God Himself, the Unique VI
God’s Holiness (III) (Part Three)
I know that a lot of people now are expecting Me to say what exactly the holiness of God is, but as I talk about the holiness of God I will first talk about the deeds God does. You should all listen attentively. Afterward, I will ask you what exactly the holiness of God is. I will not tell you directly, but instead let you try to figure it out; I will give you space to figure it out. What do you think of this method? (It sounds good.) Then listen carefully as I go on.
Whenever Satan corrupts man or inflicts unbridled harm upon man, God does not stand idly by, and neither does He brush aside or turn a blind eye to those He has chosen. God understands with perfect clarity all that Satan does. No matter what Satan does, no matter what trend it causes to arise, God knows all that Satan is trying to do, and God does not give up on those He has chosen. Instead, without attracting any attention—secretly, silently—God does everything that is necessary. When God begins work on someone, when He has chosen someone, He does not proclaim this news to anyone, nor does He proclaim it to Satan, much less make any grand gesture. He just very quietly, very naturally, does what is necessary. First, He selects a family for you; your family background, your parents, your ancestors—all this, God decides in advance. In other words, God does not make these decisions on a whim; rather, He began this work long ago. Once God has chosen a family for you, He then chooses the date on which you will be born. Then, God watches as you are born and come crying into the world. He watches your birth, watches as you utter your first words, watches as you stumble and toddle your first steps as you learn how to walk. First you take one step and then you take another … and now you can run, jump, talk, and express your feelings. As people grow up, Satan’s gaze is fixed on every one of them, like a tiger eyeing its prey. But in doing His work, God has never been subject to any limitations arising from people, events or things, of space or time; He does what He should and what He must. In the process of growing up, you may encounter many things that are not to your liking, such as illness and frustration. But as you walk this path, your life and your future are strictly under God’s care. God gives you a genuine guarantee to last all your life, for He is right there beside you, guarding you and looking after you. You grow up unaware of this. You begin to come into contact with new things and start to get to know this world and this mankind. Everything is fresh and new to you. You have some things you enjoy doing. You live within your own humanity, you live within your own space and you have not the slightest perception about the existence of God. But God watches you every step of the way as you grow, and He watches you as you make every stride forward. Even when you are learning knowledge or studying science, God has never left your side for a single step. You are just the same as other people in that, in the course of getting to know the world and engage with it, you have established your own ideals, you have your own hobbies, your own interests, and you also harbor lofty ambitions. You often ponder your own future, often sketching the outline of how your future should look. But no matter what transpires along the way, God sees it all happening clearly. Maybe you yourself have forgotten your own past, but to God, there is no one who can understand you better than He. You live under God’s gaze, growing up, maturing. During this period, God’s most important task is something that no one ever perceives, something no one knows. God certainly does not tell anyone about it. So what is this most crucial thing? It can be said that it is the guarantee that God will save a person. This means that if God wants to save this person, He must do this. This task is vitally important to both man and God. Do you know what it is? It seems like you do not have any feeling about this, or any concept of it, so I will tell you. From the time you were born all the way up to now, God has carried out much work on you, but He does not give you an exhaustive account of everything He has done. God did not allow you to know this, and neither did He tell you. However, for mankind, everything He does is important. As far as God is concerned, it is something He must do. In His heart there is something important He needs to do that far exceeds any of these things. That is, from the time a person is born up to the present day, God must guarantee their safety. When you hear these words, you may feel as though you do not fully understand. You may ask, “Is this safety so important?” Well, what is the literal meaning of “safety”? Maybe you understand it to mean peace or maybe you understand it to mean never experiencing any disaster or calamity, to live well, to live a normal life. But in your hearts, you must know that it is not so simple. So what exactly is this thing that I have been talking about, that God has to do? What does safety mean to God? Is it really a guarantee of the normal meaning of “safety?” No. So what is it that God does? This “safety” means that you will not be devoured by Satan. Is this important? Not being devoured by Satan—does this concern your safety or not? Yes, this concerns your personal safety, and there can be nothing more important. Once you have been devoured by Satan, your soul and your flesh no longer belong to God. God will no longer save you. God forsakes souls and people who have been devoured by Satan. So I say the most important thing that God has to do is to guarantee this safety of yours, to guarantee that you will not be devoured by Satan. This is very important, is it not? So why can you not answer? It seems like you are unable to feel God’s great kindness!
