God’s Work and Man’s Practice (Part One)
God’s work among man is inseparable from man, for man is the object of this work, and the only creature made by God that can bear testimony to God. The life of man and all of man’s activities are inseparable from God, and are all controlled by the hands of God, and it may even be said that no person can exist independently of God. None can deny this, for it is a fact. All that God does is for the profit of mankind, and directed at the schemes of Satan. All that man needs comes from God, and God is the source of man’s life. Thus, man is simply unable to part from God. God, furthermore, has never had any intention of parting from man. The work that God does is for the sake of all mankind, and His thoughts are always kind. For man, then, the work of God and the thoughts of God (that is, God’s will) are both “visions” that should be known by man. Such visions are also the management of God, and work that is incapable of being done by man. The requirements that God makes of man during His work, meanwhile, are called the “practice” of man. Visions are the work of God Himself, or are His will for mankind or the aims and significance of His work. Visions can also be said to be a part of the management, for this management is the work of God, and is directed at man, which means that it is the work that God does among man. This work is the evidence and the path through which man comes to know God, and it is of the utmost importance for man. If, instead of paying attention to the knowledge of God’s work, people only pay attention to the doctrines of belief in God, or to triflingly unimportant details, then they simply will not know God, and, moreover, will not be after God’s heart. The work of God is exceedingly helpful to man’s knowledge of God, and is called visions. These visions are the work of God, the will of God, and the aims and significance of God’s work; they are all of benefit to man. Practice refers to that which should be done by man, that which should be done by the creatures that follow God. It is also the duty of man. What man is supposed to do is not something that was understood by man from the very beginning, but is the requirements that God makes of man during His work. These requirements become gradually deeper and more elevated as God works. For example, during the Age of Law, man had to follow the law, and during the Age of Grace, man had to bear the cross. The Age of Kingdom is different: The requirements of man are higher than during the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. As the visions become more elevated, the requirements of man become ever higher, and become ever clearer and more real. Likewise, the visions also become increasingly real. These many real visions are not only conducive to man’s obedience to God, but are, moreover, conducive to his knowledge of God.
Compared to previous ages, the work of God during the Age of Kingdom is more practical, more directed at man’s substance and changes in his disposition, and more able to bear testimony to God Himself for all those that follow Him. In other words, during the Age of Kingdom, as He works, God shows more of Himself to man than at any time in the past, which means that the visions that should be known by man are higher than in any previous age. Because God’s work among man has entered unprecedented territory, the visions known by man during the Age of Kingdom are the highest among all of the management work. God’s work has entered unprecedented territory, and so the visions to be known by man have become the highest of all visions, and the resultant practice of man is also higher than in any previous age, for the practice of man changes in step with the visions, and the perfection of the visions also marks the perfection of the requirements of man. As soon as all of God’s management comes to a halt, so too does the practice of man cease, and without the work of God, man will have no choice but to keep to the doctrine of times past, or else will simply have nowhere to turn. Without new visions, there will be no new practice by man; without complete visions, there will be no perfect practice by man; without higher visions, there will be no higher practice by man. The practice of man changes with the footsteps of God, and, likewise, the knowledge and experience of man also change with God’s work. Regardless of how capable man is, still he is inseparable from God, and if God were to stop working for a just moment, man would immediately die from His wrath. Man has nothing to boast of, for no matter how high man’s knowledge today, no matter how profound his experiences, he is inseparable from God’s work—for the practice of man, and that which he should seek in his belief in God, are inseparable from the visions. In every instance of God’s work are the visions that should be known by man, visions that are followed by God’s fitting requirements of man. Without these visions as the foundation, man would be simply incapable of practice, nor would man be able to follow God unwaveringly. If man does not know God or understand God’s will, then all that man does is in vain, and incapable of being approved by God. No matter how plentiful man’s gifts, still he is inseparable from God’s work and the guidance of God. No matter how good or many are the actions of man, still they cannot replace the work of God. And so, under no circumstance is the practice of man separable from the visions. Those who do not accept the new visions have no new practice. Their practice bears no relation to the truth because they abide by doctrine and keep to the dead law; they have no new visions at all, and as a result, they put nothing in the new age into practice. They have lost the visions, and in doing so they have also lost the work of the Holy Spirit, and have lost the truth. Those who are without the truth are the progeny of falsehood, they are the embodiment of Satan. No matter what kind of person one is, they cannot be without the visions of God’s work, and cannot be bereft of the presence of the Holy Spirit; as soon as one loses the visions, they instantly descend into Hades and live among darkness. People without visions are those who follow God foolishly, they are those who are devoid of the work of the Holy Spirit, and they are living in hell. Such people do not pursue the truth, and hang out the name of God like a signboard. Those who do not know the work of the Holy Spirit, who do not know God incarnate, who do not know the three stages of work in the entirety of God’s management—they do not know the visions, and so are without the truth. And are not those who do not possess the truth all evildoers? Those who are willing to put the truth into practice, who are willing to seek a knowledge of God, and who truly cooperate with God are people for whom the visions act as a foundation. They are approved by God because they cooperate with God, and it is this cooperation that should be put into practice by man.
