Here is the Audio of this post you can read along as you listen if you wish:
The Disciples of Christ started out learning from the master. He was their teacher and they spent their time initially learning what He had to teach them. But when Christ was resurrected and they received the Spirit from Him they moved into a different realm. They became true Sons of God. From that moment on they began to grow in Grace and Knowledge.
In 2Peter 3:18 we are commanded to grow. But how exactly are we commanded to grow in that verse? Notice what it says:
2Pe 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.
Peter says we are to grow in two areas:
Grace and the Knowledge of Christ.
Now a lot of folks go right to verses in Hebrews 6:1-2 to justify “new doctrines” that we haven’t been taught before. Saying that we need to grow by discovering new doctrines. But is that what these verses really say?
Heb 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
Heb 6:2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
Now is that talking about new doctrines? Notice that is says we are to go on to perfection! To go beyond the basic doctrines of our faith to perfection! What does that mean?
I believe that this is showing us that we are to move beyond doctrines (which are basic truths) toward perfection in the spirit. Notice in 2 Corinthians 7:1
(2Co 7:1) Having, therefore, these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
You see we are to perfect our holiness because of our fear and respect for the Lord God.
I had been away from the church for many years and when I started to turn back to God and look for His people again I was shocked to learn that the parent church had “gone the way of the world” so to speak. For all that I understood, it was no longer there.
I began to look for other ministers that I knew and found them; all embroiled with controversy and battles.
So I felt alone with no one to go to as a group. Not that there were any I knew of close to me anyway.
In the process of trying to come back to God, I began to wonder what He wanted from us primarily? Does God care if we know all the truths or doctrines? Or is He more interested in how we handle what we do know?
In Ephesians 2:20 Paul says about us;
Eph 2:20 And(we) are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];
Doctrines provide us with the milk of God’s word. They give us a solid physical foundation (Heb 6:1-….not laying again the foundation) on which to build a Spiritual Building.
We are to carefully build on that foundation. In 1 Corinthians chapter 3; Paul shows us how to build on that foundation.
(1Co 3:10) According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
(1Co 3:11) For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
(1Co 3:12) Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
(1Co 3:13) Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
We are to build up our spiritual character and put down our fleshly desires and proclivities to build a spiritual house that will withstand the fire that God will send to test our work.
So if the Apostles and Prophets give us a doctrinal foundation upon which to build our building what do we do to build on it? Notice what Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 2:19-23
2Ti 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
So departing from iniquity (sin) is the starting point to build on the foundation of the doctrines that we have been given.
2Ti 2:20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of the earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor.
2Ti 2:21 If a man therefore purges himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, [and] prepared unto every good work.
If we purge ourselves from iniquity and the vain squabbling over extraneous doctrine that was also discussed in this chapter, we can build a vessel of honor
2Ti 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
2Ti 2:23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
So we begin to see that what happens after we have a solid foundation of good doctrine is that we begin to take action on our part to build our house (our part of the spiritual temple of God)
This action on our part is where we are tested that is our work is tested because it is where we encounter resistance from satan and trials and temptations to perfect us in our journey.
Here is where we begin to use the tools of spiritual warfare to grow in grace and knowledge of Christ. We begin to walk as Christ walked and as we do so we increase in God’s Grace (favor). In 2 Corinthinans 10:3-5 Paul says;
2Co 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
2Co 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;)
2Co 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Here is our battle; controlling our very thoughts.
We grow in the fire of adversity it is the only way we can grow. If we do not take action and use the trials God sends to us to fight these battles then we will not be overcomers and it is the overcomers who inherit the kingdom.
We cannot be satisfied with just knowing the truth. We can’t be satisfied with just attending church services and the feasts. It does us no good at all to say we have the truth if we take no action against the evils that are within us.
For then we would be like the Laodiceans, we would be blind and naked and not even know it.
Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
The entire chapter shows the things we need to do each day to present our bodies a living sacrifice and to renew our minds.
Be sober minded
Use the gifts God has given you
Love without pretense
show love to the brethren
not slothful in business
rejoice in hope
patient in tribulation
instant in prayer
don’t be conceited or condecending to others
Recompense to no man evil for evil.
Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
live peaceably with all men.
avenge not yourselves
love your enemy
ovecome evil with good
Rom 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfill] the lusts [thereof].
Study carefully the 12th and 13th chapters of Romans because Paul shows you here the actions that you need to be taking in order to build on the foundation of doctrine that was given us.
Here you will build your spiritual house of God. Here is how you will grow in grace (the favor of God) and the knowledge of Christ (Learning to live this life as He lived it, to walk as He walked) and thereby growing in the knowledge of Christ.
This is how we will fulfill the command to Grow in Grace and Knowledge. By living our lives as a daily sacrifice as Christ lived His. Here is where we will be building eternal character and love.
Not by chasing after every wind of doctrine. Doctrine is not how we grow in Christ. Love is how we grow.
1Co 13:1 I may be able to speak the languages of human beings and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell.
1Co 13:2 I may have the gift of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains—but if I have no love, I am nothing…GNB
If you compare Romans 12 and I Corinthians 13 (The Love Chapter) you will see that the actions we take to daily renew our minds with Christ in Romans 12 are very similar to the traits of Agape Love we find in the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians…
1Co 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
You see as we learn to apply God’s laws in our lives as we fight the flesh and put down our carnal natures we develop the very aspects of Love in our lives that the Holy Spirit brings to us.
When we were in the flesh we were children speaking, thinking and understanding as a child but now as we grow in the knowledge of Christ and His life we put away childish things and become men; Mature Spiritual Creations that will soon become the Firstborn Sons of God.
So you see, in order to grow, we must move away from just being disciples (students) of Christ we must become Sons of God. We need to enter into Sonship and move beyond Discipleship. As we take up the Cross of Christ daily. We begin our journey each day to become those First Born Sons of God.