21. The Principles of Obeying God’s Administrative Decrees and Commandments
1. One must understand the essence and true meaning of God’s administrative decrees and commandments, understand God’s intention, and have fear of God so as not to offend God’s disposition.
2. One must seek the truth in God’s administrative decrees and commandments to understand God’s disposition and achieve true compliance with God’s administrative decrees and commandments.
3. One must master his own weaknesses and Achilles’ heel to develop the practical principles, know how to keep God’s administrative decrees and commandments and not offend God.
4. One must absolutely obey God’s administrative decrees and commandments, which is the duty man must do, and he must endeavor to keep them even if he does not understand them.
Relevant Words of God:
The key to keeping the commandments is having an understanding of the practical God. Once you have an understanding of the practical God, you will be able to keep the commandments. Keeping the commandments includes two components: One is maintaining steadfast belief in[a] the essence of His Spirit and being able to accept the examination of the Spirit in front of Him. Another is being able to have a genuine understanding of the incarnate flesh, and achieving genuine obedience.
from “People Who Can Be Absolutely Obedient Toward God’s Practicality Are Those Who Truly Love God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If they are to abide by the commandments, at the very least people should know the practical God who appears in the flesh, without confusion. In other words, people should grasp the principles of abiding by the commandments. Abiding by the commandments does not mean following them haphazardly or arbitrarily, but abiding by them with a basis, with an objective, and with principles. The first thing to be achieved is for your visions to be clear.
from “You Should Know That the Practical God Is God Himself” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Practicing the truth and keeping the commandments are not contradictory actions, but are rather interconnected. In the beginning, only after man keeps the commandments can he practice the truth and attain enlightenment from the Holy Spirit. But this is not the original intention of God. God requires you to worship God with heart, not to just practice good behavior. But you must keep the commandments at least superficially. Gradually, through experience, man gains a clearer understanding of God. He stops rebelling against and resisting God, and he stops calling God’s work into question. In this way man may abide by the essence of the commandments.
from “Keeping the Commandments and Practicing the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If in your actions you do not offend the disposition of God, and you seek the will of God and have a heart of reverence for God, then your faith is up to the standard. Those who do not revere God and do not have a heart that trembles in fear may easily transgress the administrative decrees of God. Many serve God on the basis of passion, and know not the administrative decrees of God, much less understand the implications of His word. So despite their good intentions, they often do that which disrupts the management of God. Those who commit serious disruptions are cast out and no longer have the chance to follow Him; they are cast into hell without any further association with the house of God. These people work in the house of God with ignorant good intentions and end up provoking God’s disposition.
from “Three Admonitions” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Righteousness is holiness, and is a disposition that is intolerant of offense by man, and all that is filthy and has not changed is the target of God’s disgust. God’s righteous disposition is not law, but administrative decree: It is administrative decree within the kingdom, and this administrative decree is the righteous punishment of anyone who does not possess the truth and has not changed, and there is no margin for salvation.
from “The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
I exhort you to better understand the content of the administrative decrees and know the disposition of God. Otherwise, you will find it difficult to keep your lips sealed and your tongues from wagging too freely with high-sounding talk. Unknowingly you may offend the disposition of God and fall into the darkness, losing the presence of the Holy Spirit and the light. For you are unprincipled in your actions. If you do or say that which you should not, then you shall receive a fitting retribution. You must know that though you are unprincipled in your words and actions, God is very principled in both. The reason you receive retribution is because you have offended God, not a man. If, in your life, you commit many offenses against the disposition of God, then you are bound to be a child of hell.
from “Three Admonitions” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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.
from “Without the Truth It Is Easy to Offend God” in Records of Christ’s Talks
If you do not understand the disposition of God, then it will be impossible for you to do the work you should do for Him. If you do not know the substance of God, then it will be impossible for you to show Him reverence and fear, but instead only heedless perfunctoriness and prevarication, and moreover, incorrigible blasphemy. Although understanding God’s disposition is indeed important and knowing God’s substance must not be slighted, no one has ever thoroughly examined or delved into these issues. It is plain to see that you have all dismissed the administrative decrees I have promulgated. If you do not understand the disposition of God, then you will easily offend His disposition. Such an offense is tantamount to enraging God Himself, and the ultimate fruit of your action becomes a transgression against the administrative decrees. Now you should realize that understanding God’s disposition comes with knowing His substance, and that along with understanding God’s disposition comes understanding the administrative decrees. Certainly, many of the administrative decrees touch upon the disposition of God, but His disposition has not been expressed in its entirety within them. Hence you need to go one step further in developing your understanding of God’s disposition.
