Growing In Grace
2 Peter Chapter 1:1-11
As we have just spent several weeks in the study of the first Book of the Apostle Peter, we saw that the Book of 1 Peter was devoted to the remedy for suffering Christian Persecution. That remedy being we must have the “mind of Christ”!
Today as we begin our lessons in the Book of 2 Peter, we will see how Peter looks at the subject of God’s “Grace”.
Peter will teach us, by the Holy Spirit, that above all, we can know the Word of God and we can rely on what God says as the truth!
*2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
Simon Peter the chosen Apostle of Jesus Christ, still realized in his older days that he was nothing more than a servant of the Lord.
All that truly love the Lord will still come to Him on bended knees!
To be a servant of the Lord is to realize that we are no more than slaves who have been purchased from the slave market of sin and we have a new Master.
We that know the Lord on a personal level, are all bondservants by law to the God of all “GRACE”!
In fact I am a willing slave to the Lord Jesus Christ, He is my new Owner and the only Owner I will ever have!
Who is Peter writing to? To all those who are willing slaves to the Lord Jesus Christ, but slaves because we have “FAITH” in the price that Jesus Christ paid for our freedom.
Jesus Christ paid for us to be free and it cost Him His own life!
Not only was Peter a slave such as you and I and all believers, he was also a chosen Apostle of Jesus Christ.
Those Apostles chosen by the Lord were His messengers of the New Covenant of God! Which is the New Covenant of “GRACE”.
We know that “GRACE” is the unmerited favor of God shown to sinful people.
In reality, God’s Grace is the richness of God’s “GOODNESS”!
It is this “goodness”, this “grace”, that we as Christians are to share with this lost world just as did the Apostle Peter, the servant of God.
Psa 145:7 They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.
Psa 145:8 The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.
Psa 145:9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
It is these same ones who have that like precious faith, filled with the Holy Spirit, who are to take part in restricting sin in this world!
2Th 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
Every lost soul that returns to the Lord, has removed the sin he once had and walks in a New Life.
There is a little less sin in this world every time someone accepts the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior!
These things come by the knowledge of the truth of God!
*2Pe 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
How do we show God’s grace to others? We accept every “born again” child of God into our Church family, no matter the history of their old life!
This is the difference in living under God’s grace than being in God’s grace.
If they are a child of God, then they are our brother or sister in Christ!
As Christians we have all received the undeserved favor of God. We cannot earn God’s favor. We absolutely do not deserve any of the things God so freely gives us, but through His Son He will give us all a little part of Heaven!
The only thing we deserve from our God is “judgment”!
These are the exact same things we are to do for all our Christian family, except to “judge”. All judgment will come from the Lord.
God has made it possible for us to experience His “grace” rather than His “judgment”!
What is so great about being in the grace of God?
Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
It is in our body where we can feel the loving grace of God by the things that He does for us.
Php 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
It is in our mind that we can have that peace that cannot be understood by this world!
Rom_15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Php_4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
The Lord Jesus Christ not only gives us these things upon our faith, but He actually multiplies them!
He gives us an abundance and then gives is us even more!
Jesus does this so we can share that grace and that peace of God with everyone we come in contact with!
We cannot receive these things until we know the Lord as our Savior and these things are added as we learn more about Him!
If Jesus Christ is your Lord, then He is your God!
Jesus Christ is life and the giver of life!
Jesus Christ is God and the giver of godliness.
Jesus Christ is righteous and the giver of righteousness.
If you have any gift, then it came from God.
All things necessary for life are given by the Lord Jesus Christ!
*2Pe 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
We should have no fear in this world because the Lord has already given to us all things that are necessary for our salvation.
There is nothing related to our eternal life with Him that He will hold back!
God has given to us all things necessary for our “spiritual life” and He will never take any of those things away from us!
We cannot lose our salvation once we have truly accepted that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and our Savior!!!!!!!!!!!!
We must not be deceived by those who teach something different from this truth.
The gifts of God are eternal!!!!!!!
He has called us to glory:
God has revealed Himself in a glorious blessing to those who love Him!
Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Rom 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
God has revealed His entire program to the Church!
Gal 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Gal 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Gal 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Gal 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
God has called us to virtue:
Virtue can best be understood as living under the powerful influence of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Virtue is the good life that comes from being Christians in the complete will of God.
Gal_6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
Php_4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
We cannot know what living for Christ is all about, unless we study the Scriptures!
