God’s Work and Man’s Practice (Part Two)
When God’s work reaches a certain point, and His management reaches a certain point, those who are after His heart are all capable of fulfilling His requirements. God makes requirements of man according to His own standards, and according to that which man is capable of achieving. Whilst talking of His management, He also points the way for man, and provides man with a path to survival. The management of God and the practice of man are both of the same stage of work, and are carried out simultaneously. Talk of God’s management touches upon changes in man’s disposition, and talk of that which should be done by man, and the changes in man’s disposition, touches upon the work of God; there is no time at which these two may be separated. The practice of man is changing, step-by-step. That is because God’s requirements of man are also changing, and because God’s work is always changing and progressing. If man’s practice remains ensnared in doctrine, this proves that he is bereft of God’s work and guidance; if man’s practice never changes or goes deeper, then this proves that the practice of man is carried out according to the will of man, and is not the practice of the truth; if man has no path on which to tread, then he has already fallen into the hands of Satan, and has been controlled by Satan, which means that he has been controlled by the evil spirit. If man’s practice does not go deeper, then God’s work will not develop, and if there is no change in God’s work, then man’s entry will come to a halt; this is inevitable. Throughout all of God’s work, if man were to always abide by the law of Jehovah, then God’s work could not progress, much less would it be possible to bring the entire age to an end. If man always held to the cross and practiced patience and humility, then it would be impossible for God’s work to continue progressing. Six thousand years of management simply cannot be brought to an end among people who only abide by the law, or only hold to the cross and practice patience and humility. Instead, the entire work of God’s management is concluded among those of the last days, who know God, and have been recovered from the clutches of Satan, and have fully divested themselves from the influence of Satan. This is the inevitable direction of God’s work. Why is it said that the practice of those in the religious churches is outdated? It is because what they put into practice is divorced from the work of today. In the Age of Grace, what they put into practice was right, but as the age has passed and God’s work has changed, their practice has gradually become outdated. It has been left behind by the new work and the new light. Based upon its original foundation, the work of the Holy Spirit has progressed several steps deeper. Yet those people still remain stuck at the original stage of God’s work, and still cleave to the old practices and the old light. God’s work can change greatly in three or five years, so would not even greater transformations occur over the course of 2,000 years? If man has no new light or practice, it means that he has not kept up with the work of the Holy Spirit. This is the failing of man; the existence of God’s new work cannot be denied because, today, those with the Holy Spirit’s original work still abide by outdated practices. The work of the Holy Spirit is always moving forward, and all those who are in the stream of the Holy Spirit should also be progressing deeper and changing, step-by-step. They should not stop at a single stage. Only those who do not know the work of the Holy Spirit would remain amongst His original work, and not accept the new work of the Holy Spirit. Only those who are disobedient would be incapable of gaining the Holy Spirit’s work. If the practice of man does not keep pace with the new work of the Holy Spirit, then the practice of man is surely dissevered from the work of today, and is surely incompatible with the work of today. Such outdated people as these are simply incapable of accomplishing God’s will, much less could they become those final people that will stand testimony to God. The entire management work, furthermore, could not be concluded amongst such a group of people. For those who once held to the law of Jehovah, and those who once suffered for the cross, if they cannot accept the stage of work of the last days, then all that they did will have been in vain, and useless. The clearest expression of the Holy Spirit’s work is in embracing the here and now, not clinging to the past. Those who have not kept up with the work of today, and who have become separated from the practice of today, are those who oppose and do not accept the work of the Holy Spirit. Such people defy the present work of God. Though they hold onto the light of the past, this does not mean it is possible to deny that they do not know the work of the Holy Spirit. Why has there been all this talk of the changes in the practice of man, of the differences in the practice between the past and today, of how the practice was carried out during the previous age, and of how it is done today? Such divisions in the practice of man are always spoken of because the work of the Holy Spirit is constantly moving forward, and thus the practice of man is required to constantly change. If man remains stuck in one stage, then this proves that he is incapable of keeping up with God’s work and the new light; it does not prove that God’s plan of management has not changed. Those who are outside the stream of the Holy Spirit always think they are right, but in fact, God’s work in them ceased long ago, and the work of the Holy Spirit is absent from them. The work of God was long since transferred to another group of people, a group on whom He intends to complete His new work. Because those in religion are incapable of accepting God’s new work, and only hold to the old work of the past, thus God has forsaken these people, and does His new work on the people who accept this new work. These are people who cooperate in His new work, and only in this way can His management be accomplished. The management of God is always moving forward, and the practice of man is always ascending higher. God is always working, and man is always in need, such that both reach their zenith, God and man are in complete union. This is the expression of the accomplishment of God’s work, and is the final outcome of God’s entire management.
