The last words penned by the apostle Peter for his fellow Christians are these: “But grow in grace and, in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18) We certainly understand what it means to grow in knowledge and that it is accomplished by reading and studying God’s word. But what is meant by growing in grace?
It might help to think of grace as having two sides. On the one hand there is the forgiveness of sins. This is what we usually think of when we speak of being saved by grace. But forgiveness of sins is only one side of grace. The other side of grace is the eradication of sinful practices from our lives. God’s grace is not only about forgiving us of our sins but also about lifting us up out of a life of sin. Growing in grace means developing in our lives the virtues that are pleasing to God.
Consider this passage: “And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brother kindness love.” (2 Peter 1:5-7) These are usually called the Christian Graces. Growing in grace means developing these Christian Graces in our lives.