17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
2 Peter finishes with a final warning to the young believers to not be carried away by the lawless teachers. Remember we are not set free from sin to go back to breaking the law. We are set free to fulfill the Law of Christ to love God with all your heart, soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Paul says it well in Galatians 5:1, "it is for freedom that Christ has set you free, stand firm then and do not let yourselves be yoked again to slavery."
But he finishes with a positive challenge as well, after warning them about all the things to avoid. He says, "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." This verse is a great summary of the whole Christian life.
1. Grow in grace. It is sounds like an oxymoron but it doesn't need to be. Grace is an undeserved gift. We receive grace by faith or trusting in God's promises regarding Jesus. But grace like a gift not only needs to be opened, but used. God's grace is the fuel for the Christian life, because it is Christ working within us. The more we know grace, the more we grow to be more like Christ. Notice it is the grace of our Lord and Savior. Growing in grace does not mean we do it outside His presence and purpose in our lives. For the goal of this gift of grace is to make us more Christ-like so that we become who we are intended to be. As Paul says in Colossians 1:28, "we proclaim and admonish him so that we might present everyone perfect in Christ". Although we never achieve perfection in this life, it is the goal of the Christian life.
2. Grow in knowledge. Notice too this is the knowledge of Jesus Christ. We need to grow in our knowledge of Jesus. Who He is. What He came to do. What he teaches. The mission He gave us, the Great Commission. But this is not an intellectual knowledge alone, but an intimate relationship with Jesus. Jesus shows how important this is as he trains his own disciples. He knew they would come to know him, as they spent time with him. They would come to know him, by doing what he commanded them to do. We see that in the book of Acts the disciples are merely doing what Jesus taught them in the power of the Holy Spirit he promised them. You can't know someone without spending time with them in an intentional way. Many people come to know Jesus, but then drift away never to return. Or some become indifferent through the distractions of the world. But Jesus waits for us to come to him, so he can fully develop us by His grace.
How do you see the gift of grace? Is it something you receive as a gift to bring you salvation and that is it. It is as if we start with grace and then say, "don't worry Jesus I've got the rest on my own". But Peter tells us to grow in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. The two go together, you can't have one without the other. When you find Jesus through the great gift of grace, you want to get to know the gift giver. You want to become like Him. So you might say when someone does not understand grace they really don't know Jesus.
So the question today is, "Do you want to grow in grace?" Do you want to know Jesus in a deeper way? Do you really want to be His disciple? Do you want your life to look more like His? What changes do you have to make in your life to make this your number one priority? As we make this commitment to know Him, we can be sure that He will work in us to bring about His purpose in our lives to the glory of God the Father. Amen.