28. What are the differences between the work of the Holy Spirit and the work of evil spirits?
Relevant Words of God:
You must understand what things arise from God and what things arise from Satan. The things that arise from God cause you to become ever clearer about visions, and they cause you to get closer and closer to God, earnestly sharing love with brothers and sisters; you are capable of showing consideration toward God’s burden, and your God-loving heart does not abate; there is a road ahead for you to walk. The things that arise from Satan cause you to lose visions and all you had before is gone; you become estranged from God, you have no love for brothers and sisters and you have a hateful heart. You become desperate, you no longer wish to live the church life, and your God-loving heart is no more. This is Satan’s work and is also the consequence brought about by the work of evil spirits.
from “The Twenty-second Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If it is the work of the Holy Spirit, man becomes ever more normal, and his humanity becomes ever more normal. Man has an increasing knowledge of his disposition, which has been corrupted by Satan, and of the essence of man, and he has an ever greater longing for the truth. That is to say, the life of man grows and grows, and the corrupt disposition of man becomes capable of more and more changes—all of which is the meaning of God becoming the life of man. If a way is incapable of revealing those things that are the essence of man, is incapable of changing the disposition of man, and, moreover, is incapable of bringing him before God or giving him a true understanding of God, and even causes his humanity to become ever more lowly and his sense ever more abnormal, then this way must not be the true way, and it may be the work of an evil spirit, or the old way. In short, it cannot be the present work of the Holy Spirit.
from “Only Those Who Know God and His Work Can Satisfy God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The work of the Holy Spirit is all about enabling people to obtain benefits; it is all about edifying people; there is no work that does not benefit people. No matter whether the truth is deep or shallow, and no matter what the caliber of those who accept the truth is like, whatever the Holy Spirit does, it is all beneficial to people.
from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The work of the Holy Spirit is a form of proactive guidance and positive enlightenment. It does not allow people to be passive. It brings them solace, gives them faith and resolve and it enables them to pursue being made perfect by God. When the Holy Spirit works, people are able to actively enter; they are not passive or forced, but are proactive. When the Holy Spirit works, people are glad and willing, and they are willing to obey, and happy to humble themselves, and even though they are pained and fragile inside, they have the resolve to cooperate, they suffer gladly, they are able to obey, and they are untainted by human will, untainted by the thinking of man, and are certainly untainted by human desires and motivations. When people experience the work of the Holy Spirit, they are especially holy inside. Those who are possessed of the work of the Holy Spirit live out the love of God, the love of their brothers and sisters, and delight in the things that delight God, and loathe the things that God loathes. People who are touched by the work of the Holy Spirit have normal humanity, and they are possessed of humanity and constantly pursue the truth. When the Holy Spirit works within people, their conditions become better and better, and their humanity becomes more and more normal, and though some of their cooperation may be foolish, their motivations are right, their entry is positive, they do not try to interrupt, and there is no malevolence within them. The work of the Holy Spirit is normal and real, the Holy Spirit works in man according to the rules of the normal life of man, and He enlightens and guides in people according to the actual pursuit of normal people. When the Holy Spirit works in people, He guides and enlightens them according to the needs of normal people, He provides for them based on their needs, and He positively guides and enlightens them based upon what they lack, and upon their deficiencies; when the Holy Spirit works, this work is in consonance with the rules of the normal life of man, and it is only in real life that people are able to see the work of the Holy Spirit. If, in their everyday lives, people are in a positive state and have a normal spiritual life, then they are possessed of the work of the Holy Spirit. In such a state, when they eat and drink the words of God they have faith, when they pray they are inspired, when something happens to them they aren’t passive, and as it is happening to them they are able to see the lessons that God requires them to learn, and they are not passive, or weak, and although they have real difficulties, they are willing to obey all the arrangements of God.