It is only in the Scriptures that we can learn of the great and precious promises given to us as gifts from God!
*2Pe 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
These are powerful Scriptures and we need to take heed to what they say!
God’s promises are His assurance that we will receive His blessings!
God’s promises are divine: Which means they come from God our divine Creator, who by the way was the Lord Jesus Christ.
God’s promises are suitable for all our situations as believers.
God’s promises are clear!
God’s promises are certain!
When we understand the promises of God and live accordingly, we will be partakers of His divine nature!
Eph 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
Eph 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
Eph 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
Eph 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
This is the only means of escaping the corruption of this world and this corruption comes by our own lust and our foolish pride!
1Jn_2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
These are the things that we as Christians must flee from, to escape the corruption of this world!
The seed of corruption is caused from sin and by the Lord Jesus Christ we are made free from sin!
The Grace of God comes by His divine power, His resources are infinite, and His promises are sure and since He can never die His promises cannot expire!
When we have that peace of God because of our faith and the multiplied grace of God because of our faith, then and only then can we grow in the Lord!
*2Pe 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
In short virtue is the effect that knowing the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior has had on our lives. So if we add to this virtue Peter is saying that we are to have that same effect on all others.
We should be so much like Jesus Christ that others want to be like Him to!
Virtue is the very best part of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is His eternal being!
The three virtues of each Christian are bound up in faith, hope and charity.
1Co 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Our own virtue must be based on all the things of Jesus Christ!
Being diligent means to must guard ourselves against any defilement!
Heb 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
Being diligent means we must search our heart to be sure of our confession of faith.
Psa 77:6 I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.
Every Saint of God must have diligence!
2Co 8:7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.
2Co 8:8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.
The one most important thing is that we know without a doubt that we are saved and are “Born Again”!
Then and only then can we add to our virtue, knowledge!
Knowledge is a gift of God by the Holy Spirit as are all gifts. Knowledge is closely related to wisdom and refers to our ability to properly understand the truths revealed in the Scriptures.
The knowledge of God is possible because He has revealed Himself to us and it requires our faith, the grace of God, the peace we have in knowing God and then our own virtue in being like Christ Jesus.
The sanctification process of each saint of God is a step by step process and is processed and led by the Holy Spirit who dwells within each of us.
It is after this knowledge that we are able to temperance.
*2Pe 1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
**Temperance means we have the power within ourselves to defend our faith and virtue in the Lord. We have self-control over the acts of our body!
Temperance means we have mastered our passions that would lead us to sin! Temperance means we have realized that the “grace” of self-control comes because of the presence of the Holy Spirit who lives within us and who is our strength.
By the Holy Spirit we can have control of our rebellious desires!
I used to drink and smoke and commit other sin, but I just do not want to anymore, because I have temperance.
These things also work for me, because I also have patience!
**Patience. There is what we call inactive patience and active patience. We must have active patience!
We cannot just sit back and put up with the trials of life, taking them one by one as they come!
We must stand up and face the trials of life head-on! We must conquer the trials of life and make them useful for us and not be against us!
We must understand that God allows the trials of our life so we can grow and be strong in the defense of the “Gospel”.
Heb 10:35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
Heb 10:36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
Heb 10:37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
Heb 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
Heb 10:39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
Jas 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Jas 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
Jas 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
We must remember that all our trials borne with patience, will end in triumph!
Rom 2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
to continue our Christian growth having added temperance and patience we must then add godliness.
The Lord would not have put these things in a specific order if it were not the best for us!
**Godliness includes all things necessary for our Christian life!
1Ti 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
1Ti 4:9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
Whatsoever is needed for life is given to us by Jesus Christ and the Lord longs for us to have an abundant life.
This life that is given to us is to be lived the way God intended and God intended for us to live godly lives!
Godliness means we are to live in awe of our Creator and our Lord!
Godliness means that we are so aware of God’s presence in our lives, that we live as He would live in our circumstances.
Even after this God says we still need to add some things.
*2Pe 1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
We must possess that brotherly kindness. The very special love that exists between brothers and sisters in a loving family.
These are brothers and sisters who truly cherish one another.
This is to be what family is all about.
It is to be the same for all our Christian brothers and sisters in Christ!
Those who have brotherly love have been “Born Again” by the Holy Spirit, and therefore we all have the same Father.
The great example of this is when Mary the mother of the Lord, when the Holy Spirit came upon her and she was overshadowed and she was with child, the baby Jesus.
