Thursday, May 21, 2020

Partaking of the Divine: The Rock Speaks Vol. 2 (2)

In the end, every advertisement fails.

In the end, every idol falls.

Too bad that we were forced to read “Great Expectations” when we were young; when we were never excited about required reading and just skimmed the Clif Notes! This great Charles Dicken's novel (originally published as a serial from December 1860 to August 1861)  captures human desire of status and social acceptance through a character named Pip.

Because I taught literature, I was blessed to finally enjoy it more, many years later. I remember HATING it as a high school junior but CHERISHING it as a young man in my 20's trying to find the purpose and meaning of life and love. Education is often wasted on the young!

Pip experienced the letdown of life.... like we all do.

It was the subtle frustrations that Pip noticed first. Maybe you feel this way right after you open an delivery:

My (new) clothes were rather a disappointment, of course. Probably every new and eagerly expected garment ever put on since clothes came in, fell a trifle short of the wearer's expectation.

Then, the dreaded day when he discovered his whole life had been based on a lie; that his secret benefactor was a criminal and his legitimacy as a gentleman forever tarnished:

“All the truths of my position came flashing on me; and its disappointments, dangers, disgraces, consequences of all kinds, rushed in in such a multitude that I was borne down by them and had to struggle for every breath I drew.”

And, without Christ, every human narrative has this SAME foundation; regardless of fortune, fame, power, or pursuit.

I wish there was some 'easy button' or program that works in every situation. But everything comes up short, and that is a primary catalyst for perpetual change. The world is always changing because improvement and reformation is essential to a world of decay and corruption.

Right after the salutation in 2 Peter, there is an amazing advertisement... a 'take it or leave it' ... an 'all in one' package that is loaded with eternal promise... slow down and really think about what Peter is selling here:

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, [4] by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Peter 1:3–4 ESV)

I have been thinking about this small, rich deposit for many days now- and it could take decades to truly wrap my head around these 68 words.

Just when you are ready to give it up for loss.... you find a small, quiet, simple truth.... if you can dare to believe!

God has already given to you ALL you need for life..... God has already given ME everything I need...

He is calling us to Him... it is a process and a journey... a quiet walk, a bloody conflict, a climb marked by death and failure, but also a solid pursuit with times of peace and unspeakable joy, a mission with meaning.


One important ground stone that keeps us moving in life with peace and joy is a steady, clear purpose AND destination.

There is an interesting 'destination' in this set of verses.... it is something for us to 'BE' and on the surface it seems rather weird. " that... you may become partakers of the divine nature".

Does this mean we will become gods? NO

It is a place- now and the not yet.... and it implies renewal... and it doesn't come with a task list.

Just in this passage, we get hints to what the 'divine nature' is:

power, life, godliness, knowledge, glory, excellence, promises from the Creator, escape from corruption.... it is an essence, an attitude, a steady state yet not stale, a pursuit of holiness yet not stifling.

I just finished the mesmerizing and thrilling documentary series on Michael Jordan, The Last Dance, rushed in production and pushed out in reaction to the pent up demand of sports fans shut in by Covid-19. I was so happy with it and so impressed by the way the story was told moving back and forth in the timeline of Jordan's life.

I loved it, but I do not want to 'be like Mike'. Would I love his competitive fire and talent? ABSOLUTELY! But Mike is like any man, an unbalanced mixture of beauty and beast.

There is a deeper call that beckons us BEYOND the longing we have to 'Be like Mike', or a desire to 'be like Bond'- in the end, even their lavish lives have trap doors and skeleton closets.

As I watched the series, I found myself admiring Michael Jordan, Phil Jackson, Scottie Pippen, and yes- even Dennis Rodman.. but I also was praying for them. As cool as Phil Jackson's mystical approach to life is- I still want him to know Jesus Christ and find an authentic taste of the divine nature of the one true God who has faithfully revealed Himself in the Bible and who cries out for us to pursue Him. The one who offers to pay the debt of all sin from an unending bank account of righteous blood.


who called us to his own glory and excellence

Our mission is also a calling- God is calling us to shine a weighty significance on His name and reflect that glory by our excellence.

This is sneaky.. because it implies our 'being' does result in our 'doing'


There are things to DO to set us securely on the mission to BE! And we act according to our nature.

We have to be disciplined to display excellence. 