What work comes from Satan? In the work that comes from Satan, the visions in people are vague and abstract, and they are without normal humanity, the motivations behind their actions are wrong, and although they wish to love God, there are always accusations within them, and these accusations and thoughts are always interfering within them, constraining the growth of their life, and stopping them from having normal conditions before God. Which is to say, as soon as there is the work of Satan within people, their hearts can’t be at peace before God, they don’t know what to do with themselves, the sight of an assembly makes them want to run away, and they are unable to close their eyes when others pray. The work of evil spirits wrecks the normal relationship between man and God, and upsets people’s previous visions and the path that their life has entered upon, in their hearts they can never draw close to God, things always happen that cause disruption to them and enshackle them, and their hearts cannot find peace, leaving no strength to their love of God, and making their spirits sink downward. Such are the manifestations of the work of Satan. The work of Satan is manifested in the following: being unable to stand your ground and stand witness, causing you to become someone who is at fault before God, and who has no faithfulness toward God. At the interference from Satan, you lose the love and loyalty toward God within you, you are stripped of a normal relationship with God, you do not pursue the truth, or the improvement of yourself, you regress, and become passive, you indulge yourself, you give free rein to the spread of sin, and are not hateful of sin; furthermore, the interference of Satan makes you dissolute, it causes God’s touch to disappear within you, and makes you complain about God and oppose Him, leading you to question God, and there is even the risk of you leaving God. All this is of the work of Satan.
from “The Work of the Holy Spirit and the Work of Satan” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
From these ways in which God works, what kind of relationship do you feel you have with God? … When God guides you, when He provides for you, helps you and supports you, you feel God’s amiability, His respectability, you feel how lovely He is, how warm. But when God reproaches your corruption, or when He judges and disciplines you for rebelling against Him, what way does God use? Does He reproach you with words? Does He discipline you through your environment and through people, affairs, and things? (Yes.) What level does this discipline reach? (To a level that man can endure.) Does His level of discipline reach the same point where Satan harms man? (No.) God works in a gentle, loving, delicate and caring way, a way that is especially measured and proper. His way does not cause you to feel intense emotions such as, “God must let me do this” or “God must let me do that.” God never gives you that kind of intense mentality or intense feelings that make things unbearable. Isn’t that right? Even when you accept God’s words of judgment and chastisement, how do you feel then? When you feel the authority and power of God, how do you feel then? Do you feel that God is divine and inviolable? (Yes.) Do you feel distanced from God at these times? Do you feel frightened of God? (No.) No, instead you feel fearful reverence of God. Do people feel all these things only because of God’s work? (Yes.) …
What kind of representative feature is shown by Satan’s work on man? … (Everything it does is done to harm man.) It does things to harm man. How does it harm man? Can you show Me more specifically and in more detail? (It seduces, entices and tempts man.) That’s right, this shows several aspects. Any more? (It deludes man.) It deludes, attacks and accuses. Yes, all of these. Are there any more? (It tells lies.) Cheating and lying comes most naturally to Satan. It does it so often that lies flow from its mouth without it even needing to think. Any more? (It sows dissension.) This one is not so important. I will describe something to you that will terrify you, but I do not do it to scare you. God works on man and man is cherished in both God’s attitude and His heart. On the contrary, does Satan cherish man? It does not cherish man. What does it want with man? It wants to harm man, all it thinks about is harming man. Isn’t that right? When it is mulling over harming man, does it do so in a pressing state of mind? (Yes.) So when it comes to Satan’s work on man, here I have two words that can amply describe the malicious and evil nature of Satan, that can truly allow you to know the hatefulness of Satan: In Satan’s approach to man, it always wants to forcefully occupy and possess him, each and every one, so that it can get to the point where it is completely in control of man, harming man, so that it can achieve this objective and wild ambition. What does “forcefully occupy” mean? Does it happen with your consent, or without your consent? Does it happen with your knowing, or without your knowing? It is completely without your knowing! In situations where you are unaware, possibly when it has not said anything or possibly when it has not done anything, when there is no premise, no context, there it is around you, surrounding you. It looks for an opportunity to exploit, then it forcefully occupies you, possesses you, achieving its objective of being completely in control of you and harming you. This is a most typical intention and behavior in Satan’s fight against God for mankind.
