Xiaojin Baoji City, Shaanxi Province
Each of us has offended God’s disposition in the course of our belief in God. Though we often hate ourselves for that and make resolutions to mend our ways, we still offend God involuntarily when encountering things that do not match our notions or that affect our fleshly interests. For example, when we see that those who resist and persecute God are pleasantly situated, healthy and without adversity, and that God’s words “Whoever resists will die” or he will be stricken down immediately and the like have not been fulfilled, we have notions in our minds and even spread them around, saying that God’s words are not accurate. When we see that God’s family promotes others and not us, we think that God’s family also likes those who have a glib tongue and who are good at currying favor with and fawning on others; so we disobey and resist inwardly, unwilling to cooperate with the work properly. When we suffer from illnesses or when our families encounter natural or man-made calamities, we complain bitterly that God is unrighteous and even say in a rage that we will not believe in God anymore. When we are to carry out the work arrangements from above, we obey and carry out those we consider proper and acceptable and put aside those we consider improper, holding that the arrangements from above may not be completely right because the above just makes arrangements and does not know the situations below, so we can apply them flexibly according to the local situations; as a result, we frustrate and disturb God’s work. We clearly know that the administrative decree says that we should exalt God, but when we find in working that others do not listen to us, we make every possible effort to exalt ourselves and testify ourselves so that others can obey us. We clearly know that at meetings we should mainly enjoy God’s word, but when seeing that the brothers and sisters are poor in qualities, we make a summary of the truths by our zealousness to let the brothers and sisters eat and drink. And so on. All these are the manifestations of our offending God’s disposition.
We have these states mainly because we do not know God’s disposition and have no fear of God. Also, because we are arrogant and self-conceited by nature and have no place for God in our hearts, we tend to do everything arbitrarily according to our own will and tend to comment on, measure, and willfully judge anything according to our views. Hence, when God does things not in conformity with our notions, our arrogant disposition will break out and we will easily offend God’s disposition. As God says: “If you do not know God’s substance, you cannot possibly have fear and dread toward God, but only casual perfunctoriness and prevarication, and even more, irredeemable blasphemy. … If you offend God’s disposition, it means that you infuriate God Godself. In that case, the fruit you produce in the end will be offending the administrative decrees.” From God’s words we see that it is very important to know God’s disposition. Just because we do not know God’s disposition or his divine substance, we often offend God, offending his disposition. God is a righteous, holy, and majestic God and his disposition does not tolerate man’s offense. If we have no fear or reverence for God, have no principles in speaking and doing things, cannot obey God or worship God on the position of a created being, and cannot act strictly according to God’s requirements, we will often offend God’s disposition and offend the administrative decrees.
God says: “If you offend God’s disposition and administrative decrees, offending God, then he will not look at your reason or intent. … Because you are not deaf or foolish or blind, you can see and hear, and you still offend; what other reason do you have? So long as you offend, even if you do not have any intent, you will have to perish and suffer punishment when it is time. Is it necessary to consider under what circumstances you have done it?” “This is because you lack principles in doing things. Since you have done things you should not do and said things you should not say, you will receive a deserved retribution. You should know that you do not have principles in speaking and doing things, but God has strict principles in doing things and speaking. You receive the retribution, because you have offended God, not a man. If you have offended God’s disposition many times in your lifetime, you are surely a son of hell. …because you have offended God’s administrative decrees more than once and you have no expression of repenting and turning back. So, you have to fall into hell where God punishes man.” If we offend God’s disposition, we infuriate God Godself; then we will have to accept all the consequences of our behavior and receive our deserved punishment and retribution. For the one we offend is not a human but the supreme and majestic God who does not tolerate man’s offense; thus, what fruit can we reap from it? Countless numbers of people throughout history have died under God’s wrath for having offended God’s disposition. The less severe offenders were eliminated and suffered from nervous fears, and the severe ones had their fleshes terminated and fell into everlasting punishment. Take Saul of the Age of the Law for example. He did not revere God, disobeyed God’s command, and was loathed by God; in the end, he lost his royal throne and was killed in battle. Another example is the Judas who followed the Lord Jesus. He spent the Lord’s money behind his back and finally betrayed the Lord; he gravely offended God’s disposition, so much so that he was cursed and his body burst open. Now, some leaders of various sects and denominations have fallen into God’s punishment and curse because they, being arrogant and self-conceited, despise God’s word, dishonor God, blaspheme God, judge God, and condemn God. Some of them have died suffering from illnesses, some have had their families ruined and become insane, and some feel worse than death with their whole bodies decaying. Such cases can also be found in the churches today. Some people took the opportunity of performing duty to secretly spend the money of God’s family and extorted money everywhere from brothers and sisters. They thought that no one knew it, yet they could not escape God’s eyes. As a result, they were punished and died in their boots. Some have offended the administrative decree concerning fornication and are extremely nervous all day long, living a life more bitter than death. Some were arrogant and self-conceited and could not believe God’s word. They spread everywhere that God’s word was not accurate or irresponsibly spoke blasphemous words against God. Thus they were disciplined by God or, more seriously, punished by God with their fleshes terminated. And so on. From these terrifying examples we can fully see that God’s disposition does not tolerate offense. God never allows anyone to act wildly in his family, and much less tolerate man’s having no regard for him and tempting his disposition audaciously and presumptuously. Therefore, anyone who pays no attention to God’s requirements and openly and wantonly acts against the truth is the object to be punished by God in his wrath. Anyone who believes in God and who does not revere God yet resists, cheats, judges, and blasphemes God is the object to be punished and cursed by God. Our unrighteousness and disobedience can by no means exist before God’s wrath. If we offend God’s disposition, surely we will suffer loss in life and will receive our deserved retribution. Perhaps till now no facts have befallen us. This is because God spares us to the utmost and gives us as many chances as possible to repent in the period when he works in the flesh. However, if we offend God’s disposition again and again and always remain unchanged, God will by no means forgive or tolerate us, for God has dignity and his disposition is not like a sheep but a lion. His disposition does not tolerate man’s offense, and whoever offends will receive severe punishment immediately. As God says: “I am not a sheep, but a lion. No one dares to offend me. If anyone offends, I will punish him to death immediately, without any mercy! From this my disposition can be fully seen….” “Because you stir God’s anger, he will teach you by a fitting punishment.”
Then how can we avoid offending God’s disposition? In the man’s fellowship attached to Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers, it says: “To perform duty properly and satisfy God without offending God, one must know God’s disposition and have fear of God. Only if he fears God can he shun evil. … Only if one knows God’s disposition while believing in God can he have fear of God, perform his duty properly, and keep himself from offending God’s disposition. The secret of keeping oneself from doing evil is to know God’s disposition and have fear of God. This is also the final result of God’s working on man.” From these words we can easily see that, if we want to avoid offending God’s disposition, we must know God’s disposition. Only if we know God’s disposition can we have reverence and fear for God and refrain ourselves from behaving unrestrainedly, not following our nature and talking irresponsibly and acting arbitrarily. Only thus can we be kept from offending God’s disposition.
From which aspects should we enter into knowing God’s disposition?
First, we have to grasp and know God’s administrative decrees. This is the most fundamental. For God’s administrative decrees are closely related to God’s disposition and, where there is marked God’s “administrative decree,” there man’s disobedient nature is most likely to break out, that is, man most easily offends God’s disposition. In the man’s fellowship attached to Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers, it says: “Knowing God’s disposition is the major part of knowing God. Without the knowledge of God’s disposition, knowing God is out of the question. God’s disposition is closely related to the administrative decrees, so one must begin with God’s administrative decrees and grasp, understand, and know them first. Only thus can he know God’s disposition and be sure not to offend God’s disposition. Only thus is he keeping himself effectively.” “…every commandment and administrative decree manifests God’s disposition which tolerates no offense. One will inevitably offend them if he does not understand them. The consequence of offending God’s disposition is dreadful to contemplate; it will be too late to repent. Without knowing God’s administrative decrees, one would be ignorant of what the matter is even when his hour strikes. Such a belief is really foolish. In the Age of the Law, God issued the Ten Commandments. The Israelites should at least keep them, and whoever broke them would be put to death. This is a fact known to all. Today, in the Age of the Kingdom, God has again issued Ten Administrative Decrees for people to keep, and whoever offends them will suffer loss in life, and severe offenders will be punished and perish. … Apart from the Ten Administrative Decrees, which allow no offense, people also have to keep the constitutions and commandments for the period of the kingdom. Though somewhat different from the administrative decrees, they are also God’s particular requirements. One will also suffer loss in life if he violates them. … Places marked God’s ‘administrative decree’ are the crucial parts in God’s management plan, and are where man’s disobedient nature is most likely to break out, that is, where man most easily offends God’s disposition. For example, God Godself, God’s flesh, God’s humanity, the man used by the Holy Spirit, and the fact of the firstborn sons reigning in the future, are all major parts of God’s administrative decrees. … It is impossible for us to keep ourselves from offending God’s disposition without knowing or understanding God’s administrative decrees. We must be clear about and understand and keep in mind every administrative decree.”
