God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III (Part Six)
Now let us read the following passages from the Scripture.
12. Jesus’ Words to His Disciples After His Resurrection
Jhn 20:26–29 And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the middle, and said, Peace be to you. Then said He to Thomas, Reach here your finger, and behold My hands; and reach here your hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said to Him, My LORD and my God. Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
Jhn 21:16–17 He said to him again the second time, Simon, son of John, love you Me? He said to Him, Yes, Lord; You know that I love You. He said to him, Feed My sheep. He said to him the third time, Simon, son of John, love you Me? Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, Love you Me? And he said to Him, Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You. Jesus said to him, Feed My sheep.
What these passages recount are certain things that thedid and said to His disciples after His resurrection. First, let us take a look at any differences there might be in the Lord Jesus before and after the resurrection. Was He still the same Lord Jesus of days past? The scriptures contain the following line describing the Lord Jesus after the resurrection: “Then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the middle, and said, Peace be to you.” It is very clear that the Lord Jesus at that time no longer inhabited a fleshly body, but that He was now in a spiritual body. This was because He had transcended the limitations of the flesh; even though the door was closed, He could still come amongst the people and allow them to see Him. This is the greatest difference between the Lord Jesus after the resurrection and the Lord Jesus living in the flesh before the resurrection. Even though there was no difference between the appearance of the spiritual body of that moment and the appearance of the Lord Jesus as it was before, the Lord Jesus in that moment had become one that felt like a stranger to the people, because He had become a spiritual body after being resurrected from the dead, and compared to His previous flesh, this spiritual body was more puzzling and confusing to people. It also created more distance between the Lord Jesus and the people, and people felt in their hearts that the Lord Jesus in that moment had become more mysterious. These cognitions and feelings on the part of the people suddenly brought them back to an age of believing in a God that could not be seen or touched. So, the first thing that the Lord Jesus did after His resurrection was to allow everyone to see Him, to confirm that He exists, and to confirm the fact of His resurrection. In addition, this action restored His relationship with the people back to the way it was when He was working in the flesh, when He was the Christ whom they could see and touch. One outcome of this is that the people had no doubt whatever that the Lord Jesus had been resurrected from death after being nailed to the cross, and they also had no doubt in the Lord Jesus’ work to redeem mankind. Another outcome is that the fact of the Lord Jesus appearing to people after His resurrection and allowing people to see and touch Him firmly secured mankind in the Age of Grace, ensuring that, from this time on, people would not return to the previous Age of Law on the supposed basis that the Lord Jesus had “disappeared” or that He had “left without a word.” He thus ensured that they would continue to move forward, following the Lord Jesus’ teachings and the work He had done. Thus, a new phase in the work in the Age of Grace was formally opened, and from that moment on, the people who had been living under the law formally emerged from the law and entered into a new era, a new beginning. These are the multi-faceted meanings of the Lord Jesus’ appearance to mankind after the resurrection.
