Growth in the Faith
Open Your Bible
2 Peter 1:1-15, John 21:17-19, Titus 3:4-7
At first, Peter just doesn’t get it. After all, he’s the guy who cut off a guard’s ear in the garden and denied Christ three times before His crucifixion. Peter was quick to speak, but understanding took years. The mystery of the Messiah was a true mystery to him. He didn’t fully understand Christ’s purpose, or how He was truly God.
But in this letter, it’s clear Peter finally understands. Here he makes one of the clearest declarations of Christ’s divinity found in the New Testament, calling Him “our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1). After Christ’s death and resurrection, Peter finally grasps who Christ really is.
Winston Churchill once quipped, “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened.” Ah, Winston, how do you know us so well? When we see the truth of Christ as Messiah and Savior, it’s sure easier to dust ourselves off and hurry on like we never caught a glimpse of the truth. The truth was hard for Peter, and it’s still hard for us to understand today.
But truth of this saving knowledge of Jesus is central to Peter’s letter. So what does he mean by “the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord”? (v.2). This knowledge is supposed to multiply grace and peace to us. Saving knowledge of God leads us to grow in our faith. God’s grace is the source of all godly living, thus God’s grace results in godliness.
Peter’s list of godly qualities does not detail the prerequisites for salvation, but the natural outpouring of a heart that seeks knowledge of God. It’s possible to be Christians and still be “ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord” if we aren’t increasing in the qualities of godliness (v.8, ESV). Even with the saving knowledge of Christ, we still need His grace. That’s why Peter prays, “May grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (v.2).
Then Peter enjoins believers to “make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble” (v.10). This is the proper activity of the Christian life. We are to know Christ, and by knowing Him, to grow in Him and abide in Him.
Seek Christ. Don’t squander His grace. All who abide in Him will bear fruit. If your faith is not bearing fruit, something is wrong. Many have deceived themselves, thinking their faith was genuine. Others have stunted their own growth in the faith by negligence and sloth. The answer to either peril is the same: run to Christ, whose “divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (v.3).