(I) An Overview of God’s Authority, God’s Righteous Disposition, and God’s Holiness
When you have finished your prayers, do your hearts feel calm in the presence of God? (Yes.) If a person’s heart can be calmed, they will be able to hear and understand the word of God and they will be able to hear and understand the truth. If your heart is unable to be calmed, if your heart is always adrift, or always thinking of other things, it will affect your coming together to hear the word of God. So, what is at the heart of what we are discussing at this time? Let us all think back a little on the main point. Regarding knowing God Himself, the unique, what is the first part that we discussed? (God’s authority.) What was the second? (God’s righteous disposition.) And the third? (God’s holiness.) How often have we discussed God’s authority? Has it had an impact? (Twice.) What about God’s righteous disposition? (Once.) The number of times we have discussed God’s holiness has probably left an impression on you, but has the specific content we discussed each time had an impact? On the first part “God’s authority,” what left the deepest impression on you, what part had the most impact for you? (The authority of the word of God and God as the Ruler of all things.) Talk about the important points. (First, God communicated the authority and might of the word of God; God is as good as His word and His word shall become true. This is the very essence of God.) (God’s authority lies in His creation of the heavens and earth and all within it. No man can alter God’s authority. God is the Ruler of all things and He controls all things.) (God utilizes the rainbow and covenants with man.) This is the specific content. Was there anything else? (God’s commands to Satan that it may tempt Job, but may not take his life. From this we see the authority of God’s word.) This is an understanding you gained after hearing the fellowship, right? Is there anything else to add? (We mainly recognize that God’s authority represents God’s unique status and position, and none of the created or non-created beings may possess His authority.) (God speaks to make a covenant with man and He speaks to put His blessings upon man, these are all examples of the authority of God’s word.) (We see the authority of God in the creation of the heavens and earth and all things through His word, and from God incarnate we see His word also carries the authority of God, these are both symbols of God’s uniqueness. We see it when the Lord Jesus commanded Lazarus to walk out from his tomb: Life and death are under God’s control, which Satan has no power to control; whether God’s work is done in flesh or in Spirit, His authority is unique.) Do you have anything else to add? (We see that the six junctures of life are dictated by God.) Very good! What else? (God’s blessings toward man also represent His authority.) When we talk about God’s authority, what is your understanding of the word “authority”? Within the scope of God’s authority, in what God does and reveals, what do people see? (We see God’s almightiness and wisdom.) (We see that God’s authority is ever-present and that it truly, truly exists.) (We see God’s authority on the large scale in His dominion over the universe, and we see it on the small scale as He takes control of human life. From the six junctures of life we see that God actually plans and controls every aspect of our lives.) (Furthermore, we see that God’s authority represents God Himself, the unique, and none of the created or non-created beings may possess it. God’s authority symbolizes His status.) “Symbols of God’s status and God’s position,” you seem to have a doctrinal understanding of these words. What question did I just ask you, can you repeat it? (In what God does and reveals, what do we see?) What do you see? Could it be that you only see God’s authority? Did you only feel God’s authority? (We see the reality of God, the trueness of God, the faithfulness of God.) (We see God’s wisdom.) The faithfulness of God, the trueness of God, and some said the wisdom of God. What else is there? (God’s omnipotence.) (Seeing the righteousness and goodness of God.) You haven’t quite hit the nail on the head yet, so think a bit more. (The authority and power of God are revealed and reflected in His taking charge, leading, and management of mankind. This is very real and true. He is always doing His work and none of the created or non-created beings may possess this authority and power.) Are you all looking at your notes? Do you really have any knowledge of God’s authority? Have any of you truly comprehended His authority? (God has watched over us and protected us since we were young, and we see God’s authority in that. We didn’t always understand the situations that befell us, but God was always protecting us behind the scenes; this is also God’s authority.) Very good, well said!
When we talk about “God’s authority,” where is the focus, the main point? Why do we need to discuss this content? Firstly, people are able to understand, to see, and to feel God’s authority. What you see and what you feel are from God’s actions, God’s words, and God’s control of the universe. So, all that people see through God’s authority, all that they learn through God’s authority, or what they know through God’s authority, what true understanding is gained from these? Firstly, the purpose of discussing this content is for people to establish God’s status as the Creator and His position among all things. Secondly, when people see all that God has done and said and controlled through His authority, it allows them to see God’s power and wisdom. It allows them to see God’s great power to control everything and how wise He is as He does so. Isn’t this the focus and the main point of God’s unique authority that we discussed before? Not much time has passed and yet some have forgotten this, which proves that you have not fully comprehended God’s authority; one could even say that you have not seen the authority of God. Do you now understand this a little bit? When you see God’s authority in action, what will you truly feel? Have you truly felt God’s power? (We have.) When you read God’s words about His creation of the universe you feel His power, you feel His omnipotence. When you see God’s dominion over the fate of men, what do you feel? Do you feel His power and His wisdom? (We do.) If God did not possess this power, if He did not possess this wisdom, would He be qualified to have dominion over the universe and have dominion over the fate of men? (He would not.) If someone does not have the ability to do their job, does not possess the necessary strengths and lacks the proper skills and knowledge, would they be qualified for their job? They definitely would not be qualified; a person’s potential to do great things depends on how great their abilities are. God possesses such power as well as the wisdom, and so He has the authority; this is unique. Have you ever known any one creature or person in the universe to possess the same power that God has? Is there anyone or anything with the power to create the heavens and earth and all things as well as control and have dominion over them? Is there anyone or anything that can rule over and lead all of humanity and be both ever-present and omnipresent? (No, there is not.) Do you now understand the true meaning of all that is entailed in God’s unique authority? Do you have some understanding? (We do.) We have now reviewed the points covering God’s unique authority.
