By Brannon Howse
The Scripture: 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.
The Twist: This passage of Scripture is often used by people to claim that they have a divine nature, that they’re little gods running around here on earth.
Having or partaking in the divine nature of Christ is completely different from possessing a divine nature. It’s critical not to confuse being a partaker with being a possessor. Christians are partakers of the divine nature of Christ but not possessors of a divine nature. Only divine beings—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—possess a divine nature, and humans are not divine.
For another view of the same teaching as 2 Peter 1:4, look 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
If you are a Christian, your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.
As a believer, when I repented of my sins and placed my faith and trust in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit came to dwell in me, and I became a partaker of the divine nature through the Holy Spirit. Eventually, I will be even more of a partaker of the divine nature of Christ when I see Him and receive my glorified body. This partaking happens in a spiritual sense now, but it’s also going to occur physically in the future.
In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul reflects this teaching as well: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” The “therefore” is a guarantee that we become partakers of Christ’s nature—not possessors of it—if we are in Him. Romans 8:9-11 is similar:
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
First John 3:1-2 are likewise complementary verses on this topic:
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him.
We shall be like Him means we shall be partakers in a new body, our glorified bodies. So in part, we are partakers of the divine nature of Christ now, as the Holy Spirit dwells in us, but in the future, we’ll be much more like Him when we receive new and glorified bodies.
The crucial summary to this is that we do not possess a divine nature, but, rather, we partake in the divine nature of Christ through our death, burial, and resurrection in Him. You’ll enjoy seeing how well our next twisted scripture fits with this.
Copyright 2014 ©Brannon Howse. This content is for Situation Room members and is not to be duplicated in any form or uploaded to other websites without the express written permission of Brannon Howse or his legally authorized representative.