Our scripture for discussion for tonight will begin with the opening of a letter from Peter.
And then I want to make some closing remarks to officially end our time together by way of a closing to a letter from Paul.
But before we do.
In my usual fashion I want to ask you a few questions.
Who are you?
If you remember back on one of our very first lessons when we started out time together I asked this question.
I hope you have a much deeper appreciation for this question by now.
But let’s run it the other way.
Instead of looking inward.
Let’s look outward.
You can tell a lot about a person’s heart by how they complete the following sentence.
If we say they are dangerous!
What does that about us?
That we are fearful.
If we say they are lost!
What does that say about us?
That we can only see our own sinfulness.
But if we they are “made in the image of God”!
What does that say about us?
That we understand God’s purposes for us in this world.
We know we are in this world but not of it.
And we know we have been saved by grace through faith in what Jesus did on the cross (Eph.
But as I have said before, that’s just the beginning of understanding what God is up too.
We cut short the completeness of God’s plan with the Cross and the Gospel when make it only about salvation with the fall and redemption.
God’s original intention in Eden was to merge heaven and earth, He didn’t abandon that plan at the fall.
So here is our passage for tonight!
2 peter 1:2-4
What does it mean to “become partakers of the divine nature”?
What is Peter writing about here?
Peter is contrasting the Christian belief that believers participate in the divine nature with the Greek belief that humans could become gods.
Christian theology distinguishes sharing in divinity (the glorification of believers by virtue of being in the body of Christ, God’s family) from transformation to deity in the spiritual world
Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016).
Faithlife Study Bible (2 Pe 1:4).
Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM
Joining God’s divine family is inextricably linked to the New Testament concept of becoming like Jesus—becoming divine.
The academic term describing this point of biblical theology is
As one evangelical theologian laments:
The idea of divinization, of redeemed human nature somehow participating in the very life of God, is found to a surprising extent throughout Christian history, although it is practically unknown to the majority of Christians (and even many theologians) in the west.
The concept of “theosis” has strong biblical roots, and extends from the original Edenic goal of having humans joining with God in a world where Heaven and earth meet.
In the beginning, God made humans to image him, to be like him, and to dwell with him.
This is present in many place in the Bible besides our passage for tonight.
The message of “theosis” is that, in Christ, we are being transformed into his likeness—the perfect imager of God.
Scripture is clear that immortality as a glorified human is the destiny of the believer, and that our present lives in Christ are a process of becoming what we are:
Theologians refer to this idea by many labels.
The most common is.......
Peter referred to it as becoming “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet.
John put it this way: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1, emphasis added).
So let’s take a look at how the Bible conveys that message.
Sons of God, Seed of Abraham
When God turned the nations of the world over at Babel, he did so knowing he would start over with a new human family of his own.
God called Abraham (Gen.
12:1–8) right after Babel (Gen.
Through Abraham and his wife Sarah, God would return to his original Edenic plan.
God’s people, the children of Abraham, the Israelites, ultimately failed to restore God’s good rule on earth.
But one of those children would succeed.
God would become man in Jesus, a descendant of David, Abraham, and Adam.
And it was through Jesus that God’s promise to one day bless the nations he had punished at Babel was fulfilled.
Paul wrote about that in several places.
Here are two:
The story of the New Testament is that a descendant of Abraham—Jesus—died and rose again to redeem not only Abraham’s ethnic descendants (Israelites/Jews) but also all the people among the nations who had formerly been disinherited from the true God.
In the verses quoted just above, Paul called the inclusion of Gentiles in the family of God a mystery.
It astonished him that people from the nations God had cast off, could inherit the promises given to Abraham.
In Christ, all who embrace the gospel are children of Yahweh, the true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (John 1:12; Gal.
This is why the New Testament talks about believers using family terms (sons, children, heir) and the language of being “adopted” by God (Rom.
8:15, 23; Eph.
The language of inheritance is crystal clear and deliberate.
It tells us who we are: the new divine-human family of God.
The believer’s destiny is to become what Adam and Eve originally were: immortal, glorified imagers of God, living in God’s presence.
But even that doesn’t fully express who we are.
The most amazing part is how Jesus sees us.
A Family Reunion
The first two chapters of the book of Hebrews give us a dramatic picture of God’s family.
Hebrews 1 makes the point that Jesus is “so much better than the angels” (v. 4 leb).
No one is higher.
After all, he’s God.
In fact, the writer makes the point that since no angel was fit to become man and inherit the kingdom, angels need to worship Jesus (vv.
Jesus is king.
Remarkably, when Jesus became a man, he was for a short time lower than the angels.
He became one of us.
Humans are lesser creatures than divine beings like angels.
The writer of Hebrews asks:
What’s the result of what Jesus did?
We might say salvation.
That would be right, but it misses what the writer of Hebrews wanted us to know.
Because God became man in Jesus Christ, his mortal followers will be glorified—and members of the family.
He became as we are so we might become as he is:
For it was fitting for him for whom are all things and through whom are all things in bringing many sons to glory to perfect the originator of their salvation through sufferings.
For both the one who sanctifies and the ones who are sanctified are all from one, for which reason he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying,
“I will proclaim your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the assembly I will sing in praise of you.…
Behold, I and the children God has given me.”