In each stage of God’s work there are also corresponding requirements of man. All those who are within the stream of the Holy Spirit are possessed of the presence and discipline of the Holy Spirit, and those who are not within the stream of the Holy Spirit are under the command of Satan, and without any of the work of the Holy Spirit. People who are in the stream of the Holy Spirit are those who accept the new work of God, the ones who cooperate in the new work of God. If those who are within this stream are incapable of cooperating, and unable to put into practice the truth required by God during this time, then they will be disciplined, and at worst will be forsaken by the Holy Spirit. Those who accept the new work of the Holy Spirit, will live within the stream of the Holy Spirit, receive the care and protection of the Holy Spirit. Those who are willing to put the truth into practice are enlightened by the Holy Spirit, and those who are unwilling to put the truth into practice are disciplined by the Holy Spirit, and may even be punished. Regardless of what kind of person they are, provided that they are within the stream of the Holy Spirit, God will take responsibility for all those who accept His new work for the sake of His name. Those who glorify His name and are willing to put His words into practice will receive His blessings; those who disobey Him and do not put His words into practice will receive His punishment. People who are in the stream of the Holy Spirit are those who accept the new work, and since they have accepted the new work, they should have the appropriate cooperation with God, and should not act as rebels who do not perform their duty. This is God’s only requirement of man. Not so for the people who do not accept the new work: They are outside the stream of the Holy Spirit, and the discipline and reproach of the Holy Spirit do not apply to them. All day, these people live within the flesh, they live within their minds, and all that they do is according to the doctrine produced by the analysis and research of their own brains. It is not the requirements of the Holy Spirit’s new work, much less is it cooperation with God. Those who do not accept the new work of God are bereft of the presence of God, and, moreover, devoid of the blessings and protection of God. Most of their words and actions hold to the past requirements of the Holy Spirit’s work; they are doctrine, not truth. Such doctrine and regulation are sufficient to prove that the only thing that brings them together is religion; they are not the chosen ones, or the objects of God’s work. The assembly of all those among them can only be called a grand congress of religion, and cannot be called a church. This is an unalterable fact. They do not have the Holy Spirit’s new work; what they do seems redolent of religion, what they live out seems replete with religion; they do not possess the presence and work of the Holy Spirit, much less are they eligible to receive the discipline or enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. These people are all lifeless corpses, and maggots that are devoid of spirituality. They have no knowledge of man’s rebelliousness and opposition, have no knowledge of all of man’s evildoing, much less do they know all of God’s work and God’s present will. They are all ignorant, base people, they are scum that are unfit to be called believers! Nothing that they do has a bearing on the management of God, much less can it impair God’s plans. Their words and actions are too disgusting, too pathetic, and simply unworthy of mention. Nothing done by those who are not within the stream of the Holy Spirit has anything to do with the new work of the Holy Spirit. Because of this, no matter what they do, they are without the discipline of the Holy Spirit, and, moreover, without the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. For they are all people who have no love for the truth, and have been detested and rejected by the Holy Spirit. They are called evildoers because they walk in the flesh, and do whatever pleases them under the signboard of God. While God works, they are deliberately hostile to Him, and run in the opposite direction to Him. Man’s failure to cooperate with God is supremely rebellious in itself, to say nothing of these people’s deliberate flight from God. Will they not, then, receive their just retribution? At the mention of these people’s evildoing, some people cannot help but curse them, whereas God ignores them. To man, it appears that their actions concern God’s name, but in fact, to God, they bear no relation to His name or the testimony to Him. No matter what these people do, it is unrelated to God: It is unrelated to both His name and His work today. These people humiliate themselves, and manifest Satan; they are evildoers who are hoarding for the day of wrath. Today, regardless of their actions, and provided they do not obstruct God’s management and have nothing to do with the new work of God, such people will not be subjected to the corresponding retribution, for the day of wrath has yet to arrive. There is much that people believe God should already have dealt with, and they think that those evildoers should be subject to retribution as early as possible. But because the work of God’s management has still not come to an end, and the day of wrath has yet to arrive, the unrighteous still continue to perform their unrighteous deeds. Some say that those