Fellowship About the Hymn "For Love" (Part One)

(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 deceiving and fooling 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 submit to 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 disclosed 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 feeling 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 submit to 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 disposition essence that God reveals contains love. What are the concrete manifestations of “love”? It’s tolerance and patience, isn’t it? And mercy? And bestowing grace and blessing on people? Isn’t it enlightenment and guidance? Isn’t it judgment and chastisement? It is all of these. 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 submission 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 submit? 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 exposed in God’s words? (No.) It is difficult for them to move from that state to one of submission, 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 work in the last days? 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 submit to 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 intentions 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 expose 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 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 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 exposing 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 submit to 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 loathes and hates this mankind. Some people ask, “Since God loathes 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 rebel against 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 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 submission. 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 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 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 examining yourself 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!

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