Only by Understanding the Truth Can One Know God's Deeds (Part One)

God has sovereignty over the fate of all mankind and over the universe and all things. What fact do people see about God’s sovereignty? That no matter how big the world or how vast the universe, from the macroscopic to the microscopic, God reigns sovereign over all and orchestrates all things. No matter man’s wishes, aspirations, demands, or the direction in which he is inclined to develop, from where God stands, His sovereignty and orchestrations are not affected by these things in the slightest. What is the principle by which God reigns sovereign over, and orchestrates, all things? On what is it based? What is God’s goal in doing all of this? What does it revolve around? (It revolves around God’s management plan.) This response is correct; everything God does revolves around His management plan. These words sound somewhat inconceivable, but they have a deeper connotation. By which, I mean that all the work God does is not swayed by man’s wishes. God’s sovereignty and orchestrations; the way He orchestrates countries, peoples, or ethnic groups; or the things He arranges to happen in any given era are not swayed by man’s wishes. God is not limited by time, space, geography, or people. Everything He does is carried out exactly according to His plan, and no man can thwart or disturb it. No matter whether you are willing or not, and no matter what the subjective wishes are of mankind or a particular ethnic group, no man or thing is capable of disturbing, destroying, or swaying what God has decided to do. What have you learned from this? (We have learned about God’s authority.) This is God’s authority. From when God first created human beings to when they progressed step by step, humankind has encompassed God’s chosen people, Gentiles, and those who are antagonistic toward God. God views all these types of people as human, but, is there a difference in how God treats these different types of people? Does God lead His chosen people in a particular way? (Yes, He does.) God treats His chosen people differently than He treats other people. But within God’s chosen people, some are able to follow and submit to Him, and some are rebellious and resist Him. So, how does God treat them? How does God view their attitude toward Him? (God is merciful and loving toward those who submit to Him, but when people are rebellious or resist Him, He brings His righteous disposition down upon them.) That is right. Regardless of whether you think you are one of God’s chosen people, or one of His followers, or have contributed in some way to the work of God’s house, from where God stands, He does not look at these outward things. God has a righteous disposition and is principled in His treatment of people: Those who should be judged, are judged; those who should be punished, are punished; and those who should be destroyed, are destroyed. For example, what strikes you about the fact that the Jews were driven out of Judea, and the Lord Jesus’ gospel of the kingdom of heaven was spread to the Gentiles? According to people’s notions and imaginings, and according to Judaism, only the Jews are God’s chosen people. They are God’s precious children, and the humans to which God is most attached; they are the apple of His eye. According to what people say, the Jews are His most beloved children, and one should baby and protect their favorite child, and not let them be hurt or wronged in any way. People think that no matter what the Jews pray for, God will grant it to them, and will bestow upon them more than they asked for or imagined. But is this what God did? (No, it is not.) Then, what did God do? Because the Jews nailed the Lord Jesus to a cross, God became very angry and made the Romans send armies to conquer Judea and drive the Jews out of their homeland. It was a scene of much slaughter and carnage; countless people died and blood flowed like rivers. The only way many Jews survived was by escaping to various countries around the world. From these facts, what essence do you see in God’s disposition? (That God’s righteous disposition does not tolerate offense.) Let us not start off by talking about God’s disposition, let us first use people as an example. In real life, if someone has a child they love dearly, and wants the child to inherit their property and everything they have, what will they do? On one hand, they will be strict with him, so that he will grow up to be accomplished and can take up his parents’ mantle. But most importantly, they will protect him and not let him come in the path of any harm or danger. The