The apostle Peter introduces his second letter in the New Testament with these words of encouragement, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature.” (II Pet 1:2-4).
What does life look like for a “partaker (i.e. sharer) of the divine nature?” Peter goes on in verses 5 through 7 to list the evident qualities of our spiritual life – faith, virtue, knowledge, self control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love – in a pattern similar to the fruits of the Spirit of Galatians 5:22-23. Peter’s catalog begins with faith. Faith is the foundation of our fruitful life.
Faith is believing that “God’s divine power has granted us everything pertaining to life and godliness.” Faith is believing we are “sharers of the divine nature.” Faith is believing the “precious and magnificent promises of God.” Faith is believing that everything God promised to make new at our salvation did in fact happen. The promise of a new nature, a new identity, a new heart, a new disposition, a new relationship with sin, a new power, a new Spirit inside, a new freedom, and much more has been the theme of this blog for several months.
By faith, we believe that one outcome of the new birth is a fruitful life. Fruit is the natural result of a healthy tree. It is not the result of a tree working hard to produce something that does not come naturally. It is the same in the Christian life. Spiritual fruit should come naturally to us because we are infused with divine, resurrection power. We often picture spiritual growth working in opposition to our deepest desires – characterized as dark and evil, but this is not the case. Our deepest desires now have a God-bent and the “working out” of our Christian life – the “practice” of our Christian life – is watering our God-bent desires, feeding these desires, and allowing them to come to full bloom.
It all starts with faith. Growth in the Christian life is the result of believing “the precious and magnificent promises of God” (vs 4), not the result of working harder to keep this list or any other. Do you see the difference? We will continue to explore the difference as we move forward.