by Larry Browning
2 Peter 3:18 – ”But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
God wants us to know His grace. He wants us to learn about it, and then experience it at work in our lives. Grace has rightly been described as “unmerited favor.” The acronym, “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense” captures more of its true greatness and glory. As we trust in the finished work of Christ, we’ll see that Grace is God freely providing for us all that we’ll ever need, all that we’ll ever yearn for, all that He has commanded us to walk in, and making real all that we could never produce on our own, certainly could never earn or deserve. Grace offers what every person desperately needs, but what only God can provide.
This grace is found only in a person, the Lord Jesus. John 1:17 says, “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Thus, it’s accessible only through our initial relationship and our ongoing personal fellowship with Him. Grace isn’t intended only for birthing and starting out with God, but we see that, contained in the words relationship and fellowship, is the fact that grace is for spiritual growth AND progress in the Lord. Once we’re “reborn” in Christ we must move forward and grow, the very same way we do naturally as human beings. Peter tells us to, “grow in the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Growth in Christ always results as God’s grace works in us. At times, we can be a little apprehensive about such an emphasis on God’s grace. We might get concerned that irresponsibility, ungodliness, laziness, or indulgence will result if grace is taken the wrong way. We can rest assured on the promises and purposes of God that true grace doesn’t produce these actions.
However, ungodly living always involves the flesh of man, which is inclined toward licentiousness and legalism. Licentiousness hopes to turn grace into a means by which sinful indulgence is acceptable. In our minds, we’re able to rationalize our sins so that we feel less guilty or even no guilt at all. Jude 4 says, ”For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness.”