Spiritual Growth and Spiritual Knowledge
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
We are considered new born babies in Christ the moment we repent from our sins and receive Him as our personal Saviour. Physically speaking, a baby cannot remain a baby. Whether we like it or not, the cute little baby will grow naturally. Spiritual growth is a bit different. Some Christians never grow! That’s why our text here written by Peter commands us to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A. Definition of Grace:
1. The free, unmerited eternal salvation of God (Eph. 2:8-9).
2. A spiritual gift and empowerment (Ac 14:26).
B. Two Kinds of Grace
1. Saving Grace. We are saved by grace (Eph. 2:8-9).
2. Serving Grace. The ability to serve God. (Rom. 1:5; 12:3, 6; 15:15; 1 Cor. 3:10; 2 Cor. 1:12; 8:1-2; 9:8; 12:9; Gal. 2:9; Eph. 3:7-8; 4:7; Heb. 12:28).
3. We were saved by grace (Eph. 2:8-9), but grace does not end there! We must also be strengthened by grace (2 Tim. 2:1-4). God’s grace can enable us to endure suffering (2 Cor. 12:7-10). His grace also helps us to give when giving is difficult (2 Cor. 8:1) and to sing when singing is difficult (Col. 3:16).
Our God is “the God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10), who “giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6). As we study His Word, we learn about the various aspects of grace that are available to us as children of God. We are stewards of “the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). There is grace for every situation and every challenge of life. “But by the grace of God I am what I am” wrote Paul (1 Cor. 15:10), and that should be our testimony as well.
Growing in grace often means experiencing trials and even suffering. We never really experience the grace of God until we are at the end of our own resources. The lessons learned in the “school of grace” are always costly lessons, but they are worth it. To grow in grace means to become more Like the Lord Jesus Christ, from whom we receive all the grace that we need (John 1:16). (Bible Exposition Commentary).
Illustration: Strength for Ministry (2 Tim. 2:1)
1. Saved by grace. (Eph. 2:8-9)
2. Stand by grace. (Rom. 5:2)
3. Serve through grace I Cor. 15:10 (illustration of wick and oil. If the oil runs out, the wick burns. As long as there is oil, the wick doesn’t burn. The question to ask: what’s burning?
4. Sustained by grace. (II Cor. 12:9)
5. God can minister grace through my speech. (Eph. 4:29)
6. God gives grace to grow. (II Peter 3:18).
C. Growing in grace is growing spiritually. It is connected or has something to do with the Christian graces mentioned in 2 Peter 1:5-7. The list is as follows:
1. Faith – Our Lord Jesus Christ is the object and source of our faith
2. Virtue – Godliness, moral goodness,
3. Knowledge – state or fact of knowing
4. Temperance – self-control, self-restraint
5. Patience – ability to endure when circumstances are difficult
6. Godliness – God- likeness
7. Brotherly kindness – sincere love for the brethren
D. To grow in grace is to be more like the Lord Jesus Christ who is the source of all grace (Jn. 1:16).
E. Practical things to do to grow in grace
1. Read, study, and meditate, on the Word of God daily or regularly. (2 Tim. 2:15)
2. Pray. Be prayerful. (1 Thess. 5:17)
3. Put into practice or apply what you have learned from the Bible. (2. Tim. 2:2)
4. Rely on God in any situation. Have faith, trust Him no matter what. (Prov. 3:5-7)
5. Avoid evil people, or anybody that can weaken your spiritual life or testimony. (2 Cor. 6:14)
6. Be a member of a Bible believing, Bible practicing, and Bible Preaching Church where you can learn more Bible truths and will have an opportunity to serve the Lord. (Heb. 10:25).
7. Examine yourself regularly. Check your spiritual life. (2 Cor. 13:5)
II. Spiritual Knowledge
A. Spiritual knowledge comes through the Holy Spirit and is focused on the person and Word of God, a personal acquaintance with the Lord Jesus Christ.
B. Knowledge of the Word is the only way we can know God truly.
C. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is the application of the facts you have known.
D. The knowledge of God is essential to our growth in Christian character and our ability to recognize and avoid those who teach what is false.
E. Knowing the Lord is such a big thing that we cannot know everything there is to know about Him. It is a process that will go on from now to eternity.
F. The good thing is, the more we know the Lord Jesus, the more we will love Him.
G. It is possible, unfortunately, to grow in knowledge (have Bible truth in our heads) and never grow in grace (show Bible truth in our lives). Peter wants us to have balanced lives: we should learn and live the Word.
Illustration: Effects of the knowledge of God
1. Those who know their God have great energy for God (Dan. 11:32)
2. Those who know God have great thoughts of God (Dan. 4:25, 5:21). He knows and foreknows all things, and therefore will have the last word, both in world history and in the destiny of every man.
3. Those who know their God will have great boldness for God. (Acts 5:29, 20:24).
4. Those who know their God have great contentment in God. There is no peace like those whose minds are possessed with full assurance that they have known God, and God has known them, and this relationship guarantees God’s favour to them on life, through death, and on forever. (Dan. 3:16-18). (Knowing God by J.I. Packer)
Indeed we have to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to glorify God in our lives. The more we know Him the more we can have greater fellowship with Him and the more we will love Him and serve Him. Let’s glorify God always.