Friday Morning Manna
October 18, 2019
Does Imparted Divine Nature Make Us Divine?
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord, 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 Pet. 1: 2-4, N.K.J.V.
It is by the power of Christ’s divine nature—rather than His incarnated human nature—that He gives all things pertaining to life, i.e., both temporal and eternal, and godliness. To those who willingly respond to His call to character glory, hence, virtue, obtain a knowledge of Him in this particular regard.
The emphasis here is found in the two names/titles given Him simultaneously at His birth indicating the duality of His nature as recorded in the gospel of Matthew: “And she shall bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins. . . . Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name IMMANUEL, which is translated, ‘God with Us.” Matt. 1: 21, 24, N.KJ.V. He is Savior-God with us.
John and Paul wrote of the same truth. The former said: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God . . . The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1: 1-3, 14). The latter wrote: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh.” 1 Tim. 3: 16.
This then is the means specified by which such believers receive the corresponding exceedingly great and precious promises: As one of the “good and perfect gifts from above, that comes down from above from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17), every promise in the Bible comes as a complete package with its specific provisions and instructions. Hence, is conditional.
Thusly the specific “exceedingly great and precious promises” can rightfully be claimed by those who meet its conditions, having appropriated its provisions by faith in Christ. Such human believers become partakers of Christ’s divine nature. What is the evidence? They “escape,” or break away, flee from—not excuse, justify or rationalize–the lusts and desires they once were servants and slaves of– “the love of the world and the things of this world,” “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” 1 John 2: 15-17. They enjoy the liberty in Christ and move forward from grace to grace, from glory to glory, triumphantly “fighting the battles of the Lord where champions are few.”
It is impossible to love God without Hating Sin
Here’s a vital truth all should clearly understand and ever remember: As God in the flesh, both Christ’s divine and incarnated human natures loves the sinner unconditionally, and hates sin with perfect hatred unconditionally as well! Why so? Sin is the real separator between Creator and creature, between God and man whom He created in His own image and likeness! Notice:
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” Isa. 59: 2, N.K.J.V. Do we now realize why there also so many unanswered prayers?
Notice in the following scriptures that Father addresses His Son as God, and furthermore His character of love has two aspects, as in mercy and justice, namely–love for righteousness and hatred for sin or unrighteousness. This is the definition of God’s love in Christ, the one expressed in human terms in the love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13. In addition to being “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person,” He declared: “But unto the Son, He saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.” Heb. 1: 8, 9, K.J.V.
Here’s more: “One who turns his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination.” Prov. 28: 9, N.K.J.V. Moses spoke and wrote of law in this manner: “So He declared to you His Covenant which He commanded you to perform,that is, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tables of stone.” Deut. 4: 13. This Covenant-Law of God that antinomian Christians have brazenly “done away with” is, in fact, the very agency for the genuine conversion of souls! David wrote: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple [humble].” Ps. 19: 7.
No wonder there are so many false converts to Christianity; they are called professed Christians, proselytes, having merely switched religions, converted after the standards of mortal, sinful man, not of the sinless Son of man. Those truly converted after the order of the genuine gospel learn from the divine Teacher to love righteousness, which is defined by the covenant-law, and hate sin, which is the transgression of that covenant-law! True Christianity is not merely professed, as in lip-service, but possessed, as in life-practice. Now note the following:
“The prophet Isiah had declared that the Lord would cleanse His people from their iniquities ‘by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.’ [Isa. 4: 4]. The word of the Lord to Israel was, ‘I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin.’ [Isa. 1: 25]. To sin, wherever found, our God is a consuming fire.’ [Heb.12: 29; Deut. 4: 24; 8:3]. In all who submit to His power, the Spirit of God will consume sin. But if men cling to sin, they become identified with it. Then the glory of God, which destroys sin, must destroy them . . . . At the second advent of Christ, the wicked shall be consumed ‘with the Spirit of His mouth’ and destroyed ‘with the brightness of His coming.’ [2 Thess. 2: 8]. The light of the glory of God, which imparts life to the righteous, will slay the wicked.”- Desire of Ages, pp. 107, 108.
Grace and Peace Multiplied
Moreover, to believers who become partakers of Christ’s divine nature by the means specified above, something wonderful happens before and after by their co-operation, both imparted through the Holy Spirit, namely, God’s empowering grace and Christ’s peace “that passes understanding” (Phil. 4: 7; John 14: 27) are multiplied towards them! See 2 Pet.1: 2-12. It is called “present truth.” Christ instructs His faithful disciples to work on the plan of addition while He works on the plan of multiplication. In the hands of the Multiplier, it only took five flat bread and 2 roasted fishes coming from a precious young boy, to feed 5,000 men, not counting women and children, thus more like 10, 000 or more! E. G. White wrote:
“There is no place in the school of Christ where we graduate. We are to work on the plan of addition, and the Lord will work on the plan of multiplication. It is through constant diligence that we will, through the grace of Christ, live on the plan of addition, making our calling and election sure . . . ‘For if ye do these things ye shall never fall; for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.’”- Letter 4, 1893/Notebook Leaflets, p. 64.
