What Does Christ Mean? Is It Right For Paul to Call Himself Christ?

By Xiaoming,China

Confusions Filled My Heart

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The sky was grey and the rain was falling steadily. I was poring over the scriptures at my desk. The minutes ticked by, but my confusions weren’t resolved. In the Scripture Paul said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). This quite bewildered me: Paul was a man, and an apostle sent by the Lord to preach the gospel. Then, how could he call himself Christ? The Lord Jesus humbly and secretly came to earth, and as the redeeming Lamb, He took on the sins of man and saved man from the cross. Thus, the Lord Jesus is the supreme Savior and the only Lord in our hearts. Why did Paul say he was Christ? The Lord Jesus didn’t say that Paul was Christ after He left, and moreover, the Holy Spirit never testified that either. Paul also said, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. … O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:18, 24). It showed that Paul, like us, was a man that was corrupted by Satan and bound by the sinful nature, and he also needed the salvation of Christ. Then, how could he say he was Christ? What exactly is “Christ”? I was bewildered by this. I felt dimly it was wrong that Paul called himself Christ, but I couldn’t explain clearly. To make it clear, I began to search various kinds of spiritual books. In addition, I consulted the pastors and elders, but their opinions were roughly the same, “Jesus is Christ,” and “Christ is the anointed One.” Except these words, they couldn’t give me more details. For this, I often prayed to the Lord, asking Him to lead me so that I could understand this aspect of truth.

The Fog of Confusion Was Dispelled Gradually

Thank the Lord for His mercy and care. I had the fortune to get a book of truth from my friend, which cleared my mind of doubt inch by inch.

The book 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; this substance will not interrupt His own work…. And since God becomes flesh, He works in the identity of His flesh; since He comes in the flesh, He then finishes in the flesh the work that He ought to do. Be it the Spirit of God or be it Christ, both are God Himself, and He does the work that He ought to do and performs the ministry that He ought to perform” (“The Substance of Christ Is Obedience to the Will of the Heavenly Father”).

After reading these words, I was very excited. Is this not the answer for which I had been looking for a long time? It turned out that the appellation “Christ” is that of the incarnate God, and is a special word used by God when He comes on earth. Christ is the manifestation of God, and is the flesh in which God’s spirit is clothed as the Son of man, to carry out God’s work. So Christ is God Himself on earth. In other words, Christ is born with divine substance, and this flesh can’t be replaced by anyone. This flesh is inherent and inborn, and no man can become Christ halfway through his faith in the Lord. Only the flesh born with the substance of divinity can be called Christ. As creatures, we cannot freely put the word “Christ” on ourselves.

I thought of when the Lord Jesus was born, there were visions that proved Jesus’ identity and unusualness. At night, in the field of Bethlehem, an angel brought the shepherds good tidings of the birth of the Lord Jesus. In addition, the three Magus followed the stars and came to Bethlehem. They saw the baby Jesus in the manger and offered the most precious sacrifices to Him. Also in Jerusalem an old Christian called Simeon met Joseph and Mary who brought in the child Jesus into the temple. Instantly moved by the Holy Spirit, he took the child up and blessed God, and said, “For my eyes have seen your salvation, Which you have prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel” (Luke 2:30-32). When the Lord Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, the Spirit of God like a dove descended upon Him, and a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Furthermore, Matthew 16:15-17 records, “He said to them, But whom say you that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father which is in heaven.” These all are testimonies of the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus had the divine substance from His birth, and was the incarnate God Himself, and Christ. It is not that He became Christ after the Holy Spirit descended on Him. And those who have believed in the Lord for years and have the merits of preaching the gospel can never become Christ. No matter how one loves the Lord, how loyal he is to the Lord, how he works and preaches for the Lord, or expends himself for the Lord, or even if he martyrs for the Lord, he cannot become Christ.

