Live Like a Champion (Week 2)

Series:  Live Like a Champion: Victory Through the Promises of God!

“The Promise of Becoming Partakers of the Divine Nature!”

2 Peter 1:3-4 (NAS95)


Last week, we learned that we are going to learn how to live like a champion by learning how to live in the victory of the promises of God. Our guiding image for this series is being a member of an NFL team who wins the Superbowl. In order for this to happen, every player on the team has to play like a champion.


That means, each player must do the following four things:

(1) Know the team’s playbook;

(2) Train to be in great shape;

(3) Listen to the coach; and

(4) Work together with all the other players as one team.


In the same way, as we learn the precious and magnificent promises of God so that we may become partakers of the divine nature to the glory of God, we must also do those same four things:


(1) Know God’s playbook—the Bible—by learning the promises of God.

(2) Train ourselves for godliness by learning to live according to the promises of God.

(3) Learn how to listen to the Coach’s voice so that we play the right play at the right time.

(4) Work together as members of God’s family—His Church.


Never forget, the championship celebration is in our future and we are invited to live like champions, as one team, today. Today, we are going to learn an overarching truth about the promises of God that will allow us to live like champions because we know that the Victory is already ours in Christ Jesus!


Listen to Peter’s words from our theme verses for this sermon series, 2 Peter 1:3-4,


Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 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 promises of God are both a future-focused faith (hope) and a present practice of our faith (behavior). Partaking in God’s nature is both a promise of immortality (eternal life, salvation, saved, etc.), but also the life of a new morality (Christlikeness, godliness, righteousness, holiness, etc.).


Paul taught us this is the meaning of our baptism; the imagery of our being united in Christ’s death and resurrection.
Listen to Romans 6:4-5,
“Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.”


Your submission to this ordinance is critical to your living a life of victory. By God’s grace, through faith, believers become partakers in the divine nature and now share in the resurrection of Jesus Christ; in other words, we live in the victory of this future hope and that allows us to persevere to the end and to live with hope in the face of the most difficult of situations. Because we are partaking of His victory and our baptism is a proclamation of our fellowship with God and our break of fellowship with the world and its corruption.


Paul taught in Ephesians 4:22-24,
“in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”


In order to learn how to live like champions, I need to define two terms from our 2 Peter 1:3-4 passage:


(1) Promise, as used by Peter in the original language, is focused on the content of what God has promised; there are precious and magnificent promises we are to know! That is the point of this entire sermon series—to take time to examine the promises of God and then apply them to our lives, so that we can live like champions, which is why we need to understand the second word: “partake” and the larger concept.


(2) Partakers of the divine nature. The best way to accurately understand this is to realize that the Greek word for “partaker” shares the same Greek root word as koinonia which means, “fellowship”. Partaking in the divine nature is NOT to become a god, but, rather, to have fellowship with God. Furthermore, to be God’s partners in His divine power to bring about His precious and magnificent promises through Jesus.


We are called partners with God through Christ’s Victory, not because of anything we bring to the table, but because of what God has bestowed upon us. As Paul reminds us to clearly in his picture of this truth in 2 Corinthians 4:6-7,
“For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.”


Through His divine power, His precious and magnificent promises that were “granted to us”, which, according to the original language means that our status with God has been lavished upon us or bestowed by royalty. And it’s grammar (perfect participle) implies that this granting which was done in the past is still effective in the present and will continue to be so in the future. The promises are based on a past reality (justification) that will find fulfillment in the future (glorification), and is efficacious today (sanctification).


John made this very clear in 1 John 3:1,

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed [lavished] on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”


We have a fellowship with God that will never end; eternal life starts at conversion through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ, and your fellowship in the divine nature becomes more visible and effective as you grow in Christlikeness through the true knowledge of the Son of God and His precious and magnificent promises. This is God’s divine work in you; the zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this!


Paul said something very similar in Philippians 1:6, 9-11,

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. … And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.


A commentator explained,

God has given saving promises to his people, so that they will become like God. They will become like God and are becoming like God because they have escaped “the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” Once again, some scholars argue that believers will escape the corruption of the world at death or when the Lord returns. It is more likely, however, that Peter operated with an already-but-not-yet schema. Believers have already escaped the world’s corruption in that they belong to God, but the full realization of such a liberation will be theirs on the day of resurrection.[1]


This is the ethical reality of partaking in the divine nature. This is the praxis of the promise! Every promise of God comes with choices of how we are to live: the commissions and omissions of God’s promises!


