Tuesday, 3 March 2020
…but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18
We now come to the final verse of this magnificent epistle. Peter gives one final exhortation and finishes with a short doxology in it, beginning with, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” It is similar to how he began the epistle. In 2 Peter 1:2, he said –
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”
In his words here, there is no article before either “grace” or “knowledge” in the Greek, and so various ways of translating the verse have been suggested –
In the grace and knowledge
In grace and in knowledge
In grace, and in the knowledge
In grace, and in the knowledge
In grace, and in [the] knowledge
In the grace and knowledge
These, and other variations, each determine what the translator feels was on the mind of Peter. For example, some make the first subjective and the second objective – Christ is the Giver (subjective) and He is the object of the knowledge. Others are both objective – Christ is the object of the grace and of the knowledge, etc.
Without being dogmatic, it is likely that Peter is saying that the believer is to grow in grace given by Christ, and that they are to grow in the knowledge concerning the Person of Christ. This seems to fit best with the idea of Christian maturity. We have been given grace and should grow in that which has been given. At the same time, we have a knowledge of Jesus from the inception of our walk with Him, but that knowledge can increase forever as we seek Him out (2 Peter 1:5-9).
This would then be in accord with the subject of what he has been saying concerning the false teachers and the twisting of Scripture by them – something he warns us to avoid being swept up in. To avoid this, it would be wise to grow in the knowledge of Christ. It is He who is found throughout Scripture, and it is He who reveals the unseen God to us.
Finally, Peter finishes with, “To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” In Isaiah, we read –
“I am the Lord, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another.” Isaiah 42:8
This is stated elsewhere as well. For the Lord (Yehovah of the Old Testament Scriptures) to say this, and then for Peter to ascribe that same glory to Jesus in his closing remarks now, shows that either Peter truly believed that Jesus is the incarnate Yehovah, or he was an incompetent blasphemer. It is Jesus Christ who is granted “the glory” and, as the Greek reads, it is “to the day of eternity.”
This is a phrase not found anywhere else in the New Testament. Both the word “day” and “eternity” are singular nouns. It is one day, but it is an eternal day. In other words, it is the fulfillment of the thought which was hinted at in the creation account. Each of the six days of creation said, “So the evening and the morning were the xxth day.”
However, on the seventh day, this is not recorded. It is an eternal day, a day where tomorrow (the evening) will never come because the light of God in Christ will radiate forever. Thus, Revelation says –
“They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. 5 There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.” Revelation 22:4, 5
This is what is in store for the saints of God, and it is – literally – a moment away at any time. Indeed, the Lord is not slack concerning His promise. He will, in the moment He has determined from the foundation of the world, bring His people to Himself. It is this marvelous moment that Peter anticipates, and which we can delight in as we continue in the stream of time, awaiting that moment as well.
Life application: Among other points, the epistles of Peter have given us great insights into our heavenly inheritance; life in the presence of God; God’s eternal and enduring word; the work of Jesus as foretold in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New; living as pilgrims in this temporary abode; our need to submit to ruling authorities and others appointed over us; our call to be a blessing as we live our lives; the suffering of Christ which should mark our own willingness to suffer – which is to the glory of God; serving others; instructions for elders; resisting the devil; faithfully growing in Christ; the trustworthiness of the word of prophecy; destructive heresies; the depravity, deception, and doom of false teachers; the faithfulness of God’s promises; the coming Day of the Lord; and finally a note to remain steadfast as we wait on Christ.
Peter’s admonition of the final verse of his second epistle is an amazingly perfect way to end his letters. After all of these instructions and explanations, he sums up the entire body of his thought asking us to continue to grow in Jesus. His grace is that which has been given to us though we didn’t deserve it.
The knowledge of Him can only be obtained from the word written about him. Therefore, we look to the pages of the Bible, including the words of Peter, to grow in our knowledge of the mystery of Christ – now revealed to the saints of the ages.
Peter ends his note in a manner which confirms – as has been done countless times in the New Testament – the deity of Jesus. He does this by stating, “To Him be the glory both now and forevermore.” No God, jealous for His own glory and protective of His name, would allow a created being to be so praised. But God is pleased to receive our praise when it is given through Jesus – the incarnate Word of God; the God/Man. Amen.
Thank You Lord God for the beautiful letters of Your sacred word. Thank you for the selection, protection, and love You bestowed on Your prophets and apostles until they were able to transmit Your word to us. Each of them had faults, trials, temptations, and failings. But through their lives, we see a glimpse of our own great need for an even greater Savior… and You are the One we look to in the Person of Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen.