Means of Grace
The Increase of Faith: The Ordinary Means of Grace
in the Second London Confession of Faith
James M. Renihan
2 Peter 1:1-11 (NKJV)
1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
2Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Consider an individual in your church. The specific identity of the individual doesn’t matter—male or female, young or old. The only thing that matters is that this person is a professing Christian, baptized and a member of your assembly. As you contemplate him or her, consider several facts. In the depths of eternity, the triune God elected this person to salvation in Jesus Christ. In human history, this person was purchased by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and called by the Holy Spirit to faith in Christ. From the inception of new life, this individual is being renewed in the image of Jesus Christ, growing in grace and in the knowledge of God, with the result eternal life in God’s kingdom. In reality, two separate but intimately related processes are in view: the conversion of a sinner, and the growing conformity to Christ of that converted sinner. Our interest in this paper is really more closely related to the second process—sanctification, than to the first—conversion. Nevertheless, we will make allusion to the first along the way.