2. What is the difference between the way the Lord Jesus worked in the Age of Grace and the way Almighty God works in the Age of Kingdom?
Relevant Words of God:
During His first incarnation, it was necessary for God to heal the sick and cast out demons because His work was to redeem. In order to redeem the entire human race, He needed to be compassionate and forgiving. The work that He did before He was crucified was healing the sick and casting out demons, which presaged His salvation of man from sin and filth. Because it was the Age of Grace, it was necessary for Him to heal the sick, thereby showing signs and wonders, which were representative of grace in that age; for the Age of Grace centered around the bestowal of grace, symbolized by peace, joy, and material blessings, all tokens of people’s faith in Jesus. That is to say, healing the sick, casting out demons, and bestowing grace were instinctive abilities of Jesus’ flesh in the Age of Grace, they were the work of the Spirit realized in the flesh.
from “The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Jesus’ work was done in accordance with the needs of man in that age. His task was to redeem humanity, to forgive them of their sins, and so all His disposition was one of humility, patience, love, piety, forbearance, mercy, and lovingkindness. He blessed humanity richly and brought them grace in abundance, and all things for enjoyment: peace and happiness, Jesus’ tolerance and love, His mercy and lovingkindness. In those days, all that man encountered was an abundance of things to enjoy: His heart was at peace and reassured, his spirit was consoled, and he was sustained by the Savior Jesus. That he could gain these things was a consequence of the age in which he lived. In the Age of Grace man had been corrupted by Satan, and so the work of redeeming all humanity required an abundance of grace, infinite forbearance and patience, and even more, an offering adequate to atone for humanity’s sins. What people saw in the Age of Grace was merely My sin offering for humanity, Jesus. And they knew only that God could be merciful and forbearing, saw only Jesus’ mercy and lovingkindness. This was because they lived in the Age of Grace. So before they could be redeemed, they had to enjoy much grace that Jesus bestowed on them; only this was beneficial to them. This way, they could be forgiven of their sins through their enjoyment of grace, and could have the chance to be redeemed through enjoying Jesus’ forbearance and patience. Only through Jesus’ forbearance and patience were they capable of receiving forgiveness and enjoying the abundance of grace bestowed by Jesus—just as Jesus said, “I have come not to redeem the righteous but sinners, allowing their sins to be forgiven.” … The more Jesus loved mankind, forgiving them of their sins and giving them enough mercy and lovingkindness, the more mankind was capable of being saved, called the lost lambs that Jesus bought back at a great price. Satan could not meddle in this work, because Jesus treated His followers as a loving mother treats the infant in her arms. He did not grow angry at them or despise them, but was full of consolation; He never got furious among them, but forbore with their sins and turned a blind eye to their foolishness and ignorance, such that He said, “Forgive others seventy times seven times.” So His heart reformed the hearts of others, and in this way did the people receive forgiveness through His forbearance.
from “The Truth Concerning the Work in the Age of Redemption” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Holy Spirit works in accordance with the age, not just at will or according to set rules. The age has changed, and a new age must bring with it new work. This is true of every stage of work, and so His work is never repeated. In the Age of Grace, Jesus did much of that work, such as healing sickness, casting out demons, laying His hands upon man to pray for man, and blessing man. However, to continue to do so would serve no purpose in the present day. The Holy Spirit worked in that way at the time, for it was the Age of Grace, and man was shown enough grace for enjoyment. Man did not have to pay any price and could receive grace as long as he had faith. All were treated very graciously. Now, the age has changed, and the work of God has progressed further; through His chastisement and judgment, the rebelliousness of man and the unclean things within man will be cast away. As it was the stage of redemption, God had to do such work, showing man enough grace for man to enjoy, so that man could be redeemed from sin, and through grace be forgiven their sins. This stage is done to reveal the iniquities within man through chastisement, judgment, the smiting of words, as well as the discipline and revelation of words, so that they may afterward be saved. This is work more in-depth than redemption. In the Age of Grace, man enjoyed enough grace and has already experienced this grace, and so it is no longer to be enjoyed by man. Such work is now out-of-date and is no longer to be done. Now, man is saved through judgment by the word. After man is judged, chastised and refined, his disposition is thereby changed. Is this not because of the words I have spoken? Each stage of work is done in line with the progress of all mankind and with the age. All work has its significance; it is done for the final salvation, for mankind to have a good destination in the future, and for man to be divided according to their kind in the end.
from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When God becomes flesh this time, His work is to express His disposition, primarily through chastisement and judgment. Using this as the foundation, He brings more truth to man, shows more ways of practice, and so achieves His objective of conquering man and saving man from his corrupt disposition. This is what lies behind the work of God in the Age of Kingdom.
from Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh
What I’m saying today is to judge people’s sins and their unrighteousness; it is to curse people’s rebelliousness. Their deceit and crookedness, and their words and actions, all things that are not in line with His will undergo judgment, and people’s rebelliousness is condemned as sinful. He speaks according to the principles of judgment, and He reveals His righteous disposition through judging their unrighteousness, cursing their rebelliousness, and exposing all of their ugly faces.
from “How the Second Step of the Work of Conquering Bears Fruit” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
People cannot change their disposition themselves; they must undergo the judgment and chastisement and painful refinement of God’s words, or being dealt with, disciplined, and pruned by His words. Only after that can they achieve obedience and devotion to God, and not try to fool Him and deal with Him perfunctorily. It is under the refinement of God’s words that people have a change in disposition. Only those who undergo the exposure, judgment, disciplining, and dealing with of His words will no longer dare to do things recklessly, and will become calm and collected. The most important point is that they are able to obey God’s current words and obey God’s work, and even if it is not in line with human notions, they can put them aside and intentionally obey.
