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3. What is the difference between the work of God incarnate and the work of the Spirit?

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I. One Must Bear Witness to the Aspect of Truth Concerning God’s Incarnation

3. What is the difference between the work of God incarnate and the work of the Spirit?

Bible Verses for Reference:

“And he said, I beseech you, show me your glory. And he said, … You can not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live” (Exo 33:18-20).

“And Jehovah came down on mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and Jehovah called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up. And Jehovah said to Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through to Jehovah to gaze, and many of them perish” (Exo 19:20-21).

“And all the people saw the thunder, and the lightning, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said to Moses, Speak you with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die” (Exo 20:18-19).

“Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spoke to him” (Jhn 12:28-29).

Relevant Words of God:

God’s saving of man is not done directly using the method of the Spirit and the identity of the Spirit, for His Spirit can neither be touched nor seen by man, neither can man draw near. If He tried to save man directly using the perspective of the Spirit, man would be unable to receive His salvation. If God did not put on the outward form of a created man, there would be no way for man to receive this salvation. For man has no way of approaching Him, much as no one was able to go near the cloud of Jehovah. Only by becoming a created human being, that is, only by putting His word into the body of flesh that He is about to become, can He personally work the word into all who follow Him. Only then can man personally see and hear His word, and moreover enter into possession of His word, and by this means come to be fully saved. If God did not become flesh, no man of flesh and blood would be able to receive such great salvation, nor would a single man be saved. If the Spirit of God worked directly in the midst of mankind, all humanity would be struck down, or else, with no way of coming into touch with God, they would be completely carried away captive by Satan.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

If God did not become flesh, He would remain the Spirit who is both invisible and intangible to man. Man being a creature of flesh, he and God belong to two different worlds and are endowed with different natures. The Spirit of God is incompatible with man, who is of flesh, and there is simply no way of establishing relations between them, not to mention that man is incapable of turning into a spirit. This being so, the Spirit of God must become a created being in order to do His original work. God can both ascend to the highest place and humble Himself to become a human creature, doing work among men and living in their midst, but man cannot ascend to the highest place and become a spirit, and even less can he descend to the lowest place. This is why God must become flesh to carry out His work. By the same token, during the first incarnation, only the flesh of God incarnate could redeem man through His crucifixion, whereas there would have been no way for the Spirit of God to be crucified as a sin offering for man. God could directly become flesh to serve as a sin offering for man, but man could not directly ascend to heaven to take the sin offering that God had prepared for him. This being so, all that is possible would be to ask God to run back and forth a few times between heaven and earth, not to have man ascend to heaven to take this salvation, for man had fallen and moreover man simply could not ascend to heaven, much less obtain the sin offering. Therefore, it was necessary for Jesus to come among men and personally do the work that simply could not be accomplished by man. Every time God becomes flesh, it is out of absolute necessity. If any of the stages could have been carried out directly by the Spirit of God, He would not have submitted to the indignity of being incarnated.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

So, if this work were done by the Spirit—if God did not become flesh, and instead the Spirit spoke directly through thunder so that man had no way to have contact with Him, would man be able to know His disposition? If it were solely the Spirit that did the work, then man would have no way of coming to know God’s disposition. People can only behold God’s disposition with their own eyes when He becomes flesh, when the Word appears in the flesh, and He expresses His entire disposition through the flesh. God really and truly lives among men. He is tangible; man can actually engage with His disposition, engage with what He has and is; only in this way can man truly come to know Him.

