Living by faith in the very great promises of God

Byline BLee

“… He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature.”   – 2 Peter 1:4

Peter tells us here that we can partake, or join, in God’s nature through the promises He has given us. Even as I write I feel the need to take a minute to allow that revelation to sink in. You probably need to do the same as you read.

I think this is perhaps one of the most underrated verses in the entire Bible because it gives us a key to help unlock one of the greatest mysteries of the Kingdom.  Paul tells the Colossian church that God chose to make known the riches of the glory of the mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col 1:27). When we are born into God’s Kingdom and become His sons, we are not merely called to imitate Christ. We are actually called to partake in His nature. Paul says this elsewhere when he proclaims that he has been crucified with Christ and that he no longer lives, but that Christ now lives through him. It is a glorious mystery that, through the Gospel, we can actually be united with Christ and are able to abide in Him.

And while I myself won’t attempt to unpack this deep mystery (as if I could), the Scriptures make it clear where we can find one of the keys to unlock the secret.

“… He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature.”   – 2 Peter 1:4

If it is through God’s promises that we may become partakers of His nature, then my question for you is, “Do you believe in God’s promises?”

  • Do you believe, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” —1 John 1:9
  • Do you believe, ““No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” —1 Corinthians 10:13
  • Do you believe Jesus’ words are for you when he says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” —Matthew 11:28-29
  • Do you believe that if you “Delight yourself in the Lord; that He will give you the desires of your heart.” —Psalm 37:4
  • Do you believe “that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” —Romans 8:38-39
  • Do you believe “All things work together for good to those who love God and have been called according to His purposes. – Romans 8:28

I was reading about Joseph this morning and was struck by the radical way in which he believed in God’s promises. He believed God would be faithful to accomplish what He promised, even though he wouldn’t be alive to see it.

Joseph was a faithful man and God gave him favor in every stage of his life. It was through Joseph that the family lineage of Abraham (along with all of Egypt) was preserved. God chose to use Joseph to rescue an entire generation that would have otherwise been wiped off the face of the earth because of seven years of extreme famine.

Joseph provided a safe place in the land of Goshen for his father to live out the last chapter of his life. Joseph used his influence to provide for his father, his brothers, and their families. By every account, life in the land of Goshen was good for the family of Israel, but Joseph had not forgotten God’s promise to bring them into a land that he had promised Abraham a long time ago. Despite all that God had given him in Egypt, he still longed for another land. He so strongly believed God’s promise that, as he gathered his family around him as he was dying, he shared these final words with his brothers:

“I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” (Gen 50:24-25)

He realized that he would not be alive to see that day when God would bring His people into the land that He had promised them. And although he might not be alive to see the promise fulfilled, he used his last words to affirm his faith that it would in fact be fulfilled. After sharing these words this remarkable man, who had accomplished so much in his generation, died. He died believing God’s promise.

Joseph longed for that promise to be fulfilled so much that he charged his brothers to bring his bones with them when that day had come. If you know the rest of the story you know that his brothers all died long before that day came. In fact, 300 years passed between Joseph’s death and the Exodus of God’s people out of Egypt.  Joseph’s final wish was that his bones be taken into the Promise Land. That wish must have been passed down generation after generation because in Exodus 13:19 we read:

Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.”

May we believe God’s promises like Joseph did. As we learn to take God at His word and believe in his precious and very great promises, we will become partakers of His divine nature. As we are united with Christ and learn to abide in Him, God can use us to accomplish His purposes in our generation.

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