Since the Lord Jesus was now inhabiting a spiritual body, how could people touch Him and see Him? This question touches upon the significance of the Lord Jesus’ appearance to mankind. Did you notice anything in the passages of scripture that we just read? Generally, spiritual bodies cannot be seen or touched, and after the resurrection the work that the Lord Jesus had taken on had already been completed. So in theory, He had absolutely no need to return amongst the people in His original image to meet with them, but the appearance of the Lord Jesus’ spiritual body to people like Thomas made the significance of His appearance more concrete, so that it penetrated more deeply into the people’s hearts. When He came to Thomas, He let Thomas the doubter touch His hand, and told him: “Reach here your hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing.” These words and actions were not things that the Lord Jesus wanted to say and do only after He had been resurrected; in fact, they were things that He wanted to do before He had been nailed to the cross. It is evident that, before He had been nailed to the cross, the Lord Jesus already had an understanding of people such as Thomas. So what can we see from this? He was still the same Lord Jesus after His resurrection. His essence had not changed. Thomas’ doubts had not started only then but had been with him the entire time he had been following the Lord Jesus. However, here was the Lord Jesus who had been resurrected from the dead and returned from the spiritual world with His original image, with His original disposition, and with His understanding of mankind from His time in the flesh, so He went to Thomas first and let Thomas touch His rib, to not only let Thomas see His spiritual body after resurrection, but to let Thomas touch and feel the existence of His spiritual body, and completely let go of his doubts. Before the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross, Thomas always doubted that He was Christ, and was incapable of belief. His faith in God was established only on the basis of what he could see with his own eyes, what he could touch with his own hands. The Lord Jesus had a good understanding of the faith of this type of person. They only believed in God in heaven, and did not believe at all in the One sent by God, or the Christ in the flesh, and nor would they accept Him. In order for Thomas to acknowledge and believe in the existence of the Lord Jesus and that He truly was God incarnate, He allowed Thomas to reach out his hand and touch His rib. Was Thomas’ doubting any different before and after the Lord Jesus’ resurrection? He was always doubting, and except by the Lord Jesus’ spiritual body personally appearing to him and allowing him to touch the nail marks on His body, there was no way that anyone could resolve his doubts and make him let go of them. So, from the time the Lord Jesus allowed Thomas to touch His rib and let him really feel the existence of the nail marks, Thomas’ doubt disappeared, and he truly knew that the Lord Jesus had been resurrected, and he acknowledged and believed that the Lord Jesus was the true Christ and God incarnate. Although at this time Thomas no longer doubted, he had lost forever the chance to meet with Christ. He had lost forever the chance to be together with Him, to follow Him, to know Him. He had lost the chance for Christ to perfect him. The Lord Jesus’ appearance and His words provided a conclusion and a verdict on the faith of those who were full of doubts. He used His actual words and actions to tell the doubters, to tell those who only believed in God in heaven but did not believe in Christ: God did not commend their belief, nor did He commend them for following Him while doubting Him. The day when they fully believed in God and Christ could only be the day that God completed His great work. Of course, that day was also the day that a verdict was made upon their doubt. Their attitude toward Christ determined their fate, and their stubborn doubt meant that their faith bore them no fruit, and their hardness meant that their hopes were in vain. Because their belief in God in heaven was fed on illusions, and their doubt toward Christ was actually their true attitude toward God, even though they touched the nail marks on the Lord Jesus’ body, their faith was still useless and their outcome could only be described as drawing water with a bamboo basket—all in vain. What the Lord Jesus said to Thomas was also very clearly His way of telling every person: The resurrected Lord Jesus is the Lord Jesus, who spent thirty-three and a half years working among mankind. Although He had been nailed to the cross and experienced the valley of the shadow of death, and though He had experienced resurrection, He had undergone no change in any aspect. Although He now had nail marks on His body, and although He had been resurrected and walked out from the grave, His disposition, His understanding of mankind, and His intentions toward mankind had not changed in the slightest. Also, He was telling people that He had come down from the cross, triumphed over sin, overcome hardships, and triumphed over death. The nail marks were just the evidence of His victory over Satan, evidence of being a sin offering to successfully redeem all of mankind. He was telling people that He had already taken on mankind’s sins and that He had completed His work of redemption. When He returned to see His disciples, He told them this message by means of His appearance: “I am still alive, I still exist; today I am truly standing in front of you so that you can see and touch Me. I will always be with you.” The Lord Jesus also wanted to use the case of Thomas as a warning for future people: Although you can neither see nor touch the Lord Jesus in your faith in Him, you are blessed because of your true faith, and you can see the Lord Jesus because of your true faith, and this kind of person is blessed.
