Only by Understanding the Truth Can One Know God’s Deeds
God has sovereignty over the fate of all mankind and over everything in the universe. What fact do people see about God’s sovereignty? That no matter how big the world or how vast the universe, from the macroscopic to the microscopic, God reigns sovereign over all and orchestrates all things. No matter man’s wishes, ambitions, demands, or the direction in which he is inclined to develop, from where God stands, His sovereignty and orchestrations are not affected by these things in the slightest. What is the principle by which God reigns sovereign over, and orchestrates, all things? On what is it based? What is God’s goal in doing all of this? What does it revolve around? (It revolves around God’s management plan.) This response is correct; everything God does revolves around His management plan. These words are a bit confusing, but they have a deeper connotation. By which, I mean that all the work God does is not swayed by man’s wishes. God’s sovereignty and orchestrations; the way He orchestrates countries, peoples, or ethnic groups; or the things He arranges to happen in any given era are not swayed by man’s wishes. God is not limited by time, space, geography, or people. Everything He does is carried out exactly according to His plan, and no man can thwart or disturb it. No matter whether you are willing or not, and no matter what the subjective wishes are of mankind or a particular ethnic group, no man or thing is capable of disturbing, destroying, or swaying what God has decided to do. What have you learned from this? (We have learned about God’s authority.) This is God’s authority. From when God first created human beings to when they progressed step by step, humankind has encompassed God’s chosen people, Gentiles, and those who are antagonistic toward God. God views all these types of people as human, but, is there a difference in how God treats these different types of people? Does God lead His chosen people in a particular way? (Yes, He does.) God treats His chosen people differently than He treats other people. But within God’s chosen people, some are able to follow and obey Him, and some are disobedient and resist Him. So, how does God treat them? How does God view their attitude toward Him? (God is merciful and loving toward those who obey Him, but when people are disobedient or resist Him, He brings His righteous disposition down upon them.) That is right. Regardless whether you think you are one of God’s chosen people, or one of His followers, or have contributed in some way to the work of God’s house, from where God stands, He does not look at these outward things. God has a righteous disposition and is principled in His treatment of people: Those who should be judged, are judged; those who should be punished, are punished; and those who should be destroyed, are destroyed. For example, what strikes you about the fact that the Jews were driven out of Judea, and the Lord Jesus’ gospel of the kingdom of heaven was spread to the Gentiles? According to people’s notions and imaginings, and according to Judaism, only the Jews are God’s chosen people. They are God’s precious children, and the humans to which God is most attached; they are the apple of His eye. According to what people say, the Jews are His most beloved children, and one should baby and protect their favorite child, and not let them be hurt or compromised in any way. People think that no matter what the Jews pray for, God will grant it to them, and will bestow upon them more than they asked for or imagined. But is this what God did? (No, it is not.) Then, what did God do? Because the Jews nailed the Lord Jesus to a cross, God became very angry and made the Romans send armies to conquer Judea and drive the Jews out of their homeland. It was a scene of much slaughter and carnage; countless people died and blood flowed like rivers. The only way many Jews survived was by escaping to various countries around the world. From these facts, what essence do you see in God’s disposition? (That God’s righteous disposition does not tolerate offense.) Let us not start off by talking about God’s disposition, let us first use people as an example. In real life, if someone has a child they love dearly, and wants the child to inherit their property and everything they have, what will they do? On one hand, they will be strict with him, so that he will grow up to be accomplished and can take up his parents’ mantle. But most importantly, they will protect him and not let him come in the path of any harm or danger. The purpose of this is so that the child can live and inherit everything his parents have. What motivates people to do all of this? Do people treat children they do not love, or strangers, in the same way? Do they act the same way? (No, they do not.) It is obvious that everything people do for the child they love best is motivated by selfishness, emotion, and personal desire; these things are part of the essence of man’s nature. Is there truth in people’s emotions and selfishness? Is there fairness? (No, there is not.) That is how mankind manifests itself. But look at the things God did—God wanted His chosen people, the Jews, to spread the gospel from Judea to all the Gentile peoples around the world—in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. How were they to spread it? God used a method by which foreign invaders raided and occupied Jewish lands, drove out the Jews who were living there, the people who spread news about Jesus the Savior, and caused them to lose their homeland, never to return. Then, the Jews settled in various corners of the earth, where they survived and began spreading the gospel of Jesus the Savior, until it gradually reached every country in the world, and all the ends of the earth. This proves a fact: that God’s work is very practical. Where is this primarily manifested? In the fact that God employed a very special and unusual method to push the Israelites out into all these different countries and spread the gospel of the Lord Jesus. If He had let the Israelites make the decision to move to every country and spread the gospel and testify to God, they would not be able to bring themselves to abandon their families and their ancestral homeland. It is as though God gave them a kick to get them on their way, so they could go out and spread the gospel of the Lord Jesus. This is the price God paid for the gospel of the kingdom of heaven; He made His chosen people meet with war, slaughter, and exile. The Jews were forced to wander the earth without a home, spreading the gospel in every country. In the eyes of man, these methods are too uncaring, but can God’s essence be described as “uncaring”? Obviously not, as it is not uncaring. This is because there is no selfishness or emotion in God’s disposition and essence; He did all of this for the progress of all mankind, so that mankind’s next step of progress would succeed, and be materialized in complete accordance with the steps of God’s management plan. So, God must do this; there was no other way. The steps of God’s work had already progressed to this point, and His actions had brought swift and good results, so they were entirely appropriate. Looking at God’s essence, only God could do this, no other country or race would. God’s disposition is righteous. Looking at God’s attitude toward the Jews should offer some enlightenment for God’s chosen people today. Man was created by God, and God has love, attachment, mercy, and lovingkindness for man, but when God gives people a mission, what are people in God’s eyes? Can you grasp this level of meaning? Some people say, “From this perspective, people don’t have any value in God’s eyes. They’re just pawns. You just go where He says, and do what He says.” Are these words correct? They are not. It seems like this is the case on the surface, but in fact it is not. To use the words of man, when God acts He does not concern Himself with that much. He does not have man’s traditional thinking or notions, and He is not limited by anything. Everything God does is liberating, freeing, public, transparent, and upright. On one hand, He follows the steps of His management plan so that everything progresses normally; on the other hand, it is so that people in the future can progress and move forward normally in God’s hands, in accordance with His management plan. Man’s progress is intimately tied to God’s management plan. If God did not act this way, bearing the pain of giving up something He loved to take this step, it would be difficult for man to progress even a little bit. That is why I say that God has considered every choice He makes, every step He takes, and every thing in His management work; it contains His might, authority, and wisdom. There are always some things God does which people do not understand. Why can they not understand? Because people have notions. Some of these notions are imaginings, some are influenced by man’s traditional culture and thinking, and some are man’s selfish desires and judgments. These things influence man’s understanding of God, as well as his view of God.
