Grown Up Grace
This gift of grace, though completely gifted in all, is only matured in those who are aware of it, become passionate about it, and give themselves to its development to the point of an actual demonstration of it to the world.
2 Peter 3:14-18 (NIV)
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.
15 Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.
16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.
18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
How amazing is the amount of natural ability we’ve been given from the moment we were conceived.We were fearfully and amazingly designed and constructed by our Creator with the capacity to perform at the highest level in many different areas of endeavor. Sports, music, business, etc. - all are innately included in varying degrees, but obviously all are not necessarily experienced to their fullest potential. There has to have been vast amounts of potential athletes and musicians who have never even discovered, let alone developed in the abilities that were resident within them through their whole life. Gifts, if not tapped into, are too often never given the opportunity to realize even the smallest portion of their potential. Does this mean that the ability was never there or that it was taken away at some point? Not really. The thing that truly separates those demonstrating and performing in their ability is not the ability itself, but how much time, effort, and attention has been given to maturing in it. Once a high level has been reached, the only way to fall from that level is to cease from doing what it took to get there. There is a great reward for those who have grown their abilities, while those who have never practiced are in no position to take the field or the stage with theirs. To tell someone they are already great in their ability is to only set them up for a great and shameful fall. There is nothing that can be done to acquire the gift that has already been given, but for those around us to discover and be touched by its purpose, it is up to us to ensure that it matures.
While we’ve been given amazing natural abilities, there is another provision we’ve been given that far surpasses all others, but, like them, requires growth and development. By grace we have everything we need to live a life full of purpose and fulfillment in the presence of the One that has come to give us just that. This is an innate and ever resident gift each one has with no limitations or restrictions. Just like any gift, though, to be under the impression that is already functioning at its potential is to be set up for failure, falling, and consequences. Though there is nothing that can be done to get the ability itself, it is only when accessing it by faith is fully and continually developed that the promise of grace can be life’s demonstration.
Peter has been talking about the promise of Jesus’ second coming, and also of the peril assured at the end for those who distort the scriptures. He emphasizes the need to recognize the reality of both, even though they might not appear to be imminent. For both there is a need to have grown in the grace that has provided the gift of salvation. To be drawn away by the notion that a secure position is lawless, that grace is already completely mature in us quite apart from our participation in its purpose, is to be vulnerable to falling. It would seem then, that the growth of grace is when the purpose of Christ’s coming - to fulfill and not abolish the law - is established in those whose life is the continual accessing of grace by faith over the power of sin - past, present and future. This gift of grace, though completely gifted in all, is only matured in those who are aware of it, become passionate about it, and give themselves to its development to the point of an actual demonstration of it to the world.