V. One Must Bear Witness to the Truths Concerning the Differences Between God’s Work of Judgment in the Last Days and His Work of Redemption in the Age of Grace
2. What are the differences between the way the Lord Jesus worked in the Age of Grace and the way Almighty God works in the Age of Kingdom?
During His first incarnation, it was necessary for God to heal the sick and cast out demons because His work was to redeem. In order to redeem the entire human race, He needed to be compassionate and forgiving. The work that He did before He was crucified was healing the sick and casting out demons, which presaged His salvation of man from sin and filth. Because it was the Age of Grace, it was necessary for Him to heal the sick, thereby showing signs and wonders, which were representative of grace in that age; for the Age of Grace centered around the bestowal of grace, symbolized by peace, joy, and material blessings, all tokens of people’s faith in Jesus.
from “The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The work Jesus did was in accordance with the needs of man in that age. His task was to redeem humanity, to forgive them their sins, and so His disposition was wholly one of humility, patience, love, piety, forbearance, mercy, and lovingkindness. He brought to humanity abundant grace and blessings, and all the things that people could possibly enjoy, He gave to them for their enjoyment: peace and happiness, His tolerance and love, His mercy and lovingkindness. At the time, the abundance of things to enjoy that people were faced with—the sense of peace and security within their hearts, the feeling of reassurance within their spirits, and their dependence on Jesus the Savior—was all down to the age in which they lived. In the Age of Grace, man had already been corrupted by Satan, and so to achieve the work of redeeming all humanity required an abundance of grace, infinite forbearance and patience, and even more than that, an offering sufficient to atone for humanity’s sins, in order to have an effect. What humanity saw in the Age of Grace was merely My offering of atonement for the sins of humanity: Jesus. All they knew was that God could be merciful and forbearing, and all they saw was the mercy and lovingkindness of Jesus. This was entirely because they lived in the Age of Grace. And so, before they could be redeemed, they had to enjoy the many kinds of grace that Jesus bestowed on them in order to benefit from it. This way, they could be forgiven of their sins through their enjoyment of grace, and could also have the chance to be redeemed through enjoying Jesus’ forbearance and patience. Only through Jesus’ forbearance and patience did they win the right to receive forgiveness and enjoy the abundance of grace bestowed by Jesus. Just as Jesus said: I have come to redeem not the righteous but sinners, to allow sinners to be forgiven of their sins. If, when He became flesh, Jesus had brought the disposition of judgment, curse, and intolerance of man’s offenses, then man would never have had the chance to be redeemed, and would have remained forever sinful. Had this been so, the six-thousand-year management plan would have come to a stop in the Age of Law, and the Age of Law would have been prolonged for six thousand years. Man’s sins would only have grown more numerous and more grievous, and the creation of humanity would have been for naught. Men would only have been able to serve Jehovah under the law, but their sins would have exceeded those of the first created humans. The more Jesus loved mankind, forgiving them their sins and bringing unto them sufficient mercy and lovingkindness, the more mankind was entitled to be saved by Jesus, to be called the lost lambs that Jesus bought back at a great price. Satan could not meddle in this work, for Jesus treated His followers as a loving mother treats the infant at her bosom. He did not grow angry or disdainful toward them, but was full of comfort; He never flew into a rage among them, but forbore with their sins and turned a blind eye to their foolishness and ignorance, to the point of saying, “Forgive others seventy times seven times.” Thus were the hearts of others transformed by His heart, and only thus did people receive forgiveness of their sins through His forbearance.
from “The True Story Behind the Work of the Age of Redemption” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Holy Spirit works in accordance with the age, neither at random nor in conformity to set rules. The age has changed, and a new age necessarily brings with it new work. This is true of every stage of work, and so His work is never repeated. In the Age of Grace, Jesus did a fair amount of that kind of work, such as healing sickness, casting out demons, laying His hands upon man to pray for him, and blessing man. However, to do so again would be meaningless in the present day. The Holy Spirit worked in that way at the time, for it was the Age of Grace, and there was sufficient grace for man to enjoy. No payment of any kind was asked of him, and so long as he had faith he would receive grace. All were treated very graciously. Now the age has changed, and the work of God has progressed further; it is through chastisement and judgment that the rebelliousness of man and the unclean things within man will be purged away. That stage being the stage of redemption, it behooved God to work in that way, showing enough grace for man to enjoy, so that man might be redeemed from sin and by means of grace be forgiven his sins. This present stage is to expose the unrighteousness within man by means of chastisement, judgment, the smiting of words, as well as the discipline and revelation of words, so that humanity may afterward be saved. This is work more in-depth than redemption. The grace in the Age of Grace was sufficient for man’s enjoyment; now that man has already experienced this grace, he is no longer to enjoy it. This work is now past its time and is no longer to be done. Now man is to be saved through the judgment of the word. After man is judged, chastised, and refined, his disposition is thereby changed. Is this not all because of the words I have spoken?