purpose of this is so that the child can live and inherit everything his parents have. What motivates people to do all of this? Do people treat children they do not love, or strangers, in the same way? Do they act the same way? (No, they do not.) It is obvious that everything people do for the child they love best is motivated by selfishness, feelings, and personal desire; these things are part of man’s nature essence. Is there truth in people’s feelings and selfishness? Is there fairness? (No, there is not.) That is how mankind manifests itself. But look at the things God did—God wanted His chosen people, the Jews, to spread the gospel from Judea to all the Gentile peoples around the world—in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. How were they to spread it? God used a method by which foreign invaders raided and occupied Jewish lands, drove out the Jews who were living there, the people who spread news about Jesus the Savior, and caused them to lose their homeland, never to return. Then, the Jews settled in various corners of the earth, where they survived and began spreading the gospel of Jesus the Savior, until it gradually reached every country in the world, and all the ends of the earth. This proves a fact: that God’s work is very practical. Where is this primarily manifested? In the fact that God employed a very special and unusual method to push the Israelites out into all these different countries and spread the gospel of the Lord Jesus. If He had let the Israelites make the decision to move to every country and spread the gospel and testify to God, they would not have been able to bring themselves to abandon their families and their ancestral homeland. It is as though God struck them so they could go out and spread the gospel of the Lord Jesus. This is the price God paid for the gospel of the kingdom of heaven; He made His chosen people meet with war, slaughter, and exile. The Jews were forced to wander the earth without a home, spreading the gospel in every country. In the eyes of people, these methods are too inconsiderate toward man, but can God’s essence be described as “inconsiderate toward man”? Obviously not, as it is not inconsiderate toward man. This is because there is no selfishness or fleshly feelings in God’s disposition and essence; He did all of this for the progress of all mankind, so that mankind’s next step of progress would succeed, and be materialized in complete accordance with the steps of God’s management plan. So, God must do this; there was no other way. The steps of God’s work had already progressed to this point, and His actions had brought swift and good results, so they were entirely appropriate. Looking at God’s essence, only God could do this, no other country or race would. God’s disposition is righteous. Looking at God’s attitude toward the Jews should offer some enlightenment for God’s chosen people today. Man was created by God, and God has love, attachment, mercy, and lovingkindness for man, but when God gives people a mission, what are people in God’s eyes? Can you grasp this level of meaning? Some people say, “From this perspective, people don’t have any value in God’s eyes. They’re just pawns. You just go where He says, and do what He says.” Are these words correct? They are not. It seems like this is the case on the surface, but in fact it is not. To use the words of man, when God acts He does not concern Himself with that much. He does not have man’s traditional thinking or notions, and He is not limited by anything. Everything God does is liberating, freeing, public, aboveboard, and just. One aspect is that He follows the steps of His management plan so that everything progresses normally; another aspect is that He does this so that people in the future can progress and move forward normally in God’s hands, in accordance with His management plan. Man’s progress is intimately tied to God’s management plan. If God did not act this way, bearing the pain of giving up something He loved to take this step, it would be difficult for man to progress even a little bit. That is why I say that God has considered every choice He makes, every step He takes, and every thing in His management work; it contains His might, authority, and wisdom. There are always some things God does which people do not understand. Why can they not understand? Because people have notions. Some of these notions are imaginings, some are influenced by man’s traditional culture and thinking, and some are man’s selfish desires and judgments. These things influence man’s understanding of God, as well as his view of God.

