Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Are you participating in the divine nature?

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them we may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires." 2 Peter 1:3,4

Immersed in God

God saves man to be like Him (see previous post: "What are we saved for?" ). Peter says the believer has received everything he needs for life and godliness (Christ-likeness) as he participates in the divine nature. Through faith in Christ, the believer is immersed in Jesus and joined to Him. Having been joined to Christ, the believer is crucified with Christ and raised to newness of life - a life empowered by the Spirit of God to be like Him (see Romans 6). Consequently, the believer is able to produce the fruit of the Spirit (see Gal. 5:22).

Growing in Christ

The apostle Paul describes the maturation of the believer as Christ being formed in him (Gal. 4:19) and the believer becoming mature by "attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13). The maturation of the believer is therefore not a process of God improving the old nature but of the believer's increasing dependency on Christ to be like Him! Sanctification is not a process! God planned that those who believe in Jesus would be like Him so that Christ would be the firstborn among many brothers (Rom. 8:29).

Empowered to choose

God has given the believer "fullness in Christ" (Col. 2:9) so that he can "escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires." That means that the believer is empowered to choose to be Christ-like! As sons of God, believers are set free from the control of the old, self-centred nature so that they can obey the Holy Spirit's leading to live a life of Christ-likeness. That is why Paul writes;

"Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation -
but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it." Rom. 8:12

We are to live according to the Spirit. That means choosing to live a life that is Christ-like in the power of the Holy Spirit. Consequently the believer is without excuse. Since God has set the believer free from the power of sin, the power of the old, ungodly nature and the enemy; ungodly behaviour is simply disobedience.

Put on Christ

For this reason Paul says the believer must take off the old with its ungodly behaviour and put on the new which is Christ-like. The believer is empowered to participate in Christ's divine nature because his life is "hidden with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3)!

Created for good

The believer is saved to produce good fruit (John 15), to do good works (Eph. 2:10) and to live a godly life (Eph. 4:24).

Satan's lie

Satan has managed to sow a lie in the Church causing Christians to believe that sanctification is a process and that being ungodly can be excused. Don't be deceived! It is for freedom that Christ has set you free so live by the Spirit to be like Him (Gal. 5:13,16). Produce the fruit of righteousness because the Righteous One dwells in you (Phil. 1:11)!

How to participate in the divine nature

There are some very practical steps for the believer to stop his disobedience. Here are some keys I believe will help:

Stop making excuses!

As long as you make excuses for your ungodly behaviour you will remain defeated. The first step to overcoming ungodly behaviour is admitting that it is your responsibility to simply obey the Holy Spirit. Stop blaming God, the devil, your old nature, your past and others! Read James 1:13-16.

Believe the truth!

Take hold of God's truth about your life in Christ. Replace the lies of Satan with the truth (see "Are you building godly stronholds?")

Be strengthened by God's grace!

God's gift to you is fullness in Christ. God does not condemn you but He wants you to be strengthend by His love and presence in you (see Heb. 13:9; 2 Tim. 2:1; Titus 2:11-14) so that you will live a godly life. Approach the throne of grace to be strengthened (see "When do you approach the throne of grace?")

Get prayer support!

Share your struggles with someone and ask them to pray for you (James 5:16). Just as Christ lives to intercede for us, so we should commit to praying for one another to stand firm in righteousness and godliness.

Now is the time!

Now is the time for the sons of God to be revealed (Rom. 8:19). Walk as Jesus did in the power of the Holy Spirit.

"This is how we know we are in him:
Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." 1 John 2:6


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