God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself I (Part One)
Today we are fellowshiping about an important topic. This is a topic that has been discussed ever since the commencement of God’s work and which is of very great significance to every single person. In other words, this is an issue that everyone will encounter in the course of believing in God; it is an issue that must be encountered. It is a crucial, unavoidable issue that mankind cannot walk away from. Speaking of importance, what is the most important thing for every believer in God? Some people think that the most important thing is understanding God’s will; some believe it is most important to eat and drink more of; some feel the most important thing is to know themselves; others are of the opinion that the most important thing is knowing how to find salvation through God, how to follow God, and how to satisfy God’s will. We will put all of these issues aside for today. So what are we discussing then? The topic is God. Is this the most important topic to every person? What does this topic entail? Of course, it certainly cannot be separated from God’s disposition, God’s essence, and God’s work. So today, let us discuss “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself.”
From the time man started believing in God, they have encountered topics such as God’s work, God’s disposition, and God Himself. When it comes to God’s work, some people will say: “God’s work is done on us; we experience it every day, so we are not unfamiliar with it.” When speaking of God’s disposition, some will say: “God’s disposition is a topic we study, explore, and focus on our entire lives, so we should be familiar with it.” As for God Himself, some will say: “God Himself is whom we follow, whom we have faith in, and the One we pursue; nor are we uninformed about Him.” God has never stopped His work since creation; throughout His work He has continued to express His disposition and used various means to express His word. At the same time, He has never stopped expressing Himself and His essence to mankind, expressing His will toward man and what He requires from man. Hence, in literal terms, no one is a stranger to these topics. To people who follow God today, however, God’s work, God’s disposition, and God Himself are actually all very alien. Why is this the case? As man experiences God’s work, they also come into contact with God, making them feel as though they understand God’s disposition, or have some knowledge of what it is like. Accordingly, man does not think he is a stranger to God’s work or God’s disposition. Rather, man thinks he is very familiar with God and understands much about God. But as it stands now, this understanding of God is, among many, restricted to what they have read in books, limited to personal experience, restrained by imagination, and above all, confined to facts they can see with their own eyes—all of which is far removed from the true God Himself. And just how far is this “far”? Perhaps man is not sure himself, or perhaps man has a slight sense, an inkling—but when it comes to God Himself, man’s understanding of Him is much too far removed from the essence of the true God Himself. This is why, for a topic like “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself,” it is imperative for us to engage in fellowship in a systematic and concrete way.
In fact, God’s disposition is open to everyone and is not hidden, because God has never consciously avoided any person and has never consciously sought to conceal Himself to prevent people from knowing Him or understanding Him. God’s disposition has always been to be open and to face each person candidly. In God’s management, God does His work, facing everyone, and His work is done on every single person. As He does this work, He is continuously revealing His disposition and continuously using His essence, what He has and what He is, to guide and to provide for every single person. In every age and at every stage, regardless of whether the circumstances are good or bad, God’s disposition is always open to each individual, and His possessions and being are always open to each individual, just as His life is constantly and unceasingly providing for and supporting mankind. Despite all of this, God’s disposition remains hidden to some. Why? Because even though these people live within God’s work and follow God, they have never sought to understand God nor wanted to get to know God, let alone get closer to God. To these people, understanding God’s disposition portends that their end is nigh; it means they are about to be judged and condemned by God’s disposition. Therefore, they have never desired to understand God or His disposition, nor ever coveted a deeper understanding or knowledge of God’s will. They do not seek to comprehend God’s will through conscious cooperation—they just forever enjoy and never tire of doing the things they want to do; believe in the God they want to believe in; believe in the God that exists only in their imaginations, the God that exists only in their notions; and believe in a God that is inseparable from them in their daily lives. When it comes to the true God Himself, they are completely dismissive and have no desire to understand Him or to pay heed to Him, and still less wish to grow closer to Him. They are only using the words God expresses to adorn themselves, to package themselves. To them, this already makes them successful believers and people with faith in God inside their hearts. In their hearts, they are guided by their imaginations, their notions, and