Paul was very clear in 1 Corinthians 10:20-21 that once we belong to Christ, we are to break fellowship with this world and that which has caused it’s corruption through lust:
“but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.”


We no longer are to have fellowship with the corruption of this world caused by lust. That is our holy omission within the Great Commission! The key to this reality is that every ‘no’ you say to your lusts is so that you can experience the better ‘yes’ of partaking in God’s blessings in your everyday life.


The promise that we will partake of the divine nature is not only some heavenly-minded teaching that we get to go to heaven one day (yes, praise God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ we have escaped the mortality of this perishable body (1 Corinthians 15)), but partaking of the divine nature is also the taking on the life of Jesus Christ—the sharing in the moral qualities of who Jesus Christ was and joining Him in His mission on earth, of why He came and to what He rescued us for.


When you share the nature of something or someone, you take on their qualities and character. You become the fruit of that which you are grafted to. You are a branch upon the Vine that bears His fruit (John 15).


Peter taught us that we have everything we need, through His divine power, for godliness and life. That’s a promise about the precious and magnificent promises that have been lavished upon you through the Victory of Jesus Christ—IT IS DONE—the promise of resurrection (John 19:30) and consummation (Rev. 21:6), both of which are guaranteed to us through Jesus’s Victory—these are His promises!


The promises of God equip us with everything we need to live in victory. They are a both-and, for this life and the next, for salvation and sanctification, for heaven and earth!


The promises of God gives us the hope to keep the faith; and the faith to love; and the love to be like Jesus.


Allow me a closing illustration of how this works, using a common phrase from Christianity.


What would you think if I were to say to you or one of your loved ones after I visited with you, “May you rest in peace”?  It would be heard as a harbinger of death and not appreciated by you or anyone in the family.  


Honestly though, if we understood the promises of God, we should pray this for one another every night and every Sabbath day and even, if we are willing to learn, as we work hard in your day-to-day lives.


The rest that God promises is not just for heaven, but also for this life! I could make a convincing argument that the greatest evangelist witness we could display right now is to be peaceful and restful, inside and out.


Listen to Matthew 11:28-30,
“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. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”


Every precious and magnificent promise of Jesus comes with a praxis—it’s His yoke! We experience peace by learning to live in the yoke of Jesus, and the yoke is an agricultural metaphor for coming into the Christian life of discipleship, the life of obedience and submission to God, under the power of the Spirit.


Let me connect that back to our theme verses. As one commentator explained about 2 Peter 1:3,
“By the divine power evident in Christ’s life, death and resurrection he has called men and women to be Christians, and when they come to knowledge of Christ in Christian conversion they also receive through that knowledge the grace of Christ which will enable them to live a life of obedience to God.”[2]


Furthermore, this is your partaking of the divine nature—your “fellowship with the Spirit” as Paul invited us to in Philippians 2:1-2,
“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” (cf. 2 Cor. 13:14).


In other words, outside of the yoke of Jesus there is no peace because outside of His yoke there is no relationship with God …so, rest in peace; have fellowship with God; partake of Him and in His nature, walk as He walked, in the power of the Holy Spirit.


To complete this little illustration, “Rest in Peace” is a promise with a praxis, yes for Heaven, but more so for today, just as Paul promised in Philippians 4:7 & 9,
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [&] “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”


In conclusion, the promises of God teach us how to live faithfully on a day-to-day basis. This is the content of the promises of Jesus Christ—the same divine power that gives us hope of eternal life, once partaken of, henceforth, directs and empowers how we live today.


In fact, that is the exact intent of Peter who book ends his letter with this reality. Listen to 2 Peter 3:13-18, the last verse of Peter’s letter and our last scripture for today’s lesson:

But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You, therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.


The promises of God are a both-and! They are your future-hope and your present-faith! God is inviting you to have fellowship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ. All of His promises can be yours in Him.



[1] Thomas R. Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, vol. 37, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003), 293–296.

[2] Richard J. Bauckham, 2 Peter, Jude, vol. 50, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1983), 192–193.

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