Question 5: I’m still confused. Does Christ possess the image of God? God requires us to emulate Christ; if we live out Christ ultimately, does it prove that we could have the image of God, and become God?
Answer: Some think that if man emulates Christ and ultimately lives out Christ, then he is able to become God. About this point, we should first understand what the substance of Christ is, and only then can we be certain whether or not man is able to live out Christ. Let’s read Almighty God’s word first.
Almighty God says, “The incarnate God is called Christ, and Christ is the flesh donned by the Spirit of God. This flesh is unlike any man that is of the flesh. This difference is because Christ is not of flesh and blood but is the incarnation of the Spirit. He has both a normal humanity and a complete divinity. His divinity is not possessed by any man. His normal humanity sustains all His normal activities in the flesh, while His divinity carries out the work of God Himself. Be it His humanity or divinity, both submit to the will of the heavenly Father. The substance of Christ is the Spirit, that is, the divinity. Therefore, His substance is that of God Himself …” (“The Substance of Christ Is Obedience to the Will of the Heavenly Father” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“God become flesh is called Christ, and so the Christ that can give people the truth is called God. There is nothing excessive about this, for He possesses the substance of God, and possesses God’s disposition, and wisdom in His work, that are unattainable by man. Those who call themselves Christ, yet cannot do the work of God, are frauds. Christ is not merely the manifestation of God on earth, but instead, the particular flesh assumed by God as He carries out and completes His work among man. This flesh is not one that can be replaced by just any man, but one that can adequately bear God’s work on earth, and express the disposition of God, and well represent God, and provide man with life” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Christ is the flesh in which God’s Spirit is realized, so the substance of Christ is divinity. Herein, we must understand that God’s Spirit being realized in the flesh means God appearing in the flesh, and that God’s Spirit is the Holy Spirit, that is, God Himself. God’s life substance, His disposition, and what He has and is are all realized into the flesh. Thus Christ’s life, His disposition, and what He has and is are all realization of God’s Spirit, and so Christ is the God Himself who becomes flesh. Who can fathom God’s life, which is all realized in Christ? Thereby no one can live out the substance of Christ’s life, no matter how hard he pursues the truth, for Christ is the incarnate God. Man is not God incarnate and doesn’t hold the divine substance at all, how could he live out Christ? That’s absolutely impossible! Some say that they wish to emulate Christ and live out Christ. They speak out such conceited and pompous words simply because they don’t know the substance of Christ. So, “living out Christ” is completely invalid. Christ is the embodiment of the truth, and in Christ there is endless abundance, whereas the truth He expresses is limited. He only expresses a small portion of truths according to man’s stature and what man can achieve. Compared to the substance of Christ’s life, the truth He expresses is merely a drop in the ocean. Even if man can live out a little of reality of the truth, a little of Christ’s image, it cannot be said that he has truly lived out Christ. It’s forever unattainable for man to truly live out the substance of Christ’s life, and no matter how hard he pursues the truth, what he can achieve is limited. We are always like a newborn baby before God. Thus, man could never assert that to him to live is Christ. That saying “If man can live out Christ, he will become God” is completely groundless. Paul said that to him to live was Christ. His words are too arrogant and unreasonable, and does not at all accord with the facts. Some say that they are willing to emulate Christ, which is not completely wrong. But as for emulating Christ, we should emulate His absolute obedience to God, His true love to God, His carrying out God’s will, and His faithfulness onto death to God—this is approved by God. But no matter how much man emulates Christ, he will never be able to live out Christ. This is true. The substance of Christ’s life exists because of incarnation and cannot be achieved by experiencing, so man can never live out Christ.
from the movie script of Rapture in Peril