from “God Himself, the Unique IV” in Continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh
Some people say that the Holy Spirit is working in them at all times. This is impossible. If they were to say that the Holy Spirit is always with them, that would be realistic. If they were to say that their thinking and sense are normal at all times, that would also be realistic, and would show that the Holy Spirit is with them. If you say the Holy Spirit is always working within you, that you are enlightened by God and touched by the Holy Spirit at every moment, and gain new knowledge all the time, then this is not normal. It is extremely supernatural! Without a shadow of a doubt, such people are evil spirits! Even when the Spirit of God comes into the flesh, there are times when He must rest, and must eat—to say nothing of you. Those who have been possessed by evil spirits seem to be without the weakness of the flesh. They are able to forsake and give up everything, they are dispassionate, capable of enduring torment, they do not feel the slightest fatigue, as if they have transcended the flesh. Is this not extremely supernatural? The work of the evil spirit is supernatural, and these things are unattainable by man. Those who cannot differentiate are envious when they see such people, and say that their belief in God is so strong, and so good, and that they are never weak. In fact, this is the manifestation of the work of the evil spirit. That is because people of a normal state inevitably have human weaknesses; this is the normal state of those who have the presence of the Holy Spirit.
from “Practice (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Man’s Fellowship:
The main work of the Holy Spirit is enlightenment and illumination, letting one understand God’s words and enter into God’s words; that is, it is to guide people in understanding the truth and entering into the truth, enlightening and illuminating people in the midst of all kinds of trials, letting them understand the will of God. Of course, through various people, things and objects the Holy Spirit also exposes people, prunes them, disciplines them, and punishes them, all with the goal of bringing them to salvation. The Holy Spirit rules over all, arranging all kinds of situations to change people, perfecting them. In the work of God’s salvation, although the work of the Holy Spirit is multifaceted, it is without exception concerned in some way with salvation. Although the work of the Holy Spirit is hidden, and does not seem at all unearthly on the surface, those who have experience understand clearly in their hearts. On the contrary, the work of evil spirits is fantastically supernatural, it is visible, can be felt, and is very abnormal. From the doings of evil spirits, it can be seen that evil spirits particularly love to reveal themselves, they are incredibly evil, without the slightest trace of truth. No matter how many years evil spirits work on a person, their corrupt disposition does not change in the slightest. Rather they become less and less normal, even losing normal human reason. This is the result of the work of evil spirits. This is how Satan and evil spirits of all kinds corrupt people, entrap people, and deceive people. In the end, people become demons, and those people who have been deceived by evil spirits are forfeit to Satan and are devoured. The work of the Holy Spirit is all about the salvation of humanity, and the more work of the Holy Spirit a person has, the more they are able to understand the truth; their humanity becomes more and more normal, and they become more and more human. In the end they will gain God’s salvation, becoming a person in possession of the truth and humanity. The main distinctions between the work of the Holy Spirit and of evil spirits are: Evil spirits can only corrupt people, entrap people, and ultimately turn them into demons; the work of the Holy Spirit purifies the corrupt in salvation, giving them truth and humanity. The work of the Holy Spirit can make genuinely holy people out of those corrupted by Satan and counted among the devils, and one could simply say, it takes those who have been corrupted into demons by Satan and turns them back into people. This is the difference between the work of the Holy Spirit and that of evil spirits.
