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(Mat 18:21-22) Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus said to him, I say not to you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
(Mat 22:37-39) Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Of these two passages, one speaks of forgiveness and the other speaks of love. These two topics really highlight the work thewanted to carry out in the Age of Grace.
When God became flesh, He brought along with that a stage of His work—He brought along the specific work and the disposition He wanted to express in this age. In that period, everything that the Son of man did revolved around the work that God wanted to carry out in this age. He would do no more and no less. Every single thing He said and every type of work that He carried out was all related to this age. Regardless of whether He expressed it in a human way with human language or through divine language—no matter which way, or from which perspective—His goal was to help people understand what He wanted to do, what His will was, and what His requirements of people were. He might use various means from different perspectives to help people understand and know His will, understand His work of saving mankind. So in the Age of Grace we see the Lord Jesus frequently using human language to express what He wanted to communicate with mankind. Even more, we see Him from the perspective of an ordinary guide speaking with people, supplying their needs, helping them with what they had requested. This way of working was not seen in the Age of Law that came before the Age of Grace. He became more intimate and more compassionate with mankind, as well as more able to achieve practical results in both form and manner. The expression to forgive people seventy times seven really clarifies this point. The purpose achieved by the number in this expression is to allow people to understand the Lord Jesus’ intention at the time that He said this. His intention was that people should forgive others—not once or twice, and not even seven times, but seventy times seven. What kind of idea is this “seventy times seven”? It is to get people to make forgiveness their own responsibility, something they must learn, and a way they must keep. Even though this was just an expression, it served as a crucial point. It helped people deeply appreciate what He meant and find the proper ways of practice and the principles and standards in practice. This expression helped people understand clearly and gave them an accurate concept that they should learn forgiveness—to forgive without conditions and without limitations, but with an attitude of tolerance and understanding for others. When the Lord Jesus said this, what was in His heart? Was He really thinking of seventy times seven? He wasn’t. Is there a number of times God will forgive man? There are many people who are very interested in the “number of times” mentioned, who really want to understand the origin and the meaning of this number. They want to understand why this number came out of the Lord Jesus’ mouth; they believe that there is a deeper implication to this number. In fact, this was just God’s expression in humanity. Any implication or meaning must be taken along with the Lord Jesus’ requirements for mankind. When God had not become flesh, people did not understand much of what He said because it came out of complete divinity. The perspective and context of what He said was invisible and unreachable to mankind; it was expressed from a spiritual realm that people could not see. For people who lived in the flesh, they could not pass through the spiritual realm. But after God became flesh, He spoke to mankind from the perspective of humanity, and He came out of and surpassed the scope of the spiritual realm. He could express His divine disposition, will, and attitude, through things humans could imagine and things they saw and encountered in their lives, and using methods that humans could accept, in a language they could understand, and knowledge they could grasp, to allow mankind to understand and to know God, to comprehend His intention and His required standards within the scope of their capacity, to the degree that they were able. This was the method and principle of God’s work in humanity. Even though God’s ways and His principles of working in the flesh were mostly achieved by or through humanity, it truly did achieve results that could not be achieved by working directly in divinity. God’s work in humanity was more concrete, authentic, and targeted, the methods were much more flexible, and in form it surpassed the Age of Law.