These words recorded in the Bible that the Lord Jesus spoke when He appeared to Thomas are of great help to all people in the Age of Grace. His appearance to Thomas and the words He spoke to him have had a profound impact on the generations that came after; they hold everlasting significance. Thomas represents a type of person who believes in God yet doubts God. They are of a suspicious nature, have sinister hearts, are treacherous, and do not believe in the things that God can accomplish. They do not believe in God’s omnipotence and His sovereignty, and neither do they believe in God incarnate. However, the Lord Jesus’ resurrection flew in the face of these traits that they have, and it also provided them with an opportunity to discover their own doubt, to recognize their own doubt, and to acknowledge their own treachery, thus coming to truly believe in the existence and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. What happened with Thomas was a warning and a caution for later generations so that more people could warn themselves not to be doubters like Thomas, and that if they did fill themselves with doubt, then they would sink into the darkness. If you follow God, but just like Thomas, always want to touch the Lord’s rib and feel His nail marks to confirm, to verify, to speculate on whether or not God exists, then God will forsake you. So, the Lord Jesus requires people to not be like Thomas, only believing what they can see with their own eyes, but to be pure, honest people, to not harbor doubts toward God, but to simply believe in and follow Him. People like this are blessed. This is a very small requirement the Lord Jesus makes of people, and it is a warning for His followers.
The above is the Lord Jesus’ attitude toward those who are full of doubts. So what did the Lord Jesus say to and do for those who are able to honestly believe in and follow Him? This is what we are going to look at next, through a dialogue between the Lord Jesus and Peter.
In this conversation, the Lord Jesus repeatedly asked Peter one thing: “Simon, son of John, love you Me?” This is a higher standard which the Lord Jesus required from people like Peter after His resurrection, people who truly believe in Christ and strive to love the Lord. This question was a sort of investigation and interrogation, but even more, it was a requirement and an expectation of people like Peter. The Lord Jesus used this method of questioning so that people would reflect on themselves and look into themselves and ask: What are the Lord Jesus’ requirements for people? Do I love the Lord? Am I a person who loves God? How should I love God? Even though the Lord Jesus only asked this question of Peter, the truth is that in His heart, by asking Peter these questions, He wanted to use this opportunity to ask this same type of question of more people who seek to love God. It is only that Peter was blessed to act as the representative of this type of person, to receive this questioning from the Lord Jesus’ own mouth.
Compared to the following words, which the Lord Jesus said to Thomas after His resurrection: “Reach here your hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing,” His thrice repeated questioning of Peter: “Simon, son of John, love you Me?” allows people to better feel the sternness of the Lord Jesus’ attitude, and the urgency He felt during His questioning. As for Thomas the doubter, with his deceitful nature, the Lord Jesus allowed him to reach out his hand and touch the nail marks in His body, which led him to believe that the Lord Jesus was the Son of man resurrected, and to acknowledge the Lord Jesus’ identity as Christ. And although the Lord Jesus did not sternly rebuke Thomas and nor did He verbally express any clear judgment of him, He nonetheless used practical actions to let Thomas know that He understood him, while also displaying His attitude and determination toward that type of person. The Lord Jesus’ requirements and expectations of that type of person cannot be seen from what He said, because people like Thomas simply do not have a single shred of true faith. The Lord Jesus’ requirements for them only go so far, but the attitude He revealed toward people like Peter is entirely different. He did not require that Peter reach out his hand and touch His nail marks, nor did He say to Peter: “Be not faithless, but believing.” Instead, He repeatedly asked Peter the same question. The question was thought-provoking and meaningful, a question that cannot help but cause every follower of Christ to feel remorse and fear, but also to feel the Lord Jesus’ anxious, sorrowful mood. And when they are in great pain and suffering, they are more able to understand the Lord Jesus Christ’s concern and His care; they realize His earnest teaching and strict requirements of pure, honest people. The Lord Jesus’ question allows people to feel that the Lord’s expectations of people revealed in these simple words are not merely to believe in and follow Him, but to achieve having love, loving your Lord and your God. This kind of love is caring and obeying. It is humans living for God, dying for God, dedicating everything to God, and expending and giving everything for God. This kind of love is also giving God comfort, allowing Him to enjoy testimony and to be at rest. It is mankind’s repayment to God, man’s responsibility, obligation and duty, and it is a way that people must follow for their entire lives. These three questions were a requirement and an exhortation that the Lord Jesus made of Peter and all people who would be made perfect. It was these three questions that led and motivated Peter to follow his path in life to the end, and it was these questions at the Lord Jesus’ parting that led Peter to start on his path of being made perfect, that led him, because of his love for the Lord, to care for the Lord’s heart, to obey the Lord, to offer comfort to the Lord, and to offer up his whole life and his whole being because of this love.
