Christians Are to Grow in Grace

We are called upon as Christians to, “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ…” (2 Peter 3:18). What does this mean? Peter, earlier in his second epistle, pointed out the areas in which we are to grow. Notice what Peter has to say in 2 Peter 1:2-8.

Christians are to Grow in Grace | Oak Grove Church of Christ

After introducing himself in verse1, Peter expresses his desire that grace and peace be multiplied to his readers. But how? Can we grow in grace according to our own ideas? Are we left in the dark as to how to accomplish such growth? No. Peter tells us in verse 3 that God’s divine power, “hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness…”

How has He done that? Through “the knowledge of knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” The same thing Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:18 that we are to grow in along with grace – knowledge of Christ!

How Do We Grow in Grace?

First, we must escape “the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:4) Why should we grow in grace? Because the “knowledge of him” (2 Peter 1:3) gives us “exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature…” (2 Peter 1:4) Again this carries the idea of growth. The American Standard Version reads here, “that through these ye may become partakers of the divine nature…”(emphasis mine).

We grow into and become “partakers” in the “divine nature.” But what exactly is he talking about? I believe he is speaking about holiness. God is holy and Christians are called to be holy, even as Peter had written in his first epistle. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy…”(1 Peter 1:15-16).

When we grow in grace through the application of God’s word to our lives, we grow in holiness. This is also known as sanctification.

How is this growth possible? Peter says, “beside this, giving all diligence…” (2 Peter 1:5). The American Standard Version words it slightly different, “Yea, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence…” (emphasis mine). God has provided “all things that pertain to life and godliness” through His Word, but there is something more required on our part. We need to add to what God has already done for us and it is the doing of this that brings us closer and closer to partaking of the divine nature.

We need to put forth the effort to learn and apply and grow in God’s grace. Peter says, “giving all diligence.” Diligence is Biblically defined as, “earnestness in accomplishing, promoting, or striving after anything…” (Thayer’s Greek Definitions) Diligence is working hard toward a goal. It requires resolution and grit to achieve. Diligence overcomes obstacles and hurdles over barriers. Diligence may be the most important factor as we, “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

What Areas of Christian Grace Are We to Grow?

First, in 2 Peter 1:5, Peter says that we are to add to our “faith.” Faith is the baseline. Faith, when met with our obedience, is when our salvation is enacted. Faith is where we begin our journey. Many people reach the point of faith, but never actually embark on the journey, sort of like a hiker who makes it to the trailhead, pitches camp, and then never goes anywhere.

We must add to this faith in order to grow.

God has supplied the means by which we obtain this faith (2 Peter 1:3), but we also must supply some things if we are to grow. The American Standard Version here says it this way, “in your faith supply…” God has supplied the means, we must supply the effort if we are to “grow in grace.”

In 2 Peter 1:5-8, he lists seven areas in which we are to grow; these are what we often refer to as the “Christian Graces.” Paul gives a similar list in Galatians 5:22-23 and calls them the “fruit of the Spirit…”

  • To faith, Peter says, “add virtue.” Virtue is simply “moral goodness.” The Bible teaches us to live a moral life, summed up in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them…”
  • To virtue, he says to add “knowledge” or understanding. As Paul writes, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is…” (Ephesians 5:17)
  • And then to our knowledge, we are to supply “temperance” or self-control. When we understand the will of the Lord and we strive for moral goodness, we learn to restrain ourselves when it comes to those worldly lusts that the Christian has “escaped.” (2 Peter 1:4)

To our temperance, we add patience. Patience is defined, as “Steadfastness, constancy, endurance.”

  • In the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings…” (Thayer’s Greek Definitions) This is the “stick-to-it” attitude of the person with grit.
  • Along with patience, we are to supply “godliness,” which is reverence or respect toward God.  
  • To godliness, we are to add “brotherly kindness.” This is the Greek word, Philadelphia, which is defined by Thayer as, “the love which Christians cherish for each other as brethren…” As we grow closer to God by adding to “Christian Graces” we become more like Him in our thoughts and our attitudes towards our fellow man – we look upon those around us with love and brotherhood.  
  • Lastly, Peter says we are to add to that brotherly kindness, “charity.” Charity is the highest form of love – it is love perfected. It requires placing others, especially God, above yourself. This love requires the sacrifice of what we want or even need, for what others need, even as Christ has sacrificed for us!

When we have grown to maturity in these areas, or as Peter states, “If these things are in you, and abound…”(2 Peter 1:8) we will not be, “barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ…”Peter sums this all up in verse 10, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give the diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall…”

Friends let us grow into an abundance of these Christian graces!

by Jack W. McNiel