How Can We Grow? – Gospel in Life

How Can We Grow?

Tim Keller |  October 1, 1989

Download Agreement

By downloading this file, I confirm I understand Gospel in Life's Copyright & Permissions policies and agree to only use this file for personal usage and will not upload it to any third-party platforms.


  • Discipleship and Spiritual Growth
2 Peter 1:1-11
RS 207-01


We’re beginning a series on Christian growth–growth in grace, growth in supernatural maturity. Sometimes it’s only as you begin to see what the Bible says is true of a Christian, what is in store for a Christian, the kind of growth that can happen in the Christian’s life, that you can come to see very clearly you’re not a believer. You’ve been in and out of churches. You’ve been in and out of different religious organizations. “How do you know?”

Sometimes one of the best ways to know is to look and see what the characteristics of Christian growth are. Growth in grace is the very essence of the gospel; otherwise you’re left with a “niceism” or a “moralism” instead of Christianity.

2 Peter 1:1–11

2 Peter 1:1-11 emphasizes the importance of spiritual growth. It encourages believers to practice faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. These virtues prevent us from failing to understand Jesus Christ and ensure a warm welcome in Christ’s eternal kingdom for those who confirm their calling and election.

1. Growth in grace is possible

Believers have the divine nature within them, making spiritual growth in grace not just possible, but powerful. Some people mistakenly believe that faith can’t grow and only hope for forgiveness and acceptance. This view ignores the transformative power of the divine nature in our lives.

2. Growth in grace is necessary

Spiritual growth in grace and character transformation is essential for all believers. It’s vital for understanding Jesus Christ effectively. Without growth, we risk forgetting our past redemption and becoming spiritually shortsighted. So, growth in grace is a crucial part of faith.

3. Growth in grace is gradual

Spiritual growth is a gradual process, unlike the rush often seen in today’s culture. It’s important to understand that spiritual development can occur in different stages. New Christians need to be patient and discerning. We need to trust in God’s role in our character development, much like how muscles strengthen or trees grow. Through this trust, we can navigate life’s different seasons with stability and maturity.

4. Growth in grace is organic

Growth in Christian faith isn’t about doing more good deeds. It’s about an internal, organic transformation. This transformation begins when we understand that being born again means receiving God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. Genuine growth in grace is not about our actions or achievements, but about deepening our love for God and others. We must be careful not to let our activities mask a lack of inner growth.

5. Growth in grace is observable

We can see spiritual growth in improvements in self-control, worry, and love. If these improvements are lacking, it means we need to put in more effort. God has many blessings for us, and by working with Him, we can grow in grace, become more like Christ, and experience deep joy, trusting in His promise to transform us.



I Am the Vine

By Tim Keller

How to Change

By Tim Keller

Hope for the Church

By Tim Keller

June Book Offer

Deepen and Strengthen Your Marriage!

Marriage is one of the most profound human relationships — but it can also be one of the most challenging. So Tim and Kathy Keller designed a devotional book for married couples to use together.