During the Age of Grace, God’s work was primarily for two types of people. The first was the type of person who believed in and followed Him, who could keep His commandments, who could bear the cross and hold to the way of the Age of Grace. This type of person would gain God’s blessing and enjoy God’s grace. The second type of person was like Peter, someone who could be made perfect. So, after the Lord Jesus was resurrected, He first did these two most meaningful things. One was done with Thomas, the other with Peter. What do these two things represent? Do they represent God’s true intentions of saving mankind? Do they represent God’s sincerity toward mankind? The work He did with Thomas was to warn people not to be doubters, but to simply believe. The work He did with Peter was to strengthen the faith of people like Peter, and to make clear His requirements of this type of person, to show what goals they should be pursuing.
After the Lord Jesus was resurrected, He appeared to the people He thought necessary, spoke with them, and made requirements of them, leaving behind His intentions for and expectations of people. That is to say, as God incarnate, His concern for mankind and requirements of people never changed; these remained the same when He was in the flesh and when He was in His spiritual body after being nailed to the cross and being resurrected. He was concerned about these disciples before He was up on the cross, and in His heart He was clear about the state of every single person and He understood every person’s deficiencies and, of course, His understanding of every person after He had died, been resurrected, and become a spiritual body was the same as it had been when He was in the flesh. He knew that people were not entirely certain of His identity as Christ, but during His time in the flesh He did not make strict demands of people. However, after He had been resurrected, He appeared to them, and He made them absolutely certain that the Lord Jesus had come from God and that He was God incarnate, and He used the fact of His appearance and His resurrection as the greatest vision and motivation for mankind’s lifelong pursuit. His resurrection from death not only strengthened all those who followed Him, but it also thoroughly implemented His work of the Age of Grace among mankind, and thus the gospel of the Lord Jesus’ salvation in the Age of Grace gradually spread to every corner of humanity. Would you say that the Lord Jesus’ appearance after His resurrection had any significance? If you were Thomas or Peter at that time, and you encountered this one thing in your life that was so meaningful, what kind of impact would it have had on you? Would you have seen this as the best and the greatest vision of your life of believing in God? Would you have seen this as a force driving you as you followed God, strived to satisfy Him, and sought to love God in your whole life? Would you have expended a lifetime of effort to spread this greatest of visions? Would you have accepted spreading the Lord Jesus’ salvation as a commission from God? Even though you have not experienced this, the two examples of Thomas and Peter are already enough for modern people to gain a clear understanding of God and His will. It could be said that after God had become flesh, after He personally experienced the life among mankind and personally experienced the human life, and after He saw the depravity of mankind and the situation of human life at that time, God in the flesh felt more deeply how helpless, lamentable, and pitiful mankind is. God gained more empathy for the human condition because of His humanity which He possessed while living in the flesh, because of His fleshly instincts. This led Him to feel greater concern for His followers. These are probably things that you cannot understand, but I can describe this worry and care felt by God in the flesh for every one of His followers using just two words: “intense concern.” Even though this term comes from human language, and even though it is very human, it nonetheless truly expresses and describes God’s feelings for His followers. As for God’s intense concern for humans, over the course of your experiences you will gradually feel this and get a taste of it. However, this can only be achieved by gradually understanding God’s disposition on the basis of pursuing a change in your own disposition. When the Lord Jesus made this appearance, it caused His intense concern for His followers in humanity to materialize and be passed over to His spiritual body, or you could say, to His divinity. His appearance allowed people to once more experience and feel God’s concern and care while also powerfully proving that God is the One who launches an age, who unfurls an age, and who also ends an age. Through His appearance, He strengthened the faith of all people and proved to the world the fact that He is God Himself. This gave His followers eternal confirmation, and through His appearance He also launched a phase of His work in the new age.
