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The essential differences 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, which means that God’s own work represents every dynamic and trend of the work of the Holy Spirit, whereas the work of the apostles comes after God’s own work and follows from it, and it does not lead the era, nor does it represent trends of the Holy Spirit’s work in a whole era. They only do the work man ought to do, which has nothing at all to do with the management work. The work God does Himself is a project within the management work. Man’s work is only the duty that people who are used fulfill, and it is unrelated to the management work. Despite the fact that they are both the work of the Holy Spirit, due to differences in identities and representations of the work, there are clear and essential differences between God’s own work and the work of man. Moreover, the extent of the work done by the Holy Spirit varies on objects with different identities. 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

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

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

The incarnate God is essentially 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

The word of God cannot be made out to be the word of man, and still less can one make the word of man to be the word of God. A man used by God is not the incarnate God, and the incarnate God is not a man used by God. In this, there is an essential difference. Perhaps, after reading these words, you do not acknowledge them to be the words of God, but only as the enlightenment that man has gained. In that case, you are blinded by ignorance. How can the words of God be the same as the enlightenment that man has gained? 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. If man views the words spoken by God as simple enlightenment by the Holy Spirit, and takes the words of the apostles and prophets as words personally spoken by God, that would be man’s mistake.

Excerpted from Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh

Even a man who is used by the Holy Spirit cannot represent God Himself. This is not only to say that such a man cannot represent God, but also that the work he does cannot directly represent God. In other words, human experience cannot be placed directly within the management of God, and it cannot represent the management of God. The work that God Himself does is entirely the work He intends to do in His own management plan and it pertains to the great management. The work done by man 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 people supply is their individual experience or the spiritual writings of spiritual people. Although these people 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 those 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 people are unable to do the greater work of 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 he is moved or enlightened by the Holy Spirit. The guidance that these people 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. As an example, the work of Witness Lee and Watchman Nee was to lead the way. Be the way new or old, the work was premised upon the principle of remaining within the Bible. Whether it was to restore the local church or build the local church, their work had to do with establishing churches. The work they did carried on the work that Jesus and His apostles had left unfinished or had not further developed in the Age of Grace. What they did in their work was to restore what Jesus had, in His work of the time, asked of the generations coming after Him, such as keeping their heads covered, receiving baptism, breaking bread, or drinking wine. It could be said that their work was to keep to the Bible and to seek paths within the Bible. They made no new advances of any kind. Therefore, one can see in their work only the discovery of new ways within the Bible, as well as better and more realistic practices. But one cannot find in their work the present will of God, much less find the new work that God in the last days plans to do. This is because the path they walked was still an old one—there was no renewal and no advancement. They continued to hold onto the fact of the crucifixion of Jesus, to observe the practice of asking people to repent and confess their sins, to adhere to the sayings that he who endures to the end shall be saved and that man is the head of woman, and woman must obey her husband, and even more to the traditional notion that sisters cannot preach, but only obey. If such manner of leadership had continued to be observed, the Holy Spirit would never have been able to carry out new work, to set people free from rules, or to lead them into a realm of freedom and beauty. Therefore, this stage of work, which changes the age, requires that God Himself work and speak; otherwise no man can do so in His stead. Thus far, all the work of the Holy Spirit outside of this stream has come to a standstill, and those who were used by the Holy Spirit have lost their bearings. Therefore, since the work of the people used by the Holy Spirit is unlike the work done by God Himself, their identities and the subjects on behalf of whom they act are likewise different. This is because the work the Holy Spirit intends to do is different, and on this account those who alike do work are accorded different identities and statuses. The people 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. When God Himself carries out work, however, 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 to do; 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 people used by the Holy Spirit is built upon that launched 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

