Having the Life and Nature of God, Life-Study of 2 Peter, Message 4, pp. 28-30
HAVING THE LIFE AND NATURE OF GOD
We have seen that the divine nature denotes what God is, that it includes the ingredients, the constituents, of God's being. Because we are children of God born of Him, we possess God's life and also His nature for our enjoyment. Because I have proclaimed this truth according to the Bible, some have condemned me and falsely accused me of teaching deification. They say that I am deifying myself and teaching that the church is God and should be worshipped as a part of God. We utterly repudiate this false accusation! A child born of Chinese parents will certainly be Chinese. Then what about us who have been born of God? Through our new birth, regeneration, we have been born of God, and we are God's children. Because we have been born of God, in life and nature we are the same as God. In this sense, those who are born of God are divine. But we definitely do not participate in the Godhead, and we definitely do not become an object of worship. We have God's life and nature, but we do not become part of the Godhead.
Certain early church fathers taught concerning the deification of the believers. But they did not teach that the believers attained to the Godhead or that they would ever be worshipped as God. Rather, they meant that Christians, those who have been regenerated of God, have God's life and nature. We, the regenerated ones, are the same as God in life and nature, but we are not the same as God in position in the Godhead. Concerning this, we need to be very careful. Actually, I do not use the word deification. It would be heretical to teach deification in the sense of claiming that believers attain to the Godhead. But it is according to the Scriptures to teach that because we have been born of God, we possess the divine life and the divine nature and that, in these two aspects, we have become the same as God. We definitely cannot participate in the Godhead or have the position to be worshipped by others as God; nevertheless; through regeneration we have God's life and nature.
We need to come back to the pure Word of God and tell others that whoever believes in the Son of God is born of God and has the right, the authority, to become a child of God. As such, he has the right also to partake of, to enjoy, the nature of God. Therefore, we have God's life, we are enjoying God's nature, and we have the position of God's children. But we definitely do not have the position of the Godhead, the position to be worshipped by others as God. Daily we should partake of the divine nature and enjoy what God is, the contents, the ingredients, of His being. By what way do we enjoy the divine nature? First, we enjoy the divine nature by the full knowledge of the One who has called us by His glory and virtue and to His glory and virtue. Because of this, He has given us many precious and exceedingly great promises. Second, we need to escape the corruption that is in the world by lust; that is, we need to abstain from lustful living. Indulging the lusts of the flesh annuls our right to enjoy God's nature. But if we escape the corruption that is in the world by lust, we shall cooperate with the God who is now operating in us according to His promises to carry out His virtue and glory. If we cooperate with God's operation, we shall become those who enjoy the divine nature.
We have the position, the ability, and the provision to become partakers of the divine nature. As we enjoy God's nature, a part of this nature becomes our holiness, and other parts become our humility, love, kindness, and other virtues. These excellent virtues will eventually consummate in glory. What a marvelous privilege this is! We do not have the language adequate to describe it. Praise the Lord that we human beings can have God's life, enjoy God's nature, live as God lives, express Him as our godliness, and have all the excellent virtues that will consummate in glory!