God’s Word “God’s Work and Man’s Practice”
God’s work among man is inseparable from man, for man is the object of this work, and the only creature made by God that can bear testimony to God. The life of man and all of man’s activities are inseparable from God, and are all controlled by the hands of God, and it may even be said that no person can exist independently of God. None can deny this, for it is a fact. All that God does is for the profit of mankind, and directed at the schemes of Satan. All that man needs comes from God, and God is the source of man’s life. Thus, man is simply unable to part from God. God, furthermore, has never had any intention of parting from man. The work that God does is for the sake of all mankind, and His thoughts are always kind. For man, then, the work of God and the thoughts of God (that is, God’s will) are both “visions” that should be known by man. Such visions are also the management of God, and work that is incapable of being done by man. The requirements that God makes of man during His work, meanwhile, are called the “practice” of man. Visions are the work of God Himself, or are His will for mankind or the aims and significance of His work. Visions can also be said to be a part of the management, for this management is the work of God, and is directed at man, which means that it is the work that God does among man. This work is the evidence and the path through which man comes to know God, and it is of the utmost importance for man. If, instead of paying attention to the knowledge of God’s work, people only pay attention to the doctrines of belief in God, or to triflingly unimportant details, then they simply will not know God, and, moreover, will not be after God’s heart. The work of God is exceedingly helpful to man’s knowledge of God, and is called visions. These visions are the work of God, the will of God, and the aims and significance of God’s work; they are all of benefit to man. Practice refers to that which should be done by man, that which should be done by the creatures that follow God. It is also the duty of man. What man is supposed to do is not something that was understood by man from the very beginning, but is the requirements that God makes of man during His work. These requirements become gradually deeper and more elevated as God works. For example, during the Age of Law, man had to follow the law, and during the Age of Grace, man had to bear the cross. The Age of Kingdom is different: The requirements of man are higher than during the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. As the visions become more elevated, the requirements of man become ever higher, and become ever clearer and more real. Likewise, the visions also become increasingly real. These many real visions are not only conducive to man’s obedience to God, but are, moreover, conducive to his knowledge of God.
Compared to previous ages, the work of God during the Age of Kingdom is more practical, more directed at man’s substance and changes in his disposition, and more able to bear testimony to God Himself for all those that follow Him. In other words, during the Age of Kingdom, as He works, God shows more of Himself to man than at any time in the past, which means that the visions that should be known by man are higher than in any previous age. Because God’s work among man has entered unprecedented territory, the visions known by man during the Age of Kingdom are the highest among all of the management work. God’s work has entered unprecedented territory, and so the visions to be known by man have become the highest of all visions, and the resultant practice of man is also higher than in any previous age, for the practice of man changes in step with the visions, and the perfection of the visions also marks the perfection of the requirements of man. As soon as all of God’s management comes to a halt, so too does the practice of man cease, and without the work of God, man will have no choice but to keep to the doctrine of times past, or else will simply have nowhere to turn. Without new visions, there will be no new practice by man; without complete visions, there will be no perfect practice by man; without higher visions, there will be no higher practice by man. The practice of man changes with the footsteps of God, and, likewise, the knowledge and experience of man also change with God’s work. Regardless of how capable man is, still he is inseparable from God, and if God were to stop working for a just moment, man would immediately die from His wrath. Man has nothing to boast of, for no matter how high man’s knowledge today, no matter how profound his experiences, he is inseparable from God’s work—for the practice of man, and that which he should seek in his belief in God, are inseparable from the visions. In every instance of God’s work are the visions that should be known by man, visions that are followed by God’s fitting requirements of man. Without these visions as the foundation, man would be simply incapable of practice, nor would man be able to follow God unwaveringly. If man does not know God or understand God’s will, then all that man does is in vain, and incapable of being approved by God. No matter how plentiful man’s gifts, still he is inseparable from God’s work and the guidance of God. No matter how good or many are the actions of man, still they cannot replace the work of God. And so, under no circumstance is the practice of man separable from the visions. Those who do not accept the new visions have no new practice. Their practice bears no relation to the truth because they abide by doctrine and keep to the dead law; they have no new visions at all, and as a result, they put nothing in the new age into practice. They have lost the visions, and in doing so they have also lost the work of the , and have lost the truth. Those who are without the truth are the progeny of falsehood, they are the embodiment of Satan. No matter what kind of person one is, they cannot be without the visions of God’s work, and cannot be bereft of the presence of the Holy Spirit; as soon as one loses the visions, they instantly descend into Hades and live among darkness. People without visions are those who follow God foolishly, they are those who are devoid of the work of the Holy Spirit, and they are living in hell. Such people do not pursue the truth, and hang out the name of God like a signboard. Those who do not know the work of the Holy Spirit, who do not know , who do not know the three stages of work in the entirety of God’s management—they do not know the visions, and so are without the truth. And are not those who do not possess the truth all evildoers? Those who are willing to put the truth into practice, who are willing to seek a knowledge of God, and who truly cooperate with God are people for whom the visions act as a foundation. They are approved by God because they cooperate with God, and it is this cooperation that should be put into practice by man.