What conclusion can you come to about the Jews being driven out of Judea? (That God does not have a selfish heart like humans. Everything God does is upright, and for the progress of all mankind.) If this situation happened to you, and there was slaughter, streams of blood, ruin and death was visited upon your household, and your family was torn apart, what would be your understanding? (Depending on our humanity and the extent of our corruption by Satan, we may have a lot of misunderstandings, resentment, and misinterpretations, but now, through God’s fellowship, we realize that everything God does possesses meaning and His will. No matter how much suffering we experience, we should willingly submit to all of God’s orchestrations, and do our utmost to cooperate with Him, sharing and testifying to God’s work of the last days.) In the face of these facts, does man have a choice? Man has no right to choose what God decides to do. After hearing these words, do people still feel that God is love? They become disheartened, and say, “If people have no choice about these facts, then exactly what role do people play in the work of God’s management plan?” Do you know? (We are created beings.) You are not just created beings; you act as foils. You are the object of God’s judgment and chastisement, but even more so, you are objects of His salvation. That is the role you play. What is your function as created beings? This relates to a person’s practice and duty. You are a created being, and if God gave you the gift of song, and the house of God arranges for you to sing, then you are to sing well. If you have the gift of evangelism, and the house of God arranges for you to go out and spread the gospel, then you should go out and spread the gospel well. When God’s chosen people elect you as a leader, you should take up the commission of leadership, and lead God’s chosen people to eat and drink the words of God, fellowship on the truth, and enter into reality. In doing so, you will have performed your duty well. The commission God gives to man is extremely important and meaningful! So, how should you take up this commission and fulfill your function? This is one of the biggest issues you face, and you must make a choice. You might say that this is a crucial moment which decides whether you can gain the truth and be perfected by God. If you act by relying on your own will and commit all kinds of outrages, not only will you not fulfill God’s commission, but you also will disturb the work of God’s house. Consequently, it will be necessary for you to be punished, just as Paul was. When God tells you to go do something, what is your function then? It is to do the task well and not mess it up. In doing so, you are performing a service well. No matter what service God tells you to perform, you must do it well and obediently. In so doing, you are a person who listens and obeys. If you do not perform a service honestly, always have personal intentions, and always want to rule like a king, then you are a Satan and an antichrist, and you must be punished. Some people do not understand the truth or pursue it; they only put effort into their work. What then is their function as a created being? Just to work and serve. Sum up, then, what are the precise duties created beings in God’s eyes should perform and what human likeness they should live out. This pertains to your practice. According to the notions and imaginings of man, God is attached to, cares for, protects, looks after, and bestows grace upon the created beings in His eyes. He then disciplines, prunes and deals with them, loves them in His heart, and holds them in His hands. Ultimately, God has the single-minded intent to perfect them, ensure their safety and make sure nothing happens to them until they are perfected. To them, this is what created beings are in God’s eyes. When people experience this, they think, “God is singularly lovely! How great is our God! He is so worthy of our love! God is merciful and loving! God is wonderful!” But if you compare this with the facts, are these the only ways in which God treats created beings? (No, it is not.) Then how does God treat people? What other notions and imaginings do people have about the attitude God takes toward His treatment of man? Are there any which people cannot accept? Without question, it is God’s judgment, chastisement, trials, refinement, pruning, discipline, deprivation, and His dealing with people. What kind of people are those who cannot accept God’s judgment and chastisement? You could say that they are people who do not accept the truth, and you could definitely say that people who do not accept the truth are nonbelievers. If a person cannot accept God’s judgment and chastisement, then they cannot accept God’s work. What is the nature of this problem? It is that they do not accept the truth, and they reject God’s work. People like this will only meet with disaster and punishment. No matter what kind of person you are, if you believe in God but do not accept the truth, you cannot be saved. After a person starts believing in God, no matter what environment God surrounds them with to expose them, during the process of being exposed, can they see God’s blessings, grace, care, or protection? (No, they cannot.) On the surface they cannot see it, but after going through trials and refinement will they be able to see it? They most certainly will. So there are many people who can see God’s protection and blessings after experiencing His judgment and chastisement. But people who do not love the truth cannot see these things at all. They still cling to their notions and imaginings, and they are full of antagonism and rebelliousness toward God. These are the sort of people who are nonbelievers, evil ones, and antichrists. Everything they do is an example of what not to do. Paul is an example. What do people see when they look at Paul? (That Paul was on the path of an antichrist, and that his story serves as a warning to us.) Paul did not pursue the truth. He only believed in God because he sought a future and destination for his flesh. He only sought to gain rewards and a crown. God spoke so many words, disciplined, enlightened and illuminated him so much, and yet he did not obey God or accept the truth. He always disobeyed and resisted God, and in the end, he became an antichrist and was condemned and punished. Paul serves as an example of what not to do. By examining the example of Paul as an archetypal antichrist, we can see that Paul was on a path of resistance to God, and a path of destruction. Many people have learned from this and benefited from it. They have stepped onto the path of pursuing the truth, and onto the correct path of a believer. What is God’s will for people who can accept the truth, and who have benefited from Paul’s lesson? (Salvation and love.) Then what aspect of God’s disposition can people see from God’s exposure, judgment, and condemnation of Paul? (His righteous