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2 Peter 3:17-18 (KJV) Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
The Bible tells us to “grow in Grace”.
I remember years ago a dear friend and mentor named Hoyt Wilson came to preach revival at the Church I was assigned. One remark he made stuck with me all these years. He was speaking on spiritual growth. He said – and I paraphrase this – “When you go to visit your grandchildren most all of us make the statement, oh my, how you have GROWN”. You marvel over their growth. You never say “My, how you have STAYED THE SAME”. Growth is a blessing. To stay still is not. That which never changes is indeed a corpse. That which does not move forward and progress is dead, without life.
Think of the top spinning. While it is spinning it stands upright. When it does nothing what does it do? It falls over. Think of a bicycle. When I was young I saw others riding on bicycles. How can it be possible that a vehicle with only two tires stay upright? It is only possible if it is moving. The slower you go, the more wobbly you become. A bicycle stopped cannot stay upright, but falls over. It must keep moving.
The way to stand is to go forward.
God expects His Christians to go forward.
He expects His people to be light.
This world is in its death throes.
All will cease in time.
2 Peter 3:11-13 (KJV) Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
All things shall end. It shall all burn up in the judgment of God. That which remains will be those saved by His Grace. Since judgment is certain God commands those who love Him to “grow in grace”.
Not WORK FOR But GROW IN Grace
What is this thing we call GRACE. I have heard GRACE explained this way:
I won’t disagree with that. Grace is a free gift from God, a gift that we can never earn nor never deserve. We are all born into this world shadows in the darkness. We are all born sinners. Jesus Christ told Nicodemus – a well respected teacher in Israel:
John 3:3 (KJV) Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
In our first birth we are born with a sinful state. The proof of that sinful state is the physical death of our bodies.
Romans 5:12 (KJV) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
From a child we have been sinners. We inherited the sin nature from our parents, who inherited it from their parents, and so on and so forth all the way back to Adam. We were born fleshly, self seeking and apart from a relationship with God. We were “by nature the children of wrath, unable to please God” (Romans 8:8; Ephesians 2:1).
We were at first born wrong, so God offered to make us born again. God Himself was born into the world He created. He took upon Himself humanity. Made of the Spirit in a virgin womb, Christ was born. He was and is the Passover Lamb Who came to be the sacrifice for the world. John declared:
John 1:29 (KJV) The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
God willingly came to this earth to take upon Himself your sins and mine. This is why it is called GRACE. It is a free gift, freely offered to every soul that will take it. God offers us a new life in Christ – should you choose to accept it. The Apostle said:
Romans 6:22-23 (KJV) But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Grace is an exchange of life. Before Grace we – like the rest of the world – lived unto ourselves as if there were no God. Oh, we may have nodded the head at God on occasion. We may have said “Grace” over our food, or recognized Him at certain holidays. Perhaps if we had time we might even go to Church and with boredom sing a song or two. We may even have put a dollar in the offering plate – or an empty envelope. But our God was actually ourselves.
But the day we met Jesus Christ we realized we were sinners with only one hope. We wanted the Free Gift that Christ purchased for us in His Blood. We became servants to God, and had our fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. God offers us new life in the Grace of Christ. Covering us with His Blood, the Blood of Calvary,
God will never love me more.
The day I was saved He received me as a son.
Grow in Grace does not mean to be more saved.
Grow in Grace does not mean to be more accepted of God.
Grace is entirely a gift of God. The Scripture says:
Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Saved By Grace We Live For God
The Child of God has no right to boast of their standing with God. God offered that which we could not purchase nor work for. It is a Gift of God. God gives this gift to young and old, to rich and poor, to male and female, to Jew or Gentile.
Romans 6:23 (KJV) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Sin pays a WAGE, but God gives a GIFT. Sin treats us as if we are employees. Sin says “Do this, and the more you do it, the more wage I will give you”. Sin looks good. But sin is a bad employer. Why? Because that which sin pays you ultimately ends up in death. The WAGES of SIN is DEATH. John Piper describes it this way:
“What’s the difference between a wage and a gift? A wage is something you earn. A gift is something you don’t earn, and can’t earn. A wage is a matter of debt and justice. A free gift is a matter of beneficence and grace. You can take somebody to court for not paying you your wages; but you can’t take anyone to court for not giving you a free gift. You deserve your wages. You don’t deserve a free gift. Otherwise it wouldn’t be free.”