God does much more besides guaranteeing people’s safety, guaranteeing that they will not be devoured by Satan. He also does a great deal of preparatory work before choosing and saving someone. Firstly, God makes meticulous preparations regarding what kind of character you will have, what kind of family you will be born into, who your parents will be, how many brothers and sisters you will have, and what the situation, economic status, and conditions of the family you are born into will be. Do you know what kind of family the majority of God’s chosen people are born into? Are they prominent families? We cannot say for sure that there are none who are born into prominent families. There may be some, but they are very few. Are they born into families of exceptional wealth, families of billionaires or multimillionaires? No, they are almost never born into this kind of family. So what kind of family does God arrange for most of these people? (Ordinary families.) So which families may be considered “ordinary families?” They include working families—that is, ones that depend on wages to survive, can afford the basic necessities, and are not overly well-off; they also include farming families. Farmers depend on planting crops for their food, have grain to eat and clothes to wear, and do not go hungry or freeze. Then there are some families that run small businesses, and some where the parents are intellectuals, and these can also be counted as ordinary families. There are also some parents who are office workers or minor government officials, who also cannot be counted as belonging to prominent families. Most are born into ordinary families, and this is all arranged by God. That is to say, first of all, this environment that you live in is not the family of substantial means that people might imagine, and this is a family decided for you by God, and the majority of people will live within the limits of this kind of family. So what about social status? The economic conditions of the majority of parents are average and they do not have high social status—for them it is good just to have a job. Do they include governors? Or national presidents? (No.) At most they are people such as small business managers or owners of small businesses. Their social status is middling, and their economic conditions are average. Another factor is the family’s living environment. First of all, there are no parents among these families who would clearly influence their children into walking the path of divination and fortune telling; these are very few who engage in such things. Most parents are quite normal. At the same time that God chooses people, He sets up this kind of environment for them, which is greatly beneficial to His work of saving people. On the surface, it looks like God has done nothing particularly earthshaking for man; He just quietly and secretly proceeds to do all of the things that He does, humbly and in silence. But in fact, all that God does, He does in order to lay a foundation for your salvation, to prepare the road ahead and all the necessary conditions for your salvation. Next, God brings every person back before Him, each at a specified time: It is then that you hear God’s voice; it is then that you come before Him. By the time that this happens, some people have already become parents themselves, whilst others are still somebody’s child. In other words, some people have gotten married and had children whilst some are still single, not yet having started their own families. But regardless of one’s situation, God has already set the times when you will be chosen and when His gospel and words will reach you. God has set the circumstances, decided on a certain person or a certain context through which the gospel will be passed onto you, so that you may hear the words of God. God has already prepared for you all the necessary conditions. In this way, though man is unaware that it is happening, man comes before Him and returns to God’s family. Man also unknowingly follows God and enters into each step of His work, entering into each step of God’s way of work which He has prepared for man. What ways does God use when He does things for man at this time? First, the bare minimum is the care and protection that man enjoys. Apart from this, God sets out various people, events, and things so that through them man may see His existence and His deeds. For example, there are some people who believe in God because someone in their family is sick. When others preach the gospel to them, they start to believe in God, and this belief in God comes about because of the situation. So who arranged this situation? (God.) By means of this illness, there are some families where everybody is a believer, while there are others where only a few people in the family believe. On the surface, it may seem that someone in your family has an illness, but it is in fact a condition bestowed on you so that you may come before God—this is God’s kindness. Because family life is hard for some people and they can find no peace, a chance opportunity may present itself—someone passes on the gospel and says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will have peace.” Thus, unaware, they come to believe in God under very natural circumstances, so is this not a type of condition? And is the fact that their family is not at peace a grace granted them by God? There are also some who come to believe in God for other reasons. There are different reasons and different ways of belief, but no matter what reason brings you to believe in Him, it is all actually arranged and guided by God. At first, God employs various ways to choose you and to bring you into His family. This is the grace that God bestows on every single person.