During the Age of Grace, Jesus uttered some words and carried out one stage of work. There was a context to all of them, and they were all appropriate for the states of the people of that time; Jesus spoke and worked as befitted the context at the time. He also spoke some prophecies. He prophesied that the Spirit of truth would come during the last days and would carry out a stage of work. Which is to say, He understood nothing beyond the work He Himself was to do during that age; the work brought by God incarnate is, in other words, limited. Thus, He only does the work of the age He is in and does not do other work that has no connection to Him. At that time, Jesus did not work according to feelings or visions, but as befitted the time and context. No one led or guided Him. The entirety of His work was His own being—it was the work that ought to be carried out by the incarnate Spirit of God, which was all of the work ushered in by the incarnation. Jesus worked only according to what He Himself saw and heard. In other words, the Spirit worked directly; there was no need for messengers to appear to Him and give Him dreams, nor for any great light to shine upon Him and allow Him to see. He worked freely and without restraint, which was because His work was not based on feelings. In other words, when He worked, He did not grope and guess, but accomplished things with ease, working and speaking according to His own ideas and what He saw with His own eyes, providing immediate sustenance to each of the disciples who followed Him. This is the difference between the work of God and the work of people: When people work, they seek and grope about, always imitating and deliberating based on the foundation laid by others to achieve deeper entry. God’s work is the provision of what He is, and He does the work that He Himself ought to do. He does not provide sustenance to the church using knowledge from the work of any man. Instead, He does the present work based on people’s states.

Excerpted from “Practice (5)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

When God comes to the earth, He does only His work within divinity, which is what the heavenly Spirit has entrusted to the incarnate God. When He comes, He but speaks across the land, to give voice to His utterances by different means and from different perspectives. He chiefly takes supplying man and teaching man as His goals and working principle, and does not concern Himself with such things as interpersonal relationships or the details of people’s lives. His main ministry is to speak for the Spirit. That is, when God’s Spirit appears tangibly in the flesh, He only provides for man’s life and releases the truth. He does not involve Himself in man’s work, which is to say, He does not partake in the work of humanity. Humans cannot do divine work, and God does not partake in human work. In all the years since God came to this earth to perform His work, He has always done it through people. These people, however, cannot be considered God incarnate—only those who are used by God. The God of today, meanwhile, can speak directly from the perspective of divinity, sending forth the Spirit’s voice and working on behalf of the Spirit. All those whom God has used throughout the ages are, likewise, instances of God’s Spirit working within a fleshly body—so why can’t they be called God? But today’s God is also God’s Spirit working directly in the flesh, and Jesus too was God’s Spirit working in the flesh; both of Them are called God. So what’s the difference? The people that God has used throughout the ages have all been capable of normal thought and reason. They have all understood the principles of human conduct. They have had normal human ideas, and have been possessed of all the things that normal people should possess. Most of them have had exceptional talent and innate intelligence. In working upon these people, God’s Spirit harnesses their talents, which are their God-given gifts. God’s Spirit brings their talents into play, using their strengths in God’s service. Yet the essence of God is without ideas or thought, unadulterated with human intentions, and even lacks what normal humans possess. Which is to say, He is not even conversant with the principles of human conduct. This is how it is when today’s God comes to the earth. His work and His words are unadulterated with human intentions or human thought, but they are a direct manifestation of the intentions of the Spirit, and He works directly on God’s behalf. This means that the Spirit directly speaks, that is, the divinity directly does the work, without mixing in even one bit of man’s intentions. In other words, the incarnate God embodies divinity directly, is without human thought or ideas, and has no understanding of the principles of human conduct. If only divinity were at work (meaning if only God Himself were at work), there would be no way for God’s work to be carried out on earth. So when God comes to earth, He must have a small number of people He uses to work within humanity in conjunction with the work that God does in divinity. In other words, He uses human work to uphold His divine work. If not, there would be no way for man to directly engage with the divine work. This is how it was with Jesus and His disciples. During His time in the world, Jesus abolished the old laws and established new commandments. He also spoke many words. All this work was done in divinity. The others, such as Peter, Paul, and John, all rested their subsequent work on the foundation of Jesus’ words. Which is to say, God launched His work in that age, ushering in the beginning of the Age of Grace; that is, He ushered in a new era, abolishing the old, and also fulfilling the words, “God is the Beginning and the End.” In other words, man must perform human work upon the foundation of divine work. Once Jesus had said all He needed to say and finished His work on earth, He left man. After this, all people, in working, did so according to the principles expressed in His words, and practiced according to the truths of which He spoke. All of these people worked for Jesus. If it had been Jesus alone doing the work, no matter how many words He spoke, people would have had no means of engaging with His words, because He was working in divinity and could only speak words of divinity, and He could not have explained things to the point where normal people could understand His words. And so He had to have the apostles and prophets who came after Him supplement His work. This is the principle of how God incarnate does His work—using the incarnate flesh to speak and to work so as to complete the work of divinity, and then using a few, or perhaps more, people after God’s own heart to supplement His work. That is, God uses people after His heart to do the work of shepherding and watering in humanity so that God’s chosen people may enter truth reality.