Salvation by Grace is not a wage, but a gift. When we REPENT, turning away from our old god called SIN, and give ourselves to God in Christ then we receive His free gift. We become servants – not of sin but of God. Again Piper said:
“Coming home to God – being indentured to God as our master – is the true slavery for which we were created. It’s the one true slavery because God really owns us. He made us, and therefore he owns us. When we do what he tells us to do, he owes us no wages. Owners don’t pay their possessions wages in a true slavery. And there is only one true slavery in the universe: our slavery to God. Only God owns human beings ultimately. So to be enslaved to God is a homecoming to our true master.”
When you receive Christ as Lord and Savior you are exchanging your dead life for eternal life. You become God’s child. You become God’s servant. You are His possession. What does the Scripture say to the believer?
1 Corinthians 3:23 (KJV) And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.
Who will live eternally? Those who are possessed of Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:22-23 (KJV) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
We are to treat one another with absolute love because WE ARE CHRIST’S. You do not belong to me – you, if saved, belong to Christ. I do not belong to you. I belong to God.
2 Corinthians 10:7 (KJV) Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s.
The Grace that we have received as a free gift was not free to God. It cost Him so very much. It cost the Father His Son. It cost the Son His Blood. And it cost the Holy Spirit His time.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (KJV) What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Body and soul you belong to Christ, dear Christian. He is your Lord as well as your Savior. There are many who preach an unconstitutional grace. They say “You may be saved by the free gift of Grace, but afterward you can still be your own master”. Dear friend, you will not find such a teaching in Scripture. The free gift gives you new life, but the new life is a life in Christ. We do not live to please others. We live to please Christ.
1 Corinthians 7:23-24 (KJV) Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. 24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.
Grace Is A Stewardship That Must Grow
grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
Growing in Grace is Not to be more saved.
Growing in Grace is not to be more pardoned.
Growing in Grace is not to be more loved.
God loves you, dear Christian, with all the love that He will ever love you with. Growing in Grace is to become more like Jesus. That is why “grow in Grace” is coupled with “AND in the knowledge of our LORD and SAVIOR Jesus Christ”. You grow in Grace by learning more of Jesus. You grow in Grace by DOING that which Christ has said to do.
You will not grow in Grace by the passage of time.
There are many white haired Christians that are still babes in Christ.
To grow in Grace is to obey Him Who saved you.
To surrender more and more of the YOU to HIM.
The Apostle put it this way:
Romans 12:1-2 (KJV) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
To grow in Grace is to willingly give yourselves to God’s Word and His Will. To reject the evils of this world, and to cling to Him. To deliberately draw near to Him Who saved you. To stop defining life based on what YOU think but living life based on what CHRIST thinks. The Bible tells us that David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). It was the David surrendered to God who stood in front of a giant called Goliath and confidently declared:
1 Samuel 17:37 (KJV) David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. ..
1 Samuel 17:45-46 (KJV) Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. 46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
By Grace David defeated the giant Goliath. But it is another David who stole another man’s wife, and then plotted to kill her husband. This David was not following the Lord his God, but following a false god of sexual sin. We dear friends are living in the latter days.
Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness
We must live in the clutches of our Savior. We must do that which He has commanded we do. We must not compromise, but live for Him.
2 Corinthians 5:15 (KJV) And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
There is no power in living unto ourselves. While David lived in the power of Grace he was able to defeat giants. When David lived in his own power the giant of himself defeated him, and death came. Let us grow in Grace, dear believers.
- To grow in Grace you must intentionally draw near to God in Christ.
John 15:4-5 (KJV) Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
To abide in Christ is to grow in Grace. As you hear and DO His Word, He promises that you shall grow and bear fruit.
John 14:15-18, 21 (KJV) If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. … 21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
As we READ and DO God’s Word He manifests Himself to us, making us more like Christ daily. Pride drives Grace away.
James 4:6 (KJV) … God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
The more you learn of Christ, and the more you do of Christ, the more you grow in Grace. It is the Grace empowered Christian that changes the world. We grow in Grace by:
Colossians 3:16-17 (KJV) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
We are called to learn of Him, to worship Him, and to obey Him in all things. We are to love as He Himself loved. We are to dwell in our minds on Him and on our final destination.
Colossians 3:1-10 (KJV) If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. 8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
Be the light that God has called you to be. May God grant you dear ones to grow in the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.