God Himself, the Unique VII (Part One)
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, this will affect you when you attend gatherings to hear the word of God. What is at the heart of the matters we have been discussing? Let us all think back a little on the main points. Regarding knowing God Himself, the unique, in the first part, we discussed God’s authority. In the second part, we discussed God’s righteous disposition, and in the third part, we discussed God’s holiness. Has the specific content we discussed each time left an impression on you? In the first part, “God’s authority,” what left the deepest impression on you? Which part had the strongest impact on you? (God first 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 inherent essence of God.) (God’s command to Satan was that it may only tempt Job, but may not take his life. From this we see the authority of God’s word.) Is there anything else to add? (God used words to create the heavens and the earth and everything in them, and He spoke words to make a covenant with man and to put His blessings upon man. These are all examples of the authority of God’s word. Then, we saw how the Lord Jesus commanded Lazarus to walk out from his tomb—this shows that life and death are under God’s control, that Satan has no power to control life and death, and that whether God’s work is done in flesh or in Spirit, His authority is unique.) This is an understanding you gained after hearing the fellowship, right? Speaking of God’s authority, what is your understanding of the word “authority”? Within the scope of God’s authority, what do people see of what God does and reveals? (We see God’s almightiness and wisdom.) (We see that God’s authority is ever-present and that it truly exists. We see God’s authority on the large scale in His dominion over all things, and we see it on the small scale as He takes control of each individual human life. God actually plans and controls the six junctures of human life. Furthermore, we see that God’s authority represents God Himself, the unique, and no created or non-created being may possess it. God’s authority is a symbol of His status.) Your understanding of the “symbols of God’s status and God’s position” seems to be somewhat doctrinal. Do you have any substantive knowledge of God’s authority? (God has watched over us and protected us since we were young, and we see God’s authority in that. We were not aware of the dangers that lurked over us, but God was always protecting us behind the scenes. This is also God’s authority.) Very good. Well said.
When we speak about God’s authority, what is our focus, our main point? Why do we need to discuss this? The first purpose in discussing this is to establish in people’s hearts God’s status as the Creator and His position among all things. This is what people, at first, can be brought to know, to see, and to feel. What you see and what you feel come from God’s actions, God’s words, and God’s control of all things. So, what true understanding do people gain from all that they see, learn, and know through God’s authority? We have already discussed the first purpose. The second is to let people see God’s power and wisdom through all that God has done and said and controlled with His authority. It is to allow you to see how powerful and how wise God is in His control of everything. Was this not the focus and the main point of our prior discussion of God’s unique authority? Not much time has passed since that discussion and yet some of you have forgotten this, which proves that you have not gained deep understanding of God’s authority. It could even be said that man has not seen the authority of God. Do you now have some understanding? When you see God exercising His authority, what do you truly feel? Have you truly felt God’s power? (Yes.) When you read His words about how He created all things, you feel His power and 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? If God did not possess this power, if He did not possess this wisdom, would He be qualified to have dominion over all things and over the fate of men? God possesses the power and the wisdom, and so He has the authority. This is unique. Among all creation, have you ever seen a person or creature with power like God’s? Is there anyone or anything with the power to create the heavens and earth and all things, to control them and have dominion over them? Is there anyone or anything that can rule over and lead all of humanity, that can be present everywhere at all times? (No, there is not.) Do you now understand the true meaning of God’s unique authority? Do you now have some understanding of this? (Yes.) This concludes our look back at the topic of God’s unique authority.
In the second part, we talked about God’s righteous disposition. We did not discuss much within this topic, because, at this stage, God’s work consists primarily of judgment and chastisement. In the Age of Kingdom, God’s righteous disposition is revealed clearly and in great detail. He has spoken words He has never spoken from the time of creation; and in His words all people, all who read and experience His word, have seen His righteous disposition revealed. So, what is the main point of our discussion about God’s righteous disposition? Do you comprehend it deeply? Do you understand it from experience? (God burned Sodom because the people at that time were deeply corrupt and provoked God’s wrath. From this, 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 still would, correct? You can see it in the words God has expressed in the Age of Kingdom, and in the judgment, chastisement, and curses He has directed at man. Can you see God’s righteous disposition in His sparing of Nineveh? (Yes.) In the current age, people can see some of God’s mercy, love, and tolerance, and people can see it, too, in God’s change of heart that follows man’s repentance. Having raised these two examples to introduce our discussion of God’s righteous disposition, it is quite clear to see that His righteous disposition has been revealed, yet in reality, the essence of God’s righteous disposition is not limited to what is revealed in these two Bible stories. From what you have learned and seen and experienced in God’s word and His work, what is God’s righteous disposition as you see it? Speak from your own experiences. (In the environments God created for people, when people are able to seek out truth and act in accordance with God’s will, God guides them, enlightens them, and enables them to feel brightened in their hearts. When people go against God and resist Him and do not act in accordance with His will, then there is great darkness inside them, as if God has forsaken them. Even when they pray, they do not know what to say to Him. But when they put aside their own notions and imaginings and become willing to cooperate with God and strive to better themselves, then they gradually become able to see God’s smiling countenance. From this we experience the holiness of God’s righteous disposition. God appears in the holy kingdom, but He conceals Himself in impure places.) (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 also. We are all able to receive the enlightenment of God to varying degrees, and in this, I see God’s righteousness, because we humans are not capable of treating man in this way, but God is.) Now, you all have some practical knowledge that you can articulate.
