[ VERSE OF THE DAY's Pentecostal Feature ]
Achieving Your Potential in Christ:
X   Theosis   X
Plain Talks on a Major Doctrine of Orthodoxy
By Fr. Anthony M. Coniaris
Edited by G. A. Henry

Achieve Your Potential: Theosis (1)

Achieve Your Potential: Theosis (2)

Achieving Our Potential in Christ: Theosis (3)
Achieving Your Potential in Christ: Theosis (4)

The Bible and Theosis

Man Does Not Become A God

What Theosis Is Not

The Bible and Theosis

THE BIBLE HAS MUCH TO SAY about theosis. The most quoted verse for theosis is one which seems rather isolated to some, i.e., II Peter 1:4, "...become partakers of divine nature," or as the NEB translation says, "to share in the very being of God." Although II Peter is a very explicit statement about theosis, there are many other verses in the Bible that refer to salvation as "participation" or "sharing" or "fellowship" with God.

St. Paul says that we are made to be "filled with the fullness of ... God" (Ephesians 3:19). What is being "filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God" but theosis?

The Apostle John writes that God's Son and Spirit have appeared on earth to bring God people and the world into the fullness of God's being and the life of the Kingdom: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. And of His fullness we have all received..." (John 1:14, 16).

In John 17:22-23, Jesus prays the prayer of theosis: "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one...."

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich" (II Corinthians 8:9).

"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus... But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you" (Romans 8:1, 9-11).

Theosis, participation in the life of God, is further evidenced in verses such as the following which speak of God in us: "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him" (John 14:23). "...It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me..." (Galatians 2:20). Paul's desire is that "Christ is formed in you" (Galatians 4:19).

When the Apostle John says that "it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is," he is referring to the future theosis of those who were now made children of God (I John 3:2).

Psalm 82:6, which is quoted by Jesus in John 10:34 is another strong reference to theosis: "'I said, "You are gods"'?" We see in this verse that even in the Old Testament, which is the guardian of monotheism, the word "gods," which Jesus quotes, was applied to people. It speaks of the God-given potential of theosis.

When we unite ourselves unto Christ we become "transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18). "And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man" (I Corinthians 15:49).

Christ took His human nature into heaven. There our glorified and deified human nature already stands before the throne of God. "For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3).

"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ, and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:4-6).

"...Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). When Christ dwells in us, His presence creates a unique "hope of glory." Describing this "hope of glory," C.S. Lewis wrote in his book "The Weight of Glory": "The promise of scripture may very roughly be reduced to five heads... firstly, that we shall be with Christ; secondly, that we shall be like Him; thirdly... that we shall have 'glory'; fourthly, that we shall in some sense be fed or feasted or entertained; and finally, that we shall have some sort of official position in the universe - ruling cities, judging angels, being pillars of God's temple."

Truly, when we consider God's promise regarding theosis, "it does not yet appear what we shall be" (I John 3:2).

The author of Hebrews takes this a step further when he speaks of our share in or partaking "of the heavenly calling" (3:1), and he declares that we are made partakers of Christ and of the Holy Spirit. Finally, the Apostle Paul again affirms that those who rise in Christ will "put on" God's own incorruptible immortality.

St. Paul speaks of the fullness of God's presence abiding in us, when he prays, "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all" (II Corinthians 13:13).

All these verses constitute only a small part of the many references to theosis found in the scriptures.

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Last updated on June 9, 2000