disposition.) Then in God’s eyes, what had Paul, as a created being, become? He had become a serving object. People are all created beings, both those who benefit and those who are exposed. However, God treats these two types of people completely differently. In reality, in God’s eyes, these two types of people are both as worthless as ants and maggots, but God treats one differently from the other. This is God’s righteous disposition. On what is God’s different attitude toward these two types of people based? (It is based on the path they follow.) It is based on how a person manifests themselves, their essence, their attitude toward the truth, and on the path a person is walking. On the outside, it seems as though God lacks sympathy for man, that He is emotionless, and that His actions are heartless. According to man’s notions and imaginings, people think, “God shouldn’t have treated Paul that way. Paul had done so much and suffered so much. Plus, he was extremely loyal to God. Why would God treat him like that?” Is it right for people to say this? Is it in line with the truth? In what way was Paul so loyal or devoted to God? Are they not twisting the truth? Paul was loyal and devoted to obtaining blessings for himself. Is that loyalty to God? When people do not understand the truth, cannot see the essence of a problem clearly, and speak blindly based on their emotions, are they not rebelling against God and resisting Him? No wonder everyone adores Paul! Those who are of Satan always adore Satan, and even speak for Satan based on their emotions. This means that although people may seem to have separated from Satan, they remain connected. In fact, when people speak for Satan, they are also speaking for themselves. People sympathize with Paul because they are like him, and on the same path as him. According to man’s common sense, God should not have treated Paul that way, but what He did was the exact opposite of human reason. This is God’s righteous disposition, and it is the truth. If a person speaks in accordance with man’s common sense, they may say, “Even if Paul did not achieve much, he put in a lot of work and effort. He should have been spared just on account of the number of years he suffered. Even if he was just a service-doer it would be okay. He shouldn’t have been punished or sent to hell.” These are the reasonings and emotions of man—it is not the truth. What is the most lovely aspect of God? That He does not have man’s common sense. Everything He does is in accordance with the truth and His essence. He reveals a righteous disposition. God has no regard for your subjective wishes, nor for the objective facts of what you have done. God determines what kind of person you are based on what you do, what you reveal, and the path you walk, and then assumes the appropriate attitude toward you. This is how Paul’s end came about. Looking at the matter of Paul, it seems as if God was devoid of love. Peter and Paul were both created beings, but while God commended and blessed Peter, He exposed, dissected, judged, and condemned Paul. You cannot see God’s love in the way He decided Paul’s end. So, based on what happened to Paul, could you say that God does not love? No, you cannot, because God disciplined him many times, illuminated him, giving him many chances to repent, but Paul stubbornly refused and walked the path of resistance to God. So in the end, God condemned and punished him. Looking at this matter on the surface, it seems as though people have no choice in God’s work and salvation. Although God does not interfere in people’s choices, if a person chooses the path of seeking blessings, God will condemn and punish them. It seems like God does not let people choose their own path, that He only allows them to choose the path of pursuing the truth, and that whether a person is judged, purified, or perfected is all up to God. Is seeing God’s work this way and labeling God this way not an absurd mistake and absolutely ridiculous? Man is not at all aware that God’s disposition is righteous and holy; he always chooses to follow his own path—the path of resistance to God, but does not want to accept God’s judgment or condemnation. This is totally unreasonable! There are many people who think, “People cannot choose for themselves how God treats them, what mission God gives them, the job He makes them do, or the duty He makes them perform. Ultimately, anyone who chooses to walk their own path is condemned. God only blesses and commends you if you choose the path He leads you down, and if you choose the path of pursuing the truth.” Some people see this as God being unfair and interfering with people’s free choice. But is this the fact of the matter? (No.) God does all of this according to principle. When you do not understand the facts and the truth, it is easy for you to misunderstand and judge God, but when you understand the facts and the truth, you will think that these misunderstandings are utterly worthless and totally despicable, and that they should never see the light of day. At which point, you will know that everything God does is right. People cannot see this because they are too selfish and foolish. They do not understand the truth and cannot see matters clearly, so they label God according to their own notions and imaginings. Once you understand this, you will not defend Paul anymore or misunderstand God. You will say, “What God does is totally right. Humans are the ones who are corrupt. They are narrow-minded and foolish. They cannot see situations clearly. Regardless of whether a person sees God’s righteous disposition or if they see His love from this matter, everything God does is right, and is a manifestation of His righteous disposition and essence. It is all in line with the truth, and isn’t wrong!” Today, when God works in you and saves you, which path should you choose? Is God interfering with you? What choice should you make? Should you learn from Paul’s mistakes? Should you be like Peter and follow the path of pursuing the truth? How do you approach this matter? That depends on whether you understand the truth. What problems will understanding the truth solve? The purpose of understanding the truth is to resolve man’s corrupt disposition and man’s various difficulties. When you come across problems that cannot be solved; or people, events, and things which do not match up with your notions, the truth will start performing its function within you. So how does Paul’s case help you with your personal life entry and choosing your path? (It can impel us to come before God and reflect on ourselves.) (It can knock down walls and eliminate misunderstandings between God and man.) That’s one part of it, and you have gained something from this discussion. The most crucial thing to understand is the significance of choosing the path of pursuing the truth, and why God commends and blesses those who do. Understanding the answer to this question is the most crucial thing.