Every sentence I have spoken contains within it the disposition of God. You would do well to ponder My words carefully, and you will surely profit greatly from them. The substance of God is very difficult to grasp, but I trust that you all have at least some idea about the disposition of God. I hope, then, that you will show Me and do more of that which does not offend the disposition of God. Then will I be reassured. For example, keep God in your heart at all times. When you act, do so according to His words. Seek out His intentions in all things, and refrain from doing that which disrespects and dishonors God. Even less should you put God in the back of your mind to fill the future void in your heart. If you do this, you will have offended the disposition of God. Again, supposing you never make blasphemous remarks or complaints against God throughout your life, and again, supposing you are able to discharge properly all that He has entrusted to you and also to submit to all His words throughout your life, then you will have successfully avoided transgressing against the administrative decrees. For example, if you have ever said, “Why do I not think that He is God?” “I think that these words are nothing more than some enlightenment of the Holy Spirit,” “In my opinion, not everything God does is necessarily right,” “The humanity of God is not superior to mine,” “The words of God are simply not believable,” or other such judgmental remarks, then I exhort you to confess and repent your sins more often. Otherwise, you will never have a chance at forgiveness, for you offend not a man, but God Himself. You may believe that you are judging a man, but the Spirit of God does not consider it that way. Your disrespect of His flesh is equal to disrespecting Him. This being so, have you not offended God’s disposition? You must remember that all that is done by the Spirit of God is done in order to safeguard His work in the flesh and in order that this work be done well. If you neglect this, then I say that you are someone who will never be able to succeed in believing in God. For you have provoked the wrath of God, so He shall use fitting punishment to teach you a lesson.
Coming to know the substance of God is no trifling matter. You must understand His disposition. In this way, you will, gradually and unknowingly, come to know the substance of God. When you have entered into this knowledge, you will find yourself stepping forward into a higher and more beautiful state. In the end, you will come to feel ashamed of your hideous soul, so much so that you feel there is nowhere to hide yourself. At that time, there will be less and less in your conduct to offend the disposition of God, your heart will come closer and closer to that of God, and gradually a love for Him will grow in your heart. This is a sign of mankind entering a beautiful state. But as yet you have not attained this. As you bustle back and forth for the sake of your destiny, who would have the inclination to try to know the substance of God? Should this continue, you will unknowingly transgress against the administrative decrees, for you understand far too little of the disposition of God. So is not what you do now laying down a foundation for your offenses against the disposition of God? That I ask you to understand the disposition of God is not at odds with My work. For if you transgress against the administrative decrees often, then which one of you can escape punishment?
from “It Is Very Important to Understand God’s Disposition” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
You all must focus on knowing which aspects of your nature still easily lead you to make mistakes and go down the wrong path, and then learn your lessons starting from this foundation. Especially in serving God, in your own experiences, in knowing your own nature, you must gradually attain a higher understanding, thereby taking hold of your own situation and developing into the right direction. If you can have these truths as your internal life, then you will become much more steadfast. You will no longer be glib with things you don’t understand, you will be on point when you talk, and you will also be communicating things that are practical. The deeper a person understands his own nature, and the more truth he understands, the more measured will be what he says, and he will no longer talk nonsense.
from “All Is Determined by Whether One Possesses the Truth” in Records of Christ’s Talks
How do you resolve your nature? Firstly, you must know your nature and you must also understand both the word and the will of God. How then can you ensure, to the greatest extent, that you avoid committing wrongful acts, only doing that which conforms to the truth? If you wish to make a change, then you must deliberate on this. In terms of your flawed nature, what sorts of corruption it constitutes and which manner of acts it is capable of, what approach can then be adopted and how may it be practiced in order to control it—this is the crucial question. You must carefully investigate this question, all the more during a time of darkness (not including just after receiving communion from the above, but excluding this, that is, after more than ten days have passed), as to how you can resolve this issue, how you can fulfill your duties properly, how you can take the right path; you must establish a principle for yourself. This depends on the will of an individual and whether or not they want God. Lin Zexu was quick to anger. Based on his own weakness he wrote down the following motto in his room: “Bridle Your Temper.” This is man’s approach, however it truly does work. Each individual has his or her own principles to follow, so you should also set principles with respect to your own nature. These principles are necessary, not having them is out of the question. This should also be your motto for believing in God and your code of conduct.
