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Growing in the Knowledge of Christ

By Nelson Thomas Mumbai

One of the major differences between religion and Christianity is that the former is based on certain ideologies whereas the latter is based on a person. In other words, one can be religious without having any personal knowledge of its founder, but one cannot be a true Christian without having a personal knowledge and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice a few verses spoken by the Lord Himself.

“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:40)

“And He said to them, "You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." (John 8:23, 24)

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3)

Let’s consider three requirements about this knowledge

  1. Scriptural

This understanding about the Lord Jesus Christ should be as revealed in the New Testament, not as any of the diverse opinions propagated by the sceptics.

  1. Intimate

It should not be just an intellectual awareness, but a very personal and experiential understanding.

  1. Transformative

It should affect one’s heart and mind and thus the whole life being changed.

Of course, there is a ‘Christian religion’ too which has nothing to do with the faith and practice of a true follower of Christ outlined in the New Testament.

A true born-again child of God is one who has understood and acknowledged the scriptural revelations about the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only His unique and perfect person and His atoning work on the cross, but the scripture also reveals His present ministry.

Before one can be saved or regenerated, each one has to know and confess all these truths and yield to the Lordship of Christ. (Romans 10:9 cf. John 1:12). That is why the apostles preached Christ, nothing else. (1Cori. 1: 22 – 25; 2:2).

Apostle Peter at the end of his second epistle exhorts the readers to grow in this knowledge. (2 Peter 3:18). He refers to ‘knowledge’ seven times in this letter - twice about the blessings we already got as a result of knowing Christ (1:3; 2:20) and four times about the need to progress in that knowledge. (cf. 1:2, 5, 8; 3:18).


1.           Spiritual rest, Matthew 11:29

Soon after inviting ‘all who labor and are heavy laden’ to Him to receive rest in v. 28, Christ makes an interesting appeal in v. 29.

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)

The Rest in v. 28 is what we get at conversion when the burden of sin, guilty conscience, and self-efforts for salvation all come to an end.

The Rest in v. 29 refers to the practical peaceful life from all anxieties of day-to-day life. That is the outcome of learning from Christ by staying close to Him and listening to Him on a daily basis.

The story of Martha and Mary in Luke 10 illustrates this (Luke 10: 38 – 42). The Lord rebuked Martha for being worried and troubled over simple things that led to bitterness and a judgmental attitude. He pointed out the example of Mary who chose to sit calmly at His feet to learn from Him. Not only it has eternal value, but it also helped her to experience a peaceful heart. (Cf. Phil 4:7).

2.           Spiritual freedom, John 8: 32, 36

Here the Lord speaks primarily of the deliverance that one experiences at conversion. The worst kind of bondage that man is facing today is the slavery of sin. But alas, many are not even aware of the reality of their oppression! (John 8:33, 34).

Apostle Peter warns that even after conversion, there is a possibility to be under ‘bondage’. (2 Peter 2: 20). Of course, a true born-again believer cannot come under the captivity of Satan again. (John 10:28). However, one can lose that joy of liberty and be enslaved by sin if they are not consistently growing in the knowledge of Christ. (Heb. 12:1).

Don’t we see many children of God being controlled by self, pride, ego, bad habits, bad temper, worry, etc.? With a gloomy face, they avoid others; preferring loneliness to fellowship. How can they enjoy true liberty in Christ?

All such bondages of daily life disappear as we stay close to Christ and progress in our relationship with Him.

3.           Spiritual Renewal, John 6: 53, 57

We received eternal life by knowing Christ (John 6:40; 17:3), and to sustain and grow in this new life, we ought to continue to know and enjoy His intimacy through His word. (Colo. 3:4, 10 cf. Luke 24: 44; John 5:39).

This experience is similar to a tree planted near the waters that spreads out its roots by the river drawing sufficient resources to stay green and fresh in any season. (Psa. 1:3; Jere. 17: 8). Similarly, to continually walk in the newness of life, one needs a constant supply of the life of Christ drawn by being rooted in Him. (Colo. 2:7; Rom. 6:4).

4.           Spiritual Fruits, John 15:4, 5

Using the analogy of the vine and branches, our Lord made it clear, without abiding in Him no one can produce spiritual fruits. Just as a well-watered tree not only stays fresh and green but also produces its fruits in its season, a Christian who regularly lives in union with Christ will bear spiritual fruits. (Psa. 1:3).

The New Testament refers to various kinds of fruits, but the most important is the fruit of the Holy Spirit which is the Christ-like life (Gala 5: 22). Reproducing His life is possible only by allowing His word to dwell richly in us and Christ Himself to live in and through us. (Colo. 3:16).

Our spiritual fruitfulness and development are always in proportion to the degree of our intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a progressive and sustained transformation. (cf. 2Cor. 3:18; 2Peter 1:8).

5.           Encouragement, Hebrews 12:3

Discouraged and drifting Hebrew Christians were exhorted to focus on the Lord Jesus Christ. (cf. 2:9; 3:1; 12:2). Concentrating on people or adverse circumstances robs our joy and progress.

But we need to pay close attention to the person of Christ, His greatness, and even His sufferings, which becomes an example and challenge to us. In the midst of untold pain and agony; accusation and slander, our Lord’s example exhorts us to stay calm and quiet. (1 Peter 2:21).


Of course, there are much more benefits from growing in the knowledge of Christ. In fact, our entire Christian life depends upon how well we know our Lord. Poor and distorted views of Christ will be reflected in our practical Christian life, individually as well as collectively.

Consider the troubled local churches mentioned in the New Testament; all of them in one way or other lost the right view of Christ.

No wonder while writing letters to each of those seven local assemblies in Asia, the Lord began with one of the aspects of His glory revealed to John the Apostle at the Island Patmos. (Cf. Reve. 1: 12 – 17; 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14) In other words, the solution to all our spiritual problems begins with a right view of Christ.

Remember, our entire Christian life and service are affected by our growing intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ. For a blessed and fruitful Christian life, it is important to steadily grow in the knowledge of Christ.

Let us fix our eyes and thoughts on Him. Fill our hearts and minds with His word. Stay close to Christ and thus be transformed into His same image from glory to glory, little by little.


More:- An index for all studies

Prepared by Nelson Thomas as part of his teaching ministry. You can reproduce this article in any medium, provided it is unedited, and retain the original author / copyright information and reference to this website. Please feel free to write to the author for details. Or contact    gracepeaceu AT gmail.com

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