What conclusion can you come to about the Jews being driven out of Judea? (That God does not have a selfish heart like humans. Everything God does is just, and for the progress of all mankind.) If this situation happened to you, and there was slaughter, streams of blood, ruin and death was visited upon your household, and your family was torn apart, what would be your understanding? (Depending on our humanity and the extent of our corruption by Satan, we may have a lot of misunderstandings, complaints, and misinterpretations, but now, through God’s fellowship, we realize that everything God does possesses meaning and His will. No matter how much suffering we experience, we should willingly submit to all of God’s orchestrations, and do our utmost to cooperate with Him, sharing and testifying to God’s work of the last days.) In the face of these facts, does man have a choice? Man has no right to choose what God decides to do. After hearing these words, do people still feel that God is love? They become disheartened, and say, “If people have no choice about these facts, then exactly what role do people play in the work of God’s management plan?” Do you know? (We are created beings.) You are not just created beings; you act as foils. You are the object of God’s judgment and chastisement, but even more so, you are objects of His salvation. That is the role you play. What is your function as created beings? This relates to a person’s practice and duty. You are a created being, and if God gave you the gift of song, and the house of God arranges for you to sing, then you are to sing well. If you have the gift of evangelism, and the house of God arranges for you to spread the gospel, then you should spread the gospel well. When God’s chosen people elect you as a leader, you should take up the commission of leadership, and lead God’s chosen people to eat and drink the words of God, fellowship on the truth, and enter into reality. In doing so, you will have performed your duty well. The commission God gives to man is extremely important and meaningful! So, how should you take up this commission and fulfill your function? This is one of the biggest issues you face, and you must make a choice. It can be said that this is a crucial moment which decides whether you can gain the truth and be perfected by God. If you act by relying on your own will and commit all kinds of outrages, not only will you not fulfill God’s commission, but you also will disturb the work of God’s house. Consequently, it will be necessary for you to be punished, just as Paul was. When God tells you to go do something, what is your function then? It is to do the task well and not mess it up. In doing so, you are rendering service well. No matter what service God tells you to render, you must do it well and obediently. In so doing, you are a person who listens and submits. If you do not render service obediently, always have personal intentions, and always want to rule like a king, then you are a Satan and an antichrist, and you must be punished. Some people do not understand the truth or pursue it; they only put effort into their work. What then is their function as a created being? Just to toil and labor. Sum up, then, what are the precise duties created beings in God’s eyes should perform and what human likeness they should live out. This pertains to your practice. According to the notions and imaginings of man, God is attached to, cares for, protects, looks after, and bestows grace upon the created beings in His eyes. He then disciplines and prunes them, loves them in His heart, and holds them in His hands. Ultimately, God has the single-minded intent to perfect them, ensure their safety and make sure nothing happens to them until they are perfected. To them, this is what created beings are in God’s eyes. When people experience this, they think, “God is singularly lovely! How great is our God! He is so worthy of our love! God is merciful and loving! God is wonderful!” But if you compare this with the facts, are these the only ways in which God treats created beings? (No, it is not.) Then how does God treat people? What other notions and imaginings do people have about the attitude God takes toward His treatment of man? Are there any which people cannot accept? Without question, it is God’s judgment, chastisement, trials, refinement, pruning, discipline, and deprivation. What kind of people are those who cannot accept God’s judgment and chastisement? You could say that they are people who do not accept the truth, and you could definitely say that people who do not accept the truth are nonbelievers. If a person cannot accept God’s judgment and chastisement, then that is tantamount to them being unable to accept God’s work. What is the nature of this problem? It is that they do not accept the truth, and they reject God’s work. People like this will only meet with disaster and punishment. No matter what kind of person you are, if you believe in God but do not accept the truth, you cannot be saved. After a person starts believing in God, no matter what environment God surrounds them with to reveal them, during the process of being revealed, can they see God’s blessings, grace, care, or protection? (No, they cannot.) On the surface they cannot see it, but after going through trials and refinement will they be able to see it? They most certainly will. So there are many people who can see God’s protection and blessings after experiencing His judgment and chastisement. But people who do not love the truth cannot see these things at all. They still cling to their notions and imaginings, and they are full of antagonism and rebelliousness toward God. These are the sort of people who are nonbelievers, evil