God Himself, the Unique IV
God’s Holiness (I) (Part Two)
Now that we have finished our discussion of Satan, let us return to talking about our God. During God’s six-thousand-year management plan, very little of God’s direct speech was recorded in the Bible, and that which has been recorded is very simple. So let us start at the beginning. God created man and since then has ever guided the life of mankind. Whether in bestowing upon mankind blessings, creating laws and commandments for men, or stipulating the various rules for life, do you know what God’s intended aim is in doing these things? Firstly, can you say with certainty that all that God does is for the good of mankind? These may seem to you like grand, hollow words, but upon examining the details within, is not everything that God does intended to lead and guide man toward living a normal life? Whether it be causing man to abide by His rules or to keep His laws, God’s aim is for man not to fall into worshiping Satan and not to be harmed by Satan; this is most fundamental, and this is what was done in the very beginning. At the very beginning, when man did not understand God’s will, God made some simple laws and rules and made regulations that covered every conceivable matter. These regulations are simple, yet within them they contain God’s will. God treasures, cherishes and dearly loves mankind. So can we say that His heart is holy? Can we say His heart is clean? (Yes.) Does God have any additional motives? (No.) So is this aim of His right and positive? In the course of God’s work, all of the regulations He has made have a positive effect on man, leading the way for man. So are there any self-serving thoughts in God’s mind? Does God have any additional aims where man is concerned? Does God want to make use of man in some way? Not in the slightest. God does as He says, and His words and actions are matched by His thoughts in His heart. There is no tainted purpose, no self-serving thoughts. Nothing He does is for Himself; all that He does, He does for man, without any private objectives. Although He has plans and intentions, which He places upon man, none of it is for Himself. Everything He does is done purely for mankind, to protect mankind, to keep mankind from being led astray. So is this heart of His not precious? Can you see even the tiniest sign of such a precious heart in Satan? You cannot see the slightest hint of this in Satan, you cannot see it at all. Everything God does is revealed naturally. Now, let us look at the way God works; how does He do His work? Does God take these laws and His words and bind them tightly around the head of every person, like the band-tightening spell,[a] imposing them on each and every human being? Does He work in this way? (No.) So in what way does God do His work? Does He threaten? Does He beat about the bush when He speaks to you? (No.) When you do not understand the truth, how does God guide you? He shines a light on you, telling you clearly that doing this is not in keeping with the truth, and then He tells you what you should do. From these ways in which God works, what kind of relationship do you feel you have with God? Do you feel that God is beyond reach? (No.) So how do you feel when you see these ways in which God works?are especially real, and His relationship with man especially normal. God is exceptionally close to you; there is no distance between you and God. When God guides you, when He provides for you, helps you and supports you, you feel how amiable God is, the reverence He inspires; you feel how lovely He is, you feel His warmth. But when God reproaches you with corruption, or when He judges and disciplines you for rebelling against Him, what method does He use? Does He reproach you with words? Does He discipline you through your environment and through people, affairs, and things? (Yes.) To what extent does God discipline you? Does God discipline man to the same degree that Satan harms man? (No, God disciplines man only to the extent that man can endure.) God works in a gentle, delicate, loving and caring way, a way that is extraordinarily measured and proper. His way does not provoke in you intense emotional reactions such as: “God must let me do this” or “God must let me do that.” God never gives you that kind of mental or emotional intensity that makes things unbearable. Is that not so? Even when you accept God’s words of judgment and chastisement, how do you feel then? When you sense the authority and power of God, how do you feel then? Do you feel that God is divine and inviolable? Do you feel distance between yourself and God at these times? Do you feel the fear of God? No—rather, you feel fearful reverence toward God. Is it not because of God’s work that people feel all of these things? Would they have these feelings if it were Satan who was at work? Absolutely not. God uses His words, His truth and His life to continuously provide for man, to support man. When man is weak, when man is feeling dispirited, God certainly does not speak harshly, saying: “Do not feel dispirited. What is there to be dispirited about? Why are you weak? What reason is there to be weak? You are always so weak, and you are always so negative! What is the use of you being alive? Just die and have done with it!” Does God work in this way? (No.) Does God have the authority to act in this way? Yes, He does. Yet God does not act in this way. The reason why God does not act in this way is because of His essence, the essence of