God’s Work and Man’s Work (Part One)
How much of man’s work is the work of the Holy Spirit and how much is man’s experience? It may be said that people still do not understand these questions, and the reason for that is they do not understand the principles of the Holy Spirit’s work. When I say “man’s work,” I am, of course, referring to the work of those who have the Holy Spirit’s work or those who are used by the Holy Spirit. I am not referring to work that originates from the will of man, but to the work of the apostles, workers, or ordinary brothers and sisters that falls within the scope of the Holy Spirit’s work. Here, “the work of man” does not refer to the work of the incarnate God, but to the scope and principles of the work the Holy Spirit performs on people. While these principles are the principles and scope of the work of the Holy Spirit, they are not the same as the principles and scope of the work of God incarnate. The work of man has man’s essence and principles, and the work of God has God’s essence and principles.
The work in the stream of the Holy Spirit, whether it is God’s own work or the work of people being used, is the work of the Holy Spirit. The essence of God Himself is the Spirit, which can be called the Holy Spirit or the sevenfold intensified Spirit. All in all, They are the Spirit of God, though the Spirit of God has been called different names in different eras. Their essence is still one. Therefore, the work of God Himself is the work of the Holy Spirit, while the work of the incarnate God is nothing less than the Holy Spirit at work. The work of people who are used is also the work of the Holy Spirit. Yet the work of God is the complete expression of the Holy Spirit, which is absolutely true, whereas the work of people being used is mixed with many human things, and is not the direct expression of the Holy Spirit, let alone His complete expression. The work of the Holy Spirit is varied and not limited by any conditions. The work of the Holy Spirit varies in different people; it manifests different essences, and it differs by era, as well as by country. Of course, although the Holy Spirit works in many different ways and according to many principles, no matter how the work is done or on what kind of people, its essence is always different; all the work done on different people has its principles, and all of it can represent the essence of its objects. This is because the work of the Holy Spirit is quite specific in scope and quite measured. The work done in the incarnate flesh is not the same as the work conducted on people, and the work varies, too, according to the caliber of the person on whom it is conducted. Work done in the incarnate flesh is not done on people, and it is not the same work as that done on people. In brief, no matter how it is done, the work performed on different objects is never the same, and the principles by which He works differ in accordance with the states and natures of the different people on whom He works. The Holy Spirit works on different people based on their inherent essence and does not make demands on them that exceed that essence, nor does He do work on them that exceeds their inherent caliber. So, the work of the Holy Spirit on man allows people to see the essence of that work’s object. The inherent essence of man does not change; his inherent caliber is limited. The Holy Spirit uses people or works on them in accordance with the limitations of their caliber, that they may benefit from it. When the Holy Spirit works on people being used, those people’s talents and inherent caliber are unleashed, not withheld. Their inherent caliber is exerted in service of the work. It may be said that He uses the parts of men that can be used in His work, in order to achieve results in that work. By contrast, work done in the incarnate flesh expresses the work of the Spirit directly and is unadulterated by the human mind and thoughts; neither man’s gifts, nor man’s experience, nor man’s innate condition can reach it. All the myriad work of the Holy Spirit is meant to benefit and edify man. However, some people can be perfected while others do not possess the conditions for perfection, which means they cannot be perfected and can hardly be saved, and though they may have had the work of the Holy Spirit, they are ultimately eliminated. This is to say that though the work of the Holy Spirit is to edify people, one cannot say that all those who have had the Holy Spirit’s work will be perfected completely, because the path many people follow in their pursuit is not the path to being perfected. They have only the unilateral work of the Holy Spirit, not subjective human cooperation nor correct human pursuit. Thus, the work of the Holy Spirit on these people comes to serve those who are being perfected. The work of the Holy Spirit cannot be seen directly by people, nor can it be touched directly by people themselves. It can only be expressed by those with the gift of work, which means that the work of the Holy Spirit is provided to followers through the expressions people make.
