2. The differences between the work of God incarnate and the work of the Spirit

Bible Verses for Reference:

“And he said, I beseech You, show me Your glory. And He said, I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of Jehovah before you; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. And He said, You can not see My face: for there shall no man see Me, and live” (Exo 33:18–20).

“And Jehovah came down on mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and Jehovah called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up. And Jehovah said to Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through to Jehovah to gaze, and many of them perish. And let the priests also, which come near to Jehovah, sanctify themselves, lest Jehovah break forth on them” (Exo 19:20–22).

“And all the people saw the thunder, and the lightning, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said to Moses, Speak you with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die” (Exo 20:18–19).

“Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spoke to Him” (Jhn 12:28–29).

Relevant Words of God:

God’s saving of man is not done directly using the method of the Spirit and the identity of the Spirit, for His Spirit can neither be touched nor seen by man, neither can man draw near. If He tried to save man directly using the perspective of the Spirit, man would be unable to receive His salvation. If God did not put on the outward form of a created man, there would be no way for man to receive this salvation. For man has no way of approaching Him, much as no one was able to go near the cloud of Jehovah. Only by becoming a created human being, that is, only by putting His word into the body of flesh that He is about to become, can He personally work the word into all who follow Him. Only then can man personally see and hear His word, and moreover enter into possession of His word, and by this means come to be fully saved. If God did not become flesh, no one of flesh and blood would be able to receive such great salvation, nor would a single person be saved. If the Spirit of God worked directly in the midst of mankind, all humanity would be struck down, or else, with no way of coming into touch with God, they would be completely carried away captive by Satan. The first incarnation was to redeem man from sin, to redeem him by means of the fleshly body of Jesus, that is, He saved man from the cross, but the corrupt satanic disposition still remained within man. The second incarnation is no longer to serve as a sin offering but rather to save fully those who were redeemed from sin. This is done so that those who have been forgiven may be delivered from their sins and made fully clean, and by attaining a changed disposition, break free of Satan’s influence of darkness and return before the throne of God. Only in this way can man be fully sanctified. After the Age of Law had come to an end, and beginning with the Age of Grace, God began the work of salvation, which continues until the last days when, in judging and chastising the human race for their rebelliousness, He will completely purify mankind. Only then will God conclude His work of salvation and enter into rest. Therefore, in the three stages of work, only twice has God become flesh to carry out His work among man Himself. That is because only one in the three stages of work is to guide men in leading their lives, while the other two consist of the work of salvation. Only by becoming flesh can God live alongside man, experience the suffering of the world, and live in a normal body of flesh. Only in this way can He supply men with the practical way that they need as created beings. It is through the incarnation of God that man receives full salvation from God, and not directly from heaven in answer to his prayers. For, man being of the flesh, he has no way of seeing the Spirit of God, much less of approaching His Spirit. All that man can come into contact with is God’s incarnate flesh, and only by means of this is man able to grasp all the ways and all the truths and receive full salvation.

