Grace that Grows

In the apostle Peter’s closing doxology of his second letter, he reminds us of a necessary pattern of Christian life that is easily forgotten. Peter personally knew the power of Jesus’ saving grace that patiently persevered through his life. For Peter, grace was never a ‘one shot for life’ deal. No, he knew that just as Jesus continuously applied grace in his life, so he needed to ensure the growth of that grace which would provide ongoing assurance of his faith in Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

For the believer, God’s grace has no ‘expiry’ or ‘use by’ dates. Peter, like us, could never say he’d changed enough, and the Holy Spirit could stop His transforming work of sanctification for greater Christlikeness. Similarly, I’m sure Peter would never say there’s no more ways to be explored for God’s grace to flow through him into others. Grace can never be left alone if we wish to be the channel through which it pours into other’s lives.

Therefore, Peter signs off with the exhortation to 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 (2 Peter 3:18). The continuous flow of Jesus’ sourced grace is recognised and experienced as the believer continues to grow and mature in their knowledge of Him. More specifically, Peter implies that we should never give up developing our understanding of Jesus as our Lord, as our Saviour from sin, and as our Christ (Messiah King).

There is an inescapable connection between Jesus’ grace and our knowledge of Him. They are inseparable. One cannot be neglected without the other suffering equal loss. Peter is not referring to an intellectual accumulation of facts about Jesus, as if we were writing an encyclopaedia. He is speaking of knowledge that is more thoroughly understood and equally more thoroughly experienced in the expressions of grace in our appreciation and outward giving of it. Jesus’ grace in an ongoing way is intrinsically intertwined with our daily exploration of the knowledge of Him. 

Peter doesn’t leave us hanging in an endless cycle of pursuit here. No, he points to the God intended destination of grace and knowledge, which is the day of eternity. Our earthly walk has purpose, it has a goal, and that goal is fixed in a future location called heaven, in the eternal presence of God. The child of God cannot grow in grace without growing in real world knowledge of Christ. The combined result will be increasing joyful anticipation of reaching God’s destination.

The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write a similar exhortation in Colossians 3:16-17. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

All this goes to say; to him be the glory. Although we often pray for Jesus to be glorified, I suspect we pray this with little thought to how God would answer it. Here, Peter provides a condensed explanation of how God glorifies Christ. It’s through intentional growth for the open declaration of Jesus’ grace, of Jesus’ truth, and hope for Jesus’ heavenly destination. As Paul says, these realities can only be mined from the written Word of God and fertilised by the controlling presence of the Holy Spirt. By God’s grace, may this be true in each of our lives.

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