God Himself, the Unique V
God’s Holiness (II) (Part One)
Today, brothers and sisters, let us sing a hymn. Find one you like and that you sing regularly. (We’d like to sing a hymn of God’s word: “Pure Love Without Blemish.”)
1. Love is a pure emotion, pure without a blemish. Use your heart, use your heart to love and feel and care. Love doesn’t set conditions or barriers or distance. Use your heart, use your heart to love and feel and care. If you love you don’t deceive, grumble, turn your back, look to get something in return. If you love you’d sacrifice, accept hardship and be one with God in harmony.
2. In love there’s no suspicion, no cunning, no deceit. Use your heart, use your heart to love and feel and care. In love there is no distance and nothing that’s not pure. Use your heart, use your heart to love and feel and care. If you love you don’t deceive, grumble, turn your back, look to get something in return. If you love you’d sacrifice, accept hardship and be one with God in harmony.
3. You would give your family, youth and future you may see, give your marriage up for God; you would give your all for Him. You would give your family, youth and future you may see, give your marriage up for God; you would give your all for Him. Or your love’s no love at all, but deceit, betrayal of God. Love is a pure emotion, pure without a blemish. Use your heart, use your heart to love and feel and care. Love doesn’t set conditions or barriers or distance. Use your heart, use your heart to love and feel and care.
This hymn was a good choice. Do you all enjoy singing it? (Yes.) What do you feel after singing it? Are you able to feel this kind of love within yourselves? (Not yet.) Which of its words move you most deeply? (In love there are no conditions, no barriers, and no distance. In love there is no suspicion, no deceit, no trade, and no cunning. In love there is no choice and nothing impure. But within myself I still see many impurities, and many parts of me that try to make deals with God. I really haven’t attained a kind of love that is pure and unblemished.) If you have not attained a pure, unblemished love, what is the degree of your love, then? (I am merely at the stage where I am willing to seek, where I am yearning.) Based on your own stature and speaking from your own experience, what degree have you attained? Do you have deceit? Do you have complaints? (Yes.) Do you have demands within your heart? Are there things you want and desire from God? (Yes, I have these tainted things within.) In what circumstances do they come out? (When the situation that God has arranged for me doesn’t match up with my notions, or when my desires have not been met: in such moments, I reveal this kind of corrupt disposition.) You brothers and sisters who come from Taiwan, do you often sing this hymn, too? Can you talk a little about how you understand “pure love without blemish”? Why does God define love in this way? (I like this hymn very much because I can see from it that this love is a complete love. However, I still have quite a ways to go to meet that standard, and I am still very far from attaining true love. There are some things in which I have been able to make progress and cooperate through the strength His words give me and through prayer. However, when faced with certain trials or revelations, I feel I don’t have a future or a destiny, that I don’t have a destination. At such moments, I feel very weak, and this issue often disturbs me.) What ultimately are you referring to when you say “future and destiny”? Is there something specific you are referring to? Is it a picture or something you imagined, or is your future and destiny a thing you can actually see? Is it a real object? I want each one of you to think about it: To what does the concern you have for your future and your destiny refer? (It’s being able to be saved so that I can survive.) You other brothers and sisters, you too talk a little about your understanding of “pure love without blemish.” (When a person has it, there is no impurity coming from their own individual self, and they are not controlled by their future and destiny. Regardless of how God treats them, they are able to fully obey God’s work and His orchestrations, and to follow Him to the very end. Only this kind of love for God is pure and unblemished love. In measuring myself against it, I have discovered that, though I appear to have expended of myself or cast aside certain things in the last few years of believing in God, I have not been truly able to give my heart to Him. When God exposes me, I feel I can’t be saved, and I dwell in a negative state. I see myself performing my duty, but at the same time I’m trying to make deals with God, I’m unable to love God with all my heart, and my destination, my future, and my destiny are always on my mind.)
It seems that you have gained some comprehension of this hymn, and have made some connections between it and your actual experience. However, you have different degrees of acceptance of each of the phrases in the hymn, “Pure Love Without Blemish.” Some people think it is about willingness, some people are seeking to cast their future aside, some people are seeking to let go of their families, and some people are not seeking to receive anything. Still others are requiring themselves to have no deceit, no complaints, and to not rebel against God. Why would God want to suggest this kind of love and require that people love Him in this way? Is this a type of love that people can attain? That is to say, are people able to love this way? People may see that they cannot, because they do not possess any hint of this type of love. When people do not possess it, and when they fundamentally do not know about love, God speaks these words, and these words are unfamiliar to them. Since people live in this world and in a corrupt disposition, if people had this type of love or if a person could possess this type of love, love that makes no requests and no demands, a love with which they are willing to devote themselves and endure suffering and give up everything they own, then what would other people think of someone who possesses this type of love? Would such a person not be perfect? (Yes.) Does a perfect person like that exist in this world? No, such a person does not exist, do they? This type of person does not exist at all in this world, unless they were to live in a vacuum. Is that not so? Therefore, some people, through their experiences, expend great effort to measure themselves against these words. They deal with themselves, restrain themselves, and they even constantly forsake themselves: They endure suffering and make themselves give up their notions. They give up their rebelliousness, and their own desires and wants. But in the end they still cannot measure up. Why does that happen? God says these things to provide a standard for people to follow, so people will know the standard demanded by God for them. But does God ever say that people must achieve this right away? Does God ever say how much time people have to achieve this? (No.) Does God ever say that people have to love Him this way? Does this passage of text say that? No, it does not. God is just telling people about the love He was referring to. As for whether people are able to love God this way and treat God this way, what are God’s requirements of men? It is not necessary to reach them instantly, because that would be beyond people’s capabilities. Have you ever thought about what sort of conditions people need to meet in order to love this way? If people frequently read these words will they gradually have this love? (No.) What are the conditions, then? First, how can people be free from suspicions about God? (Only honest people can achieve this.) What about being free from deceit? (They also have to be honest people.) What about being someone who does not make deals with God? That is also part of being an honest person. What about being free of cunning? What does it mean to say there is no choice in love? Do all of these things come back to being an honest person? There are a lot of details in here. What does it prove that God is able to speak about and define this type of love in this way? Can we say that God possesses this kind of love? (Yes.) Where do you see this? (In the love God has for man.) Is God’s love for man conditional? (No.) Are there barriers or distance between God and man? (No.) Does God have suspicions about man? (No.) God observes man and understands man; He truly understands man. Is God deceitful toward man? (No.) Since God speaks so perfectly of this love, could His heart or His substance also be so perfect? (Yes.) Have people ever defined love in this way? In what circumstances has man defined love? How does man speak of love? Does man not speak of love in terms of giving or offering? (Yes.) This definition of love is simplistic; it lacks substance.