in religion are without the presence or work of the Holy Spirit, and that they bring shame upon God’s name; so why does God not destroy them, rather than still tolerating their defiance? These people, who are the manifestation of Satan and who express the flesh, they are ignorant, base people, they are absurd people. They will not behold the advent of God’s wrath before they have come to understand how God does His work among man, and once they have been fully conquered, those evildoers will all receive their retribution, and not one of them will be able to escape the day of wrath. Now is not the time for man’s punishment, but the time for carrying out the work of conquest, unless there are those who impair God’s management, in which case they will be subjected to punishment based on the severity of their actions. During God’s management of mankind, all those who are within the stream of the Holy Spirit bear relation to God. Those who are detested and rejected by the Holy Spirit live under the influence of Satan, and that which they put into practice has no relationship with God. Only those who accept God’s new work, and who cooperate with God, bear relation to God, for God’s work is aimed only at those who accept it, and not all people, regardless of whether they accept it or not. The work done by God always has an object, and is not done at whim. Those who are associated with Satan are not fit to bear testimony to God, much less are they fit to cooperate with God.
Each stage of the Holy Spirit’s work simultaneously requires the testimony of man. Each stage of work is a battle between God and Satan, and the object of the battle is Satan, while the one who will be made perfect by this work is man. Whether or not God’s work can bear fruit depends on the manner of man’s testimony to God. This testimony is what God requires of those who follow Him; it is the testimony made before Satan, and also proof of the effects of His work. The entire management of God is divided into three stages, and in each stage, fitting requirements are made of man. Furthermore, as the ages pass and progress, God’s requirements of all mankind become ever higher. Thus, step-by-step, this work of God’s management reaches its climax, until man beholds the fact of the “appearance of the Word in the flesh,” and in this way the requirements of man become even higher, and requirements of man to bear testimony become even higher. The more that man is capable of truly cooperating with God, the more that he glorifies God. Man’s cooperation is the testimony that he is required to bear, and the testimony that he bears is the practice of man. And so, whether or not God’s work can have the due effect, and whether or not there can be true testimony, are inextricably linked to the cooperation and testimony of man. When the work is finished, which is to say, when all of God’s management has reached its end, man will be required to bear higher testimony, and when the work of God reaches its end, the practice and entry of man will reach their zenith. In the past, man was required to comply with the law and the commandments, and was required to be patient and humble. Today, man is required to obey all of God’s arrangements and possess a supreme love of God, and is ultimately required to still love God amid the tribulation. These three stages are requirements that God makes of man, step-by-step, throughout His entire management. Each stage of God’s work goes deeper than the last, and in each stage the requirements of man are more profound than the last, and in this way, God’s entire management gradually takes shape. It is precisely because the requirements of man are ever higher that man’s disposition comes ever closer to the standards required by God, and it is only then that the whole of mankind gradually departs from the influence of Satan until, when God’s work comes to a complete end, the whole of mankind will have been saved from the influence of Satan. When that time comes, the work of God will have reached its end, and man’s cooperation with God in order to achieve changes in his disposition will be no more, and the whole of mankind will live in the light of God, and from then on, there will be no rebelliousness or opposition to God. God will also make no demands of man, and there will be a more harmonious cooperation between man and God, one which will be the life of man and God together, the life that comes after the management of God has been completely concluded, and after man has been fully saved by God from the clutches of Satan. Those who cannot closely follow the footsteps of God are incapable of attaining such a life. They will have lowered themselves into darkness, where they will weep and gnash their teeth; they are people who believe in God but do not follow Him, who believe in God but do not obey all of His work. Since man believes in God, he must closely follow the footsteps of God, step-by-step; he should “follow the Lamb wherever He goes.” Only these are the people who seek the true way, only they are the ones who know the work of the Holy Spirit. People who slavishly follow letters and doctrines are those who have been eliminated by the work of the Holy Spirit. In each period of time, God will begin new work, and in each period, there will be a new beginning among man. If man only abides by the truths that “Jehovah is God” and “Jesus is Christ,” which are truths that only apply to a single age, then man will