Excerpted from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The only reason that the incarnate God has come into the flesh is because of the needs of corrupt man. It is because of the needs of man, not of God, and all His sacrifices and sufferings are for the sake of mankind, and not for the benefit of God Himself. There are no pros and cons or rewards for God; He shall not reap some future harvest, but that which was originally owed to Him. All that He does and sacrifices for mankind is not so that He might gain great rewards, but purely for the sake of mankind. Though God’s work in the flesh involves many unimaginable difficulties, the effects that it ultimately achieves far exceed those of the work done directly by the Spirit. The work of the flesh entails much hardship, and the flesh cannot possess the same great identity as the Spirit, He cannot carry out the same supernatural deeds as the Spirit, much less can He possess the same authority as the Spirit. Yet the essence of the work done by this unremarkable flesh is far superior to that of the work done directly by the Spirit, and this flesh Himself is the answer to the needs of all mankind. For those to be saved, the use value of the Spirit is far inferior to that of the flesh: The work of the Spirit is able to cover the entire universe, across all mountains, rivers, lakes, and oceans, yet the work of the flesh more effectively relates to every person with whom He comes into contact. What is more, God’s flesh with tangible form can better be understood and trusted by man, and can further deepen man’s knowledge of God, and can leave upon man a more profound impression of the actual deeds of God. The work of the Spirit is shrouded in mystery; it is difficult for mortal beings to fathom, and even harder for them to see, and so they can only rely on hollow imaginings. The work of the flesh, however, is normal, and based on reality, and possessed of rich wisdom, and is a fact that can be beheld by the physical eye of man; man can personally experience the wisdom of the work of God, and has no need to employ his bountiful imagination. This is the accuracy and real value of the work of God in the flesh. The Spirit can only do things that are invisible to man and difficult for him to imagine, for example the enlightenment of the Spirit, the moving of the Spirit, and the guidance of the Spirit, but for man who has a mind, these do not provide any clear meaning. They only provide a moving, or a broad meaning, and cannot give an instruction with words. The work of God in the flesh, however, is greatly different: It involves the accurate guidance of words, it has clear will, and has clear required goals. And so man does not need to grope around, or employ his imagination, much less make guesses. This is the clarity of the work in the flesh, and its great difference from the work of the Spirit. The work of the Spirit is only suitable for a limited scope and cannot replace the work of the flesh. The work of the flesh gives man far more exact and necessary goals and far more real, valuable knowledge than the work of the Spirit. The work that is of greatest value to corrupt man is that which provides accurate words, clear goals to pursue, and which can be seen and touched. Only realistic work and timely guidance are suited to man’s tastes, and only real work can save man from his corrupt and depraved disposition. This can only be achieved by the incarnate God; only the incarnate God can save man from his formerly corrupt and depraved disposition. Although the Spirit is the inherent essence of God, work such as this can only be done by His flesh. If the Spirit worked single-handedly, then it would not be possible for His work to be effective—this is a plain truth.

Excerpted from “Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of the Incarnate God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Though the incarnate flesh of God is far from matching God’s identity and position, and seems to man to be incompatible with His actual status, this flesh, who does not possess the true image of God, or the true identity of God, can do the work that God’s Spirit is unable to do directly. Such is the true significance and value of God’s incarnation, and it is this significance and value which man is unable to appreciate and acknowledge. Though all mankind look up to God’s Spirit and look down on God’s flesh, irrespective of how they view or think, the real significance and value of the flesh far exceed those of the Spirit. Of course, this is only with regard to corrupt mankind. For everyone who seeks the truth and longs for the appearance of God, the Spirit’s work can only provide moving or inspiration, and a sense of wondrousness that it is inexplicable and unimaginable, and a sense that it is great, transcendent, and admirable, yet also unattainable and unobtainable to all. Man and the Spirit of God can only look upon each other from afar, as if there were a great distance between them, and they can never be alike, as if man and God were separated by an invisible divide. In fact, this is an illusion given to man by the Spirit, which is because the Spirit and man are not of the same kind and shall never coexist in the same world, and because the Spirit possesses nothing of man. So man does not have need of the Spirit, for the Spirit cannot directly do the work most needed by man. The work of the flesh offers man real objectives to pursue, clear words, and a sense that He is real and normal, that He is humble and ordinary. Although man may fear Him, for most people He is easy to relate to: Man can behold His face, and hear His voice, and he does not need to look at Him from afar. This flesh feels approachable to man, not distant, or unfathomable, but visible and touchable, for this flesh is in the same world as man.