What is discipline? It is saying NO - put off a desire because we understand the payoff will be better if we wait and work...... the gratification delayed is more desirable!

Get up early? No fun... but is the best way to have a profitable day.
Work? There are no shortcuts to success.
Eat healthy and exercise? Great benefits.....

But without DISCIPLINE, we are limited in the acquirement of knowledge and skill.

We HAVE to obtain knowledge... and it doesn't just come in by osmosis.

Power comes THROUGH knowledge- and it is knowledge of Him.... look at the personal pronouns here:

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godlinessthrough the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, [4] by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promisesso that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature

Jesus said that this knowledge OF God (not about Him) is the initiation, source, and sustenance of eternal life:

And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3 ESV)

AND with this knowledge of Him leads to a parallel discovery as well.

"Precious and great promises"- that THROUGH THEM... we become partakers of the divine.

What are the promises of God? Literally every page of your Bible... handwritten by God's Spirit and guaranteed by His blood.

Peter's task for you.... get to know your Bible with depth and expertise.

We see this all the way back into 1 Peter and the allusions to "written" and 'Scriptures" saturates Peter's writing:

1 Peter 1:23–25

[23] since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; [24] for

“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
[25] but the word of the Lord remains forever.

Interesting advice from a fisherman!

If I could ever have just one wish for my children, or my friends, or any human being is they would have a deep hunger and a keen interest in the Word of God. Anything that is 'of the Lord' that is in me has a multi-faceted infusion with the Bible. My happiest moments in life are those times where I get lost in God's Word and, as I read it, I feel the Holy Spirit burning it in my soul.

Yes, there are days I ignore it, days I skim, days I an bored.... but every now and then, it hooks me and before I know it, I am eating and drinking from the fountain of the divine. And though I know the old man will visit again soon, for a little bit- I am elevated and I am convinced I am changed.

As we lose our ability to enjoy reading, we are losing a vital weapon .. we are losing spiritual milk and meat.

If the shadows of sin are hiding the glory of God in this world today, it is because most Bibles sit in book cases unopened. It is like having lights, but never flipping the power on.


read it one more time.... a drink it to the last drop....

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godlinessthrough the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, [4] by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promisesso that through them you may become partakers of the divine naturehaving escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Peter 1:3–4 ESV)

Do you see the result?

We have all we need for life... we have all we need for godliness- what is required is DIVINE power, unleashed by knowledge- bathed in the security and hope of PROMISES...and as we partake of the divine nature, there is a REACTION

We get delivered, we escape, we are saved from corruption that is the fruit of sinful desire.

I wish I had the time to indulge my reader on the plan that Ben Franklin put forth to accomplish  "the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection."

He wrote about it in his famous "Autobiography":

" I wished to live without committing any fault at any time; I would conquer all that either natural inclination, custom, or company might lead me into. As I knew, or thought I knew, what was right and wrong, I did not see why I might not always do the one and avoid the other. But I soon found I had undertaken a task of more difficulty than I had imagined. While my care was employed in guarding against one fault, I was often surprised by another; habit took the advantage of inattention; inclination was sometimes too strong for reason." 

He worked on it... making a daily ledger where he would write sins and virtues.

"I made a little book, in which I allotted a page for each of the virtues. I ruled each page with red ink, so as to have seven columns, one for each day of the week, marking each column with a letter for the day. I crossed these columns with thirteen red lines, marking the beginning of each line with the first letter of one of the virtues, on which line, and in its proper column, I might mark, by a little black spot, every fault I found upon examination to have been committed respecting that virtue upon that day."

And in this great attempt, he soon found a truth we all know.....

"I entered upon the execution of this plan for self-examination, and continued it, with occasional intermissions, for some time. I was surprised to find myself so much fuller of faults than I had imagined;"

And even a man like Ben Franklin, finally ran out of steam

"After a while I went thro' one course only in a year, and afterward only one in several years, till at length I omitted them entirely, being employed in voyages and business abroad, with a multiplicity of affairs that interfered; but I always carried my little book with me."

And that is the case of every person who seeks to 'be better' or 'be good' or 'acquire godliness"

In the end, it is all a gift- God's call, God's power, God's promises, 
and through them, 

we find a gradual escape from corruption...

and as Peter will soon show.... a final escape from destruction!


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