God’s Authority (II) Part Five
Do Not Miss the Opportunity to Know the Creator’s Sovereignty
The six junctures described above are crucial phases laid out by the Creator that every normal person must undergo in his or her life. Every one of these junctures is real; none of them can be circumvented, and all bear a relationship to the Creator’s predestination and His sovereignty. So for a human being, each of these junctures is an important checkpoint, and how to pass through each of them smoothly is a very serious question that all of you now face.
The handful of decades that make up a human life are neither long nor short. The twenty-odd years between birth and coming of age pass in an eyeblink, and though at this point in life a person is considered an adult, people in this age group know close to nothing about human life and human fate. As they gain more experience, they stride gradually into middle age. People in their thirties and forties acquire a nascent experience of life and fate, but their ideas about these things are still very foggy. It is not till age forty that some people begin to understand mankind and the universe, which were created by God, to grasp what human life is all about, what human fate is all about. Some people, though they have long been followers of God and are now middle-aged, still do not possess an accurate knowledge and definition of God’s sovereignty, much less true submission. Some people care about nothing other than seeking to receive blessings, and though they have lived for many years, they do not know or understand in the least the fact of the Creator’s sovereignty over human fate, and so have not entered into a bit of the practical lesson of submitting to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. Such people are thoroughly foolish; such people live their lives in vain.
If a human life is divided up according to one’s degree of life experience and one’s knowledge of human fate, it will roughly break down into three phases. The first phase is youth, the years between birth and middle age, or from birth till thirty. The second phase is maturation, from middle age to old age, or from thirty till sixty. And the third phase is one’s mature period, from old age, beginning at sixty, till one departs from the world. In other words, from birth to middle age, most people’s knowledge of fate and life is limited to parroting others’ ideas; it has almost no real, practical substance. During this period, one’s outlook on life and how one makes one’s way in the world are all very superficial and naive. This is one’s juvenile period. Only after one has tasted all the joys and sorrows of life does one gain a real understanding of fate, does one—subconsciously, deep in one’s heart—gradually come to appreciate the irreversibility of fate, and slowly realize that the Creator’s sovereignty over human fate truly exists. This is one’s maturation period. When one has ceased to struggle against fate, and when one is no longer willing to be drawn into strifes, but knows one’s lot, submits to Heaven’s will, sums up one’s own achievements and errors in life, and is awaiting the Creator’s judgment on one’s life—this is one’s mature period. Considering the different kinds of experiences and gains that people obtain during these three periods, under normal circumstances one’s window of opportunity to know the Creator’s sovereignty is not very large. If one lives to be sixty, one has only thirty years or so to know God’s sovereignty; if one wants a longer period of time, that is only possible if one’s life is long enough, if one is able to live a century. So I say, according to the normal laws of human existence, though it is a very long process from when one first encounters the subject of knowing the Creator’s sovereignty to when one is able to recognize the fact of the Creator’s sovereignty, and from then till the point when one is able to submit to it, if one actually counts up the years, there are no more than thirty or forty during which one has the chance to gain these rewards. And often, people get carried away by their desires and their ambitions to receive blessings; they cannot discern where the essence of human life lies, do not grasp the importance of knowing the Creator’s sovereignty, and so they do not cherish this precious opportunity to enter into the human world to experience human life, experience the Creator’s sovereignty, and do not realize how invaluable it is for a created being to receive the Creator’s personal guidance. So I say, those people who want God’s work to end quickly, who wish God would arrange man’s end as soon as possible, so that they could immediately behold His real person and soon be blessed, are guilty of the worst kind of disobedience and foolish in the extreme. And those who desire, during their limited time, to grasp this unique opportunity to know the Creator’s sovereignty, are the wise people, the brilliant ones. These two different desires expose two vastly different outlooks and pursuits: Those who seek blessings are selfish and base; they show no consideration for God’s will, never seek to know God’s sovereignty, never desire to submit to it, simply want to live as they please. They are blithe degenerates; they are the ones to be destroyed. Those who seek to know God are able to set aside their desires, are willing to submit to God’s sovereignty and God’s arrangements; they try to be the kind of people who are submissive to God’s authority and satisfy God’s desire. Such people live in light, live in the midst of God’s blessings; they will surely be commended by God. No matter what, human choice is useless, humans have no say in how long God’s work will take. It is better for people to put themselves at the mercy of God, to submit to His sovereignty. If you do not put yourself at His mercy, what can you do? Will God suffer a loss? If you do not put yourself at His mercy, if you try to be in charge, you are making a foolish choice, and you are the only one who will suffer a loss in the end. Only if people cooperate with God as soon as possible, only if they make haste to accept His orchestrations, know His authority, and recognize all He has done for them, will they have hope, will their lives not be lived in vain, will they attain salvation.