In God’s current stage of work in these, the last days, He no longer just bestows grace and blessings on man like He did before, nor does He coax man to move forward. During this stage of work, what has man seen from all the aspects of God’s work that he has experienced? Man has seen God’s love and God’s judgment and chastisement. During this period of time, God provides for, supports, enlightens and guides man, so that man gradually comes to know His intentions, to know the words He speaks and the truth He bestows on man. When man is weak, when he is dispirited, when he has nowhere to turn, God will use His words to comfort, advise, and encourage man, so that man’s small stature can gradually grow in strength, rise up in positivity and become willing to cooperate with God. But when man disobeys God or resists Him, or when man reveals his corruption, God will show no mercy in chastening and disciplining man. However, God will show tolerance and patience for man’s foolishness, ignorance, weakness and immaturity. In this way, through all the work God does for man, man gradually matures, grows up, and comes to know God’s intentions, comes to know certain truths, to know what things are positive and what are negative, to know what evil and darkness are. God does not take a single approach of always chastening and disciplining man, but nor does He always show tolerance and patience. Rather He provides for each person in different ways at their different stages and according to their different statures and caliber. He does many things for man and at great cost; man perceives nothing of these things or of the cost, yet in practice all that He does is truly carried out on every single person. God’s love is practical: Through the grace of God, man avoids one disaster after another, and all the while God shows tolerance time and again for man’s weaknesses. The judgment and chastisement of God allow people to gradually come to know mankind’s corruption and satanic essence. That which God provides, His enlightenment of man and His guidance all allow mankind to know more and more the essence of truth, and to increasingly know what people need, what road they should take, what they live for, the value and meaning of their lives, and how to walk the road ahead. All these things that God does are inseparable from His one original purpose. What, then, is this purpose? Why does God use these methods to carry out His work on man? What result does He want to achieve? In other words, what does He want to see in man? What does He want to obtain from man? What God wants to see is that man’s heart can be revived. These methods that He uses to work on man are a continual effort to awaken the heart of man, to awaken man’s spirit, to enable man to understand from where he came, who is guiding, supporting and providing for him, and who has allowed man to live until the present day; they are a means to enable man to understand who is the Creator, whom he should worship, what kind of road he should walk, and in what way man should come before God; they are a means to gradually revive the heart of man, so that man knows God’s heart, understands God’s heart, and comprehends the great care and thought behind His work to save man. When man’s heart is revived, man no longer wishes to live with a degenerate, corrupt disposition, but wishes instead to pursue the truth in order to satisfy God. When man’s heart has been awakened, man is then able to tear himself fully away from Satan. No longer will he be harmed by Satan, no longer controlled or fooled by it. Instead, man can proactively cooperate in God’s work and His words to satisfy the heart of God, thus attaining fear of God and shunning evil. This is the original purpose of God’s work.
The discussion we just held about the evil of Satan makes everyone feel as though man lives amidst great unhappiness and that the life of man is beset with misfortune. But now when I am talking about the holiness of God and the work that He performs on man, how does that make you feel? (Very happy.) We can see now that everything God does, all that He painstakingly arranges for man, is immaculate. Everything God does is without error, meaning it is faultless, needing no one to correct, advise, or make any changes to it. All that God does for every individual is beyond doubt; He leads everyone by the hand, looks after you with every passing moment and has never once left your side. As people grow up in this kind of environment and with this kind of background, could we say that people in fact grow up in the palm of God’s hand? (Yes.) So now do you still feel a sense of loss? Does anyone still feel dispirited? Does anyone feel that God has forsaken mankind? (No.) So what exactly has God done then? (He has kept watch over mankind.) The great thought and care that God puts into everything He does is beyond question. What is more, in carrying out His work, He has always done so unconditionally. He has never required that any one of you know the price that He pays for you so as to make you feel deeply grateful to Him. Has God ever required this of you? (No.) In the long course of human life, almost every individual has encountered many dangerous situations and faced many temptations. This is because Satan is standing beside you, its eyes constantly fixed on you. When disaster strikes you, Satan revels in this; when calamities befall you, when nothing goes right for you, when you become entangled in Satan’s web, Satan takes great enjoyment from these things. As for what God is doing, He is protecting you with each passing moment, steering you away from one misfortune after another and from one disaster after another. This is why I say that everything man has—peace and joy, blessings and personal safety—is in fact all under God’s control; He guides and decides the fate of every individual. But does God have an inflated notion of His position, as some people say? Does God declare to you, “I am the greatest of all. It is I that take charge of you. You must beg Me for mercy, and disobedience will be punished by death”? Has God ever threatened mankind in this way? (No.) Has He ever said, “Mankind is corrupt, so it does not matter how I treat them, and they may be treated in any which way; I do not need to make sound arrangements for them”? Does God think in this way? Has God acted in this way? (No.) On the contrary, God’s treatment of each and every person is earnest and responsible. He treats you more responsibly