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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Christ in You

2 Peter 1: 2 - 8, Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 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. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. NKJV

In Ephesians 2, Paul is very emphatic when he describes how we become saved. He teaches us that God's grace, through our faith in Christ saves us. Paul teaches us that, once we make the commitment to serve the Lord, we are then required to live by faith. As Peter teaches us in today's scripture, it is through our continued faith and obedience that we are empowered to partake of God's divine nature.

Let's digress for a moment. In Romans 3, Paul tells us that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. So, how does a holy God and a vile sinner become one? For us to be partakers of God's nature, we must become one with Him; how is this possible? Let's give this issue more than a fleeting thought. Peter begins his exhortation talking about how we (become partakers of God's divine power), but toward the conclusion of this passage, he explains that we must move on into the place in Christ (by faith) where we (become partakers of His divine nature). Yes, Jesus saved you the very moment you believed in Him as the Lamb of God that takes away your sin, but that was the power of God. Do you remember what Paul wrote in Romans 1? The preaching of the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first and then the gentile.

Therefore, we can conclude that God wants us to be filled with His divine nature to live a godly life and not just be partakers of His divine power. To assure that we, who name the name of Jesus move beyond the moment of salvation and become partakers of His divine nature, He has designed our new walk to be carried out by His eternal promises. As Christians, we haven't received the fullness of our inheritance. In fact, Paul teaches us, in Ephesians, that God has only given us the earnest (or down payment) of our inheritance in Christ. So the benefits of our full salvation are given to us as we continue to become partakers of Christ's divine nature through faith.

We can see more clearly now why God requires us to first fulfill the will of God, before we can receive the promise of God through our faith in what Christ has already (past tense) done for us. Through these great and precious promises, we are being (present tense) transformed by faith. If we should stop living by faith, we stop the transformation process. But as the writer of Hebrews stated, we are not of those who draw back in perdition (lawlessness), but we believe unto the salvation of our soul. Jesus tells us, "Those who endure to the end shall be saved."

Let us, who have been touched by the power of the gospel continue, by faith, in obedience to the Word of God in order that, through our obedient faith, we can become partakers of God's divine nature... having escaped the lustful corruption that is in this world. Please take the time to read the excerpt from Peter's epistle in the above passage once again. The Holy Spirit inspired him to instruct us to continue moving in our faith until we become partakers of His divine nature, but it doesn't stop there. As we mature and begin developing the fruit of the Spirit, we are to add to our faith: virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. We are on a journey, walking away from the image of the first Adam and, through faith becoming like the Last Adam (Christ). Indeed, our God is an awesome God!!!

Becoming a Partaker by Faith,
Pastor Asa 

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