When I was a youth, earnest ideologues made much of the words, ‘participants in the divine nature.’ They did this in the pursuit of godliness through adherence to the law. This was unfortunate because being part of God comes from something more human and more divine than the abstractions of the law. It is ours because Jesus is part of us as we are part of Him. Thomas Torrance writes,
“We meet with the immanent Trinity (theologian) when we encounter Jesus Christ and the Spirit in spacetime (oikonomia). Neither God nor human nature is changed by this fellowship (koinōnia): however, as the one Person of Christ remains the same in the incarnation despite the union of the two natures (henōsis hypostatikē), so in the union (henōsis) of humanity and God in salvation neither is changed ontologically but each relates to the other in a ‘real’ way. For human persons this means they become more fully ‘personed’ through participation in the divine nature.” (1)
He’s saying that we share ‘being’ with God – the spirit of sonship. Not a doctrinal assertion or a proof text position. We are literally one with God in space -time. This is ours in potential. Ours in reality when we believe it and we become sons in spirit and truth (rather than notionally).
To be ‘fully personed’ is to be made alive, whole and holy. It is to be made Godly not in a pious sense but in a practical and human sense by being joined to Jesus and in Jesus to the fullness of God in the trinity. Each member of the trinity is fully unique, yet fully part of the other. As in, “Genuine acceptance removes fear and hiding and creates freedom to know and be known. In this freedom arises a fellowship and sharing so honest and open and real that persons involved dwell in one another. There is union without loss of individual identity. When one weeps, the other tastes salt. It is only in the Triune relationship of Father, Son and Spirit that personal relationship of this order exists, and the early church used the word ‘perichoresis’ to describe it. The good news is that we have been included in this relationship and it is to be played out fully in each of us and in all creation.” Thus Jesus urges us to do better than state positions and cling to definitions. He invites us to join His being.
‘On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20 NIV. Jesus urges the ‘fully personing’ of ourselves.
This is ours through incarnation. Not ours in religion and law. Or not much. A few drips of life come through as a result of grace. We can live in the old covenant and assume we are blessed. But our blessing is a mere 2 percent of what it would be living in our inheritance.
THE I AM OF FATHER AND SONS
Baxster Kruger explains that in Jesus we are joined to God in our being and God lives in us. But in this dynamic both God and ourselves maintain the fullness of who we are. We as daughters and sons are positioned in fellowship with God to grow into the fullness of our uniqueness and so impart spirit and life in our worlds by being ourselves. We personally are a ministry of the life of the trinity and the upwelling of this spirit and life surfaces as us.
The truth is that we are participants in the divine nature but always through the incarnation and the spirit and never through the law. Any reversion to old covenant Adamic/Mosaic life dulls our perception of God, stifles our spirit and suffocates our soul and blinds our eyes to spiritual realities.
There’s nothing complex or abstruse about any of this. It’s what Paul called Christ in you and Christ your life.
(1) Torrance, Thomas F.. The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church (T&T Clark Cornerstones) . Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.