the holiness of God. His love for man, His treasuring and cherishing of man cannot be expressed clearly in just one or two sentences. It is not something that is brought about by man’s boasting but is something that God brings forth in actual practice; it is the revelation of God’s essence. Can all these ways in which God works cause man to see the holiness of God? In all of these ways in which God works, including God’s good intentions, including the effects God wishes to work on man, including the different ways God adopts to work on man, the kind of work He does, what He wants man to understand—have you seen any evil or deceitfulness in God’s good intentions? (No.) So in everything God does, everything God says, everything He thinks in His heart, as well as all the essence of God that He reveals—can we call God holy? (Yes.) Has any man ever seen this holiness in the world, or within himself? Apart from God, have you ever seen it in any human being, or in Satan? (No.) Based on our discussion thus far, can we call God the unique, the holy God Himself? (Yes.) All that God gives to man, including the words of God, the different ways in which God works on man, what God tells man, what God reminds man of, what He advises and encourages—it all originates from one essence: the holiness of God. If there were no such holy God, no man could take His place to do the work He does. If God had handed these men entirely over to Satan, have you ever considered what kind of condition all of you would be in today? Would you all be sitting here, whole and inviolate? Would you also say: “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it”? Would you be so brazen, so cock-sure and full of swagger as to speak such words and boast without shame before God? You absolutely would, without a shadow of doubt! Satan’s attitude toward man allows man to see that Satan’s nature and essence are utterly different from God’s. What is it about the essence of Satan that is the opposite of the holiness of God? (Satan’s evil.) Satan’s evil nature is the opposite of the holiness of God. The reason why the majority of people do not recognize this revelation of God’s and this essence of God’s holiness is because they live under the domain of Satan, within the corruption of Satan and within Satan’s living enclosure. They do not know what holiness is, or how to define holiness. Even when you perceive the holiness of God, you still cannot define it as being the holiness of God with any certainty. This is a disparity within man’s knowledge of the holiness of God.
What kind of representative feature characterizes Satan’s work on man? You should be able to learn this through your own experiences—it is Satan’s most representative feature, the thing it repeatedly does, the thing it tries to do with every single person. Perhaps you cannot see this feature, so you do not feel that Satan is so frightful and hateful. Does anyone know what this feature is? (Everything it does, it does to harm man.) How does it harm man? Can you tell Me more specifically and in more detail? (It seduces, entices and tempts man.) That is correct; these are several ways in which this feature manifests. Satan also deludes, attacks and accuses man—these are all manifestations. Are there any more? (It tells lies.) Cheating and lying come most naturally to Satan. It does these things so often that lies flow from its mouth without it even needing to think. Are there any more? (It sows dissension.) This one is not so important. Now I will describe something to you that will make your hair stand on end, but I do not do it to scare you. God works on man and cherishes man both in His attitude and in His heart. Conversely, does Satan cherish man? No, it does not cherish man. On the contrary, it spends much time thinking about harming man. Is that not so? When it is thinking about harming man, is its state of mind one of urgency? (Yes.) So, as regards Satan’s work on man, I have two phrases that can amply describe the malicious and evil nature of Satan, that can truly allow you to know the hatefulness of Satan: In Satan’s approach to man, it always wants to forcefully occupy and possess man, each and every one, to the extent that it can gain complete control of man and harm man grievously, so that it can achieve its objective and fulfill its wild ambition. What does “forcefully occupy” mean? Is it something that happens with your consent, or without your consent? Does it happen with your knowing, or without your knowing? The answer is that it happens completely without your knowing! It happens in situations where you are unaware, perhaps without it even saying or doing anything to you, with no premise, no context—there Satan is, circling around you, surrounding you. It looks for an opportunity to exploit and then it forcefully occupies you, possesses you, achieving its objective of gaining complete control of you and of inflicting harm upon you. This is a most typical intention and behavior of Satan as it struggles to wrest mankind away from God. How do you feel when you hear this? (Terrified and fearful in our hearts.) Do you feel disgusted? (Yes.) As you feel this disgust, do you think that Satan is shameless? When you think that Satan is shameless, do you then feel disgusted with those people around you who always want to control you, those with wild ambitions for status and interests? (Yes.) So what methods does Satan use to forcefully possess and occupy man? Are you clear on this? When you