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(IV) Words on the Difference Between the Work of God and Man

Classic Words From Almighty God, Christ of the Last Days

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XI Classic Words on Entering Into the Reality of the Truth

(IV) Words on the Difference Between the Work of God and Man

27. The work of God Himself involves the work of all of mankind, and it also represents the work of the entire era. That is to say, God’s own work represents the movement and trend of all of the work of the Holy Spirit, whereas the work of the apostles follows God’s own work and does not lead the era, nor does it represent the working trend of the Holy Spirit in the entire era. They only do the work man ought to do, which does not at all involve the management work. God’s own work is the project within the management work. Man’s work is only the duty of men being used and bears no relation to the management work. Due to different identities and representations of the work, despite the fact that they are both the work of the Holy Spirit, there are clear and substantive differences between God’s own work and the work of man. Moreover, the extent of the work done by the Holy Spirit on work objects with different identities varies. These are the principles and scope of the work of the Holy Spirit.

Excerpted from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

28. The words of God incarnate open up a new age, guide all of mankind, reveal mysteries, and show man the direction he is to take in the new age. The enlightenment obtained by man is but simple instructions for practice or knowledge. It cannot guide all of mankind into a new age or reveal the mysteries of God Himself. When all is said and done, God is God, and man is man. God has the essence of God, and man has the essence of man.

Excerpted from Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh

29. The incarnate God is substantively different from the people used by God. The incarnate God is able to do the work of divinity, whereas the people used by God are not. At the beginning of each age, God’s Spirit speaks personally and launches the new era to bring man into a new beginning. When He has finished speaking, this signifies that God’s work within His divinity is done. Thereafter, people all follow the lead of those used by God to enter into their life experience.

Excerpted from “The Essential Difference Between the Incarnate God and the People Used by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

30. The work of God incarnate begins a new era, and those who continue His work are the men who are used by Him. The work done by man is all within the ministry of God in the flesh, and is incapable of going beyond this scope. If God incarnate does not come to do His work, man is not able to bring the old age to an end, and is not able to usher in a new era. The work done by man is merely within the range of his duty that is humanly possible, and does not represent the work of God. Only the incarnate God can come and complete the work that He should do, and apart from Him, no one can do this work on His behalf. Of course, what I speak of is in regard with the work of incarnation.

Excerpted from “Corrupt Mankind Needs Salvation by the Incarnate God Most of All” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

31. The work carried out by the one who is used by God is in order to cooperate with the work of Christ or the Holy Spirit. This man is raised up among man by God, he is there to lead all of God’s chosen ones, and he is also raised up by God in order to do the work of human cooperation. With someone such as this, who is able to do the work of human cooperation, more of God’s requirements toward man and the work that the Holy Spirit must do among man can be achieved through him. Another way of putting it is like this: God’s aim in using this man is so that all those who follow God can better understand God’s will, and can attain more of God’s requirements. Because people are incapable of directly understanding God’s words or God’s will, God has raised someone up who is used to carry out such work. This person who is used by God can also be described as a medium through which God guides people, as the “translator” who communicates between God and man.

Excerpted from “Concerning God’s Use of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

32. The man who is used by God is raised up by Him, he is prepared by God for God’s work, and he cooperates in the work of God Himself. No person could ever do his work in his stead—this is human cooperation that is integral to the divine work. The work carried out by other workers or apostles, meanwhile, is but the conveyance and implementation of the many aspects of the arrangements for the churches during each period, or else the work of some simple provision of life in order to maintain the church life. These workers and apostles are not appointed by God, much less can they be called those who are used by the Holy Spirit. They are selected from among the churches and, after they have been trained and cultivated for a period of time, those who are fit are kept on, while those who are unfit are sent back to where they came from. Because these people are selected from among the churches, some show their true colors after becoming leaders, and some even do many bad things and end up being eliminated. He who is used by God, on the other hand, is someone who has been prepared by God, and who possesses a certain caliber, and has humanity. He has been prepared and made perfect in advance by the Holy Spirit, and is completely led by the Holy Spirit, and, particularly when it comes to his work, he is directed and commanded by the Holy Spirit—as a result of this there is no deviation on the path of leading God’s chosen ones, for God surely takes responsibility for His own work, and God does His own work at all times.