Just now I mentioned how the Jews were sent into exile, and drifted into every country around the world. What do people see about this fact? What truth do they understand? This event should make people reflect a bit. Firstly, on how people should practice, and secondly, so that they understand God’s disposition through this event. Let us first talk about how people should practice in these circumstances. Nothing God does is swayed by man’s desires; God has His own plan, and His own principles for doing things. So, what attitude should people have? No matter what situation they encounter, or whether it matches up with their notions, people should never ever put themselves at odds with God. Some people say, “Even though I’m disobedient and resist God, isn’t it enough that I perform my duty?” What sort of attitude is this? It is obviously unacceptable. That is not true obedience. Then, how exactly should people practice “not putting themselves at odds with God,” and put it into action? There are two principles of practice: The first, is to proactively seek out God’s will, what truths people should understand, and how to cooperate and complete God’s commission—this is the active side of what people should do. The second, is to examine and recognize where you have misunderstandings about God, are not obedient to Him, have notions and imaginings, and things which are not compatible with Him. This will ensure that you are able to accurately practice the truth during the course of your duty, do things according to the principles, complete God’s commission, and be commemorated by God. Are these principles of practice simple? (Yes, they are.) What do I mean by “simple”? That the logic and words are relatively clear; “one” means one, and “two” means two; as soon as you hear it, you know how to practice it. However, actually putting it into practice is not so simple, because people have corrupt dispositions. They always debate things, and have a lot of imaginings and notions, as well as misunderstandings about God. People must dissect these things and accept God’s judgment and chastisement, but this makes people who lack spiritual understanding come up with new notions: “People all say God is love, so why does God always expose and judge people’s thoughts and notions? I can’t see love in God; I only see that God’s disposition does not tolerate offense.” Is this not one of man’s notions? If, as in the notions and imaginings of corrupted humans, God only ever displayed mercy and lovingkindness during the development of all humankind, and never righteousness or wrath, could man have survived to the present day? (No, he couldn’t.) Man would have been devoured by Satan long ago. When handling the issues of demons and Satan, and corrupt humans who resist God, what God displays and how He manifests Himself is not the love people speak of, but rather a righteous disposition; it is hate, loathing, judgment, chastisement, punishment, and destruction. Only by doing this can God reveal that His disposition is righteous, holy, and does not tolerate offense; thoroughly shame Satan, and effectively protect true humanity. This is how God has always led humanity, and saved them at the same time.
People must frequently examine anything in their heart that is incompatible with God, or is a misunderstanding of Him. How do misunderstandings come about? Why do people misunderstand God? (Because their self-interest is affected.) After people see the facts about the Jewish exile from Judea, they feel hurt, and say, “At first, God loved the Israelites so much. He led them out of Egypt and through the Red Sea, gave them manna from the heavens and spring water to drink, then personally gave them laws to lead them, and taught them how to live. God’s love for man was overflowing—people who lived back then were so blessed! How could God’s attitude do a one-eighty in the blink of an eye? Where did all His love go?” People’s feelings cannot get past this, and they begin to doubt, saying, “Is God love or isn’t He? Why isn’t His original attitude toward the Israelites visible anymore? His love has disappeared without a trace. Does He have any love at all?” This is where people’s misunderstanding starts. What is the context in which people form misunderstandings? Could it be because God’s actions are not compatible with people’s notions and imaginings? Is this fact what causes people to misunderstand God? Is the reason people misunderstand God not because they limit their definition of His love? They think, “God is love. Therefore, He should look out for and protect people, and shower them with grace and blessings. This is what God’s love is! I like it when God loves people this way. I could especially see how much God loved people when He led them through the Red Sea. People back then were so blessed! I wish I could be one of them.” When you are enamored with this story, you treat the love God displayed in that instant as the highest truth, and the single marker of His essence. You limit your definition of Him in your heart, and treat everything God did at that moment as the highest truth. You think that this is God’s most lovely side, and the one that most compels people to respect and fear Him, and that this is God’s love. In actuality, God’s actions themselves were positive, but because of your limited definitions, they became notions in your mind, and a basis on which you define God. They make you misunderstand God’s love, as though there is nothing else to it than mercy, caring, protection, guidance, grace, and blessings—that that is all God’s love is. Why do you cherish these aspects of love so much? Is it because it is tied to your own self-interest? (Yes, it is.) Which self-interests is it tied to? (The pleasures of the flesh and a comfortable life.) When people believe in God they want to obtain these things from Him, but not other things. People do not want to think about judgment, chastisement, trials, refinement, suffering for God, giving things up and expending themselves, or even sacrificing their own lives. People just want to enjoy God’s love, care, protection, and guidance, so they define God’s love as the only characteristic of His essence, and His only essence. Did the things God did when leading the Israelites across the Red Sea not become the source of people’s notions? (Yes, they did.) This formed a context in which people formed notions about God. If they formed notions about God, then can they achieve a true understanding of God’s work and disposition? It is obvious that not only will they not understand, but they will misinterpret it and form notions about it. This proves that man’s understanding is too narrow, and is not true understanding. For it is not the truth, but rather a type of love and understanding which people read into God based on their own notions, imaginings, selfish desires, and analysis; it is not compatible with God’s true essence. In what other ways does God love people other than through mercy, salvation, care, protection, and by listening to their prayers? (With chastening, discipline, pruning, dealing, judgment, chastisement, trials, and refinement.) That is correct. God shows His love in an abundance of ways: by striking, disciplining, reproaching, and with