from “Results That Can Be Achieved by a Genuine Understanding of the Truth” in Collection of Sermons—Supply for Life
Below, let us look at some other clear differences between the various work of evil spirits and the work of the Holy Spirit, and at how they are specifically manifested. The Holy Spirit chooses people who pursue the truth, who have conscience and sense, and who are possessed of integrity. These are the kind of people He works in. Evil spirits choose people who are crafty and absurd, who have no love for the truth, and who are without conscience or sense. Such are the people that evil spirits work in. What do we see when we compare those who are chosen for the work of the Holy Spirit, and those who are chosen for that of evil spirits? We can see that God is holy, and righteous, that those who are chosen by God pursue the truth, and are possessed of conscience and sense, that they have integrity, and love that which is just. Those who are chosen by evil spirits are crafty, they are selfish and contemptible, they have no love for the truth, they are without conscience and sense, and they do not pursue the truth. Evil spirits only choose negative things and those who are not true people, from which we see that evil spirits love wickedness and darkness, that they run a mile from those who pursue the truth, and are quick to possess those who are crooked and crafty, who are enamored of unrighteousness, and easily bewitched. Those in whom evil spirits choose to work cannot be saved, and are eliminated by God. When, and against what background, do evil spirits work? They work when people have strayed far from God and rebelled against God. The work of evil spirits bewitches people, and it does so by taking advantage of when they sin. When people are at their weakest, especially when they are in great pain in their hearts, when they are feeling bewildered and confused, the evil spirit takes this opportunity to slip in to bewitch and corrupt them, to sow discord between them and God. There is a time for the work of the Holy Spirit: When people call upon God, when their hearts turn to God, when they need God, when they repent to God, and when they seek the truth, then the Holy Spirit begins to work in them. See how every aspect of the Holy Spirit’s work is in order to save man, how He looks for opportunities to save man, whereas evil spirits look for chances to corrupt and beguile people. Evil spirits are contemptible and wicked, they are insidious and sinister, everything they do is meant to corrupt man, and harm man, and devour him. When people are in need, when they make urgent calls to God, when they require God’s salvation, and when they wish to draw near to God in their hearts, the Holy Spirit appears to them and does the work of salvation. God is love, and evil spirits are hate—this is clear to you, yes? All that evil spirits do is in order to devour and corrupt man, and all that the Holy Spirit does is for the love and salvation of man. The effects of the work of the Holy Spirit are to purify people, to save them from their corruption, to allow them to know themselves and to know Satan, to be able to rebel against Satan, to be able to pursue the truth, and to ultimately live out the likeness of man. Evil spirits corrupt, defile, and bind people, they plunge them ever deeper into sin, and bring ever greater pain to their lives, and so when evil spirits work in people, they’re finished; ultimately, they are devoured by Satan, which is the outcome of the work of evil spirits. The effect of the work of the Holy Spirit is to eventually save people, to make them live out a real life, be completely free and liberated, and receive God’s blessings. Look: Evil spirits bring man to darkness, they take him to the abyss; the Holy Spirit takes man from darkness, into the light, and into freedom. The work of the Holy Spirit enlightens and guides people, He gives them opportunities, and when they are weak and have committed transgressions He brings them solace. He allows people to know themselves, allows them to pursue the truth, and He does not force people to do things, but lets them choose their path themselves, and ultimately takes them into the light. Evil spirits force people to do things and order them about. Everything they say is false and bewitches people, deceives them, and binds them; evil spirits do not give people freedom, they do not allow them to choose, they force them on the road to ruin, and ultimately plunge them deeper and deeper into sin, leading them to death. Look at those evil people, those wicked types of people: They drag others into the gutter, they pull them into crimes, and wrench them into gambling dens. Ultimately, after they have ravaged the people’s families and taken their lives, they are happy, their work is done, and they have achieved their aim. Are they not demons? Whereas those who are truly good and revere God lead people closer to God, and lead them to the belief in God, to the understanding of the truth, to the pursuit of a real life, and ultimately make them live out the likeness of man. How clear the contrast between these positive and negative things! In comparing the principles, means, and ultimate effect of the work of the Holy Spirit with those of evil spirits, we see that God saves man, loves man, and gives man the truth, that He takes man into the light, and ultimately allows man to be blessed and become a real person and live out the true life. Satan corrupts mankind, it binds mankind, it tries to devour mankind, and ultimately leads mankind to perdition and destruction. Once we understand the work of the Holy Spirit, we will be able to distinguish it from the work of evil spirits and we will be able to understand the truth of Satan corrupting mankind. Now we have come to an understanding of what we need to seek in our faith in God. We have known of God’s loveliness. We know that we should understand God, worship God and obey God. We have a goal in life and we have hope of salvation. These are the fruits of the Holy Spirit’s work. Are you able to say, right now, just what is Satan? Can you talk about it? What are the manifestations of Satan’s corrupt disposition? Satan’s disposition is evil, sinister, treacherous, ugly and despicable. There is no evil that it is not fond of and it is capable of every kind of maliciousness. What does everything God has and is refer to? It refers to God’s righteousness, holiness, honor, almightiness, wisdom, mercy and love. The feelings that Satan gives us are hate and evil. The feelings that God gives us are intimacy, love and reverence.