hear these two terms “forceful occupation” and “possession,” you feel disgust and you can sense the evil about these words. Without either your consent or your knowledge, Satan possesses you, forcibly occupies you, and corrupts you. What can you taste in your heart? Do you feel loathing and disgust? (Yes.) When you feel this loathing and disgust for these ways of Satan, what kind of feeling do you have for God? (Gratitude.) Gratitude to God for saving you. So now, at this moment, do you have the desire or the will to let God take over and control all that you have and you are? (Yes.) In what context do you answer thus? Do you say “yes” because you are afraid of being forcefully occupied and possessed by Satan? (Yes.) You must not have this kind of mentality; it is not right. Do not be afraid, for God is here. There is nothing to be afraid of. Once you have understood the evil essence of Satan, you should have a more accurate understanding or a deeper cherishment of God’s love, God’s good intentions, God’s compassion and tolerance for man and His righteous disposition. Satan is so hateful, yet if this still does not inspire your love of God and your reliance on and trust in God, then what kind of person are you? Are you willing to let Satan harm you so? After seeing the evil and hideousness of Satan, we turn around and look then at God. Has your knowledge of God now undergone any change? Can we say that God is holy? Can we say that God is flawless? “God is unique holiness”—can God live up to this designation? (Yes.) So in the world and among all things, isn’t it only God Himself that can live up to this understanding that man has of God? Are there any others? (No.) So what exactly does God give to man? Does He only give you a little care, concern and consideration without your being aware of it? What has God given to man? God has given life to man, given man everything, and bestows all this on man unconditionally without demanding anything, without any ulterior motive. He uses the truth, His words, and His life to lead and guide man, bringing man away from the harm of Satan, away from Satan’s temptations and inducements, allowing man to see clearly through Satan’s evil nature and hideous face. Is God’s love and concern for mankind true? Is it something that every one of you can experience? (Yes.)
Look back on your lives until now, at all the work God has done on you in all the years of your faith. Whether the feelings this evokes for you are deep or shallow, is this not the thing that was most necessary of all for you? Was it not what you most needed to obtain? (Yes.) Is this not truth? Is this not life? (Yes.) Has God ever bestowed enlightenment upon you, and then asked you to give anything to Him in return for all that He has given to you? (No.) So what is God’s purpose? Why does God do this? Does God have the objective of occupying you? (No.) Does God want to ascend His throne within the heart of man? (Yes.) So what is the difference between God ascending His throne and Satan’s forceful occupation? God wants to gain the heart of man, He wants to occupy the heart of man—what does this mean? Does it mean that God wants man to become His puppets, His machines? (No.) So what is God’s purpose? Is there a difference between God wanting to occupy the heart of man and Satan’s forceful occupation and possession of man? (Yes.) What is the difference? Can you tell Me clearly? (Satan does it through force whereas God lets man volunteer.) Is this the difference? What use does God have for your heart? And what use does God have for occupying you? How in your hearts do you understand “God occupies man’s heart”? We must be fair in how we talk about God here, otherwise people will always misunderstand, and think: “God always wants to occupy me. What does He want to occupy me for? I do not want to be occupied, I just want to be my own master. You say Satan occupies people, but God also occupies people. Isn’t it the same either way? I do not want to let anyone occupy me. I am myself!” What is the difference here? Give it some thought. I ask you, is “God occupies man” an empty phrase? Does God’s occupation of man mean that He lives in your heart and controls your every word and every move? If He tells you to sit, do you dare not stand? If He tells you to go east, do you dare not go west? Does this “occupation” refer to something along these lines? (No, it does not. God wants man to live out what God has and is.) Through these years that God has managed man, in His work on man up until now in this last stage, what has been the intended effect on man of all the words He has spoken? Is it that man lives out what God has and is? Looking at the literal meaning of “God occupies man’s heart,” it seems as if God takes man’s heart and occupies it, lives in it and does not come out again; He becomes the master of man’s heart and is able to dominate and manipulate man’s heart at will, so that man must do whatever God tells him to do. In this sense, it would seem as though every person could become God and possess His essence and disposition. So in this case, could man also perform the deeds of God? Can “occupation” be explained in this way? (No.) So what is it? I ask you this: Are all the words and truth that God supplies to man a revelation of the essence of God and what He has and is? (Yes.) This is certainly true. But is it essential that God Himself practice and possess all of the words that He supplies to man? Give this some thought. When God