Partakers of the Divine Nature
2 Peter 1:3-4
According as his divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…

I. Look, first, at this LOFTY PURPOSE which is here presented as being the very aim and end of God's gift in the gospel. The human nature and the Divine are both kindred and contrary. There are no gods of the heathen so far away from their worshippers, and there are none so near them, as our God. The arched heaven, though high, is not inaccessible in its cloudless beauty, but it touches earth all round the horizon; and man is made in the image of God. True, that Divine nature of which the ideal man is the possessor has faded away from humanity. But still the human is kindred with the Divine. The tiniest spark of flame is of the same nature as those leaping, hydrogen spears of illuminated gas that spring hundreds of thousands of miles high in a second or two in the great central sun. But,that kindred, belonging to every soul of man, abject as well as loftiest, is not the "partaking" of which my text speaks, though it is the basis and possibility of it; for my text speaks of men as "becoming partakers." What, then, is it? No mere absorption, as extravagant mystics have dreamed, into that Divine nature, as a drop goes back into the ocean and is lost. There will always be "I" and "thou," or else there were no blessedness, nor worship, nor joy. We must so partake of the Divine nature as that the bounds between the bestowing God and the partaking man shall never be broken down. But that being presupposed, union as close as possible is the great hope that all Christian men and women ought consciously to cherish. Only mark, the beginning of the whole is the communication of a Divine life which is manifested mainly in what we call moral likeness. Partakers we shall be in the measure in which by our faith we have drawn from Him the pure and the hearty love of whatsoever things are fair and noble; the measure in which we love righteousness and hate iniquity. And then, remember also that this lofty purpose which is here set forth is a purpose growingly realised in man. The apostle puts great stress upon that. He is not talking about a being, but about a "becoming." That is to say, God must ever be passing, moment by moment, into our hearts if there is to be anything godly there. Cut off the sunbeam from the sun and it dies, and the house is dark; cut off the life from the root and it withers, and the creature shrivels. The Christian man lives only by continual derivation of life from God; and for ever and ever the secret of his being and of his blessedness is not that he has become a possessor, but that he has become a partaker, of the Divine nature. By daily increase we shall be made capable of daily increase.

II. Look, next, at THE COSTLY AND SUFFICIENT MEANS EMPLOYED FOR THE REALISATION OF THIS GREAT PURPOSE. "Promises" here must necessarily, I think, be employed in the sense of fulfilment of the promises. And so we might think of all the great and wondrous words which God has spoken in the past, promises of deliverance, of forgiveness, and the like; but I believe that by these "exceeding great and precious promises "is meant the unspeakable gift of God's own Son, and the gift therein and thereafter of God's life-giving Spirit. For is not this the meaning of the central fact of Christianity, the incarnation — that the Divine becomes partaker of the human in order that the human may partake of the Divine? Contrariety vanishes; the difference between the creature and the Creator disappears.

III. Let me say, lastly, that this great text adds A HUMAN ACCOMPANIMENT OF THAT DIVINE GIFT, "Having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." Corruption is initial destruction, though of course other forms of life may come from it; destruction is complete corruption. The word means both. A man either escapes from lust and evil, or he is destroyed by it. And the root of this rotting fungus "is in lust," which word, of course, is used in a much wider meaning than the fleshly sense in which we employ it in modern times. It means "desire" of all sorts. The root of the world's corruption is my own and my brothers' unbridled and godless desires. So there are two states — a life plunged in putridity, or a heart touched with the Divine nature. Which is it to be? It cannot be both. A man that has got the life of God, in however feeble measure, in him, will flee away from this corruption like Lot out of Sodom. And how will he flee out of it? By subduing his own desires; not by changing position, not by shirking duty, not by withdrawing himself into unwholesome isolation from men and men's ways.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

WEB: seeing that his divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and virtue;

Man Summoned by God's Glory and Energy
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