Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)
Often the best way to figure out what Scripture is saying is to clearly identify what it is NOT saying. In this verse it is not saying that “grace grows.” Peter is telling us to grow in grace, but in no way is he suggesting that God’s grace grows in the life of the believer. Many have led the unsuspecting believer astray into this wicked error, teaching that the more we do for God, the more favor, mercy, and love we will receive. In other words, our good works cause God’s grace to grow in our lives.
Understand that grace is the free, unmerited, favor, mercy, and love of God in Christ toward His people, bestowed on them since before the foundation of the world (Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:4-6). Christian believer, you have been given all His grace from everlasting to everlasting! We cannot be more justified. We cannot be more adopted. We cannot be more pardoned. We cannot be more forgiven. We cannot be more saved. We cannot be more loved! We have been made perfect in the Christ Jesus, and it is impossible to rise above perfection.
To be sure, we will grow up into that grace as we grow up into Christ, but we have had—and will forever have—the full measure of God’s grace and affection poured out into our lives. I’d like you to pause for a moment and reflect on both sides of this cosmic coin. God’s grace does not grow in the life of the believer, because it is perfect and infinite and cannot be added to. Therefore, it is just as true that God’s grace does not diminish in the life of the believer. There is nothing you can do—nothing—that will cause God to love you any more or any less than He has loved you from before the beginning of time! Let that truth set you free to live the life God is calling you to live, and live in the joy of the Lord, which is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
With that as a settled truth in the heart of the believer, growing in grace becomes the well-worn path the believer walks in progressive sanctification. The Bible constantly reminds and encourages the believer to grow . . . to work out . . . to strive for . . . and at least eight times in the New Testament we are told to make every effort!
Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you . . . (Philippians 2:12-13)
This passage provides the key that unlocks the door leading to a lifetime of growing in God’s grace. We are to work out—not work for—our salvation. Why? Because it is God who works in us! Wow! We work out because God works in us. What a powerful truth to encourage and inspire us to live for the One who lived, died, and rose again . . . for us!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!