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

The work of man signifies his experience and his humanity. What man provides and the work he does represent him. Man’s insight, man’s reasoning, man’s logic, and his rich imagination are all included in his work. Man’s experience is particularly able to signify his work, and a person’s experiences become the components of his work. Man’s work can express his experience. When some people experience negatively, most of the language of their fellowship will consist of negative elements. If their experience for a period of time is positive and they are especially possessed of a path in the positive aspect, their fellowship is very encouraging, and people can obtain positive provisions from them. If a worker becomes negative for a period of time, his fellowship will always carry negative elements. This kind of fellowship is depressing, and others will unconsciously become depressed after his fellowship. The state of followers changes depending on that of the leader. Whatever a worker is like inside, that is what he expresses, and the work of the Holy Spirit often changes with man’s state. He works according to people’s experience and does not force them, but makes demands of people according to the normal course of their experience. This is to say that man’s fellowship differs from the word of God. What people fellowship conveys their individual insights and experience, expressing their insights and experience on the basis of God’s work. Their responsibility is to find out, after God works or speaks, what of it they ought to practice or enter into, and then to 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 human thoughts. However the Holy Spirit works, whether on man or in God incarnate, the workers always express what they are. Though 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 does not come from nothing, but is always done in accord with actual circumstances and real conditions. Only in this way can man’s disposition be transformed and his old notions and old thoughts be changed. What man expresses is what he sees, experiences, and can imagine, and it is attainable by man’s thinking, even if it is doctrine or notions. Man’s work cannot exceed the scope of man’s experience, nor what man sees, nor what man can imagine or conceive, regardless of the size of that work. All God expresses is what He Himself is, and this is unattainable by man—that is, beyond the reach of man’s thinking. He expresses His work of leading all mankind, and this is unrelated to the details of human experience, but is concerned instead with His own management. What man expresses is his experience, while what God expresses is His being, which is His inherent disposition, beyond the reach of man. Man’s experience is his insight and knowledge acquired on the basis of God’s expression of His being. Such insight and knowledge are called man’s being, and the basis of their expression is man’s inherent disposition and caliber—this is why they are also called man’s being. Man is able to fellowship what he experiences and sees. No one can fellowship that which they have not experienced, have not seen, or their thinking cannot reach, those being things they do not have inside of them. If what man expresses is not from his experience, it is then his imagination or doctrine. Simply put, there is no reality in his words. Were you never to come into contact with the things of society, you would not be able to fellowship clearly the complex relationships of society. If you had no family, were others to talk about family issues, you would not understand most of what they said. 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

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 is what I am. Some people acknowledge only 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 for six thousand years. I have experienced everything from the beginning of the creation of mankind until now; how would I be unable to discuss that? When it comes to man’s nature, I have seen clearly; I observed it long ago. How would I be unable to talk clearly about it? Since I have seen the substance 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 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 I ought to do. What people say is what they have experienced. It is what they have seen, what their minds can reach, and what their senses can detect. That is what they can fellowship. The words spoken by God’s incarnate flesh are the direct expression of the Spirit and they express the work that has been done by the Spirit, which the flesh has not experienced or seen, yet He still expresses His being, for the essence of the flesh is the Spirit, and He expresses the work of the Spirit. It is work already done by the Spirit, though it is beyond the reach of the flesh. 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 gives people greater clarity 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 new eras for mankind, 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 mankind.