Partaking of the divine nature does not make a human being divine. He does not become part of the Godhead.
Some have asked me: Don’t we acquire the divine nature as Peter’s epistle cited above apparently says, and therefore become divine?
Partakers. – First, we must understand what Jesus meant when He said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14: 6, N.K.J.V. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing.” John 15: 5. Peter says we are to become “partakers of the divine nature.” This does not mean we, if we are eternally saved, shall become part of the Godhead or become “divines.” This is the stuff of Greek mythology and spiritualism, both ancient and modern. It is Christ’s incarnated humanity that has become part of the Godhead forever!
Whatever we partake of the Father, we partake of as of His purchased possession, adopted children of the God with Jesus, who calls us “brethren” and thus He is the Elder Brother of the human race, and indeed the “last Adam!” All that we ever receive or acquire of and from the Father comes through and from Christ alone. The divine nature we are to partake of is from the divine nature of Christ in His human nature, as imparted by the Holy Spirit. And all are intimately personal in the highest and most sublime form of intimacy because they emanate and proceed from the three Persons of the Godhead. “No man cometh the Father except by Me.” “Without Me ye can do nothing.” “I and My Father are one.”
Let’s consider a couple of verses:
“Partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.” Col.1: 12. Partakers here is the Gr. meris, meaning, “a portion; a share of; participation.”
“Partakers of the heavenly calling.” Heb. 3: 1.
“Partakers of Christ.” Heb. 3: 14.
“Partakers of the Holy Spirit.” Heb. 6: 4.
“Partakers of His holiness.” Heb. 12: 10. All the verses in Hebrews use the Gr. metoches, meaning, “participant; sharer; and associate.”
“Partakers of Christ’s sufferings.” 1 Pet. 4: 13. Partakers here is koinonos, meaning, “sharer, i.e., associate; companion; fellowship.”
Likeness. — In the Incarnation, the Father “sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin; He condemned sin in the flesh.” Rom 8: 3. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself like took part [partook of] of the same [flesh and blood]; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil.” Heb. 2: 14. “Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like [in the likeness of] unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful high priest in things pertaining to God.” v 17. Then again, “For Hew [the Father] made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor. 5: 21.
The Creator partook of the same flesh and blood nature of man, the likeness of sinful flesh, the passions but not the pollutions of the fallen nature, one that is subject to temptation—with the possibility of yielding, and one that is subject to death—with the possibility of dying. His life testimony as recorded in the Holy Scriptures says that indeed, He was tempted but never yielded; He died, not as a sinner but as One made of the Father to be Sin itself for the sinner. He never became a sinner “like unto His brethren” by the experience of sinning but was made to be sin for us, who knew no sin.
Since the Father already made His Son to be Sin for us, sinners, why is it that we refuse to cast all our sins and all our burdens and cares upon Him, our divine-human Sin Bearer? It is perhaps because we do not yet fully understand what and who He is to us when He incarnated into our flesh and blood nature, was tempted in all points like as we are, in our flesh and blood human nature, and died as Sin for us (the “wages of sin is death”), and our Substitute, in our flesh and blood human nature, the Innocent for the guilty, the Creator for His creature, in our flesh and blood nature! And yes, He gained the victory over death and the grave, in our flesh and blood nature, by resurrecting and ascending to heaven in His glorified, flesh and blood human nature.
That is indeed partaking of the divine nature of the Father in Christ’s divine nature that is in His human nature. All men after the fall have sinful flesh of the fallen sinful human nature with its natural sinful propensities and tendencies. (Propensity and tendency is not sin and of itself). On the other hand, Christ’s human nature was in the likeness of sinful flesh” but it was not the very sinful flesh of fallen man because of two things: 1) He had no sinful propensities but was “tempted in all points as we are tempted,” with the possibility of yielding, but the verse says, “yet without sin.” 2) He did not know sin by experience but was made to be sin itself for us.
Will sinners who are fully redeemed by the gospel become God-like in character? Certainly! In fact, the amazing phrase “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1: 27) clearly means fully Christ-like, while on earth. As men saw the invisible Father as revealed in the visible Christ, so will unbelievers see the yet-invisible Christ today, as revealed in every true Christian.
the pagan king of Babylon had never seen God. And yet when he gazed
into the fiery furnace heated up seven times where he had ordered the three
Hebrew youth to be thrown in and burned for refusing to obey the first religious
law enacted and enforced by a civil-secular authority, he and his princes were in
disbelief. He exclaimed: “Look . . I see
four men, walking in the midst of the fire: and they are not hurt, and the
form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Dan. 3: 24, 25. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s living
testimony were, like Enoch who was translated centuries earlier, lives that
“pleased God.” Having partaken of the divine nature and the divine suffering,
they reflected the glory of God in Christ “before the great men of the
earth.” They manifested, magnified, and exemplified the likeness of the character
and person of God in Christ. We are given the same opportunity, privilege
and honor that is higher than any that the world can offer! Will we partake
of it? (Continued next week)