The work of the Holy Spirit is accomplished and completed through many types of people and many different conditions. Although the work of God incarnate can represent the work of an entire era, and can represent people’s entry in an entire era, work on the details of people’s entry still needs to be done by men who are used by the Holy Spirit, not by God incarnate. So, God’s work, or God’s own ministry, is the work of God’s incarnate flesh, which man cannot do in His stead. The work of the Holy Spirit is completed through many different types of people; no single person can achieve it entirely, and no single person can express it completely. Those who lead the churches also cannot represent the work of the Holy Spirit completely; they can only do some leading work. The work of the Holy Spirit can thus be divided into three parts: God’s own work, the work of people who are used, and the work on all those in the stream of the Holy Spirit. God’s own work is to lead the entire era; the work of those who are used is, by being sent or receiving commissions after God has done His own work, to lead all God’s followers, and these are the ones who cooperate with God’s work; the work done by the Holy Spirit on those in the stream is to maintain all His own work, that is, to maintain His entire management and His testimony, while at once perfecting those who can be perfected. Together, these three parts are the complete work of the Holy Spirit, but without the work of God Himself, the management work would stagnate in its entirety. The work of God Himself involves the work of all of mankind, and it also represents the work of the entire era, which means that God’s own work represents every dynamic and trend of the work of the Holy Spirit, whereas the work of the apostles comes after God’s own work and follows from it, and it does not lead the era, nor does it represent trends of the Holy Spirit’s work in a whole era. They only do the work man ought to do, which has nothing at all to do with the management work. The work God does Himself is a project within the management work. Man’s work is only the duty that people who are used fulfill, and it is unrelated to the management work. Despite the fact that they are both the work of the Holy Spirit, due to differences in identities and representations of the work, there are clear and essential differences between God’s own work and the work of man. Moreover, the extent of the work done by the Holy Spirit varies on objects with different identities. These are the principles and scope of the work of the Holy Spirit.
The work of man signifies his experience and his humanity. What man provides and the work he does represent him. Man’s insight, man’s reasoning, man’s logic, and his rich imagination are all included in his work. Man’s experience is particularly able to signify his work, and a person’s experiences become the components of his work. Man’s work can express his experience. When some people experience negatively, most of the language of their fellowship will consist of negative elements. If their experience for a period of time is positive and they are especially possessed of a path in the positive aspect, their fellowship is very encouraging, and people can obtain positive provisions from them. If a worker becomes negative for a period of time, his fellowship will always carry negative elements. This kind of fellowship is depressing, and others will unconsciously become depressed after his fellowship. The state of followers changes depending on that of the leader. Whatever a worker is like inside, that is what he expresses, and the work of the Holy Spirit often changes with man’s state. He works according to people’s experience and does not force them, but makes demands of people according to the normal course of their experience. This is to say that man’s fellowship differs from the word of God. What people fellowship conveys their individual insights and experience, expressing their insights and experience on the basis of God’s work. Their responsibility is to find out, after God works or speaks, what of it they ought to practice or enter into, and then to deliver it to followers. Therefore, man’s work represents his entry and practice. Of course, such work is mixed with human lessons and experience or some human thoughts. However the Holy Spirit works, whether on man or in God incarnate, the workers always express what they are. Though it is the Holy Spirit who works, the work is founded on what man inherently is, because the Holy Spirit does not work without foundation. In other words, the work does not come from nothing, but is always done in accord with actual circumstances and real conditions. Only in this way can man’s disposition be transformed and his old notions and old thoughts be changed. What man expresses is what he sees, experiences, and can imagine, and it is attainable by man’s thinking, even if it is doctrine or notions. Man’s work cannot exceed the scope of man’s experience, nor what man sees, nor what man can imagine or conceive, regardless of the size of that work. All God expresses is what He Himself is, and this is unattainable by man—that is, beyond the reach of man’s thinking. He expresses His work of leading all mankind, and this is unrelated to the details of human experience, but is concerned instead with His own management. What man expresses is his experience, while what God expresses is His being, which is His inherent disposition, beyond the reach of man. Man’s experience is his insight and knowledge acquired on the basis of God’s expression of His being. Such insight and knowledge are called man’s being, and the basis of their expression is man’s inherent disposition and caliber—this is why they are also called man’s being. Man is able to fellowship what he experiences and sees. No one can fellowship that which they have not experienced, have not seen, or their thinking cannot reach, those being things they do not have inside of them. If what man expresses is not from his experience, it is then his imagination or doctrine. Simply put, there is no reality in his words. Were