What should you know about the practical God? The Spirit, the Person, and the Word make up the practical God Himself, and this is the true meaning of the practical God Himself. If you only know the Person—if you know His habits and personality—but do not know the work of the Spirit, or what the Spirit does in the flesh, and if you only pay attention to the Spirit, and the Word, and only pray before the Spirit, unknowing of the work of God’s Spirit in the practical God, then this yet proves that you do not know the practical God. Knowledge of the practical God includes knowing and experiencing His words, and grasping the rules and principles of the work of the Holy Spirit, and how the Spirit of God works in the flesh. So, too, does it include knowing that every action of God in the flesh is governed by the Spirit, and that the words He speaks are the direct expression of the Spirit. Thus, if you wish to know the practical God, you must primarily know how God works in humanity and in divinity; this, in turn, concerns the expressions of the Spirit, which all people engage with.
What is covered in the expressions of the Spirit? Sometimes God works in humanity, and sometimes in divinity—but overall, in both cases the Spirit is in command. Whatever the spirit within people, thus is their external expression. The Spirit works normally, but there are two parts to His direction by the Spirit: One part is His work in humanity, and the other is His work through divinity. You should know this clearly. The Spirit’s work varies according to the circumstances: When His human work is required, the Spirit directs this human work, and when His divine work is required, the divinity appears directly to carry it out. Because God works in the flesh and appears in the flesh, He both works in humanity and in divinity. His work in humanity is directed by the Spirit, and in order to satisfy people’s fleshly needs, to facilitate their engagement with Him, to allow them to behold the reality and normality of God, and to allow them to see that the Spirit of God has come in the flesh, and is among man, lives together with man, and engages with man. His work in divinity is in order to provide the life of people, and guide people in everything from the positive side, changing people’s dispositions and allowing them to truly behold the Spirit’s appearance in the flesh. In the main, the growth in man’s life is directly achieved through God’s work and words in divinity. Only if people accept God’s work in divinity can they achieve changes in their disposition, only then can they be sated in their spirit; only if there is added to this the work in humanity—God’s shepherding, support, and provision in humanity—can people satisfy God’s will. If they are to abide by the commandments, at the very least people should know the practical God who appears in the flesh, without confusion. In other words, people should grasp the principles of abiding by the commandments. Abiding by the commandments does not mean following them haphazardly or arbitrarily, but abiding by them with a basis, with an objective, and with principles. The first thing to be achieved is for your visions to be clear. The practical God Himself that is spoken of today works both in humanity and in divinity. Through the appearance of the practical God, His normal human work and life and His completely divine work are achieved. His humanity and divinity are combined in one, and the work of both is[a] accomplished through words; whether in humanity or divinity, He utters words. When God works in humanity, He speaks the language of humanity, so that people may engage and understand. His words are spoken plainly, and are easy to understand, such that they can be provided to all people; regardless of whether these people are possessed of knowledge, or poorly educated, they can all receive God’s words. God’s work in divinity is also carried out through words, but it is full of provision, it is full of life, it is untainted by human ideas, it does not involve human preferences, and it is without human limits, it is outside the bounds of any normal humanity; it, too, is carried out in the flesh, but it is the direct expression of the Spirit. If people only accept God’s work in humanity, then they will confine themselves to a certain scope, and so will require perennial dealing, pruning, and discipline in order for there to be a slight change in them. Without the work or presence of the Holy Spirit, though, they will always resort to their old ways; it is only through the work of divinity that these maladies and deficiencies can be rectified, only then can people be made complete. Instead of sustained dealing and pruning, what is required is positive provision, using words to make up for all shortcomings, using words to reveal people’s every state, using words to direct their lives, their every utterance, their every action, to lay bare their intentions and motivations; this is the real work of the practical God. And thus, in your attitude to the practical God you should both submit before His humanity, recognizing and acknowledging Him, and, furthermore, you should also accept and obey the divine work and words. God’s appearance in the flesh means that all of the work and words of the Spirit of God are done through His normal humanity, and through His incarnate flesh. In other words, God’s Spirit both directs His human work and carries out the work of divinity in the flesh, and in God incarnate you can see both God’s work in humanity and completely divine work; this is the even more practical significance of God’s appearance in the flesh. If you can see this clearly, you will be able to connect all of the different parts of God, and will cease to place too much of a premium on His work in divinity, and to be too dismissive of His work in humanity, and you will not go to extremes, nor take any detours. Overall, the meaning of the practical God is that the work of His humanity and of His divinity, as directed by the Spirit, is expressed through His flesh, so that people can see that He is vivid and lifelike, and real and actual.