Excerpted from “Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of the Incarnate God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

When God had not yet become flesh, people did not understand much of what He said, because His words came out of complete divinity. The perspective and context of what He said was invisible and unreachable to mankind; it was expressed from a spiritual realm that people could not see. For people who lived in the flesh, they could not pass through the spiritual realm. But after God became flesh, He spoke to mankind from the perspective of humanity, and He came out of and surpassed the scope of the spiritual realm. He could express His divine disposition, will, and attitude through things humans could imagine, things they saw and encountered in their lives, and using methods that humans could accept, in a language they could understand, and with knowledge they could grasp, to allow mankind to understand and to know God, to comprehend His intention and His required standards within the scope of their capacity and to the degree that they were able. This was the method and principle of God’s work in humanity. Even though God’s ways and His principles of working in the flesh were mostly achieved by means of or through humanity, it truly did achieve results that could not be achieved by working directly in divinity.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Now man sees that the work of God incarnate is indeed extraordinary, and there is much in it that cannot be attained by man, and that are mysteries and wonders. Therefore, many have submitted. Some have never submitted to any man since the day of their birth, yet when they see the words of God this day, they fully submit without noticing they have done so, and they do not venture to scrutinize or say anything else. Humanity has fallen under the word and lies prostrate under the judgment of the word. If the Spirit of God spoke directly to man, mankind would all submit to the voice, falling down without words of revelation, much in the way that Paul fell to the ground in the light on the road to Damascus. If God continued to work in this way, man would never be able to come to know his own corruption through the judgment of the word and thereby attain salvation. Only through becoming flesh can God personally deliver His words into the ears of each and every human being, so that all who have ears may hear His words and receive His work of judgment by the word. Only this is the result achieved by His word, rather than the Spirit becoming manifest to frighten man into submission. It is only through this practical and yet extraordinary work that the old disposition of man, hidden deep within for many years, can be fully exposed, so that man may recognize it and have it changed. These things are all the practical work of God incarnate, in which, speaking and executing judgment in a practical manner, He achieves the results of judgment upon man by the word. This is the authority of God incarnate and the significance of God’s incarnation. It is done to make known the authority of God incarnate, to make known the results achieved by the work of the word, and to make known that the Spirit has come in the flesh and demonstrates His authority through judging man by the word. Although His flesh is the outward form of an ordinary and normal humanity, it is the results His words achieve that show to man He is full of authority, that He is God Himself, and that His words are the expression of God Himself. By this means all humanity is shown that He is God Himself, that He is God Himself who became flesh, that He is to be offended by none, and that no one can surpass His judgment by the word, and no force of darkness can prevail over His authority. Man submits to Him entirely because He is the Word become flesh, because of His authority, and because of His judgment by the word. The work brought by His incarnate flesh is the authority that He possesses. The reason why He becomes flesh is because the flesh can also possess authority, and He is capable of carrying out work in a practical manner among mankind, in such a way that it is visible and tangible to man. This work is much more realistic than the work done directly by the Spirit of God, who possesses all authority, and its results are also apparent. This is because God’s incarnate flesh can speak and work in a practical way. The outward form of His flesh holds no authority, and can be approached by man, whereas His essence does carry authority, but His authority is visible to none. When He speaks and works, man is unable to detect the existence of His authority; this facilitates Him in doing work of a practical nature. All this practical work can achieve results. Even though no man realizes that He holds authority, or sees that He is not to be offended, or sees His wrath, He achieves the intended results of His words through His veiled authority, His hidden wrath, and the words He openly speaks. In other words, through His tone of voice, the sternness of His speech, and all the wisdom of His words, man is utterly convinced. In this way, man submits to the word of God incarnate, who seemingly has no authority, thereby fulfilling God’s aim of saving man. This is another aspect of the significance of His incarnation: to speak more realistically and allow the reality of His words to have an effect upon man, so that man may witness the power of the word of God. Therefore, were this work not done by means of the incarnation, it would not achieve the slightest results and would not be able to fully save sinners.

