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. A DIVINE INJUNCTION WITH A SPECIAL DIRECTION: "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." "Grow in grace." What is this? It must be in the outset implied that we have been quickened by grace. Dead things cannot grow. Growth shall prove your life. Grow in that root-grace, faith. Seek to believe the promises better than ye have done. Let your faith increase in extent, believing more truth; let it increase in firmness, getting a tighter grip of every truth; let it increase in constancy, not being feeble or wavering, nor always tossed about with every wind; let your faith daily increase in simplicity, resting more fully and more completely upon the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ. See to it that your love also grows. If ye have loved with a spark, pray that the spark may become an all-consuming flame. Ask that your love may become more extended — that ye may have love unto all the saints; more practical, that it may move your every thought, your every word and deed; more intense, that ye may become as burning and shining lights whose flame is to love God and man. Pray that ye may grow in hope, that the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints; that ye may by hope enter into the joys of heaven while ye are on earth; that hope may give you immortality while you are yet mortal — may give you resurrection before you die. Ask that you may grow in humility, till you can say, "I am less than the least of all the saints"; that ye may grow in consecration, till ye can cry, "For me to live is Christ: to die is gain"; that ye may grow in contentment till ye can feel, "In whatsoever state I am, I have learned therewith to be content." Advance in likeness to the Lord Jesus, that your very enemies may take knowledge of you that ye have been with Jesus and have learned of Him. Pray that ye may grow downward; that ye may know more of your own vileness, more of your own nothingness; and so be rooted in humility. As ye root downward, seek to grow upward. Send out the topshoot of your love towards heaven. Then pray to grow on either side. Stretch out your branches; let the shadow of your holy influence extend as far as God has given you opportunities. But see to it also that ye grow in fruitfulness, for to increase the bough without adding to the fruit is to diminish the beauty of the tree. We are not compared to trees, but to children. Let us grow as babes do, nourished by unadulterated milk. Steadily, slowly, but surely and certainly. Little each day, but much in years. But do ye inquire why and wherefore we should thus grow in grace? Let us say that if we do not advance in grace it is a sorrowful sign. It is a mark of unhealthiness. It is an unhealthy child that grows not, a cankered tree that sends forth no fresh shoots. More; it may be not only a sign of unhealthiness, but of deformity. If a man's shoulders have come to a certain breadth, and his lower limbs refuse to lift him aloft, we call him a dwarf, and we look upon him with some degree of pity. Now to grow may be, moreover, the sign of death. It may say to us, Inasmuch as thou growest not, thou livest not; inasmuch as thou dost not increase in faith, and love, and grace; and inasmuch as thou dost not ripen towards the harvest, fear and tremble lest thou shouldst only have a name to live and be destitute of life, lest thou shouldst be the painted counterfeit; a lovely flower-picture drawn by the painter's skilful hand, but without reality, because without the life-power which should make it bud and germinate and blossom and bring forth fruit. Grow in grace, because to increase in grace is the only pathway to enduring nobility. Oh! would ye not wish to stand with that noble host who have served their Master well, and have entered into their eternal rest? But to grow is not only to be noble — it is to be happy. That man who stays growing refuses to be blessed. Forward is the sunlight! forward is victory! forward is heaven! But here, to stand still is danger; nay, it is death. O Lord, for our happiness' sake, bid Thou us advance; and, for our usefulness' sake, let us ascend. I have thus explained the Divine exhortation; but you perceive it contains a special injunction, "And in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." We must see to it that we ripen in the knowledge of Him — of Him in His Divine nature, and in His human relationship to us; in His finished work, in His death, in His resurrection, in His present glorious intercession, and in His future royal advent. We must study to know more of Christ also in His character — in that Divine compound of every perfection, faith, zeal, deference to His Father's will, courage, meekness, and love. Above all, let us long to know Christ in His person. This year endeavour to get better acquaintance with the Crucified One. Grow in the knowledge of Christ, then. And do ye ask me why? Oh! if ye have ever known Him you will not ask thai question. He that longs not to know more of Christ, knows nothing of Him yet.
II. A GRATEFUL THANKSGIVING, WITH A MOST SUGGESTIVE TERMINATION: "To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen." The apostles very frequently suspended their writing in order to lift up their hearts in praise. Praise is never out of season, and it is no interruption to interrupt any engagement in order to laud and magnify our God. "To Him be glory." Yes, to Him, ye atheists, who deny Him; to Him, ye Socinians, who doubt His Deity; to Him, ye kings, who vaunt your splendour, and will not have this man to reign over you; to Him, ye people, who against Him stand up, and ye rulers who against Him take counsel; to Him, the King whom God hath set up upon His holy hill of Zion; to Him be glory. To Him be glory as the Lord: King of kings and Lord of lords; "Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." To Him be glory as Saviour. He alone hath redeemed us unto God by His blood; He alone hath "trodden the wine-press," and "cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, glorious in His apparel, travelling in the greatness of His strength." "To Him be glory." Church of God respond! Let every pious heart say, "To Him be glory." But the apostle adds "now" — "to Him be glory now." Oh, postpone not the day of His triumph; put not off the hour of His coronation. Now, now; for now, to-day, He hath raised us up together, and made us sit in heavenly places with Christ Jesus. "And for ever." Never shall we cease our praise. Time! thou shalt grow old and die. Eternity! thine unnumbered years shall speed their everlasting course; but for ever, for ever, for ever, "to Him be glory." But, now, there is a conclusion to this of the most suggestive kind — "Amen."
1. First, it is the desire of the heart, "Behold, I come quickly; Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus." We say "Amen" at the end of the prayer to signify," Lord, let it be so it is our heart's desire.
2. But it signifies more than this; it means the affirmation of our faith. We only say amen to that which we really believe to be true. We add our affidavit, as it were, to God's promise, that we believe Him to be faithful and true.
3. But there is yet a third meaning to this amen. It often expresses the joy of the heart. As you see King Jesus sitting upon Mount Zion with death and hell beneath His feet, as to-day you anticipate the glory of His Advent, as to-day you are expecting the time when you shall reign with Him for ever and ever, does not your heart say "Amen"?
4. But, lastly, amen is sometimes used in Scripture as an amen of resolution. It means, "I, in the name of God, solemnly pledge myself that, in His strength, I will seek to make it so; to Him be glory both now and for ever."
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
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.