Resolving one’s nature begins from forsaking the flesh. Forsaking the flesh also necessitates principles. Can one forsake the flesh in a muddleheaded fashion? When the time comes you will give in to the flesh. Some brothers may stop in their tracks at the sight of a beautiful woman. Then you must set a motto for yourself. What can you do when a beautiful woman appears? Should you leave or what should you do? What should you do if she holds your hand? If you have no principles, you will stumble when faced with such a situation. If you feel covetous at the sight of money and wealth, how can you deal with this? Study this question specifically, carefully practice solving it and slowly you will be able to forsake the flesh. There is a principle which is quite critical, that is to think twice before acting; examine it before God. Moreover, every evening you must examine your own situations. This is one principle. Scrutinize your own behavior: which acts were done in conformity to the truth and which acts were in violation of principles. These two points are the most crucial! One is to examine yourself at the time of action and one is to examine yourself afterward. The third principle is: Be perfectly clear on what is meant by practicing truth and what is referred to as handling affairs in a principled manner. Once you are crystal clear on this, you will handle matters correctly. By adhering to these three principles, you will then be able to restrain yourself. Your old nature will be unable to reveal itself, be unable to resurface. This is also the basic principle for handling human nature. … In this way, you will be able to guard against committing serious transgressions.
from “Resolving Nature and Practicing Truth” in Records of Christ’s Talks
1. Man should not magnify himself, nor exalt himself. He should worship and exalt God.
2. You should do anything that is beneficial to God’s work, and nothing that is detrimental to the interests of God’s work. You should defend God’s name, God’s testimony, and God’s work.
3. The money, material objects, and all property in God’s household are the offerings that should be given by man. These offerings may be enjoyed by none but the priest and God, for the offerings of man are for the enjoyment of God, God only shares these offerings with the priest, and no one else is qualified or entitled to enjoy any part of them. All of man’s offerings (including money, material objects, and things that can be enjoyed) are given to God, not to man. And so, these things should not be enjoyed by man; if man were to enjoy them, then he would be stealing offerings. Anyone who does this is a Judas, for, in addition to being a traitor, Judas also helped himself to what was put in the money bag.
4. Man has corrupt disposition and, moreover, he is possessed of emotions. As such, it is absolutely prohibited for two members of the opposite sex to work together when serving God. Any who are discovered doing so will be expelled, without exception—and no one is exempt.
5. You shall not pass judgment on God, nor casually discuss matters related to God. You should do as man ought to do, and speak as man ought to speak, and must not overstep your limits nor transgress your boundaries. Guard your own tongue and be careful of your own footsteps. All this will prevent you from doing anything that offends God’s disposition.
6. You should do that which ought to be done by man, and carry out your obligations, and fulfill your responsibilities, and hold to your duty. Since you believe in God, you should make your contribution to God’s work; if you do not, then you are unfit to eat and drink the words of God, and are unfit to live in God’s household.
7. In work and matters of the church, apart from obeying God, in everything you should follow the instructions of the man who is used by the Holy Spirit. Even the slightest infraction is unacceptable. You must be absolute in your compliance, and must not analyze right or wrong; what’s right or wrong has nothing to do with you. You must only concern yourself with total obedience.
8. People who believe in God should obey God and worship Him. You should not exalt or look up to any person; you ought not to give first place to God, second place to the people you look up to, and third place to yourself. No person should hold a place in your heart, and you should not consider people—particularly those you venerate—to be on a par with God, to be His equal. This is intolerable to God.
9. Your thoughts ought to be of the work of the church. You should put aside the prospects of your own flesh, be decisive about family matters, wholeheartedly devote yourself to the work of God, and put God’s work first and your own life second. This is the decency of a saint.
10. Kin who are not of the faith (your children, your husband or wife, your sisters or your parents, and so on) should not be forced into the church. God’s household is not short of members, and there is no need to make up its numbers with people who have no use. All those who do not believe gladly must not be led into the church. This decree is directed at all people. In this matter you should check, monitor and remind each other, and no one may violate it. Even when kin who are not of the faith do reluctantly enter the church, they must not be issued books or given a new name; such people are not of God’s household, and their entry into the church must be put a stop to by any means necessary. If trouble is brought upon the church due to the invasion of demons, then you yourself will be expelled or will have restrictions placed upon you. In short, everyone has a responsibility toward this matter, but you should also not be reckless, or use it to settle personal scores.
from “The Ten Administrative Decrees That Must Be Obeyed by God’s Chosen People in the Age of Kingdom” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Seventeen Commandments That Must Be Obeyed by God’s Chosen People During the Age of Kingdom
1. You shall not pass judgment on the work of the practical God.
2. You shall not oppose the man who is testified to by God.
3. Before God, you shall keep your place and shall not be dissolute.
4. You should be moderate in speech, and your words and actions must follow the arrangements of the man testified to by God.
5. You should revere the testimony of God. You shall not ignore the work of God and the words from His mouth.
6. You shall not imitate the tone and aims of God’s utterances.
7. Externally, you shall not do anything that manifestly opposes the man who is testified to by God.
8. You must not deceive or conceal anything from the God that stands before your eyes.
9. You shall not utter filthiness or arrogant talk in front of the God before you.
10. You shall not deceive the God before your eyes by good words and fair speeches in order to gain His trust.
11. You shall not act irreverently before God. You shall obey all that is spoken from the mouth of God, and shall not resist, oppose, or dispute His words.