Below, let’s talk about loving the Lord and loving your neighbor as yourself. Is this something that’s directly expressed in divinity? Clearly not! These were all things that the Son of man said in humanity; only people would say something like “Love your neighbor as yourself. Loving others is the same as cherishing your own life,” and only people would speak in this manner. God has never spoken that way. At the very least, God does not have this type of language in His divinity because He doesn’t need this kind of tenet, “Love your neighbor as yourself” to regulate His love for mankind, because God’s love for mankind is a natural revealing of what He has and is. When have you ever heard that God said anything like “I love mankind as I love Myself”? Because love is in God’s essence, and in what He has and is. God’s love for mankind and the way He treats people and His attitude are a natural expression and revealing of His disposition. He does not need to deliberately do this a certain way, or deliberately follow a certain method or a moral code to achieve loving His neighbor as Himself—He already possesses this type of essence. What do you see in this? When God worked in humanity, many of His methods, words, and truths were all expressed in a human way. But at the same time God’s disposition, what He has and is, and His will were expressed for people to know and understand them. What they knew and understood was exactly His essence and what He has and is, which represent the inherent identity and status of God Himself. That is to say, the Son of man in the flesh expressed the inherent disposition and essence of God Himself to the greatest extent possible and as accurately as possible. Not only was the Son of man’s humanity not a hindrance or a barrier to man’s communication and interaction with God in heaven, but it was actually the only channel and the only bridge for mankind to connect to the Lord of creation. At this point, don’t you feel that there are many similarities between the nature and methods of the work done by the Lord Jesus in the Age of Grace and the current stage of work? This current stage of work also uses a lot of human language to express God’s disposition, and it uses a lot of language and methods from mankind’s daily life and human knowledge to express God’s own will. Once God becomes flesh, no matter if He is speaking from a human perspective or a divine perspective, lots of His language and methods of expression are all through the medium of human language and methods. That is, when God becomes flesh, it is the best opportunity for you to see God’s omnipotence and His wisdom, and to know every real aspect of God. When God became flesh, while He was growing up, He came to understand, learn, and grasp some of mankind’s knowledge, common sense, language, and methods of expression in humanity. God incarnate possessed these things that came from the humans that He had created. They became tools of God in the flesh for expressing His disposition and His divinity, and allowed Him to make His work more pertinent, more authentic, and more accurate when He was working amidst mankind, from a human perspective and using human language. It made it more accessible and more easily understood for people, thus achieving the results that God wanted. Isn’t it more practical for God to work in the flesh this way? Isn’t it God’s wisdom? When God became flesh, when God’s flesh was able to take on the work that He wanted to carry out, it is when He would practically express His disposition and His work, and this was also the time that He could officially begin His ministry as the Son of man. This meant that there was no longer a gulf between God and man, that God would soon cease His work of communicating through messengers, and that God Himself could personally express all the words and work in the flesh that He wanted to. It also meant that the people God saves were closer to Him, and that His management work had entered new territory, and that all of mankind was about to be faced with a new era.
from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in Continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh
Facing the desolate church, I was weak in spirit and longing for the Lord’s coming. A fellowship online helped me welcome the second coming of the Lord.
Panpan I am a member of the post-90s generation. Since I was young, I had been affected by the surrounding circumstances. Additionally, a song called “Wife Is the Captain” was once in vogue and a sentence of the song was, “Wife is the captain and husband is the lieutenant.” I, frequently listening to the song in those days, progressed from paying no attention to the viewpoint to finally accepting it. So when I grew up and was in love, there was a strong desire in my heart: I must make my boyfriend obey my orders. In this way, I can gain a foothold in his family after marriage, so as not to suffer wrong. Looking at my male relatives and friends, I found nearly all of them were henpecked. They listened to whatever their wives said. My parents were a case in point. As I saw, dad never dared to yell at mom. Whoever was wrong, mom always got the better of quarrels while dad was always bullied. Moreover, mom always said to me, “Dominate him when you have a boyfriend. If you fail to do so before marriage, he will be more difficult to manage after marriage.” Gradually I took it for granted that a husband should listen to his wife. After getting married, I always found faults with my husband intentionally or unintentionally and made a quip to get the better of our quarrels. My aim was just to let him listen to me and to have a place in his heart. If there was anything he didn’t act according to my will, I would get into a temper, get a handle on him, and keep gripping about him. Furthermore, he usually forbore with me. As time went on, I made severer demands on him. Even before he went out to have a meal and drink with his friends, he must tell me in advance. As long as he disobeyed me and came home too late, I would burst into a rage whatever sound reasons he had. I never showed consideration for his feelings; nor did I sit down to have a heart-to-heart talk with him calmly. Gradually, our feelings grew cold. After coming