13. Jesus Eats Bread and Explains the Scriptures After His Resurrection
Luk 24:30–32 And it came to pass, as He sat at meat with them, He took bread, and blessed it, and broke, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the scriptures?
14. The Disciples Give Jesus Broiled Fish to Eat
Luk 24:36–43 And as they thus spoke, Jesus Himself stood in the middle of them, and said to them, Peace be to you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, Why are you troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see Me have. And when He had thus spoken, He showed them His hands and His feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, He said to them, Have you here any meat? And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And He took it, and did eat before them.
Next, we will take a look at the passages of scripture above. The first passage is a recounting of the Lord Jesus eating bread and explaining the scriptures after His resurrection, and the second passage is a recounting of the Lord Jesus eating a broiled fish. How do these two passages help you to know God’s disposition? Can you imagine the kind of picture you get from these descriptions of the Lord Jesus eating bread and then a broiled fish? Can you imagine, if the Lord Jesus were standing in front of you eating bread, how you might feel? Or if He were eating at the same table with you, eating fish and bread with people, what kind of feeling you would have in that moment? If you would feel very close to the Lord, that He is very intimate with you, then this feeling is right. This is exactly the result that the Lord Jesus wanted to bring about by eating bread and fish in front of the gathered people after His resurrection. If the Lord Jesus had only spoken with people after His resurrection, if they could not feel His flesh and bones, but instead felt Him to be an unreachable Spirit, how would they have felt? Would they not have been disappointed? Feeling disappointed, would the people not have felt abandoned? Would they not have felt a distance between themselves and the Lord Jesus Christ? What kind of negative impact would this distance have created on people’s relationship with God? People would certainly have felt afraid, that they dared not come close to Him, and thus they would have had an attitude of keeping Him at a respectful distance. From then on, they would have severed their intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and returned to a relationship between mankind and God up in heaven as it was before the Age of Grace. The spiritual body that people could not touch or feel would have brought about the eradication of their intimacy with God, and it would also have caused that intimate relationship, established during the Lord Jesus Christ’s time in the flesh, with no distance between Him and humans, to cease to exist. The only things that were stirred in people by the spiritual body were feelings of fear, avoidance, and a wordless gaze. They would not have dared to get close or to engage in dialogue with Him, let alone follow, trust, or look up to Him. God did not wish to see this type of feeling that humans had for Him. He did not want to see people avoiding Him or removing themselves from Him; He only wanted people to understand Him, come close to Him, and to be His family. If your own family, your children, saw you but did not recognize you, and did not dare to come close to you but always avoided you, if you could not gain their understanding for everything you had done for them, how would that make you feel? Would it not be painful? Would you not be heartbroken? That is precisely what God feels when people avoid Him. So, after His resurrection, the Lord Jesus still appeared to people in His form of flesh and blood, and still ate and drank with them. God sees people as family, and God also wants mankind to see Him as the One dearest to them; only in this way can God truly gain people, and only in this way can people truly love and. Now can you understand My intention in extracting these two passages of scripture in which the Lord Jesus eats bread and explains the scriptures after His resurrection, and in which the disciples give Him a broiled fish to eat?
