Chapter 28. Without the Truth It Is Easy to Offend God
Your “summing up the truth” is not done to let people obtain life or attain changes in their dispositions from the truth. Instead, it is done so people can master some knowledge and doctrines from within the truth. They seem as though they understand the purpose behind God’s work, when actually they have only mastered some words of doctrine. They don’t understand the implied meaning of the truth, and it is no different from studying theology or reading the Bible. You compile these books or those materials, and so become in possession of this aspect of doctrine or that aspect of knowledge. You are a first rate speaker of doctrines—but what happens when you are done speaking? People are then incapable of experiencing, they have no understanding of God’s work and no understanding of themselves either. In the end, all the things they will have gained are formulas and rules, and they can talk about those things but nothing else. If God did something new, could all the doctrines that you know be a match for what God does? Therefore, those things of yours are just rules and you are just making people study theology: You are not allowing them to experience the word of God or experience the truth. So those books that people compile can bring them only to theology and knowledge, into new formulas and into rules and conventions. They cannot bring people before God, or allow people to understand the truth or to understand God’s will. By asking question after question about those words, then answering, forming an outline or a summary, you think that those below can then easily understand them. Apart from being easy to remember, they are clear about these questions at a glance, and you think it is great to do things in this way. But what they are understanding is not the real implied meaning; it is at variance with reality and is just doctrinal words. So it would be better if you didn’t do these things at all. You do these things to lead people to understand knowledge and master knowledge. You bring others into the doctrines, into religion, and make them follow God and believe in God within religious doctrines. Are you not then just the same as Paul? You think that mastering knowledge of the truth is particularly important, and so is learning by heart many passages of God’s words. But how people understand the word of God is not important at all. You think it is extremely important for people to be able to memorize many of God’s words, to be able to speak much doctrine and to discover many formulas within God’s words. Therefore, you always want to systematize these things so that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet and saying the same things, so that everyone speaks the same doctrines, has the same knowledge and keeps the same rules—this is your objective. You do this as though to make people understand better, when on the contrary you have no idea that by doing this you are bringing people into the midst of rules that are outside of the truth of God’s words. To make people have a real understanding, you must join with reality, join with the work, and bring people before God. Only in this way can people master the truth. If your efforts are only directed toward applying formulas and rules to written words, then you will not be able to reach an understanding of the truth, will not be able to lead others into reality, and will much less be able to allow others to experience more change or understand more of themselves. If the written words could be a substitute for people, then you wouldn’t need to do anything at all.
You have not yet discovered the laws of God’s words, and many people say this: “There is no logic in God’s words. Every article contains all kinds of content and there is a different meaning to every passage and every sentence which makes it hard for us to remember and difficult to understand. It is not even possible to summarize the general idea of a paragraph.” The word of God is not a novel, nor is it some prose or a work of literature. It is the truth; it is the word that gives life to man. The word is not something that can be understood by mulling it over in your mind, nor can its laws be summarized with a bit of extra effort. So no matter what aspect people have a little understanding of or have some sense of its rules, it can only be a one-sided understanding, only skin-deep, just one drop in the ocean, and it is basically incapable of reaching what God originally intended. Any article of God’s words will contain several aspects of the truth. For example, an article concerning the mystery of God’s incarnation will include the significance of the incarnation along with the work the incarnation does. And it will also contain how people should believe in God, and may perhaps also contain how people should understand and love God; it will include many aspects of the truth. If, according to your imagination, the significance of the incarnation contained only a few aspects and could be generalized in a few sentences, what outcome could God’s work on man then be able to achieve? People are made to understand the significance of the incarnation in order to make them understand God. After someone has understood God, they naturally have a heart that reveres God, and this now involves man’s practice. So no aspect of God’s words and no aspect of the truth is as simple as you imagine. If you regard the word of God and the divine language as simple, thinking that any question can be answered with a paragraph, then that is not the truth. Every article contains many angles from which God’s words are spoken and there is no way for people to summarize or sum-up His words. After you have summed up His words, you think this passage has answered the above question, but this passage also relates to other questions. So what do you say to that? The truth contains many things. Why is it said that the truth is life, that it can provide enjoyment to man, that it cannot be experienced in its entirety even over several lifetimes or several hundred years? Say you were to sum up some aspect of the truth or some passage of God’s words, then ask a question about it. Then, in light of this question, you were to read this passage out, it would then be evident that this passage is read in answer to that question. So this passage has become a formula, a rule and a doctrine, and is not the truth. Although not even one of the original words has changed, this is very evidently a piece of doctrine, and is not the truth. Why? Because the question you asked was asked wrongly. It led people astray and brought them into doctrines, made them think, imagine, consider this question, and read this passage in accordance with your doctrines, reading it using your doctrinal view. They would then read it back and forth, seeing only one question and not seeing any other aspect. In the end they would be brought to a place where they cannot experience the truth and cannot experience the word of God, a place where they can only equip themselves with and discuss doctrines and where they cannot understand God. All they could then speak would be pleasant-sounding doctrines, correct doctrines, but there would be no reality within them and they would have no path to walk on. This kind of leading really does grievous harm!
