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“Partakers of the Divine Nature”
2 Peter 1:4
As all men were created in and simultaneously with the first Adam, all God’s elect were created new and simultaneously with the last Adam, Christ. As we had being in Adam from the beginning of creation, all God’s elect have had being with Christ from eternity. Being born of Adam in natural generation, we necessarily partake of Adam’s nature. And being “born of God” in regeneration, we are made “partakers of the divine nature.” As the seed of the first Adam partake of his nature, the seed of the last Adam partake of his nature.
Two Natures at War
The children of the first Adam are born of the flesh and are earthy in all their thoughts, feelings, and affections. The children of the last Adam are born of the Spirit and are spiritual and heavenly in all their thoughts, feelings, and affections. The children of the first Adam are born for the earth. The children of the last Adam are born for heaven.
These two men, the old and the new, Adam and Christ, flesh and spirit, dwell in every child of God in this world; but they do not dwell together. They are in a state of perpetual warfare (Romans 7:14; Galatians 5:16-25). The flesh, the old man, is altogether sinful and corrupt. It can do nothing but sin. The spirit, the new man, that which is born of God, is altogether righteousness and cannot sin (1 John 3:5-10).
Ruined in Adam
Our existence in Adam was a representative existence, yes; but it was more. It was a real, vital existence. We had being in our father Adam from the beginning, being created in him and with him. Our union with him in the Garden was real. When he sinned, we sinned in him. When he died, we died in him. It is not merely that we were reckoned to have sinned and reckoned to have died. — We sinned in Adam and we died in Adam, because we were one with Adam from the beginning.
Made Fit in Christ
Now, here’s the good news. — Our existence in Christ from the beginning, before the foundation of the world, our eternal union with Christ, was and is a real, vital existence with the God-man, our Mediator, Surety, and Savior. When he stood forth as our Surety before time began and was accepted of God as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8), we were accepted in him and blessed with all spiritual blessings in him (Ephesians 1:3-6).
Yet, before we could enter heaven as heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, something more must be done. Justice satisfied does not make anyone fit for heaven. Righteousness imputed does not make the ransomed sinner worthy of heavenly glory. It is only when redeemed sinners are made “partakers of the divine nature” in the new birth that the righteousness of Christ is imparted to them and they are, by the grace and gracious operations of God, made “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Colossians 1:12). The imputed righteousness of Christ in redemption makes us worthy of heaven. The imparted righteousness of Christ in regeneration makes us fit for heaven.