4b That by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Having described the promises of God as “exceeding great and precious”, the apostle Peter now enumerates God’s ultimate purpose in giving His promises to the believers. God’s plan is to aid the believers, through the promises, to become “partakers of the divine nature”.
The Greek root word for “partaker” (koinōnós) is the same Greek word for “fellowship”. It means sharer or partner. What does it mean to share in the divine nature? It certainly does not denote the teachings of the heathen religions that man would ultimately be absorbed into what they call the divine one or become one with their so-called “god”. The notion that the creature could become one with the Creator is not only totally contrary to biblical teachings, but is also absolutely abhorrent to God!
It is important to note that Peter did not say that we might participate in God’s being, but in His divine nature. The term “nature” here indicates God’s character, and not His essence and substance. The expression “divine nature” does not indicate the Person of God. We can never participate in God’s Person, for we are and will always remain as human beings whom God has created. The last portion of our verse gives us a clearer understanding of what Peter meant by “divine nature”. Peter sheds light on the intended meaning of “divine nature” when he mentioned “having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust”. So the divine nature is the opposite of “the corruption that is in the world through lust”. In other words, we are called to partake in God’s holiness. Hebrews 12:10 also mentions the same purpose of God concerning the believers that “we might be partakers of his holiness”. Likewise, in Ephesians 4:23-24, the apostle Paul exhorts us, “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
God gave us the promises that we may be attracted to His holiness to become partakers of it. We should not be like those who are allured by the material prospects of this world and become partakers of the corruption of its lust (or evil desires). “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1).