Excerpted from “Concerning God’s Use of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

33. The work that God Himself does is entirely the work He intends to do in His own management plan and pertains to the great management. The work done by men (that is, men used by the Holy Spirit) consists of supplying their individual experience. It consists of finding out a new path of experience beyond that trodden by those who have gone before, and of guiding their brothers and sisters while under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. What these men supply is their individual experience or the spiritual writings of spiritual men. Although these men are used by the Holy Spirit, the work they do is unrelated to the great work of management in the six-thousand-year plan. They are merely men who have been raised up by the Holy Spirit in different periods to lead the people in the stream of the Holy Spirit, until the functions they can perform are at an end or until their lives come to an end. The work they do is only to prepare an appropriate path for God Himself or to continue a certain aspect of the management of God Himself on earth. In themselves, these men are unable to do the greater work in His management, nor can they open up new ways out, even less can any of them bring to a conclusion all of God’s work from the former age. Therefore, the work they do represents only a created being performing his function, and cannot represent God Himself performing His ministry. This is because the work they do is unlike that done by God Himself. The work of ushering in a new age is not something that can be done by man in God’s place. It cannot be done by any other than God Himself. All the work done by man consists of performing his duty as a created being and is done when moved or enlightened by the Holy Spirit. The guidance that these men provide consists entirely of showing man the path of practice in daily life and how he should act in harmony with the will of God. The work of man neither involves the management of God nor represents the work of the Spirit. … The men used by the Holy Spirit may also do some work that is new and may also eliminate some work done in the former age, but what they do cannot express the disposition and the will of God in the new age. They work only to do away with the work of the former age, and not in order to do new work for the purpose of directly representing the disposition of God Himself. Thus, no matter how many outdated practices they abolish or how many new practices they introduce, they still represent man and created beings. Whereas, when God Himself carries out work, He does not openly declare the abolishment of the practices of the old age or directly declare the commencement of a new age. He is direct and straightforward in His work. He is forthright in performing the work He intends; that is, He directly expresses the work that He has brought about, directly does His work as originally intended, expressing His being and disposition. As man sees it, His disposition and so too His work differ from those in ages past. However, from the perspective of God Himself, this is merely a continuation and further development of His work. When God Himself works, He expresses His word and directly brings the new work. In contrast, when man works, it is through deliberation and study, or it is an extension of knowledge and systematization of practice founded on the work of others. That is to say, the essence of the work done by man is to follow an established order and to “walk old paths in new shoes.” This means that even the path walked by the men used by the Holy Spirit is built upon that opened up by God Himself. So, when all is said and done, man is still man, and God is still God.

Excerpted from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

34. When the prophets and those people used by the Holy Spirit spoke and worked, this was to carry out the duties of man, it was to serve the function of a created being, and it was something that man ought to do. However, the words and the work of God incarnate were to carry out His ministry. Though His external form was that of a created being, His work was not to carry out His function but His ministry. The term “duty” is used with regard to created beings, whereas “ministry” is used with regard to the flesh of God incarnate. There is an essential difference between the two; they are not interchangeable. The work of man is only to do his duty, whereas the work of God is to manage, and to carry out His ministry. Therefore, though many apostles were used by the Holy Spirit and many prophets were filled with Him, their work and words were merely to perform their duty as created beings. Their prophecies may have exceeded the way of life spoken of by God incarnate, and their humanity may have even transcended that of God incarnate, but they were still doing their duty, and not fulfilling a ministry. The duty of man refers to the function of man; it is what is attainable by man. However, the ministry carried out by God incarnate is related to His management, and this is unattainable by man. Whether God incarnate speaks, works, or manifests wonders, He is doing great work amidst His management, and such work cannot be done by man in His stead. The work of man is only to do his duty as a created being in a given stage of God’s work of management. Without God’s management, that is, if the ministry of God incarnate were to be lost, the duty of a created being would be lost. God’s work in carrying out His ministry is to manage man, whereas man’s performance of his duty is the fulfillment of his own obligation to meet the demands of the Creator, and can in no way be considered the carrying out of one’s ministry. To the inherent essence of God—to His Spirit—the work of God is His management, but to God incarnate, who wears the external form of a created being, His work is the carrying out of His ministry. Whatever work He does is to carry out His ministry; all that man can do is to give his best within the scope of God’s management and under His guidance.

