Chapter 22. How to Understand the Relationship Between God’s Flesh and Spirit
Some people ask, “God looks deep into the heart of humankind, and God’s flesh and Spirit are one. God knows everything that people say, so does God know that I now believe in Him?” Some people think God may not know it because He is real in a concrete way, yet there are others who think God will know it since God’s flesh and Spirit are one. Answering this question involves how to understand God incarnate and the relationship between His Spirit and flesh. To understand God is principally to understand His essence and the attributes of His Spirit, and man should not try to determine whether God’s flesh knows any given thing or whether His Spirit knows any given thing; God is wise and wonderful, unfathomable to man. The flesh, the Spirit, and the person within whose flesh the Spirit is substantiated—these are matters you have not clearly understood. When God becomes flesh and the Spirit is substantiated in the flesh, the essence of the resulting person is divine, completely different from the essence of a human person and what kind of spirit resides within a human body; they are two completely different things. The essence of a human and his or her spirit is affixed to that individual. The Spirit of God is affixed to His flesh, but He is still all-powerful. While He is doing His work from within the flesh, His Spirit also operates everywhere. You cannot ask to see the nature of God’s omnipotence or to see it clearly. There is no way to see it clearly. It is enough for you to see how the Holy Spirit works among the churches when the flesh does His work. God’s Spirit has the characteristic of being all-powerful; He controls the entire universe and saves those whom He chooses, and He also works among the churches to enlighten people, while the flesh is doing His work at the same time. You cannot say that the flesh lacks the Spirit while the Spirit works among the churches. If you say that, would you not deny God’s incarnation? However, there are some things the flesh does not know. This not knowing is the normal and practical aspect of Christ. That God’s Spirit is concretely realized within the flesh proves that God Himself is the essence of that flesh. His Spirit already knows any given thing that His practical aspect of the flesh does not know, so one can say that God already knows that thing. If you deny the aspect of the Spirit because of the practical aspect of the flesh and deny that this flesh is God Himself, then you have committed the same error as the Pharisees. Some say, “God’s flesh and Spirit are one, so God might know how many people we have won to Him here in one go when we preach the gospel. The Spirit knows and so the flesh also learns about it, because They’re one!” Your speaking like this denies the flesh. The flesh embodies His practical and normal aspect: There are some things the flesh can know and some things the flesh does not need to know. That is His normal and practical aspect. Some say, “The Spirit knows, so the flesh certainly knows.” Such a thing is outside the scope of reality, and you thereby deny the essence of the flesh. The incarnate God is normal and practical. Some things about Him are different from how humans imagine; they imagine that these things are invisible, untouchable, mysterious, and that He is able to know something without being constrained by space or geography. If so, then that is not the flesh but the spiritual body. After the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross and then resurrected, He could pass through the door, but that was the resurrected Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus before the resurrection could not have passed through a wall. He was constrained by space, geography, and time. That is the normal aspect of the flesh.
One matter must be weighed and spoken of comprehensively. You merely say that God’s flesh and Spirit are one and so the flesh knows what the Spirit knows, but the flesh embodies the normal and practical aspect. Further, there is this other matter. When doing His work in the flesh it is He Himself doing it: Both the Spirit and the flesh are engaged in the work. It is done mainly by the flesh, and the flesh is primary, while the Spirit works to enlighten people, to guide, help, protect, and watch over them. Though it is the flesh that occupies the main role in the work, if He wants to know someone, it is a simple matter. When one human wants to understand another, he will not know the extent of evil of another’s acts unless he sees them. But the incarnate God always has a feeling about how a given person behaves in private and is able to make a judgment. It is impossible that He has no such perception. For example, He knows and comprehends how a given person behaves in private and what they will do, and what evil they will do and to what degree. Some say, “If God comprehends all, does He know where I am right now?” It is not essential to know this. For God to truly comprehend you is not to know where you are every day. There is no need to know that. Comprehending what you will do by nature is enough, and is sufficient for Him to do His work. God is practical in how He goes about His work. It is not like what people imagine that when God knows a person, He must know where that person is, what he’s thinking, what he’s saying, what he’ll do later, how he dresses, what he looks like, etc. Actually, the work of salvation that God does fundamentally does not require knowing those things. God only focuses on knowing the substance of a person and the process of progression over his or her life. So, you say, does the Spirit know those things? The Spirit knows, yet He does not pay attention to them. So the flesh does not care about those matters of yours, either. When God becomes flesh, the manifestations of the flesh are practical and normal, and this practicality and normality is possessed in order to accomplish the work of conquest and salvation of humankind. But, no one must forget that the practicality and normality of the flesh is His most normal manifestation when God’s Spirit dwells in His flesh. No matter what, the Spirit and flesh are one, and no one can deny this. Sometimes you have thoughts in your hearts—does the Spirit know what you are thinking? Of course the Spirit knows. The Spirit looks deep into the heart and knows what people think, but His work is not merely to be aware of everyone’s thoughts. Rather, He is to express truth from within the flesh in order to change the thoughts of people’s hearts. Your thoughts about some things are too immature. You think that God should be all-knowing. Some people doubt God incarnate if He does not know something they imagine He should. This is all because people have an insufficient understanding of the substance of God become flesh. There are some things outside of the scope of the work of the flesh that He will not bother with. This is a principle of how God works. Do you understand these things now?
Although God’s flesh embodies His practical and normal aspect, as a human one cannot freely define or come to conclusions about Him. God condescends and conceals Himself to become as a human; His acts are unfathomable.