ones, and antichrists. Everything they do is an example of what not to do. Paul is an example. What do people see when they look at Paul? (That Paul was on the path of an antichrist, and that his story serves as a warning to us.) Paul did not pursue the truth. He only believed in God because he sought a future and destination for his flesh. He only sought to gain rewards and a crown. God spoke so many words, disciplined, enlightened and illuminated him so much, and yet he did not submit to God or accept the truth. He always rebelled against and resisted God, and in the end, he became an antichrist and was condemned and punished. Paul serves as an example of what not to do. By examining the example of Paul as an archetypal antichrist, people can see that Paul was on a path of resistance to God, and a path of destruction. Many have learned from this and benefited from it. They have stepped onto the path of pursuing the truth, and onto the correct path of a believer. What is God’s will for people who can accept the truth, and who have benefited from Paul’s lesson? (Salvation and love.) Then what aspect of God’s disposition can people see from God’s exposure, judgment, and condemnation of Paul? (His righteous disposition.) Then in God’s eyes, what had Paul, as a created being, become? He had become a service object. People are all created beings, both those who benefit and those who are revealed. However, God treats these two types of people completely differently. In reality, in God’s eyes, these two types of people are both as worthless as ants and maggots, but God treats one differently from the other. This is God’s righteous disposition. On what is God’s different attitude toward these two types of people based? (It is based on the path they follow.) It is based on how a person manifests themselves, their essence, their attitude toward the truth, and on the path a person is walking. On the outside, it seems as though God is inconsiderate toward man, that He is unfeeling, and that His actions are heartless. According to man’s notions and imaginings, people think, “God shouldn’t have treated Paul that way. Paul had done so much and suffered so much. Plus, he was loyal and devoted to God. Why would God treat him like that?” Is it right for people to say this? Is it in line with the truth? In what way was Paul so loyal or devoted to God? Are they not twisting the facts? Paul was loyal and devoted to obtaining blessings for himself. Is that loyalty and devotion to God? When people do not understand the truth, cannot see the essence of a problem clearly, and speak blindly based on their feelings, are they not rebelling against God and resisting Him? No wonder everyone adores Paul! Those who are of Satan always adore Satan, and even speak for Satan based on their feelings. This means that although people may seem to have separated from Satan, they remain connected. In fact, when people speak for Satan, they are also speaking for themselves. People sympathize with Paul because they are like him, and on the same path as him. According to man’s common sense, God should not have treated Paul that way, but what He did was the exact opposite of man’s common sense. This is God’s righteous disposition, and it is the truth. If a person speaks in accordance with man’s common sense, they may say, “Even if Paul did not achieve much, he put in a lot of work and effort. He should have been spared just on account of the number of years he suffered. Even if he was just a laborer it would be okay. He shouldn’t have been punished or sent to hell.” This is the common sense and feelings of man—it is not the truth. What is the loveliest aspect of God? That He does not have man’s common sense. Everything He does is in accordance with the truth and His essence. He reveals a righteous disposition. God has no regard for your subjective wishes, nor for the objective facts of what you have done. God determines and defines what kind of person you are based on what you do, what you reveal, and the path you walk, and then assumes the most appropriate attitude toward you. This is how Paul’s outcome came about. Looking at the matter of Paul, it seems as if God was devoid of love. Peter and Paul were both created beings, but while God approved of and blessed Peter, He exposed, dissected, judged, and condemned Paul. You cannot see God’s love in the way He decided Paul’s outcome. So, based on what happened to Paul, could you say that God does not love? No, you cannot, because God disciplined him many times, illuminated him, giving him many chances to repent, but Paul stubbornly refused and walked the path of resistance to God. So in the end, God condemned and punished him. Looking at this matter on the surface, it seems as though people have no choice in God’s work and salvation. Although God does not interfere in people’s choices, if a person chooses the path of seeking blessings, God will condemn and punish them. It seems like God does not let people choose their own path, that He only allows them to choose the path of pursuing the truth, and that whether a person is judged, purified, or perfected is all up to God. Is seeing God’s work this way and labeling God this way not an absurd mistake and absolutely ridiculous? Man is not at all aware that God’s disposition is righteous and holy; he always chooses to follow his own path—the path of resistance to God, but does not want to accept God’s judgment or condemnation. This is totally unreasonable! There are many people who think, “People cannot choose for themselves how God treats them, what mission God gives them, the job He makes them do, or the duty He makes them perform. Ultimately, anyone who chooses to walk their own path is