Excerpted from “The Difference Between the Ministry of God Incarnate and the Duty of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

35. My speech represents My being, but what I say is beyond the reach of man. What I say is not that which man experiences, and it is not something that man can see, it is also not something that man can touch, but it is what I am. Some people only acknowledge that what I fellowship is what I have experienced, but they do not recognize that it is the direct expression of the Spirit. Of course, what I say is what I have experienced. It is I who have done the management work over six thousand years. I have experienced everything from the beginning of the creation of mankind until now; how would I not be able to talk about it? When it comes to man’s nature, I have seen it clearly, and I have long since observed it; how would I not be able to talk about it clearly? Since I have seen the essence of man clearly, I am qualified to chastise man and judge him, because all of man came from Me but has been corrupted by Satan. Of course, I am also qualified to assess the work that I have done. Although this work is not done by My flesh, it is the direct expression of the Spirit, and this is what I have and what I am. Therefore, I am qualified to express it and to do the work that I ought to do. What man says is what they have experienced. It is what they have seen, what their minds can reach and what their senses can feel. That is what they can fellowship. The words spoken by God’s incarnate flesh are the direct expression of the Spirit and express the work that has been done by the Spirit. The flesh has not experienced or seen it, but still expresses His being because the substance of the flesh is the Spirit, and He expresses the work of the Spirit. Even though the flesh is unable to reach it, it is the work already done by the Spirit. After incarnation, through the expression of the flesh, He enables people to know God’s being and allows people to see God’s disposition and the work that He has done. The work of man enables people to be more clear about what they should enter into and what they should understand; it involves leading people toward understanding and experiencing the truth. Man’s work is to sustain people; God’s work is to open up new paths and open up new eras for humanity, and to reveal to people that which is not known by mortals, enabling them to know His disposition. God’s work is to lead all of humanity.

Excerpted from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

36. The work of man represents his experience and his humanity. What man provides and the work that man does represent him. Man’s seeing, man’s reasoning, man’s logic and his rich imagination are all included in his work. In particular, the experience of man is more able to represent his work, and what a person has experienced will be the components of his work. Man’s work can express his experience. When some people are experiencing in a passive state, most of their fellowship consists of negative elements. If their experience for a period of time is positive and they particularly have paths on the positive side, what they fellowship is very encouraging, and people will be able to obtain positive supply from them. If a worker becomes passive for a period of time, his fellowship will always carry negative elements. This kind of fellowship is depressing, and others will unconsciously be depressed following his fellowship. The state of the followers changes depending on that of the leader. What a worker is like inside is what he expresses, and the work of the Holy Spirit often changes with man’s state. He works according to man’s experience and does not force man but makes demands of man in accordance with the normal course of his experience. This is to say that man’s fellowship differs from the word of God. What man fellowships conveys their individual seeing and experience, expressing what they see and experience on the foundation of God’s work. Their responsibility is to find out, after God works or speaks, what they ought to practice or enter into, and then deliver it to followers. Therefore, man’s work represents his entry and practice. Of course, such work is mixed with human lessons and experience or some of human thoughts. No matter how the Holy Spirit works, whether He works on man or in God incarnate, it is always the workers expressing what they are. Although it is the Holy Spirit who works, the work is founded on what man inherently is, because the Holy Spirit does not work without foundation. In other words, the work is not done out of nothing, but is always in accordance with actual circumstances and real conditions. It is in this way only that man’s disposition can be transformed, that his old notions and old thoughts can be changed. What man expresses is what he sees, experiences and can imagine. Even if it is doctrines or notions, these are all reachable by man’s thinking. Regardless of the size of man’s work, it cannot exceed the scope of man’s experience, what man sees, or what man can imagine or conceive. What God expresses is what God Himself is, and this is beyond the reach of man, that is, beyond the reach of man’s thinking. He expresses His work of leading all of mankind, and this is not relevant to the details of human experience, but is instead concerned with His own management. Man expresses his experience while God expresses His being—this being is His inherent disposition and is beyond the reach of man. Man’s experience is his seeing and knowledge acquired based on God’s expression of His being. Such seeing and knowledge are called man’s being. They are expressed on the foundation of man’s inherent disposition and his actual caliber; hence they are also called man’s being. Man is able to fellowship what he experiences and sees. What he has not experienced or seen or his mind cannot reach, that is, the things he does not have inside him, he is unable to fellowship. If what man expresses is not his experience, it is his imagination or doctrine. In a word, there is not any reality in his words. If you have never contacted the things of society, you would not be able to clearly fellowship the complex relationships in society. If you have no family but other people are talking about family issues, you cannot understand the majority of what they were saying. So, what man fellowships and the work he does represent his inner being.