judgment, chastisement, trials, refinement, and so on. These are all aspects of God’s love. Only this perspective is comprehensive and in line with the truth. If you understand this, when you examine yourself and realize you have misunderstandings about God, are you not then able to recognize your mistake, and do a good job reflecting on where you went wrong? Can this not help you resolve your misunderstandings about God? (Yes, it can.) In order to accomplish this, you must seek the truth. So long as people seek the truth, they can eliminate their misunderstandings about God, and once they have eliminated their misunderstandings about God, they can submit to all of God’s arrangements. If you are able to eliminate your misunderstandings about God, then when you look at the Jewish exile from Judea, you will say, “God’s attitude toward man, His created beings, is not just that of love, He also leads by striking and exiling. People should not give themselves a choice in their attitude toward God; it should be one of submission, not resistance.” From the perspective of man’s notions and imaginings, God’s attitude toward the Jews seemed uncaring, but looking at it now, God did an incredible job; everything He displayed was a righteous disposition. God can bestow grace and blessings on people, and give them their daily bread, but He can also take all that away. That is God’s authority, essence, and disposition.
Many people have notions about the Jewish exile from Judea, but people who seek the truth can gain enlightenment from this event. If a person has the ability to understand, then this event will make them see that God’s righteous disposition does not tolerate offense. But some people do not have the ability to understand. If they feel that what God did does not match their notions, they should first agree that God is righteous, and that His disposition does not tolerate offense; this is for certain. Then, they should pray and seek the truth, and look at what the Jews did to offend God’s disposition and incur His wrath. Only in this way can people thoroughly resolve their notions, come to understand God’s disposition through this event, and submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. It is no easy task for people to understand the truth. No matter whether you have previously enjoyed God’s grace and blessings, or have done work through accepting His guidance and commission, or whether you have offered things up, or given something up—even if people view you as having made some sort of contribution, under no circumstances should you view these things as capital. That is the first thing. The second thing, is that you should never view these things as chips that you can hold over God and use to dictate how He treats you. The most important thing, is that when God’s words and attitude toward you do not match up with your notions, or run contrary to common courtesy, you must not resist or oppose Him. This is the third thing. Can you accomplish these three things? These three things pertain to reality. Is it easy for these states to occur in people? (Yes, it is.) Why do these states occur in people? Why do they manifest themselves in this way? God manages the entire human race, and reigns sovereign over all things, but does God view these things as capital? Does God take credit for it? Does God manifest Himself by saying, “I’ve done all these great things for you. Why don’t you thank Me?” (No, He does not.) God does not have these things in His mind. So why does man expect credit from God for every little thing he gives up or expends, or every little contribution he makes? Why does man manifest and display himself this way? The answer is simple. It is because man’s disposition is corrupt. Why does God not manifest or display Himself in this way? It is because God’s essence is truth, and truth is holy. This is the answer. People manifest and display themselves this way because they have corrupt dispositions. Can this problem be resolved? Can the three things I just mentioned resolve this problem? (Yes, they can.) None of the three things I mentioned are easy to put into practice, but there is a solution. After hearing these three things, people might think, “We’re not allowed to do this, and we’re not allowed to do that. We’re just supposed to be an empty-headed puppet.” Is this how it is? (No, it is not.) Then what is it? Let Me tell you, God does not let you do these things because it is for your own protection. This is the first thing. Your method of pursuit is not in line with the truth, and is not the correct path. Do not repeat the mistakes of people who came before you. If you treat the things you give up and expend as capital and chips that you can cash in, and then when God’s attitude toward you runs contrary to your wishes you oppose Him, then your attitude is not in line with the truth, has no humanity, and is not right. Even if you have a thousand reasons, your attitude is still wrong; it is not compatible with the truth in any way, and amounts to resisting God. It is not the attitude a person should have. This is the second thing. The third thing is that if you cling to this attitude, you will never understand or gain the truth. Not only will you not gain the truth, but you cause yourself to lose out; you will lose the dignity and duty that a created being should have. If you think, “I’m sticking to my attitude, and no one can do anything about it! I believe that I’m right, so I will stand by my thinking. My thinking fits with common sense and courtesy, so I will stand by it to the end!” sticking to something so unswervingly will not benefit you in any way. God will not change His attitude on account of your resolve or because you hold fast to something. In other words, God will never change His attitude just because you stick to yours. On the contrary, God will assume an attitude toward you that is commensurate with your rebelliousness and unswerving resistance. This is the fourth, and most important, thing. Is there anything you do not understand about these four things? Are any of the things I mentioned just empty words which do not fit with man’s real state, and which are of no help to the practical side of man’s life? (No, all of them are helpful.) Are any of the things just empty theories, rather than paths to practice? (No.) Are these four things helpful with regard to how people should enter into the realities of the truth in their everyday lives? (Yes, they are.) If you are clear in your understanding of these four things, put them into practice, and experience them, your relationship with God will remain normal. These four things will protect you during various temptations, or when faced with all sorts of people, events, and things. When you are in a rebellious state, think of these aspects of the truth, compare yourself to them, and practice accordingly. If, at first, you are unable to put them into practice, you should pray, and at the same time recognize why God acted as He did. You should also reflect on and recognize what corrupt states and displays you have which are making you unable to practice or submit. If you are able to seek the truth in this way, your state will remain normal, and you will naturally enter into these realities of the truth.
