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The Christian Counter

   

Growth in Grace

 

Grace Multiplied

 

How does the Apostle Peter close his second epistle?

 

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.

 

How may grace and peace be multiplied in believers?

 

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” 2 Peter 1:2.

 

What is implied in a knowledge of God and Jesus?

 

 Now this is eternal life; that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3.

 

By what may we be partakers of the divine nature?

 

“Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” 2 Peter 1:4.  

 

Grace By Addition

 

What graces are we to add in our character building?

 

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness; knowledge; and to knowledge; self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godless, and to godliness, brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, love.” Verses 5-7. 

 

Note – Faith is the first round in the Christian ladder, the first step God ward. “He that comes to God must believe.” Hebrews 11:6. 

But an inoperative faith is useless. “Faith without works is dead.” James 2:20. To be of value, there must be coupled with faith virtue, or moral excellence.

To moral excellence there needs to be added knowledge; otherwise, like the stumbling Jews, one may have zeal, “but not according to knowledge.” (Romans 10:2.) Fanaticism is a result of such zeal. Knowledge, therefore, is an essential to healthy Christian growth.

To knowledge there needs to be added self-control-self-government. To know to do good, and not to do it, is as useless as is faith without works. (See James 4:17.)

Patience, or steadfast endurance, naturally follows self-control. It is well nigh impossible for an intemperate person to be patient.    

Having gained control of oneself, and become patient, one is in a condition to manifest godliness, or Godlikeness.

Kindness toward the brethren, or brotherly kindness, naturally follows godliness.

Love, or love for all, even our enemies, is the crowning grace, the highest step, and the eighth round, in the Christian ladder.

The arrangement in this enumeration of graces is by no means accidental or haphazard, but logical and sequential, each following the other in natural, necessary order. The finger of inspiration is seen here.

 

What is said of love in the Scriptures?

 

“Love is patient, love is kind, It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.  “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8.

 

What is love called?

 

“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Colossians 3:14.

 

What is the result of cultivating these eight graces?

 

“For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:8.

 

What is the condition of one who lacks these graces?

 

“But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.” Verse 9.   

 

What is promised those who add grace to grace?

 

“Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fail.” Verse 10.

 

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all that I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind, It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preservers. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought as a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put away childish ways behind me. Now we see a poor reflection in the mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall see fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13.     


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