“By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
“By which” refers to the things God gives us in the previous verse. God’s power gives us “exceedingly great and precious promises.” “Which” is in the plural. The plural may indicate that knowledge of our glory and virtue makes known God’s promises to us.
have been given to us
The word “given” is the same word as the previous verse meaning to bestow or endow. God makes a gift of His promises. “Given” is not the usual word for “give” and carries the idea of grace by the giver. God gives His promises with no strings attached.
The Greek indicates that God gave us these promises in the past, with the result continuing to the present. All along our spiritual journey, God gives us spiritual equipment for the pilgrim pathway.
Note the word “us.” God discriminates to whom He gives His promises. The “us” is not just anyone; it is only those who embrace his Son. Not everyone is a child of God.
God puts at the disposal of every Christian divine operating assets whether or not we utilize them, whether or not we are aware of them.
Are you discouraged because people rejected you for some sin you committed? You sing the blue that the bird with the broken wing will never fly so high again. You heard a sermon somewhere that you become a second class Christian after you “blew it.” People ostracized you from certain Christian circles. You feel that you do not belong anymore. You sense God completely set you aside.
How do you know that God still has a plan for you after you have blown it? If you still breathe, God has a plan for you. It makes no difference how you feel because your feeling does not determine your spiritual status.
Our fellowship with God does not depend on who we are but on who Jesus is. There are many Horatio Alger stories out there. Someone was flat on his back financially, and now he is a millionaire. People say, “That sounds like a good deal; I think I will try God.” These people are not truly interested in God; they are interested in making money. They think that if they tithe ten percent of their income, then they will become millionaires. They think they found a way to rub the genie. They kick in their10% because they want something from God. “I’ll go along with his routine so that I can get something from God.”
Many people think this way about God. “I will witness every day, and maybe God will give me that girl.” No, God deals with us in grace, and there are no strings attached. God takes the hopeless, helpless, and useless and uses them in His own plan by His grace.
God operates by grace. Everything we have, we have by grace. If we do not know how to link up with His grace, it is because we do not have “knowledge” (v.3). We must learn what our assets are and what to do with them. We cannot profit from our spiritual wealth if we are not aware of it. We cannot apply what we do not know.
If we do not know what these assets are, we have to resort to living the Christian life by emotionalism. We go from one spiritual shot in the arm to another. Activity will not substitute for learning our resources in Christ. We live in a day where Christians resort to anything as long as it is not serious Bible study.