In the visions are contained many paths to practice. The practical demands made of man are also contained within the visions, as is the work of God that should be known by man. In the past, during the special gatherings or the grand gatherings that were held in various places, only one aspect of the path of practice was spoken of. Such practice was that which was to be put into practice during the Age of Grace, and scarcely bore any relation to the knowledge of God, for the vision of the Age of Grace was only the vision of Jesus’ crucifixion, and there were no greater visions. Man was supposed to know no more than the work of His redemption of mankind through the crucifixion, and so during the Age of Grace there were no other visions for man to know. In this way, man had only a scant knowledge of God, and apart from the knowledge of Jesus’ love and compassion, there were but a few simple and pitiful things for him to put into practice, things that were a far cry from today. In the past, no matter what form his assembly, man was incapable of speaking of a practical knowledge of God’s work, much less was any able to clearly say which was the most suitable path of practice for man to enter upon. He merely added a few simple details to a foundation of forbearance and patience; there was simply no change in the substance of his practice, for within the same age God did not do any newer work, and the only requirements He made of man were forbearance and patience, or bearing the cross. Apart from such practices, there were no higher visions than the crucifixion of Jesus. In the past, there was no mention of other visions because God did not do a great deal of work, and because He only made limited demands of man. In this way, regardless of what man did, he was incapable of transgressing these bounds, bounds which were but a few simple and shallow things for man to put into practice. Today I talk of other visions because today, more work has been done, work that is several times in excess of the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. The requirements of man, too, are several times higher than in ages past. If man is incapable of fully knowing such work, then it would possess no great significance; it can be said that man would have difficulty fully knowing such work if he does not devote an entire lifetime’s effort to it. In the work of conquest, to talk only of the path of practice would make the conquest of man impossible. Mere talk of the visions, without any requirements of man, would also render the conquest of man impossible. If nothing were spoken of but the path of practice, then it would be impossible to strike at man’s Achilles’ heel, or to dispel the conceptions of man, and so too would it be impossible to completely conquer man. Visions are the main instrument of man’s conquest, yet if there were no path apart from the visions, then man would have no way of following, much less would he have any means of entry. This has been the principle of God’s work from beginning to end: In the visions there is that which can be put into practice, and so too are there visions that are exclusive of such practice. The degree of changes in both man’s life and his disposition accompanies changes in the visions. Were man only to rely on his own efforts, then it would be impossible for him to achieve any great degree of change. The visions speak of the work of God Himself and the management of God. Practice refers to the path of man’s practice, and to the way of man’s existence; in all of God’s management, the relationship between visions and practice is the relationship between God and man. If the visions were removed, or if they were spoken of without the talk of practice, or if there were only visions and the practice of man were eradicated, then such things could not be considered the management of God, much less could it be said that the work of God is for the sake of mankind; in this way, not only would man’s duty be removed, but it would be a denial of the purpose of God’s work. If, from beginning to end, man were merely required to practice, without the involvement of God’s work, and, moreover, if man were not required to know the work of God, much less could such work be called the management of God. If man did not know God, and were ignorant of God’s will, and blindly carried out his practice in a vague and abstract way, then he would never become a fully qualified creature. And so, these two things are both indispensable. If there were only the work of God, which is to say, if there were only the visions and if there were no cooperation or practice by man, then such things could not be called the management of God. If there were only the practice and entry of man, then regardless of how high the path that man entered upon, this, too, would be unacceptable. The entry of man must gradually change in step with the work and visions; it cannot change at whim. The principles of man’s practice are not free and unrestrained, but within certain bounds. Such principles change in step with the visions of the work. So God’s management ultimately comes down to God’s work and the practice of man.