No One Can Change the Fact That God Holds Sovereignty Over Human Fate
After listening to everything I have just said, has your idea of fate changed? How do you understand the fact of God’s sovereignty over human fate? To put it simply, under God’s authority every person actively or passively accepts His sovereignty and His arrangements, and no matter how one struggles in the course of one’s life, no matter how many crooked paths one walks, in the end one will return to the orbit of fate that the Creator has traced out for him or her. This is the insuperability of the Creator’s authority, the manner in which His authority controls and governs the universe. It is this insuperability, this form of control and governance, that are responsible for the laws that dictate the lives of all things, that allow humans to transmigrate again and again without interference, that make the world turn regularly and move forward, day after day, year after year. You have witnessed all these facts and you understand them, whether superficially or deeply; the depth of your understanding depends upon your experience and knowledge of the truth, and your knowledge of God. How well you know the reality of the truth, how much you have experienced God’s words, how well you know God’s substance and disposition—this represents the depth of your understanding of God’s sovereignty and arrangements. Is the existence of God’s sovereignty and arrangements dependent upon whether human beings submit to them? Is the fact that God possesses this authority determined by whether humanity submits to it? God’s authority exists regardless of the circumstances; in all situations, God dictates and arranges every human fate and all things in accordance with His thoughts, His wishes. This will not change because humans change, and it is independent of man’s will, cannot be altered by any changes in time, space, and geography, for God’s authority is His very substance. Whether man is able to know and accept God’s sovereignty, and whether man is able to submit to it, does not in the slightest way change the fact of God’s sovereignty over human fate. That is to say, no matter what attitude man takes toward God’s sovereignty, it simply cannot change the fact that God holds sovereignty over human fate and over all things. Even if you do not submit to God’s sovereignty, He still commands your fate; even if you cannot know His sovereignty, His authority still exists. God’s authority and the fact of God’s sovereignty over human fate are independent of human will, do not change in accordance with man’s preferences and choices. God’s authority is everywhere, at every hour, at every instant. If heaven and earth were to pass away, His authority would never pass away, for He is God Himself, He possesses the unique authority, and His authority is not restricted or limited by people, events, or things, by space or by geography. At all times God wields His authority, shows His might, continues His management work as always; at all times He rules all things, provides for all things, orchestrates all things, just as He always did. No one can change this. It is fact; it has been the unchanging truth since time immemorial!
The Proper Attitude and Practice for One Who Wishes to Submit to God’s Authority
With what attitude should man now know and regard God’s authority, the fact of God’s sovereignty over human fate? This is a real problem that stands before every person. When confronting real-life problems, how should you know and understand God’s authority and His sovereignty? When you do not know how to understand, handle, and experience these problems, what attitude should you adopt to show your intention, your desire, and your reality of submitting to God’s sovereignty and arrangements? First you must learn to wait; then you must learn to seek; then you must learn to submit. “Waiting” means waiting for the time of God, awaiting the people, events, and things that He has arranged for you, waiting for His will to gradually reveal itself to you. “Seeking” means observing and understanding God’s thoughtful intentions for you through the people, events, and things that He has laid out, understanding the truth through them, understanding what humans must accomplish and the ways they must keep, understanding what results God means to achieve in humans and what accomplishments He means to attain in them. “Submitting,” of course, refers to accepting the people, events, and things that God has orchestrated, accepting His sovereignty and, through it, coming to know how the Creator dictates man’s fate, how He supplies man with His life, how He works the truth into man. All things under God’s arrangements and sovereignty obey natural laws, and if you resolve to let God arrange and dictate everything for you, you should learn to wait, you should learn to seek, you should learn to submit. This is the attitude that every person who wants to submit to God’s authority must take, the basic quality that every person who wants to accept God’s sovereignty and arrangements must possess. To hold such an attitude, to possess such a quality, you must work harder; and only thus can you enter into the true reality.