Do you know what knowledge is the key to understanding God’s righteous disposition? There is much that may be said from experience on this topic, but first there are a few main points that I must tell you. To understand God’s righteous disposition, one must first understand God’s feelings: what He hates, what He loathes, what He loves, to whom He is tolerant and merciful, and on what type of person He bestows that mercy. This is one main point. One must also 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 pamper them. He gives people His love, His mercy, and His tolerance, but He has never coddled them; God has His principles and His limits. Regardless of how much of God’s love you have felt, regardless of how deep that love may be, you must never treat God as you would treat another person. While it is true that God treats people with the utmost intimacy, if a person views God as just another person, as if He were just another created being, like a friend or an object of worship, then God will hide His face from them and forsake them. This is His disposition, and people must not take this issue thoughtlessly. So, we often see words such as this spoken by God about His disposition: It does not matter how many roads you have traveled, how much work you have done or how much suffering you have endured, once you offend God’s disposition, He will repay each of you based on what you have done. What this means is that God treats people with the utmost intimacy, yet people must not treat God as a friend or a relative. Do not call God 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 your friend. This is God’s righteous disposition. Do you understand? Do I need to say more about this? Do you have any prior understanding of this matter? Generally speaking, this is the easiest mistake for people to make, regardless of whether they understand the doctrines or if they have never before contemplated this issue. When people offend God, it might not be because of one event or one thing they said, but rather because of an attitude they hold and a state they are in. This is a very frightening thing. Some people believe that they have an understanding of God, that they have some knowledge of Him, and they might even do some things that satisfy God. They begin to feel equal to God and that they have cleverly maneuvered themselves into a friendship with God. These types of feelings are terribly wrong. If you do not have a deep understanding of this—if you do not understand this clearly—then you will very easily offend God and offend His righteous disposition. You understand this now, yes? Is not God’s righteous disposition unique? Could it ever be the equivalent of the character or the moral standing of a man? It never could. So, you must not forget that, no matter how God treats people nor how He thinks of people, God’s position, authority, and status do not ever change. For mankind, God is always the Lord of all things and the Creator.
What have you learned about the holiness of God? In that part about “God’s holiness,” besides the fact that Satan’s wickedness is used as a foil, what was the main content of our discussion about the holiness of God? Is it not what God has and is? Is what God has and is unique to God Himself? (Yes.) It is that which created beings do not possess. This is why we say the holiness of God is unique. This is something that you should be able to understand. We held three meetings on the subject of the holiness of God. 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 bowed down before Him. God fellowshiped the truth to us about prostrating and bowing down to worship Him. We saw that bowing down to worship Him before meeting His requirements was not in accord with His will, and from this we saw the holiness of God.) Very true. Is there anything else? (In God’s words to mankind, we see that He speaks plainly and clearly. He is straight and to the point. Satan speaks in a roundabout way and 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 clear and concise when He tells us how we should act, how we should observe, and how we should practice. But people are not this way. Since mankind’s corruption by Satan, they have acted and spoken with their own personal motives and objectives and their own personal desires in mind. From the way God looks after, cares for and protects mankind, we see that all that God does is positive and clear. It is in this way that we see the essence of God’s holiness revealed.) Well put! Does anyone else have anything to add? (Through God’s exposure of Satan’s evil essence, we see God’s holiness, we gain more knowledge of Satan’s evil, and we see the source of mankind’s suffering. In the past, we were unaware of man’s suffering under the domain of Satan. Only after God revealed this did we see that all the suffering that comes from the pursuit of fame and fortune is the work of Satan. Only then did we feel that the holiness of God is the true salvation of mankind.) Is there anything else to add to that? (Mankind, which is corrupt, lacks true knowledge of and love for God. Because we don’t understand the essence of God’s holiness, and because, when we prostrate and bow down before Him in worship, we do so with impure thoughts and ulterior motives and purposes, God is displeased. We can see that God is different from Satan; Satan wants people to adore and flatter it, to prostrate and bow down to worship it. Satan has no principles. From this too, I am made aware of God’s holiness.) Very good! Now that we have fellowshiped about God’s holiness, do you see God’s perfection? (We do.) 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 expresses, and all that He reveals is flawless? (We do.) These are the main points of what I have said about the holiness of God. Today, these words may seem like mere doctrine to you, but one day, when you experience and witness the true God Himself from His word and His work, you will say from the bottom of your heart that God is holy, that God is different from mankind, and that His heart, disposition, and essence are all holy. This holiness allows man to see God’s perfection and to see that the essence of God’s holiness is immaculate. The essence of His holiness determines that He is God Himself, the unique, and it also both allows man to see and proves that He is the unique God Himself. Is this not the main point? (It is.)
Today we have conducted an overview of several topics from previous fellowships. This concludes today’s overview. I hope that all of you will take to heart the main points of each item and topic. Do not think of them as mere doctrine; when you have some spare time, really read through them and ponder them. Remember them in your heart and bring them into reality—then you will truly experience all that I have said about the reality of God’s revealing His disposition and revealing what He has and is. However, if you only jot them down in your notebook and do not read through them or think them over, then you will never gain them for yourself. You understand now, yes? After having communicated on these three topics, once people have gained a general—or even specific—understanding of God’s status, essence, and disposition, will their understanding of God be complete? (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, now that you have gained an understanding of God’s authority, His righteous disposition, and His holiness, perhaps His unique status and position are established in your mind; yet it remains for you to see, understand, and deepen your knowledge of His actions, His power, and His essence through your own experience. Now that you have listened to these fellowships, in your hearts an article of faith is more or less established: God truly exists, and it is a fact that He administers all things. No one may offend His righteous disposition; His holiness is a certainty that no one may question. These are facts. These fellowships allow the status and position of God to have a foundation in the hearts of man. Once this foundation has been established, people must try to understand more.