even their personal definitions of God. The true God Himself, on the other hand, has absolutely nothing to do with them. Because, were they to understand the true God Himself, understand God’s true disposition, and understand what God has and is, it would mean that their actions, their faith, and their pursuits would be condemned. That is why they are loath to understand God’s essence and are loath and unwilling to actively seek or pray to better understand God, better know God’s will, and better understand God’s disposition. They would rather God be something made up, something hollow and vague. They would rather God be someone who is exactly as they have imagined Him, someone who can be at their beck and call, inexhaustible in supply and always available. When they want to enjoy God’s grace, they ask God to be that grace. When they need God’s blessing, they ask God to be that blessing. When faced with adversity, they ask God to embolden them, to be their rear shield. These people’s knowledge of God is stuck within the ambit of grace and blessing. Their understanding of God’s work, God’s disposition, and God Himself is also merely restricted to their imaginings and letters and doctrines. But there are some people who are eager to understand God’s disposition, want to genuinely see God Himself, and truly understand God’s disposition and what He has and is. These people are in pursuit of the reality of truth and of salvation by God, and seek to receive conquest, salvation, and perfection by God. They use their hearts to read God’s word, use their hearts to appreciate every situation and every person, event, and thing God has arranged for them, and they pray and seek with sincerity. What they want to know most is God’s will, and to understand most is God’s true disposition and essence, that they may no longer offend God and, through their experiences, may see more of God’s loveliness and His true side. It is also so that a genuinely real God will exist inside their hearts, and so that God will have a place in their hearts, such that they will no longer be living amidst imaginings, notions, or vagueness. For these people, the reason they have a pressing desire to understand God’s disposition and His essence is because God’s disposition and essence are needed by mankind from moment to moment in the course of their experience; it is His disposition and essence that supply life throughout one’s lifetime. Once they understand God’s disposition, they will be able to better revere God, better cooperate with God’s work, and be more considerate toward God’s will and do their duty to the best of their abilities. Such are the attitudes toward God’s disposition held by two types of people. The first type does not want to understand God’s disposition. Even though they say they want to understand God’s disposition, get to know God Himself, see what God has and is, and genuinely appreciate God’s will, deep down they would rather that God not exist. It is because this type of people consistently disobeys and resists God; they fight God for position in their own hearts and often doubt or even deny God’s existence. They do not want to let God’s disposition or the real God Himself occupy their hearts. They only want to satisfy their own desires, imaginings, and ambitions. So, these people may believe in God, follow God, and may also give up their families and jobs for Him, but they do not desist from their evil ways. Some even steal or squander offerings, or curse God in private, while others might use their positions to repeatedly testify about themselves, aggrandize themselves, and compete with God for people and status. They use various methods and measures to make people worship them, constantly trying to win people over and control them. Some even intentionally mislead people into thinking that they are God so that they can be treated like God. They would never tell someone that they have been corrupted—that they too are corrupt and arrogant, not to worship them, and that no matter how well they do, it is all due to God’s exaltation and that they are doing what they ought to, anyway. Why do they not say these things? Because they are deeply afraid of losing their place in people’s hearts. This is why such people never exalt God and never bear witness to God, as they have never tried to understand God. Can they know God without understanding Him? Impossible! Thus, while the words in the topic “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself” may be simple, they have different meanings to each person. For someone who often disobeys God, resists God, and is hostile toward God, the words portend condemnation; whereas someone who pursues the reality of the truth and often comes before God to seek God’s will will take to such words as a fish to water. So there are those among you who, when they hear talk of God’s disposition and God’s work, start to get a headache, their hearts grow full of resistance, and they become extremely uncomfortable. But there are others among you who think: This topic is exactly what I need, because this topic is so beneficial to me. It is something that cannot be missing from my life experience; it is the crux of the crux, the foundation of faith in God, and something mankind cannot abandon. For all of you, this topic might seem both near and far, unknown yet familiar. But no matter what, this is a topic that everyone must listen to, must know, and must understand. No matter how you deal with it, no matter how you look upon it, or how you understand it, the importance of this topic cannot be ignored.
