But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 3:18
Peter lived with Jesus for three years. Nobody knew Jesus better. Now he’s approaching the end of his life and challenging everyone to grow in the knowledge of Jesus and His grace.
Most of us know about Jesus and think we’ve arrived. But that isn’t the case. The truth is, it’s through our knowledge of Jesus that God gives us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-4).
The key is Jesus. He is the perfect example of what a life pleasing to God looks like. Peter gives us a list – a life of ever increasing faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love (2 Peter 1:5-9). A life like that is productive and pleasing to God.
But Jesus is more than a model to try to emulate. Sometimes we act like the kid eating ice cream while reading Muscle and Fitness. We think, “It would be cool to be buff like that. Oh well, lick, lick, lick.” Jesus did more than come to offer an unattainable standard. He came to give us the ability to live it.
Grace is God giving us something that we don’t deserve. It is through God’s grace that our sins are forgiven. But God also gives us the ability to live like He desires through the Holy Spirit. When we see Jesus and how He lived, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and think, “I can never do that.” That’s why we can’t settle for just knowing about Jesus. We also have to become like Him.
Nothing you did could forgive your sins or make up for them. Grace did that. You cannot make yourself good, self-controlled, or godly either. Grace has to do that. You have to approach these areas of your life the same way you approached your salvation. You can’t do it, but God can do it for you.
As we’ve read the Gospels, very few of these characteristics stick out to me as ones that Peter’s particularly good at. However, grace changed him. He kept his focus on Jesus, plead with God to give him grace to live that way and his life began to change.
It didn’t happen over night and he wasn’t perfect, but Peter died a very different man than the one at the beginning of the story. We can too – if we grow in the knowledge and grace of Jesus.