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Partakers Of The Divine Nature
August 15, 2010
The scriptures teach us that we must grow as Christians. The apostle Peter laid out a series of things that must be added to the Christian life with all diligence and in lifelong pursuit. He tells us that if we add those things to our faith, we will be partakers of the divine nature of God, and that we will enter God's eternal kingdom, and remain there. We will not fall from the grace of God as long as we diligently draw near to Him, learn of Him, and walk in His ways.
Partakers Of The Divine Nature
By Bernie Parsons
Presented to Load church of Christ on 08-15-2010
Presented to Globe church of Christ on 08-22-2010
I’ve noticed a tendency by many church members to expect newly born again Christians to immediately adopt the beliefs and understanding of the Bible that they, themselves, embrace. They become impatient with these young Christians, wanting them to be instant carbon copies.
Just as it takes a natural child years to reach physical maturity, it can take years for a newborn Christian to achieve spiritual maturity. Just as a human being has to learn basics before progressing, so does the Christian.
2 Peter 1:2 “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
According to this second letter of the apostle Peter, knowledge of God and Jesus Christ multiplies grace and peace. From Jesus and His apostles, we have many exhortations to become knowledgeable about the will of God, His commandments and expectations.
Peter also notes that we receive from God all things that pertain unto life and godliness. The knowledge of God also gives us extremely great and precious promises, which things allow us to be partakers of the divine nature.
1 Corinthians 2:14 "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
By learning of God, by way of the teaching and explanations given by Jesus Christ, we now have knowledge of God, and that knowledge redounds to our glory and salvation. Peter continued to talk about this knowledge of God that holds so much promise and reward to those who learn it.
2 Peter 1:5 “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;”
Peter states that the Christian must give all diligence, which means relentless attention, to adding certain things to his or her life. He begins with faith, which is basic—without it we do not listen to God through Christ. Faith is the foundation upon which the rest of the Christian life is built.
Hebrews 11:6 "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
Romans 10:9 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
On this important foundation of faith we must add virtue. If we believe God – that He is, and that He will reward us, and that Jesus is His son, and can save us – then we must be prepared to stand firm in that which God and Jesus have taught us. Virtue comes from a root word that literally means manliness, or strength. It has since come to also mean morality, which makes sense because it takes strength to maintain morality in the face of temptations.
1 Corinthians 16:13 "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong."
1 John 2:14 "I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one."
Ephesians 6:10 "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might."
To this strength of spirit, this pure morality, was to be added knowledge. Knowledge is that which is known, or understood through experience or having been taught by those who know. Knowledge allows for spiritual growth and the ability to encourage and admonish others.
Romans 15:14 "And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another."
Colossians 1:9 "For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;"
2 Peter 1:6 “And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;”
With knowledge of what God expects comes the need to add temperance to our lives. Temperance means moderation, and carries with it the idea of keeping things in balance, or properly mixed. The Christian has to avoid extremes and stay even-tempered.
Philippians 4:5 "Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand."
Ephesians 4:14 "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;"
To temperance we must add patience, the ability to suffer calmly and without complaint.
Romans 12:12 "Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;"
Romans 5:3 "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:"
To patience we must add godliness, which means to be like God, or to share God’s attributes.
1 Peter 1:15 "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."
Hebrews 8:10 "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:"
With godliness a part of our lives, His law written on our hearts, we must continue to grow.
2 Peter 1:7 “And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”
Once we have learned to be godly, we must extend kindness to our brothers. I used to wonder at this sequence of godliness before brotherly kindness until I learned that if we don’t have godliness we are not likely to show brotherly kindness. It is God who teaches us this kindness.
Titus 3:4 "But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,"
Ephesians 4:32 "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
Romans 12:10 "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;"
It is by thinking like God that we learn brotherly
kindness, and finally, to add charity. Charity is love that is not deserved
or earned, but is love for love’s sake, because it is the right thing to do.
It is not a reward to those who love us, but is a gift of love regardless of
Matthew 5:43 "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
1 Corinthians 16:14 "Let all your things be done with charity."
1 Corinthians 13:13 "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."
1 Timothy 1:5 "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:"
When we have built up our spiritual lives by adding the things that Peter mentioned, we can ultimately learn to have true charity, which should then drive our entire lives.
2 Peter 1:8 "For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
We must give careful attention to these attributes in order to be fruitful as Christians. If we add them to our lives, we shall never fall from that calling and election, and will secure our entrance into the everlasting kingdom of the Lord!