Excerpted from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

37. The work of man has a range and limitations. One person is only able to do work of a certain phase and cannot do the work of the entire era—otherwise, he would lead people into rules. The work of man can only be applicable to a particular time or phase. This is because man’s experience has a scope. One cannot compare the work of man with the work of God. Man’s ways of practice and his knowledge of the truth are all applicable to a particular scope. You cannot say that the path that man treads is completely the will of the Holy Spirit, because man can only be enlightened by the Holy Spirit and cannot be completely filled with the Holy Spirit. The things that man can experience are all within the scope of normal humanity and cannot exceed the range of thoughts in the normal human mind. All those with practical expression experience within this range. When they experience the truth, it is always an experience of normal human life under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, not experiencing in a way which deviates from normal human life. They experience the truth enlightened by the Holy Spirit on the foundation of living their human life. Moreover, this truth varies from person to person, and the depth of it is related to the state of the person. One can only say that the path they walk is the normal human life of a man pursuing the truth, and that it is the path walked by a normal person who has the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. You cannot say that the path they tread is the path taken by the Holy Spirit. In the normal human experience, because the people who pursue are not the same, the work of the Holy Spirit is also not the same. In addition, because the environments they experience and the ranges of their experience are not the same, because of the mixture of their mind and thoughts, their experience is mixed to different degrees. Each person understands a truth according to their individual different conditions. Their understanding of the real meaning of the truth is not complete and is only one or a few aspects of it. The scope by which the truth is experienced by man is always based on the different conditions of individuals and is therefore not the same. In this way, the knowledge expressed of the same truth by different people is not the same. That is to say, man’s experience always has limitations and cannot completely represent the will of the Holy Spirit, and the work of man cannot be perceived as the work of God, even if what is expressed by man corresponds very closely to God’s will, even if the experience of man is very close to the perfecting work to be performed by the Holy Spirit. Man can only be God’s servant, doing the work that God entrusts to him. Man can only express the knowledge under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and the truths gained from his personal experiences. Man is unqualified and does not have the conditions to be the outlet of the Holy Spirit. He is not entitled to say that man’s work is the work of God. Man has man’s working principles, and all men have different experiences and possess varying conditions. Man’s work includes all his experiences under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. These experiences can only represent man’s being and do not represent the being of God or the will of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the path walked by man cannot be said to be the path walked by the Holy Spirit because the work of man cannot represent the work of God and man’s work and man’s experience are not the complete will of the Holy Spirit.

Excerpted from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

38. Man’s work is prone to falling into a rule, and the method of his work is easily confined to a limited scope and is unable to lead people into a free way. Most followers live within a limited scope, and their way of experiencing is also limited in its scope. Man’s experience is always limited; the method of his work is also limited to a few types and cannot be compared with the work of the Holy Spirit or the work of God Himself—this is because man’s experience, in the end, is limited. However God does His work, there are no rules to it; however it is done, it is not limited to one way. There are no rules whatsoever to God’s work, all His work is released freely. No matter how much time man spends following Him, they cannot sum up any laws of the ways of His working. Although His work is principled, it is always done in new ways and always has new developments, which is beyond man’s reach. During one period of time, God may have several different types of work and different ways of leading, allowing people to always have new entries and new changes. You cannot find out the laws of His work because He is always working in new ways. Only in this way do followers of God not fall into rules. The work of God Himself always avoids the notions of people and counters their notions. Only those who follow and pursue Him with a true heart can have their dispositions transformed and are able to live freely without being subject to any rules or restrained by any religious notions. The demands that the work of man makes of people are based on his own experience and what he himself can achieve. The standard of these requirements is limited within a certain scope, and the methods of practice are also very limited. Followers thus unconsciously live within this limited scope; as time passes, they become rules and rituals.

