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II. The Resources For Growth In Grace (1:3–11)

Peter makes an important assumption about the Christian life: it is a relationship with God that moves toward a future climax. Thus Christians continue to grow in anticipation of their future goal (see 1:3, life; 1:11, the eternal kingdom). At least two important aspects of Christian life follow from this assumption. First, Christians must grow in the grace and knowledge of God. Therefore, second, they must realize that life in grace never reaches a point (or a level) where growth is no longer necessary. For this reason, and especially in view of the circumstances of his readers, Peter writes to encourage growth in grace. In this passage he offers both a word of confirmation and correction for traditional Wesleyan understandings of grace. By way of confirmation, Peter indicates the transforming character of grace. Christian life can never be merely a change in one's status or position before God. Wesleyans have rightly insisted that grace effects a change in the whole of one's life before God. By way of correction, Peter indicates the dynamic character of grace. Christian life never reaches a state of grace where growth is arrested. As he asserts, the very character of grace demands an ever deepening, constantly growing, relationship to Christ.

In a real sense, to grow in grace is simply to take advantage of what God has already done for us. Peter declares that God, in divine power, has bestowed upon us all the resources we need to reflect his own glory and excellence (1:3), to escape from the impact of a corrupt world, and to participate in God's divine nature (1:4). These resources assume the form of promise, indeed very precious promises (1:4). God promises through his divine power all the resources needed for a growing and deepening Christian life.

Sincere Christians, then, will make every effort to trust God's promise, rely on God's power, and grow. Peter insists that genuine faith should express itself in decisive ways. Faith must shape what we are (character), what we know or think (knowledge), what we do (self-control), and how we do it (steadfastness, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love). A growing faith that is decisive in these ways will help Christians to live productive lives. Peter's chief concern is that his readers take full advantage of the resources God gives them in Christ. As they do, they will confirm the reality of God's call on their lives, and they will receive a rich welcome in Christ's eternal kingdom.