MAN BECOMING GOD, HAVING GOD’S LIFE AND NATURE
Who is Christ? Christ is not only the Creator but also a created one. The early theologians all believed this, but the latter theologians did not dare to teach this. “God becoming man and man becoming God” was very prevailing in ancient times. Hence, early in the fourth century Athanasius, who was present at the Nicene Council, said that “He was made man that we might be made God.” Actually, this word means that God became a man in order to make all of us, His believers, God. This had already been spoken in the second century, but, later, people did not have the boldness to say this. What God created was a man, but that man had the image of God. Eventually, God would come in to beget men to be His children, having His life and nature. Hence, man is of God’s kind in life and nature.
What is wrong with saying that man becomes God? However, I am very careful in saying this. Those in the early days taught this not as clearly and carefully as we do today. I especially point out that man becomes God without sharing the Godhead but having only God’s life and nature. Not one teacher in Christianity can oppose this. Once we believe in the Lord, we receive God’s life, and 2 Peter 1:4 says clearly that we can “become partakers of the divine nature.” No one can refute this. First John 3:2 tells us, “We know that if He is manifested, we will be like Him because we will see Him even as He is.” I hope that we can definitely lay a good groundwork for this among us.
THE STEPS GOD TOOK TO MAKE MAN GOD
God became man through the process of being incarnated, living a human life, being crucified, and entering into resurrection. How does God make man God? First, God became a man. The process which God went through from incarnation to resurrection was the procedure for Him to become man. Eventually in His resurrection He became the life-giving Spirit. In this Spirit He comes to carry out the work of making man God. First, He is now the sanctifying Spirit, as we are told in 1 Peter 1:2. We were people fallen into sin, but some believers were moved by God to come and preach the gospel to us. Through the preaching of the gospel this sanctifying Spirit comes to separate us, the God-chosen people. The Spirit’s sanctifying work on the sinners is like the woman’s lighting a lamp and seeking carefully for the lost coin, as recorded in Luke 15 (v. 8). We were sanctified before we were saved. Second, at the time we heard the gospel, the Spirit put faith into us. Third, when we believed, the life of God, which is God Himself, Christ Himself, entered into us. Thus we were regenerated.
The sanctification we experience after our regeneration is not positional sanctification but dispositional sanctification. When the Spirit separated us from sinners, that was the positional sanctification that took place before we were saved. When the Spirit comes into us to change our disposition, that is the dispositional sanctification that takes place after our regeneration. This dispositional sanctification is not accomplished in one day. This sanctification issues in renewing, which is a lifelong matter. Renewing issues in transformation, which is also a lifelong matter. The final result of transformation is to be conformed to the image of the Lord and be the same as He is. From the first step of regeneration to the final step of conformation, everything is carried out by the Spirit. Eventually, this Spirit will bring us into glory so that God will be completely expressed from within us through our corrupted body. At that time, our corrupted body will also be redeemed and transformed. That is glorification, as spoken of in Romans 8:30: “Those whom He justified, these He also glorified.” It is by these steps that God is making us God.
(The High Peak of the Vision and the Reality of the Body of Christ, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)