top of page

Participate

Updated: Jul 2, 2023





As the early Christian movement grew, the church began to experience false teachers. These teachers had different claims about Jesus and His return. Written toward the end of Peter's life (1:13-14), the letter of 2 Peter is a warning about these groups of people. Peter's prescription to stand against false teachers is for Christians to grow and mature in their faith.

2 Peter 1:5–11

“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. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”


We will not explore 2 Peter verse by verse in this series. I want to spend some time here exploring what it means to participate with the Lord as we add to our faith (1:5).


A Light In The Darkness


Is the square black or white? The square is neither black nor white. It's both. At times this is difficult for us. We like for things to be one or the other, not both. But the square is both at the same time. It is black, and it is white.


The difficulty many of us experience with Jesus is this, He is both. Jesus is fully human, and He is also fully Divine. Often we think Jesus is one or the other. However, Jesus is both. John, in his gospel, speaks about this great truth.


John 1:1–5

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”


Moving down in the text of John, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (Jn. 1:14). What is John sharing with us? Jesus is both. Jesus is fully God and fully human. He is not one or the other. Jesus is both.


Jesus, fully Divine, took on flesh and stepped into our world. The same One who made "all things" also suffered blisters on his hands, times of hunger, isolation, joy, tears, hurt, loss, and laughter. He was fully human. But, He was also fully God! Yes, at any time, Jesus had the ability to use his divinity to "assist" his humanness. He could have turned stones into bread when hungry (Matt. 4:3). He could have saved Himself and come down from the cross (Matt. 27:38-44). Although God, Jesus was fully human.


Let's say a big company suffered a flood or storm. Everything is a mess. The company's CEO shows up in his work clothes the next day to help clean up. He's sweeping, and another worker says to him, not recognizing who he is, "Hey, you missed a bunch over there." The CEO thanks him and goes and sweeps up the missed debris. Now, could he have used his power as CEO in this situation? Absolutely, but this day he chooses to be recognized as every other worker. Jesus, fully human and fully God, identifies Himself with His creation.


In His humanity, Jesus fully pleased the Father in all things. Jesus, fully human, was without sin (Heb. 4:15). Jesus is, as Peter describes, a light that shines in the darkness of a broken world (2 Peter 1:19).


Having Escaped the Corruption


Peter describes Christians as "having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:4). What Jesus did in His flesh made it possible for us to experience a taste of life that God plans for us.

We live in a fallen and broken world (Gen. 3). Our world suffers the effects of sin. Things are not as they should be. We, as humans, suffer from the effects of a broken world as well as the effects of our misguided wisdom. Led by misguided wisdom, we each fall captive to transgression and sin. We each suffer the brokenness of sin (Rom. 3:23). Unfortunately, this brokenness is the human condition we all experience.


However, Jesus rescues us from the human condition. Jesus did what we cannot do ourselves (Rom. 8:2-4). Through His death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus takes on sin. He condemns sin in the flesh (Rom. 8:3). Through Him, that is, through Jesus, we have the opportunity to participate in new life (Rom. 6:4). It is in this new life that we, as Christians escape the corruption of this world. Christians experience a taste of what God plans, new life in Him. This life will be fully experienced when all things are whole renewed in Him. This is the picture the Apostle John reveals.


Revelation 21:1–7

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful." And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.


Partakers


The Apostle Peter is concerned with our growth and maturity as Christians. His prescription for standing against false teaching is maturity in Christ. Spiritual maturity begins with God's provision.


2 Peter 1:3–4

“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.”


We are given all we need to live a new life of godliness through the knowledge of Christ. At a basic level, this is an understanding of what Christ has accomplished for our escape from the corruption of sin, our salvation. But, the radical message of Christ is a transformed life. One in which we participate with Christ. We are partakers of the divine nature.


Partaking in the divine nature does not mean that we, in some way, become God. What it means is that we participate in the nature and character of Jesus. Partaking in Him, we experience a foretaste of what will someday be the reality. A world and a life fully and wholly renewed. A world not tainted by the effects of sin. A world where every tear will be wiped away and no more death, sorrow, or crying will occur. No more pain, where the experience of these former things will have passed away (Rev. 21:3-4). New life in Christ is the foretaste Christians participate in when we live transformed lives in Him.


Bridging The Context


New life in Christ is the life Peter desires for all Christians to both grow and mature in. We do this as we participate in Christ's character and nature.


2 Peter 1:5–11

“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. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”


Over the next several weeks, we will focus on what Peter calls for us to supply to our faith as we participate with Christ.


The complexity is that we are now both. We are living in this middle place. We are created new in Christ and participate in His new kingdom now. However, we still live in a broken and fallen world as we look forward to the reality and fullness of His kingdom to come. As Christians, we live the foretaste of what will one day be fully in Christ. In the middle, we participate with Christ in new kingdom living, and it is here that we are to reflect Him to others.



notes:

Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


resources:

article: Participate

handout: Participate

slides (PDF): Participate

series image: Increase



Comments


bottom of page