Second, we also need to know God’s disposition from God’s word. God says: “In every word I speak there is contained God’s disposition. You might investigate it carefully, and then you will surely gain a lot.” In the man’s fellowship attached to Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers, it says: “How should we know God’s disposition? Mainly, from God’s attitudes expressed in his word toward various kinds of people and his viewpoints expressed on various kinds of issues, we should find out what God loves, what God hates, what God loathes, what God curses, and what God destroys. We can know God’s disposition from these.” “God’s disposition has many elements. It includes what God has and is, God’s mind and thoughts, God’s thinking and wisdom, and God’s attitudes toward various kinds of people. It embodies God’s mercy and care for mankind, and much more his wrath over mankind’s disobedience and resistance against him. Each word of God expresses his thinking, his wisdom, and his thoughts, has its background and root, and naturally expresses his attitude toward mankind; no word is spoken without a basis. Therefore, it is a very natural thing that every word expresses God’s disposition. Even every word of man expresses man’s life disposition, so how much more does every word of God express God’s disposition? This is not difficult to understand. However, as to how to find and know it, it is not as easy as man has imagined. If one ponders God’s word too little, spends too little effort in reading God’s word, and has too few experiences, he cannot find God’s disposition easily and can even less know it easily. So, it is necessary that you remain quiet before God, put all your heart into God’s word, and read and ponder it in prayer. Gradually, you will find God’s states of mind in his words. This is the beginning of the entering in.” From these words we can see that people know God’s disposition mainly through eating and drinking God’s word more, pondering God’s word more, and experiencing God’s word more. To know God’s disposition from God’s word, we need to remain quiet before God to seek God’s revelation and guidance, understand God’s meaning from his every word and sentence, pursue to know what God has and is and to know God’s mind and thoughts, his thinking and wisdom, and his attitudes toward various kinds of people and various kinds of issues. Thus we can know God’s disposition from his various states of mind in speaking and the various backgrounds and roots of his speaking.
Third, we can know God’s disposition from God’s three-stage work. God says: “The three stages of works are the center of the entire management. God’s disposition and God’s being are expressed in the three stages of works. Those who do not know God’s three stages of works cannot know the ways of God’s expressing his disposition, will not know God’s working wisdom, and will not know the many ways of his saving man and his will for all mankind.” “So one age represents one part of God’s disposition. The Age of the Law represents certain aspects of God’s disposition, the Age of the Grace represents certain aspects, and this stage represents certain aspects. Only the three stages of works together can reveal all God’s disposition. Only if people know all of them can they gain a comprehensive understanding. None of the three stages of works is dispensable. Only if you know all of them will you see all God’s disposition.” “The three stages of works are the entire work of God’s saving man. People all have to know God’s work and God’s disposition through the work of salvation. If they try to know God apart from this fact, their knowledge will be verbal without any evidence and will be paper talk.” From God’s words we see that we cannot stay away from God’s work to know God’s disposition, because God’s disposition is expressed in his work and it runs through each stage of his work. For example, in the Age of the Law, God expressed his disposition of wrath, curse, burning, and so on, and whoever offended would be punished immediately. For instance, if the priests broke Jehovah’s law and defiled the temple while serving God in the temple, fire would immediately fall on them from the top of the temple and consume them. Thus people saw that God was majestic and tolerated no offense. In the Age of the Grace, God expressed his disposition of love, mercy, patience, forbearance, and so on. Whatever sins people had committed, so long as they were willing to repent, God would treat them with love and mercy, forgive them, and spare them. Thus people saw God’s great love and mercy for mankind. In the end-time work, God’s disposition is righteousness, majesty, wrath, judgment, curse, and so on. Through God’s severe judgment, merciless exposing, chastisement, and curse, people see that God’s disposition is no longer like a sheep but a lion. Besides, in this stage of his work, God has opened to us his entire six-thousand-year work of managing mankind and revealed to us his entire disposition, so that we have gained more knowledge of God than the apostles and prophets in the past generations. We have seen God’s love and mercy, seen God’s wisdom and wonder, and even more, seen God’s disposition of righteousness, majesty, wrath, curse and so on, which does not tolerate man’s offense. We can say that we who experience God’s work in the end time have the most practical and comprehensive knowledge of God. Simply from these several steps of God’s work such as the trial of the service-doer, the trial of the times of chastisement, and the trial of death, we can fully see God’s righteousness, holiness, majesty, and wrath, God’s compassion, mercy, and forbearance, God’s love and salvation for man, and God’s thorough knowledge of man. And we can also see God’s almightiness, wisdom, wonder, and greatness, God’s beauty, kindness, nobleness, and so on. Therefore, as long as we pursue to know God and God’s work, we can surely know God’s disposition from his work, thereby having fear and adoration for him, and no longer misunderstand and complain against him or disobey, resist, and offend him.