What is the second part we talked about? (God’s righteous disposition.) We did not discuss many things regarding God’s righteous disposition. Why is that? There is one reason for this: God’s work is primarily judgment and chastisement in this stage. God’s righteous disposition has been clearly revealed in the Age of Kingdom, very specifically. He has said the words He has never said from the time of creation; and in His words all people, all who have seen His word, and all who have experienced His word have seen His righteous disposition revealed. Right? Then what is the main point of what we are discussing about God’s righteous disposition? Have you developed a deep comprehension of what you’ve learned? Have you gained understanding from any of your experiences? (God’s burning of Sodom was because the people at that time had become very corrupted and thereby drew the ire of God. It is from this that we see God’s righteous disposition.) First, let’s take a look: If God had not destroyed Sodom, would you be able to know of His righteous disposition? You would still be able to. Right? You can see it in the words He has expressed in the Age of Kingdom, and also by His judgment, chastisement, and curses leveled against man. Do you see God’s righteous disposition from His sparing of Nineveh? (We do.) In this age, we can see something of God’s mercy, love, and tolerance. We can see it when men repent and God has a change of heart toward them. Using these two examples as the premise to discuss God’s righteous disposition, it is very clear to see that His righteous disposition has been revealed. However, in reality this is not limited to what is recorded in these two Bible stories. From what you have now learned and seen through God’s word and His work, from your current experience of them, what is God’s righteous disposition? Discuss from your own experiences. (In the environments God created for people, when they are able to seek out truth and act under God’s will, they see His love and mercy. God guides them, enlightens them, and lets them feel the light inside them. When people go against God and resist Him and go against His will, there is darkness inside them, as if God has forsaken them. From this we have experienced the holiness of God’s righteous disposition; God appears in the holy kingdom and He is concealed in places of filth.) (From our experiences we see God’s righteous disposition in the work of the Holy Spirit. When we are passive, or even go against and resist God, the Holy Spirit is there, concealed and taking no action. Sometimes we pray and we do not feel God, or even we pray and do not know what to say to Him, but when a person’s state changes and they become willing to cooperate with God and put aside their own notions and imaginations and strive to improve, it is here when God’s smiling face begins to gradually appear.) Do you have anything else to add? (God is concealed when man betrays Him and He ignores man.) (I see God’s righteous disposition in the way He treats people. Our brothers and sisters are different in stature and caliber, and what God requires from each of us differs as well. We are all able to receive the enlightenment of God to varying degrees, and in this way I see God’s righteousness. This is because man cannot treat man in this same way, only God can do so.) Mm, you have all spoken of some practical knowledge.
Do you understand the main point about knowing God’s righteous disposition? Regarding this, we have a lot of words from experience, but there are a few main points I should tell you about. To understand God’s righteous disposition, one must first understand God’s feelings: what He hates, what He loathes, and what He loves. One must know who He tolerates, who He is merciful to, and one must know what type of person receives that mercy. This is an important point to know. Furthermore, one must understand that no matter how loving God is, no matter how much mercy and love He has for people, God does not tolerate anyone offending His status and position, nor does He tolerate anyone offending His dignity. Even though God loves people, He does not spoil them. He gives the people His love, His mercy, and His tolerance, but He has never pandered to them; He has His principles and His limits. Regardless of what extent you have felt God’s love in you, regardless of how deep that love is, one must never treat God as one would treat another person. While it is true that God treats people as close to Him, if a person views God as another person, as if He were just another being of creation, like a friend or an object of worship, God will hide His face from them and forsake them. This is His disposition, and He tolerates no one treating Him with carelessness on this issue. So it is often said of God’s disposition in His word: It doesn’t matter how many roads you’ve traveled, how much work you have done or how much you have endured for God, as soon as you offend God’s disposition, He will repay each of you based on what you have done. Have you seen it? (Yes, we have.) You have seen it, right? What this means is that God may view people as close to Him, but people must not treat God as a friend or a relative. Do not regard God as your pal. No matter how much love you have received from Him, no matter how much tolerance He has given you, you must never treat God as just a friend. This is God’s righteous disposition. You understand, right? (Yes.) Do I need to say more about this? Do you have any previous understanding on this matter? Generally speaking, this is the easiest mistake people make regardless of whether they understand the doctrines, or if they have thought nothing about it before. When people offend God, it might not be because of one instance, or one thing they said, but it is rather due to an attitude they hold and a situation they are in. This is a very frightening thing. Some people believe that they have an understanding of God, that they know Him, they might even do some things that would please God. They begin to feel equal to God and that they have cleverly become friends with God. These types of feelings are terribly wrong. If you do not have a deep understanding of this, if you do not clearly understand this, it is then very easy to offend God and to offend His righteous disposition. I imagine you understand this now, right? (Yes.) Isn’t God’s righteous disposition unique? Is it equal to the personality of mankind? Is it equal to a man’s personal qualities? Never, right? (Yes.) So, you must not forget that no matter how God treats people, no matter how He thinks of people, God’s position, authority, and status do not ever change. For mankind, God is always the Lord of all and the Creator! You understand, right? (Yes.)
