Week 7: Grow in the Grace and Knowledge of Our Lord
Your walk of faith will be a
life-long journey. If you persist in your faith, the Lord Jesus will continue
to walk with you and guide you on this journey. You will also witness how your
spiritual life matures over time. But whenever your faith weakens, your
spiritual growth will slow down or even come to a stop, and you may feel more
and more distant from the Lord. Therefore, a constantly growing faith is key to a growing relationship with the Lord.
But how can we maintain our faith?
Peter, before he left the world, reminded the believers to be diligent in the
faith. He concluded his epistle with these words, “You therefore, beloved,
since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness,
being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and
knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be
the glory both now and forever. Amen” (2Pet 3:17-18). Therefore, in order to
stand firm our faith, we must grow in the Lord’s grace and knowledge.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
refers to his saving grace in our lives. Christ does not leave us alone after
he cleanses our sins during baptism. He continues to work on us until we enter
the heavenly kingdom (Eph 2:10; Php 2:12,13). We need to depend on his mercy and forgiveness when we
have done wrong. We need to be transformed by the renewing power of the Holy
Spirit. By keeping ourselves in his love, we can grow and become mature (Jude
To grow in the knowledge of our
Lord means to know him more and more. Not only should we become familiar with
the Scriptures, we must learn to know the Lord more intimately. We need to know
what pleases him and what grieves him. This knowledge comes from experience. It
comes from the continual practicing of his words and the enlightenment of the
Holy Spirit (Col 1:10; Eph 1:10-21).
In sum, we can grow spiritually
only if we remain in Christ and center our lives on Christ. The Lord tells us,
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless
it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me”
In this lesson, we will look at
the characteristics of a growing relationship with the Lord as well as some
guidelines to keep in mind as we work on building this life-long relationship.
Some Basic Principles
Increase in the Likeness of Christ.
The final and ultimate goal of
our discipleship in Christ is to become mature and complete (perfect) just as
God is perfectly complete (Mt ;
Eph , 24). When God’s
specially called people, his church, reach perfection, the church will be ready
to be taken by Jesus—like a bride is ready to be taken by her bridegroom (Rev
19:7,8). Our growth and relationship with Christ will
never be complete until we are finally and completely joined with Christ in the
new creation. At that time, we will be like God, our Father, because we shall
see God as he is (1 Jn 3:2). Therefore, daily, we
must pursue holiness and godliness before Jesus comes again (2 Pet , 14). A believer must never
quit pursuing after spiritual growth or be satisfied with what he or she has
already achieved; instead, a disciple must constantly pursue growth into God’s
Increase in Knowledge.
For little children to grow, they
must eat the right kinds of food that’s appropriate for their age. (1 Cor ;
Eph ; Heb -14; 2 Pet ). This is true of our spiritual growth.
When we first believed, we may compare that stage of our faith to that of an
infant and live on milk for a while. But gradually, you’ll find yourself
looking for pureed foods. Before long, you will want solids. Such is the nature
of a deepening relationship with the Lord. And bearing in mind that every child
is different, your relationship with Jesus will grow at a speed that only you
and the Lord knows. Regardless, you have to know what you need in order to grow
effectively. If you are unfamiliar with God’s word, then you need to read the
Bible more. If you are unsure about the basis of your faith in the True Jesus
Church, please take the time to study the doctrines. Grow in your knowledge of
God and God’s truth and you’ll reap the rewards of a closer relationship with
Increase in Steadfastness.
A mature faith is like true love
in a personal relationship. Although the man and woman may encounter growing
pains, the relationship endures. It is not like puppy love that gets off to a
promising start but soon fizzles out. Paul’s letters to the believers of the
early church reveal his true love for our Lord. As we can tell from our study
of the Bible, Jesus loved Paul first. Paul reciprocated (Acts 22:6-12). Paul’s
letters also reveal that in spite of trials and tribulations, his love for
Christ never fizzled out. Paul was steadfast in his love. Because he understood
that Christ’s love was real and permanent, he never allowed any of these trials
and tribulations to come between him and Christ (Rom -35). He reiterated, “For I am persuaded
that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor any
other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is
in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom ,39).
Make Every Effort.
In order for a relationship to
work, both parties must be committed to put in time and effort. The Lord wants
our relationship with him to work. In fact, he has proved, beyond a shadow of
doubt, that he is committed to the relationship. He came down to earth and
offered Himself on the cross so that we may be reconciled to him. Now that we
have believed in him, it is up to us to make every effort to get to know him
better and draw closer to him. The apostle Peter showed the believers of the
early church how they could deepen their relationship with Christ. He gave them
a list of virtues to add to their faith: goodness, knowledge, self-control,
perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (2 Pet 1:5-7).
Train Yourself Constantly.