It can be said that earnest thought had been put into the series of things that the Lord Jesus said and did after His resurrection. These things were full of the kindness and affection that God held toward humanity, and full also of the cherishment and meticulous care He had for the intimate relationship He had established with mankind during His time in the flesh. Even more, they were full of the nostalgia and the longing He felt for His life of eating and living together with His followers during His time in the flesh. So, God did not want people to feel a distance between God and man, and nor did He want mankind to distance themselves from God. Even more, He did not want mankind to feel that the Lord Jesus after His resurrection was no longer the Lord who had been so intimate with people, that He was no longer together with mankind because He had returned to the spiritual world, returned to the Father whom people could never see or reach. He did not want people to feel that any difference in status had arisen between Him and mankind. When God sees people who want to follow Him but who keep Him at a respectful distance, His heart is in pain because that means that their hearts are very far from Him and that it will be very difficult for Him to gain their hearts. So if He had appeared to people in a spiritual body that they could not see or touch, this would have once again distanced man from God, and it would have led mankind to mistakenly see Christ after His resurrection as having become lofty, of a different kind than humans, and someone who could no longer share a table and eat with man because humans are sinful, filthy, and can never draw close to God. In order to dispel these misunderstandings of mankind, the Lord Jesus did a number of things that He used to do in the flesh, as recorded in the Bible: “He took bread, and blessed it, and broke, and gave to them.” He also explained the scriptures to them, as He used to do in the past. All of these things that the Lord Jesus did made every person who saw Him feel that the Lord had not changed, that He was still the same Lord Jesus. Even though He had been nailed to the cross and had experienced death, He had been resurrected, and had not left mankind. He had returned to be among humans, and nothing about Him had changed. The Son of man standing in front of people was still the same Lord Jesus. His demeanor and His way of conversing with people felt so familiar. He was still so full of lovingkindness, grace, and tolerance—He was still the same Lord Jesus who loved others as He loved Himself, who could forgive mankind seventy times seven. As He always had before, He ate with people, discussed the scriptures with them, and even more importantly, just as before, He was made of flesh and blood and could be touched and seen. The Son of man as He was allowed people to feel intimacy, to feel at ease, and to feel the joy of regaining something that had been lost. With great ease, they bravely and confidently began to rely on and look up to this Son of man who could forgive mankind of their sins. They also began to pray in the name of the Lord Jesus without hesitation, to pray to obtain His grace, His blessing, and to obtain peace and joy from Him, to gain care and protection from Him, and they began to heal the sick and cast out demons in the name of the Lord Jesus.
During the time that the Lord Jesus worked in the flesh, most of His followers could not fully verify His identity and the things that He said. When He was approaching the cross, the attitude of His followers was one of observing. Then, from the time when He was nailed to the cross until He was put into the grave, people’s attitude toward Him was disappointment. During this time, people had already begun to move in their hearts from doubting the things the Lord Jesus had said during His time in the flesh to denying them altogether. Then, when He walked out from the grave and appeared to people one by one, the majority of those who saw Him with their own eyes or heard the news of His resurrection gradually shifted their attitude from denial to skepticism. Only when the Lord Jesus had Thomas put his hand into His side, and when He broke bread and ate it in front of the crowd after His resurrection and then proceeded to eat a broiled fish in front of them, did they truly accept the fact that the Lord Jesus was Christ in the flesh. You could say that it was as if this spiritual body of flesh and blood standing before those people was awakening every one of them from a dream: The Son of man standing in front of them was the One who had existed since time immemorial. He had a form, and flesh and bones, and He had already lived and eaten alongside mankind for a long time…. At this time, the people felt that His existence was so real, and so wonderful. At the same time, they were also so joyful and happy and filled with emotion. His reappearance allowed people to truly see His humility, to feel His closeness and attachment to mankind, and to feel how much He thought about them. This brief reunion made the people who saw the Lord Jesus feel as if a lifetime had passed. Their lost, confused, afraid, anxious, yearning and numb hearts found comfort. They were no longer doubtful or disappointed, because they felt that now there was hope and something to rely on. The Son of man then standing before them would be their rear guard for all time; He would be their strong tower, their refuge for all eternity.
Although the Lord Jesus was resurrected, His heart and His work had not left mankind. By appearing to people, He told them that no matter what form He existed in, He would accompany people, walk with them, and be with them at all times and in all places. He told them that at all times and in all places He would provide for mankind and shepherd them, allow them to see and touch Him, and ensure they never again felt helpless. The Lord Jesus also wanted people to know that they do not live alone in this world. Mankind has God’s care; God is with them. They can always lean on God, and He is family to every one of His followers. With God to lean on, mankind will no longer be lonely or helpless, and those who accept Him as their sin offering will no longer be bound in sin. In human eyes, these portions of His work that the Lord Jesus carried out after His resurrection were very small things, but the way I see it, every single thing He did was so meaningful, so valuable, so important and heavily laden with significance.