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

The work of man stays within a range and is limited. One person can only do work of a certain phase and cannot do the work of the entire era—otherwise, he would lead people into the midst of rules. The work of man can only apply to a particular time or phase. This is because man’s experience has its 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 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 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 who can live out truth reality experience within this range. When they experience the truth, it is always an experience of normal human life enlightened by the Holy Spirit; it is not a way of experiencing that deviates from normal human life. They experience the truth enlightened by the Holy Spirit on the foundation of living their human lives. Moreover, this truth varies from person to person, and its depth is related to the state of the person. One can only say that the path they walk is the normal human life of someone pursuing the truth, and it may be called the path walked by a normal person enlightened by the Holy Spirit. One cannot say that the path they walk is the path the Holy Spirit takes. In normal human experience, because people who pursue are not the same, the work of the Holy Spirit is also not the same. In addition, because the environments people experience and the ranges of their experience are not the same, and because of the admixture of their mind and thoughts, their experience is mixed to different degrees. Each person understands a truth according to their different, individual conditions. Their understanding of the real meaning of the truth is not complete and is only one or several aspects of it. The scope of the truth man experiences differs from person to person in line with each person’s conditions. In this way, the knowledge of the same truth, as expressed by different people, is not the same. This is to say, man’s experience always has limitations and cannot completely represent the will of the Holy Spirit, nor can the work of man be perceived as the work of God, even if what is expressed by man corresponds very closely to God’s will, and even if the experience of man is very close to the perfecting work that the Holy Spirit performs. Man can only be God’s servant, doing the work that God entrusts to him. Man can only express knowledge enlightened by the Holy Spirit and truths obtained from his personal experiences. Man is unqualified and does not meet the conditions to be the outlet of the Holy Spirit. He is not entitled to say that his 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 man walks 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

Man’s work is susceptible to falling into rules, and the method of his work is easily confined to a limited scope, and is unable to lead people to 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, it is unbound by rules; however it is done, it is not limited to a single method. There are no rules whatsoever to God’s work—all His work is released and free. No matter how much time man spends following Him, he cannot distill any laws that govern God’s ways of working. Although His work is principled, it is always done in new ways and always has new developments, and it is beyond man’s reach. In a single period, God may have several different types of work and different ways of leading people, making it so people always have new entries and changes. You cannot discern the laws of His work because He is always working in new ways, and only thus do followers of God not become bound by rules. The work of God Himself always avoids people’s notions and counters them. Only those who follow and pursue Him with a true heart can have their dispositions transformed and be able to live freely, not subjected to any rules or restrained by any religious notions. The work of man makes demands of people 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, these things become rules and rituals. If the work of one period is led by someone who has not undergone God’s personal perfecting and not received judgment, his followers will all become religionists and experts in resisting God. Therefore, if someone is a qualified leader, that person must have undergone judgment and accepted being perfected. Those who have not undergone judgment, even though they may have the work of the Holy Spirit, express only vague and unreal things. With time, they will lead people into vague and supernatural rules. The work that God performs does not accord with the flesh of man. It does not accord with man’s thoughts, but counters man’s notions; it is not tainted with vague religious colorings. The results of God’s work cannot be achieved by someone who has not been perfected by Him; they are beyond the reach of man’s thinking.