Regardless of the issue, if you do not understand the truth, you will either be acting on notions and imaginings, or else acting disobediently and resisting. This is one-hundred percent certain. Sometimes, from the outside, it may not look like you are resisting God, doing bad things, or causing a disruption or disturbance, but that does not necessarily mean that your actions are in line with the truth. Sometimes, you may act based on notions and imaginings, and while it may not constitute a disturbance or cause damage, so long as it is not in line with the truth, your actions are at odds with God’s will. There are other times where you may have notions about God in your mind. Even if you never put them into words, you are holding on to these notions and imaginings inside, thinking that God should do this or that, and dictating how He should be. You have done nothing wrong on the outside, but inside, you are in a state of continual rebelliousness and resistance to God. For example, I just talked about having notions and limiting definitions about God’s love. Even if your notions and imaginings have not caused you to create any disturbances or disruptions to God’s work, your state proves that your heart is constantly limiting and misunderstanding God. What can we conclude from this? That you are continually resisting God. Do I not speak the truth? (Yes, You do.) If there comes a day when something similar to the Jewish exile from Judea happens, your notions will make you unable to say “Amen” to God’s actions, or have praise, fear, or obedience as a response to God’s actions. Instead, you will misunderstand, complain, and even be slightly antagonistic toward God in your heart. Deep down inside, you will say to Him, “God, You shouldn’t have done that. It runs so contrary to people’s wishes! How can You treat Your creations this way? How can You treat Your chosen people this way? I can’t sing Your praises or applaud Your actions after seeing what You’ve done. I am suffering inside and feel forlorn, like I can’t rely on the God I worship without bounds. The God I believe in is not like this. The God I believe in should not treat His created beings this way. The God I believe in is not this cold-blooded or cruel. The God I believe in treats humans gently and attentively, like babies, making them feel abundantly blessed and full of warmth, not icy cold or indifferent like now.” When these laments come up deep inside, you do not view the facts taking place in front of you as being the work of God. You do not admit it or say “Amen,” let alone praise it. As such, are your emotions and state that of obedience to God, or opposition? (Opposition.) It is obvious that it is not true obedience. There is no obedience here, only resentment, opposition, disobedience, and even anger. Is this the attitude a created being should have toward its Creator? No, it is not. Your heart is a contradiction; you think, “If God did this, why does my heart not approve? Why do the majority of people not accept it? Why do His actions run so contrary to man’s wishes, and why are they full of blood and slaughter?” At that moment, the God in your heart and the Creator that actually exists in real life are in contradiction, and at odds with each other, are they not? (Yes, they are.) So in which God should you believe? At this moment, should you choose to believe in the God of the notions deep in your heart, or the God who is performing real actions right in front of you? (The God who is performing real actions right in front of us.) In terms of their subjective wishes, people are very willing to believe in the God who is performing real actions right in front of them, but because of man’s notions, selfish desires, and emotions, they choose to cover up the God in their hearts, and force themselves to accept the God who is performing real actions right in front of them. However, deep down inside, they still are unable to accept all the facts of what the Creator is doing; they still keep themselves hidden and live in their own little world, talking to and interacting with the God of their imagination tirelessly, while the real God always seems vague. There are even people who think, “I wish the real God didn’t exist. My God is the God I imagine in my heart, who is full of love and makes people feel His warmth. He is the real God. The practical God is not the one I imagined, because the things He does let me down and I can’t feel any warmth from Him. In particular, I can’t look past how He judges, chastises, condemns, and casts out so many people.” What kind of person says this? It is what nonbelievers say, and those who do not accept the truth. These are all the various states that occur in people when they do not understand God’s works, and when there is a contradiction between what they imagine and what God actually does. So, how do these states occur? For one thing, people have corrupt dispositions; and for another, when something happens and the facts do not match people’s notions and imaginings, bursting their bubble, shattering their dream, and making them feel that their intent and desire for blessings cannot be satisfied, what do they finally decide to do? Run away, compromise, and dig in their heels. Some people even sit on the fence, saying, “I will accept both sides. The God that was in my heart originally is God and is love. And the One who is doing great deeds and wielding authority in front of my eyes is also God. I will accept both, and give up neither.” People often live in this sort of state, sitting on the fence. People often get caught up in the idea of God in their minds. They run around, expend themselves, make offerings, and work for this vague God. They will pay any price to perform their duties, even giving up their own life and sacrificing everything they have. No matter how people act, or what states arise in them, are people’s actions good or evil in the eyes of the real Creator when a God like this exists in their mind? Is it obedience or resistance? Clearly, they are not good deeds and not worth commemorating. It also reveals that people have not truly obeyed or offered themselves up; rather, they are full of resistance, rebelliousness, and opposition. It is precisely because people have these states, and often live within these states, that when people awake from their dream and live in the real world, they realize that the actions of the God in real life are unable to satisfy their psychological and spiritual needs. Rather, His actions cause people to be hurt in various ways, make them feel He is indifferent in various ways, and acts contrary to man’s wishes. There are even some people who doubt, saying, “Is God love? Does He still love people? It says God is concerned for man and loves him as Himself. Where do you see that? Why have I never seen it?” This is a problem! People often live in these states, causing the contradiction between man and God to become ever more extreme, and the distance between them increasingly wide. When people see God do something that fits with their notions, they think, “My God has done something earth-shattering. He is the God I truly want to believe in. Only He is my God. I am willing to be His created being. Only He is my Creator.” However, when difficulties, passivity, or weaknesses arise in their everyday lives, and the God they imagine is not able to help them or fulfill their needs all the time, their faith in God weakens or even disappears. What causes all of these states that people have, and all of the ways in which they act and display themselves? It is because people do not understand the Creator at all. You do not understand Him; that is the only reason. This is the root of all of the contradictions, distance, and misunderstandings between man and God. So, how do people solve this problem? First, they must resolve their notions. Second, people must experience, seek, and ponder every item of work that God does in them, and get to the point where they are able to completely submit to every arrangement God lays out for them, and to all of the people, events, and things that God orchestrates for them. What is the purpose of submitting? To recognize and understand all of these truths.