God has been doing His work ever since He created mankind. At the start, it was a very simple work, but despite its simplicity, it contained expressions of God’s essence and disposition. While God’s work has now been elevated, and this work on every person who follows Him has become prodigious and concrete, with great expression of His word, God’s person throughout has been hidden from mankind. Although He has been incarnated twice, from the time of the biblical accounts to modern days, who has ever seen God’s real person? Based on your understanding, has anyone ever seen God’s real person? No. No one has seen God’s real person, meaning no one has ever seen God’s true self. This is something that everyone agrees on. That is to say, God’s real person, or God’s Spirit, is concealed from all of humanity, including Adam and Eve, whom He created, and including the righteous Job, whom He accepted. None of them saw God’s real person. But why does God knowingly mask His real person? Some people say: “God is afraid of scaring people.” Others say: “God hides His real person because man is too small and God is too great; humans may not see Him, or else they will die.” There are also those who say: “God is busy managing His work every day, and He might not have time to appear so that others may see Him.” No matter what you believe, I have a conclusion here. What is that conclusion? It is that God simply does not want people to see His real person. Staying hidden from humanity is something God does deliberately. In other words, it is God’s intent for people to not see His real person. This should be clear to all by now. If God has never revealed His person to anyone, then do you think God’s person exists? (He exists.) Of course He does. The existence of God’s person is beyond all doubt. But as for how great God’s person is or what He looks like, are these questions mankind should investigate? No. The answer is negative. If God’s person is not a topic we should be exploring, then what is? (God’s disposition.) (God’s work.) Before we begin fellowshiping about the official topic, however, let us return to what we were discussing a moment ago: Why has God never revealed His person to mankind? Why does God intentionally hide His person from mankind? There is only one reason, and that is: Although man, whom God created, has experienced thousands of years of His work, there is not a single person who knows God’s work, God’s disposition, and God’s essence. Such people, in God’s eyes, are in opposition to Him, and God would not show Himself to people who are hostile toward Him. This is the sole reason God has never revealed His person to mankind and why He deliberately shields His person from humanity. Is the importance of knowing God’s disposition now clear to you?
Since the existence of God’s management, He has always been fully dedicated to carrying out His work. Despite veiling His person from man, He has always been by man’s side, doing work on man, expressing His disposition, guiding all of humanity with His essence, and doing His work on every single person through His might, His wisdom, and His authority, thus bringing into being the Age of Law, the Age of Grace, and today’s Age of Kingdom. Though God conceals His person from man, His disposition, His being and possessions, and His will toward mankind are unreservedly revealed to man for man to see and experience. In other words, though human beings cannot see or touch God, the disposition and essence of God encountered by humanity are absolutely expressions of God Himself. Is that not the truth? Regardless of the way or angle of approach God chooses for His work, He always treats people through His true identity, does the work incumbent upon Him, and says the words He is bound to say. No matter what position God speaks from—He could be standing in the third heaven, or standing in the flesh, or even as an ordinary person—He always speaks to man with all His heart and all His mind, without any deception or concealment. When He carries out His work, God expresses His word and His disposition, and expresses what He has and is, without any reservation whatsoever. He guides mankind with His life and His being and possessions. This is how man lived through the Age of Law—the cradle era of humanity—under the guidance of the “unseeable and untouchable” God.