Excerpted from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Because the one who is judged is man, man who is of the flesh and has been corrupted, and it is not the spirit of Satan that is judged directly, the work of judgment is therefore not carried out in the spiritual world, but among man. No one is more suitable, and qualified, than God in the flesh for the work of judging the corruption of man’s flesh. If judgment were carried out directly by the Spirit of God, then it would not be all-embracing. Furthermore, such work would be difficult for man to accept, for the Spirit is unable to come face-to-face with man, and because of this, the effects would not be immediate, much less would man be able to behold the unoffendable disposition of God more clearly. Satan can only be fully defeated if God in the flesh judges the corruption of mankind. Being the same as man possessed of normal humanity, God in the flesh can directly judge the unrighteousness of man; this is the mark of His innate holiness, and of His extraordinariness. Only God is qualified to, and is in the position to, judge man, for He is possessed of the truth, and righteousness, and so He is able to judge man. Those who are without truth and righteousness are not fit to judge others. If this work were done by the Spirit of God, then it would not mean victory over Satan. The Spirit is inherently more exalted than mortal beings, and the Spirit of God is inherently holy, and triumphant over the flesh. If the Spirit did this work directly, He would not be able to judge all of man’s disobedience and could not reveal all of man’s unrighteousness. For the work of judgment is also carried out through man’s notions about God, and man has never had any notions about the Spirit, and so the Spirit is incapable of better revealing the unrighteousness of man, much less of completely disclosing such unrighteousness. The incarnate God is the enemy of all those who do not know Him. Through judging man’s notions and opposition to Him, He discloses all the disobedience of mankind. The effects of His work in the flesh are more apparent than those of the work of the Spirit. And so, the judgment of all mankind is not carried out directly by the Spirit but is the work of the incarnate God. God in the flesh can be seen and touched by man, and God in the flesh can completely conquer man. In his relationship with God in the flesh, man progresses from opposition to obedience, from persecution to acceptance, from notions to knowledge, and from rejection to love—these are the effects of the work of the incarnate God. Man is only saved through the acceptance of His judgment, man only gradually comes to know Him through the words of His mouth, man is conquered by Him during his opposition to Him, and he receives the life supply from Him during the acceptance of His chastisement. All of this work is the work of God in the flesh, and not the work of God in His identity as the Spirit.

Excerpted from “Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of the Incarnate God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The best thing about His work in the flesh is that He can leave accurate words and exhortations, and His specific will for mankind to those who follow Him, so that afterward His followers can more accurately and more concretely pass on all of His work in the flesh, and His will for the whole of mankind, to those who accept this way. Only the work of God in the flesh among man truly accomplishes the fact of God’s being together and living together with man. Only this work fulfills man’s desire to behold the face of God, witness the work of God, and hear the personal word of God. The incarnate God brings to an end the age when only the back of Jehovah appeared to mankind, and He also concludes the age of mankind’s belief in the vague God. In particular, the work of the last incarnate God brings all mankind into an age that is more realistic, more practical, and more beautiful. He not only concludes the age of law and doctrine but, more importantly, He reveals to mankind a God who is real and normal, who is righteous and holy, who unlocks the work of the management plan and who demonstrates the mysteries and destination of mankind, who created mankind and brings to an end the management work, and who has remained hidden for thousands of years. He brings the age of vagueness to a complete end, He concludes the age in which the whole of mankind wished to seek God’s face but was unable to, He ends the age in which the whole of mankind served Satan, and He leads the whole of mankind all the way into a completely new era. All this is the outcome of the work of God in the flesh in place of God’s Spirit. When God works in His flesh, those who follow Him no longer seek and grope after those things which seem to both exist and not exist, and they cease to guess at the will of the vague God. When God spreads His work in the flesh, those who follow Him shall pass on the work that He has done in the flesh to all religions and denominations, and they shall communicate all of His words to the ears of the whole of mankind. All that is heard by those who receive His gospel shall be the facts of His work, shall be things personally seen and heard by man, and shall be facts and not hearsay. These facts are the evidence with which He spreads the work, and they are also the tools that He uses in spreading the work. Without the existence of facts, His gospel would not spread across all countries and to all places; without facts but only with man’s imaginings, He would never be able to do the work of conquering the entire universe. The Spirit is impalpable to man, and invisible to man, and the work of the Spirit is incapable of leaving any further evidence or facts of God’s work for man. Man shall never behold the real face of God, he shall always believe in a vague God that does not exist. Man shall never behold the face of God, nor will man ever hear words personally spoken by God. Man’s imaginings are, after all, empty, and cannot replace the true face of God; the inherent disposition of God, and the work of God Himself, cannot be impersonated by man. The invisible God in heaven and His work can only be brought to earth by God incarnate who personally does His work among man. This is the most ideal way for God to appear to man, in which man sees God and comes to know the true face of God, and it cannot be achieved by a non-incarnate God.

