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“Partakers of the Divine Nature”
2 Peter 1:4
“Partakers of the divine nature.” — Those are bold words. But bold as they are, startling as they may sound, there they stand. — “Partakers of the divine nature!” Bold as Peter’s divinely inspired words are, shocking as they are to some, they only declare the teaching of the whole New Testament and the experience of every saved sinner. — Sinners saved by the grace of God, in the new birth, receive into their spirits a real communication of the life of God.
The Life of God
The new birth is nothing less than, as Henry Scrougal put it more than 400 years ago, “the life of God in the soul of man.” What else does our being “the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty” mean? What else does the new birth mean? What else do Christ’s frequent declarations that he dwells in us and we in him, as the branch in the vine and as the members in the body, mean? What else does “he that is joined to the Lord in one spirit” mean?
In some real sense the very purpose of God in sending his Son, the very purpose of God the Son becoming a man in the incarnation, is that we, poor, sinful, weak, limited, ignorant creatures as we are, may be lifted up into that solemn and awful elevation, and receive in our trembling and yet strengthened souls the life of God. This is the aim of the gospel, the end of all the promises of God. — “That ye may be partakers of the Divine nature!”
The New Birth
Read the Scriptures carefully. The first four verses of 2nd Peter 1 are one sentence, all dealing with one thing. In those four verses, in that one, magnificent sentence, Peter declares the wonder of the new birth, the glorious work of regeneration. The first word of verse 4 refers us back to the call of God the Holy Ghost. It is by the call of God the Holy Spirit that God bestows those great and precious promises of his grace, making us “partakers of the Divine nature.”
It is God the Holy Spirit who, by his regenerating grace giving life to spiritually dead sinners, discovers to us and reveals God’s eternal, electing love and Christ’s redemption of our souls by his precious blood. The promises of God which have resulted in us being born again are the promises of God declared in the gospel, the promises of the sure and everlasting covenant of grace (Titus 1:1-3; 1 Peter 1:18-21; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:25-26; 37:12-14).
When the Lord God raises a sinner from death to life by the power and grace of his Spirit, when he sprinkles our hearts with the clean water of his grace and puts a new spirit in us, when he makes us new creatures in Christ, when sinners are born again by his omnipotent grace, we are made “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” God made his covenant promises to us in Christ our Covenant Head before the world began, so that we might, at the appointed time of love, be made “partakers of the divine nature.”