Participation in the Divine Nature

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 11
The believer partakes in the blessed qualities of the divine nature. Both light and love are, in their very nature, divine qualities and characteristic of eternal life and are a display of it in the midst of evil and of the darkness, caused by sin. Was God ever so manifested as “love,” before sending His Son into the world that we might live through Him? And Christ was the expression of this love: “Hereby perceive we the love  .  .  .  because He laid down His life for us” (1 John 3:16). God is love, and love is given as evidence of the existence and the manifestation of eternal life in us (1 John 3:14). Again, “He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.” God is also light and was displayed as light by Christ Himself as “the life,” for “in Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” Now we are not only said to be sons of light (1 Thess. 5:5) and in the light as God is in the light (1 John 1:7), but more than this, we are “light in the Lord” (Eph. 5:3). These are the very perfections of the divine nature, and thus we only have them fully unfolded in the writings of the Apostle John who expressly treats of that nature. The same may be said of “grace and truth,” which, in contrast with the law (given by Moses), are said to have come by Jesus Christ. This shows what God is Himself, for, as above the sin of man, He is actively healing, saving and blessing man who is ruined under the effects of sin in this world. Thus the glory, as of the only begotten with the Father, was full of grace and truth.
Receiving of His Fullness
It is thus that, though we are not infinite, yet we participate in what is divine and infinite in Him, for the Son Jesus Christ, as the Son and as man, has brought these divine qualities, which He had with the Father before the world was, into manhood. The Apostle John speaks of His glory, which he beheld, “the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” This glory was divine in its character, being that of the Son with the Father, and existing in Him in divine fullness and displayed here in its perfection, so that it could be beheld by the apostles and declared. But the Apostle adds, “And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” The words “all we” extend the participation or enjoyment of what is named beyond the apostles, and the words “of His fullness” extend the range of reception to every grace that is found in Him, for this glory is not here an external thing visible to the eye, but those qualities, divine in their nature, which never could have been seen or known otherwise, for “the Word was made flesh, and [tabernacled] among us.” This glory dwelt in His blessed Person, as with Israel of old in another way in the wilderness. This display of His glory entirely corresponds with what John saw: “The life was manifested, and we have seen it, and [show unto you] that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.” And it is in the contemplation of this that we have fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ, through participating in the divine nature, we receiving out of His fullness.
Adapted from A. C. Ord