Tuesday, August 13, 2013

P1 Book of 2 Peter - Explaining growth in grace

2 Peter 3:18 "but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen."

Introduction: The need to grow in grace
In the Apostle Peter's first letter or epistle, the chief concern is to explain what it means to stand firm in God's living grace.  As you turn to the even shorter Epistle or letter of 2 Peter, the focus becomes on explaining the need to grow in such grace.  2 Peter 3:18 is being identified as the key verse to the letter, since Peter is summarizing  everything he wrote at the end, much like he did in his first letter.  Years ago commentator Richard De Haan wrote these words concerning the message of 2 Peter: "He challenged them to develop the Christian graces of faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (2 Peter 1:5-7). God had done His part in providing His people with full salvation; now they were to do their part by working it out through the development of these graces."1
I would only add to DeHann's observation that the Christian who is working out their salvation is doing so in concert with the Spirit's continuing work in their lives of making them more like Jesus. (Galatians 2:20; Philippians 2:12-13)

2 Peter is all about explaining to the Christian how to grow in grace and providing exhortations (strong encouragements) to continue in such. In today's post we aim to give you the reader and outline of 2 Peter that will serve to explain what it means to grow in grace.  Much of what Peter explains about such is growth is found in 2 Peter 1:1-3:13.  In tomorrow's post we will conclude this brief overview of 2 Peter by noting the exhortations or strong encouragements to grow in grace from 2 Peter 3:14-18. 

Explaining what it means to grow in grace
2 Peter 1:1-3:13
So what does it mean to grow in the grace of God? Three main points appear to explain what Peter is writing about when it comes to this subject of growing in God's grace.

Diligently live in God's Grace. 2 Peter 1
As you consider 2 Peter 1, we find the word "diligence" mentioned three times in 2 Peter 1:5,10 & 15.  Exercising due diligence is the necessary attitude for growing in the grace of God.  In this first chapter we could unfold the a,b,c's of what it means to be diligently living in the grace of God.
1. Add to your faith.             2 Peter 1:1-9

2. Base your 
confidence in God's 
calling and election.             2 Peter 1:10-15

3. Consider the Scriptures.  2 Peter 1:16-21 

So in order to grow in the grace of God, we need to be diligently living in such grace.  But notice a second idea that Peter uses to explain this important notion of growing in grace, namely....

Defend against the enemies of grace. 
2 Peter 2
2 Peter 1 is all about mounting up an effective offensive, whereas 2 Peter 2 is all about effectively defending your growth and grace against certain enemies.  What are those enemies? Peter lists at least three such enemies here in 2 Peter 2:

a. False teachers.        2 Peter 2:1-3
b. Demonic realm.        2 Peter 2:4
c. The world.                2 Peter 2:5-11
d. False doctrine.         2 Peter 2:12-22

Unless you and I defend what ground we gain in our activity of growing in grace, we stand to lose much ground.  So Peter explains what it means to grow in grace by telling us to be diligent, and to defend, but notice the third idea: Determination.  What must the Christian be determined about as they set out to grow in grace?

Determine to know the Lord of grace. 
2 Peter 3:1-13
In these verses of 2 Peter 3 we come to know the Lord Jesus Christ in two chief ways.  First I determine to know Him as the Savior in 2 Peter 3:1-9.  Secondly, Peter writes that Jesus Christ is also to be known as the coming King in 2 Peter 3:10-13.  The first coming assumes a second coming, and the second coming of Jesus Christ is made possible because of what He achieved in His first coming.  Thus you and I believer, if we are to grow in grace, must determine to know the Lord of grace.  

More tomorrow.....
1. Richard De Haan. Studies in 2 Peter. Victory Books. 1977. Page 135.