condemned. God only blesses and approves of you if you choose the path He leads you down, and if you choose the path of pursuing the truth.” Some people see this as God being unfair and interfering with people’s free choice. But is this the fact of the matter? (No.) God does all of this according to principle. When you do not understand the facts and the truth, it is easy for you to misunderstand and judge God, but when you understand the facts and the truth, you will think that these misunderstandings are utterly worthless and totally despicable, and that they should never see the light of day. At which point, you will know that everything God does is right. People cannot see this because they are too selfish and foolish. They do not understand the truth and cannot see matters clearly, so they label God according to their own notions and imaginings. Once you understand this, you will not defend Paul anymore or misunderstand God. You will say, “What God does is totally right. Humans are the ones who are corrupt. They are narrow-minded and foolish. They cannot see situations clearly. Regardless of whether a person sees God’s righteous disposition or if they see His love from this matter, everything God does is right, and is a revelation of His righteous disposition and His essence. It is all in line with the truth, and isn’t wrong!” Today, when God works in you and saves you, which path should you choose? Is God interfering with you? What choice should you make? Should you learn from Paul’s mistakes? Should you be like Peter and follow the path of pursuing the truth? How do you approach this matter? That depends on whether you understand the truth. What problems will understanding the truth solve? The purpose of understanding the truth is to resolve man’s corrupt disposition and man’s various difficulties. When you come across problems that cannot be solved; or people, events, and things which do not match up with your notions, the truth will start performing its function within you. So how does Paul’s case help you with your personal life entry and choosing your path? (It can impel us to come before God and reflect on ourselves.) (It can knock down walls and eliminate misunderstandings between God and man.) That’s one part of it, and you have gained something from this discussion. The most crucial thing to understand is the significance of choosing the path of pursuing the truth, and why God blesses and approves of those who do. Understanding the answer to this question is the most crucial thing.

Just now I mentioned how the Jews were sent into exile, and drifted into every country around the world. What do people see about this fact? What truth do they understand? This event should make people reflect a bit. Firstly, on how people should practice, and secondly, so that they understand God’s disposition through this event. Let us first talk about how people should practice in these circumstances. Nothing God does is swayed by man’s desires; God has His own plan, and His own principles for doing things. So, what attitude should people have? No matter what situation they encounter, or whether it matches up with their notions, people should never ever put themselves at odds with God. Some people say, “Even though I’m rebellious and resist God, isn’t it enough that I perform my duty?” What sort of attitude is this? It is obviously unacceptable. That is not true submission. Then, how exactly should people practice “not putting themselves at odds with God,” and put it into action? There are two principles of practice: The first, is to proactively seek out God’s will, what truths people should understand, and how to cooperate and complete God’s commission—this is the active side of what people should do. The second, is to examine and recognize where you have misunderstandings about God, do not submit to Him, have notions and imaginings, and things which are not compatible with Him. This will ensure that you are able to accurately practice the truth during the course of your duty, do things according to the principles, complete God’s commission, and be commemorated by God. Are these principles of practice simple? (Yes, they are.) What do I mean by “simple”? That the logic and words are relatively clear; “one” means one, and “two” means two; as soon as you hear it, you know how to practice it. However, actually putting it into practice is not so simple, because people have corrupt dispositions. They always debate things, and have a lot of imaginings and notions, as well as misunderstandings about God. People must dissect these things and accept God’s judgment and chastisement, but this makes people who lack spiritual understanding come up with new notions: “People all say God is love, so why does God always expose and judge people’s thoughts and notions? I can’t see love in God; I only see that God’s disposition does not tolerate offense.” Is this not one of man’s notions? If, as in the notions and imaginings of corrupted humans, God only ever revealed mercy and lovingkindness during the development of all humankind, and never righteousness or wrath, could man have survived to the present day? (No, he couldn’t.) Man would have been devoured by Satan long ago. When handling the issues of demons and Satan, and corrupt humans who resist God, what God reveals and how He manifests Himself is not the love people speak of, but rather a righteous disposition; it is hate, loathing, judgment, chastisement, punishment, and destruction. Only by doing this can God reveal that His disposition is righteous, holy, and does not tolerate offense; thoroughly shame Satan, and effectively protect true humanity. This is how God has always led humanity, and saved them at the same time.