Do you find the subject matter that we have just fellowshiped on deep? Can you understand it? Are you able to grasp it? (Yes, we can.) You should be able to understand it in theory, but does understanding it in theory amount to understanding and accepting the truth? (No, it does not.) So what does amount to understanding and accepting the truth? You must frequently examine yourself in your daily lives, but what should you examine? (Examine whether we have the states, or display ourselves in the ways, that God speaks of, and what notions and misunderstandings people have about God.) Exactly. You must examine these things; examine what corruption you display, and what notions and imaginings you have. Some people say that they are unable to examine themselves. That is easily remedied by looking at others first. Other people are a mirror for yourself. When you see people displaying certain dispositions or states, flip it around, examine yourself, and compare yourself; see if you have these same notions and imaginings, and if you are in the same state. If you are, then what should you do about it? Should you lay yourself bare and dissect these things, or cling to them and wait for them to “blossom and bear fruit”? (We should lay ourselves bare and dissect them.) You must lay these things out and dissect them so that everyone can benefit, so that through it, everyone can accurately recognize corrupt states, understand the truth, find a way out, and resolve these sorts of problems together. What is the point of dissecting notions and passive, negative states? (So that people can find a way out of their notions and passive states.) And what is the point of finding a way out? To gain the truth. The point of fixing your notions is to make you recognize that they are wrong, and that they are not something you should possess. You should let them go, not cling to them. Then, actively seek what is right, what positive things actually are, and what the truth actually is. When you accept positive things and the truth, and treat them as the principles of practice, thinking, and perspectives that you should possess, then there is change, and you will have gained the truth. So, how should we view the Jewish exile from Judea in light of these truths? What common notion do people have about this event? (That God should not have kicked the Jews out of Judea, and that He should have protected the Jews. That no matter how they resisted Him, and despite the fact that they nailed Him to a cross, He should have pardoned them of their sins forever, and that only this is God’s love.) These are the notions of man. Are they not absurd? If God acted according to man’s notions, would He still have a righteous disposition? Although people were upset about being exiled, their resistance and condemnation of God crossed the line for God; their actions were no different than Satan’s, so how could God not be angry about it? Some people cannot accept the truth, and think, “How can God treat people this way? People can’t accept this sort of love, it runs completely contrary to common sense! It does not look like love. God has no love if this is how He treats the Jews.” Denying God’s love is man’s notion. What is man’s notion? (Man limits his definition of God’s love.) Yes, when people limit their definition of something, it is a notion, and it is not in accordance with the truth, nor is it a truth. What have people limited their definition of? They have limited their definition of how God works; they think that God must work in certain ways in order for it to be the work of God, and that these are the ways in which He should work. People have a limited definition of how God works, and this limited definition is their notion. So, what sort of definition do people have of God’s works? What about their definition makes them feel distaste for how God acted in this situation, and makes them misunderstand and oppose Him? (People think that God should have bestowed an abundance of grace and blessings upon the Jews, but instead, He acted outside of these notions and imaginings, and outside of their expectations; He drove the Jews out and made them wander the earth. People do not understand this, and it gave rise to substantial notions.) Many people have notions and misunderstandings about the actions God took toward the Jews. In other words, people are uncomfortable with God’s actions and think He should not have acted that way. Is this a notion? (Yes, it is.) Then, when people think God “should not” have done what He did, is that not limiting their definition of God’s actions? How do you know that God should not have acted this way? What is your basis for saying God should not have acted this way? If you think He should not have, but He did, then does that mean God is not God? Does that mean what God did was wrong, and not in line with the truth? Is man not foolish in this respect? Man is exceedingly foolish and ignorant, arrogant and self-righteous; it is the easiest thing for him to form notions about God, and limit his definition of God. If people like this cannot accept the truth it is very dangerous, and they will most likely be cast out.
