Peter opens this passage with these words in verse 3: “he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature.”
There are many great and precious promises which God has given us in the Bible. These are blessings for our good; and while we don’t always know what’s good for us, God does. His promises are according to His own good purposes for us. The purpose given here is that we may become partakers of the divine nature. God uses promises to cause us to trust in Him. It is by faith that we receive all of the blessings that God promises. The blessings come through actively trusting that God is good and he will do what he has promised.
For example, let’s look at two promises of God:
- “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die’” (John 11:25, NIV).
- “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness” (John 12:46, NIV).
Both these are good examples because it is pretty easy to see how they apply to this present life.
The first promise, gives the hope of life after death. Everybody dies, but Jesus is saying that upon death we’ll see him again because He rose. That will be good news for those who love him, and very bad news for those who don’t. This promise is for the present because the body we’re living in now has an expiration date, and Christ has a glorious new body for believers.
The second promise has to do with following Christ. Christ came to destroy sin and the devil’s control over us (see Acts 26:17 ). If we think of sin as darkness, then Christ is promising to light up our lives. This is in the present tense in the Greek, so these things that Christ promised begin now and later find completion when we get to heaven.
What Peter’s concerned about in this passage is that we arrive safe and sound in heaven—a basic concern that any good shepherd of Christ would have. We do this by taking the promises of God and acting as if they are really for us. Given to us as something we should seriously build our lives upon
We’re full citizens of Christ’s Kingdom now, but we’re living in a hostile land that questions the validity of God’s good promises. By “partakers in the divine nature,” Peter is echoing what Paul the apostle taught in Philippians, and since Paul there provides a very clear description of that what that divine nature looks like in us now, I will end my devotion with it: “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:1‑5, NIV)