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2 Peter 3:18 is an interesting ending to Peter’s last letter to the Christians before he is crucified for the sake of the gospel. Peter tells the people to continue to grow in grace and knowledge. Of all the things he could have ended with, he emphasizes growth.
Growing is an interesting concept. We can gain understanding when we consider our natural growth process. Who looks the same as they did when they were a newborn baby? Growth demands change. Why do we accept the growth pains of a child but consider suffering for Christ a negative thing? Growth occurs in discomfort.
Peter was not someone unfamiliar with change or discomfort. He denied knowing Jesus three times during the time when everyone forsook Jesus in the face of fear. Peter was later crucified for refusing to deny the message of Christ he proclaimed to the world. Peter changed from cowardice to courageous.
Following his failed opportunities to stand up for the living Christ, Jesus sees him out fishing. Jesus calls to this group from afar, and they do not need to test Jesus to see if it is really him. This time they know, unlike the earlier storm in the middle of the night when Peter walked on water until he doubted.
Instantly, Peter jumps overboard. Peter thought he wouldn’t have a chance to see Jesus again after he denied him three times. He couldn’t contain himself and needed to get to Jesus now.
I think Peter halfway expected to run on the water, but rather, this time, he swam to Jesus. And the lengthy swim to find his reconciliation with Christ was so sweet, like a dash for the Olympic gold medal.
You see, Peter wasn’t far away from Christ, but walked daily with Christ. In the midst of his daily walk with Christ, he still needed to change. Peter experienced this truth firsthand; therefore, he explains that we should experience certain growth in our individual lives as we continue to walk with Christ:
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. – 2 Peter 1:5-7
This growth is of incredible importance to our walk with Christ. Most of us have heard the phrase, “if you’re not growing, then you’re dying.” Peter explains that if we aren’t experiencing growth, if we are not going through change, then we are not being of use to the Master Jesus Christ. Our knowledge and “faith” is of little importance if we are not growing and seeing these aspects of character increasing in our lives.
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins. Therefore, brothers, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble. For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly supplied to you. – 2 Peter 1:8-11
Are you seeing the fruit of God’s Spirit show up in your life? Are you changing into more of Christ?
May grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. – 2 Peter 1:2
Brad Andres helps people understand the Bible and maximize their God-given potential for life. He is the author of The Scripture Reader’s Manifesto and lives in Sandusky, Ohio with his wife and daughter. To get more of Brad’s thoughts, check out his website at BradAndres.com, find him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, or circle him on Google+.