2 Peter 3:18
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.
I. WHAT IS MEANT BY THEIR GROWING IN GRACE.
1. They must exercise grace more constantly.
2. Uniformity as well as constancy is implied. Some shine in one grace and some in another, while very few shine in all the beauties of holiness.
II. WHY GROWTH IN KNOWLEDGE IS NECESSARY IN ORDER TO THE GROWTH IN GRACE.
1. Knowledge tends to increase their obligations to grow in grace. The knowledge of duty always increases an obligation to do it.
2. Divine knowledge not only increases the obligations of Christians to grow in grace, but actually increases the holiness of all their holy affections. The degree of holiness in every exercise of love to God is always in proportion to the light or knowledge which the person has at the time of exercising that particular grace. A Christian has a much clearer and more extensive view of God at one time than at another, and his love is always virtuous in exact proportion to the degrees of his present knowledge. One exercise of faith is more virtuous than another, because the believer may have much greater knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ at one time than he has at another. The same holds true of submission, joy, gratitude, and every other Christian grace. The celebrated Howard, who spent his property and his life in relieving the objects of charity in Britain and in various other parts of Europe, was a man of benevolence, and his benevolence was in proportion to his knowledge. As he had a far more extensive view of the miseries of mankind than Christians in general, so his exercises of kindness and compassion were much more virtuous than theirs towards similar objects.
III. THE IMPORTANCE OF THEIR GROWING IN BOTH THESE RESPECTS.
1. The honour of religion requires Christians to grow in knowledge and grace. Though the men of the world are disposed to despise religion, yet they are constrained to respect it in those professors who appear to be both knowing and growing Christians.
2. It is of great importance that Christians should grow both in knowledge and in grace, not only on the account of others, but on their own account.
(1) For, in the first place, their growth in these respects will be the most effectual security against the gross and dangerous errors to which they are continually exposed in their present imperfect state.
(2) Growth in knowledge and grace will happily tend to remove darkness and doubts from the minds of Christians.
(3) Furthermore, growth in knowledge and grace will prepare Christians for the delightful and acceptable performance of every duty.
(4) It is, finally, of great importance that Christians should make continual advances in knowledge and grace to prepare them for the closing scene of life. If they neglect to improve their minds in knowledge and their hearts in holiness they may expect to live in bondage and die in darkness, for Christians commonly die very much as they live.IMPROVEMENT.
1. If knowledge be necessary to promote the growth of grace, then the most instructive preaching must be the most profitable.
2. If religious knowledge be conducive to the growth of religious affections, then that religious conversation among Christens is the most useful which is the most instructive.
3. If Divine knowledge has a tendency to promote all the Christian graces and virtues, then growing Christians have an increasing evidence of their good estate.
(N. Emmons, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.