Thursday, June 9, 2011

Participating in the Divine Nature...

The Apostle Peter says, "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 you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires." (2 Peter 1:3-4).

These are a loaded two verses so let me try and unpack them.

First of all, Peter says that God's divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness. This is good news to a lost and dying world. It is good news to a fallen world that needs a fresh touch of God's divine power. We see that this divine power comes from God through Jesus by faith (verse 1, previously). Isn't it nice to know that even though "fallen", we can experience the power that gives us all we need for life and godliness?

And we know this to be true through, "..the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." God wants to display his great and awesome power through our lives not necessarily or solely for our benefit but for His own glory and goodness. What I glean from this is that I have to constantly remind myself that it is not about me; it is all about God and His glory, His goodness.

What really excites me about this short passage is what Peter says next in verse 3. "Through may participate in the divine nature (of God) and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil." I don't know about you, but I grieve to see how much of a grasp that evil has on our world. When I see hunger, poverty, war, exploitation, etc., I wonder, "where is the hope?"

In this short verse, Peter says that the hope is in His (God's) divine power and that through the promise of that power to followers of His Son, Jesus, we can "participate" in the divine nature...

The word "participate" here is the word "koinonea". We generally interpret this word as "fellowship". But the word usage here is much deeper than what we understand as fellowship. It is a unity of relationship where we become one in God through Christ and He becomes all that He wants to in us. When we are "in Christ" and He is "in us", we can then participate in His divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. And we can move on to be beacons of God's power to others, our neighbors and society as a whole.

Participating in the Divine Nature is the first step in not only transformation of our own selfs but of the communities and societies we live and move in. And God wants, even desires, for us as His children to experience that power in our lives. Us participating in the Divine Nature and living that nature out in the world is a way in which He receives glory and honor.

"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Search for Significance...

Psychologists tell us that one of the deepest human needs is for us as humans to find our significance in this life. Appropriately, every person eventually struggles with the question, "do I matter" or "what difference does my life make"? This is called the search for significance.

In the greater story, God's story, we are called to step out of our small worlds and see the world and ourselves as God created us to be and to become. If we look only through our own filters, we will always come up short because we are comparing ourselves to the world's standards and we can never be enough. However, if we learn to find our significance in who God says we are and in Him, we find peace, joy and, ultimately, our significance.

Peter points this out in his first letter. In chapter 1, verse 3, he says, "In His great mercy, He (Jesus) has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never spoil or fade..." He continues in verse 9 to say, "...for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." And this is so amazing and so far fetched that God would love us so much that Peter says, "...Even angels long to look into these things." (1 Peter 1:12)

He continues to describe how significant we are to God by saying, "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." (1 Peter 1:19). Furthermore he states, "For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God." (1 Peter 1:23)

He then caps this whole reminder of our significance in God by declaring, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God..." (1 Peter 2:9-10)

In our day to day lives when we are trudging through the mundane, we should take time to remember who we are. We should also remember to realize that who we are and what makes us significant is truly found in our relationship to God through His Son Jesus Christ. If I look for my significance in the eyes of the world or men, I will always be found wanting. If I listen to God and find my significance in Him, I will delight to find that I am chosen and belong to Him.

It cannot get more significant than this. Who am I? I am God's beloved and redeemed. I belong to Him.