74. Why isn’t God’s work in the last days done through the means of the Spirit? Why has God come to do His work in the flesh?
The Answer from God’s Word:
God’s saving of man is not done directly using the method of the Spirit and the identity of the Spirit, for His Spirit can neither be touched nor seen by man, neither can man draw near. If He tried to save man directly using the perspective of the Spirit, man would be unable to receive His salvation. If God did not put on the outward form of a created man, there would be no way for man to receive this salvation. For man has no way of approaching Him, much as no one was able to go near the cloud of Jehovah. Only by becoming a created human being, that is, only by putting His word into the body of flesh that He is about to become, can He personally work the word into all who follow Him. Only then can man personally see and hear His word, and moreover enter into possession of His word, and by this means come to be fully saved. If God did not become flesh, no man of flesh and blood would be able to receive such great salvation, nor would a single man be saved. If the Spirit of God worked directly in the midst of mankind, all humanity would be struck down, or else, with no way of coming into touch with God, they would be completely carried away captive by Satan. …
… If the Spirit of God spoke directly to man, men would all submit to the voice, falling down without words of revelation, much in the way that Paul fell to the ground in the light on the road to Damascus. If God continued to work in this way, man would never be able to come to know his own corruption through judgment by the word and thereby attain salvation. Only through becoming flesh can He personally deliver His words into the ears of each and every human being, so that all who have ears may hear His words and receive His work of judgment by the word. Only this is the result achieved by His word, rather than the Spirit becoming manifest to frighten man into submission. It is only through this practical and yet extraordinary work that the old disposition of man, hidden deep within for many years, can be fully exposed, so that man may recognize it and have it changed. … The reason why He becomes flesh is because the flesh can also possess authority, and He is capable of carrying out work in a practical manner among mankind, in such a way that it is visible and tangible to man. This work is much more realistic than the work done directly by the Spirit of God, who possesses all authority, and its results are also apparent. This is because His incarnate flesh can speak and work in a practical way. The outward form of His flesh holds no authority, and can be approached by man, whereas His substance does carry authority, but His authority is visible to none. When He speaks and works, man is unable to detect the existence of His authority; this facilitates Him in doing work of a practical nature. And all this practical work can achieve results. Even though no man realizes that He holds authority, or sees that He is not to be offended, or sees His wrath, He achieves the intended results of His words through His veiled authority, His hidden wrath, and the words He openly speaks. In other words, through His tone of voice, the sternness of His speech, and all the wisdom of His words, man is utterly convinced. In this way, man submits to the word of God incarnate, who seemingly has no authority, thereby fulfilling His aim of saving man. This is another aspect of the significance of His incarnation: to speak more realistically and allow the reality of His words to have an effect upon man, so that man may witness the power of the word of God.
from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
God became flesh because the object of His work is not the spirit of Satan, or any incorporeal thing, but man, who is of the flesh and has been corrupted by Satan. It is precisely because the flesh of man has been corrupted that God has made fleshly man the object of His work; moreover, because man is the object of corruption, He has made man the only object of His work throughout all the stages of His salvation work. Man is a mortal being, is of flesh and blood, and God is the only One who can save man. In this way, God must become a flesh that possesses the same attributes as man in order to do His work, so that His work might achieve better effects. God must become flesh to do His work precisely because man is of the flesh, and incapable of overcoming sin or divesting himself of the flesh. Though the substance and identity of God incarnate differ greatly from the substance and identity of man, yet His appearance is identical to that of man, He has the appearance of a normal person, and leads the life of a normal person, and those who see Him can discern no difference to a normal person. This normal appearance and normal humanity are sufficient for Him to do His divine work in normal humanity. His flesh allows Him to do His work in normal humanity, and helps Him do His work among man, and His normal humanity, moreover, helps Him carry out the work of salvation among man. Although His normal humanity has caused much tumult among man, such tumult has not impacted the normal effects of His work. In short, the work of His normal flesh is of supreme benefit to man. Though most people do not accept His normal humanity, His work can still be effective, and these effects are achieved thanks to His normal humanity. Of this there is no doubt. From His work in the flesh, man gains ten times or dozens of times more things than the conceptions that exist among man about His normal humanity, and such conceptions shall all ultimately be swallowed by His work. And the effect that His work has achieved, which is to say, the knowledge that man has toward Him, far outnumbers man’s conceptions about Him. …
