In the final words of Peter’s second letter it says, “be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do with the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 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 3:14-18)
Grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.
Why would Peter tell us to do this and what does it mean to grow in grace and knowledge?
This begins with having a proper view of our salvation, and continues on in our spiritual maturity from there, so that we can actually live out an abundant life in Jesus the way He intended us to. In Ephesians 2, it says “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
When we first come to Christ, we hear this message of salvation and come to general understanding of what grace is and how we are saved by it through faith. Yet, in the growing process, many Christians follow a similar path of as they see their lives change from living immersed in sin and darkness, to sinning less by living in the light of Christ through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. This path and process isn’t exact for every believer, but the tendency to revert to a mindset of legalism with a sprinkle of grace can be a real battle that will hinder our growth in our relationship with the Lord.
Peter’s word for us to “be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace”, isn’t telling us to live by the law, but that we do need to keep growing. As was mentioned in last week’s devotional, Peter was told by Jesus three times to feed His sheep, so it’s undoubtedly something that was in Peter’s mind as he wrote that in order to be found without spot or blemish and at peace, that we need to be diligent to grow, which comes through eating up the Word of God that will nourish our spirits.
Peter mentions the wisdom of Paul, and how some things are hard to understand, which has led ignorant and unstable people to twist the Scriptures, and he warns us to not get carried away with that, but to instead grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus. Notice that Peter says Paul had wisdom given to him. That is important because we too can receive wisdom by the very same One who gave it to Paul. James mentions that very clearly when he said, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5)
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” (Proverbs 9:10)
Track with me here:
To fear the LORD is the beginning of wisdom > if we ask God for wisdom He will give it generously > the wisdom we receive from God will help us to not get carried away with the error of being ignorant and unstable and twisting Scripture, but instead lead us to seek after the knowledge of the Holy One to gain insight in which we will be growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Charles Spurgeon had this to say, “Our duty is to keep to our main goal and continue on in knowing, not this or that specific doctrine, but the Lord Himself. To know the Lord – this is eternal life. Let us continue in this pursuit, for in this way we will gain complete instruction. By following on to know the Lord, we learn healing after being torn, restoration after being smitten, and life after death.” (Spurgeon)
Jesus is the way we need to follow, just like He told His disciples, “Follow me”, we too must follow Him in truth in order to have abundant and eternal life. And just as Jesus prayed in His High Priestly prayer, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3). The more we spend time with God through reading and prayer, the more we grow in the grace and knowledge of our God.
Yet, we don’t grow of our own accord or rely on ourselves for growth, because our hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9) and as we read in 2 Peter, it’s the ignorant and unstable who twist the Scriptures. We must ask for wisdom and let the Holy Spirit lead us into all truth, the truth of whom is Jesus. (John 14:6)
I’ll leave you with these last quotes by Spurgeon, which I think sums up pretty well how we grow in grace and knowledge as we read the word and follow Jesus daily, walking by faith:
“Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years… The Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth. Is not this His gracious grace? Rely upon Him to fulfill it.” (Charles Spurgeon)