The management work only came about because of mankind, which means it was only produced by the existence of mankind. There was no management before mankind, or in the beginning, when the heavens and earth and all things were created. If, in all of God’s work, there were not practice that is beneficial to man, which is to say, if God did not make fitting requirements of corrupt mankind (if, in the work done by God, there were no suitable path for man’s practice), then this work could not be called God’s management. If the entirety of God’s work only involved telling corrupt mankind how to go about their practice, and God did not carry out any of His own enterprise, and exhibited not a shred of His omnipotence or wisdom, then no matter how high God’s requirements of man, no matter how long God lived among man, man would know nothing of God’s disposition; if that were the case, then work of this kind would be even less worthy of being called God’s management. Simply put, the work of God’s management is the work done by God, and all the work carried out under the guidance of God by those who have been gained by God. Such work can be summarized as management, and refers to God’s work among man, as well as the cooperation with Him of all those who follow Him; all these can collectively be called management. Here, the work of God is called visions, and the cooperation of man is called practice. The higher God’s work (that is, the higher the visions), the more that God’s disposition is made plain to man, and the more that it is at odds with the conceptions of man, and the higher are the practice and cooperation of man. The higher the requirements of man, the more that God’s work is at odds with the conceptions of man, as a result of which the trials of man, and the standards that he is required to meet, also become higher. At the conclusion of this work, all visions will have been made complete, and that which man is required to put into practice will have reached the acme of perfection. This will also be the time when each is classed according to kind, for that which man is required to know will have been shown to man. So, when the visions reach their apogee, the work will accordingly approach its end, and man’s practice will have also reached its zenith. The practice of man is based on the work of God, and the management of God is only fully expressed thanks to the practice of man and cooperation of man. Man is the showpiece of God’s work, and the object of the work of all of God’s management, and also the product of God’s entire management. If God worked alone, without the cooperation of man, then there would be nothing that could serve as the crystallization of His entire work, and in this way there would not be the slightest significance to God’s management. Only by choosing a fitting object that is outside of God’s work, and which can express this work, and prove its omnipotence and wisdom, is it possible to achieve the aim of God’s management, and achieve the aim of using all of this work to completely defeat Satan. And so, man is an indispensable part of the work of God’s management, and man is the only one that can make God’s management bear fruit and achieve its ultimate aim; apart from man, no other life form can undertake such a role. If man is to become the true crystallization of the management work, then the disobedience of corrupt mankind must be entirely dispelled. This requires that man be given practice suitable for different times, and that God carry out the corresponding work among man. Only in this way will there ultimately be gained a group of people who are the crystallization of the management work. God’s work among man cannot bear testimony to God Himself merely through the work of God alone; such testimony also requires living human beings that are suitable for His work in order to be achieved. God will first work upon these people, through whom His work will then be expressed, and thus such testimony of His will be borne among the creatures. And in this, God will have achieved the aim of His work. God does not work alone to defeat Satan because He cannot bear direct testimony to Himself among all creatures. If He were to do so, it would be impossible to utterly convince man, so God must work on man in order to conquer him, and only then will He be able to gain testimony among all creatures. If God alone were to work, and there were not the cooperation of man, or if man were not required to cooperate, then man would never be able to know God’s disposition, and would forever be unaware of God’s will; in this way, it could not be called the work of God’s management. If only man himself were to strive, and seek, and work hard, but he did not understand the work of God, then man would be playing pranks. Without the work of the Holy Spirit, that which man does is of Satan, he is rebellious and an evildoer; Satan is exhibited in all that is done by corrupt mankind, and there is nothing that is compatible with God, and all are the manifestation of Satan. Nothing in all that has been spoken of is exclusive of visions and practice. Upon the foundation of visions, man finds practice, he finds the path of obedience, so that he may put aside his conceptions and gain those things that he has not possessed in the past. God requires that man cooperate with Him, that man completely submit to His requirements, and man asks to behold the work done by God Himself, to experience the almighty power of God, and to know God’s disposition. These, in summary, are the management of God. God’s union with man is the management, and the greatest management.