In the visions are contained many paths to practice. The practical demands made of man are also contained within the visions, as is the work of God that should be known by man. In the past, during the special gatherings or the grand gatherings that were held in various places, only one aspect of the path of practice was spoken of. Such practice was that which was to be put into practice during the Age of Grace, and scarcely bore any relation to the knowledge of God, for the vision of the Age of Grace was only the vision of ’ crucifixion, and there were no greater visions. Man was supposed to know no more than the work of His redemption of mankind through the crucifixion, and so during the Age of Grace there were no other visions for man to know. In this way, man had only a scant knowledge of God, and apart from the knowledge of Jesus’ love and compassion, there were but a few simple and pitiful things for him to put into practice, things that were a far cry from today. In the past, no matter what form his assembly, man was incapable of speaking of a practical knowledge of God’s work, much less was any able to clearly say which was the most suitable path of practice for man to enter upon. He merely added a few simple details to a foundation of forbearance and patience; there was simply no change in the substance of his practice, for within the same age God did not do any newer work, and the only requirements He made of man were forbearance and patience, or bearing the cross. Apart from such practices, there were no higher visions than the crucifixion of Jesus. In the past, there was no mention of other visions because God did not do a great deal of work, and because He only made limited demands of man. In this way, regardless of what man did, he was incapable of transgressing these bounds, bounds which were but a few simple and shallow things for man to put into practice. Today I talk of other visions because today, more work has been done, work that is several times in excess of the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. The requirements of man, too, are several times higher than in ages past. If man is incapable of fully knowing such work, then it would possess no great significance; it can be said that man would have difficulty fully knowing such work if he does not devote an entire lifetime’s effort to it. In the work of conquest, to talk only of the path of practice would make the conquest of man impossible. Mere talk of the visions, without any requirements of man, would also render the conquest of man impossible. If nothing were spoken of but the path of practice, then it would be impossible to strike at man’s Achilles’ heel, or to dispel the conceptions of man, and so too would it be impossible to completely conquer man. Visions are the main instrument of man’s conquest, yet if there were no path apart from the visions, then man would have no way of following, much less would he have any means of entry. This has been the principle of God’s work from beginning to end: In the visions there is that which can be put into practice, and so too are there visions that are exclusive of such practice. The degree of changes in both man’s life and his disposition accompanies changes in the visions. Were man only to rely on his own efforts, then it would be impossible for him to achieve any great degree of change. The visions speak of the work of God Himself and the management of God. Practice refers to the path of man’s practice, and to the way of man’s existence; in all of God’s management, the relationship between visions and practice is the relationship between God and man. If the visions were removed, or if they were spoken of without the talk of practice, or if there were only visions and the practice of man were eradicated, then such things could not be considered the management of God, much less could it be said that the work of God is for the sake of mankind; in this way, not only would man’s duty be removed, but it would be a denial of the purpose of God’s work. If, from beginning to end, man were merely required to practice, without the involvement of God’s work, and, moreover, if man were not required to know the work of God, much less could such work be called the management of God. If man did not know God, and were ignorant of God’s will, and blindly carried out his practice in a vague and abstract way, then he would never become a fully qualified creature. And so, these two things are both indispensable. If there were only the work of God, which is to say, if there were only the visions and if there were no cooperation or practice by man, then such things could not be called the management of God. If there were only the practice and entry of man, then regardless of how high the path that man entered upon, this, too, would be unacceptable. The entry of man must gradually change in step with the work and visions; it cannot change at whim. The principles of man’s practice are not free and unrestrained, but within certain bounds. Such principles change in step with the visions of the work. So God’s management ultimately comes down to God’s work and the practice of man.