12. You shall not interpret, as you see fit, the words spoken from the mouth of God. You should guard your tongue to avoid it causing you to fall prey to the deceitful schemes of the wicked.
13. You should guard your footsteps to avoid transgressing the boundaries set out for you by God. Doing so will cause you to speak conceited and pompous words from the perspective of God, and thus become loathed by God.
14. You shall not carelessly repeat the words spoken from the mouth of God, lest others mock you and the devils make a fool of you.
15. You shall obey all of the work of the God of today. Even if you do not understand it, you shall not pass judgment on it; all you can do is seek and fellowship.
16. No person shall transgress God’s original place. You can do nothing more than serve the God of today from the position of man. You cannot teach the God of today from the position of man—to do so is misguided.
17. No one may stand in the place of the man testified to by God; in your words, actions, and inmost thoughts, you stand in the position of man. This is to be abided by, it is the responsibility of man, it is alterable by no one, and doing so would violate the administrative decrees. It should be remembered by all.
from “The Commandments of the New Age” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In adhering to these practices, you should be earnest and sincere. You should not treat them like shackles, but adhere to them as commandments. Today, you ought not to concern yourself with what effects are to be achieved; in short, this is how the Holy Spirit works, and whoever commits offense must die. The Holy Spirit is without emotion, and heedless of your present understanding. If you offend Him today, then He will punish you. If you offend Him within the scope of His jurisdiction, then He will not spare you. He does not care how serious you are in your adherence to the words of Jesus. Today, if you do wrong you will be treated with the death penalty. How could it be acceptable for you to not adhere? You must adhere—even if it means suffering a little pain! No matter what religion, sector, nation, or denomination it is, in the future they must all adhere to these practices. None are exempt, and none will be spared! For they are what the Holy Spirit will do today, and they are unoffendable to all. Although they are no great thing, they must be done by every person, and are the commandments set for man by Jesus, who was resurrected and ascended to heaven. Does “The Path … (7)” not say that Jesus’ definition of whether you are righteous or sinful is according to your attitude toward God today? No one must overlook this point. In the Old Testament, generation after generation of the Pharisees believed in God, but with the arrival of the Age of Grace they did not know Jesus, and opposed Him. So it was that all they did came to nothing, and was in vain, and God did not accept it. If you can see through to this, then you will not easily sin. Many people, perhaps, have measured themselves against God. How does it taste to oppose God, is it bitter or sweet? You should understand this—do not pretend that you don’t know. In their hearts, perhaps, some people remain unconvinced. Yet I advise you to try it and see—see what it tastes like. This will prevent many people from being suspicious about it. Many people read the words of God yet secretly oppose Him in their hearts. After opposing Him like this, do you not feel like a knife has been twisted in your heart? If it is not family disharmony, it is physical discomfort, or the afflictions of sons and daughters. Although your flesh is spared death, the hand of God will never leave you. Do you think it could be that simple? In particular, it is even more necessary for the many who are near to God to focus on this. As time goes on, you will forget it, and, without realizing it, you will be plunged into temptation, you will become heedless of everything, and this will be the start of your sinning. Does this seem trivial to you? If you can do this well, then you have the chance to be made perfect—to receive the guidance from God’s own mouth before God. If you don’t consider this important, then you will be in trouble—you will be defiant of God, your words and actions will be dissolute, and sooner or later you will be carried away by great gales and mighty waves. These things should be noted by every one of you. The man who is testified to by God may not condemn you, but the Spirit of God is not finished with you, He will not spare you. Do you think you have what it takes to commit offense? Thus, no matter what God says, you must put His words into practice, and must adhere to them by any means you can. This is no simple matter!
from “The Commandments of the New Age” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
God is always in the hearts of those who genuinely believe in God and they always carry within them a God-revering heart, a God-loving heart. Those who believe in God should do things with a cautious and prudent heart, and all they do should be in accordance with God’s requirements and be able to satisfy the heart of God. They should not be headstrong, doing whatever they please; that does not befit saintly propriety. People cannot flaunt God’s banner and run amok with it everywhere, swaggering and swindling everywhere; doing this is the most rebellious conduct. Families have rules and nations have laws, so how much more does God’s family have strict standards? Does it not more so have administrative decrees? People are free to do what they want, but the administrative decrees of God cannot be altered at will. God is a God who does not allow people to offend Him and God is a God who puts people to death—do people really not know this already?
from “A Warning to Those Who Do Not Practice the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
a. The original text omits “steadfast belief in.”