In the final verse of his letter Peter lays down the alternative (note the Greek de, “instead”) to being carried away by erroneous ideas of reprobate teachers. It is to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord.” The best way to escape error is to move as rapidly as possible in the other direction. The reason is simple in that all truth resides in Christ. Those who move in that direction experience not only his gracious presence (they “grow in the grace of our Lord and Savior”) but also an increase in their understanding of the truth he exemplifies (“and the knowledge of our Lord”). It will be well to examine these two crucial terms.
The grace of the Lord Jesus is his selfless gift of forgiveness and restoration. ”Unmerited favor” is how it is often defined. However, in one sense it is not definable because as an active relationship its full meaning has to be experienced. We know, for example, that the full meaning of love cannot be compressed into the words used to describe it; it must be experienced. The grace of Christ is understood only by those who have by faith come to know him as a personal friend. And how do we “grow” in this grace? We live with an increasing awareness of who he really is and a continuing experience of his gracious presence.
In addition to growing in grace we are to grow in our knowledge of him. This, of course, begins with an ever-expanding grasp of all that scripture has revealed about him. I suspect that a major reason for a weak and unproductive life on the part of some believers is their failure to make scripture a primary resource for Christian growth. It is said that written inside the cover of Susanna Wesley’s bible were the words, “Dust on your bible means sin in your heart.” It is import to know that learning about Christ is not learning him – the latter is existential. Once again we move from the outside toward the center. When I learn about the love of Christ it enables me to communicate it to someone else. It does not mean that I know it in the fuller sense of experiencing his forgiveness and the joy it brings. The young man sitting on the football bench while others are strenuously engaged on the field does not, as yet, know what the game really is. Involvement is the key.
Peter closes his second letter by encouraging his readers to learn more and more about the Lord Jesus and this will necessarily involve an ever-expanding experience of his gracious presence.