God’s Holiness (I) Part Three
Now that we have finished talking about Satan, let us return to talking about our God. During God’s six-thousand-year management plan, very little of God’s direct speech has been 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 led the life of mankind. Whether in giving mankind blessings, giving them the laws and His commandments, or stipulating the various rules for life, do you know what God’s intended aim is in doing these things? Firstly, can you say for sure all that God does is for the good of mankind? (Yes, we can.) You may think that this sentence is relatively broad and hollow, but specifically speaking, everything God does is to lead and guide man toward living a normal life. Whether it is so man keeps His rules or keeps His laws, God’s aim is for man not to worship Satan, 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 He took some simple laws and rules and made provisions that covered every conceivable aspect. These provisions are very simple, yet within them they contain God’s will. God treasures, cherishes and dearly loves mankind. Isn’t that the case? (Yes.) So can we say His heart is holy? Can we say His heart is clean? (Yes.) Does God have any ulterior intentions? (No.) So is this aim of His right and positive? (Yes.) It is positive. No matter what provisions God made, the effect of them all in the course of His work is positive for man, and they lead the way. So are there any self-serving thoughts in God’s mind? Does God have any additional aims where man is concerned, or does He want to use man in some way? Not at all. God does as He says, and He also thinks this way in His heart. There is no mixed purpose, no self-serving thoughts. He does not do anything for Himself, but does absolutely everything for man, without any personal aims. Although He has plans and intentions for man, He does not do anything for Himself. Everything He does is done purely for mankind, to protect mankind, to keep mankind from being led astray. So is this heart not precious? (Yes.) Can you see even the tiniest hint of this precious heart in Satan? (No.) Can you see it? Can you? We cannot see one hint of this in Satan. Everything God does is revealed naturally. By looking at the way God works, how does He work? Does God take these laws and His words and bind them tightly onto the heads of every person like the incantation of the golden hoop,[a] imposing them on each man? Does He work in this way? (No.) So in what way does God do His work? (He guides us.) Well, this is one aspect. Any others? God works on you in many ways, how can it be that you have run out of things to say after just one? (He advises and encourages.) There’s a second one. Any more? Does He threaten? Does He talk in circles to you? (No.) When you do not understand the truth, how does God guide you? (He shines a light.) Well, He shines a light on you, telling you clearly that this is not in keeping with the truth, and what you should do. So from these ways in which God works, what kind of relationship do you feel you have with God? Do they make you feel that God is beyond your grasp? (No.) So how do they make you feel? God is especially close to you, there is no distance between you. When God guides you, when He provides for you, helps you and supports you, you feel God’s amiability, His respectability, you feel how lovely He is, how warm. But when God reproaches your corruption, or when He judges and disciplines you for rebelling against Him, what way does God use? Does He reproach you with words? (Yes.) Does He discipline you through your environment and through people, affairs, and things? (Yes.) So what level does this discipline reach? (To a level that man can endure.) Does His level of discipline reach the same point where Satan harms man? (No.) God works in a gentle, loving, delicate and caring way, a way that is especially measured and proper. His way does not cause you to feel intense emotions, saying, “God will not let me do this” or “God must let me do that.” God never gives you that kind of intense mentality or intense feelings that make things unbearable. Is this not the case? (Yes.) Even when you accept God’s words of judgment and chastisement, how do you feel then? When you feel the authority and power of God, how do you feel then? Do you feel the unoffendable divinity of God? (Yes.) Do you feel distanced from God at these times? Do you feel frightened of God? (No.) Instead, you feel fearful reverence of God. Do people feel all these things only because of God’s work? (Yes.) So would they have these feelings if Satan worked on man? (No.) 