But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.2 Peter 3:18(HCSB)
The grace of God spills over the pages of Peter's epistles like so many sparkling jewels, and in the final words of his letter, we are encouraged to grow in the grace of God that has been so freely bestowed on all who believe in His free gift of salvation. We are to dig our roots down deep into the depths of His Word, and we are to reach out into the farthest extremities of His grace, which are higher than the heavens above and deeper than the ocean depths.
But the apostle Peter also makes it clear that our spiritual growth and our progress in the Christian life must be a continuous maturing in grace and an ever-increasing knowledge and understanding of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Growing in God's grace is not the accumulation of facts and information about the Lord Jesus, but a day by day transformation of our life, as we become increasingly like Him in disposition and character. This only happens to the one that is walking in spirit and truth and is submitted to the guidance of the Holy Spirit - Who by grace is conforming us day by day into His lovely likeness as we die to self and live for Christ.
Spiritual growth is an ongoing process of becoming more like the lovely Lord Jesus. As more grace is added to the grace we have already received, the more we mature in the faith and change into the beautiful image and likeness of the Lord Jesus. Just as we need physical exercise and nourishing food for our bodies to grow and develop, so also we need spiritual exercise to mature in the faith. We need the milk and meat of the Word to become strong in the Lord and carry out the work that God has prepared for us to do.
Firstly, we are instructed to grow and expand our trust in God. We are to mature and ripen our precious faith, and we are to stand on His promises and believe His Word. We are to develop and flourish in our dependence upon the Lord as day by day, the Holy Spirit works within, to direct, govern, lead and chasten us, and to conform us into the image and likeness of His dear Son.
As we die to self, live for Him, and do His perfect will, He begins to remove every trace of prideful-self and vanity’s fleshliness. As we walk in spirit and truth and submit to the Spirit's leading, we discover that we will grow in every facet of grace and virtue, faith and love, holiness and understanding, wisdom and obedience - but there's more!
We are also to grow "in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." This must be the pinnacle of God's grace, that we increase in our knowing HIM. Intimately knowing Christ is what the aged Paul sought with every fibre of His being in His final days of life, "that I may KNOW Christ." And we are to take hold of the eternal life to which we have been called. We are to pursue, with a passion, the intimate and personal relationship to which we have privileged access, as we confess our faults to our Father and keep our eyes on our God and Saviour Jesus Christ - our all in all.
Access to the same grace of God and intimate knowledge of Christ is also what Peter, in the closing days of his life, is urging all who have a saving faith in Christ to strive for earnestly, in this closing verse of his second epistle, "but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen."
We cannot grow in grace apart from the Lord Jesus Christ, for without Him we will remain spiritually stunted in our Christian life. Without Him we can do nothing. However, we are promised that we can do ALL things through Christ, Who gives us the strength, for He is able and His grace is sufficient. So let us take this verse, at the end of Peter's epistle, our focus and goal - to, "grow in the grace and in a knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." And may we, "give HIM the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen."
Christ should be the centre and circumference of our worship and praise, for all the things that He has done for us during our brief sojourn on earth. Should we not delight to worship Him in this world and rejoice that in the world to come we will show forth the immeasurable riches of His grace, in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
May we ALL grow in grace and in a knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ... for by grace we are saved through faith, by grace we are to live our lives through faith, and one day by God's grace we will pass into His wonderful presence, when we shall see Him as He is and we will be like Him and live with Him into the eternities of eternity.
Father, I pray that I may know Jesus more and more with every passing day. I thank You for the amazing grace You have poured out on me and pray that I may grow in grace day after day, for Your honour and glory. Thank You for the truth of Your Word and for apostles like Peter and Paul whom You used to open up the glorious truth that Christ died for us, was buried, and rose again, so that all who believe on Him might not perish but have everlasting life. I pray that I may grow in grace and in a knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to Whom be all honour and glory both now and into the day of eternity. This I pray in Jesus' precious name, AMEN.