II Peter 3:18 — “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”
According to the Word of God, growth is to be normal for the Christian. In our natural bodies, growth takes place almost automatically. Providing that we eat the proper foods, get the right amount of rest, and get a sufficient amount of exercise, the growth process moves unhindered as we move from being an infant to becoming a mature adult.
In a way, our spiritual growth works pretty much along the same lines. If we will take in and digest the Word of God, properly discern it and understand it, and then begin to apply it, spiritual growth will take place. If along the line of growth any of these basics are withheld or not experienced, spiritual growth can be stifled. Peter exhorted believers to see to it that they continued to grow both in knowledge and in grace. So let’s take a look at the meaning of both expectations and grasp a hold of how to accomplish this command given to us in the Word of God.
GROW IN KNOWLEDGE
The question begs to be asked, “How do we grow in knowledge?” The answer comes back to us noting several means. The first most definitive way of gaining knowledge is to become a disciple of God’s Word. The one who wants his life dominated by the Word must spend time in it. Therefore, I am not attempting to earn my growth through works, but I know that in order to comprehend God’s truth, I must spend time in the Bible every day. I must learn that all that God says is a vital part of my growth. So I discipline myself to read that Word everyday. The Bible itself proclaims the value of knowing what is in it. Paul would emphatically state that the believer is to “study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (II Tim. 2:15).
To understand God’s heart and to perceive what God says is right versus what God says is wrong requires spending time reading and studying God’s Word. Not only do I need to read the Word, but I must also position myself to hear it preached and proclaimed by anointed men and women of God. Oftentimes, a teacher is required to move me from an old mindset to the new one that I need. So, being around other Christians who know the Bible and talking to them about the things I’m learning helps to cement truths in my spirit. As well, the Bible tells us that there is safety in the multitude of counselors.
So I can grow in knowledge by the reading of the Word, by studying the Word, by being in services where the Word is preached, and by sharing my faith with friends. However, if this is how one is to grow in knowledge, what does it mean to grow in grace?
GROW IN GRACE
This Christian experience is to be an experience that models dependence upon God. From the very first moment when we exhibit simple faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, we enter into the process of grace and faith. To be honest with you, this is the only process by which God works with the human race. We are asked to believe in that which God has provided and as a result, He freely gives us what we don’t earn, labor for, or deserve. Grace can’t be obtained through the performance of religious rituals or religious exercises. To say that this is so violates the very definition of the word grace. Grace is unmerited favor; it is the goodness of God given to undeserving people; and it is unmerited divine assistance in both regeneration and sanctification. Paul would equate grace in Galatians, Chapter 3, as the effectual working of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. So, growing in grace would mean that the believer continually becomes more dependent upon God’s provision.
When I began, I trusted Him some. As He proved faithful, I trusted Him more. To experience growth in that which is freely received, my faith has to be active so that I achieve a level of dependence, the like of which I have never reached before. The more we mature in the Lord, the more we depend upon His grace to see us through. We are never to arrive at the place where we think or say that we are sufficient in and of ourselves to live this Christian experience. As time goes by, we are to be growing in our need for our Saviour and allowing His role in our lives to dominate us more and more.
To grow in grace means that we ever are increasing our understanding of what Christ did for us at Calvary so that we might ever be placing our faith in His giving to us freely of all things. Do you depend upon Him more today than you ever have in your lifetime? Do you look to Him to solve the problems of your life? Do you look to Him to defeat the sin and the weight that does so easily beset you? If the answer to these questions and others like them is yes, then perhaps you truly are a believer who is growing in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. May it ever be so!