Chapter 31. How to Understand God’s Almightiness and Practicality
This thing called man is capable of betraying God, so what can you know from this? Some people ask: “God created man so can God not stop man from betraying Him? Why is man still capable of betraying God? Is God not almighty?” This is a problem, isn’t it? What problem can you see here in this issue? God has a practical side, but He also has an almighty side. If man had not been corrupted by Satan, they were still able to betray God. This thing called man has no subjective will of their own: How they ought to worship God, how they should reject Satan, not to associate with its evil. They should obey God, God has the truth, the life and the way, and God is unoffendable. These things are not within man, much less is man in possession of those things that could understand the nature of Satan. In the beginning, man had nothing within them, so they were able to betray God at any time and at any place. Even more so the people of today, who have been corrupted by Satan and who now have satanic things within them. They are much more easily able to betray God. This is the problem. What can you see with regard to this problem? God has His almighty side, and also His practical side. If you only see God’s practical side, and you cannot see His almightiness, then it will be easy for you to betray God, and to regard Him as just a regular person; if you are looking at the side of God that is almighty, but you cannot see His practical side, then you will easily defy God. If you are unable to see either of God’s sides, the more easily will you defy Him. Therefore, it is said: “Is not understanding God the hardest thing in the world to do?” The more someone understands God, the more they will understand God’s will and the significance of everything He does. But the reality of requiring man to understand God is this: Man can never entirely understand God. Although God has His practical side, yet it is never possible for man to entirely understand Him. God is too great, too wonderful and too hard to fathom, whereas the thoughts of man are too limited. Why is it said that man will ever be as infants before God? It is for this reason.
God expresses some words or does some deeds and people always misunderstand and think, “How can God act that way? God is almighty!” There is a constant fight within man. In regard to God’s experiencing the suffering of the world, some people think: “Why is it that God needs to experience the suffering of the world if He is almighty? Does He not already know what the suffering of the world is like? Is God not almighty? Does He still need to experience it?” This concerns the practical side of God’s work. The crucifixion was endured so that man could be redeemed, yet man does not understand God and always harbors some conceptions about God, saying: “To redeem all mankind God had only to say to Satan, ‘I am almighty. You dare to withhold mankind from Me? You must give them to Me.’ With these few words everything could have been resolved—did God not have authority? All that was needed was for God to say that mankind is redeemed and that man’s sins are pardoned, then man would have been without sin. Were these things not decided by God’s words? If the heaven and earth and all things came into being with words from God, how then could God not resolve this issue? Why did He Himself need to be crucified?” Both God’s almighty side and His practical side are at work here. With regard to His practical side, God incarnate endured much suffering in His thirty-three and a half years on earth, in the end being crucified until His blood ran dry. He endured the most terrible suffering but then was resurrected from death. His resurrection was God’s aspect of almightiness at work. He did not make any indication, or shed any blood or make it rain and say this was a sin offering. He didn’t do anything like that, but instead He personally became flesh to make contact with the whole of mankind and was nailed to the cross, so that mankind would know of this deed. By means of this deed, mankind came to know that God had redeemed them and this was proof that God had indeed saved man. Whichever incarnation performs the work or whether the Spirit Himself does the work directly, it is a necessity. This means that, by doing things in this way, the work is made most valuable and most significant, and only by doing things in this way can mankind reap the benefits thereof. This is because the whole of mankind is the object of God’s management. It was said before that mankind was managed in order to wage war with Satan and to humiliate it. And actually, is this not good for man in the end? To man, this is something to commemorate and is something that is most valuable and significant. Because those who are made complete are a group of people who have emerged from tribulation with an understanding of God, who have been made perfect by God and who have come through the corruption of Satan; so this work must surely be done in this way. The decision about which method to employ in His every stage of work is based on the needs of mankind. God’s work is certainly not done in any old way. But people have a choice and have their own conceptions. For example, in regard to the crucifixion, people think: “What has God being crucified got to do with us?” They think there is no connection, but God had to be crucified in order to save mankind. Being crucified was the worst suffering of that time, wasn’t it? Could the Spirit have been crucified? Had the Spirit been crucified He would have felt no pain, could not have typified God and could not have become a symbol for God, not to mention that He would have been unable to bleed. The Spirit cannot bleed; only the flesh can bleed and His precious blood was the proof of a sin offering. His flesh became in the likeness of sinful flesh and He suffered