Be forewarned. This is another long read but I hope this will help and guide us to grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The apostle Peter warns the believers saying, "You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability" (2 Peter 3:17).
We need to be warned of the danger of false teaching and its natural outcome, particularly greed and immorality. It is true that the Scripture is quite clear when it comes to many teachings.
Salvation or redemption from sin, for example, is clear from the Bible that it is from God alone. It is by His grace alone and to be received only through faith in Christ alone.
Salvation is not by faith plus our good works. Rather the Scripture teaches that salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone results in holy living and produces good works in the lives of those who believe.
However, there are portions of Scripture that are not easy to interpret. Peter admits that some of Paul's letters contain some things that are hard to understand.
These hard-to-understand writings of Paul and other apostles are being used by these false teachers inside the church to teach strange and esoteric doctrines. These false teachers are twisting the Scripture to deceive many and to earn personal gains (2 Pet. 3:16).
Peter is aware of such false teachers operating in the church. That's why he's telling his fellow believers, and he tells us today, to be discerning and watchful or else we'll be carried away by the error of these unprincipled men.
By the way, Peter calls them untaught and unstable people who distort the Scriptures (v.16b). Thus he's warning us to be on our guard of our doctrine and to be aware of people who teach erroneous or unscriptural doctrines.
In 2 Peter 2, Peter describes the nature of these deceivers (vv.1-2, 10-12, 13b-19). Then in 2:3b, 4-9, 13a, he warns his readers of the danger and destruction awaiting those people and those who follow them.
Peter adds that these pretenders will be punished and destroyed by God at the proper time, the same way God punished the ungodly in the time of Noah and Lot (2:4-10a). The apostle is giving us a strong warning here. So we have to take his warning seriously.
If you claim you have received the grace of God in salvation you ought to have a godly lifestyle now, different from your careless and unholy life in the past. Or at least some noticeable changes in your thinking pattern and behavior must have taken place.
It doesn't mean, of course, that you are thoroughly perfect and everything is doing well in your life now. It doesn't mean you do not struggle against sin or do not experience disappointment or failure. No, that's not what is meant here. It simply means that, as a professing believer of Christ, you have seen and experienced some growth in your life.
Growth may come in terms of your interest in knowing God through the Bible. Or you have observed a growing desire to obey God and love others and a constant striving to resist sin and temptation in your life.
These are signs of growth in the grace and in the knowledge of God and our Lord Jesus Christ. To grow in the grace of God is to grow in the knowledge of God and our Lord Jesus.
Peter makes this very clear in 2 Peter 1:2. We can notice there that God's grace and peace are multiplied in or through the knowledge of God. Knowing God is the means by which His grace and peace grow and become powerful in our lives.
If you want to enjoy God's perfect peace and His amazing grace, your knowledge of Him has to grow. As one famous preacher says, “Grace is not a mere deposit. It is a power that leads to godliness and eternal life. And where the knowledge of the glory and excellence of God cannot be found, grace does not flow. The channel from God's infinite reservoir of grace into and through our lives is the knowledge of God.”
This knowledge of God comes to us through our Lord Jesus Christ as the Spirit opens the Word of God to us. We need to learn the doctrines of our faith before we can take them to heart bearing good works in our lives.
And what's the best way to have the knowledge of God but continually to avail of God's appointed means of grace, that is, the preaching of the whole counsel of God and participation in the sacraments, which point us also to Christ's saving work. Bible study and meditation, as well as prayer, are also means by which God reveals Himself to us and increases our faith in Him. Faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ (Romans 10:17).
Do not underestimate the transforming power of God in gospel-preaching. Likewise, do not forsake the things that you've learned from the Bible which your parents or Sunday school or catechism teachers have taught you. Continue to live by them and diligently seek opportunities to share those precious gospel truths to others.
Together let us be faithful in the study of God’s Word – attending to the preaching and teaching of that Word - and in upholding one another in prayer, asking God to cause us to grow in His grace and in the knowledge of our Redeemer Jesus Christ.