GOD BECOMING MAN—GOING THROUGH THE CREATION OF MAN AND HIS COMING PERSONALLY TO BECOME MAN
Tonight I would like to spend some time to speak on how God became man. For God to become man, first He had to create man. God created man according to His image and likeness; this is the shell. Although what God created was man, this man whom He created had the image of God. This is the first step. In the next step, God personally came to be a man. How did He come to be a man? He did this by entering into humanity. Physically, this means that He entered into a human virgin to be conceived in her. Matthew 1 says that God was begotten in Mary. According to the law in God’s creation, He was conceived in Mary’s womb and remained there for nine months. Then after He stayed in humanity for nine months, He was born out of humanity with divinity. The man who was born was One who is God yet man and who is also man yet God. Christianity has Christmas, Christianity has the manger, and Christianity has the angels announcing the good news. But concerning what I have just presented to you in a simple way, Christianity does not have a clear seeing. As such a God-man He passed through human living on the earth and lived a human life. How did He live such a life? He did it by depending on His divine life within and by rejecting His human life without and thus living the life of a God-man. The inner reality of such a God-man living was the divine attributes, and the outward living that was lived out of such a God-man living was the human virtues. By thus living the life of a God-man He became a typical example.
However, it is not enough for God to have just one man as a typical example, a model. God needs a mass manifestation. Therefore, eventually, He went to the cross. When He went to the cross, He brought with Him the man whom He had become; that is, He put on this man and thus crucified this man. This death of His was an all-inclusive death. This death of His was the death of a fallen man, a sinful man. When He became a man, He did not become a God-created man or a holy man; rather, He became a God-created yet fallen man. His flesh was the flesh of sin, except there was no poison of sin, no substance of sin, within it. It was merely in the likeness of the flesh of sin. Therefore, Romans 8:3 says that He came in the likeness of the flesh of sin. He was such a man. Hence, what He brought to the cross to be crucified there was also such a man. Through crucifixion He terminated the man of the old creation on the cross. The man of the old creation involves all created things. Therefore, His death also terminated everything of the old creation on the cross. The man of the old creation also had sin, so His death on the cross also took away sin. Furthermore, Satan was hidden in the flesh of this sinful man. Therefore, Christ’s death on the cross not only crucified the flesh but also destroyed Satan (Heb. 2:14). However, His crucifixion was not the end; rather, He was resurrected from death. How was He resurrected? He was resurrected through the power of His divine life with the humanity that He had put on, the part created by God. In His resurrection He brought humanity into divinity.
Through His incarnation God brought divinity into humanity, and through His resurrection He brought humanity into divinity. Incarnation is the crucial step He took to bring divinity into humanity. Then, later, in His resurrection He brought the humanity which He had put on into divinity. Thus, the God-created human nature was uplifted. Originally, God was not in the human nature which He created. But now He was resurrected, and all the God-chosen people were resurrected in Him. His resurrection was to bring the God-created humanity into divinity to be resurrected with Him. This is why we say that the human nature was uplifted. Andrew Murray said the same thing, except that the wording he used is different from ours and not as thorough as ours. In this resurrection He brought the humanity which He had put on into divinity and thus became God’s firstborn Son. His becoming the Firstborn was His birth in His resurrection. This is why, concerning Christ’s resurrection, Acts 13:33 says, “You are My Son; today I have begotten You.” He was already the Son of God, except that He did not have the human nature in Him. When He became the firstborn Son, He not only had divinity as His life, but He also had the uplifted humanity added to His divinity. It is in the mingling of the two natures that He became God’s firstborn Son. Thus, He was begotten to be God’s firstborn Son, and at the same time He regenerated all the God-chosen people (1 Pet. 1:3). To use our ordinary language, we may say that we and the Lord as God’s firstborn Son were born in the same delivery. We all were born together in Christ’s resurrection. This birth of His was the first step as a foundation for man to become God. Now in His resurrection, we as God’s chosen ones have been brought into divinity. Thus, through regeneration we have received another life.
Not only so, He as the last Adam, who in His resurrection brought humanity into divinity, became the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45). Who is this life-giving Spirit? He is the consummation of the processed Triune God. This is just like brewing a cup of tea. When you brew a cup of tea, first you need to have some water, then you put the tea in, and finally you add some lemon and maybe some sugar. At this point, the tea has been consummated. Christ as God’s only begotten Son may be likened to plain water. At a certain time human nature was added to Him. Then, when He was put to death on the cross, the element of the effectiveness of His death was also added. Furthermore, He entered into resurrection, so the element of resurrection with its power was also added. Now, as God’s only begotten Son He has become God’s firstborn Son, and the many sons of God were born together with Him.
Besides the element of His divinity, Christ had the elements of His humanity, His experience of human living, and His death and resurrection added into Him. Thus, He became a life-giving Spirit. This Spirit is the consummation of the Triune God. This Spirit is also the pneumatic Christ, who is the embodiment of the Triune God. Hence, this Spirit is the very Christ, the very Triune God. Eventually, our God has become such a One. From the day of His resurrection to eternity He will be like this eternally. When we believe in the Lord, the One whom we receive is such a One, not a shallow Christ as people commonly preach. The Christ whom we know is so profound and so high. This One is our Redeemer and our Savior. He is not only Jesus Christ but also the One who became the life-giving Spirit, the consummation of God. It is this One who went through all these processes to accomplish the step for Him to become man that He might make man God.
MAN BECOMING GOD— GOING THROUGH REGENERATION, SANCTIFICATION, RENEWING, TRANSFORMATION, CONFORMATION, AND GLORIFICATION
Then how does God make man God? After God regenerates us with Himself as life, He continues to carry out the work of sanctification, renewing, and transformation in us by His Spirit of life. God became man through incarnation; man becomes God through transformation. When the Lord Jesus lived as a man on this earth, once He went up on the mountain and was transfigured. That transfiguration was a sudden occurrence. Our transformation into God, however, is not something that happens unexpectedly. Rather, it is a lifetime transformation until we are conformed to His image. Eventually, we will enter with Him into glory; that is, we will be redeemed in our body. That will be the final step of the redemption of our whole being that brings us into glory. Therefore, it is through regeneration, sanctification, renewing, transformation, conformation, and glorification that we may become God. When we reach this point, 1 John 3:2 says that when “He is manifested, we will be like Him because we will see Him even as He is.”
The issue of this process is an organism. This organism is God joining and mingling Himself with man to make God man and also to make man God. Among the Divine Trinity, as far as the Father is concerned, this organism is the house of the Father, the house of God; as far as the Son is concerned, it is the Body of Christ. The house is for God to have a dwelling place, whereas the Body is for God to have an expression. The ultimate issue is the New Jerusalem. This shows us how God became man and how afterward He makes man God that man may live a God-man life. The God-man life that we live today is the model life that Jesus Christ lived on earth by going through death and resurrection. In the Gospel of John the human life of Jesus Christ on earth was a life before death and resurrection. In the Epistles the Christian life, the life of a God-man, that we live is a life after death and resurrection. In resurrection we are being transformed daily.
Even among us, very few have entered deeply into these mysteries of the Divine Trinity as life. May the Lord have mercy on us. I hope that through this word of fellowship we all may be able to see this vision and pursue to enter into the reality of this vision.
(The High Peak of the Vision and the Reality of the Body of Christ, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)