August 27, 2020 by Bob Whitaker
From what we know historically, the epistles of I and II Peter were written to a group of Christians who were attempting to follow Jesus in the midst of persecution. Peter opens the second epistle with an encouraging word: May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord (II Peter 1:2). Then at the end of the same epistle he repeats that phrase as an admonition: But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forevermore! Amen (II Peter 3:18). Those are powerful words of encouragement and admonition, so how should we follow them? There are many ways we might follow this advice but I invite you to consider three.
First, we grow in grace when we remember our status. That begins by recognizing the undeserved favor that God has given us in Jesus Christ. Not only are we saved by grace but we are people who are called to daily live in the light of that grace. As the hymn puts it, I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see. That was not true just once, it continues to be true. As Christ-followers we realize that we continually need forgiveness, that we are always in need of having the blinders removed so that we might see how to continue our discipleship.
Second, we grow in knowledge by consuming the truth of the Word. As Psalm 19 reminds us, the Word is like honey dripping from the comb, like food for our souls. Obviously, we cannot survive for long without the daily nutrition of food and water. In the same way, we will become malnourished if we neglect the spiritual food of God’s Word. Of course, this ought to include more than reading; it should be meditation and memorization. Again, the Psalmist reminds us to hide the Word in our hearts (Ps. 119:11).
Third, we grow in grace and knowledge by following or imitating our master. Dallas Willard reminds us of a very important discipleship principle. The aim of the popular teacher in Jesus’ time was not to impart information, but to make a significant change in the lives of the hearers. Of course, that may require an information transfer but it is a peculiarly modern notion that the aim of teaching is to bring to people things that may have no effect at all on their lives. The whole point of Jesus’ teachings was that they should be lived out in the real world. Following Jesus was like being an apprentice or intern. Jesus did not give handouts to the disciples. There is no evidence they took notes. They listened, they watched and they followed. Like those first disciples we are called to be apprentices in the good news, not only to listen but to follow.
I hope that today you will grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.