Greetings in the name of Jesus!
I have the great opportunity and privilege of preaching this Sunday, continuing our Renewal series. We'll be taking a look at a revival that began right here in Pittsburgh. Want to know more about it? Then come to church on Sunday!
In the meantime, let's take a preview and look at our passage from 2 Peter 1:4: "Through these [God's divine power and the knowledge of Him] He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires."
What is the nature of God? When great thinkers in the past have wrestled with this question, they have come down between two different meanings of the term "nature." One is based on the Greek word "ousia," which means "
" This is in reference to God's actual being, or even "
" if God can indeed be described in terms of having a "
" The word used in this passage from 2 Peter, though, is physeos, from which we get our word "
" When one observes the physical universe, one begins to see that different creatures have traits that allow those creatures to be categorized together-similarities and nuances that make them of the same genus or species.
So we ask, what traits make God different, besides the ones that we cannot ever really relate to (things like Him being all-powerful, perfect, holy, all-knowing, and present everywhere at the same time). If we go by this definition, the primary thing that makes God different from the world that He created, or even the people He created, is that God is perfect love, and God perfects parts of His created order through the exercising of that virtue and power-love. No one else can do that. The Scriptures say, in fact, that God is love (1 John 4:8). God the Father's love 'inspired'
take on a nature that was foreign to Himself
for the sake of human persons. This is what we celebrate on Christmas Day-the incarnation, when God was born into this world. The great Christian saint, Athanasius, said the following: "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God." He
did not mean that we could, in some idolatrous way, "be God" and have all of God's authority. What he meant was that because Jesus loved us by becoming human, we can now participate in the divine nature! We are called to love like God, because God, in His love, became one of us.
So where does that leave us? If God's nature is love, and the exercise of that love, by God, was to leave the "
" of heaven and enter into existence with those He intended to save, how are we to act? Well, we too are to leave our comfort zones, enter into the daily lives of those we seek to reach, and love them.
Our next church-wide opportunity to participate in the divine nature of love is through Vacation Bible School this week. We can love those people we don't know very well, whether kids, parents, or grandparents- by getting to know them. We must remember that Christ's nature-the nature of love, welcomes in the stranger and calls them friend, as alluded to in
Brothers and sisters, we implore you! Get involved this summer. If you can volunteer for some of the outreach events we're doing, please do so. If you can't because of mobility issues or because you have to work, or are away, please commit to praying for those events. If Ashley or Brant call or email you, consider a "culture of yes" to their requests, trusting that they are following the Spirit's lead. Last, next Thursday evening from 5:30 till 9:00 pm in our church parking lot, we have our annual "SummerFest" picnic. We're trying earnestly to invite and befriend the parents of all the kids that came to VBS that week, and the VBS program will be incorporated into the fun event. Please show up with a heart open to building a friendship with these parents. Life is hard for parents these days-perhaps you might have a listening ear, a gentle piece of advice, or hands and hearts ready to pray and also help integrate these folks. Please consider the ways that you might participate in what God is already at work doing in our midst.
Yours in Christ,