Growing in Grace

Growing in Grace

You have grown in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You are not the man or woman you once were. You are more mature than once you were—more like Christ, more in tune with your heavenly Father, more manifestly a child of His care. Your delight in righteousness has developed. Your sensitivity to sin has increased. Your wish to please God is fuller and more finely developed. It’s not just growing up. That cannot account for it all. It is growing up in all things into Him who is the Head, Jesus Christ.

When someone is converted, there is an immediate and radical change. From the inner man outward, everything changes. For some people, perhaps converted from a more openly wicked life, that shift has effects that are obvious to others. Like the Gadarene demoniac, the sinner is now found clothed and in his right mind, and everyone can tell the difference. For others, although the inward shift is equally radical and equally absolute, the outward evidence is not so marked. Perhaps they had lived a more moral life or were brought up under the healthy restraint of a gospel home.

But either way, conversion is only the beginning. From that point on, the believer—typically within the fellowship of a faithful church and under the care of godly undershepherds—should be growing “in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).

After those first striking moments in which, now that the believer is joined to Christ, there is a breach with sin, a process of maturation goes on. By degrees, sometimes faster and sometimes slower, the believer is conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). Paul labored in birth for his “little children” in Galatia until Christ was formed in them (Gal. 4:19). God’s obedient children are not to conform themselves to their former lusts, as they did in their ignorance, “but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:14–16).

Have you known that reality of growing in grace? Do you experience it now? What might it look like and feel like? Perhaps you remember a friend you used to know, and you get a chance to meet up again. You get together, and after a few minutes you feel a disconnect—you are speaking past each other. You are referring to the same events but no longer looking with the same eyes. The old jokes aren’t so funny, the old memories are not quite shared any longer, the old perspectives don’t sit with you as they once did. It’s not that you don’t have any affection for your old friend, but you have moved on. There’s less common ground, and there is a marked bump in the road when you speak to your friend about your Savior.

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