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 down, God certainly does not speak harshly, saying: “Do not feel down. What are you down for? What are you weak for? What is there to be weak about? You are so weak, you may as well just die. You are always so down, what is the point in living? Just die!” Does God work this way? (No.) Does God have the authority to act this way? (Yes.) But does God act this way? (No.) The reason why God does not act 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 allow man to see the holiness of God? In all these ways in which God works, including God’s good intentions, including the effects God wishes to achieve 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 craftiness in God’s good intentions? (No.) You can’t see any evil, can you? (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 in himself? Apart from God, have you ever seen it in any man or in Satan? (No.) From what we have talked about so far, can we call God the unique, holy God Himself? (Yes.) All that God gives to man, including the words of God, the different ways in which God works on man, that which God tells man, that which God reminds man of, that which He advises and encourages, it all originates from one essence: It all originates from the holiness of God. If there were no such a holy God, no man could take His place to do the work He does. If God took these people and completely handed them over to Satan, have you ever thought of what kind of condition those of you present here today would be in? Would you all be sitting here, complete and intact? (No.) So what would you be like? Would you also say: “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it”? Would you so swagger, be so brazen and boast without shame before God, and speak in such a roundabout way? (Yes.) Yes, you would. You would one hundred percent! You absolutely would! Satan’s attitude toward man allows them to see that Satan’s nature is utterly different from God. Its essence is completely different to God. What essence of Satan is the opposite of the holiness of God? (Its evil.) Satan’s evil nature is the opposite of the holiness of God. The reason why the majority of people do not recognize that this expression of God’s represents the essence of God’s holiness is entirely because they live under the domain of Satan, within the corruption of Satan, within Satan’s living enclosure. They do not know what holiness is or know 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 in man’s knowledge of the holiness of God.
What kind of representative feature is shown by Satan’s work on man? You should know of this from your own experiences—Satan’s most representative feature, the thing it does the most, the thing it tries to do with every single person. It has a feature that you perhaps cannot see, so that you do not think how frightful and hateful Satan is. Does anyone know what this feature is? Tell Me. (Everything it does is done to harm man.) It does things to harm man. How does it harm man? Can you show Me more specifically and in more detail? (It seduces, entices and tempts man.) That’s right, this shows several aspects. Any more? (It deludes man.) It deludes, attacks and accuses. Yes, all of these. Are there any more? (It tells lies.) Cheating and lying comes most naturally to Satan. It does it so often that lies flow from its mouth without it even needing to think. Any more? (It sows dissension.) This one is not so important. I will describe something to you that will terrify you, but I do not do it to scare you. God works on man and man is cherished in both God’s attitude and His heart. On the contrary, does Satan cherish man? It does not cherish man. What does it want with man? It wants to harm man, all it thinks about is harming man. Isn’t that right? So when it is mulling over harming man, does it do so in a pressing state of mind? (Yes.) So when it comes to Satan’s work on man, here I have two words 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 “attach” itself to each of them so that it can get to the point where it is completely in control of man, harming man, so that it can achieve this objective and wild ambition. What does “forcefully occupy” mean? Does it happen with your consent, or without your consent? Does it happen with your knowing, or without your knowing? It is completely without your knowing! In situations where you are unaware, possibly when it has not said anything or possibly when it has not done anything, when there is no premise, no context, there it is around you, surrounding you. It looks for an opportunity to exploit, then it forcefully occupies you, attaches itself to you, achieving its objective of being completely in control of you and harming you. This is a most typical intention and behavior in Satan’s fight against God for mankind. How do you feel when you hear this? (Terrified and fearful in our hearts.) Do you feel disgusted? (Yes, we feel disgusted.) So when you feel disgusted, do you think Satan is shameless? (Yes.) When you think 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 attach itself to and occupy man? Are you clear on this? When you hear these two words of forceful “occupation” and “attaching,” you get this feeling of strangeness and disgust, don’t you? Do you get a taste of their evil flavor? Without either your consent or your knowledge it attaches itself to you, occupies you and corrupts you. What can you taste in your heart? Loathing? (Yes!) Disgust? (Yes!) So when you feel this loathing and disgust for this way of Satan, what kind of feeling do you have for God? (Thankful.) Thankful to God for saving you. So now, at this moment, do you have the desire or the will to let God take charge of your all, to dominate your all? (Yes.) In what context? Do you say yes because you are afraid of being forcefully occupied and attached to by Satan? You cannot have this kind of mentality, it is not right. Do not be afraid, God is here. There is nothing to be afraid of, right? 