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.
It is implied that we are not perfect in grace, that there is wide room for growth. Another thing implied is that we may and can grow if we will. God knows our abilities and our inabilities, our dispositions and indispositions, the moral outflow and the moral recoil, and, knowing all, He says, "Grow in grace."
I. DIRECTIONS. How to grow in grace? We cannot but remember that growth, to be real and healthy, must be free. It may seem, therefore, an impertinent thing to interpose directions at all. But in truth we do not interpose them with any authority. We shall bring them, such as they are, within sight. Use them if they are suitable. If not, find other modes more akin with your spirit's life. Only grow.
1. Might not one try this among other things, at least for a little while — say for one week — that one shall take a strong morning thought concerning it.
2. Then, in the next place, let there be an actual arrangement of things, in so far as he has the power — of the employments and circumstances of the day — with express view to the accomplishment of this the supreme purpose.
3. If in the general review and arrangement of the life some things are found, perhaps in the very structure of it, or hanging closely to the structure, which are seen to be hindrances, then let them be laid aside without reserve, without delay. A thing may not be a sin, and yet it may serve the sinful cause as effectually as if it were. If you planted apple trees in your orchard in the hope of feasting your eyes in a while with their wealth of blossom and heaping your baskets with the sweet-smelling fruit, would you hang weights on the branches to see how much they would bear and still grow? Would you gather up the withered branches and hook them on to the fresh green ones? If you did they might not kill them, but would they not mar the beauty, would they not hinder the growth? It may seem to be hardly necessary to say anything regarding the renunciation of sin as such. We have spoken of hindrances both slight and serious. Now let me say that a man should hold himself ready to take all gracious helps for gracious growing. These helps are manifold and very near. It is therefore exceedingly important that the soul should be in a receptive state. Everything about the kingdom of grace is in such a state of readiness that in a moment God can give help if the soul is prepared to take it. Now to be ready does not mean having an assemblage of great thoughts in the mind. It does not mean having the feelings or the frame of the heart in a theological or so-called evangelical state. It means being humble and looking up with desire to God. One more hint. It is this. That we should maintain a constant connection with the fountain-head of grace in God by everything which constitutes prayer. God's windows are open. God's fountains are flowing. God's lights are streaming, and His vital airs are breathing forth, and every prayerful spirit will catch a double measure of those heavenly gifts and treasures as they come.
1. The first is the ease with which this growing can be accomplished when we heartily incline to it. If we would but hold ourselves in simplicity in the garden of God, and abide where we are planted, by His rivers of water, the fruit would be in season and the leaf would never wither.
2. Another inducement is found in the principle of necessary growth which belongs to every rational soul. We must grow in something, and if not in grace, you know in what the growth will be. "Ye therefore, beloved, beware, lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness." And now, when you see the danger, how are you to act to avoid it? "Grow in grace." That will keep you safe and well in the right faith, in the right practice. If we do not believe the truth and grow in that we shall soon be heretics, holding fallacies, believing lies. If we do not love the Lord Jesus Christ, and grow by that pure and infinite affection, the longing, unportioned heart will soon have another in His place. It will wind itself, like the ivy, around anything that comes, be it no better than mouldering wall or rotting tree, rather than live in vacuity or sink into utter negation. We must grow; then let our growing be in lily-like beauty, in cedar strength, in "smell as Lebanon." Every other kind of growth is uncertain, limited, transient. But growth in grace is for ever; there is nothing in grace which indicates, far less necessitates, decay. It is for every place; for land and sea, for earth and heaven. It is for all time, now and evermore. It is for the whole nature of man — body, soul, and spirit.
(A. Raleigh, 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.