A London Suburban Minister
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.
The words are suggestive of two thoughts: that growth implies life, and that life requires culture.
I. Life is characterised by RECEIVING. There are four things indispensably requisite to the growth of plants. The elements essential to the growth of spiritual life are analogous.
1. There must be light. The Word of God is to the growth of a soul as necessary as light to vegetation.
2. There must be also heat. Knowledge without life- truth without love — resembles a frosty moonlight. Flowers open to the sun, and hearts open to Christ, when the constraining power of His love is felt as a burning heat. The soul must build its conservatory on the south side of the temple of truth. This will make the soul of the Christian a Divine sunflower.
3. Moisture is essential to the growth of plants. In rain and dew the tree receives those influences without which neither beauty nor fruitfulness can exist. What moisture is to vegetation the Spirit of God is to soul-growth.
4. To the growth and healthiness of vegetation there must be air. "Of all common things, air is the most common. No space or place is accessible to us that is not filled with it. It is, of all material wants, that which is most indispensable to our existence. The character of a tree, plant, or flower will be determined by the air of the neighbourhood where it is planted. Impure air will affect the vitality of a plant as truly as it does the lungs of an animal. "The life of God in the soul of man" cannot thrive save in an atmosphere somewhat congenial with its heavenly character. It must move in an air higher and purer than that of earth. We must know what it is to have "fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ," and with His saints. To "grow in grace" we must surround our selves with the elements of a Divine life. The character and complexion of our daily life will be the natural result and outgrowth of the company we keep, the society in which we move, the religious atmosphere we breathe.
II. The second property of life is that of GIVING. The flower gives its fragrance and loveliness; the plant its nourishment and healing; the tree its shadow and fruit. The animal gives its strength of sinew, bone, and muscle. Man does the same, with the additional contribution of intellectual strength. Without this giving forth there would be no true or perfect development of life. The man that lives for self is a man of stunted growth. A Christian that lives for self is a spiritual dwarf.
(A London Suburban Minister.)
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.