never keep up with the work of the Holy Spirit, and will forever be incapable of gaining the work of the Holy Spirit. Regardless of how God works, man follows without the slightest doubt, and he follows closely. In this way, how could man be eliminated by the Holy Spirit? Regardless of what God does, as long as man is certain that it is the work of the Holy Spirit, and cooperates in the work of the Holy Spirit without any misgivings, and tries to meet the requirements of God, then how could he be punished? The work of God has never ceased, His footsteps have never halted, and prior to the completion of His work of management, He has always been busy, and never stops. But man is different: Having gained but a modicum of the Holy Spirit’s work, he treats it as if it will never change; having gained a little knowledge, he does not go forth to follow the footsteps of God’s newer work; having seen but a bit of God’s work, he immediately prescribes God as a particular wooden figure, and believes that God will always remain in this form that he sees before him, that it was like this in the past and will always be thus in the future; having gained but a superficial knowledge, man is so proud that he forgets himself and begins to wantonly proclaim the disposition and being of God that simply do not exist; and having fastened upon one stage of the Holy Spirit’s work, no matter what kind of person it is that proclaims the new work of God, man does not accept it. These are people who cannot accept the new work of the Holy Spirit; they are too conservative, and incapable of accepting new things. Such people are those who believe in God but also reject God. Man believes that the Israelites were wrong to “only believe in Jehovah and not believe in Jesus,” yet the majority of people act out a role in which they “only believe in Jehovah and reject Jesus” and “long for the return of the Messiah, but oppose the Messiah who is called Jesus.” No wonder, then, that people still live under the domain of Satan after accepting one stage of the work of the Holy Spirit, and still do not receive God’s blessings. Is this not the result of man’s rebelliousness? Christians across the world who have not kept up with the new work of today all hold onto the belief that they are the lucky ones, that God will fulfill each of their wishes. Yet they cannot say for sure why God will take them up to the third heaven, nor are they certain about how Jesus will come to collect them riding upon a white cloud, much less can they say with absolute certainty whether Jesus will truly arrive upon a white cloud on the day that they imagine. They are all anxious, and at a loss; they themselves don’t even know whether God will take up each of them, the varied small handfuls of people, who hail from every denomination. The work that God does now, the present age, God’s will—they have no grasp of any of these, and can do nothing but count down the days on their fingers. Only those who follow the footsteps of the Lamb to the very end can gain the final blessing, whereas those clever people, who are unable to follow to the very end yet believe they have gained all, are incapable of witnessing the appearance of God. They all believe they are the smartest person on earth, and they cut short the continued development of God’s work for no reason at all, and seem to believe with absolute certainty that God will take them up to heaven, they who “have the utmost loyalty to God, follow God, and abide by the words of God.” Even though they have the “utmost loyalty” toward the words spoken by God, their words and actions still feel so disgusting because they oppose the work of the Holy Spirit, and commit deceit and evil. Those who do not follow to the very end, who do not keep up with the work of the Holy Spirit, and who only cleave to the old work have not only failed to achieve loyalty to God, but on the contrary, have become those who oppose God, have become those who are rejected by the new age, and who will be punished. Are there any more pitiable than them? Many even believe that all those who reject the old law and accept the new work are without conscience. These people, who only talk of conscience, and do not know the work of the Holy Spirit, will ultimately have their prospects cut short by their own consciences. God’s work does not abide by doctrine, and even though it is His own work, still God does not cling to it. That which should be denied is denied, that which should be eliminated is eliminated. Yet man places himself in enmity of God by holding onto but one small part of the work of God’s management. Is this not the absurdity of man? Is this not the ignorance of man? The more that people are timid and overcautious because they are afraid of not gaining God’s blessings, the more that they are incapable of gaining greater blessings, and of receiving the final blessing. Those people who slavishly abide by the law all display the utmost loyalty toward the law, and the more they display such loyalty toward the law, the more they are rebels who oppose God. For now is the Age of Kingdom and not the Age of Law, and the work of today cannot be held up against the work of the past, and the work of the past cannot be compared to the work of today. The work of God has changed, and the practice of man has also changed; it is not to hold onto the law or bear the cross. So, people’s loyalty toward the law and the cross will not gain God’s approval.