back from work, seldom did we talk with each other. He played with his phone while I did my housework. Facing that kind of life all day, I was in anguish and depression, and I didn’t know how to face my future life. In 2014, my elder sister preached God’s kingdom gospel to me. After reading God’s words and listening to brothers and sisters’ fellowship, I realized the reason why I dominated my husband all day long and asked him to listen to me in everything is that I was living in dependence on the satanic disposition of “I’m the boss”. It was not the life to be lived by a normal person. Then I came into God’s presence and prayed for Him to transform me, so that I could be at peace with my husband. One evening, my husband called to tell me he wouldn’t be home for supper. Hearing that, I grew angry, thinking: Over these days, you have been out for drinks invariably. Don’t you even care about me? Wearing a long face, I thundered over the phone, “What? Go out drinking again! Listen! Get back before 11. Otherwise, I will deal with you!” After saying that, I flung the phone and threw myself down on the bed angrily. At that moment, I thought of God’s words: “If you believe in the dominion of God, then you must believe that the things that happen every day, be they good or bad, don’t happen accidentally. It is not that someone doesn’t get on with you or opposes you on purpose; it is actually all arranged by God and He orchestrates everything. What does God orchestrate everything for? It is not to reveal your shortcomings for everyone to see or to expose you; exposing you is not the final aim. The aim is to perfect you and save you. How does God perfect you and save you? Firstly, He makes you aware of your own corrupt disposition, your own nature and essence, your own shortcomings and what you lack. Only by knowing these things and understanding them in your heart can you cast them off—this is a God-given opportunity. You must learn to seize this opportunity and know how to seize it; don’t lock horns and don’t resist. If you are always competing with the people, events, and things that God has arranged around you, if you are always trying to extricate yourself from them, always feeling dissatisfied, always harboring a disagreeable mentality and always misunderstanding, then you will find it very difficult to enter into the truth. Through obeying, seeking, praying more, retreating to your spirit and coming before God then, unbeknownst to you, a change will happen in your inner condition” (“If You Wish to Attain the Truth, Then You Must Learn From the People, Matters, and Things Around You”). Realizing that God orchestrated the matter to transform me, I prayed to Him in my heart, “O God! I know my husband’s going out drinking is by Your permission. No matter when he will come back, I’m willing to obey and learn from it.” In thinking of this, my heart settled considerably and I fell asleep soon. At around three in the morning, I woke up. Seeing he wasn’t home yet, I felt shaken and distraught. At that point, I was impatient to get hold of him to ask whatever was going on. But when I picked up the phone, a thought came to my mind, “Whenever he will come back is in God’s hand. Even if I make an irate call to him, he does not necessarily return. I’d better obey God’s sovereignty and arrangements.” Though I had the wish, yet because he didn’t come back at this late hour, there was an inexplicable feeling of pain in my heart, as if a big stone weighed upon it. Then I thought to myself: “I’ve told you when to return, but you haven’t shown up till now! You turn a deaf ear to my words and have no regard for me at all…” The more I thought, the angrier I was. Turning and tossing in bed, I couldn’t wait to call him to make a scene and then parted company with him. But what little sense I had restrained me—putting down the phone I just picked up. I kept calling to God desperately in my heart to help me desist from committing senseless acts. Thus, at six that morning, my husband called and told me he slept at his friend’s house last night. At that moment, I couldn’t help losing my temper with him. After that, I was in agony on the inside: I treated him by satanic disposition again. How can I pass the rest of my life with him? We just married and there’s still a long way to go. How can we get through it? I even felt my existence meaningless. At exactly that moment, I thought of God. Then I prayed to Him, “Oh God! I feel painful when facing with this matter. I really can’t overcome it by my own self-control and I don’t know what I should do. Oh, God! May You lead and enlighten me, so that I can understand Your will.” Afterward, I saw a passage of God’s words, “One after another, all these trends carry an evil influence that continually degenerates man, that lowers their morals and their quality of character more and more, to the extent that we can even say the majority of people now have no integrity, no humanity, neither do they have any conscience, much less any reason. So what are these trends? You cannot see these trends with the naked eye. When the wind of a trend blows through, perhaps only a small number of people will become the trendsetters. They start off doing this kind of thing, accepting this kind of idea or this kind of perspective. The majority of people, however, in the midst of their unawareness, will still be continually infected, assimilated and attracted by this kind of trend, until they all unknowingly and involuntarily accept it, and are all submerged in and controlled by it. For man who is not of sound body and mind, who never knows what is truth, who cannot tell the difference between positive and negative things, these kinds of trends one after another make them all willingly accept these trends, the life view, the life philosophies and values that come from Satan. They accept what Satan tells them on how to approach life and the way to live that Satan “bestows” on them. They have not the strength, neither do they have the ability, much less the awareness to resist” (“God Himself, the Unique VI”). “Did you ever realize that what you are doing today-namely, … considering yourselves as always right and better than others, being arrogant, and acting savagely like wild animals in