Thursday, December 14, 2006

Partakers of the divine nature (part 2)

Peter's distinctive teaching that believers partake of the divine nature is closely related to what he says about their ultimate glorification. (See part 1). While other New Testament writers do not speak of the divinisation of believers, they do teach that Christians will share in the glory of God, which ammounts to the same thing. Jesus prayed,
And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one (John 17:22).
Paul taught,
and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Rom 8:17)
We suffer with Christ and will be glorified together with him, because we are united to him. We are in Christ (8:1) and he is in us (8:10). In terms of 2 Peter 1:3 & 4, it is through Jesus' divine power that we are made partakers of the divine nature. This makes divinisation a Christological category.
God's ultimate purpose is that we will be conformed to the image of his Son,
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Rom 8:29)
Human beings were created in the image of God. That image was tarnished by sin. In Christ, the divine image is renewed and perfected,
Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of him who created him(Col 3: 9 & 10).
The divinisation or glorification of believers is tightly linked to their resurrection from the dead. Christ's resurrected humanity has not been absorbed into his deity. He remains fully God and fully man. His humanity has been lovingly renewed by the Spirit, and is resplendent with the glory of God. The Father has poured all his creative genius into beautifying the once crucified body of his Son. We shall fully partake of the divine nature when we are made like him in resurrection life. The glory of God that shines in the face of Jesus Christ will then be reflected in our faces too.
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:20 & 21).
And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. (1 Corinthians 15:49.)
We will not only be made like Christ, we will participate in his lordship. Jesus made this remarkable promise to the church at Laodicea,
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with me on my throne as I also overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21).
Paul also says.
If we endure, we shall also reign with him. (2 Timothy 1:12).
The first Adam was made lord over the old creation Genesis 1:26-28 His lordship was radically undermined by the fall Genesis 3:17-19. In Christ, human lordship over creation is restored - Hebrews 2:6-9. Partaking of the divine nature is fulfilled when believers enjoy an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:11). Made like our glorious Lord, we will reign with him in the new heavens and the new earth.
In Part 3, I will conclude this series by looking at some theological reflection on partaking of the divine nature.


revdrron said...

I appreciate your “partakers of the divine nature” mini-series. Good work! C H Spurgeon in his excellent devotional “Morning and Evening” (Sept 16) reminds us that: (please forgive the long quote)

"To be a partaker of the divine nature is not, of course, to become God. That cannot be. The essence of Deity is not to be participated in by the creature. Between the creature and the Creator there must ever be a gulf fixed in respect of essence but as the first man Adam was made in the image of God, so we, by the renewal of the Holy Spirit, are in a yet diviner sense made in the image of the Most High, and are partakers of the divine nature. We are, by grace, made like God. ‘God is love’; we become love - ‘He that loves is born of God.’ God is truth; we become true, and we love that which is true: God is good, and He makes us good by His grace, so that we become the pure in heart who shall see God. Moreover, we become partakers of the divine nature in even a higher sense than this - in fact, in as lofty a sense as can be conceived, short of our being absolutely divine. Do we not become members of the body of the divine person of Christ? Yes, the same blood which flows in the head flows in the hand: and the same life which quickens Christ quickens His people, for ‘Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.’ (note, Col 3.3) Nay, as if this were not enough, we are married unto Christ. He hath betrothed us unto Himself in righteousness and in faithfulness, and he who is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Oh! marvelous mystery! we look into it, but who shall understand it? One with Jesus - so one with Him that the branch is not more one with the vine than we are a part of the Lord, our Saviour, and our Redeemer! While we rejoice in this, let us remember that those who are made partakers of the divine nature will manifest their high and holy relationship in their intercourse with others, and make it evident by their daily walk and conversation that they have escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. O for more divine holiness of life!”

enjoy, ron

Exiled Preacher said...

Wow, great quote!