In 2 Peter 1:4 (GW) it’s written: “Through these promises you will share in the divine [godly] nature because you have escaped the corruption that sinful desires cause in the world.”
This sounds unbelievable. We can share in godly nature? What does that actually mean? Aren’t we insulting God if we say that we could be godly – like God?
What is godly nature?
To believe that I personally can share in godly nature does not mean that I am trying to become greater or the same as God. God is many things that I will never become, for example, He is Almighty, the Creator, He knows everything, etc.
To share in godly nature means that my own nature becomes more and more like God’s nature. For example, godly nature is:
And above all, loving
None of us are like that by nature without having been influenced by sin at some level. “Good” human virtues are always limited and imperfect, and there is often a lot of self-seeking in them. There is for example a huge difference between human righteousness and human love, and the righteousness and love of God.
In James 1:13 it’s written about God that He cannot be tempted by evil. But every human being can be tempted, because we have a sinful nature with sinful lusts and desires which cause us to be tempted. That is human nature. But if I don’t give in when I am tempted to sin, then step by step the sin in my human nature ”dies”. Then God can create these godly virtues, which are pure and perfect, in my life. It is a process of transformation, where my old sinful nature is step by step changed to a new nature, a godly nature.
Slowly but surely the fruit of the Spirit, which is another way of saying godly nature, starts to replace the sin in my human nature. This is clearly written in Galatians 5:16-26. As I faithfully follow Jesus, overcoming sin whenever I am tempted, my actual nature becomes godly instead of staying human. I can follow Jesus’ example because I have the Holy Spirit within me, who shows me where I have to change and gives me power to overcome!
This doesn’t happen automatically. It only happens if I use the opportunities I get daily to overcome things like pride, irritation, impure thoughts, evil suspicion, jealousy, gossiping, laziness, selfishness, etc.
Jesus – One we can follow
It is written that Jesus was equal with God. But He humbled Himself and He was born to be a man, and then He was obedient to the point of death, which is why God has highly honoured Him and gave Him a place and a name above all names. (Philippians 2:5-11.) It is also written that all the fullness of God lives in Christ’s body. (Colossians 2:9.) That means that while He was in a human body, Jesus was fully changed from having a human nature which could be tempted to sin, to having a godly nature.
And now I am to follow Him on this same way – by being humble and obedient when the Holy Spirit shows me where I have to change. Through faith and patience this is possible. “For this reason make every effort to add virtue to your faith; and to your virtue, knowledge; and to your knowledge, self-control; and to your self-control, patient endurance; and to your patient endurance, godliness; and to your godliness, brotherly kindness; and to your brotherly kindness, love.” 2 Peter 1:5-7 (MEV).
It isn’t something that I can do on my own. It is something that God does in me, a miracle, but then I have to be humble and obedient when He shows me what I should give up. Then I and other people will see that my actions, motives, and purpose in life become godly – they are far above what is “normal” for people. The result of God working this miracle in me is that I start thinking the way God thinks.
The fact that God can do such an amazing work in me as a normal, natural human being with a totally sinful nature, is so amazing that I will praise, honour, and glorify Him for all eternity for what He has done in me. Then my life, the new “creation”, will truly bring honour and glory to God. This is the hope that I have, what I fight for, what I live for, and what my eyes are firmly fixed on.