mountains and rough like the king of the beasts—where is the likeness of a human being? You are rude and unreasonable” (“The Essence and Identity of Man”). From God’s words, I knew the root of my misery was that I was poisoned by the ideological view of “Wife is the captain and husband is the lieutenant.” This view has become a kind of social trend which everyone adores and lives by. So I took it for granted that a husband should listen to his wife in this era. Therefore, whatever I asked my husband to do, he had to act accordingly; he couldn’t do whatever I didn’t permit him to do; if he didn’t listen to me, it was his fault and I would argue with him. Moreover, as I have been corrupted by Satan, satanic natures such as arrogance and conceit still remain within me. Thus I became less and less humane and completely lost my morality and reason. I, just like a fishwife, was very unreasonable most of the time. I always wanted to proclaim myself king before my husband and asked him to act according to my way of life and to listen to me in everything. In fact, my husband and I are both creatures in the hands of God and we are equal in front of Him. So the saying “Wife is the captain and husband is the lieutenant” is untenable at all. I am not entitled to control my husband. Both of us should worship and submit to God. This is the necessary reason we must be equipped with. I dictated to my husband, which was arrogant and the most unreasonable, and which was not only disliked by my husband but even more hated by God. When I dictated to him relying on these satanic poisons and thoughts, he not only refused to obey but was less and less willing to go home, see me or talk with me. We grew away from each other and there was more conflict between us. We had no patience and tolerance for each other and lived in endless altercations, which brought misery to me and harm to our family. At that time, I realized that I was so corrupted by the evil social trends that I had no likeness of man in the slightest, unable to get along with my husband. In today’s society, many people are infected by the evil thoughts, living by the satanic poison of “I’m the boss.” Many a married couple stands on equal ground and in the end makes their family break apart. Couples are unwilling to be controlled by each other, and because of just one word of disagreement, they often struggle fiercely and argue red in their face. Still so many are nominal couples and have to support the family only for their children. At that moment, I came to understand God’s good intentions. He couldn’t bear to see I was harmed by Satan, so He wants to save me. At this thought, I felt God’s word is so precious, which made me have discernment about the scheme of Satan—using the social trends to poison people. If I encounter things like this in the future, I will live according to His word, breaking away from the affliction of Satan and living out the manner of a true person. After a period of time, one evening, before I knocked off, my husband called to tell me that he would help his friend to move house and after that they would go out drinking. I thought: He just helped his friends to move two days ago. How could they move again? How is it possible to move every other day? He is obviously finding an excuse to go out drinking. Immediately, I was in a bad mood and wanted to lose temper with him. But I realized my corrupt nature was about to erupt, so I prayed to God silently in my heart, “O God! When I encounter this environment, I want to dominate my husband again. May You keep my heart. I’m willing to forsake my flesh and no longer be subject to Satan’s mocking! Please lead me to act according to Your words.” At that point, God enlightened me to remember His words, “Everything that happens to people is when God needs them to stand firm in their testimony to Him. Nothing major has happened to you at the moment, and you do not bear great testimony, but every detail of your daily life relates to the testimony to God. If you can win the admiration of your brothers and sisters, your family members, and everyone around you; if, one day, the unbelievers come, and admire all that you do, and see that all that God does is wonderful, then you will have borne testimony” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God”). I suddenly understood: I should bear witness for God in everything that happens to me each day. God wants to purify and transform me through this matter, making me live out a normal humanity and no longer live by the thoughts and views of Satan, so that I can win the admiration of my family members and unbelievers, and can bear witness and glorify God. When thinking of this, I was in a good humor and my heart was lightened. I didn’t feel angry at all. Later, I sent messages and chatted with him on my own initiative as if nothing had happened. He found I didn’t quarrel with him and directly asked me, “Aren’t you angry?” I replied, “Absolutely not! After you finish work, come back soon.” Seeing me really not mad at him, he was very happy and his attitude toward me improved. He began to talk and laugh with me. Thank God for His words being my beacon and reconciling us. Later, the more God’s words I read, the more truth I understand. Therefore, I no longer quarrel with him over some trifles. Not only can I be tolerant toward him, but also I can listen to his suggestions. Seeing my changes, he becomes increasingly caring and considerate. In addition, he is willing to discuss everything with me. He doesn’t go out drinking as often as before. We always chat and open our hearts to each other when we are free, which brings us more happiness and hope. From my experience, I see: I became less and less humane and senseless when I was basing my life on the thoughts, views and poisons of Satan, which brought me only sufferings; while, I can live out normal humanity, get on well with my husband and live a free and liberated life when coming before God and living by His words. I thank God for saving me. I will read more His words in the future and live out the likeness of a real man according to His requirements. To God be the glory! Recommended: God Is in Charge of My Family God Has Saved My Marriage The Sorrow in My Heart Is Finally Removed