That which involves visions primarily refers to the work of God Himself, and that which involves practice should be done by man, and bears no relation to God. The work of God is completed by God Himself, and the practice of man is achieved by man himself. That which should be done by God Himself does not need to be done by man, and that which should be practiced by man is unrelated to God. The work of God is His own ministry, and has no relation to man. This work does not need to be done by man, and, furthermore, man would be incapable of doing the work to be done by God. That which man is required to practice must be accomplished by man, whether it be the sacrifice of his life, or the delivery of him over to Satan to stand testimony—these must all be accomplished by man. God Himself completes all the work that He is supposed to, and that which man should do is shown to man, and the remaining work is left to man. God does not do additional work. He does only the work that is within His ministry, and only shows man the way, and only does the work of opening the way, and does not do the work of paving the way; this should be understood by man. Putting the truth into practice means putting the words of God into practice, and all this is the duty of man, is that which should be done by man, and has nothing to do with God. If man demands that God also suffer torment and refinement in the truth, in the same way as man, then man is being disobedient. God’s work is to perform His ministry, and the duty of man is to obey all of God’s guidance, without any resistance. That which man must attain he is behooved to accomplish, regardless of the manner in which God works or lives. Only God Himself can make requirements of man, which is to say, only God Himself is fit to make requirements of man. Man should not have any choice, should do nothing but fully submit and practice; this is the sense that should be possessed by man. Once the work that should be done by God Himself is completed, man is required to experience it, step by step. If, in the end, when all of God’s management has been completed, man has still not done that which is required by God, then man should be punished. If man does not fulfill the requirements of God, then this is due to the disobedience of man; it does not mean that God has not been thorough enough in His work. All those who cannot put God’s words into practice, those who cannot fulfill God’s requirements, and those who cannot give their loyalty and fulfill their duty—they will all be punished. Today, what you are required to achieve are not additional demands, but the duty of man, and that which should be done by all people. If you are incapable of even doing your duty, or of doing it well, then are you not bringing troubles upon yourselves? Are you not courting death? How could you still expect future and prospects? The work of God is for the sake of mankind, and the cooperation of man is for the sake of God’s management. After God has done all that He is supposed to do, man is required to be unstinting in his practice, and to cooperate with God. In the work of God, man should spare no effort, should offer up his loyalty, and should not indulge in numerous conceptions, or sit passively and await death. God can sacrifice Himself for man, so why can man not offer his loyalty to God? God is of one heart and mind toward man, so why can man not offer a little cooperation? God works for mankind, so why can man not perform some of his duty for the sake of God’s management? God’s work has come this far, yet you still see but do not act, you hear but do not move. Are not such people the objects of perdition? God has already devoted His all to man, so why, today, is man incapable of earnestly performing his duty? For God, His work is His first priority, and the work of His management is of the utmost importance. For man, putting God’s words into practice and fulfilling God’s requirements are his first priority. This you should all understand. The words spoken to you have reached the very core of your essence, and God’s work has entered unprecedented territory. Many people still do not understand the truth or falsehood of this way; they are still waiting and seeing, and not performing their duty. Instead, they examine every word and action by God, they focus on what He eats and wears, and their conceptions become ever more grievous. Are such people not making a fuss about nothing? How could such people be those who seek God? And how could they be those who intentionally submit to God? They put their loyalty and duty to the back of their minds, and instead concentrate on the whereabouts of God. They are an outrage! If man has understood all that he is supposed to understand, and has put into practice all that he is supposed to put into practice, then God will surely bestow His blessings upon man, for that which He requires of man is the duty of man, and that which should be done by man. If man is incapable of comprehending what he is supposed to understand, and is incapable of putting into practice what he should put into practice, then man will be punished. Those who do not cooperate with God are in enmity to God, those who do not accept the new work are opposed to it, even though such people do nothing that is obviously in opposition to it. All those who do not put into practice the truth required by God are people who deliberately oppose and are disobedient toward the words of God, even if such people pay special attention to the work of the Holy Spirit. People who do not obey God’s words and submit to God are rebellious, and in opposition to God. People who do not perform their duty are those who do not cooperate with God, and people who do not cooperate with God are those who do not accept the work of the Holy Spirit.