Partakers of the Divine Nature

2 Peter 1:2-12  •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Partakers of the Divine Nature (Notes from an address by C.H. Brown)
Being made "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Pet. 1:44Whereby 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. (2 Peter 1:4)) is not so much the result of new birth, as it is the practical result being experienced in the Christian life. How are we going to prove this in a practical way? The answer is found in the first part of the verse, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers," etc. That is, if the soul lays hold on these promises, living in the enjoyment of them, the result will be the manifestation of the divine nature. Of course this word is addressed to those who do have the divine nature.
I suppose none of us Christians would be satisfied just to get into heaven; we do have the desire to have an "abundant entrance." It is not very good for a ship to have to be dragged into port by a tugboat, but it is better than going down at sea. How much more dignified for the ship to come in under full colors. How proud the sailors and the captain are, and with what joy they pull in after a long toilsome voyage! If we are Christians, we are definitely going to make port. We'll get there all right. The question is, what kind of entrance are we going to have?
Verse 11 says, "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." I am sure you would like to have that kind of entrance. The directions-the precepts for it-are right here. I apprehend that the abundant entrance is not the swinging open of the doors at the end, but rather that which is ministered all along the way.
I rather think that when one comes down to the time of facing departure from this world (that is, if he is permitted to face it consciously), to go into the presence of the Lord, it will be found that the kind of an entrance he proved the last year-the Christian life and experience he had been enjoying -will mark the degree of "abundance" he will know right there at the end.
We do not expect a Christian who has been living a half-hearted life at a distance from the Lord to have an ecstasy at that moment, in the same degree as the one who has lived and walked with God. The way to look forward with confidence to that change is to have these virtues, spoken of in the intervening verses of our chapter, operative in the soul.
The third verse states: "According as His divine power bath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue." Young Christian, I wonder if you excuse your shallowness on the ground that the circumstances in which you find yourself are not advantageous to the kind of life you would like to live. Have you reasoned it out and thought that it would be better if you were living in a different position? If your circumstances were altered, do you think you would be able to live the kind of Christian life you would like to live? Our verse says, "His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness." There is not one thing lacking. We have complete equipment. God is not going to put us into a position where we cannot live for Him, and then ask us to live for Him. No; He has given us all things necessary. Right in your present position God has given you the fullest possible equipment to live for Him. It is not necessary for one to have to wait until he is older, or knows his Bible better, before he can begin to live for Him.
How do these "exceeding great and precious promises" make us partakers of the divine nature? I believe in this way: It is the entering into and enjoying them (what God has done, is doing, and is yet going to do) as realities. The result is we are so attracted and under the power of them, that other things lose their attractiveness and we become mere "imitators of God," being occupied with that which gives concern to Him and which occupies His heart. When we really lay hold on the promises that are ours, that hope works out in the life in a practical way, and we are truly in the enjoyment of being "partakers of the divine nature."
How different from the world is the newborn appetite of those who know the Lord Jesus Christ. The satisfaction of such a one with divine realities gives peace and quiet to the soul. What a blessed thing to be preserved from this ungodly scene. Do we not grieve to see the pace of many of those about us today?-the shamelessness of their walk -lacking restraint of any kind-turned loose to glut themselves with what this world has to offer. "A wild and crazy age," some have said, and surely the expression is not too strong.
We who have Christ have been graciously taken out of such an atmosphere. In its place we have found such a worthy Object-the Christ of God. This cannot help but have a tremendous affect upon our lives if we are in the good of it. We have the Christ of God, the most worthy Object of the universe, and His glory brought before us again and again in a special way when we partake of the memorials He has left us. To have His worth repeated in our ears again and again produces a transforming power in our souls.
What a blessed thing it is to escape "the corruption that is in the world through lust." There is no more blessed place than to be gathered to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to have the association of those who love Him in sincerity and in truth. Where the Person, work, and word of Christ are (by the grace of God) jealously guarded and enjoyed by His people is indeed a wonderful place. We cannot value it too highly, dear young people. If escaping the world's lusts caused thankfulness in the days of Peter, how doubly true today.
In verses 5, 6 and 7 we are told: "And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity." None of us wants to get a reputation of being lazy in material things. There is a lot in Scripture about being diligent in divine things, as well. When you see a Christian especially devoted, especially godly, you may be sure he didn't get that character by going on in an indifferent way. He wasn't indolent. Yes, there must be purpose of heart, as the Scripture says, "giving all diligence," etc. That is true with anything in this world wherein people succeed. They do not stumble into success. It is a matter of hard work, of having a purpose and of letting that purpose form and control their actions. Be diligent in spiritual things, dear Christian friend.
There is a word in the 27th Psalm along the same line. Verse 4: "One thing have I desired of the Lord." So far so good. It is a good thing to have right desires, but that isn't all of it. The needful part follows: "That will I seek after." Perhaps you have said, I would just love to be a real devoted child of God; I don't want to live a shallow Christian life. Well then, heed the last part of the verse, "That will I seek after." Be diligent and there will be rewarding fruit from earnestly seeking.
Now let us look at 2 Pet. 1:88For 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. (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." I know the Lord does not want us occupied with the fruitfulness or unfruitfulness of our lives, but none of us wants to be unfruitful. If the things put before us in these verses abound in us, then we will know what it is to be a fruitful branch for the Lord Jesus.
But suppose we lack these things. How sad are the expressions of verse 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." There is a kind of government of God operative among His people. One part of this is that if a Christian becomes indifferent and worldly-minded, and lets divine things slip, to be taken up with this poor world, then, in a corresponding measure, he loses the consciousness of the blessedness there is in Christ. He doesn't lose the blessedness; he loses the consciousness of it. It is even possible for a Christian to forget that he was purged. He can get so far away that he doesn't even know whether or not he is a child of God. He just goes on in this condition, either in utter indifference or in despair. He has forgotten he has been purged. Such is the government of God among His people.
We surely want to escape such a sad condition, do we not? We want the constant assurance in our soul that we are headed for glory. We can keep that assurance, and at the same time be neither barren nor unfruitful, if these things be in us and abound. Verse 10 reassures us: "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall." God knows that we are going to be there, but this is the way to have constantly fresh in our souls the assurance of it to make it practically good to ourselves.
Finally, verse 11 gives further promise to the believer: "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." Isn't that a glorious entrance? That is the privilege of every Christian. It is not a question of endowment, gift or ability, but of the heart's being occupied with the Christ of God, living in the enjoyment of what we have as God's people, bought with the precious blood of Christ. Each one of us here who is Christ's is privileged to have an abundant entrance. It is put into our own hands, although we all know that the ability must come from Him. It is a matter of grace from first to last, and none of us is going to take any credit, but may we not cast ourselves unreservedly upon Him and claim that grace He so gladly gives? It is in doing so, and with diligence, that we can have the joy of an abundant entrance "into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."