from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When God becomes flesh this time, His work is to express His disposition, primarily through chastisement and judgment. Using this as the foundation, He brings more truth to man, shows more ways of practice, and so achieves His objective of conquering man and saving man from his corrupt disposition. This is what lies behind the work of God in the Age of Kingdom.
from Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh
What I’m saying today is to judge people’s sins and their unrighteousness; it is to curse people’s rebelliousness. Their deceit and crookedness, and their words and actions, all things that are not in line with His will undergo judgment, and people’s rebelliousness is condemned as sinful. He speaks according to the principles of judgment, and He reveals His righteous disposition through judging their unrighteousness, cursing their rebelliousness, and exposing all of their ugly faces.
from “How the Second Step of the Work of Conquering Bears Fruit” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
God has many means of perfecting man. He employs all manner of environments to deal with the corrupt disposition of man, and uses various things to lay man bare; in one regard He deals with man, in another He lays man bare, and in another He reveals man, digging out and revealing the “mysteries” in the depths of man’s heart, and showing man his nature by revealing many of his states. God perfects man through many methods—through revelation, dealing, refinement, and chastisement—so that man may know that God is practical.
from “Only Those Who Focus on Practice Can Be Perfected” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Through what is God’s perfection of man accomplished? Through His righteous disposition. God’s disposition primarily consists of righteousness, wrath, majesty, judgment, and curse, and His perfection of man is primarily through judgment. Some people don’t understand, and ask why it is that God is only able to make man perfect through judgment and curse. They say, “If God were to curse man, wouldn’t man die? If God were to judge man, wouldn’t man be condemned? Then how can he still be made perfect?” Such are the words of people who do not know the work of God. What God curses is the disobedience of man, and what He judges are the sins of man. Although He speaks harshly, and without the slightest sensitivity, He reveals all that is within man, and through these stern words He reveals that which is essential within man, yet through such judgment, He gives man a profound knowledge of the essence of the flesh, and thus man submits to obedience before God. The flesh of man is of sin, and of Satan, it is disobedient, and the object of God’s chastisement—and so, to allow man to know himself, the words of God’s judgment must befall him and there must be employed every kind of refinement; only then can God’s work be effective.
from “Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In the past, His means of salvation involved showing the utmost love and compassion, such that He gave His all to Satan in exchange for the whole of mankind. The present is nothing like the past: The salvation bestowed upon you today occurs at the time of the last days, during the classification of each according to kind; the means of your salvation is not love or compassion, but chastisement and judgment, in order that man may be more thoroughly saved. Thus, all that you receive is chastisement, judgment, and merciless smiting, but know this: In this heartless smiting there is not the slightest punishment. Regardless of how harsh My words might be, what befall you are but a few words that might appear utterly heartless to you, and no matter how angry I might be, what rain upon you are still words of teaching, and I do not mean to harm you or put you to death. Is this not all fact? Know that nowadays, whether it be righteous judgment or heartless refinement and chastisement, everything is for the sake of salvation. Regardless of whether today each is classified according to kind or the categories of man are laid bare, the purpose of all of God’s words and work is to save those who truly love God. Righteous judgment is brought to purify man, and heartless refinement is done to cleanse them; harsh words or chastening are both done to purify and are for the sake of salvation. Thus, today’s method of salvation is unlike that of the past. Today, you are brought salvation through righteous judgment, and this is a good tool for classifying you each according to kind. Moreover, ruthless chastisement serves as your utmost salvation—and what have you to say in the face of such chastisement and judgment? Have you not always enjoyed salvation, from start to finish? You have seen God incarnate and realized His omnipotence and wisdom; in addition, you have experienced repeated smiting and discipline. However, have you not also received supreme grace? Are your blessings not greater than those of anyone else? Your graces are more bounteous even than the glory and riches enjoyed by Solomon! Think about it: If My intention in coming were to condemn and punish you rather than save you, could your days have lasted so long? Could you sinful beings of flesh and blood have survived until today? If My goal were merely to punish you, then why would I have become flesh and embarked upon such a great enterprise? Could punishing you mere mortals not simply be done by uttering a single word? Would I still need to destroy you after purposely condemning you? Do you still not believe these words of Mine? Could I save man merely through love and compassion? Or could I only use the crucifixion to save man? Is My righteous disposition not more conducive to making man completely obedient? Is it not more capable of thoroughly saving man?
Though My words may be stern, they are all said for man’s salvation, as I am only speaking words and not punishing man’s flesh. These words cause man to live in the light, to know that the light exists, to know that the light is precious, and, even more so, to know how beneficial these words are to them, as well as to know that God is salvation. Though I have uttered many words of chastisement and judgment, what they represent has not been done unto you in deed. I have come to do My work and to speak My words, and though My words may be strict, they are spoken in judgment of your corruption and your rebelliousness. The purpose of My doing this remains to save man from Satan’s domain; I am using My words to save man. My purpose is not to harm man with My words. My words are stern in order to achieve results in My work. Only through such work can man come to know themselves and break away from their rebellious disposition.
from “You Should Put Aside the Blessings of Status and Understand God’s Will to Bring Salvation to Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh