ASSURING YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION
2 Peter 1:10-11 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In this letter, Peter immediately begins by referring those to whom he is writing, as those of like precious faith with us. He is writing to fellow Christians; to those that have already accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, and have been added to His church, through acts of faith that culminated in baptism for the remission of sins. Through the knowledge gained that led them thus far, they obtained God's grace and peace from His great and precious promises,whichshow us the way to escape the corruption that is in the world, and become partakers of His divine nature. This is the general thought of Peter's message noted in the first four verses of this book. In our lesson text we are told this divine nature of God is eternal salvation - the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Vs. 11).
At this point in the life of a Christian, God has offered the hope of eternal salvation in heaven, however, it is not assured. It is as if God has extended His hand to us, to pull us out of the "mire" of our lost condition in the world, and into a saved spiritual condition. For salvation to be assured, we must take a firm hold of God's hand and not turn loose until we have reached the safety of heaven. This is further explained by the example of throwing a lifeline to someone drowning in an ocean. The person is not saved unless they grasp onto the life preserver, and hold on until safely pulled from the perils of the ocean. To the Christian, God's part is completed. He made salvation available to all mankind, however, for salvation to be completed, each person must do their part - accept God's offer under His conditions.
In verses five through seven, Peter tells us what God's conditions are. And beside this - beside the faith that brought us to the point of being baptized into the body of Christ, there are additional obligations that must be faithfully carried out in order to assure salvation. To your faith you must add virtue, ...knowledge, ...temperance, ...patience, ...godliness, ...brotherly kindness, ...and charity. Not only are we to know, accept, and practice these in our lives, but they are to abound, to grow, to be plentiful, and to be fruitful (Vs. 8). Verse nine indicates that we are spiritually blind, and cannot see afar off, if we think we can attain salvation without these Christian characteristics guiding our lives. Following this warning, Peter tells us that if ye do these things, ye shall never fall. Salvation is assured to those that hear, believe, and obey God's word - your calling and election from God can be made sure (Vs. 10).
Questions may arise from our lesson text such as: "Who are the called?", and "How are they called?" Answers to these questions can be found in many places in the Bible, but both are answered by the apostle Paul in his first letter to the church at Thessalonica. He told them that ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory. For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe (1 Thess. 2:12-13). Who are the called? They are all people of the world that are capable of hearing, believing, and obeying God's invitation to come unto His kingdom and glory here on earth, which is His church. How are they called? They are called by God, through His Holy Word which He delivered to us by the apostles of Christ Jesus, and other disciples, all of which were inspired by the Holy Spirit of God.
Who are the elect, and how were they elected? Since the church was established on the day of Pentecost, Christians have been called God's elect. In Romans 8:33, Colossians 3:12, and Titus 1:1, Paul refers to members of the body of Christ as the elect. Both Peter, in 1 Peter 1:2, and John, in 2 John 1, wrote their epistles to the church of Christ, referring to them as the elect. Election comes when one heeds God's calling to become a Christian, and through obedience, we become one of the elect. The body of Christ, His church, is the election, which is part of God's plan of salvation. The church was predestined from the beginning of time to complete this plan - to be the institution through which salvation is made available to the world. Even though you may be a Christian, and among the called, and the elect, obedience to the will of God is still a requirement to assure your calling and election, and be rewarded with an eternal home in heaven.