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. THERE IS SUCH A THING AS GROWTH IN GRACE. I do not for a moment mean that a believer's interest in Christ can grow. I do not mean that he can grow in safety, acceptance with God, or security. I only mean increase in the degree, size, strength, vigour, and power of the graces which the Holy Spirit plants in a believer's heart. I hold that every one of those graces admits of growth, progress, and increase. I hold that repentance, faith, hope, love, humility, zeal, courage, and the like, may be little or great, strong or weak, vigorous or feeble, and may vary greatly in the same man at different periods of his life. One principal ground on which I build this doctrine of "growth in grace," is the plain language of Scripture. "Your faith groweth exceedingly" (2 Thessalonians 1:3). "We beseech you that ye increase more and more" (1 Thessalonians 4:10). "Increasing in the knowledge of God" (Colossians 1:10). "Having hope, when your faith is increased "(2 Corinthians 10:15). "The Lord make you to increase in love" (1 Thessalonians 3:12). "That ye may grow up into Him in all things" (Ephesians 4:15). "I pray that your love may abound more and more" (Philippians 1:9). "We beseech you, as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more" (1 Thessalonians 4:1.) "Desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby" (1 Peter 2:2.) "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). The other ground on which I build the doctrine of "growth in grace," is the ground of fact and experience. What true Christian would not confess that there is as much difference between the degree of his own faith and knowledge when he was first converted and his present attainments, as there is between a sapling and a full-grown tree? His graces are the same in principle; but they have grown. Let us turn away to a more practical view of the subject before us. I want men to look at "growth in grace" as a thing of infinite importance to the soul.
1. "Growth in grace" is the best evidence of spiritual health and prosperity. In a child, or a flower, or a tree, we are all aware that when there is no growth there is something wrong.
2. "Growth in grace "is one way to be happy in our religion. God has linked together our comfort and our increase in holiness. He has graciously made it our interest to press on and aim high in our Christianity.
3. "Growth in grace" is one secret of usefulness to others. Our influence on others for good depends greatly on what they see in us.
4. "Growth in grace" pleases God. The husbandman loves to see the plants on which he has bestowed labour flourishing and bearing fruit. It cannot but disappoint and grieve him to see them stunted and standing still (John 15:1, 8). The Lord takes pleasure in all His people, but especially in those theft grow.
5. "Growth in grace" is not only a thing possible, but a thing for which believers are accountable.
II. THERE ARE MARKS BY WHICH GROWTH IN GRACE MAY BE KNOWN.
1. One mark is increased humility.
2. Another mark is increased faith and love towards our Lord Jesus Christ.
3. Another mark is increased holiness of life and conversation.
4. Another mark is increased spirituality of taste and mind.
5. Another mark is increase of charity.
6. One more mark is increased zeal and diligence in trying to do good to souls.
III. THE MEANS THAT MUST BE USED BY THOSE WHO DESIRE TO GROW IN GRACE.
1. One thing essential to growth in grace is diligence in the use of private means of grace.
2. Another essential is carefulness in the use of public means of grace.
3. Another essential is watchfulness over our conduct in the little matters of every-day life.
4. Another essential is caution about the company we keep and the friendships we form.
5. There is one more thing which is absolutely essential to growth in grace, and that is regular and habitual communion with the Lord Jesus.
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.