from “The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Though God’s work in the flesh involves many unimaginable difficulties, the effects that it ultimately achieves far exceed those of the work done directly by the Spirit. The work of the flesh entails much hardship, and the flesh cannot possess the same great identity as the Spirit, cannot carry out the same supernatural deeds as the Spirit, much less can He possess the same authority as the Spirit. Yet the substance of the work done by this unremarkable flesh is far superior to that of the work done directly by the Spirit, and this flesh Himself is the answer to all of man’s needs. For those to be saved, the use value of the Spirit is far inferior to that of the flesh: The work of the Spirit is able to cover the entire universe, across all mountains, rivers, lakes, and oceans, yet the work of the flesh more effectively relates to every person with whom He has contact. What’s more, God’s flesh with tangible form can better be understood and trusted by man, and can further deepen man’s knowledge of God, and can leave upon man a more profound impression of the actual deeds of God. The work of the Spirit is shrouded in mystery, it is difficult for mortal beings to fathom, and even harder for them to see, and so they can only rely on hollow imaginings. The work of the flesh, however, is normal, and based on reality, and possessed of rich wisdom, and is a fact that can be beheld by the physical eye of man; man can personally experience the wisdom of the work of God, and has no need to employ his bountiful imagination. This is the accuracy and real value of the work of God in the flesh. The Spirit can only do things that are invisible to man and difficult for him to imagine, for example the enlightenment of the Spirit, the moving of the Spirit, and the guidance of the Spirit, but for man who has a mind, these do not provide any clear meaning. They only provide a moving, or a broad meaning, and cannot give an instruction with words. The work of God in the flesh, however, is greatly different: It has accurate guidance of words, has clear will, and has clear required goals. And so man does not need to grope around, or employ his imagination, much less make guesses. This is the clarity of the work in the flesh, and its great difference from the work of the Spirit. The work of the Spirit is only suitable for a limited scope, and cannot replace the work of the flesh. The work of the flesh gives man far more exact and necessary goals and far more real, valuable knowledge than the work of the Spirit. The work that is of greatest value to corrupt man is that which provides accurate words, clear goals to pursue, and which can be seen and touched. Only realistic work and timely guidance are suited to man’s tastes, and only real work can save man from his corrupt and depraved disposition. This can only be achieved by the incarnate God; only the incarnate God can save man from his formerly corrupt and depraved disposition. Although the Spirit is the inherent substance of God, work such as this can only be done by His flesh. If the Spirit worked single-handedly, then it would not be possible for His work to be effective—this is a plain truth.

from “Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of God Become Flesh” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

For everyone who seeks the truth and longs for the appearance of God, the Spirit’s work can only provide moving or revelation, and a sense of wondrousness that it is inexplicable and unimaginable, and a sense that it is great, transcendent, and admirable, yet also unattainable and unobtainable to all. Man and the Spirit of God can only look upon each other from afar, as if there is a great distance between them, and they can never be alike, as if separated by an invisible divide. In fact, this is an illusion given to man by the Spirit, which is because the Spirit and man are not of the same kind, and the Spirit and man shall never coexist in the same world, and because the Spirit possesses nothing of man. So man does not have need of the Spirit, for the Spirit cannot directly do the work most needed by man. The work of the flesh offers man real objectives to pursue, clear words, and a sense that He is real and normal, that He is humble and ordinary. Although man may fear Him, for most people He is easy to relate to: Man can behold His face, and hear His voice, and does not need to look at Him from afar. This flesh feels approachable to man, not distant, or unfathomable, but visible and touchable, for this flesh is in the same world as man.

from “Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of God Become Flesh” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

When God had not become flesh, people did not understand much of what He said because it came out of complete divinity. The perspective and context of what He said was invisible and unreachable to mankind; it was expressed from a spiritual realm that people could not see. For people who lived in the flesh, they could not pass through the spiritual realm. But after God became flesh, He spoke to mankind from the perspective of humanity, and He came out of and surpassed the scope of the spiritual realm. He could express His divine disposition, will, and attitude, through things humans could imagine and things they saw and encountered in their lives, and using methods that humans could accept, in a language they could understand, and knowledge they could grasp, to allow mankind to understand and to know God, to comprehend His intention and His required standards within the scope of their capacity, to the degree that they were able. This was the method and principle of God’s work in humanity. Even though God’s ways and His principles of working in the flesh were mostly achieved by or through humanity, it truly did achieve results that could not be achieved by working directly in divinity.

from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in Continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh

This was the advantage of God becoming flesh: He could take advantage of mankind’s knowledge and use human language to speak to people, to express His will. He explained or “translated” to man His profound, divine language that people struggled to understand in human language, in a human way. This helped people understand His will and know what He wanted to do. He could also have conversations with people from the human perspective, using human language, and communicate with people in a way they understood. He could even speak and work using human language and knowledge so that people could feel God’s kindness and closeness, so that they could see His heart.

from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in Continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh

