2 Peter 3:11-18 – Live for What Lasts

Grace is the key to a relationship with God because He both saves us by His grace (Eph. 2:8) and sustains us by grace (2 Cor. 12:9). But grace is opposed to every human way of approaching God, and so we have to be on guard constantly so that we do not lapse into a merit system with God. The world operates on the merit system. If you work for good grades in school, you can get into college. You work hard in college and you get rewarded with a good job. You work hard on the job and you are rewarded with pay increases and promotions. In the merit system, you get what you deserve and you deserve what you get. And all of the world’s religions, including some that are labeled “Christian,” operate on the merit system. You get into heaven based on what you have done. The merit system rewards our achievement and feeds our pride.

But grace is opposed to the merit system. Grace means undeserved favor. We deserve God’s wrath, but He blesses us apart from our works. Under grace, we do not work to earn heaven, but we freely receive all that God has provided for us at Christ’s expense. Paul explains (Rom. 4:4-5), “Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.” Under grace, God gets all the credit and human pride is humbled.

How do we grow in the grace which comes from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? The overall principle is, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet. 5:5). Growing in grace involves coming to a greater understanding of God’s holiness, justice, and sovereignty, which also makes you see more of your own rebellion, selfishness, and pride. You see more and more of how unworthy you were to be the object of God’s saving grace, and yet you also see more and more of how great His undeserved love and favor were that drew you to Himself.

C. H. Spurgeon explained it this way (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit [Pilgrim Publications], 46:539-540):

If you, dear friend, would be truly humble, you must look at your Savior, for then you will say,

Alas! And did my Savior bleed?

And did my Sovereign die?

Would He devote that sacred head

For such a worm as I?

You will never feel yourself such a worm as when, by faith, you see your Savior dying for you; you will never know your own nothingness so well as when you see your Savior’s greatness. When you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, you will be sure to grow in humility.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones affirms the same thing (Expository Sermons on 2 Peter [Banner of Truth], p. 251), “Personally I can be certain I am growing in grace if I have an increasing sense of my own sinfulness and my own unworthiness; if I see more and more the blackness of my own heart.” To grow in grace, you must esteem yourself less, but esteem Christ more!

Steven J Cole


Read 2 Peter 3:11-18.  Many today confuse grace with being tolerant of sin. What biblical texts refute this? What does grace really mean?

Holy is Our God by Austin Stone Worship

Posted on: March 26, 2021 - 12:00PM

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