In the letter of 2 Peter, the apostle Peter wrote to Christians. When he concluded this letter, he encouraged those to whom he wrote to grow in their knowledge of the grace of God: “Grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pt 3:18). By growing in our knowledge of the grace of God, grace becomes our instructor as to how we can live a spiritually abundant life (See Jn 10:10).
We must allow the grace of God that appeared on earth through the Son of God to teach us how to live a better life. The Holy Spirit instructed,
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live sensibly, righteously and godly in this present age” (See Ti 2:11,12).
The gospel of God’s grace must be our teacher as to how we should live. Grace teaches us how to live a better life. It is for this reason that Christians must continue to grow in their knowledge of the revelation of the grace of God that was revealed to humanity through the appearing of the Son of God in this world.
The apostle Paul’s desire to go to Christians in Rome illustrates the mission of teaching grace in order to produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. We must allow the grace of God to teach us how to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. This teaching on the subject of grace is necessary in order that we live righteously and godly in this present world.
Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome that he planned to go to them in order to accomplish the mission of producing spiritual fruit in their lives. He explained that he wanted to go to them “so that I might have some fruit among you also” (Rm 1:13). His motivation for going to the Roman disciples reveals how he would produce this spiritual fruit: “I am a debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians, both to the wise and to the unwise. So as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you [Christians] who are at Rome” (Rm 1:15).
Paul’s primary motivation to go to Rome was to preach again the gospel of grace to the believers in Rome, not unbelievers, though he would take every opportunity to preach the gospel to unbelievers. However, his primary objective in going to Rome was to produce spiritual fruit in the Roman Christians as they continued to grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This means that we must always allow ourselves to be taught the gospel of God’s grace. It is through study of the gospel of grace that we are motivated to grow in the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
Paul continued to explain what would cause spiritual growth in the hearts of the believers in Rome: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes” (Rm 1:16). We often quote this statement in reference to preaching the gospel to unbelievers. But in the context of Paul’s desire to go to Rome, he made the statement in reference to preaching the gospel to believers in order that the power of the gospel continue to produce spiritual growth in the lives of the Christians in Rome.
The gospel is the power by which God produces spiritual fruit in our lives. In other words, the more we grow in our understanding of all that God did for us through the gospel of His Son, the more we are motivated to respond with gratitude for what Jesus did for us. All things that God did for us through Jesus causes thanksgiving for the gift of His Son (2 Co 4:15). It is in this context that Paul wrote, “For the love of Christ compels us” (2 Co 5:14). God’s love for us through Jesus compels us to grow spiritually as we emulate His love for us in our love for others (See 1 Jn 4:7-11). The more we study the good news of the coming of the Son of God into this world for us, therefore, the more we grow spiritually in response to God for giving His Son for us (See Jn 3:16). It is for this reason that we, as believers in Christ, must grow continually in our knowledge of the gospel. The more we understand the revelation of the gospel of God’s grace, the more we are motivated to grow spiritually.