Accepting God as Your Unique Master Is the First Step in Attaining Salvation
The truths regarding God’s authority are truths that every person must regard seriously, must experience and understand with their heart; for these truths have a bearing on every person’s life, on every person’s past, present, and future, on the crucial junctures that every person must pass in life, on man’s knowledge of God’s sovereignty and the attitude with which he should face God’s authority, and naturally, on every person’s final destination. So it takes a lifetime’s worth of energy to know and understand them. When you take God’s authority seriously, when you accept God’s sovereignty, you will gradually come to realize and understand that God’s authority truly exists. But if you never recognize God’s authority, never accept His sovereignty, then no matter how many years you live, you will not gain the slightest knowledge of God’s sovereignty. If you do not truly know and understand God’s authority, then when you reach the end of the road, even if you have believed in God for decades, you will have nothing to show for your life, your knowledge of God’s sovereignty over human fate will inevitably be zero. Is this not a very sad thing? So no matter how far you have walked in life, no matter how old you are now, no matter how long the rest of your journey is, first you must recognize God’s authority and take it seriously, accept the fact that God is your unique Master. Attaining clear, accurate knowledge and understanding of these truths regarding God’s sovereignty over human fate is a mandatory lesson for everyone, is the key to knowing human life and attaining the truth, is the daily life and basic lesson of knowing God that everyone faces, and which no one can evade. If some of you wish to take shortcuts to reach this goal, then I say to you, that is impossible! If some of you want to escape God’s sovereignty, that is even more impossible! God is man’s only Lord, God is the only Master of human fate, and so it is impossible for man to dictate his own fate, impossible for him to surpass it. No matter how great one’s abilities, one cannot influence, much less orchestrate, arrange, control, or change the fates of others. Only the unique God Himself dictates all things for man, for only He possesses the unique authority that holds sovereignty over human fate; and so only the Creator is man’s unique Master. God’s authority holds sovereignty not only over created humanity, but over non-created beings that no human can see, over the stars, over the cosmos. This is an indisputable fact, a fact that truly exists, which no human or thing can change. If some of you are still dissatisfied with things as they stand, believing that you have some special skill or ability, and still thinking you can get lucky and change your present circumstances or else escape them; if you attempt to change your own fate by means of human effort, and thereby stand out from others and win fame and fortune; then I say to you, you are making things hard for yourself, you are only asking for trouble, you are digging your own grave! One day, sooner or later, you will discover that you made the wrong choice, that your efforts were wasted. Your ambition, your desire to struggle against fate, and your own egregious conduct, will lead you down a road of no return, and for this you will pay a bitter price. Though right now you do not see the severity of the consequence, as you experience and appreciate more and more deeply the truth that God is the Master of human fate, you will slowly come to realize what I am talking about today and its real implications. Whether you truly have a heart and a spirit, whether you are a person who loves the truth, depends on what kind of attitude you take toward God’s sovereignty and toward the truth. And naturally, this determines whether you can truly know and understand God’s authority. If you have never in your life sensed God’s sovereignty and His arrangements, much less recognize and accept God’s authority, then you will be utterly worthless, you will be without a doubt the object of God’s detestation and rejection, thanks to the path you have taken and the choice you have made. But those who, in God’s work, can accept His trial, accept His sovereignty, submit to His authority, and gradually gain real experience of His words, will have attained real knowledge of God’s authority, real understanding of His sovereignty, and will have truly become subject to the Creator. Only such people will have truly been saved. Because they have known God’s sovereignty, because they have accepted it, their appreciation of and submission to the fact of God’s sovereignty over human fate is real and accurate. When they face death they will be able, like Job, to have a mind undaunted by death, to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements in all things, with no individual choice, with no individual desire. Only such a person will be able to return to the Creator’s side as a true created human being.
March 26, 2015