What’s the greatest taboo in man’s service of God? Do you know? Those of you who serve as leaders always want to have greater ingenuity, to be head and shoulders above the rest, to find new tricks so that God can see how capable you really are. However, you don’t focus on understanding the truth and entering into the reality of God’s word. You always want to show off; isn’t this precisely the revelation of an arrogant nature? Some even say: “By doing this I’m sure that God will be very happy; He’ll really like it. This time I’ll let God see, give Him a nice surprise.” As a result of this surprise, you’re eliminated! Don’t just rashly do whatever comes into your mind. How can it be okay to not consider the consequences? When those of you who offend God’s disposition and offend His administrative decrees are eliminated then, there will be no words you can say. Regardless of your intent, regardless of whether or not you do it deliberately, if you don’t understand God’s disposition or don’t understand God’s will, you will easily offend God and will easily offend His administrative decrees; this is something everyone should be on their guard against. Once you seriously offend God’s administrative decrees or offend God’s disposition, God will not consider whether you did it intentionally or unintentionally; this is something you must see clearly. If you cannot see through this issue, then you are guaranteed to have a problem. In serving God, people want to make great strides, do great things, speak great words, perform great work, print huge books, hold great meetings and be great leaders. If you always have grand ambitions, then you will offend God’s great administrative decrees; people like this will die quickly. If you aren’t well-behaved, godly or prudent in serving God, sooner or later you will offend God’s administrative decrees. If you offend God’s disposition, offend His administrative decrees, and thereby sin against God, then He will not look to see for what reason you did this, nor to see your intentions. So do you think God is unreasonable? Is He being unkind to man? No. Why do I say no? Because people are not deaf, stupid or blind. You can all see and hear, and yet still you cause offence. What reason can you still speak of? Even if you don’t harbor any intentions, once you offend God, you must perish and suffer punishment. Need any situation of yours be taken into account? No one is forced at knife-point to offend God’s administrative decrees or God’s disposition. This just doesn’t happen. If someone took a knife to your throat and forced you, saying: “Curse your God. After you have cursed Him I will give you money and will not kill you.” Perhaps in this kind of situation you would say some blasphemy only because you are afraid to die. Can this kind of situation happen? Things don’t go this far, do they? That God’s disposition will not allow offense contains its implied meaning. Yet God’s punishments are based on people’s situations and their backgrounds. One situation is where someone doesn’t know He is God and so offends Him. To know that He is God and yet still offend Him deliberately is another situation. If someone is fully aware that He is God yet still offends Him, then that person must be punished. God expresses some of His disposition in every stage of His work—are people aware of any of this? He has worked for so many years, do people not know His disposition and which things people do or say that are likely to offend God? And the things that are defined by God’s administrative decrees—what people should do and what they shouldn’t do—do people not know these also? People cannot understand some things that are to do with the truth or with the principle. That is because they have not experienced to that level, and so have no way to understand. But God’s administrative decrees are within a delineated scope and belong to rules. It is not necessary for people to understand them in any way, only that they abide by their literal meaning. Is this not something man has to contend with? You don’t pay much attention to anything and you don’t fear God, therefore you should suffer punishment!