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 leniency 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 would you be? Are you willing to let Satan harm you so? After seeing the evil and hideousness of Satan, we turn it around and look then at God. Has your knowledge of God now undergone any change? (Yes.) What kind of change? Can we say God is holy? Can we say God is flawless? (Yes.) “God is unique holiness”—can God bear up under this title? (Yes.) So in the world and among all things, is it only God Himself that can bear up under this understanding of man’s? Are there any others? (No.) So what exactly does God give to man? Does He only give you a little care, concern and consideration when you are not paying attention? What has God given to man? God has given life to man, given man everything, and bestows on man unconditionally without demanding anything, without any ulterior intention. He uses the truth, uses His words, uses His life to lead and guide man, bringing man away from the harm of Satan, away from Satan’s temptations, away from Satan’s seduction and allowing man to see clearly through Satan’s evil nature and its hideous face. So 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 up till now at all the things God has done on you in all the years of your faith. Whether you feel it deeply or not, was it not most necessary? Was it not what you most needed to obtain? (Yes.) Is this not truth? Is this not life? (Yes.) So has God ever enlightened you to give anything back or repay anything after He gave you these things? (No.) So what is God’s purpose? Why does God do this? Does God also have an objective to occupy you? (No.) Does God want to ascend His throne in the hearts of man? (Yes.) So what is the difference between God ascending His throne and Satan’s forceful occupation? God wants to gain the hearts of man, He wants to occupy the hearts 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 hearts of man and Satan’s forceful occupation, its attaching itself to man? (Yes.) What is the difference? Can you tell Me clearly? (Satan does it through force whereas God lets man volunteer.) Satan does it through force whereas God lets you volunteer. Is this the difference? So if you do not volunteer, what then? If you do not volunteer, does God do anything? (He gives some guidance and enlightenment, but if in the end man is not willing, He does not force them.) What does God want your heart for? And besides, what does God want to occupy you for? How in your hearts do you understand “God occupies man’s hearts”? We must be fair to God here, otherwise people always misunderstand, saying: “God always wants to occupy me. What does He want to occupy me for? I don’t want to be occupied, I just want to be myself. You say Satan occupies people, but God also occupies people: Are these not the same? I don’t want to let anyone occupy me. I am myself.” What is the difference here? Take a minute to think about it. (I think God wants to gain man’s hearts and occupy man’s hearts in order to save man, to make man perfect.) What you say is the aim of God’s management of man—to make him perfect. So do you understand what “occupy” means here? (It means not letting Satan occupy man. If God is in occupation, then Satan has no way to occupy man.) You mean God is the first occupant; like an empty house, whosoever enters first becomes the master of the house. The one who comes after cannot become the master of the house, but instead becomes the servant, or else they cannot enter at all. Is this what you mean? (Yes, I mean something like this.) Does anyone have a different view? (My own understanding of “God occupies man’s hearts” is that God treats us like His own family, caring for us and loving us. Satan occupies man’s hearts in order to damage us, to harm us.) This is your understanding of “God occupies man,” is it? Are there any different understandings or views? (God occupies man using His word, in the hope that man can accept the word of God into his life, so that man can live in accordance with the word of God.) This is the true meaning behind “God occupies man,” isn’t it? Are there any different views? (My view is that God is the embodiment of truth so God wants to supply the entire truth to us, and because we obtain this truth and are brought under His care and protection, we can therefore avoid running into Satan’s cunning schemes and being harmed by it. Practically speaking, God wants to gain man’s hearts so that man can live a normal life on this earth and obtain God’s blessings.) But you still have not touched on the real meaning of “God occupies man’s hearts.” (Man was originally made by God, so man should worship Him and return to Him. Man belongs to God.) I ask you, is “God occupies man” an empty phrase? Does God’s occupation of man mean that He lives in your heart? Does God dominate your every word and every move? If He tells you to raise your left arm, do you dare not raise your right? If He tells you to sit, do you dare not stand? If He tells you to go east, do you dare not go west? Is it an occupation that means something like this? (No.) So what is