Even if you have heard many
sermons or read through the Bible many times, you may still be a spiritual
infant if you never practice what you hear. Spiritual maturity and a solid
relationship with the Lord come about by constant training (Heb ). In order to grow in our
knowledge of God, we need to actually put his words into practice. When you
carry out God’s will, you will experience how true God’s promises are. You will
understand the meaning of God’s word not just conceptually but through
experience. You will realize the loving purpose behind God’s commands and learn
to appreciate them. Through all this, you will discover how awesome God is. The
more you practice the Lord’s commands, the more you’ll know him, and the more
you know how good the Lord is, the more you will love him.
Don’t Lose Sight of Christ.
We can only complete our journey
to heaven if we hold firmly to our faith in Christ (Heb ). In trying times, fix our eyes on Jesus,
the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb 12:1-3).
Christ is faithful. As long as we continue in our faith, he will not abandon
us. He will keep us until his coming. Keep ourselves in the love of God as we
wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring us to eternal life (Jude
Learn to Appreciate Christ’s Love.
Out of 10 lepers who were healed,
only one came back to thank Jesus (Lk -19). The other 9 went on their
own way and forgot about their Savior. To remain and grow in Christ, we must be
grateful to all that Christ has done for us. Count your blessings. Remember how
Christ lifted you from the slimy pit. Think about how much he cares for you.
Paul never forgot how great Christ’s sacrifice of love was (Gal ; 1Tim -16). Christ’s love compels us (2Co ). If we are grateful, we will
not forget our Lord.
Learn to Please God.
In a loving relationship, we care
about how our loved one feels. We don’t want to hurt them. We want to do
everything to please them. Our relationship with God is not built on fear, but
on love. So we should care about how God feels and please him in every way (Col). Do not grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph ). If we love God, we will
actively seek his will. If we love God, we will obey him out of a cheerful
heart, not compulsion. With such active faith, we won’t need to be reminded to
pray or study God’s word. We don’t need to be forced to do sacred work.
Write down other guidelines that
have worked for you.
Write down new ideas that could
work for you.
Your spiritual growth is a life-long process.
In order to grow spiritually, we must remain in
List at least 3 principles or guidelines that
will help you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord.
What does it mean to “increase in the likeness
What does it mean to “increase in knowledge”?
What does it mean to “increase in
Just as a child needs a particular type of food
for a particular stage of growth, so do we in our hope
to grow to maturity in the faith. T/F
Read 1Pet 2:1-3. What do these
verse mean to you?
Read Heb 5:14. When was there a time when you
had to take “solid food”?
Our spiritual growth includes learning how to
grow in unison with other church members. T/F
has recently believed in Jesus. As a new believer, she has a deep respect for
God and God’s word. However, Jane never likes to read much about the Bible. One
day, she hears a fiery sermon that speaks about God’s righteous judgment on the
sinful and wicked people of an evil generation. As a result, Jane now conceives
of God as some kind of high-handed judge. One day, Jane has a serious argument
with her best friend. She feels horrible because she lost her temper and said
some nasty things. Later on in the day, Jane begins to take out her
frustrations on her husband and children. So instead of getting better, the day
goes from bad to worse. Jane knows God doesn’t approve of her conduct, and she
can’t seem to let go of her sin. In a way, Jane feels torn between facing God
and admitting her guilt and avoiding God because she believes God could never
love a sinner such as herself. Finally, Jane sinks into a deep spiritual
depression because she continually thinks about how God could never forgive her
for all the wrongs she has done. Feeling so much self-pity, Jane thinks about
not going to church anymore.
If were Jane’s church friend, how would you help Jane in her relationship with
What things do you think keep Jane from deepening her relationship with God?
Jason has been a believer for a few years now.
When Jason first believed in Jesus Christ, he always had a burning desire to
read the Bible, attend services, and pray regularly. Unfortunately, as time
passed, the fire inside him seemed to slowly be extinguished by his busy work
schedule and other worldly influences. More and more, Jason began to feel
distant from God. Jason remembered the days when he first believed—how he felt
so close to God. Now, Jason knows God is very far from him. When Jason
interacts with others at work, he is very harsh, unforgiving, and quick
tempered. Jason knows that the farther away he feels from God, the farther away
his character reflects God’s character; yet, Jason doesn’t seem to know how to
re-establish a close and intimate relationship with God anymore.
What do you see or imagine is the source of Jason’s problems?
How would you advise Jason on resolving his feelings of alienation with God?
If you were in Jason’s shoes, how would you go about re-establishing an
intimate relationship with God?
Area for Improvement
List out areas in your walk of
faith where you feel you still need to grow. For example: Sometimes I complain
to God when things don’t go well.
How to Be More Mature
Beside each item you listed in
the “Area for Improvement” column, put down how you think you can be more
spiritually mature in this area. For example: I should be thankful to God at
all times; God allows these difficulties so I may learn to trust him more.