People must frequently examine anything in their heart that is incompatible with God, or is a misunderstanding of Him. How do misunderstandings come about? Why do people misunderstand God? (Because their self-interest is affected.) After people see the facts about the Jewish exile from Judea, they feel hurt, and say, “At first, God loved the Israelites so much. He led them out of Egypt and through the Red Sea, gave them manna from the heavens and spring water to drink, then personally gave them laws to lead them, and taught them how to live. God’s love for man was overflowing—people who lived back then were so blessed! How could God’s attitude do a one-eighty in the blink of an eye? Where did all His love go?” People’s feelings cannot get past this, and they begin to doubt, saying, “Is God love or isn’t He? Why isn’t His original attitude toward the Israelites visible anymore? His love has disappeared without a trace. Does He have any love at all?” This is where people’s misunderstanding starts. What is the context in which people form misunderstandings? Could it be because God’s actions are not compatible with people’s notions and imaginings? Is this fact what causes people to misunderstand God? Is the reason people misunderstand God not because they limit their definition of His love? They think, “God is love. Therefore, He should look out for and protect people, and shower them with grace and blessings. This is what God’s love is! I like it when God loves people this way. I could especially see how much God loved people when He led them through the Red Sea. People back then were so blessed! I wish I could be one of them.” When you are enamored with this story, you treat the love God revealed in that instant as the highest truth, and the single marker of His essence. You limit your definition of Him in your heart, and treat everything God did at that moment as the highest truth. You think that this is God’s most lovely side, and the one that most compels people to respect and fear Him, and that this is God’s love. In actuality, God’s actions themselves were positive, but because of your limited definitions, they became notions in your mind, and a basis on which you define God. They make you misunderstand God’s love, as though there is nothing else to it than mercy, caring, protection, guidance, grace, and blessings—as though that is all God’s love is. Why do you cherish these aspects of love so much? Is it because it is tied to your own self-interest? (Yes, it is.) Which self-interests is it tied to? (The pleasures of the flesh and a comfortable life.) When people believe in God they want to obtain these things from Him, but not other things. People do not want to think about judgment, chastisement, trials, refinement, suffering for God, giving things up and expending themselves, or even sacrificing their own lives. People just want to enjoy God’s love, care, protection, and guidance, so they define God’s love as the only characteristic of His essence, and His only essence. Did the things God did when leading the Israelites across the Red Sea not become the source of people’s notions? (Yes, they did.) This formed a context in which people formed notions about God. If they formed notions about God, then can they achieve a true understanding of God’s work and disposition? It is obvious that not only will they not understand, but they will misinterpret it and form notions about it. This proves that man’s understanding is too narrow, and is not true understanding. For it is not the truth, but rather a type of love and understanding which people analyze and interpret from God based on their own notions, imaginings, and selfish desires; it is not compatible with God’s true essence. In what other ways does God love people other than through mercy, salvation, care, protection, and by listening to their prayers? (With chastening, discipline, pruning, judgment, chastisement, trials, and refinement.) That is correct. God shows His love in an abundance of ways: by striking, disciplining, reproaching, and with judgment, chastisement, trials, refinement, and so on. These are all aspects of God’s love. Only this perspective is comprehensive and in line with the truth. If you understand this, when you examine yourself and realize you have misunderstandings about God, are you not then able to recognize your distortions, and to do a good job reflecting on where you went wrong? Can this not help you resolve your misunderstandings about God? (Yes, it can.) In order to accomplish this, you must seek the truth. So long as people seek the truth, they can eliminate their misunderstandings about God, and once they have eliminated their misunderstandings about God, they can submit to all of God’s arrangements. If you are able to eliminate your misunderstandings about God, then when you look at the Jewish exile from Judea, you will say, “God’s attitude toward man, His created beings, is not just that of love, He also leads by striking and exiling. People should not give themselves a choice in their attitude toward God; it should be one of submission, not resistance.” From the perspective of man’s notions and imaginings, God’s attitude toward the Jews seemed inconsiderate, but looking at it now, God did an incredible job; everything He revealed was a righteous disposition. God can bestow grace and blessings on people, and give them their daily bread, but He can also take all that away. That is God’s authority, essence, and disposition.

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