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We Value Grace and Knowledge

by David Ford

    After warning against false teachers Peter writes:

17 You already know these things, dear friends. So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. 18 Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. [1] 2 Peter 3

In order to keep our footing we need to grow in Grace and Knowledge of the Lord.  We will consider growth in grace and growth in knowledge separately.


Ephesians 2 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. [2]

We usually define grace as unmerited favor?  True enough, but grace is one of those words that got “churchified” and our understanding of those words is incomplete if we rely on a narrow definition.

         Consider Genesis 6:5-8.  God saw that men’s hearts turned continually to evil and was sorry he made them so He decided to wipe them all out. But not Noah.  There was something different about Noah.  He wasn’t perfect.  Was his heart different?  Did he tend to turn away from evil?  God at least had confidence that Noah could and would follow instructions. 

         The Grace shown Noah extended beyond him and his family.  God had a plan to save humanity.  God had a plan to make His wisdom undeniable beyond question to the unseen rulers and powers in the heavens through the church.  (Eph3:10)  Presumably these are the same ones the church is struggling against in Eph. 6:12.

         God’s Grace towards Noah extends through the centuries to us; through Israel to David to the coming of the Messiah to us today.  When God extends grace to us, he expects us to be the vessels through which Grace is extended to others.

         God’s plan all along was to extend his healing power to the nations through the Cross of Christ.  Grace is more than God smiling on His children and overlooking their faults.  It is healing for our souls and spirits.  It gives us strength to stand up to Satan and overcome sin.

         For the Christian, Grace is not only something we receive; it is something we extend to others.  Just as Jesus was patient and kind so should we be.  Think what it means to be ‘gracious’.  Our lives should reflect the Grace which God has shown us.

         The Unmerciful Servant

Matt. 18 21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”

22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!

23 “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. 24 In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. 25 He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.

26 “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ 27 Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.

28 “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.

29 “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. 30 But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.

31 “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. 32 Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. 35 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”

We say we value grace when we are talking about God’s grace towards us but what about showing grace to others?  What do our actions show?  Do the thoughts of our heart reflect God’s Grace?

         Unfortunately, we live in a world that doesn’t value grace.  It pretends to, on the surface at times, but the world values personal freedom and the pursuit of happiness.  When ‘every man for himself’ is the order of the day, no one feels compelled to show grace and mercy to neighbors.  A world that ignores or denies the reality of sin sees no need for Divine Grace nor to imitate God’s Grace.

         In order to grow in Grace, we have to live in Grace.  In order to live in Grace we have to be aware of our own sins and feel remorse over them.  Not to wallow in guilt and fear and self-pity, but to be aware of how much we have been forgiven.  Like the servant in the parable, we need to feel compassion rather than contempt for our fellow sinners. 

         Living in the presence of God, surrounded by His Grace, we grow in Grace.  Grace is like the spiritual air we breathe that gives us spiritual life.  Growing in grace means being more like Jesus.  Jesus went far out of his way to bring us pardon and peace with God.  How much are we willing to sacrifice for the good of our enemies?  We’ve all got a long way to grow.


         Peter uses the word ‘knowledge’ 7 times in his second epistle.  Sometimes he uses the regular Greek word for knowledge (gnosis) but 4 times he uses a special form of the word for knowledge (epignosis) which is probably better translated ‘deep knowledge’.  Paul also uses ‘epignosis’ 15 times; 19 if he wrote Hebrews.

         Deep knowledge is not just ‘brainier’ knowledge.  It is knowledge from direct experience that goes deeper into our being than anything that can be learned from a book.  We all know what a teacher is.  We have been students and observed what teachers do.  Some of us have done a bit of teaching ourselves and have a deeper understanding of what teaching is.  A few of us have taught in a classroom daily for 20 or more years.  Those few have a yet deeper understanding of what a teacher is.  And that understanding cannot be expressed in a few words.  Textbooks are written by teachers for teachers but the knowledge that can be gained from books are no substitute for years of experience.

         The same idea holds for carpenters, cooks, policemen and doctors.  There is knowledge to be gained from experience, from practice, that can’t be absorbed in a classroom.  Our knowledge of Christ begins with simple teaching that others offer us and from our own reading of the Scripture.  The deeper knowledge of Christ comes by walking with Jesus day after day and year after year.

Gen. 5 21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. 22 Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. [3]

         Did Enoch literally ‘walk with God’ or is that a figure of speech?  That’s beside the point.  He spent time with God and got to know Him.  We spend time with other people at work and in our recreation and we get to know them.  Unless we do all the talking.  We get to know their preferences and their dislikes; their opinions and their character.  We get to know the person.  Knowledge of Christ, the deep knowledge we should be striving after, comes from walking with Him.

         The Walk to Emmaus

Luke 24 13 That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. 16 But God kept them from recognizing him.

17 He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?”

They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. 18 Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”

19 “What things?” Jesus asked.

“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. 20 But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. 21 We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.

22 “Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. 23 They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! 24 Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.”

25 Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. 26 Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” 27 Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

28 By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, 29 but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. 30 As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. 31 Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared!

32 They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” 33 And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them, 34 who said, “The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter.” [4]

Are you walking with Jesus?  Does your heart ever burn within you when His  Word comes to you.  Walking with Jesus will fill your heart with hope and faith that can’t be put into words.  Walking with Jesus is the one thing which is essential if you wish to gain a deep knowledge of our Lord and Savior.

       David Ford lives in Bruceville, IN and is a member of Central Church of Christ, Vincennes, IN.


[1] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (2 Pe 3:17–18). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Eph 2:8–10). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ge 5:21–24). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Lk 24:13–34). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

One Response to “We Value Grace and Knowledge”

  1. Frank Preston says:

    Great article

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4