… The only reason that the incarnate God has come into the flesh is because of the needs of corrupt man. It is because of the needs of man but not of God, and all His sacrifices and sufferings are for the sake of mankind, and not for the benefit of God Himself. There are no pros and cons or rewards for God; He shall not reap some future harvest, but that which was originally owed to Him. All that He does and sacrifices for mankind is not so that He might gain great rewards, but purely for the sake of mankind. Though God’s work in the flesh involves many unimaginable difficulties, the effects that it ultimately achieves far exceed those of the work done directly by the Spirit. The work of the flesh entails much hardship, and the flesh cannot possess the same great identity as the Spirit, cannot carry out the same supernatural deeds as the Spirit, much less can He possess the same authority as the Spirit. Yet the substance of the work done by this unremarkable flesh is far superior to that of the work done directly by the Spirit, and this flesh Himself is the answer to all of man’s needs. For those to be saved, the use value of the Spirit is far inferior to that of the flesh: The work of the Spirit is able to cover the entire universe, across all mountains, rivers, lakes, and oceans, yet the work of the flesh more effectively relates to every person with whom He has contact. What’s more, God’s flesh with tangible form can better be understood and trusted by man, and can further deepen man’s knowledge of God, and can leave upon man a more profound impression of the actual deeds of God. The work of the Spirit is shrouded in mystery, it is difficult for mortal beings to fathom, and even harder for them to see, and so they can only rely on hollow imaginings. The work of the flesh, however, is normal, and based on reality, and possessed of rich wisdom, and is a fact that can be beheld by the physical eye of man; man can personally experience the wisdom of the work of God, and has no need to employ his bountiful imagination. This is the accuracy and real value of the work of God in the flesh. The Spirit can only do things that are invisible to man and difficult for him to imagine, for example the enlightenment of the Spirit, the moving of the Spirit, and the guidance of the Spirit, but for man who has a mind, these do not provide any clear meaning. They only provide a moving, or a broad meaning, and cannot give an instruction with words. The work of God in the flesh, however, is greatly different: It has accurate guidance of words, has clear will, and has clear required goals. And so man does not need to grope around, or employ his imagination, much less make guesses. This is the clarity of the work in the flesh, and its great difference from the work of the Spirit. The work of the Spirit is only suitable for a limited scope, and cannot replace the work of the flesh. The work of the flesh gives man far more exact and necessary goals and far more real, valuable knowledge than the work of the Spirit. The work that is of greatest value to corrupt man is that which provides accurate words, clear goals to pursue, and which can be seen and touched. Only realistic work and timely guidance are suited to man’s tastes, and only real work can save man from his corrupt and depraved disposition. This can only be achieved by the incarnate God; only the incarnate God can save man from his formerly corrupt and depraved disposition. Although the Spirit is the inherent substance of God, work such as this can only be done by His flesh. If the Spirit worked single-handedly, then it would not be possible for His work to be effective—this is a plain truth. …
… God can save corrupt man from the influence of Satan, but this work cannot be directly accomplished by the Spirit of God; rather, it can only be done by the flesh God’s Spirit wears, by God’s incarnate flesh. This flesh is man and also God, is a man possessed of normal humanity and also God possessed of full divinity. And so, even though this flesh is not the Spirit of God, and differs greatly from the Spirit, it is still the incarnate God Himself who saves man, who is the Spirit and also the flesh. No matter what He is called by, ultimately it is still God Himself who saves mankind. For the Spirit of God is indivisible from the flesh, and the work of the flesh is also the work of the Spirit of God; it is just that this work is not done using the identity of the Spirit, but is done using the identity of the flesh. Work that needs to be done directly by the Spirit does not require incarnation, and work that requires the flesh to do cannot be done directly by the Spirit, and can only be done by God incarnate. This is what is required for this work, and is what is required by corrupt mankind. In the three stages of God’s work, only one stage was carried out directly by the Spirit, and the remaining two stages are carried out by the incarnate God, and not directly by the Spirit. The work of the law done by the Spirit did not involve changing the corrupt disposition of man, and neither did it bear any relation to man’s knowledge of God. The work of God’s flesh in the Age of Grace and the Age of Kingdom, however, involves man’s corrupt disposition and his knowledge of God, and is an important and crucial part of the work of salvation. Therefore, corrupt mankind is more in need of the salvation of the incarnate God, and is more in need of the direct work of the incarnate God. Mankind needs the incarnate God to shepherd him, support him, water him, feed him, judge and chastise him, and he needs more grace and greater redemption from the incarnate God. Only God in the flesh can be the confidant of man, the shepherd of man, the very present help of man, and all of this is the necessity of incarnation today and in times past.
