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1. What is the essential difference between the work of God and the work of man?

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VIII. One Must Fellowship Clearly the Aspect of Truth Concerning the Difference Between the Work of God and the Work of Man

1. What is the essential difference between the work of God and the work of man?

Relevant Words of God:

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.

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

The words of God incarnate initiate a new age, guide the whole of mankind, reveal mysteries, and show man the direction ahead in a new age. The enlightenment obtained by man is but simple practice or knowledge. It cannot guide the whole of mankind into a new age or reveal the mystery of God Himself. God, after all, is God, and man is man. God has the substance of God, and man has the substance of man.

from Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh

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.

from “Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of God Become Flesh” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

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 to launch the new era and 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.

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

The words and work of the prophets and those used by the Holy Spirit were all doing man’s duty, performing his function as a created being, and doing what man should do. However, the words and 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, and the two 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 do their duty as a created being. Though their prophecies might be greater than the way of life spoken of by the incarnate God, and even their humanity was more transcendent than that of the incarnate God, they were still doing their duty, and not fulfilling their ministry. The duty of man refers to the function of man, and is something attainable for man. However, the ministry carried out by the incarnate God is related to His management, and this is unattainable by man. Whether the incarnate God speaks, works, or manifests wonders, He is doing great work within 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, so too would the duty of a created being. God’s work in carrying out His ministry is to manage man, whereas man doing his duty is the performance of his own obligations to meet the demands of the Creator and can in no way be considered to be carrying out one’s ministry. To the inherent essence of God, that is, 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, and all man can do is to give of his best within the scope of His management and under His leadership.

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

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, or 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.

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

John did only the work of the beginning; more of the new work was done by Jesus. John did new work as well, but he was not the one who ushered in a new age. … Though John also said, “Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” and preached too the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, his work was not in-depth and constituted merely a beginning. In contrast, Jesus ushered in a new age and brought 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 He came to redeem all mankind—He did that stage of work. John 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, and neither did they gain through him an understanding of the will of God. John was a great prophet (Elijah) who pioneered new ground for Jesus’ work and prepared the chosen; he was the forerunner for the Age of Grace. Such matters cannot be discerned simply by observing their normal human appearances. Especially, John also did quite great work; moreover, he was born by the promise of the Holy Spirit, and his work was upheld by the Holy Spirit. As such, distinguishing between their respective identities can be done only through their work, for a man’s outward appearance is not telling of his substance, and man is unable to ascertain the true testimony of the Holy Spirit. The work done by John and that done by Jesus were not alike and of different natures. It is this that should determine whether or not he is God. The work of Jesus was to begin, continue, conclude, and accomplish. Each of these steps was carried out by Jesus, whereas the work of John was no more than that of a beginning. In the beginning, Jesus spread the gospel and preached the way of repentance, then went on to baptize man, heal sickness, and cast out demons. In the end, He redeemed mankind from sin and completed His work for the entire age. He preached to man and spread the gospel of the kingdom of heaven in all places. This was the same with John, with 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. Such work could never be carried out by John. And so, it was Jesus who did the work of God Himself, and it is He who is God Himself and directly represents God.

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

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.

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

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.

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

The work in the stream of the Holy Spirit, no matter whether it is God’s own work or the work of men being used, it is the work of the Holy Spirit. … the work of God Himself is the work of the Holy Spirit; the work of the incarnate God is none less than the Holy Spirit at work. The work of men who are used is also the work of the Holy Spirit. It is only that the work of God is the complete expression of the Holy Spirit, and there is no difference, whereas the work of men being used is mixed with many human things, and it is not the direct expression of the Holy Spirit, let alone the complete expression.

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

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. … 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.

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

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. With regard to His work, man cannot tell what kind of person He is. Man is also unable to classify Him as a created person on the basis of His work. What He is also makes Him unable to be classified as a created person. Man can only consider Him a non-human, but does not know which category to put Him in, so man is forced to list Him in the category of God. It is not unreasonable for man to do this, because He has done a lot of work among people that man is unable to do.

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

The work that God does does not represent the experience of His flesh; the work that man does represents man’s experience. Everyone talks about his personal experience. God can directly express the truth, while man can only express the corresponding experience after experiencing the truth. God’s work has no rules and is not subject to time or geographical constraints. He can express what He is at anytime, anywhere. He works as He pleases. Man’s work has conditions and context; otherwise, he is unable to work and unable to express his knowledge of God or his experience of the truth. You just have to compare the differences between them to tell whether it is God’s own work or man’s work. If there is no work done by God Himself and there is only the work of man, you will know that men’s teachings are high, beyond the capacity of anyone else; their tones of speaking, their principles in handling things and their experienced and steady manner in working are beyond the reach of others. You all admire these people with high humanity, but you cannot see from God’s work and words how high His humanity is. Instead, He is ordinary, and when working, He is normal and real but also immeasurable to mortals, which therefore makes people feel a kind of reverence of Him. 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 inviolable.

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

If man were to do this work, then it would be too limited: It could take man to a certain point, but it would not be able to bring man to the eternal destination. Man is not able to decide man’s destiny, nor, moreover, is he able to ensure man’s prospects and future destination. The work done by God, however, is different. Since He created man, He leads him; since He saves man, He will thoroughly save him, and will completely gain him; since He leads man, He will bring him to the proper destination; and since He created and manages man, He must take responsibility for man’s fate and prospects. It is this which is the work done by the Creator.

from “Restoring the Normal Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

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