Man will be fully made complete in the Age of Kingdom. After the work of conquest, man will be subjected to refinement and tribulation. Those who can overcome and stand testimony during this tribulation are the ones who will ultimately be made complete; they are the overcomers. During this tribulation, man is required to accept this refinement, and this refinement is the last instance of God’s work. It is the last time that man will be refined prior to the conclusion of all the work of God’s management, and all those who follow God must accept this final test, must accept this last refinement. Those who are beset by tribulation are without the work of the Holy Spirit and the guidance of God, but those who have been truly conquered and truly seek after God will ultimately stand fast; they are the ones who are possessed of humanity, and who truly love God. No matter what God does, these victorious ones will not be bereft of the visions, and will still put the truth into practice without failing in their testimony. They are the ones who will finally emerge from the great tribulation. Even though those who fish in troubled waters can still freeload today, no one is able to escape the final tribulation, and no one can escape the final test. For those who overcome, such tribulation is the tremendous refinement; but for those who fish in troubled waters, it is the work of complete elimination. No matter how they are tried, the allegiance of those who have God in their heart remains unchanged; but for those who do not have God in their heart, once the work of God is not advantageous to their flesh, they change their view of God, and even depart from God. Such are those who will not stand fast in the end, who only seek God’s blessings and have no desire to expend themselves for God and dedicate themselves to Him. This kind of base people will all be expelled when God’s work comes to an end, and are unworthy of any sympathy. Those without humanity are incapable of truly loving God. When the environment is safe and secure, or they can get profits, they are totally obedient toward God, but once that which they desire is compromised or finally refuted, they immediately revolt. Even in the space of just one night, they may go from a smiling, “kind-hearted” person to an ugly-looking and ferocious killer, suddenly treating their benefactor of yesterday as their mortal enemy, without rhyme or reason. If these demons are not cast out, demons that would kill in the blink of an eye, will they not become the source of further suffering? The work of saving man is not achieved following the completion of the work of conquest. Although the work of conquest has come to an end, the work of purifying man has not; such work will only be finished once man has been wholly purified, once those who truly submit to God have been made complete, and once those disguisers who are without God in their heart have been purged. Those who do not satisfy God in the final stage of His work will be completely eliminated, and those who are eliminated are of the devil. As they are incapable of satisfying God, they are rebellious against God, and even though these people follow God today, this does not prove that they are those who will finally remain. In the words that “those who follow God to the end will receive salvation,” the meaning of “follow” is to stand firm in the midst of tribulation. Today, many believe that following God is easy, but when God’s work is about to end, you will know the true meaning of “follow.” Just because you are still able to follow God today after being conquered, this does not prove that you are one of those who will be made perfect. Those who are unable to endure the trials, who are incapable of being victorious amid tribulation will, ultimately, be incapable of standing fast, and so will be unable to follow God to the very end. Those who truly follow God are able to withstand the test of their work, whereas those who do not truly follow God are incapable of withstanding any of God’s trials. Sooner or later they will be expelled, while the overcomers will remain in the kingdom. Whether or not man truly seeks God is determined by the test of his work, that is, by God’s trials, and has nothing to do with the decision by man himself. God does not reject any person at whim; all that He does is so that man may be utterly convinced. He does not do anything that is invisible to man, or any work that cannot convince man. Whether man’s belief is true or not is proved by the facts, and cannot be decided by man. That “wheat cannot be made into tares, and tares cannot be made into wheat” is without doubt. All those who truly love God will ultimately remain in the kingdom, and God will not mistreat anyone who truly loves Him. Based on their different functions and testimonies, the overcomers within the kingdom will serve as priests or followers, and all those who are victorious amid tribulation will become the body of priests within the kingdom. The body of priests will be formed when the work of the gospel throughout the universe has come to an end. When that time comes, that which should be done by man will be the performance of his duty within the kingdom of God, and his living together with God within the kingdom. In the body of priests there will be chief priests and priests, and the remainder will be the sons and people of God. This is all determined by their testimonies to God during tribulation; they are not titles that are given at whim. Once man’s status has been established, the work of God will cease, for each is classed according to kind and returned to their original position, and this is the mark of the accomplishment of God’s work, this is the final outcome of the work of God and the practice of man, and is the crystallization of the visions of God’s work and the cooperation of man. In the end, man will find repose in the kingdom of God, and God, too, will return to His dwelling place to rest. This is the final outcome of 6,000 years of cooperation between God and man.