even than you treat yourself. Is this not so? God does not speak idly, and neither does He flaunt His elevated position or flippantly deceive people. Instead He honestly and silently does the things He Himself needs to do. These things bring blessings, peace and joy to man. They bring man peacefully and happily into God’s sight and into His family; then they live before God and accept God’s salvation with the normal reason and thinking. So has God ever been duplicitous with man in His work? Has He ever made a false display of kindness, first fooling man with a few pleasantries and then turning His back? (No.) Has God ever said one thing and then done another? Has God ever made empty promises and boasted, telling people He can do this for them or help do that for them, but then vanished? (No.) There is no deceit in God, no falsity. God is faithful, and He is true in everything He does. He is the only One that people can count on; He is the God to whom people can entrust their lives and everything they have. Since there is no deceit in God, could we say that God is the most sincere? (Yes.) Of course we can! Though the word “sincere” is too feeble, too human when applied to God, what other word is there for us to use? Such are the limits of human language. Though it is somewhat unfitting to call God “sincere,” we will nonetheless use this word for the time being. God is faithful and sincere. So when we talk about these aspects, what are we referring to? Are we referring to the differences between God and man and the differences between God and Satan? Yes, we could say that. This is because man cannot see one trace of Satan’s corrupt disposition in God. Am I correct in saying this? Amen? (Amen!) We see none of Satan’s evil revealed in God. All that God does and reveals is wholly beneficial and helps man, is done wholly to provide for man, is full of life and gives man a road to follow and a direction to take. God is not corrupt and, furthermore, looking now at everything that God does, can we say that God is holy? (Yes.) Since God has none of the corruption of mankind nor any of the same corrupt disposition of mankind or the essence of Satan, and nothing about God bears any similarity to these things, from this point of view we can say that God is holy. God does not display any corruption, and the revelation of His own essence in His work is all the confirmation that God Himself is holy. Do you see this? To know God’s holy essence, let us look at these two aspects for now: 1) There is not a trace of corrupt disposition in God; 2) the essence of God’s work on man allows man to see God’s own essence, and this essence is entirely positive. For the things that every part of God’s work brings to man are all positive. Firstly, God requires man to be honest—is this not a positive thing? God gives man wisdom—is this not positive? God makes man able to discern between good and evil—is this not positive? He allows man to understand the meaning and value of human life—is this not positive? He allows man to see into the essence of people, events, and things in accordance with truth—is this not positive? (Yes, it is.) And the result of all of this is that man is no longer deceived by Satan, will no longer continue to be harmed or controlled by Satan. In other words, these things allow people to completely free themselves from the corruption of Satan, and therefore gradually walk the path of fearing God and shunning evil. How far have you walked on this path now? It is hard to say, is it not? But at the very least do you now have an initial understanding of how Satan corrupts man, of which things are evil and which things are negative? You are at the very least now walking the right path. Is this safe to say? (Yes.)
This is where we will finish our discussion of the holiness of God. Now, based on all that you have heard and received, who among you can say what the holiness of God is? What does the holiness of God of which I speak refer to? Think about it for a second. Is the holiness of God His truthfulness? Is the holiness of God His faithfulness? Is the holiness of God His selflessness? Is it His humility? His love for man? God freely bestows truth and life on man—is this His holiness? (Yes.) All this that God reveals is unique and does not exist within corrupt humanity, and nor can it be seen in humanity. Not the slightest trace of it can be seen during the process of Satan’s corruption of man, neither in the corrupt disposition of Satan nor in the essence or nature of Satan. All that God has and is, is unique; only God Himself has and is possessed of this kind of essence. At this point in our discussion, have any of you seen among mankind anyone as holy as what I have just described? (No.) So is there anyone this holy amongst the famous, the great, or the idols of mankind whom you worship? (No.) So when we say that God’s holiness is unique, is this an exaggeration? (No.) Indeed it is not. Furthermore, God’s holy uniqueness also has a practical side. Is there any discrepancy between the holiness I speak of now and the holiness that you previously thought of and imagined? (Yes.) How much of a discrepancy? (A very large one.) What do people often mean when they talk about holiness? (Some outward behaviors.) When people say that a behavior or some other thing is holy, they say this only because they see it as pure or pleasant to the senses. However, these things invariably lack the true substance of holiness—this is the aspect of the doctrine. Aside from this, what is referred to by the practical aspect of the “holiness” that people conceive of in their minds? Is it mostly what they imagine or judge it to be? For example, some Buddhists pass away whilst practicing, departing while they sit there asleep. Some people say they have become holy and flown to heaven. This is also a product of imagination. Then there are others who think that a fairy floating down from heaven is holy. Actually, people’s concept of the word “holy” has always been just a kind of hollow fantasy and theory, with fundamentally no real substance to it, and moreover nothing to do with the essence of holiness. The essence of holiness is true love, but more than this, it is the essence of truth, righteousness and light. The word “holy” is only appropriate when applied to God; nothing in creation is worthy of being called “holy.” Man must understand this. From now on, we will only apply the word “holy” to God. Is this appropriate? (Yes, it is.)