In addition, in the man’s fellowship attached to Christ’s Talks with Church Leaders and Workers, it says: “…from the Holy Spirit’s working you can also know God’s disposition. When you seek the truth and practice the truth, how does the Holy Spirit inspire and guide you and how do you feel? When you disobey God and stay away from God, how does the Holy Spirit work on you? When you resist and rebel against God, how does the Holy Spirit treat you?” Indeed, when we seek God’s intention and practice the truth in the difficulties we encounter or the things we cannot discern, God opens up a way out for us without our knowing it: he either lets us understand his intention when we eat and drink his word, or inspires us in prayer to let us know the principles of practice, or reminds us by the people, matters, or things around us to let us find the ways to practice. We are extremely excited at these, feeling that God is so kind and approachable, and see that God is really lovely: he does the work practically and he is also so almighty. When we disobey God or stay away from God, with our heart being occupied with outward things and having no place for God, or when we do not practice God’s requirements but plan for and consider our flesh, the Holy Spirit rebukes and disciplines us and sometimes raises the circumstances around us to deal with us so that we can wake up and turn back to God. If we persist in our mistaken ways like that, the Holy Spirit will desert us and we will fall into darkness. When we resist God or rebel against God, doing the work according to our own will in disregard of the work arrangement, not carrying out the work arrangement from above promptly, or having resistance in our hearts because of having notions about God, we fall into darkness and cannot sense God, feeling fearful and worried, and taste the flavor of living death. Sometimes, God also raises up the circumstances around us to expose us or makes us suffer from illnesses, so that we are forced to know our corruption and disobedience and confess and repent of our sins before God. From the Holy Spirit’s work on us, we can also see God’s practical and wonderful deeds and his righteous and holy disposition which does not tolerate man’s offense. As God says: “The more you act against God, the more God will manifest his disposition of majesty, and the more he will ‘serve’ you with severe punishment. The more you obey God, the more God will love you and keep you. It is as if God’s disposition is an instrument of punishment. If you are obedient, you will be safe and sound. If you are disobedient and always want to push yourself forward and start something different, God’s disposition will change instantly, like the sun on a cloudy day, and God will hide himself from you and show you his rage. God’s disposition is also like a day in June: the sky is vast clear and the surface of the river ripples; in a twinkling, the current speeds up and waves roll on the surface. God’s disposition being like this, do you still dare to act at will?”
Therefore, we should bear in mind God’s requirements: “For example, you put God in your heart all the time, do things according to his words, and seek his will in everything. Do not do things that disrespect and dishonor God, much less put God behind your mind to fill the future emptiness in your heart. … Again, for example, you never speak words of blaspheming and complaining against God in all your life. Again, for example, in all your life you can do properly the things God commits to you and can obey all God’s words. …” “In a particular matter, God is very much displeased with what you have done. When you were about to do it at that time, if you pondered inwardly: How will God view it if it is brought before God? Will God be happy or unhappy if he knows it? Will God abhor it? … Think thrice before acting lest you regret; you should keep this. If you seek and examine it in advance and then do it after a thorough examination, will you not have the assurance? Though sometimes you are in a bad state, you will not make a great error if you seriously investigate and seek every matter you are going to do before God.” If we can spend more effort in knowing God’s disposition, practice strictly according to God’s requirements, seek God’s will in every matter with a God-fearing heart, and make every effort to act according to God’s word to receive God’s approval, then we will not often offend God’s disposition.