The apostle Paul assured the Thessalonians that they had learned how to walk pleasing before the Lord. He told them, “Ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God” (1 Thessalonians 4:1). Paul then added this exhortation: “So ye would abound more and more” (4:1).

To abound means to increase. Paul was saying, “You’ve been sitting under sound gospel preaching so now you have a solid foundation beneath you. Therefore, you ought to be increasing in grace in all ways—in your faith, your knowledge, your love.”

Paul also spoke of such abounding to the Corinthians: “As ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also” (2 Corinthians 8:7). He said, in other words, “God’s Spirit has wrought major changes in your life. Therefore, you ought to be giving more of yourself in all ways—in your time, your finances, your talents.”

These passages make it clear that everyone who has been fed God’s Word is expected to grow in grace. God has endowed gifts to pastors, teachers, prophets and evangelists for the express purpose of causing His church to grow. No believer is to remain a babe in Christ. We are expected to grow in Him so that we are not carried away by any false thing.

Jesus Himself speaks of a constant increase in our lives: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Christ commended the church at Thyatira for having grown in grace: “I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first” (Revelation 2:19). Jesus was saying, in essence, “You’re more intense now than when you started out. You’ve allowed My life in you to grow more abundant.”

Proverbs echoes this: “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18). And Job declares, “The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger” (Job 17:9).