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The Desirable Growth

The Desirable Growth

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE

' 'But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord
ajid Sa'vioiir Jesus Christ.'' 2 Peter j : 18.

' 'But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord
ajid Sa'vioiir Jesus Christ.'' 2 Peter j : 18.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Feb 23, 2012
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THE DESIRABLE GROWTH
 BY ROBERT STUART MacARTHUR 
' 'But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord ajid Sa'vioiir Jesus Christ.'' 2 Peter j : 18.FROM the discussion in the chapter from which the text is taken, it is certain thatthe apostle feared that there was danger lest be-lievers should be drawn away from the simplic-ity of their faith and from the constancy of theirobedience. In order that they might be fortified against these dangers he earnestly exhorts them to grow in grace and in the knowledge of ourlyord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This thoughtoccupies a prominent place in the apostle'steaching. He deemed it of so much impor-tance that he gives it great prominence in theclosing words of this last Epistle. If anythingwere needed to give emphasis to these words, the place which they here occupy would secure forthem the needed attention and the necessaryemphasis. No truth is more frequently taughtin the word of God than that the life of a Chris-tian is to be a continuous growth. As born ofGod he is a little child ; he then passes on to the period of youth, and finally reaches the condi-tion of full stature in the Lord. On the subjectof growth we need line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a great deal. Itthus becomes necessary constantly to repeat this"5Il6 THE DKSIRABI.K GROWTHclosing exiiortation of this Epistle of the ApostlePeter. Religion is here spoken of as consistingin grace and knowledge. It is not uncommonto represent religion by a single word or by sev-eral words. Sometimes it is represented byfaith, sometimes by love, sometimes by hope,sometimes by peace, or by some other equallysignificant word. It is here represented as con-sisting in growth in Christian grace and knowl-edge. To know Christ aright is to know the very heart of Christian truth, and to make prog-ress in Christian experience. The ripest Chris-tian knows yet but little of the Lord JesusChrist. The more we know the more we feelour ignorance, and the greater is our desirefor fuller knowledge. Even the Apostle Paulneeded to know God more fully, for much as he
 
knew he realized that there was vastly more yetto be learned. No angel in heaven has yet exhausted theknowledge which God can impart, and theglories which his character suggests and illus-trates. Right views of his person, his character,and his work, are the sum and essence, the heartand crown, of the Christian religion. The manwho has a complete knowledge of Jesus Christ possesses all that is really essential to his wel-fare in time, and to his blessedness in eternity. Whatever a man may know of the learning ofearthly schools, if he is ignorant of Jesus ChristTHE DESIRABI^E GROWTH II7he is ignorant indeed. Though he may be pro-foundly skilled in all science, if he knows notthe science of salvation he is pitifully blind and ignorant. He may know all other characters ofhistory, but if he knows not Jesus Christ he hasnever known true excellence in character, great-ness in intellect, purity in heart, and divinity inhumanity. The school of Christ is the noblestof all universities. The man who sits in thelowliest place at Jesus' feet is the man best pre- pared steadily to walk on the dizziest heights ofhuman learning. Only the graduate of Christ'sschool on earth can be a matriculate in the ce-lestial university where saints and seraphs may be his fellow-students. The man who knowsnot the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ iswdthout the knowledge which pertains to hishighest development on earth and to his full blessedness in eternity.But even if we have come to know Christ asour personal Saviour, and have some adequateconception of the knowledge which he imparts,growth is still our privilege and duty. Whenwe are exhorted to grow in grace, the exhorta-tion is equivalent to a command to increase inall that constitutes true religion and in the per-fect development of Christian character. Theentire Bible is full of exhortations similar in purport. The presence of inward spiritual lifeimplies and secures growth in outward ChristianIl8 THE DESIRABLE GROWTHacts. Dead trees do not grow ; living trees mustgrow or soon cease to be living trees. If in thisglorious springtime there are plants and treeswhich give no evidence of growth, we are war-
 
ranted in affirming that they are not possessed of life. In the vast laboratory of God, marvelousforces making for growth are now at work in blade and plant and tree. Soon the living treesin our parks will be beautiful in the blossoms ofspring and in the verdant garments of summer.But if amid this wonderful array of living forcesthere are trees which show no signs of life, weare warranted in affirming that they are dead.Leaf, blossom, and flower are the certain out-come of life in root and branch. When treesthus reveal their inner life, can we not predicatethe existence of that life?In the parable of the sower we learn that theseed is sown, and that it springs up in various places, but in many cases, dies away. Only inone case is there true life, and this life is shown by the fruit which the plant bears. The godly man is compared to a tree that " bringeth forthits fruit in its season." He is also likened to thetree that "spreadeth out her roots by the river,neither shall cease from yielding fruit." It isalso affirmed that he shall flourish like the palm tree, that he shall grow as a cedar in I^ebanon,that he shall be as the lily and grow as the vine.If we do not find Christians growing in this way,THE DKSIRABI.E GROWTH II9we are sure that they possess but a weak and sickly life, if they have life at all. Those whodo not grow in grace soon die. No man can liveupon past grace. No political party can liveupon its past achievements, however patrioticand renowned. No religious denomination canlong live upon its dead heroes and saints, how-ever illustrious they may have been in theirlives and however glorious in their attainments.Political parties, religious denominations, and individual Christians must bring forth fruit now, must recognize present obligations, and mustachieve present victories. Failing in these re-spects, they will live a sickly life or die a speedydeath. As well might a man expect to supporthis body on yesterday's food as to nourish hissoul on yesterday's grace. No man ought tolook back at the time of his conversion for the proofs of that conversion. A growing Christianfinds the evidence of his Christianity in his present attainments, and in his brightening as- pirations. The man who is obliged to look backthrough several vears to the time of his conver-sion for the proof of its reality has reason to fearthat he never w^as converted.The figure of a race, which is so often found 

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