(2 Peter 3:18) “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”
(Romans 5:1-5) “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
We grow in grace is by living in the condition that is laid out in Romans 5:3-4. Here is a process that God uses to cause us to grow in his grace. As I noted before, “This process starts with hope and it ends with hope.”
When we start living in this process, we should not be unhappy, but we should glory in it. This process is not easy, and parts of it are really not wanted, but it is needed. We do not want to go through tribulations, but it is necessary for growth.
At the end of this process will be (Romans 5:5) “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
First, we start out with hope and we end up with hope. If this happens in your life, you know that you are growing in grace.
There are two things that we must have and if we have them we know that we are growing in the grace of God.
The first is said in the negative: we are not to be ashamed. The hope that we end up with is different than we start out with. The ending hope is one that will make us “not ashamed”. (Luke 9:26) “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.”
When one is ashamed of the gospel and of Christ, it shows that one is weak in hope and does not understand just what this hope means. This verse is sometimes translated: “This hope does not disappoint”. This is to say that, the hope that comes of God working on us is one that we can be sure about. Hope is the earnest expectation that God will fulfill his promises – so that we will not be disappointed.
The next sign that we are growing in grace is that we have the love of God in us.
The reason for this is that God has given us the Holy Spirit and He has given us the love of God. Williams translated this, “God’s love has flooded our hearts.”
(Galatians 5:22) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love…”
Galatians also says, (Galatians 5:16) “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
We need to walk in the Spirit so that we can have God’s love. This love is not a feeling but a desire to do good for others as you would do for yourself.
We need God’s love to flood our hearts.
The love that we need is not the love that comes out of our human nature, that is, comes out of our flesh, but is God’s love. We need the love that will cause us to love our neighbor as ourselves.
How do you know if you have grown in grace or?
You know that you are growing in grace because you are bolder in speaking for Christ and that you have a desire to do good for others as you do for yourself.
*Devotional written by Ralph Williams, retired pastor and member of One Hope Mobile.