you never to come into contact with the things of society, you would not be able to fellowship clearly the complex relationships of society. If you had no family, were others to talk about family issues, you would not understand most of what they said. So, what man fellowships and the work he does represent his inner being. If someone fellowshiped his understanding of chastisement and judgment, but you had no experience of it, you would dare not deny his knowledge, much less dare to be one hundred percent confident in it. This is because their fellowship is something that you have never experienced, something you have never known, and your mind cannot imagine it. From their knowledge, all you can take is a path to undergo chastisement and judgment in the future. But this path can only be one of doctrinal knowledge; it cannot take the place of your own understanding, much less your experience. Perhaps you think what they say is quite correct, but in your own experience, you find it impracticable in many ways. Perhaps you feel some of what you hear is completely impracticable; you harbor notions about it at the time, and although you accept it, you only do so reluctantly. But in your own experience, the knowledge from which you derived notions becomes your way of practice, and the more you practice, the more you understand the true value and meaning of the words you heard. After having had your own experience, you can then talk about the knowledge you should have of what you experienced. In addition, you can also distinguish between those whose knowledge is real and practical and those whose knowledge is based on doctrine and worthless. So, whether the knowledge you profess accords with the truth largely depends on whether you have practical experience of it. Where there is truth in your experience, your knowledge will be practical and valuable. Through your experience, you can also gain discernment and insight, deepen your knowledge, and increase your wisdom and common sense about how you should conduct yourself. The knowledge expressed by people who do not possess the truth is doctrine, no matter how lofty it may be. This type of person may well be very intelligent when it comes to matters of the flesh but cannot make distinctions when it comes to spiritual matters. This is because such people have no experience at all of spiritual affairs. These are people who are not enlightened in spiritual affairs and do not understand spiritual matters. Whatever sort of knowledge you express, as long as it is your being, then it is your personal experience, your real knowledge. What people who speak only of doctrine—those being people who possess neither the truth nor reality—discuss can also be called their being, because they have arrived at their doctrine only through deep contemplation and it is the result of their deep rumination. Yet it is only doctrine, nothing more than imagination! The experiences of all types of people represent the things within them. Anyone without any spiritual experience cannot speak of knowledge of the truth, nor of correct knowledge about various spiritual things. What man expresses is what he is inside—this is certain. If one wishes to have knowledge of spiritual things and knowledge of the truth, one must have real experience. If you cannot speak clearly about common sense in human life, how much less will you be able to talk about spiritual things? Those who can lead churches, supply people with life, and be apostles to the people must have actual experience; they must have a correct understanding of spiritual things and a correct appreciation and experience of the truth. Only such people are qualified to be workers or apostles who lead the churches. Otherwise, they can only follow as the least and cannot lead, much less be apostles who are able to supply people with life. This is because the function of apostles is not to rush about or to fight; it is to do the work of ministering life and leading others in transforming their dispositions. Those who perform this function are commissioned to shoulder a heavy responsibility, one that not just anyone can shoulder. This kind of work can only be undertaken by those with life being, that is, those who have experience of the truth. It cannot be undertaken by merely anyone who can renounce, who can rush about, or who is willing to expend themselves; people who have no experience of the truth, who have not been pruned or judged, are unable to do this type of work. People with no experience, who are people without reality, are unable to see reality clearly because they themselves are without this kind of being. So, this type of person is not only unable to do leadership work, but, if they remain without the truth for a long while, they will become an object of elimination. The insight you express can stand as proof of the hardships you have experienced in life, the things for which you are chastised, and the issues for which you have been judged. This is also true of trials: Where one is refined, where one is weak—these are the areas in which one has experience, in which one has a path. For example, if someone suffers frustrations in marriage, they will often fellowship, “Thank God, praise God, I must satisfy God’s heart’s desire and offer up my entire life, and I must place my marriage entirely in God’s hands. I am willing to pledge my whole life to God.” All the things within man can demonstrate what he is through fellowship. The pace of a person’s speech, whether they speak loudly or quietly—such matters are not matters of experience and cannot represent what they have and are. These things can only tell whether a person’s character is good or bad, or whether their nature is good or bad, but they cannot be equated with whether someone has experience. The ability to express oneself when speaking, or the skill or speed of speech, is just a matter of practice and cannot replace one’s experience. When you talk about your individual experiences, you fellowship that which you find important and all the things within you. My speech represents My being, but what I say is beyond