Each of us, the children of God have a new Spirit that binds us to one another in a love greater than all families because we have become the family of God!
We may not even know all our brothers and sisters in Christ, but these are the ones we will spend eternity with!
We have a new Spirit, we have a new Family, because we are bound together by the Holy Spirit into “Brotherly Love” for one another!
1Jn 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
But there is even more we cannot stop here we must add Charity!
In our English language we do not have a definition of love that comes close to the love of God. That word “Charity” is the closest word that even comes close to what the love of God really means.
Charity is the greatest of the three Christian graces.
Faith, hope, and charity!
How can we describe charity?
1Co 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
1Co 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
1Co 13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
1Co 13:7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
1Co 13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
Charity is as close as we will get to perfection upon this earth and then only if we include all these other things that Peter has mentioned in these Scriptures.
Col 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
Col 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
Col 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
If we cannot do our best to show the love of God, then we are failing in our walk with the Lord!
If we have that true love of God in our hearts, but for some reason this does not show in the way we live and the way we give, then we need to try harder!
The Agape love of God loves regardless of feelings, (whether we feel like loving or not).
The Agape love of God loves even if that person does not deserve our love.
The Agape love of God loves even that person who is utterly unworthy of our love.
The Agape love of God, gives and gives and gives and does not stop giving love!
What did Jesus say?
Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mat 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
All the Word of God is about the love of God, and we are to be God’s example of His love for one another!
These are all the things that are to be in us if we are God’s children.
*2Pe 1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
When it is all said and done, all these things are the “fruit” of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
Php_1:19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
These things must be added to our lives and not only that, but these things must “abound” in our lives!
This is the answer to the question, “what does it mean to grow in Christ Jesus”?
We have to grow and grow and grow, reaching out for the perfection of Jesus Christ!
Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
Psa 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
Psa 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
As we continue in this Psalm, we see these words:
Psa 1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
Psa 1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
Psa 1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
*2Pe 1:9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
What is the bleak picture of all those who do not grow in Jesus Christ?
Remember Peter is writing to the Church.
When we do not grow in Christ, we become Spiritually blind!
Short sighted in all the things of God!
Where is the modern-day church? Short sighted in the truth of God!
We will lack in the true purpose of why God leaves us here after He has saved us!
It is possible for us to be forgiven of our sins and not be in the will of God and not growing in Christ!
In fact this describes many a house of God today!
When we were first saved, we had a clear vision of seeking the things of God, but because we have not grown, we have lost that vision and in reality, are of very little use to the plan of God! Many will even hinder the plan of God!
When we forget that we have already been purged from our old sins, we are just one step away from returning to those sins!
It is impossible that we have not seen good Christians who have neglected to grow in Christ and have lost their understanding of the truth of God!
Walk the streets of America and you will see they are everywhere!
Heb 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
Heb 6:5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
Heb 6:6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
It is in our best interest to make sure that we have been called by the conviction of Holy Spirit, and have answered that call with true repentance and true faith!
*2Pe 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
2Pe 1:11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
What is diligence?
The Apostle Paul said it like this:
Php 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Php 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Php 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
You see, if we do all these things just as the Holy Spirit has revealed them to the Apostle Peter, we cannot fail in our walk with the Lord and we will be in the perfect will of God the Father.
If we have truly elected to be in the family of God, we will not have a problem in seeking all these things for ourselves.
Most all of us have stumbled in our Christian walk, and if we want to stop stumbling then here is God’s answer!
If we have been coming up short in our walk with the Lord, then here is God’s answer!
If we have been falling when we should have been running the race of God, then here is God’s answer!
If we live a life of sorrows, then we can make this life we have to be a joyful life if we take these things just as they have been written to us and act on them with diligence!
God makes these things easy for us, because this is the reason the Holy Spirit is living inside us!
We must need to be diligent in seeking these things!
Our walk with the Lord requires our personal effort!
Our salvation is the gift of God, after we have shown faith and this first bit of faith, He will even provide.
After accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, it is then we begin that race that the Apostle Paul so speaks of.
Abundance means riches. We will live a rich Christian life, not in monetary gains, but Spiritual gains here on earth and then enjoy the riches of Heaven that cannot even be described!
The reality of these things is that they are eternal!
The Kingdom of God is real!
Mat 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Mat 25:35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Mat 25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Mat 25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
Our life in Christ can be the best life we have while we are still living and then we will go to live in the actual home of God!
Let’s us pray!