Excerpted from “Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of the Incarnate God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The work of God in the flesh must be done in the flesh. If it were done directly by the Spirit of God, it would yield no effects. Even if it were done by the Spirit, the work would be of no great significance, and would ultimately be unpersuasive. All creatures wish to know whether the work of the Creator has significance, and what it represents, and what it is done for the sake of, and whether the work of God is full of authority and wisdom, and whether it is of the utmost value and significance. The work He does is done for the salvation of the whole of mankind, for the sake of defeating Satan, and for bearing testimony to Himself among all things. As such, the work that He does must be of great significance. The flesh of man has been corrupted by Satan, and it has been most deeply blinded, and profoundly harmed. The most fundamental reason why God works personally in the flesh is because the object of His salvation is man, who is of the flesh, and because Satan also uses the flesh of man to disturb the work of God. The battle with Satan is actually the work of conquering man, and at the same time, man is also the object of God’s salvation. In this way, the work of God incarnate is essential. Satan corrupted the flesh of man, and man became the embodiment of Satan, and became the object to be defeated by God. In this way, the work of doing battle with Satan and saving mankind occurs on earth, and God must become human in order to do battle with Satan. This is work of the utmost practicality. When God is working in the flesh, He is actually doing battle with Satan in the flesh. When He works in the flesh, He is doing His work in the spiritual realm, and He makes the whole of His work in the spiritual realm real on earth. The one who is conquered is man, man who is disobedient to Him, and the one who is defeated is the embodiment of Satan (of course, this is also man), who is in enmity to Him, and the one who is ultimately saved is also man. In this way, it is even more necessary for God to become a human who has the outer shell of a creation, so that He is able to do real battle with Satan, to conquer man, who is disobedient to Him and possessed of the same outer shell as Him, and to save man, who is of the same outer shell as Him and has been harmed by Satan. His enemy is man, the object of His conquest is man, and the object of His salvation is man, who was created by Him. So He must become human, and in this way, His work becomes much easier. He is able to defeat Satan and conquer mankind, and, moreover, is able to save mankind. … This flesh is so important to mankind because He is man and, even more so, He is God, because He can do the work that no ordinary man of flesh can do, and because He can save corrupt man, who lives together with Him on earth. Though He is identical to man, the incarnate God is more important to mankind than any person of value, for He can do the work that cannot be done by the Spirit of God, is more able than the Spirit of God to bear testimony to God Himself, and is more able than the Spirit of God to fully gain mankind. As a result, although this flesh is normal and ordinary, His contribution to mankind and His significance to the existence of mankind make Him highly precious, and the real value and significance of this flesh is immeasurable to any human. Although this flesh cannot directly destroy Satan, He can use His work to conquer mankind and defeat Satan, and make Satan fully submit to His dominion. It is because God is incarnated that He can defeat Satan and is able to save mankind. He does not directly destroy Satan, but instead becomes flesh to do the work to conquer mankind, who has been corrupted by Satan. In this way, He is better able to bear testimony to Himself among His creatures, and He is better able to save corrupted man. God incarnate’s defeat of Satan bears greater testimony, and is more persuasive, than the direct destruction of Satan by the Spirit of God. God in the flesh is better able to help man know the Creator and is better able to bear testimony to Himself among His creatures.

Excerpted from “Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of the Incarnate God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

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