What have you learned about God’s holiness? Besides being in contrast to Satan’s evil, what was the main topic in discussing God’s holiness? Isn’t it what God has and is? Is what God has and is unique to God Himself? (Yes.) Nothing of His creation has this, so we say that God’s holiness is unique, which is something that you can learn. We had three meetings on God’s holiness. Can you describe in your own words, with your own understanding, what you believe God’s holiness is? (The last time God communicated with us we did something: We bowed down before Him. We heard where He stands and we saw that we fell short of His requirements; our forceful bowing before God was not in accord with His will and from this we saw God’s holiness.) Very true, right? Is there anything else? (In God’s word to mankind, we see that He speaks plainly and clearly, He is straight and to the point. Satan speaks in a roundabout way and it is full of lies. From what happened last time when we lay prostrate before God, we saw that His words and His actions are always principled. He is always very clear and concise when He tells us how we should act, what we should abide by, and how we should take action. But people are not this way; after mankind was corrupted by Satan, the people sought to achieve their own personal objectives and their own personal desires in their actions and words. From the way God looks after mankind, from the care and protection He gives them, we see that all that God does is positive, this is very clear. It is in this way that we see the revelation of the essence of God’s holiness.) Well put! Can anyone else add to this? (We see God’s holiness when He lays bare Satan’s evil and as soon as God shows us the essence of it we better know it and we can discern the source for all the suffering of mankind. In the past, we were unaware of the suffering under the domain of Satan. It is only when God made it known that we saw that all suffering that comes from the pursuit of fame and fortune is all created by Satan. It is only through this that we feel that God’s holiness is the true salvation of mankind. Moreover, God prepares the conditions for us to receive salvation; while He may not have us be born into a wealthy family, He sees to it that we are born into a suitable family and in a suitable environment. He furthermore does not let us suffer the harm and oppression of Satan, so that we can have the conditions, have normal thoughts, and normal reasoning in accepting God’s salvation in the last days. In all this we also see the precision of God’s plans, His arrangements, and how He puts them into action. We are able to better see the detailed work of God in His saving us from Satan’s influence and we see God’s holiness and His love for mankind.) Is there anything else to add to that? (Because we don’t understand the substance of God’s holiness, our laying down before Him in worship is adulterated, has an ulterior purpose and is deliberate, which makes God unhappy. It is from this that we also see God’s holiness. God is very different from Satan; Satan wants people to adore and flatter it and worship it. Satan lacks principles.) Very good! From what we have fellowshiped about God’s holiness, have you seen God’s perfection? (We see it.) What else do you see? Do you see how God is the source of all positive things? Are you able to see how God is the embodiment of truth and justice? Do you see how God is the source of love? Do you see how all that God does, all that He issues forth, and all that He reveals is flawless? (We see this.) These several examples are all main points about God’s holiness that I speak. You might consider these words as merely doctrines, but one day when you experience and witness the true God Himself from His word or His work, you will say from your very heart that God is holy, that God is different from mankind, and that His heart is holy and His disposition is holy, and His essence is holy. This holiness allows man to see His perfection as well as allows man to see that the essence of God’s holiness is immaculate. The essence of His holiness determines that He is the unique God Himself, and it shows to man, and proves that He is the unique God Himself. Isn’t this the main point? (It is.)
Today we have done an overview of several parts of the content from previous meetings. We will wrap up our overview here. I hope that all of you will take to heart the main points of each item and topic. Don’t just think of them as doctrines; really read through them and try to figure them out when you have time. Remember them in your heart and put them into practice and you will truly learn all that I have said about the true revealing of God’s disposition and what He has and is. However, you will never understand them if you only jot them down and do not read through them or think them over. I’m sure you understand! After having communicated these three items, people will have gained a general—or even specific—understanding of God’s status, His essence, and His disposition. But will they have a complete understanding of God? (No.) Now, in your own understanding of God, are there any other areas where you feel you need a deeper understanding? That is to say, after you have gained understanding of God’s authority, His righteous disposition, and His holiness, perhaps you have established in your own mind a recognition of His unique status and position, yet you must through your experience come to know and appreciate His actions, His power, and His essence before you can gain a deeper understanding. You have now listened to these fellowships so you can set in your hearts this article of faith: God truly exists, and it’s a fact that He commands all things. No man must offend His righteous disposition and His holiness is a certainty that no man may question. These are facts. These fellowships allow the status and position of God to have a foundation in the hearts of the people. After this foundation has been established, the people must seek out more understanding to truly know God.