Growing: Grace and Knowledge
Peter wrote a second letter to his brethren for the purpose of reminding them of certain truths. Foremost, judgment is coming, and the world will be destroyed. God is patient. That does not mean that He will not keep His word despite what critics say. God’s patience is not a reason to disbelieve, it is an opportunity for us to be saved. “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:17-18 NKJV) Growing in grace and knowledge is a safeguard against falling away. How does one grow in both grace and knowledge? Peter had already addressed this at the opening of his letter.
Peter revealed that intimate knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord is the key to growing in grace. That knowledge is the key to life and godliness. Without it there is no access to the grace or to the promises of God. “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:2-4 NKJV)
The Roman letter helps us understand that grace is accessed by faith. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2 NKJV) It also reveals that faith is a product of God’s word. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17 NKJV) It all comes back to God’s word. Knowledge of God and His word produces faith. Faith provides access into grace. Grace provides eternal life, the gift God has promised. All this is possible through the preaching of the gospel! (Romans 10)
Evangelists “plant” and “water” or, if you prefer a construction analogy, evangelists lay a foundation upon which one can build faith. “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:5-11 NKJV)
Grace, in the form of eternal life, would not be possible without the revelation of God’s word. That revelation is in, and of itself, also an expression of God’s grace. We must continue to grow in knowledge so that we can understand and accurately teach God’s word. Apollos, for all his ability, had incomplete knowledge. “Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.” (Acts 18:24-28 NKJV) This godly couple, sharing just a few minutes of their knowledge, were instrumental in influencing many other believers!
You have been given God’s grace in the form of the gospel. Believe it. Continuously grow in it. Share that grace with others.