Many people have notions and opinions about the Jewish exile from Judea, and they do not understand God’s intentions, but this is a very easy problem to fix. I will tell you a simple way to do it. Listen, and see if it can address these difficulties of yours. The simplest way, first-off, is for people to know that they are created beings, and that it is ordained by Heaven and acknowledged by earth for created beings to obey their Creator. If created beings constantly have notions about their Creator and cannot submit to Him, then that would be a great disobedience. People must understand that there is a fundamental principle of the Creator’s treatment of created beings, which is also the highest principle. How the Creator treats created beings is completely based on His management plan and on His work requirements; He does not need to consult any single person, nor does He need to get any single person to agree with Him. Whatever He ought to do and however He ought to treat people, He does, and, no matter what He does or how He treats people, it all accords with the principles of the truth, and the principles by which the Creator works. As a created being, the only thing to do is to submit to the Creator; one should not make any choice of one’s own. This is reason that created beings ought to have, and if a person does not have it, then they are not fit to be called a person. People must understand that the Creator will always be the Lord of creation; He has the power and the qualifications to orchestrate and rule over any created being as He pleases, and does not need a reason to do so. This is His authority. There is not one among the beings of creation who has the right or is qualified to pass judgment on whether what the Creator does is right or wrong, or how He should act. No creature is entitled to choose whether to accept the rule and arrangements of the Creator; and no creature is entitled to make demands of how the Creator rules over and arranges their fate. This is the highest truth. No matter what the Creator has done to His created beings, and no matter how He has done it, the humans He created should do only one thing: seek, submit, know, and accept everything put in place by the Creator. The final result will be that the Creator will have accomplished His management plan and completed His work, having caused His management plan to progress without any obstructions; meanwhile, because the created beings have accepted the Creator’s rule and arrangements, and submitted to His rule and arrangements, they will have gained the truth, understood the Creator’s will, and come to know His disposition. There is yet another principle I must tell you: No matter what the Creator does, no matter how He manifests, and no matter whether what He does is a great deed or a small one, He is still the Creator; whereas all mankind, which He created, regardless of what they have done, and regardless of how talented or gifted they might be, remain created beings. As for created humanity, no matter how much grace and how many blessings they have received from the Creator, or how much mercy, lovingkindness, or benevolence, they should not believe themselves to stand apart from the masses, or think they can be on equal footing with God and that they have become highly ranked among created beings. Regardless of how many gifts God has bestowed on you, or how much grace He has given you, or how kindly He has treated you, or whether He has given you a few special talents, none of these are your assets. You are a created being, and you will thus forever be a created being. You must never think, “I am a little darling in the hands of God. God will not ever cast me aside, God’s attitude toward me will always be one of love, care and gentle caresses, with warm whispers of comfort and encouragement.” To the contrary, in the eyes of the Creator, you are the same as all other created beings; God can use you as He wishes, and can also orchestrate you as He wishes, and He can arrange as He wishes for you to play any role among all sorts of people, events, and things. This is the knowledge people should have, and the good sense that they should possess. If one can understand and accept these words, their relationship with God will grow more normal, and they will establish a most legitimate relationship with Him; if one can understand and accept these words, they will orient their station properly, assume their place there, and uphold their duty.
What do you think after listening to these words? Will you still misunderstand God? Some people say, “Given that God treats people this way, when God said that men are like ants, and less than maggots in His eyes, it looks like this was not just theoretical, but reality! Man is not as dear to God, and God is not as close to man as people imagined.” People’s hearts turn cold, as though water has been thrown on a flame, and their fervor lessens. Would you say it is better for their hearts to turn cold, or for them to constantly have misunderstandings about God? (It is better for their hearts to turn cold.) Only by cooling off for a while can they understand God’s disposition. The sense that created beings should possess, is to use the truth as their principle for everything; they should use the truth as their basis for how they view everything, and they should use the truth as their principle and foundation for everything they do. This is the correct way to be. But on the contrary, people always feel in their hearts that their relationship with God is like their relationship with another person, and that their interactions should be on equal footing. Is this a good situation? (No, it is not.) How is it not? People have put themselves in the wrong position; they do not treat God like God. This is because people have too many misunderstandings about God, but God will not change His attitude as a result of people’s misunderstandings or hang-ups. On the contrary, not only will He not change His attitude, but He will continue to work in people according to the principles, just as before, and arrange and reign sovereign over the lives of all humankind. However, man is prone to forming notions about God, and resisting and rebelling against Him, so man must suffer greatly. People want to sidle up to God and pad their connection with Him, and they talk about their feelings, capital, talents, capabilities, how much they have given, their past accomplishments, and every other sort of reason. Can people gain the truth when they always live in these states? No, they cannot. If you do not have a heart of obedience to God, always have incorrect views, are unable to assume the position of a created being, have unbridled ambitions, and always crave a higher position, it will ultimately make you unable to approach your duty properly, or correctly understand God’s demands and attitudes toward you. Even though you are constantly being refined and constantly suffering, you are unable to let go of your notions and imaginings, and even think that you are the one God loves the most and is the most attached to. As a result, when you see that in fact, God does not act that way, and that it is just wishful thinking on your part, you experience a setback and feel attacked; you feel resentful and like you have been compromised. Your feelings take a hit, too. Is this suffering worth it? (No, it is not.) People have brought suffering upon themselves because of their wishful thinking, notions, and imaginings. This is the most problematic thing for them, and they need to turn themselves around! How should they go about doing this? By recognizing that God is righteous toward everyone, and that all the works God performs are to save the human race—He has no other agenda. What people should do, is assume the position of a created being, submit to the Creator’s sovereignty, orchestrations and arrangements, accept and submit to everything the Creator does, seek the truth and God’s will in these things, and recognize God’s conduct. If people always use their own notions to appraise and define God’s actions, always make unreasonable demands of God, and insist that God do things their way, then they are rebelling against God, and not only are they unable to understand the truth, but ultimately, there will be nothing left but for them to be detested and cast out by God. If people want to be blessed by God, the only thing they need do is seek, submit to, recognize, and accept everything the Creator does. This is the only way for people to understand the truth, know God, achieve true obedience to God, and be saved.
May 18, 2018