first verse reads: “Through hardship, I learn submission,” meaning it is hardship that teaches people submission. It then reads, “No heart is better than God’s.” This line is really relevant to the theme. This is the final understanding and experience gained by undergoing all these things, namely that God’s intention is to save people. What people should understand is that God’s heart for people could not be better, and that everything He does is beneficial to them; what He does is not to trouble or vex people, but rather to purify them. That is why the hymnwriter can say from the bottom of their heart: No heart is better than God’s. This is the language of humanity. Without a certain amount of experience and understanding, without a certain amount of experience and understanding of God’s work and His way of saving people, and these specific details can someone utter words such as “No heart is better than God’s”? They absolutely cannot. Look again at the phrase, “Through hardship, I learn submission.” Does this line have a practical side to it? Isn’t it something that people gain or reap after entering into the truth reality? (Yes.) Then what is hardship? Does it mean not having enough to eat, not having enough to wear, or experiencing the hardships of imprisonment? It does not refer to physical suffering in these ways; rather, it is a battle that people experience in their hearts regarding the truth, God’s work, God’s salvation, and God’s painstaking intentions. After experiencing this, people feel that they have suffered a lot in their hearts in terms of their hope; they finally understand God’s will, know that they should submit to God, learn how to submit to God, and acquire a deep experience of what God does, and only then can they say, “No heart is better than God’s.” Most people cannot utter such a sentence. I like this hymn; I like this kind of hymn. It will absolutely be of help to you if you often sing this hymn. Every line in it has a restraining effect on the corrupt disposition revealed in your daily life, it is both a guide and an aid to your practical experience and your entry into the truth reality. How good it would be for you to read these lyrics more often when you are free! Is there any line in this hymn that is not uttered in a certain state or context? Is there any line that does not involve entering into some aspect of the truth? Every line does—none of them contain empty words. Look at the last few lines: “Though I choose to love God, my love is adulterated with my own ideas.” Choosing to love God is a broad, general, theoretical statement. It actually means accepting God’s commission, doing one’s duty, and expending one’s life for God, which is encapsulated here in the phrase “to love God.” People feel that they are still adulterated with their own ideas; without knowing themselves and having any experience of the truth, who could utter a phrase such as that? You definitely couldn’t utter it, because you lack that experience. Continuing on: “I must strive to attain a spirit like Peter’s”—the hymnwriter’s aim is to be like Peter. You, too, have set a benchmark and a goal, you too want to be like Peter—so what is your path? You also have to strive, but can you utter the phrase “My love is adulterated with my own ideas”? How will you attain a spirit like Peter’s if you do not even know what it means for your love to be adulterated with your own ideas? There is a practical side to this phrase. It gets even better further down: “No matter how God receives my love, my only wish is to satisfy Him.” This is what people require of themselves after experiencing hardships and trials; it is an attitude of satisfying God’s will, an attitude of submitting to God and pursuing the truth; that is, to be able to satisfy God is to have achieved one’s aim, regardless of the extent one can achieve. There is a practical side to these words. Do you feel encouraged and motivated after reading them? (Yes.) They give people a goal, an impetus, a direction after reading them. Sometimes people feel that no matter how they act, they cannot do it well, and they lapse into negativity. But once they read these words and see that God does not ask much of people, they think, “All I have to do is satisfy God. I don’t ask for anything else; I seek only to let go of my fleshly desires and preferences, and satisfy God—that is sufficient.” In the end, it all comes down to the words, “Though today’s hardships are many, it is an honor to enjoy God’s love. Through hardship, I learn submission. No heart is better than God’s.” These words are quite practical.
All in all, the hymn “No Heart Is Better Than God’s” speaks of genuine experience. After experiencing God’s work, His chastisement, judgment, and trials, people learn to submit, come to understand God’s will, and know that no heart is better than His. This is God’s lovely aspect, and it is what people experience; it is also what people should have knowledge of. If you make tunes of these lyrics of practical experience and knowledge, and sing them often, they will do you much good. In one sense, singing hymns of God’s words can help people better understand the truth and enter the truth reality more quickly; in another, by singing these experiential hymns written by people who have reality, your experiences and understanding will progress more quickly. These are insights and understandings written down after people have had some experiences, and they also include the path and direction of entry that people ought to have. They are available ready-made for you, and will be of tremendous help to you. Why don’t you write music to accompany such experiential lyrics? Why do you always compose music for lyrics that are empty, impractical, and banal? You are too undiscerning, you don’t know what makes a good hymn—you are so disappointing! These experiential hymns do people so much good; singing these practical words regularly imprints them in one’s heart, significantly aiding their life entry and dispositional change. If you are forever stuck at the stage of the Age of Grace—praising God’s grace, His love, His blessings, and His mercy and lovingkindness—will you ever be able to enter into the truth reality? Your stature and state remain so pitifully small, always stuck at a superficial stage; without some good hymns to guide you, it will be too strenuous to enter into the truth reality on your own. Look at the hymn “No Heart Is Better Than God’s,” pray-read this hymn in your free time. It contains a path that will guide you and help you enter into the truth reality; it can give you a correct direction, so that you have a correct perspective. What are some correct perspectives? “With corrupt disposition, man deserves judgment and chastisement.” Is this not the kind of correct and pure perspective that people should have? In addition, are the words “God’s word is the truth; I must not misconstrue His will” correct? (They are correct.) Indeed, you have to accept them, you have to go engage with and experience them, and when events befall you, there will be a path for you to tread; these words will become a direction for your actions and comportment. And then there is, “If I don’t strive with all my might, it may be difficult to be perfected.” This also represents a correct perspective. What about, “Through hardship, I learn submission. No heart is better than God’s”? Is this a perspective that one should have? (Yes.) Look carefully: Not one sentence here is just empty talk or mere words and doctrines; they all speak to understanding and insight born from genuine experience. Compared with the hymn “For Love” from just before, which do you think is practical? What is practical should be retained, while what is hollow should be eliminated and discarded; it should not be promoted. Some say, “I’ve become accustomed to singing those hymns; they’ve entered my heart and I cannot do without them.” If you cannot do without them, then go on and keep singing them. I will see what you’ve gained after you’ve sung them for twenty years, whether you can enter the truth reality. If you sing the hymn “No Heart Is Better Than God’s,” it will capture your heart once you have sung it once or twice. After singing it for a month or two, your state will be turned around to some extent, and if you truly accept its words from the bottom of your heart, your inner state will be different, and you will have turned it around completely. You can sing those hymns of empty theories and nonsense all your life, but it will be of no use. Just like people in the Age of Grace who sang those empty and superficial hymns, and who sang all their lives but did not gain the truth—it is just a waste of time.
January 12, 2022