the reach of man. What I say is not that which man experiences, and it is not something that man can see; it is also not something that man can touch, but is what I am. Some people acknowledge only that what I fellowship is what I have experienced, but they do not recognize that it is the direct expression of the Spirit. Of course, what I say is what I have experienced. It is I who have done the management work for six thousand years. I have experienced everything from the beginning of the creation of mankind until now; how would I be unable to discuss that? When it comes to man’s nature, I have seen clearly; I observed it long ago. How would I be unable to talk clearly about it? Since I have seen the substance of man clearly, I am qualified to chastise man and judge him, because all of man came from Me but has been corrupted by Satan. Of course, I am also qualified to assess the work I have done. Although this work is not done by My flesh, it is the direct expression of the Spirit, and this is what I have and what I am. Therefore, I am qualified to express it and to do the work I ought to do. What people say is what they have experienced. It is what they have seen, what their minds can reach, and what their senses can detect. That is what they can fellowship. The words spoken by God’s incarnate flesh are the direct expression of the Spirit and they express the work that has been done by the Spirit, which the flesh has not experienced or seen, yet He still expresses His being, for the essence of the flesh is the Spirit, and He expresses the work of the Spirit. It is work already done by the Spirit, though it is beyond the reach of the flesh. After incarnation, through the expression of the flesh, He enables people to know God’s being and allows people to see God’s disposition and the work that He has done. The work of man gives people greater clarity about what they should enter into and what they should understand; it involves leading people toward understanding and experiencing the truth. Man’s work is to sustain people; God’s work is to open up new paths and new eras for mankind, and to reveal to people that which is not known by mortals, enabling them to know His disposition. God’s work is to lead all of mankind.
All the work of the Holy Spirit is performed to benefit people. It is all about edifying people; there is no work that does not benefit people. No matter whether the truth is deep or shallow, and no matter the caliber of those who accept the truth, whatever the Holy Spirit does, it benefits people. But the work of the Holy Spirit cannot be done directly; it must be expressed through the people who cooperate with Him. Only thus can the results of the work of the Holy Spirit be obtained. Of course, when the Holy Spirit works directly, it is not adulterated at all; but when the Holy Spirit works through man, it becomes very tainted and is not the original work of the Holy Spirit. This being so, the truth changes to differing degrees. Followers do not receive the original intention of the Holy Spirit but a combination of the work of the Holy Spirit and the experience and knowledge of man. The part of what followers receive that is the work of the Holy Spirit is correct, whereas the experience and the knowledge of man they receive vary because the workers are different. Workers with the enlightenment and guidance of the Holy Spirit will go on to have experiences based on this enlightenment and guidance. Within these experiences are combined man’s mind and experience, as well as the being of humanity, and afterward, they gain the knowledge or insight they should have. This is man’s way of practice after experiencing the truth. This way of practice is not always the same, because people experience differently and the things people experience are different. In this way, the same enlightenment of the Holy Spirit results in different knowledge and practice, because those who receive the enlightenment are different. Some people make minor mistakes during practice while some make major mistakes, and some make nothing but mistakes. This is because people differ in their ability to understand and also because their inherent calibers differ. Some people have one sort of understanding after hearing a message, and some people have another after hearing a truth. Some people deviate slightly, while some do not understand the real meaning of the truth at all. Therefore, one’s understanding dictates how one will lead others; this is exactly true, because one’s work is simply an expression of one’s being. People led by those who have a correct understanding of the truth will also have a correct understanding of the truth. Even if there are people with errors in their understanding, there are very few of them, and not everyone will have errors. If one has errors in his understanding of the truth, those who follow him will undoubtedly also be erroneous, and these people will be erroneous in every sense of the word. The degree to which followers understand the truth largely depends on the workers. Of course, the truth from God is correct and without error, and it is absolutely certain. The workers, however, are not completely correct and cannot be said to be completely reliable. If workers have a very practical way to put the truth into practice, then followers will also have a way to practice. If workers do not have a way to practice the truth but have only doctrine, then followers will have no reality. The caliber and nature of followers are determined by birth and are not associated with workers, but the extent to which followers understand the truth and know God depends on the workers (this is only so for some people). Whatever a worker is like, so will the followers he leads be. What a worker expresses is his own being, without reservation. The demands he makes of those who follow him are what he himself is willing or able to achieve. Most workers use what they do themselves as a basis to make demands of their followers, despite there being much their followers cannot achieve at all—and that which one cannot achieve becomes an obstacle to one’s entry.
