Greetings and good morning, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. In today’’s broadcast we share some further insights into acquiring the divine nature.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Acquiring the Divine Nature
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matthew, Chapter 5, Verse 48
Brothers and sisters, the divine nature resides in our minds and souls in the form of the divine spirit, the divine will. It is this nature in whose image we are made. This is the nature that Jesus commands us to acquire when he says, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." And since this nature resides within us, we can know this nature and can choose it. "For this commandment which I command you this day is not hidden from you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou should say, who shall I go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea that you should say, who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word nigh unto you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that you may do it." We can choose the Father’’s will, which is the divine nature.
Now it is important to remember that this divine nature functions in our personal lives, those interactions where we share mutual moral obligations, the one with other. The divine nature does not operate in non-personal relationships (corporate relationships). Corporate relationships are dominated by ethics. Ethics are the rules that we follow when interacting with each other in a non-personal manner. And though ethics dominate corporate relationships, it is also so true that those same ethics are developed under the auspices of the divine nature. Thus the rules of ethics are characterized by fairness and justice.
It is important for us to remember the distinction, for we have to operate in both arenas of life, the world of Caesar and the world of the heavenly Father, the personal and the non-personal. There is no conflict between the two. When we serve Caesar, we are governed by the rules of ethics; when we serve the Father, we are governed by rules of the heavenly Father. It requires some thought, but the two can be harmonized. But in our discussion to day we shall focus on our personal relationship with one another, which is the province of the divine nature. The Father is living love; therefore all relationships with him and consequently with each other are characterized by living love.
We have a great personal task in this life. We must develop a spiritual nature like the Father as revealed in his Son, Jesus. But how do we choose the divine nature so that it becomes our nature? We know that it is the Father’’s will that we take on this divine nature in the image of his Son, Jesus. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the perfect revelation of the divine nature. He commands us to love each other as he loves us. To love one another as Jesus loves us is to love divinely. Such a display of the love of Jesus indicates that by doing so, we have taken on the divine nature. If Jesus commands us to love each other as he loves us, then Jesus must also provide the power to do so, otherwise such a command would be impossible and meaningless. It is the spirit of Jesus, the Spirit of Truth which enshrouds our souls, that imparts moral and spiritual power that makes it possible for us to know the divine nature, to know the will of the heavenly Father. It is forever true that whosoever shall seek to know the divine nature, the will of the Father, shall comprehend it. And this is demonstrated in our personal interactions with each other in our display of the fruits of the spirit.
What is the technique by which we acquire the divine nature? By submitting our will to the Father’’s will, we acquire the divine nature. There are many who ask what the Father’’s will is, and how we submit our will to the Father’’s will? This is a very important question. We hear so much about doing God’’s will; when we see the results of some of these methods of discerning God’’s will, we shrink in horror as we realize that there is no way, no how, that these results could be the result of doing God’’s will.
Even though God and the heavenly Father are the same individual, they do not have the same function, and neither is our relationship the same with God and with the Father. If we mean the heavenly Father when we say God’’s will, then we are right, but observation has shown that those who attempt to relate themselves to God as God have very poor concepts of what it means to do the Father’’s will. The term God is undefinable by subabsolute and subinfinite beings, for no matter how we define the term God, it will always be infinitely and woefully inadequate to define the reality of God. Only the Infinite can comprehend the Infinite.
But the term Father is meaningful to finite and imperfect beings. We are all familiar with the concept of father and with the function of a father. Therefore, we can immediately relate ourselves to God as Father and assume the role of his sons and daughters. By designating God as our Father, which he is, we now have a better platform for seeking and knowing the Father’’s will, as well as an absolute alignment of our relationship with him.
Now that we have the right relationship, we can further deduce what the Father’’s will is. The Father is absolutely perfect, we are absolutely imperfect. And like all fathers, even earthly fathers, it is his will that we become perfect, that we mature and grow up and take our rightful place in the scheme of things. It requires maturity on our part to function satisfactorily in the scheme of things. We must mature morally and spiritually. This is the meaning of "Be you perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect."
Now how are we to obtain this moral and spiritual perfection? This is not a passive but active process of becoming perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect. We do this by submitting our will to the Father’’s will, thus putting us into the active growth cycle. The spiritual nature must be built upon a moral foundation, and this moral foundation must be strong enough to support the rapidly growing spiritual nature of our souls.
The moral and spiritual natures are related this way: The moral foundation grows in proportion to the degree to which we make right decisions, choosing good over evil. And in our minds in the moral arena there are always two opposing choices: our way and the Father’’s way. Because we are moral creatures, we can discern and choose the Father’’s way, which is the right and therefore the best way. Whenever we choose a right decision over a wrong decision in the moral arena, our moral foundation (moral character) grows. At the same time, whenever we choose a moral decision, the divine nature is able to weave itself more and more into our nature, thus slowly but surely transforming the human nature into the divine nature, into the "image of his Son." As our moral nature is elevated, so are our spiritual potentials actualized.
As our spiritual potentials are actualized, the divine nature--now an intrinsic part of the fabric of our soul--is reflected outward in the form of the fruits of the spirit. Jesus has said that he is the vine and we are the branches. The fruit flows from the vine into the branches. Thus we see that when we consistently commune with Jesus, seeking the Father’’s will, we open the floodgates of his love and mercy. We also release the revelations of truth, beauty, and goodness, divine qualities that form the basis of our choosing the Father’’s will, for the Father’’s will is always true, beautiful, and good. We can rise above our selfish animal natures and identify and respond to our divine natures. We have free will and we can choose out of which nature we will act. The divine nature is ours for the asking. "Ask and you shall receive." The Father delights in revealing his love and mercy to his children. He would have all of us to come into a saving knowledge of the truth.
By the technique of submitting our will to the Father’’s will, we are increasingly transformed into the divine nature, into the image of his Son, Jesus. As we choose so we become. Each time we make a decision subject to the Father’’s will, that decision allows the divine spirit which is the divine nature to infiltrate more into the fabric of our souls. And when this infiltration is completed, we will have assumed the divine nature permanently. We will have obeyed the Father’’s mandate to be perfect even as he is perfect. We will have perfected our moral and spiritual characters. And this perfection is not a static perfection, it is dynamic. We still make moral and spiritual decisions in the face of moral and spiritual stimuli, but now we make perfect responses to these moral and spiritual stimuli. Our responses are always motivated by love and dominated by mercy.
This concludes today's message on further understanding how we acquire the divine nature. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.