Chapter 29. One Must Know the Way in Which God Works
God’s work, either in the flesh or by the Spirit, is all carried out according to the management plan. His work is not done in accordance with whether it is public or private, or in accord with man’s needs—it is done completely according to the management plan. This stage of work cannot be done in any old way: It must be completed on the foundation of the two previous stages of work. The second stage of work completed during the Age of Grace gave man redemption. This was done by God incarnate. It is not that the Spirit could not have performed the current stage of work, the Spirit was also capable, but would not have been as suitable, as able to save man, as the incarnation. To what degree would people actually form conceptions with regard to the Spirit and how rebellious would people be toward the Spirit? After all, the Spirit is not as capable of conquering man and of facilitating people’s knowledge of God as the incarnation. If the Spirit does the work, He can’t always be with people; it’s impossible for the Spirit to speak directly to people and live and speak with them face to face as the flesh does now. Sometimes the Spirit just can’t reveal things within people as the incarnation does. This stage of work which the incarnation is carrying out is concerned chiefly with conquering and, then, perfecting man, to allow man to know and worship God. This is the work of concluding the age. If this stage of work was not concerned with conquering mankind, but just with allowing man to know that God really exists, then of course the Spirit could do this work. If you think that the Spirit could stand in for the flesh in the execution of this stage of work—could do this work as well, because God is almighty—if you think that whether it be the flesh or the Spirit, They both would achieve the same effect, then you’d be wrong. His work is done according to His management, according to the plan and the steps by which He works man. It’s not as you imagine, that somehow, because the Spirit, the flesh and God Himself are all all-powerful, that He can do the work in whichever old way He likes. God’s work is done in accordance with the management plan and the execution of His work, no matter which stage, always follows a specific stepwise process. The execution of this stage and all the specifics have been planned out. The first stage of work was completed in Israel, this stage of the work is being done in the country of the great red dragon. Some people ask: “It couldn’t have been executed in some other country?” According to the management plan for this stage of work, this stage necessarily must be executed in this country. The people of this country are backward and their lives are degenerate, they are under the domain of Satan, and the country itself lacks human rights and freedom. If it were as you said, then there would be no meaning to God’s incarnation in this stage. If it could be done in any old way, what would be the point? No matter which stage He is executing, there is always a definite necessity—the stage is executed in a particular way because it must be done in this way. This is why doing things in this way is meaningful. If it were as you said, if it could be done in any old way, then it would be meaningless. For instance, take food: If someone feels they could eat a meal or do without, then that meal has no value to the person. If he’s particularly hungry and that dish is laid before him, then there is great necessity for him to have it because he is hungry. Don’t misunderstand this matter. The work done in the flesh is capable of achieving a certain effect, just as the work done by the Spirit is capable of achieving its own certain effect. He makes His choice between the flesh and the Spirit based upon which method or aspect will be most beneficial for achieving a particular effect. For instance, if it’s very hot out, then wearing a cotton-padded jacket will be really uncomfortable, but in the winter it’s quite suitable. The most beneficial method is the one that is chosen. It’s not as you said, that any only old way is fine—that the flesh can do the work, appearing in any particular visage or that the Spirit can do the work even if He doesn’t meet with people and They’ll be able to achieve a certain effect. God is almighty. God has a practical side that people don’t see. People always think of God as impractical, unrealistic—they think that He just does any old thing He thinks up without any particular meaning. They think that the meaning in God’s eyes is just made up stuff—as if He just says whatever He wants to. People should know that within this is the truth. The way in which God works is meaningful, is bound by necessity and achieves the best effect. It is all done with regard to a specific purpose, meaning and plan. You think God’s work is all just done at random? He has an all-powerful aspect, but He also has a practical aspect. Your knowledge of Him is just one-sided, there are some problems with your knowledge of God’s omnipotence and even more so with your knowledge of His practical aspect—your knowledge of His practical aspect is even more problematic. The Spirit carried out the first of the three stages of work and the flesh carried out the second and the third. All of this was bound by necessity. Take Jesus’[a] being nailed to the cross: Would there be any meaning to nailing the Spirit to the cross? The Spirit doesn’t feel any pain, so there would be no meaning. For this stage of the work of conquering man, the Spirit could not stand in for the flesh—the Spirit can’t do the work of the flesh, just as the flesh cannot do the work of the Spirit. In any stage of the work, the selection of either the flesh or the Spirit always has a definite necessity in achieving the best outcome and realizing the purpose of God’s management plan. God has an almighty aspect and a practical aspect: No matter what stage of the work He is engaged in, He always works practically. It’s not as some believe, that God doesn’t think or speak and does whatever He feels like. He has wisdom and His being, this is His substance. In doing His work, He needs substance, wisdom and for all of His disposition to be revealed and issued forth for man to receive. He doesn’t work groundlessly. He speaks in a practical way, He does His work day-by-day, and He suffers torment day-by-day. The torments He suffers are also painful. It’s not as if when God incarnate is working and speaking the Spirit is with Him and when He’s not working and speaking the Spirit goes away. If that were the case, He wouldn’t suffer any torment and could not be considered God incarnate. People can’t see the practical aspect of God, so people are never capable of knowing God—they don’t know Him fully and truly. People only have a superficial knowledge of God: They either think that God is practical and normal or think that God is almighty and omnipotent. These things that people say stem from what they’ve learned—they don’t have a real knowledge of God, they don’t have actual experience of Him. Why is the substance of the incarnation emphasized? Why is the Spirit not spoken of? The substance of the flesh gives prominence to the flesh. It is the flesh that mainly does the work; the work of the Spirit is supplementary, is a form of help. This is how the flesh achieves the effect through His work. One comes to know God in successive steps. It’s difficult to break through and know even more. Through God’s speech you come to know Him a little more, but you’re still not entirely clear, you still don’t have a grasp of the substance of things. You believe that the work could be done either in the flesh or by the Spirit—that the Spirit can stand in for the flesh. As such, you will never understand the significance of the flesh and the work in the flesh. You’ll never know what incarnation is.
a. The original text omits “Jesus’.”