from “Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of God Become Flesh” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The flesh of man has been corrupted by Satan, and most deeply blinded, and profoundly harmed. The most fundamental reason why God works personally in the flesh is because the object of His salvation is man, who is of the flesh, and because Satan also uses the flesh of man to disturb the work of God. The battle with Satan is actually the work of conquering man, and at the same time, man is also the object of God’s salvation. In this way, the work of God incarnate is essential. Satan corrupted the flesh of man, and man became the embodiment of Satan, and became the object to be defeated by God. In this way, the work of doing battle with Satan and saving mankind occurs on earth, and God must become human in order to do battle with Satan. This is work of the utmost practicality. When God is working in the flesh, He is actually doing battle with Satan in the flesh. When He works in the flesh, He is doing His work in the spiritual realm, and makes the whole of His work in the spiritual realm real on earth. The one who is conquered is man, who is disobedient to Him, the one who is defeated is the embodiment of Satan (of course, this is also man), who is in enmity of Him, and the one who is ultimately saved is also man. In this way, it is even more necessary for Him to become a man who has the outer shell of a creature, so that He is able to do real battle with Satan, conquering man, who is disobedient to Him and possessed of the same outer shell as Him, and saving man, who is of the same outer shell as Him and has been harmed by Satan. His enemy is man, the object of His conquest is man, and the object of His salvation is man, who was created by Him. So He must become man, and in this way, His work becomes much easier. He is able to defeat Satan and conquer mankind, and, moreover, is able to save mankind. Although this flesh is normal and real, He is no common flesh: He is not flesh that is only human, but flesh that is both human and divine. This is His difference to man, and is the mark of the identity of God. Only flesh such as this can do the work that He intends to do, and fulfill the ministry of God in the flesh, and fully complete His work among man. If it were not thus, His work among man would always be empty and flawed. Even though God can do battle with the spirit of Satan and emerge victorious, the old disposition of corrupted man can never be resolved, and those who are disobedient to Him and oppose Him can never truly become subject to His dominion, which is to say, He can never conquer mankind, and can never gain the whole of mankind. If His work on earth cannot be resolved, then His management shall never be brought to an end, and the whole of mankind will not be able to enter rest. If God cannot enter rest with all of His creatures, then there shall never be an outcome to such management work, and the glory of God shall consequently disappear. Although His flesh has no authority, the work He does will have achieved its effect. This is the inevitable direction of His work. Regardless of whether or not His flesh is possessed of authority, as long as He is capable of doing the work of God Himself, then He is God Himself. Regardless of how normal and ordinary this flesh is, He can do the work He should do, for this flesh is God and not just a man. The reason this flesh can do the work that man cannot do is because His inward substance is unlike that of any man, and the reason He can save man is because His identity is different from that of any man. This flesh is so important to mankind because He is man and even more God, because He can do the work that no ordinary man of flesh can do, and because He can save corrupt man, who lives together with Him on earth. Though He is identical to man, the incarnate God is more important to mankind than any person of value, for He can do the work that cannot be done by the Spirit of God, is more able than the Spirit of God to bear testimony to God Himself, and is more able than the Spirit of God to fully gain mankind. As a result, although this flesh is normal and ordinary, His contribution to mankind and His significance to the existence of mankind make Him highly precious, and the real value and significance of this flesh is immeasurable to any man. Although this flesh cannot directly destroy Satan, He can use His work to conquer mankind and defeat Satan, and make Satan fully submit to His dominion. It is because God is incarnated that He can defeat Satan and is able to save mankind. He does not directly destroy Satan, but becomes flesh to do the work to conquer mankind, who has been corrupted by Satan. In this way, He is better able to bear testimony to Himself among the creatures, and is better able to save corrupted man. God incarnate’s defeat of Satan bears greater testimony, and is more persuasive, than the direct destruction of Satan by the Spirit of God. God in the flesh is better able to help man know the Creator, and is better able to bear testimony to Himself among the creatures.
from “Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of God Become Flesh” in The Word Appears in the Flesh