judges man, why does He judge? How did these words come into being? What is the content of these words that God speaks when He judges man? What are they based on? Is it man’s corrupt disposition upon which they are based? (Yes.) So is the effect achieved by God’s judgment of man based on the essence of God? (Yes.) So is God’s “occupation of man” an empty phrase? It certainly is not. So why does God say these words to man? What is His purpose in saying these words? Does He want to use these words to serve as the life of man? (Yes.) God wants to use all of this truth that He has spoken in these words to act as the life of man. When man takes all of this truth and the word of God and transforms them into his own life, can man then obey God? Can man then fear God? Can man then shun evil? When man has reached this point, can he then obey God’s sovereignty and arrangement? Is man then in a position to submit to the authority of God? When people like Job, or like Peter, reach the end of their road, when their life can be considered to have reached maturity, when they have a real understanding of God—can Satan then still lead them away? Can Satan then still occupy them? Can Satan still forcefully possess them? (No.) So what kind of person is this? Is this someone who has been completely gained by God? (Yes.) At this level of meaning, how do you see this kind of person who has been completely gained by God? From God’s perspective, under these circumstances, He has already occupied this person’s heart. But what does this person feel? Is it that the word of God, God’s authority, and God’s way, become life within man, that this life then occupies man’s entire being, making the things that he lives out as well as his essence adequate to satisfy God? From God’s perspective, is mankind’s heart at this very moment occupied by Him? (Yes.) How do you understand this level of meaning now? Is it God’s Spirit that occupies you? (No, it is the word of God that occupies us.) It is the way of God and the word of God that have become your life, and it is the truth that has become your life. At this time, man then possesses the life that comes from God, but we cannot say that this life is God’s life. In other words, we cannot say that the life man should derive from the word of God is God’s life. So no matter how long man follows God, no matter how many words man obtains from God, man can never become God. Even if one day God said, “I have occupied your heart, you now possess My life,” would you then feel that you are God? (No.) What would you then become? Would you not have an absolute obedience to God? Would your heart not be filled with the life God has bestowed on you? This would be a very normal manifestation of what happens when God occupies man’s heart. This is fact. So looking at it from this aspect, can man become God? When man is able to live out the reality of the words of God, and becomes someone who fears God and shuns evil, can man then possess the life essence and holiness of God? Absolutely not. No matter what happens, man is still man when all is said and done. You are a being of creation; when you have received the word of God from God and received God’s way, you only possess the life that comes from the words of God, you become someone who is praised by God, but you will never possess the life essence of God, much less the holiness of God.
Now we will return to the topic that we just discussed. During this discussion, I asked you a question—is Abraham holy? Is Job holy? (No.) This “holiness” represents the essence and disposition of God, and man is far lacking. Man does not have God’s essence or God’s disposition. Even when man has experienced all of God’s words and has become equipped with their reality, man can still never possess God’s holy essence; man is man. You understand, yes? So what is your understanding now of this phrase: “God occupies man’s heart”? (It is God’s words, God’s way and His truth that become man’s life.) You have memorized these words. I hope you will have a deeper understanding. Some people may ask, “So why say that God’s messengers and angels are not holy?” What do you think about this question? Perhaps you have not considered it before. I will use a simple example: When you turn on a robot, it can both dance and talk, and you can understand what it says. You may call it cute and vivacious, but it will not understand because it does not have life. When you turn off its power supply, can it still move about? When this robot is activated, you can see that it is vivacious and cute. You make an evaluation of it, whether it be essential or superficial, but whatever the case, you can see it moving. But when you turn off its power supply, do you see any kind of personality in it? Do you see it possessing any kind of essence? Do you understand the meaning of what I am saying? That is to say, even though this robot can move and stop, you could never describe it as having any kind of essence. Is this not a fact? Now, we will not talk any more on this. It is enough for you to have a general understanding of the meaning. Let us end our fellowship here. Goodbye!
December 17, 2013
a. The “band-tightening spell” is a spell used by the monk Tang Sanzang in the Chinese novel Journey to the West. He uses this spell to control Sun Wukong by tightening a metal band around the latter’s head, giving him acute headaches, and thus bringing him under control. It has become a metaphor to describe something that binds a person.