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

There are many rules and restrictions in the work that man does, and the human brain is too dogmatic. What man expresses, therefore, is knowledge and realizations that are within the scope of his experience. Man is unable to express anything apart from this. Man’s experiences or knowledge do not arise from his innate gifts or his instinct; they arise because of God’s guidance and direct shepherding. Man has only the faculty to accept this shepherding and no faculty that can express directly what divinity is. Man is unable to be the source; he can only be a vessel that accepts water from the source. This is the human instinct, the faculty that one should have as a human being. If a person loses the faculty that accepts God’s word and loses the human instinct, that person also loses what is most precious, and loses the duty of created man. If a person has no knowledge or experience of God’s word or His work, that person loses his duty, the duty he should perform as a created being, and loses the dignity of a created being. It is God’s instinct to express what divinity is, whether it is expressed in the flesh or directly by the Spirit; this is God’s ministry. Man expresses his own experiences or knowledge (that is, expresses what he is) during God’s work or afterward; this is man’s instinct and man’s duty, and it is what man should achieve. Although man’s expression falls far short of what God expresses, and although man’s expression is bound by many rules, man must fulfill the duty he should fulfill and do what he must do. Man should do everything humanly possible to fulfill his duty, and he should not have even the slightest reservation.

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

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. Tell me, why 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 was the identity of John different from that of Jesus?” The words spoken by Jesus were able to fully represent God, and they 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 Jesus did, and yet they did not have the same identity as Jesus? It is chiefly because the work 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 worked after being sent by God; furthermore, they worked in the ages begun by Jesus or Jehovah, and they did no other work. They were, after all, merely creatures of God.

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

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

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 apt as John also did work that was quite considerable and, moreover, he 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 essence 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 dissimilar and were of different natures. It is from this that one may determine whether or not John was 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

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 a substantive 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 substance 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

After all, God’s work is different from man’s work and, moreover, how could His expressions be the same as theirs? God has His own particular disposition, while man has duties they ought to fulfill. God’s disposition is expressed in His work, while man’s duty is embodied in the experiences of man and expressed in the pursuits of man. It therefore becomes evident through the work that is done whether something is God’s expression or man’s expression. It does not need to be explained by God Himself, nor does it require man to strive to bear witness; moreover, it does not need God Himself to suppress any person. All of this comes as a natural revelation; it is neither forced nor something that man can interfere with. Man’s duty can be known through their experiences, and it does not require people to do any extra experiential work. All of man’s essence can be revealed as they perform their duty, whereas God can express His inherent disposition while performing His work. If it is man’s work then it cannot be covered up. If it is God’s work, then God’s disposition is even more impossible to be concealed by anyone, much less be controlled by man. No man can be said to be God, nor can their work and words be looked upon as holy or regarded as immutable. God can be said to be human because He clothed Himself in flesh, but His work cannot be considered to be man’s work or man’s duty. Moreover, God’s utterances and Paul’s letters cannot be equated, nor can God’s judgment and chastisement and man’s words of instruction be spoken of on equal terms. There are, therefore, principles that distinguish God’s work from man’s work. These are differentiated according to their essences, not by the scope of the work or its temporary efficiency. On this subject, most people make mistakes of principle. This is because man looks at the exterior, which they can achieve, while God looks at the essence, which cannot be observed with mankind’s physical eyes. If you regard God’s words and work as the duties of an average man, and view man’s large-scale work as the work of God clothed in the flesh rather than the duty man fulfills, then are you not mistaken in principle? Man’s letters and biographies can be easily written, but only upon the foundation of the work of the Holy Spirit. However, God’s utterances and work cannot be easily accomplished by man or achieved by human wisdom and thinking, nor can people explain them thoroughly after exploring them. If these matters of principle do not evoke any reaction in you, then your faith is evidently not very true or refined. It can only be said that your faith is full of vagueness, and is both confused and unprincipled. Without even understanding the most basic essential issues of God and man, is this sort of faith not one that completely lacks perceptiveness?