God became flesh for the first time after the Age of Law—an incarnation that lasted thirty-three and a half years. For a human being, is thirty-three and a half years a long time? (It is not long.) Since the lifespan of a human being is usually much longer than thirty-something years, this is not a very long time for a man. But for God incarnate, these thirty-three and a half years were long indeed. He became a person—an ordinary person who took on God’s work and commission. This meant that He had to assume work an ordinary person cannot handle, while also enduring suffering that ordinary people cannot withstand. The amount of suffering endured by theduring the Age of Grace, from the start of His work to when He was nailed to the cross, may not be something that people of today could have witnessed in person, but can you not at least get an idea of it through the stories in the Bible? Irrespective of how many details there are in these recorded facts, all in all, God’s work during this period was full of hardship and suffering. For a corrupted human, thirty-three and a half years is not a long time; a little suffering is a small matter. But for the holy, unblemished God, who had to bear all of mankind’s sins, and eat, sleep, and live with sinners, this pain was unbelievably great. He is the Creator, the Sovereign of all things and the Ruler of everything, yet when He came into the world, He had to endure the oppression and cruelty of corrupted humans. In order to complete His work and rescue humanity from the sea of misery, He had to be condemned by man and bear the sins of all mankind. The extent of the suffering He went through cannot possibly be fathomed nor appreciated by ordinary people. What does this suffering represent? It represents God’s devotion to humankind. It stands for the humiliation He suffered and the price He paid for man’s salvation, to redeem their sins, and to complete this stage of His work. It also means that man would be redeemed from the cross by God. This is a price paid in blood, in life, and a price no created being could afford. It is because He has God’s essence and possesses what God has and is that He could bear this kind of suffering and do this type of work. This is something no being created by Him could have done in His stead. This is the work of God during the Age of Grace and a revelation of His disposition. Does this reveal anything about what God has and is? Is it worth mankind getting to know? In that age, though man did not see God’s person, they received God’s sin offering and were redeemed from the cross by God. Mankind may not be unfamiliar with the work God did during the Age of Grace, but is anyone familiar with the disposition and will expressed by God during this period? Man merely knows about details of God’s work during different ages and through various channels, or knows of stories related to God that took place at the same time God was carrying out His work. These details and stories are at most just some information or legends about God and have nothing to do with God’s disposition and essence. So no matter how many stories people know about God, it does not mean that they have a deep understanding and knowledge of God’s disposition or His essence. As in the Age of Law, though people in the Age of Grace had experienced an immediate and intimate encounter with God in the flesh, their knowledge of God’s disposition and God’s essence was virtually non-existent.
In the Age of Kingdom, God became flesh once more, in the same way He did the first time. During this period of work, God still unreservedly expresses His word, does the work He is bound to do, and expresses what He has and is. At the same time, He continues to endure and tolerate man’s disobedience and ignorance. Does God not continuously reveal His disposition and express His will during this period of work, too? Therefore, from the creation of man until now, God’s disposition, His being and possessions, and His will have always been open to every person. God has never deliberately hidden His essence, His disposition, or His will. It is just that mankind does not care about what God is doing, what His will is—that is why man has such a pitiful understanding of God. In other words, while God conceals His person, He is also standing by mankind at every moment, openly projecting His will, disposition, and essence at all times. In a sense, God’s person is also open to people, but due to man’s blindness and disobedience, they are never able to see God’s appearance. So if that is the case, then should understanding God’s disposition and God Himself not be easy for everyone? That is a very difficult question to answer, isn’t it? You can say it is easy, but while some people seek to know God, they cannot really get to know Him or get a clear understanding of Him—it is always hazy and vague. But if you say it is not easy, that is not correct either. Having been the subject of God’s work for so long, everyone should, through their experiences, have had genuine dealings with God. They should at least have sensed God to some extent in their hearts or have had a spiritual brushing with God, and they should at least have had some perceptive awareness of God’s disposition or gained some understanding of Him. From the time man began to follow God until now, mankind has received far too much, but due to all sorts of reasons—man’s poor caliber, ignorance, rebelliousness, and various intentions—mankind has also lost too much of it. Has God not already given mankind enough? Though God hides His person from humanity, He supplies humans with what He has and is, and His life; humanity’s knowledge of God should not only be what it is now. That is why I think it is necessary to further fellowship with you about the topic of God’s work, God’s disposition, and God Himself. The purpose is so that the thousands of years of care and consideration God has vested in man do not end in vain, and so that mankind can genuinely understand and appreciate God’s will toward them. It is so people can advance to a new stage in their knowledge of God. It will also return God to His true place in people’s hearts; that is, do Him justice.