from “Knowing the Work of the Holy Spirit Is of the Utmost Importance to Man’s Salvation” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (II)
Everything that evil spirits do is highly supernatural, they directly instruct people to do this or that, they directly order them about, directly force them to do things—this is the manifestation of the work of evil spirits. The work of the Holy Spirit has never forced people to do this or that, it has never ordered people around, it has never been supernatural, has never used supernatural means to instruct people to do things, it is always hidden deep down in people, and touches them through their conscience to make them understand the truth and the words of God, after which it uses their conscience to make them put the truth into practice. This is the means by which the Holy Spirit works. The Holy Spirit has never forced or coerced people, He has never done anything supernatural or manifest, and He does not openly direct people. What do we know from this? We know that the work of the Holy Spirit is humble and hidden, it is especially hidden, and none of it is disclosed. God is omnipotent and holds dominion over all things, but the Holy Spirit does not directly say to man “Hey, you should do this or that.” The Holy Spirit has never acted in this way; He touches you, using love to touch you, and He is very tender, such that you don’t feel as if anyone is touching you—but in the depths of your heart you sense that you should act in a certain way, and that it is right and proper to do so. See how lovely God is! Look again at the ugliness and pitiable appearance of those who are possessed by evil spirits, behold how, as soon as they meet people, they say, “Today the spirit instructed me to say this, it told me to do that, it made me do such and such,” see how they sometimes get up in the dead of night to spread the gospel, or to pray, or to say how they have been touched and must fulfill their duty. Look at how, as soon as people are bound by an evil spirit, it causes them terrible suffering, and rushes them off their feet, see how they don’t know when to eat or do things, how their lives are turned upside down. When evil spirits work in people, they wrest them back and forth, leaving them exhausted and weary. Ultimately, they gain nothing: There is no change in their life disposition, they are still just as corrupt as they used to be, those who used to be conceited and pompous are still conceited and pompous, and those who used to be crafty and conniving are still crafty and conniving. The work of evil spirits corrupts people, and leaves them mentally abnormal. From the modus operandi of evil spirits, we see just how contemptible, wicked, ignoble, and stupid they are. They do nothing but harass and corrupt people, and because of this they are loathed and cursed by people, who say they are vile. Thus, the work of evil spirits represents Satan—this is completely true. Anyone who has seen people in whom evil spirits work, or who have been possessed by a demon, knows just how detestable, ignoble, wicked, and depraved evil spirits are. Do you see this? You see some of it, yes? Have you seen that evil spirits possess the truth? Do evil spirits have any love for man? From the work of evil spirits, it can be seen that they are without the slightest truth, and that their nature is truly wicked. Having seen how evil spirits corrupt people, you have seen how Satan corrupts people—this is completely correct. Because all evil spirits are in cahoots with Satan, because they all pursue Satan, and are the accomplices, friends, and associates of Satan, they have been with Satan since time immemorial. Satan led all these evil spirits in rebelling against God and it was struck down to earth. Could an evil spirit—an evil spirit which is without truth and utterly rebellious to God by nature—bring any truth to a person when it possesses them? Could it bring about changes in their disposition? Absolutely not.
from “Knowing the Work of the Holy Spirit Is of the Utmost Importance to Man’s Salvation” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (II)