But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…
2 Peter 3:18
Have you ever thought about how to grow in the Lord’s grace? When you think about it, it’s something we all should want to happen. I certainly want more of God’s grace to be given to me, and I’m sure you do too. How does that happen?
It’s really neat that God through Peter commands us to grow in His grace at the end of 2 Peter…after having spent a good portion of the book telling us exactly how to do that. He opens 2 Peter by saying, “May grace and peace be multiplied to you…” (2 Peter 1:2). Note that He mentions grace again, and wants it to be “multiplied” to us; in other words, He again expresses His wish for us to grow in grace (and peace).
How do we do it? He says, “…in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:2). Thus, we grow in God’s grace when we grow in our knowledge of Him and His Son. This is why the book ends with a command for us to grow in grace AND knowledge of Jesus (2 Peter 3:18).
What does it mean to grow in the knowledge of God and Jesus? The next verse says, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3). God has already given us all we need pertaining to our spiritual life and being godly….how? Through knowing Him.
It is by this knowledge of God that “He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire” (2 Peter 1:4). We’ve all heard of “human nature,” but God wants us to partake of His “divine nature.” He wants us to become more like Him. That’s how we escape being corrupted along with the rest of the world. We no longer have those sinful desires that will condemn us to hell because we give into them.
The key is to come to know Jesus, and the next verses tell us exactly how to do that. Peter writes that we must “make every effort” to take the faith in God we have and add certain traits to it: virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (2 Peter 1:5-7). He then says, “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful”…in what? “…in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8).
You want to come to really know Jesus so that God’s grace and peace will be “multiplied” to you? It takes more than just your faith. It takes continually growing more virtuous, continually growing in your knowledge of the Word of God, continually growing in self-control and perseverance, continually growing in godliness and being kind to your fellow man, and continually growing in love. Jesus is the epitome of each of these qualities. The more we add them to our lives, the more we come to know who Jesus really is because we are becoming more and more like Him.
What if Christians lack these qualities? What if Christians are not growing in them? If that’s the case, Peter says such are “so nearsighted that (they are) blind, having forgotten that (they were) cleansed from (their) former sins” (2 Peter 1:9). On the other hand, if Christians are “all the more diligent to make (their) calling and election sure” by “practicing these qualities,” they will “never fall” because it is “in this way” that “there will be richly provided…an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10-11). In other words, any baptized believer can know for sure they are going to heaven by diligently growing in each of these traits, in spite of their shortcomings and failures.
Sounds like God’s grace has been “multiplied” to such a person. They’ve grown in God’s grace…why? Because they’ve also grown in their knowledge of God. They’re becoming more and more like Him.