The Means of Growth
‘Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.’—2 Pet. iii. 18.
THE very thing we are longing to do, and perhaps mourning over not doing, and perhaps praying every day that we may do, and seeming to get no answer! But when God has annexed a means to the fulfillment of a command, we cannot expect Him to enable us to fulfill that command if we are not using His means. In this case the means are wrapped in another command: ‘Desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.’1
Real desire must prove itself by action; it is no use desiring the milk and not drinking it. ‘Wherefore criest thou unto Me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.TM Let us to-day, and every day henceforth, ‘go forward,’ and use in faith and honest earnestness this His own great means of growth.
1 1 Pet. ii. 1. 2 Ex. xiv. 15.
By the word we shall ‘grow in grace.’ The beginning of grace in our souls was by the same; for it is written, ‘Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth;’1 ‘Being born again, . . . by the word of God.’2 At every step it is the same word which develops the spiritual life. The young man shall ‘cleanse his way’ by it. The entrance of it giveth light and understanding.3 The result of hiding it in our hearts is, that we ‘might not sin against Thee;’* and how often by His word has He ‘withheld thee from sinning against Me ! ‘5 Again and again we have said, ‘Thy word hath quickened me.’6 For it comes to us ‘not in word only, but in power and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.” It is ‘able to make thee wise unto salvation,’8 and its intended effects of reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness, rise to what would seem a climax of growth, ‘that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. ‘9 And yet there is a still more glorious result of this ‘word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe;’1″ for by ‘His divine power’ ‘are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.'” This is indeed the climax, for what can rise beyond this most marvelous effect of this blessed means of growth in grace! Oh, to use it as He would have us use it, so that every day we ‘may grow thereby’!
1 Jas. i. 18. 2 I Pet. U 23.
3 Ps. cxix. 9; ib. cxix. 130. 4 Ps. cxix. 11.
5 Gen. XX. 6. 6 pg, cxix. So. 7 i Thess. i. 5.
8 2 Tim. iii. 15. 9 2 Tim. iii. 17. 10 i Thess. ii. 13.
?U 2 Pet. i. 3; ib. i. a.
By the word we shall also grow in the knowledge of Christ. The mere surface of this is obvious. For how do we come to know more of any one whom having not seen, we love ?1 is it not by reading and hearing what he has said and written and done? How are we to know more of Jesus Christ, if we are not taking the trouble to know more of His word?
He hath said, ‘Search the Scriptures; for . . . they are they which testify of Me. ‘2 Are we really searching, or only superficially reading, those Old Testament Scriptures of which He spoke? He says they testify of Him, i.e. tell us all about Him; are we acting as if we quite believed that?
‘Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in All the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Then there are things about Jesus in all the Scriptures—not just only in the Psalms and Isaiah, but in every book! How very much there must be for us to find! Let us ask the Holy Spirit to take of these things of Jesus and show them unto us,4 that we may grow in ‘the knowledge of the Son of God.’5
‘The words which I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life ‘6—quickening and continually life-giving words. We want to be permeated with them; we want them to dwell in us richly,7 to be the inspiration of our whole lives, the very music of our spirits, whose melodious overflow may be glory to God and goodwill to man.8 Jesus Himself has given us this quick and powerful word of God, and our responsibility is tremendous. He has told us distinctly what to do as to it; He has said, ‘Search!” Now, are we substituting a word of our own, and merely reading them? He did not say, ‘Read them,’ but’ Search / ” and it is a most serious thought for many a comfortable daily reader of the Bible, that, if they are only reading and not searching, they are distinctly living in disobedience to one of His plainest commands. What wonder if they do not ‘grow thereby ‘!
Let me then be always growing,
Never, never standing still,
Listening, learning, better knowing
Thee, and Thy most blessed will;
That the Master’s eye may trace,
Day by day, my growth in grace.
1 I Pet. i. 8, 2 John. v. 39. ^ Luke xxiv. 27.
?* John xvi. 15. 5 Eph. iv. 13. ‘ John vi. 63.
T Col. iii. 16. 8 Luke ii. za.