The work done by the Spirit is implied and unfathomable, and it is fearful and unapproachable to man; the Spirit is not suited to directly doing the work of salvation, and is not suited to directly providing life to man. Most suitable for man is to transform the work of the Spirit into an approach that is close to man, which is to say, what is most suitable for man is for God to become an ordinary, normal person to do His work. This requires God to be incarnated to replace the work of the Spirit, and for man, there is no more suitable way for God to work.

from “Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of God Become Flesh” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

If the Spirit of God spoke directly to man, men would all submit to the voice, falling down without words of revelation, much in the way that Paul fell to the ground in the light on the road to Damascus. If God continued to work in this way, man would never be able to come to know his own corruption through judgment by the word and thereby attain salvation. Only through becoming flesh can He personally deliver His words into the ears of each and every human being, so that all who have ears may hear His words and receive His work of judgment by the word. Only this is the result achieved by His word, rather than the Spirit becoming manifest to frighten man into submission. It is only through this practical and yet extraordinary work that the old disposition of man, hidden deep within for many years, can be fully exposed, so that man may recognize it and have it changed. These things are all the practical work of God incarnate, in which, speaking and executing judgment in a practical manner, He achieves the results of judgment upon man by the word. This is the authority of God incarnate and the significance of God’s incarnation. … The reason why He becomes flesh is because the flesh can also possess authority, and He is capable of carrying out work in a practical manner among mankind, in such a way that it is visible and tangible to man. This work is much more realistic than the work done directly by the Spirit of God, who possesses all authority, and its results are also apparent. This is because His incarnate flesh can speak and work in a practical way. The outward form of His flesh holds no authority, and can be approached by man, whereas His substance does carry authority, but His authority is visible to none. When He speaks and works, man is unable to detect the existence of His authority; this facilitates Him in doing work of a practical nature. And all this practical work can achieve results. Even though no man realizes that He holds authority, or sees that He is not to be offended, or sees His wrath, He achieves the intended results of His words through His veiled authority, His hidden wrath, and the words He openly speaks. In other words, through His tone of voice, the sternness of His speech, and all the wisdom of His words, man is utterly convinced. In this way, man submits to the word of God incarnate, who seemingly has no authority, thereby fulfilling His aim of saving man. This is another aspect of the significance of His incarnation: to speak more realistically and allow the reality of His words to have an effect upon man, so that man may witness the power of the word of God. Therefore, this work, if not done through incarnation, would not achieve the slightest results and would not be able to fully save sinners.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Because the one who is judged is man, man who is of the flesh and has been corrupted, and it is not the spirit of Satan that is judged directly, the work of judgment is not carried out in the spiritual world, but among man. No one is more suitable, and qualified, than God in the flesh for the work of judging the corruption of man’s flesh. If judgment were carried out directly by the Spirit of God, then it would not be all-embracing. Furthermore, such work would be difficult for man to accept, for the Spirit is unable to come face-to-face with man, and because of this, the effects would not be immediate, much less would man be able to behold the unoffendable disposition of God more clearly. Satan can only be fully defeated if God in the flesh judges the corruption of mankind. … If this work were done by the Spirit of God, then it would not be victory over Satan. The Spirit is inherently more exalted than mortal beings, and the Spirit of God is inherently holy, and triumphant over the flesh. If the Spirit did this work directly, He would not be able to judge all of man’s disobedience, and could not reveal all of man’s unrighteousness. For the work of judgment is also carried out through man’s conceptions of God, and man has never had any conceptions of the Spirit, and so the Spirit is incapable of better revealing the unrighteousness of man, much less of completely disclosing such unrighteousness. The incarnate God is the enemy of all those who do not know Him. Through judging man’s conceptions and opposition to Him, He discloses all the disobedience of mankind. The effects of His work in the flesh are more apparent than those of the work of the Spirit. And so, the judgment of all mankind is not carried out directly by the Spirit, but is the work of the incarnate God. God in the flesh can be seen and touched by man, and God in the flesh can completely conquer man. In his relationship with God in the flesh, man progresses from opposition to obedience, from persecution to acceptance, from conception to knowledge, and from rejection to love. These are the effects of the work of the incarnate God. Man is only saved through the acceptance of His judgment, only gradually comes to know Him through the words of His mouth, is conquered by Him during his opposition to Him, and receives the life supply from Him during the acceptance of His chastisement. All of this work is the work of God in the flesh, and not the work of God in His identity as the Spirit.