Excerpted from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

39. Man needs to be cultivated and perfected over a long period before he can be used to carry out work, and the kind of humanity that is needed is of an especially high order. Not only must man be able to sustain his normal human power of reasoning, but he must further understand many of the principles and rules governing his conduct in relation to others, and he must moreover commit to studying even more about the wisdom and ethical knowledge of man. This is what man should be furnished with. However, this is not so for God become flesh, for His work neither represents man nor is the work of man; it is, rather, a direct expression of His being and a direct implementation of the work that He ought to do. (Naturally, His work is carried out at the appropriate time, and not casually and at random, and is begun when it is time to fulfill His ministry.) He does not take part in the life of man or the work of man, that is, His humanity is not furnished with any of these (although this does not affect His work). He only fulfills His ministry when it is time for Him to do so; whatever His status, He simply forges ahead with the work that He ought to do. Whatever man knows of Him and whatever man’s opinion of Him, His work is wholly unaffected.

Excerpted from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

40. Perhaps a person’s experience in his work is particularly high, or his imagination and reasoning are particularly high, and his humanity is particularly good; these can only gain people’s admiration, but not arouse their awe and fear. People all admire those who have the ability to work and who have particularly deep experience and can practice the truth, but they can never elicit awe, just admiration and envy. But people who have experienced God’s work do not admire God, instead they feel that His work is beyond human reach and is unfathomable to man, and that it is fresh and wonderful. When people experience God’s work, their first knowledge of Him is that He is unfathomable, wise and wonderful, and they unconsciously revere Him and feel the mystery of the work He does, which is beyond the reach of man’s mind. People just want to be able to meet His requirements, to satisfy His desires; they do not wish to exceed Him, because the work that He does goes beyond man’s thinking and imagination and cannot be done by man instead. Even man himself does not know his own inadequacies, while He has opened up a new path and come to bring man into a newer and more beautiful world, so that mankind has made new progress and had a new start. What man feels for Him is not admiration, or rather, is not only admiration. Their deepest experience is awe and love, their feeling is that God is indeed wonderful. He does work that man is unable to do, He says things that man is unable to say. People who have experienced His work always experience an indescribable feeling. People with deeper experiences particularly love God. They always feel His loveliness, feel that His work is so wise, so wonderful, and this thereby generates infinite power among them. It is not fear or occasional love and respect, but deep feeling of God’s compassion and tolerance of man. However, people who have experienced His chastisement and judgment feel Him to be majestic and unoffendable. Even people who have experienced a lot of His work are also unable to fathom Him; all people who truly revere Him know that His work is not in line with people’s notions but always goes against their notions. He does not need people to have full admiration or give the appearance of submitting to Him, but rather to have true reverence and true submission. In so much of His work, anyone with true experience feels reverence for Him, which is higher than admiration. People have seen His disposition due to His work of chastisement and judgment, and they therefore revere Him in their hearts. God is meant to be revered and obeyed, because His being and His disposition are not the same as those of a created being, and they are above those of a created being. God is a non-created being, and only He is worthy of reverence and submission; man is not qualified for this.

Excerpted from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

41. In the Age of Grace, Jesus also spoke many words and did much work. How was He different from Isaiah? How was He different from Daniel? Was He a prophet? Why is it said that He is Christ? What are the differences between them? They were all men who spoke words, and their words appeared more or less the same to man. They all spoke words and did work. The prophets of the Old Testament spoke prophecies, and similarly, so could Jesus. Why is this so? The distinction here is based on the nature of the work. To discern this matter, you must not consider the nature of the flesh, nor should you consider the depth or superficiality of their words. Always you must first consider their work and the effects their work achieves in man. The prophecies spoken by the prophets at the time did not supply the life of man, and the inspirations received by those such as Isaiah and Daniel were merely prophecies, and not the way of life. If not for the direct revelation of Jehovah, none could have done that work, which is not possible for mortals. Jesus, too, spoke many words, but such words were the way of life from which man could find a path to practice. That is to say, first, He could supply the life of man, for Jesus is life; second, He could reverse the deviations of man; third, His work could succeed that of Jehovah in order to carry on the age; fourth, He could grasp the needs within man and understand what man lacks; fifth, He could usher in a new age and conclude the old. That is why He is called God and Christ; not only is He different from Isaiah but also from all other prophets. Take Isaiah as a comparison for the work of the prophets. First, he could not supply the life of man; second, he could not usher in a new age. He was working under the leadership of Jehovah and not to usher in a new age. Third, the words he spoke were beyond him. He was receiving revelations directly from the Spirit of God, and others would not understand, even having listened to them. These few things alone are sufficient to prove that his words were no more than prophecies, no more than an aspect of work done in Jehovah’s stead. He could not, however, completely represent Jehovah. He was Jehovah’s servant, an instrument in Jehovah’s work. He was only doing work within the Age of Law and within the scope of the work of Jehovah; he did not work beyond the Age of Law. On the contrary, the work of Jesus differed. He surpassed the scope of Jehovah’s work; He worked as God incarnate and underwent crucifixion in order to redeem all mankind. That is to say, He carried out new work outside of the work done by Jehovah. This was the ushering in of a new age. In addition, He was able to speak of that which man could not achieve. His work was work within the management of God and involved the whole of mankind. He did not work in just a few men, nor was His work meant to lead a limited number of men. As for how God was incarnated as a man, how the Spirit gave revelations at that time, and how the Spirit descended upon a man to do work—these are matters that man cannot see or touch. It is utterly impossible for these truths to serve as proof that He is God incarnate. As such, distinction can only be made among the words and work of God, which are tangible to man. Only this is real. This is because matters of the Spirit are not visible to you and are known clearly only by God Himself, and not even God’s incarnate flesh knows all; you can only verify whether He is God from the work He has done. From His work, it can be seen that, first, He is able to open up a new age; second, He is able to supply the life of man and show man the way to follow. This is sufficient to establish that He is God Himself. At the very least, the work He does can fully represent the Spirit of God, and from such work it can be seen that the Spirit of God is within Him. As the work done by God incarnate was mainly to usher in a new age, lead new work, and open up a new realm, these alone are sufficient to establish that He is God Himself. This thus differentiates Him from Isaiah, Daniel, and the other great prophets.

Excerpted from “The Difference Between the Ministry of God Incarnate and the Duty of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

42. Some people will ask, “What is the difference between the work done by God incarnate and that of the prophets and apostles of times past? David was also called the Lord, and so too was Jesus; although the work they did was different, they were called the same thing. Why, say you, were their identities not the same? What John witnessed was a vision, one that also came from the Holy Spirit, and he was able to say the words that the Holy Spirit intended to say; why is the identity of John different from that of Jesus?” The words spoken by Jesus were able to fully represent God, and fully represented the work of God. What John saw was a vision, and he was incapable of completely representing the work of God. Why is it that John, Peter, and Paul spoke many words—as did Jesus—yet they did not have the same identity as Jesus? It is chiefly because the work that they did was different. Jesus represented the Spirit of God, and was the Spirit of God working directly. He did the work of the new age, the work that no one had done before. He opened up a new way, He represented Jehovah, and He represented God Himself. Whereas with Peter, Paul, and David, regardless of what they were called, they only represented the identity of a creature of God, and were sent by Jesus or Jehovah. So no matter how much work they did, no matter how great the miracles they performed, they were still just creatures of God, and incapable of representing the Spirit of God. They worked in the name of God or after being sent by God; furthermore, they worked in the ages begun by Jesus or Jehovah, and the work they did was not separate. They were, after all, merely creatures of God.

Excerpted from “Concerning Appellations and Identity” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

43. Exactly what was the difference between the work done by Jesus and that done by John? Was the only reason that John was the one who paved the way for Jesus? Or because this had been predestined by God? Though John also said, “Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” and he too preached the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, his work was not further developed and merely constituted a beginning. In contrast, Jesus ushered in a new age as well as bringing the old to an end, but He also fulfilled the law of the Old Testament. The work He did was greater than that of John, and what is more He came to redeem all mankind—He accomplished that stage of work. As for John, he simply prepared the way. Though his work was great, his words many, and those disciples who followed him numerous, his work did no more than bring to man a new beginning. Never did man receive from him life, the way, or deeper truths, nor did man gain through him an understanding of the will of God. John was a great prophet (Elijah) who opened up new ground for Jesus’ work and prepared the chosen; he was the forerunner of the Age of Grace. Such matters cannot be discerned simply by observing their normal human appearances. This is all the more so as John also did work that was quite considerable and moreover was promised by the Holy Spirit and his work was upheld by the Holy Spirit. This being so, it is only through the work that they do that one can distinguish between their respective identities, for there is no way to tell a man’s substance from his outward appearance, nor is there any way for man to ascertain what is the testimony of the Holy Spirit. The work done by John and that done by Jesus were not alike as well as of different natures. It is from this that one determines whether or not he is God. The work of Jesus was to initiate, to continue, to conclude, and to bring to fruition. He carried out each of these steps, whereas the work of John was no more than making a beginning. In the beginning, Jesus spread the gospel and preached the way of repentance, and then went on to baptize man, heal the sick, and cast out demons. In the end, He redeemed mankind from sin and completed His work for the entire age. He also went about in every place, preaching to man and spreading the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. In this regard He and John were alike, the difference being that Jesus ushered in a new age and brought the Age of Grace to man. From His mouth came the word on what man should practice and the way that man should follow in the Age of Grace, and in the end, He finished the work of redemption. John could never have carried out this work. And so it was Jesus who did the work of God Himself, and it is He who is God Himself, and who directly represents God.

Excerpted from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

44. You have to know how to differentiate God’s work from the work of man. What can you see from the work of man? There are a lot of elements of man’s experience in the work of man; what man expresses is what he is. God’s own work also expresses what He is, but what He is is different from what man is. What man is is representative of man’s experience and life (what man experiences or encounters in his life, or life philosophies that he has), and people living in different environments express different beings. Whether or not you have social experiences and how you actually live and experience in your family can be seen in what you express, whereas you cannot see from the work of God incarnate whether or not He has social experiences. He is well aware of the essence of man, He can reveal all kinds of practices pertaining to all kinds of people. He is even better at revealing human corrupt disposition and rebellious behavior. He does not live among the worldly people, but He is aware of the nature of the mortals and all the corruptions of the worldly people. This is what He is. Though He does not deal with the world, He knows the rules of dealing with the world, because He fully understands human nature. He knows about the Spirit’s work that man’s eyes cannot see and that man’s ears cannot hear, both of today and of the past. This includes wisdom that is not a life philosophy and wonder that people find hard to fathom. This is what He is, made open to people and also hidden from people. What He expresses is not what an extraordinary person is, but the inherent attributes and being of the Spirit. He does not travel around the world but knows everything of it. He contacts the “anthropoids” who have no knowledge or insight, but He expresses words that are higher than knowledge and above great men. He lives among a group of obtuse and numb people who do not have humanity and who do not understand the human conventions and lives, but He can ask mankind to live out normal humanity, at the same time revealing the base and low humanity of mankind. All of this are what He is, higher than what any flesh-and-blood person is. For Him, it is unnecessary to experience a complicated, cumbersome and sordid social life to do the work that He needs to do and thoroughly reveal the essence of corrupt mankind. The sordid social life does not edify His flesh. His work and words only reveal man’s disobedience and do not provide man with the experience and lessons for dealing with the world. He does not need to investigate society or man’s family when He supplies man with life. Exposing and judging man is not an expression of the experiences of His flesh; it is to reveal man’s unrighteousness after long knowing man’s disobedience and abhorring mankind’s corruption. The work He does is all to reveal His disposition to man and express His being. Only He can do this work, it is not something that a flesh-and-blood person could achieve.

Excerpted from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

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