2 Peter 3:18 • 2 minutes to read
What is the most important thing that followers of Christ can do to protect themselves from being deceived by false teachers? This is the last thing Peter wants to emphasize in this second letter to his friends in exile.
The one word answer is to “grow”! Growing is the fundamental vaccine to the potential danger of being influenced by false and harmful teachers. But “growing” is a general term. What does “growing” look like? Peter explains it in one brief but profound sentence when he says, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Let’s break this down to grasp its rich meaning.
We are to grow in grace. This grace is the grace of Jesus. When we grow in his grace we become mature in our faith and trust. This maturity comes through increased “knowledge” of him. That knowledge is both intellectual and experiential. His grace is understood through the knowledge of who he is, and what he has done, and continues to do, in our lives.
Peter highlights the knowledge of who Jesus Christ is in the descriptive words: “Lord” and “Savior”. In using the term “Lord”, Peter is reminding his readers that followers of Christ are called to follow his leadership and authority in their lives. This is lived out in loyal obedience to his will. Followers, by definition, follow someone else as opposed to leading independent lives. “Savior” highlights what he does for them… Jesus Christ saves them, not only from the eternity judgment upon their sinful rebellious past, but also from all the devastating circumstances of life. He doesn’t promise to keep his people free of problems, but he does promise to save them from the evil purposes behind them. He promises to turn the bad into good for those who love him.
Peter’s final sentence is a summary of the very beginning of the letter about growing in grace and adding to our faith. Growing is adding. The best thing we can do to remain stable in our walk with God is to grow and develop in our trust of Jesus. Notice though that growing comes from focusing on Jesus not ourselves. Growing is a direct result of focusing on Christ, then he grows us in, and by, his grace which is his precious gift to each one of his beloved followers.
How is growing a gift from God rather than a work of our own?
Grant me the gift of growth as I focus all my attention on following you, so that I might not get distracted from my relationship with you. May I be convinced more each day that living with you is better than life itself!