from “Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of God Become Flesh” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Yet there is one truth that you do not know: The corrupt disposition of man and his rebellion and resistance are exposed when he sees Christ, and the rebellion and resistance exposed at this time are more absolutely and completely exposed than at any other. It is because Christ is the Son of man—a Son of man who possesses normal humanity—that man neither honors nor respects Him. It is because God lives in the flesh that the rebellion of man is brought to light so thoroughly and in such vivid detail. So I say that the coming of Christ has unearthed all the rebellion of mankind and has thrown the nature of mankind into sharp relief. This is called “luring a tiger down the mountain” and “luring a wolf out of its cave.”

from “Those Who Are Incompatible With Christ Are Surely Opponents of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The conceptions of man are laid bare when the incarnate God officially does His work, because the normality and reality of the incarnate God is the antithesis of the vague and supernatural God in man’s imagination. The original conceptions of man can only be revealed through their contrast to the incarnate God. Without the comparison to the incarnate God, the conceptions of man could not be revealed; in other words, without the contrast of reality the vague things could not be revealed. No one is capable of using words to do this work, and no one is capable of articulating this work using words. Only God Himself can do His own work, and no one else can do this work on His behalf. No matter how rich the language of man is, he is incapable of articulating the reality and normality of God. Man can only know God more practically, and can only see Him more clearly, if God personally works among man and completely shows forth His image and His being. This effect cannot be achieved by any fleshly man. Of course, God’s Spirit is also incapable of achieving this effect. God can save corrupt man from the influence of Satan, but this work cannot be directly accomplished by the Spirit of God; rather, it can only be done by the flesh God’s Spirit wears, by God’s incarnate flesh.

from “Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of God Become Flesh” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The best thing about His work in the flesh is that He can leave accurate words and exhortations, and His accurate will for mankind to those who follow Him, so that afterward His followers can more accurately and more concretely pass on all of His work in the flesh and His will for the whole of mankind to those who accept this way. Only the work of God in the flesh among man truly accomplishes the fact of God’s being and living together with man. Only this work fulfills man’s desire to behold the face of God, witness the work of God, and hear the personal word of God. The incarnate God brings to an end the age when only the back of Jehovah appeared to mankind, and also concludes the age of mankind’s belief in the vague God. In particular, the work of the last incarnate God brings all mankind into an age that is more realistic, more practical, and more pleasant. He not only concludes the age of law and doctrine; more importantly, He reveals to mankind a God who is real and normal, who is righteous and holy, who unlocks the work of the management plan and demonstrates the mysteries and destination of mankind, who created mankind and brings to an end the management work, and who has remained hidden for thousands of years. He brings the age of vagueness to a complete end, He concludes the age in which the whole of mankind wished to seek God’s face but was unable to, He ends the age in which the whole of mankind served Satan, and leads the whole of mankind all the way into a completely new era. All this is the outcome of the work of God in the flesh instead of God’s Spirit. When God works in His flesh, those who follow Him no longer seek and grope after those vague and ambiguous things, and cease to guess at the will of the vague God. When God spreads His work in the flesh, those who follow Him shall pass on the work that He has done in the flesh to all religions and denominations, and they shall communicate all of His words to the ears of the whole of mankind. All that is heard by those who receive His gospel shall be the facts of His work, shall be things personally seen and heard by man, and shall be facts and not hearsay. These facts are the evidence with which He spreads the work, and are also the tools that He uses in spreading the work. Without the existence of facts, His gospel would not spread across all countries and to all places; without facts but only with man’s imaginations, He would never be able to do the work of conquering the entire universe. The Spirit is impalpable to man, and invisible to man, and the work of the Spirit is incapable of leaving any further evidence or facts of God’s work for man. Man shall never behold the real face of God, and shall always believe in a vague God that does not exist. Man shall never behold the face of God, nor will man ever hear words personally spoken by God. Man’s imaginings are, after all, empty, and cannot replace the true face of God; the inherent disposition of God, and the work of God Himself cannot be impersonated by man. The invisible God in heaven and His work can only be brought to earth by God incarnate who personally does His work among man. This is the most ideal way in which God appears to man, in which man sees God and comes to know the true face of God, and it cannot be achieved by a non-incarnate God.

from “Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of God Become Flesh” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

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