What Does Partake Mean?
Partakers of the divine nature.
To be a partaker of the divine nature is not, of course, to become God. That cannot be. The essence of Deity is not to be participated in by the creature. Between the creature and the Creator there will always be a fixed gulf in terms of essence; but as the first man Adam was made in the image of God, so we, by the renewal of the Holy Spirit, are in a diviner sense made in the image of the Most High and are “partakers of the divine nature.”
We are, by grace, made like God. “God is love”;1 we become love—“whoever loves has been born of God.”2 God is truth; we become true, and we love what is true. God is good, and He makes us good by His grace, so that we become the pure in heart who will see God.
Moreover, we become partakers of the divine nature in an even higher sense than this—in fact, in as lofty a sense as can be conceived, short of our being absolutely divine. Do we not become members of the body of the divine person of Christ? Yes, the same blood that flows in the head flows in the hand: And the same life that quickens Christ quickens His people, for “You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”3 As if this were not enough, we are married to Christ. He has betrothed us to Himself in righteousness and in faithfulness, and he who is joined to the Lord is one with Him.
Marvelous mystery! We look into it, but who will understand it? One with Jesus—so much so that the branch is not more one with the vine than we are a part of the Lord, our Savior and our Redeemer! While we rejoice in this, let us remember that those who are made “partakers of the divine nature” will display this high and holy relationship in their relationships with others and will make it evident in their daily walk and conversation that they have escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. O for more divine holiness of life!
1) 1 John 4:8
2) 1 John 4:7
3) Colossians 3:3
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