Excerpted from “Where Do You Stand on the Thirteen Epistles?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

You must know how to differentiate God’s work from the work of man. What can you see in the work of man? There are many elements of man’s experience in his work; what man expresses is what he is. God’s own work also expresses what He is, but His being is different from man’s. Man’s being represents man’s experience and life (what man experiences or encounters in his life, or the philosophies for living he has), and people living in different environments express different beings. Whether you have experiences of society and how you actually live in your family and experience within it can be seen in what you express, whereas you cannot see in the work of God incarnate whether He has social experiences. He is well aware of the substance of man and can reveal all kinds of practices pertaining to all kinds of people. He is even better at revealing the corrupt dispositions and the rebellious behavior of humans. He does not live among worldly people, but He is aware of the nature of mortals and all the corruptions of worldly people. This is His being. Though He does not deal with the world, He knows the rules of dealing with the world, because He understands human nature fully. He knows about the Spirit’s work that man’s eyes cannot see and man’s ears cannot hear, both of today and of the past. This includes wisdom that is not a philosophy for living and wonders that are hard for people to fathom. This is His being, open to people and also hidden from people. What He expresses is not the being of an extraordinary person, but the inherent attributes and being of the Spirit. He does not travel 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 within a group of obtuse and numb people who are without humanity and who do not understand the conventions and life of humanity, but He can ask mankind to live out normal humanity, at the same time revealing the base and low humanity of mankind. All this is His being, higher than the being of any flesh-and-blood person. For Him, it is unnecessary to experience a complicated, cumbersome, and sordid social life to do the work He needs to do and reveal the substance of corrupt mankind thoroughly. A sordid social life does not edify His flesh. His work and words only reveal man’s disobedience and do not provide man with 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 His revelation of man’s unrighteousness after having known man’s disobedience for a long time and abhorring mankind’s corruption. The work He does is all meant to reveal His disposition to man and to express His being. Only He can do this work; it is not something a flesh-and-blood person could achieve. From 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. His being also makes Him unclassifiable as a created person. Man can only consider Him a non-human, but does not know in which category to put Him, so man is forced to list Him in the category of God. It is not unreasonable for man to do so, for God has done much work among people that man is unable to do.

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

The work God does is not representative of the experience of His flesh; the work man does is representative of his experience. Everyone talks about their personal experience. God can express the truth directly, while man can only express the experience that corresponds to his having experienced 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; without them, he would be unable to work and unable to express his knowledge of God or his experience of the truth. To tell whether something is God’s own work or man’s work, you must simply compare the differences between the two. If there is no work done by God Himself and there is only the work of man, you will simply know that man’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 of good caliber and lofty knowledge, 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 yet also immeasurable by mortals, which therefore makes people feel a kind of reverence for Him. Perhaps a person’s experience in his work is particularly advanced, or his imagination and reasoning are particularly advanced, and his humanity is particularly good; such attributes can only gain people’s admiration, but not arouse their awe and fear. People all admire those who can work well, who have particularly deep experience, and who can practice the truth, but such people can never elicit awe, only admiration and envy. But people who have experienced God’s work do not admire God; instead, they feel His work is beyond human reach and is unfathomable to man, 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 ken of man’s mind. People want only to be able to meet His requirements, to satisfy His desires; they do not wish to exceed Him, because the work He does goes beyond man’s thinking and imagination and could not be done by man in His stead. Even man himself does not know his own inadequacies, yet God has forged a new path and has come to bring man into a newer and more beautiful world, and so mankind has made new progress and has had a new start. What people feel for God 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 and says things that man is unable to say. People who have experienced God’s work always have an indescribable feeling. People of deep enough experience can understand the love of God; they can feel His loveliness, that His work is so wise, so wonderful, and thereby is infinite power generated among them. It is not fear or occasional love and respect, but a deep sense of God’s compassion for man and tolerance of him. However, people who have experienced His chastisement and judgment sense His majesty and that He tolerates no offense. Even people who have experienced much of His work are unable to fathom Him; all 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 admire him wholly or present the appearance of submission to Him; rather, they should achieve 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 are above those of a created being. God is self-existent and everlasting, He is a non-created being, and only God is worthy of reverence and obedience; man is not qualified for this.

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

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