Although the Lord Jesus’ time of working in the flesh was full of hardships and suffering, He completely and perfectly accomplished His work of that time in the flesh to redeem mankind through His appearance in His spiritual body of flesh and blood. He began His ministry by becoming flesh, and He concluded His ministry by appearing to mankind in His fleshly form. He heralded the Age of Grace, beginning the new age through His identity as Christ. Through His identity as Christ, He carried out work in the Age of Grace and He strengthened and led all of His followers in the Age of Grace. It can be said of God’s work that He truly finishes what He starts. There are steps and a plan, and the work is full of His wisdom, His omnipotence, His marvelous deeds, and His love and mercy. Of course, the main thread running through all of God’s work is His care for mankind; it is permeated with His feelings of concern that He can never put aside. In these verses of the Bible, in every single thing that the Lord Jesus did after His resurrection, God’s unchanging hopes and concern for mankind were revealed, as were His meticulous care and cherishing of mankind. None of this has ever changed, all the way to the present day—can you see it? When you see this, do your hearts not unconsciously draw closer to God? If you lived in that age and the Lord Jesus appeared to you after His resurrection in a tangible form for you to see, and if He sat in front of you, ate bread and fish and explained the scriptures to you and spoke with you, then how would you feel? Would you feel happy? Or would you feel guilty? The previous misunderstandings and avoidance of God, the conflicts with and doubts of God—would they not all just disappear? Would the relationship between God and man not become more normal and proper?
By interpreting these limited chapters of the Bible, do you find any flaws in God’s disposition? Do you find any adulteration of God’s love? Do you see any deceit or evil in God’s omnipotence or wisdom? Certainly not! Now can you say with certainty that God is holy? Can you say with certainty that each of God’s emotions is a revelation of His essence and disposition? I hope that after you have read these words, the understanding you gain from them will help you and bring you benefits in your pursuit of a change in disposition and a fear of God, and that they will bear fruit in you, fruit that grows by the day, so that in the process of this pursuit you will be brought closer and closer to God, closer and closer to the standard that God requires. You will no longer be bored of the pursuit of the truth and will no longer feel that the pursuit of the truth and of a change in disposition is a troublesome or a superfluous thing. Rather, motivated by the expression of God’s true disposition and the holy essence of God, you will long for the light, long for justice, aspire to pursue the truth, to pursue the satisfaction of God’s will, and you will become a person gained by God, become a real person.
Today we have talked about certain things that God did in the Age of Grace when He was made incarnate for the first time. From these things, we have seen the disposition that He expressed and revealed in the flesh, as well as every aspect of what He has and is. All these aspects of what He has and is seem very humanized, but the reality is that the essence of all that He revealed and expressed is inseparable from His own disposition. Every method and every aspect of God incarnate expressing His disposition in humanity is inextricably linked with His own essence. So, it is very important that God came to mankind using the way of incarnation. Also important is the work that He did in the flesh, but even more important to every person living in the flesh, to every person living in corruption, are the disposition that He revealed and the will that He expressed. Is this something that you are able to understand? After understanding God’s disposition and what He has and is, have you made any conclusions as to how you should treat God? Finally, in response to this question, I would like to give you three pieces of counsel: First, do not test God. No matter how much you understand about God, no matter how much you know about His disposition, absolutely do not test Him. Second, do not contend for status with God. No matter what type of status God gives you or what kind of work He entrusts you with, no matter what kind of duty He raises you up to perform, and no matter how much you have expended yourself and sacrificed for God, absolutely do not compete for status with Him. Third, do not compete with God. No matter whether you understand or if you can submit to what God does with you, what He arranges for you, and the things He brings to you, absolutely do not compete with God. If you can abide by these three pieces of counsel, then you will be quite safe, and you will not be prone to angering God. This is where we will end today’s fellowship.
November 23, 2013