from “Those Whose Disposition Has Changed Are Those Who Have Entered Into the Reality of God’s Words” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
God has many means of perfecting man. He employs all manner of environments to deal with the corrupt disposition of man, and uses various things to lay man bare; in one regard He deals with man, in another He lays man bare, and in another He reveals man, digging out and revealing the “mysteries” in the depths of man’s heart, and showing man his nature by revealing many of his states. God perfects man through many methods—through revelation, dealing, refinement, and chastisement—so that man may know that God is practical.
from “Only Those Who Focus on Practice Can Be Perfected” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
God has now officially begun to perfect people. In order to be made complete, people must undergo the revelation, judgment, and chastisement of God’s words, and experience the trials and refinement of His words (such as the trial of service-doers). In addition, people must be able to withstand the trial of death. That is, someone who truly carries out God’s will can emit praise from deep in their heart in the midst of God’s judgment, chastisement, and trials, and is able to fully obey God and forsake themselves, thus loving God with a heart of sincerity, single-mindedness, and purity; such is a complete person, and it is also the work that God wants to do, and is what God wants to accomplish. People cannot draw conclusions lightly about God’s working methods, and they can only pursue entry into life. This is the foundation.
from “On the Steps of God’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Through what is God’s perfection of man accomplished? Through His righteous disposition. God’s disposition primarily consists of righteousness, wrath, majesty, judgment, and curse, and His perfection of man is primarily through judgment. Some people don’t understand, and ask why it is that God is only able to make man perfect through judgment and curse. They say that if God were to curse man, wouldn’t man die? If God were to judge man, wouldn’t man be condemned? Then how can he still be made perfect? Such are the words of people who do not know the work of God. What God curses is the disobedience of man, and what He judges are the sins of man. Although He speaks harshly, and without the slightest sensitivity, He reveals all that is within man, and through these stern words He reveals that which is essential within man, yet through such judgment, He gives man a profound knowledge of the essence of the flesh, and thus man submits to obedience before God. The flesh of man is of sin, and of Satan, it is disobedient, and the object of God’s chastisement—and so, to allow man to know himself, the words of God’s judgment must befall him and there must be employed every kind of refinement; only then can God’s work be effective.
from “Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In the eyes of man, salvation is the love of God, and the love of God cannot be chastisement, judgment, and curse; salvation must contain love, compassion, and, moreover, the words of solace, and must contain the boundless blessings bestowed by God. People believe that when God saves man He does so by touching them and making them give their hearts to Him through His blessings and grace. That is to say, when He touches man He saves them. Salvation such as this is salvation in which a trade is being made. Only when God bestows them with a hundredfold will man come under the name of God, and strive to do well for God and bring Him glory. This is not God’s will for mankind. God has come to work on earth in order to save corrupt mankind—there is no falsehood in this; if not, He certainly would not come to do His work in person. In the past, His means of salvation was showing the utmost love and compassion, such that He gave His all to Satan in exchange for the whole of mankind. Today is nothing like the past: Today, your salvation occurs at the time of the last days, during the classification of each according to kind; the means of your salvation is not love or compassion, but chastisement and judgment in order that man may be more thoroughly saved. Thus, all that you receive is chastisement, judgment, and merciless smiting, but know that in this heartless smiting there is not the slightest punishment, know that regardless of how harsh My words are, what befalls you is but a few words that appear utterly heartless to you, and know that, regardless of how great My anger, what comes upon you are still words of teaching, and I do not mean to harm you, or to put you to death. Is this not all fact? Know that today, whether it be righteous judgment or heartless refinement and chastisement, all are for the sake of salvation. Regardless of whether today there is the classification of each according to kind, or the laying bare of the categories of man, all of God’s utterances and work are in order to save those who truly love God. Righteous judgment is in order to purify man, heartless refinement is in order to cleanse man, harsh words or chastening are all in order to purify, and for the sake of salvation. And thus, today’s method of salvation is unlike in the past. Today, righteous judgment saves you, and is a good tool for classifying you each according to kind, and ruthless chastisement brings you supreme salvation—and what have you to say in the face of this chastisement and judgment? Have you not enjoyed salvation from start to finish? … Think about it: If My intention in coming were to condemn and punish you, and not to save you, could your days have lasted so long? Could you, these sinful beings of flesh and blood, have survived until today? If it were only for the sake of punishing you, why would I have become flesh and embarked upon such a great enterprise? Would it not take but a single word to punish you mere mortals? Would I still be of a mind to destroy you after condemning you? Do you still not believe these words of Mine? Could I save man merely through love and compassion? Or could I only use the crucifixion to save man? Is My righteous disposition not more conducive to making man completely obedient? Is it not more able to thoroughly save man?
Though My words may be stern, they are all said for man’s salvation, as I am only speaking words and not punishing man’s flesh. These words cause man to live in the light, to know that the light exists, to know that the light is precious, even more so to know how beneficial these words are to man, and to know that God is salvation. Though I have said many words of chastisement and judgment, they have not been done unto you in deed. I have come to do My work, to speak My words and, though My words may be stern, they are spoken in judgment of your corruption and your rebelliousness. The purpose of My doing this remains to save man from Satan’s domain, to use My words to save man; My purpose is not to harm man with My words. My words are stern so that results may be achieved from My work. Only through working in this way can man know themselves and break away from their rebellious disposition.
from “You Should Put Aside the Blessings of Status and Understand God’s Will for the Salvation of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh