Friday, May 15, 2015

Grow in the Grace and Knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Peter concludes with a final warning and an exhortation. He tells us Christians to be on guard so that we may not be led astray by the error (wandering out of sound doctrine) of the lawless (the morally corrupt/false teachers) and fall from our secure position (our firm faith in Christ). Be prepared and be careful. Be on the alert against instability in our faith and against false teaching. The danger is real. Don't be so arrogant thinking that you can never fall (get off course spiritually) or be deceived. "Keep watch over yourselves...Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard!" (Acts 20:28a, 30-31a)

We are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Christians are not meant to be stagnant/static. We are to keep on growing to be more like Christ every day. Ongoing spiritual growth is the most effective safeguard against spiritual instability/weakness. A growing tree is a healthy, stable tree that does not get blown over by a wind of false teaching. God wants us to grow in embracing grace, appreciating grace, understanding grace, and giving grace. Imitate Jesus Christ! He is the ultimate picture of “grace”...the Embodiment of God's grace! Is grace evident in our speech, attitude, and actions? Do we extend grace that the Lord bestowed upon us to others? For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and Godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope--the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:11-14) “Growing in grace” means learning to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions while living self-controlled, upright, and Godly lives, being more like Christ each day. Abide in Christ and you will grow in grace!

A growing knowledge of Christ (a more increasingly intimate relationship with Christ) will protect us against error/false teaching. The more we know Christ, the more we love Him. The more we love Him, the more we want to know Him. "What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ--yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead." (Philippians 3:8-11) When Christians don't know the Scriptures well or don't spend time with God regularly, they become unstable in their faith and vulnerable to seduction from false teachers. Ignorance of God's Word will make anyone an easy target for Satan's lies, truth distortions, and all sorts of false teaching & unBiblical ideas. Even mature Christians sometimes are easily impressed by famous teachers/ preachers who attract huge crowd or authors who sell millions of copies without comparing their messages to the Scriptures. We must be careful not to be so enamored with any preacher/teacher/author that we think they are infallible. We must be more like the Bereans who "received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." (Acts 17:11)

Our life's purpose should be to praise, honor, and glorify Christ now and forevermore. "The knowledge of Christ’s love for us should cause us to love Him in such a way that it is demonstrated in our attitude, conduct, and commitment to serve God. Spiritual maturity is marked by spiritual knowledge being put into action." (Edward Bedore)

Prayer: Lord, please help me grow in grace and in Your likeness. I want to know You more and more. Shine Your love and Your light through me, Lord Jesus! I want none of self but all of You. Be glorified in my life, in everything I do and say, Lord!

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