That “the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” should be “unfruitful” (2 Pet. 1: 8) is a thing contrary to its very nature. The only way such a situation can come about is if that knowledge is forgotten: “he with whom these things are not present is blind, short–sighted, and has forgotten the purging of his former sins” (v9). It is impossible to live in these things without the corresponding fruit, just as it is impossible to be in the sun without reflecting its beams––if we are not reflecting them, then we must have got out of them. How sad for those who have been cleansed, and who were once in the joy and appreciation of divine things to forget what they have experienced, and the price that was paid for their deliverance! Yet such a state steals quietly upon us. An open assault of the enemy would be resisted by a soul in the joy of the Saviour’s love, but that same soul may gradually be weaned from it by the pressure of other things––the call of imagined duties, the cares of this life, pleasure and business, and the deceitfulness of riches. The conscience is not alarmed as there is no open fall. There is nothing overtly evil––a little forgetfulness of prayer, a little disregard of meditation, a little less time for occupation with the Word––a greater pressure of things so that the very time used in the things of God is in itself unfruitful. How steadily and stealthily may the work of decline go on and grey hairs come upon one while he goes on unawares!
It is only by being in constant, living acquaintance with Christ that we can avoid such a path––walking in His company and learning from day to day in His presence. Spiritually, we need to be where John was––“in the bosom of Jesus” (John 13: 23). Yet as there, John does not name himself, only as the disciple “whom Jesus loved”. It is as if he gives leave for any who so desire to take up the place he occupied. May it indeed be so, and as thus abiding in Christ, we shall bear “much fruit” (John 15: 5)!