Some tell us that we find the true philosophy of Christian growth by reversing this order, and putting the knowledge of Christ first, as the means of increasing in grace. But the order of the apostle — grace first and knowledge second — is the most philosophical. We grow in the knowledge of Christ through the heart, and not through the head.
We do not know Jesus till we love him, and the more we love the more intimate our knowledge of him.
The more we familiarize ourselves with the perfect character of Jesus, the more we shall admire him, just as by studying the works of Angelo we come to admire him the more. But admiration is not love. It kindles no furnace-glow in the affections; it impels the soul onward through no losses and labors, self-denials and persecutions, to the martyr's stake. As the character of Christ folds its splendors beneath the long and earnest gaze of the student, he may be growing esthetically by familiarity with so many moral beauties, and he may become more perfectly grounded in his theological beliefs respecting the Divinity of the man of Nazareth, and yet he may, in his own heart, be refusing to receive and enthrone him as his rightful king.
— Love Enthroned, Chapter 18.