There is far less deviation in the work of those who have undergone pruning, being dealt with, judgment and chastisement, and the expression of their work is much more accurate. Those who rely on their naturalness to work make quite major mistakes. The work of unperfected people expresses too much of their own naturalness, which poses a major obstacle to the work of the Holy Spirit. However good a person’s caliber, they must also undergo pruning, being dealt with, and judgment before they can do the work of God’s commission. If they have not undergone such judgment, their work, no matter how well done, cannot accord with the principles of the truth and is always a product of their own naturalness and human goodness. The work of those who have undergone pruning, being dealt with, and judgment is much more accurate than the work of those who have not been pruned, dealt with, and judged. Those who have not undergone judgment express nothing but human flesh and thoughts, mingled with much human intelligence and innate talent. This is not man’s accurate expression of God’s work. Those who follow such people are brought before them by their innate caliber. Because they express too much of the insight and experience of man, which are almost disconnected from God’s original intention and deviate too far from it, the work of this type of person cannot bring people before God, but brings them rather before man. So, those who have not undergone judgment and chastisement are unqualified to carry out the work of God’s commission. The work of a qualified worker can bring people to the right way and grant them greater entry into the truth. His work can bring people before God. In addition, the work he does can vary from individual to individual and is not bound by rules, allowing people liberation and freedom, and the capacity gradually to grow in life and to have a more profound entry into the truth. The work of an unqualified worker falls far short. His work is foolish. He can only bring people into rules, and what he demands of people does not vary from individual to individual; he does not work according to people’s actual needs. In this type of work, there are too many rules and too many doctrines, and it cannot bring people into reality, nor into normal practice of growth in life. It can only enable people to adhere to a few worthless rules. Such guidance can only lead people astray. He leads you to become like him; he can bring you into what he has and is. For followers to discern whether leaders are qualified, the key is to look at the path on which they lead and the results of their work, and to see whether followers receive principles in accordance with the truth, and whether they receive ways of practice suitable for their transformation. You should distinguish between the different work of different types of people; you should not be a foolish follower. This bears on the matter of people’s entry. If you are unable to distinguish which person’s leadership has a path and which does not, you will easily be deceived. All of this has a direct bearing on your own life. There is too much naturalness in the work of unperfected people; it is mixed with too much of human will. Their being is naturalness—what they are born with. It is not life after having been dealt with or reality after having been transformed. How can such a person support those who are pursuing life? The life that man has originally is his innate intelligence or talent. This kind of intelligence or talent is quite far from God’s exact demands for man. If a man has not been perfected and his corrupt disposition has not been pruned and dealt with, there will be a wide gap between what he expresses and the truth; what he expresses will be mixed with vague things, such as his imagination and one-sided experience. Moreover, regardless of how he works, people feel there is no overall goal and no truth suitable for the entry of all people. Most of what is demanded of people is beyond their ability, as if they were ducks being made to sit on perches. This is the work of human will. Man’s corrupt disposition, his thoughts, and his notions pervade all parts of his body. Man is not born with the instinct to practice the truth, nor does he have the instinct to understand the truth directly. Add to that man’s corrupt disposition—when this kind of natural person works, does it not cause interruptions? But a man who has been perfected has experience of the truth that people should understand, and knowledge of their corrupt dispositions, so that the vague and unreal things in his work gradually diminish, the human adulterations become fewer, and his work and service come ever closer to the standards required by God. Thus, his work has entered the reality of the truth and it has also become realistic. The thoughts in man’s mind in particular block the work of the Holy Spirit. Man has a rich imagination and reasonable logic, and he has had long experience handling affairs. If these aspects of man do not undergo pruning and correction, they are all obstacles to work. Therefore, man’s work cannot achieve the greatest degree of accuracy, especially the work of unperfected people.