Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.2 Peter 3:18 NIV
Peter, in the extended passage ending here, is writing to believers about what is to come. And his primary concern in this passage is ensuring that, as believers, we are equipped for the attacks on our faith that we will face. Sometimes those attacks will be overt and obvious. But Peter’s bigger concern seems to be those attacks that come from within. From those who distort the Scriptures to their own ends and teach false doctrines. Peter’s concern is in preparing us to meet these threats and to have victory over them.
In verse 17 Peter tells us that we have been forewarned. If we have been paying attention, we should know that godless people, under the guise of being Christ followers, will seek to lead us astray. So, he says, be on your guard against them. The danger is great. The danger of falling from our secure position. However you understand this warning, one thing is clear. It is a warning to not be caught up in the error of those who themselves are on their way to destruction.
Growing in Grace and Knowledge
So how do we guard against this error? Peter’s admonition to us is to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The solution is not to study their error and learn how to combat it, although we should be aware of it. The solution is to become more and more deeply grounded in our faith.
Grace has to do with favor, in this case God’s favor. We need to grow in his favor by living in obedience to him and his word. It is not enough for us to read the Bible and participate in the rituals of our faith. Those we are being warned about also do that. Rather, we should, as dearly loved children, seek to imitate our heavenly Father in all we do (Eph. 5:1).
And we are to grow in the knowledge of Christ. Often we might see this as intellectual knowledge that I can gain by study. But I believe Peter is actually referring to growing in relational knowledge, coming to know our Lord on a deeper and more personal level. It is the difference between knowing about someone, and knowing them.
Growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus should be the constant goal of all believers. If we will do that, then everything else will fall into place. Want to be a better evangelist? Grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. Want to be more effective in service? Grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. Want to have deeper relationships with other believers? Then grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus. Do you want to be secure in your faith? Then be growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.