When we pursue the truth we will be pursuing Jesus Christ, who said that He is the truth. That will mean that we will seek to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior.
…but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18
This last verse of 2 Peter starts with a conjunction that contrasts the last half of the statement with that which precedes it. We find the first half of the statement in verse 17, but the thought that initiates it is in verse 16 of 2 Peter 3.
16…as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:16-18
The contrast of knowing Jesus Christ and His grace is being led away with the error of the wicked who twist the Scriptures to their own destruction and cause those who follow their lies to fall from being steadfast in their faith and to embrace the lie so they no longer pursue Jesus Christ. These false teachers do not have the Holy Spirit and so are devoid of the anointing which teaches believers all things and convinces us that no lie is of the truth. Thus, we are brought again to that important teaching given to us throughout the epistles that all those who call upon the name of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will depart from iniquity and will cleanse themselves from the pollution of false teaching. We cannot tolerate false teachers and their error that contradicts the sound teaching of the Word or God and leads many away from Christ Jesus. Pursing the truth means we turn away from the lie and all ungodliness.
Again in 2 Timothy chapter 2 we see Paul exhorting Timothy to turn away from false teachers and their destructive teaching. This exhortation is sandwiched between Paul’s command to Timothy to be a servant who knows how to faithfully handle the truth and his loving counsel to be cleansed from all unrighteousness.
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. 17 And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, 18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” 20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. 2 Timothy 2:15-21
In the verse following this passage, Paul continues with his exhortation.
Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22
Those who follow false teachers and false teaching will not turn away from sin and pursue godliness, because they won’t have the power of the truth used by the Holy Spirit to enliven them to the holiness of God. It is the Word of God faithfully taught that gives us the knowledge and ability to turn from the lusts of the flesh and then instructs us how to live to please our God and Savior by the empowering of the Holy Spirit. We will pursue holy living to the praise and honor of our glorious God and Savior Jesus Christ as we hold fast the truth of Scripture and reject the lies of evil men and impostors.
Exhortations to godly living and faithful adherence to the truth are given in Hebrews chapter 12.
14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; 15 lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;… Hebrews 12:14-15
The exhortation to treat others as we desire to be treated and live holy lives adorning the gospel of our God and Savior before unbelievers, is balanced with avoiding those who deny the truth of the Word of God while professing to be believers. We can know this from the phrase “lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled“.
When we use Scripture to explain Scripture and turn to the book of Deuteronomy we can correctly define the term “root of bitterness”.
“so that there may not be among you man or woman or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations, and that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood;… Deuteronomy 29:18
When it comes to those professing belief in our God and Savior Jesus Christ who deny the truth of the gospel and contradict the Word of God, we are to be careful and turn away from their evil influence, avoiding them, lest by their evil teaching many become defiled and led away from the faith of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In our pursuit of the truth we will always be led to knowing Jesus Christ and growing in the strength of His grace. In our pursuit of truth we will always turn away from those who are false and by the power of the Holy Spirit hold fast to the truth that is the Scriptures. In our pursuit of the truth we will always turn away from all ungodliness and seek to love others and live holy and godly lives, by the Holy Spirit. In our pursuit of the truth we will not tolerate those who are false brethren but will expose their falsehood and reject their evil influence. Let us take care to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ giving Him the glory due His name.