it? (It means for man to live out what God has and is.) God has managed man all through the years, so in God’s work on man up until now in this last stage, what effect will all the words God has spoken have on man? Is it that man lives out what God has and is? Looking at the literal meaning of “God occupies man’s hearts,” it seems as if God takes man’s hearts and occupies them, lives in them and does not come out again; He lives inside them and becomes the master of man’s hearts, to dominate and arrange man’s hearts at will, so that man must go wherever God tells him to go. At this level of meaning, it seems as if every person had become God, in possession of God’s essence, in possession of God’s disposition. So in this case, could man also perform the acts and deeds of God? Can “occupation” be explained in this way? (No.) So what is it? (The people God wants are not puppets, they have thoughts and their hearts are alive. Therefore, God’s occupation of man is in the hope that man can have thoughts and can feel God’s joys and sorrows; man and God interact with one another.) I ask you this: Are all the words and truth God supplies to man a revelation of the essence of God and what He has and is? (Yes.) This is for sure, isn’t it? But are all the words God supplies to man for God Himself to practice, for God Himself to possess? Take a minute to think about it. When God judges man, because of what does He do this? Where did these words come from? What is the content of these words God speaks when He judges man? What are they based on? Are they based on man’s corrupt disposition? (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 for the life of man? (Yes.) God wants to use all this truth that He has spoken for the life of man. So when man takes all 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 matured, when they have a real understanding of God—can Satan still lead them astray? Can Satan still occupy them? Can Satan still forcefully attach itself to 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? To God, 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, then this life that occupies man’s entire being makes what he lives out enough, makes his essence enough to satisfy God? So to God, 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.) So what is it exactly that occupies you? (The word of God.) Well, the word of God, the way of God. It is the truth and the word of God that become your life. At this time, man then has the life that comes from God, but we cannot say that this life is God’s life. It is the life man should derive from the word of God. Can we say this life is God’s life? (No.) So no matter how long man follows God, no matter how many words man obtains from God, man can never become God. Is this not correct? (Yes.) 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 of God? Would your body and your heart not be filled with the life God has bestowed on you? This is a very normal manifestation when God occupies man’s hearts. This is fact. So looking at it from this aspect, can man become God? (No.) When man has obtained all of the word of God, when man can fear God and shun evil, can man then possess God’s identity? (No.) Can man then possess the essence of God? (No.) No matter what happens, man is still man when all is said and done. You are a 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 word of God, and can never become God.
Going back to our topic just now, I asked you whether or not Abraham was holy. He is not, and you understand this now, don’t you? Is Job holy? (No.) Within this holiness is contained the essence of God. Man does not have God’s essence or God’s disposition. Even when man has experienced all of God’s word and possesses the essence of God’s word, man can still never be called holy; man is man. You understand, right? (Yes.) So how do you understand this phrase “God occupies man’s hearts” now? (It is God’s words, God’s way and His truth that become man’s life.) You have memorized this, right? I hope you now 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, but can you call it lovely? Can you call it lively? You can say it, but the robot will not understand because it does not have life. When you turn off its power supply, can it still move about? (No.) When this robot is activated, you can see it is lively and lovely. You make an evaluation of it, whether it be a substantive evaluation or a superficial evaluation, but whatever the case your eyes can see it moving. But when you turn off its power supply, do you see any kind of character in it? Do you see it possessing any kind of essence? Do you understand the meaning of what I am saying? (Yes.) You can understand, right? That is to say, even though this robot can move and it can stop, you could never describe it as having “any kind of essence.” Is this not a fact? 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 incantation of the golden hoop” refers to the famous Chinese novel “Journey to the West,” in which the monk Xuanzang uses an incantation to bring the Monkey King under control by means of a golden hoop placed on the Monkey King’s head that can be magically tightened, thus causing unbearable headaches. It subsequently became a metaphor for binding people.