Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Supernatural,Practical, Doctrinal Christianity - P2

Yesterday we explored the practical and doctrinal elements of the Christian life.  Today we want to explore that third element: The Supernatural side. 

Picture a 3-legged stool
When I think of the Christian walk, I picture a three-legged stool.  The Christian life is all at one time a supernaturally practical, doctrinal lifestyle.  It includes all three, not just two of the three or one of the three.  All believers will gravitate to at least one of the legs more than the other two.  Some are very practically minded, others love the intellectual challenges of deep doctrine and still others are more mystical in their Christianity.  Peter is challenging us to be equally balanced in all three.

The Christian Walk is Supernatural
Peter writes in 2 Peter 1:4 "For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust."  The Christian life certainly includes the practical and doctrinal  aspects that I wrote about yesterday - but it is so much more than that.  It is indeed supernatural.

What does it mean to "partake of the Divine nature"?
This terms used by Peter is remarkable.  In the original language it could be translated: "To draw one's common identity from the Divine life of God".  How is it that our finite, creaturely existence can truly know and be known by the infinite God of glory?  Colossians 2:9 uses the same word as Peter uses here in our text translated "Divine".  Paul writes: "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form".  That "Him" in the Colossians passage is Jesus Christ.

So it is in relationship and fellowship with Jesus Christ that I fellowship, have in common, the ability to know and interract with God.  Without Jesus Christ, believers could never have any interraction with the Lord.

It must be recalled the God the Son partook of our human nature
In order for truly fellowship between God and believers to be a reality, God had to make the first move.  Hebrews 2:14-15 states: "Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives."  That word there for "partook" is the same word used by Peter here in 2 Peter 1:4 - i.e "fellowship, have in common". 

To partake simply means to have a common, shared experience with one another
Now take these two passages together, 2 Peter 1:4 and Hebrews 2:14-15, and you will see two incredible, supernatural truths emerge about you own Christian identity:

1. Just as Christ entered into the human experience by partaking of a human nature, as a believer, I can, through Christ, enter into experiencing life with God Himself by partaking of the Divine nature.

2. Just as Christ got to experience the limitations of human life without ever ceasing to be God, I get the chance, through Christ, to experience the unlimited joy and love going on in the Trinity while still remaining human.

A Christian is a supernatural human being
I heard one preacher describe all that we have talking about in this way: "The day I became a Christian, natural me, by faith, stepped into supernatural Jesus, and Supernatural Jesus stepped into natural me, thus making me supernatural."  This is why the supernatural aspect of the Christian life is not confined only to the realm of the five senses. 

I believe for instance that when I pray, what I pray for here can affect someone across town.  How is that?  I'm localized, still a creature.  Yet Christ in me is living His life out through me.  The Holy Spirit residing in my human spirit can sense nuances of situations and life that otherwise would be closed off from my eyes and ears.

Or how about in a church service when the Bible is preached.  How is it that you can get insight into a situation from hearing the preaching of a given text, and yet your neighbor walks away with another insight?  How is it that it seems that preacher made that sermon for you, and the hundreds of others in that service?  It wasn't the preacher reading your mail that day - it was the Holy Spirit of God who authored the Bible that you're reading.

These are common examples of everyday, supernatural Christianity.  In its doctrinal, practical and supernatural aspects, the Christian life is indeed remarkable.

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