Man Cannot Be on Par With Christ

As I continued reading, I saw another two passages, “The flesh worn by the Spirit of God is God’s own flesh. The Spirit of God is supreme; He is almighty, holy, and righteous. So likewise, His flesh is also supreme, almighty, holy, and righteous. … The Spirit of God is holy, and thus His flesh is incorruptible by Satan; His flesh is of a different essence than the flesh of man. … Despite the fact that man and Christ dwell within the same space, it is only man who is dominated, used, and entrapped by Satan. By contrast, Christ is eternally impervious to Satan’s corruption, because Satan will never be capable of ascending to the place of the most high, and will never be able to draw near to God” (“A Very Serious Problem: Betrayal (2)”).

The words of God incarnate initiate a new age, guide the whole of mankind, reveal mysteries, and show man the direction ahead in a new age. The enlightenment obtained by man is but simple practice or knowledge. It cannot guide the whole of mankind into a new age or reveal the mystery of God Himself. God, after all, is God, and man is man. God has the substance of God, and man has the substance of man.

From these words, I became clearer in this: From the outside, Christ is an ordinary person, but His flesh is the flesh that God’s spirit is realized in, and is different from anyone that is of the flesh. Although Christ lives together with man, He cannot be corrupted or approached by Satan, while we humans can be corrupted and used by Satan. Christ possesses God’s authority, power, almightiness and wisdom, so Christ can end the old age and open a new age when He works. He can directly express the truth to save us humans from Satan’s influence of darkness and bring us to a beautiful destination. This cannot be achieved or replaced by anyone. Rather, we humans are the creatures being corrupted by Satan. We don’t possess the divine substance of Christ. Consequently, we cannot express the truth but can merely corporate with God’s work and perform our duty, and help and support others. These cannot achieve the result of purifying or saving people. Therefore, no one can replace Christ or become Christ.

Just like the Lord Jesus, on the outside He was an ordinary man, but He could carry out God’s work. When He began to work, He brought the Age of Grace and ended the Age of Law. He expressed the way of repentance, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” delivered man from the bondage of the law, and at last was nailed to the cross to finish the work of redeeming man. Then we are qualified to come before God to pray in the name of the Lord Jesus so that we can be forgiven of our sins, gain spiritual peace and joy, and enjoy God’s grace and blessings. The work the Lord Jesus did is the work of saving all mankind, of which no one is capable. His work has proved that He is Christ, and the incarnate God Himself. Yet those who accept God’s entrustment and then are used by God can perform their duty to the utmost and complete their mission only on the path that God has opened and in the sphere of God’s work in that age. No matter how much work people do, they cannot end the old age or open a new age, much less express the truth and replace Christ to work. For example, the disciples of the Lord Jesus spread and witness the Lord’s salvation on the basis of His work and words. No matter how they worked, preached, trekked, expended, suffered, bore the cross, or even if they were martyred, their substance was still of man, not Christ. This is the fact that cannot be denied.

The Absurdity of Paul’s Opinion

After having this knowledge, I thought of Paul. After being struck down on the road to Damascus, he was used by the Lord Jesus to preach the gospel. By his gifts, eloquence and profound knowledge of the law, Paul brought many gentiles before God. During his preaching, he was put into prison many times, suffered whippings, and was on the edge of death. However, no matter how great work he had done or how much bitterness he had endured, he was still a man corrupted by Satan. He could only perform the mission of an apostle on the way that the Lord Jesus had opened up for him. But he thought that he was able to suffer hardship and after suffering a lot, he could become Christ. His opinion was so absurd! It showed that he didn’t know that Christ’s substance is the incarnate God Himself, nor did he know that he was a corrupted man. Thus, he said these absurd words, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Now I have finally realized that Paul isn’t Christ but a corrupted man, and that he could never become Christ. He said he was Christ as he lived, which was so arrogant, and was also an expression of lacking reason.

Relief in the Heart

Thank God for His enlightenment and leading. By now, I finally have had some knowledge of the appellation of “Christ.” Also, I have known that Paul isn’t Christ, nor are other apostles, but only God’s incarnate flesh is Christ. We stand in the place of a created being to obey and worship Christ, this is what we should do. All the glory be to God. Amen!

If you have other understanding or new light about this article, you’re welcome to have a chat with us via the online chat window at the bottom of the website or send an email to [email protected]. We Look forward to sharing with more brothers and sisters about your enlightenment from God and growing together in Christ.

You may be interested in this article: What Does “Christ” Mean? – Bible Study

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