pain on behalf of mankind. The Spirit could not have been nailed to the cross, so the Spirit cannot suffer pain on behalf of mankind and cannot redeem man’s sins. This was done for mankind and this is God’s practical side. But that God could do this, that He could love man, was something unachievable by man himself, so this was God’s almightiness at work. Why is it said that He is God and that He has the aspect of almightiness? Every deed God does contains within it His aspect of almightiness, and it also contains His aspect of practicality. God’s almightiness is His essence, but His practicality also embodies one side of His essence; these two aspects are inseparable. God doing deeds in reality is His practical aspect at work, and that He can work this way is His aspect of almightiness. You cannot say that God works in reality, that God is practical, and that it is His practical side at work without the aspect of His almightiness. According to your interpretation, this becomes a rule. It is both His aspect of almightiness and His aspect of practicality. Anything God does contains the two aspects of His almightiness and His practicality, and it is all done based on His essence; it is an expression of His disposition, and is a revelation of His essence and what He is. People think that, in the Age of Grace, God is mercy and love; but He still has His wrath. His judgment, His cursing of the Pharisees and of all the Jews—is this not His wrath and righteousness? You cannot say that God is mercy and love during the Age of Grace, that He basically has no wrath, no judgment or imprecation—this is people not understanding the work of God. God’s work in that age was all an expression of His disposition. Everything He did that man could see was to prove that He Himself is God and that He is almighty, to prove that He Himself has the essence of God. Does God’s judgment and chastisement during this stage mean that He has no mercy or love? He still has mercy and love. If you only use one kind of term, or use one or two sentences to generalize God’s essence and disposition, then you really are ignorant—you don’t understand God! Some will say: “Please talk to us of the truth about understanding God. Please explain it clearly to us.” What would someone who understands God say? “The understanding of God is most profound. It cannot be expressed in one or two sentences, or talked about for one or two days and then understood.” To know this can be accounted as having some understanding—man can never fully understand God. Those who are arrogant and who do not understand God will say: “Of course I know what kind of God He is; I know God and I understand Him.” There are some things that man has not experienced, some facts they have not seen and so they cannot have a real understanding of them and cannot have a true realization of them, meaning these things will feel very abstract to them. The only thing that those who do not understand hear is a kind of interpretation; they may have a doctrinal understanding, but not a real understanding. Just because you do not understand, it doesn’t mean that they are not the truth. To those who have not had the experience, it is as though those things are abstract and difficult to understand, when actually they are not abstract at all. If you have real experience, then you will know in what context any word of God belongs, and will know in what condition anything, any understanding and any aspect God speaks of belongs and what it refers to, and you can then cite some understanding from your memory. If you only hear the words, if you have no practical understanding at all, if you have no understanding in your memory, then you will find them hard to accept and, once you have accepted them, you still feel that they are just a kind of interpretation. This is entirely something that has to be experienced and is not a skill or knowledge that can be studied. Redeeming the whole of mankind, redeeming all of mankind’s sins—this is God’s aspect of almightiness. It is not that God merely sits idle and says that He is almighty. His almightiness includes deeds done in reality. In the doing of work, God conquers man, they fall before Him and they become able to obey Him. If one aspect of God was spoken about independently of the other, either His almightiness or His practicality, then man would be unable to understand them: These two aspects must be understood simultaneously. God works in reality, He expresses His own disposition and what He is. Whatever work man cannot do, He can do, and this concerns His aspect of almightiness. God doing this work Himself is His practical aspect, and these two aspects work in unison. The words God speaks contain His aspect of almightiness and He wields His authority, completing what He says He will complete. It is needless to say what the end result will be; as He speaks these words, His almightiness is revealed. Do not forget this: The essence of God Himself is both almighty and practical, and these two aspects complement each other. Everything God does is an expression of His disposition and is a revelation of what He is. What He is includes His almightiness, His righteousness and His majesty. For example, in the Age of Law, God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, and this proved that God has a practical side. But Jonah did not listen and, in the end, his survival inside the whale’s stomach for three days was the work of God’s almightiness. What God did to Jonah reveals that God is almighty. God’s work from beginning to end is a revelation of His own essence and an expression of what He is. His essence has two aspects: One is the aspect of His almightiness, the other is the aspect of His practicality. These two aspects you can see in any stage of God’s work, and you can see that both these two aspects are in everything God does. This is one way to understand God.