God’s definition of love and the way God speaks of love are connected to an aspect of His substance, but which aspect is it? Last time we fellowshiped about a very important subject, a subject that people have often discussed before. This subject consists of a word that is often spoken about in the course of believing in God, and yet it is a word with which everyone feels both familiar and unfamiliar. Why do I say this? It is a word that comes from the languages of man; however, among man its definition is both distinct and vague. What is this word? (Holiness.) Holiness: that was our topic the last time we fellowshiped. We fellowshiped about one part of this topic. Through our last fellowship, did everyone gain some new understanding about the substance of God’s holiness? What aspects of this understanding do you consider to be entirely new? That is, what is it within this understanding or within those words that made you feel that your understanding of God’s holiness was different or varied from God’s holiness as I spoke about it during fellowship? Do you have any impressions about this? (God says what He feels in His heart; His words are untainted. This is a manifestation of one aspect of holiness.) (There is also holiness when God is wrathful toward man; His wrath is without blemish.) (As for God’s holiness, I understand that there is both God’s wrath and His mercy within His righteous disposition. This left a very strong impression on me. In our last fellowship, it was also mentioned that God’s righteous disposition is unique—I did not understand this in the past. Only after hearing what God had fellowshiped did I understand that God’s wrath is different from human anger. God’s wrath is a positive thing and it is principled; it is sent forth due to the inherent substance of God. God sees something negative, and so He releases His wrath. This is something not possessed by any created being.) Our topic today is God’s holiness. People have all heard and learned something about God’s righteous disposition. Furthermore, many people often talk about God’s holiness and God’s righteous disposition in the same breath; they say that God’s righteous disposition is holy. The word “holy” is certainly not unfamiliar to anyone—it is a commonly used word. But in regard to the meanings within that word, what expressions of God’s holiness are people able to see? What has God revealed that people can recognize? I am afraid this is something that no one knows. God’s disposition is righteous, but then if you take God’s righteous disposition and say that it is holy, that seems a little vague, a little garbled; why is this? You say God’s disposition is righteous, or you say His righteous disposition is holy, so in your hearts how do you characterize God’s holiness, how do you understand it? That is to say, what about what God has revealed, or what He has and is, would people recognize as holy? Have you thought about this before? What I have seen is that people often come out with commonly used words or have phrases that have been said over and over again, yet they do not even know what they are saying. That is just how everyone says it, and they say it habitually, so it becomes a set term for them. However, if they were to investigate and really study the details, they would find that they do not know what the real meaning is or what it refers to. Just like the word “holy,” no one knows exactly what aspect of God’s substance is being referred to in regard to His holiness that they speak of, and no one knows how to reconcile the word “holy” with God. People are confused in their hearts, and their recognition of God’s holiness is vague and unclear. As for how God is holy, no one is quite clear. Today we will fellowship on this topic in order to reconcile the word “holy” with God so that people can see the actual content of the substance of God’s holiness. This will prevent some people from habitually and carelessly using this word and saying things randomly when they do not know what they mean or whether they are correct and accurate. People have always spoken like this; you have, he has, and thus it has become a habit of speech. This inadvertently tarnishes such a term.
On the surface, the word “holy” seems very easy to understand, does it not? At the very least people believe the word “holy” to mean clean, unsoiled, sacred, and pure. There are also those who associate “holiness” with “love” in the hymn “Pure Love Without Blemish” which we sang just now. This is correct; this is one part of it. God’s love is part of His substance, but it is not the entirety of it. However, in people’s notions, they see the word and tend to associate it with things that they themselves view as pure and clean, or with things they personally think are unsoiled or unblemished. For example, some people said the lotus flower is clean, and that it blooms unblemished from dirty mud. So people began to apply the word “holy” to the lotus flower. Some people see fabricated love stories as holy, or they might view some fictional, awe-inspiring characters as holy. Furthermore, some consider people from the Bible, or others recorded in spiritual books—such as saints, apostles, or others who once followed God while He did His work—as having had spiritual experiences that were holy. These are all things that were conceived of by people; they are notions held by people. Why do people hold notions like this? The reason is very simple: It is because people live amongst corrupt disposition and dwell in a world of evil and filth. Everything they see, everything they touch, everything they experience is Satan’s evil and corruption as well as the scheming, infighting, and war that occur among people under the influence of Satan. Therefore, even when God performs His work in people, and even when He speaks to them and reveals His disposition and substance, they are not able to see or know God’s holiness and substance. People often say that God is holy, but they lack true understanding; they are just saying empty words. Because people live among filth and corruption and are in the domain of Satan, and they do not see the light, know nothing of positive matters, and furthermore, do not know the truth, no one truly knows what “holy” means. So, are there any holy things or holy people among this corrupt humanity? We can say with certainty: No, there are not, because only God’s substance is holy.