Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Divine Nature


The Divine Nature

 

“as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” – 2 Peter 1:3-4

Snowflakes are such divine art!  Falling by an infinite number all at once, each one is uniquely created by our God.  When magnified, their frozen patterns are intricate and as delicate as lace.  Yet there is an even more intricate creation than the snowflake.
God likes variety, as can easily be seen in the people He creates.  We all are different in some way.  In the rare instance of identical twins he will find one worthy of an exact copy on the outside, but never are there two of a kind.  He purposefully creates a unique soul for each and every one of us, crafting that singular YOU that He chose to create.

The soul is the center of our moral and emotional nature, what comes natural to us as individuals. It is the intricate pattern of God’s unique design for you.  This is often referred to as personality.  There’s a lot said about the soul in God’s word.  In the New Testament we read the following verses:
Matthew 10:28 tell us that thought the soul and body are separate, God has the power to send both to hell, as it says, And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Matthew 16:26 warns of worshipping earthly wealth instead of attaining salvation, and says, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
James 5:20 defines salvation as the saving of the soul, and says let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 1:9 goes on to say that the end of salvation is “the salvation of your souls.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 divides our person into three parts as it says, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The sequence of the three is of great importance.  The spirit gives life to the soul, which gives live to the body. 
God’s salvation is for the soul.  At the point of salvation His Holy Spirit moves in with our spirit and begins a new work in us.  This is the great work of sanctification.

Of sanctification, Paul writes in  2 Corinthians 5:12-19 to those “who boast in appearance and not in heart.” that “He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. This is the sanctified life, a changed soul, willing to submit to the Holy Spirit of God.  Paul goes on to say that “we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 
Sanctification changes your soul, your individual nature.  Peter talks about that nature in 2 Peter 2:1 and calls it a “divine nature”. It is not achieved of our own accord.  We have no power to become holy outside of the power of God working within us.  But 2 Peter 2:3 says that “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness”. He goes on in verse 4 to say that He has given us great and precious promises, “that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Those promises are the commands as to how we are to live in Him.

If we look at the word used in 2 Peter 1:4 for divine “nature”, it is the greek word Physis, (Strongs G5449) and means “the sum of innate properties and powers by which one person differs from others, distinctive native peculiarities, natural characteristics” The divine power of God through the Holy Spirit within us, allows us, through the process of sanctification, to become divine in nature.
How can we see the divine nature working within us?  Peter gives us certain characteristics in verses 5-8.  When we look at the Greek meaning for these characteristics we find that he lists:

·        Faith, the ability to believe with expectation in things not yet seen.

·        Virtue, moral goodness.

·        Knowledge, moral wisdom for living.

·        Self-control, mastering your own desires, passions, and actions.

·        Perseverance, a patient and consistent endurance.

·        Godliness, piety and respect for God.

·        Brotherly kindness, Christians cherishing each other.

·        Love, affections and actions of charity.

·        Knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, an intimate relationship with Christ.  

This is the growth pattern of a Christian.  These are the fruits we see and experience, when we grow.  But in order to grow, we have to submit to the Holy Spirit that lives in us and empowers us to take on this divine nature. 
Yes, you do have a choice.  God doesn’t save by compulsion, and He doesn’t sanctify by compulsion.  But as Peter says in verse 9, “he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” 

It’s often said that a person has lost “the joy of their salvation”.  Even King David did (Psalms 51:12).  Take note that you cannot lose your salvation.  Eternal life is eternal – not temporary (John 3:16, Hebrews 7:25).  Your salvation is not based on your actions, but a gift from God (Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8).  But you can lose the joy of your salvation by living in denial that the incorruptible seed is within you.  When you choose to let your spirit lead, rather than the Holy Spirit, you are losing that joy that God provides, the peace in your life that passes all understanding.

Take on the divine nature of God by following the lead of the Holy Spirit within you.  There is joy in serving God, and there is no joy to be found apart from Him.

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