In the salutation found at the beginning of his second epistle Peter writes: “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord” (1:2). All the “spiritual words”—the names or titles of the Father and the Son, grace, peace, and knowledge—are weighty. But one word, because of its rarity, seems to stand out: (be) multiplied. The infinitive, generally meaning “to increase,” appears thirteen times in the New Testament and is translated as abound once, number once, and (be) multiply (ing, ed) the other eleven times, including our text. Peter’s statement, then seems to be suggesting an almost exponential relationship between the blessings of grace and peace and the knowledge of God and “Jesus our Lord.”
Knowledge for the sake of God. It should be the heart’s desire of every believer to know the Lord for His own sake. It is natural, after all, for a loving couple to want to know all about each other. Each new fact about his or her life, each new revelation about personality or character brings a fresh sense of wonder and delight. “Tell me about your life before we met,” they ask each other. “What are your hopes and aspirations, your goals?” My wife will never forget one of the first questions I asked her shortly after we met, namely, “What do you think of T. S. Eliot?” I was immersed in the study of his poetry at the time, and what she thought of him was important to me. (She eventually married me despite this and many other flaws.) But the point has been made: on a natural level we want to know all about those we love for the sake of understanding them better, pleasing them more, and fellowshipping with them more fully. Who can fathom the infinite privilege of coming to know the Lord at all, not to mention the possibility of increasing in that knowledge? In reality, it is a privilege afforded only a few, for those who truly know God have always been a remnant, a minority among the vast numbers of human beings alive. And that the Lord should choose to reveal Himself to you or me should both thrill and humble us. For no one can come to God, no one can know the Father and the Son, and no one can be saved apart from the calling and drawing of the Spirit of God. “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy” (Rom. 9:16). In short, we should want to know Him because nothing and no one is more worthy of being known.
Knowledge for our sake. But knowing God for the sake of God is not the thrust of Peter’s thought in this instance. Rather, he focuses on the blessing of knowing God for our sake. Limiting himself to two of the numerous blessings of knowing God, he explains that a genuine, sincere knowledge of God and the Lord Jesus results in “multiplied” grace and peace. Would we relish the unmerited favor of the Lord upon us and the blessings of deep, abiding peace? Then we should expand our knowledge of the Lord. Revealing Himself to us does not advantage God in any way: all advantage already resides in Him. But it does advantage us. Truly nothing of lasting value may be obtained apart from knowing Him, and the more we learn of Him the richer grows our store of grace and peace. It should be considered enough beyond measure to come to know Him, but that in coming to that knowledge and then increasing in it, we reap vast quantities of grace and peace is an infinite blessing.
How we obtain that knowledge. Put briefly, we begin to obtain a personal knowledge of God through salvation. That knowledge increases as we read and study the Book in which He is set forth. And the knowledge becomes experiential and personal as we walk in faith and obedience with Him. “That I may know him” was Paul’s prayer and should be ours.
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