I have recently started a new study in 2 Peter and I have been fascinated by a sentence
that appears in the introductory greeting to Peter’s letter: May grace and peace be
multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord (1 Peter 1:2). Grace
and peace were customary themes of greeting for many of the New Testament writers,
and as such are often overlooked by many readers. But it is the modifier appended to
this greeting that has captivated me, in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
That grace and peace be multiplied to us is not simply a hopeful wish of the apostle but
a prayer that these come to us as the product of individual growth in the knowledge of
God. These words got me thinking and I hope they do you as well.
To grow in knowledge of God assumes an initial starting point of knowledge that must
first be established. The Bible says that we come to know God when the Spirit of God
awakens us to spiritual life (John 1:12-13; 3:3-8) and as a result we repent of our sin
and trust in Christ for salvation (Mark 1:15). But the journey doesn’t end there, in fact it
only begins. The rest of the Christian life involves growing up into our new faith (Eph.
4:13-14), it is a journey from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity. Interestingly, Jesus
defined eternal life as knowledge of the Father and the Son, not an everlasting
succession of moments in time (John 17:3). Hence, growing in this knowledge is a
central aspect of being a Christian.
The knowledge referenced is personal and relational, but not devoid of intellectual
content. We know God through personal experience, but we also come to know him in a
greater way as we progress in the Christian life. The spiritual disciplines of Bible study,
prayer, Christian fellowship, and service are the means by which we progress. For
many who are stagnating in their Christian walk, I wonder if the problem doesn’t lie
here? Many of us were taught to “just believe” and everything else would take care of
itself. But the reality is that the Scriptures never divorce faith from practice, it assumes
the two will go hand in hand.
Therefore, we must be diligent in our pursuit of knowledge and understanding. As we
grow to maturity, the grace and peace of God will be multiplied to us, and in us. The
implication is obvious: a lack of growth in the knowledge of God and Christ leads to
stagnation, and as Peter will argue throughout the rest of his letter, eventually apathy,
and then apostasy. We must take action.
Has your walk with the Lord become stagnant? If so, you need to follow through on the
prescriptions of the Word of God. Dust off that Bible of yours and dig in and see what
the Lord has to say to you. Engage the Lord in meaningful prayer, not just reading off a
laundry list of needs but waiting patiently for God to respond and speak. Connect with a
local body of believers who are growing together under the teaching of the Word of
God. Get into a situation where you can serve the Kingdom of God and the community
in which he has placed you so that you grow through personal application and
experience. By doing these, you will fulfill the call to grow in grace.