The work of God’s Spirit in humanity has transitional phases. By making humanity perfect, He enables His humanity to receive the direction of the Spirit, after which His humanity is able to provide and shepherd the churches. This is one expression of God’s normal work. Thus, if you can see clearly the principles of God’s work in humanity, then you will be unlikely to have conceptions about God’s work in humanity. Regardless of anything else, the Spirit of God cannot be wrong. He is right, and without error; He would not do anything incorrectly. Divine work is the direct expression of the will of God, without the interference of humanity. It does not undergo perfection, but comes directly from the Spirit. And yet, that He can work in divinity is because of His normal humanity; it is not in the least bit supernatural, and appears to be carried out by a normal person; God came from heaven to earth primarily in order to express the words of God through the flesh, to complete the work of the Spirit of God using the flesh.
Today, people’s knowledge of the practical God remains too one-sided, and their understanding of the significance of the incarnation is still too paltry. When it comes to God’s flesh, through His work and words people see that God’s Spirit includes so much, that He is so rich. But, regardless, God’s testimony ultimately comes from the Spirit of God: what God does in the flesh, which principles He works by, what He does in humanity, and what He does in divinity. People must have knowledge of this. Today you are able to worship this person, but in actuality you are worshiping the Spirit. This is the very least that should be achieved in people’s knowledge of God incarnate: knowing the substance of the Spirit through the flesh, knowing the Spirit’s divine work in the flesh and human work in the flesh, accepting all of the Spirit’s words and utterances in the flesh, and seeing how the Spirit of God directs the flesh and demonstrates His power in the flesh. Which is to say, man comes to know the Spirit in heaven through the flesh; the appearance of the practical God Himself among man has dispelled the vague God himself in people’s conceptions; people’s worship of the practical God Himself has increased their obedience to God; and through the Spirit of God’s divine work in the flesh, and human work in the flesh, man receives revelation and shepherding, and changes are achieved in his life disposition. Only this is the actual meaning of the Spirit’s arrival in the flesh, and it is primarily so that people may engage with God, rely on God, and attain the knowledge of God.
In the main, what attitude should people have toward the practical God? What do you know of the incarnation, of the Word’s appearance in the flesh, of God’s appearance in the flesh, of the deeds of the practical God? And what is mainly spoken of today? The incarnation, the Word’s arrival in the flesh, and God’s appearance in the flesh—these issues must all be understood. Based on your stature and the era, during your life experiences, you must gradually come to understand these issues, and must have a clear knowledge of them. The process by which people experience God’s words is the same as the process by which they know the appearance of God’s words in the flesh. The more people experience God’s words, the more they know the Spirit of God; through experiencing God’s words, people grasp the principles of the Spirit’s work and come to know the practical God Himself. In fact, when God makes people perfect and gains them, He is making them know the deeds of the practical God; He is using the work of the practical God to show people the actual significance of the incarnation, and to show them that the Spirit of God has actually appeared before man. When people are gained by God and made perfect by God, the expressions of the practical God have conquered them, the words of the practical God have changed them, and given His life to them inside, filling them with what He is (whether it be what He humanly is, or what He divinely is), filling them with the substance of His words, and making people live out His words. When God gains people, He does so primarily by using the words and utterances of the practical God in order to deal with people’s deficiencies, and to judge and reveal their rebellious disposition, causing them to gain what they need, and showing them that God has come among man. Most important, the work done by the practical God is saving every person from the influence of Satan, taking them away from the land of filth, and dispelling their corrupt disposition. The most profound significance of being gained by the practical God is being able to take the practical God as an exemplar, as a model, and living out normal humanity, being able to practice according to the words and requirements of the practical God, without the slightest deviation or departure, practicing however He says, and being able to achieve whatever He asks. In this way, you will have been gained by God. When you are gained by God you don’t just possess the work of the Holy Spirit; principally, you are able to live out the requirements of the practical God. Merely having the work of the Holy Spirit does not mean you have life. What’s key is whether you are able to act according to the practical God’s requirements of you, which relates to whether you are able to be gained by God. These things are the greatest meaning of the practical God’s work in the flesh. Which is to say, God gains a group of people by really and actually appearing in the flesh and being vivid and lifelike, being seen by people, actually doing the work of the Spirit in the flesh, and by acting as an exemplar for people in the flesh. God’s arrival in the flesh is primarily to enable people to see the real deeds of God, to materialize the formless Spirit in the flesh, and allow people to see and touch Him. In this way, those who are made complete by Him will live Him out, they will be gained by Him, and after His heart. If God only spoke in heaven, and did not actually come on earth, then people would still be incapable of knowing God, they would only be able to preach God’s deeds using empty theory, and would not have God’s words as reality. God has come on earth primarily to act as an exemplar and a model for those who are to be gained by God; only in this way can people actually know God, and touch God, and see Him, and only then can they truly be gained by God.
a. The original text reads “and both are.”
from The Word Appears in the Flesh
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