Sunday, 12 January 2020
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 2 Peter 1:10
Peter now says, “Therefore,” to highlight what he has just said in verses 5-9. He wants them to pay heed to his exhortation to ensure that his readers will live up to that which he has stated. In order to let them know that this can happen to anyone, he then says, “brethren.” This is the only time he uses this particular word in the epistle. Elsewhere, he says “beloved” or speaks of the “brotherhood.” In this instance, he certainly uses this more common form of address to show that all are on the same level and all are susceptible to straying if they do not pay heed.
Next, he admonishes the reader to “be even more diligent to make your call and election sure.” Here, Peter uses the same word for “call” that Paul does concerning Israel in Romans 11, the Gentiles in 1 Corinthians 1, and etc. It speaks of God’s invitation to all people to receive – by faith – His gift of salvation. This gift includes all of the blessings which accompany it.
Peter further uses the word for “election” which is the same that Paul uses when speaking of Israel in Romans 9 & 11, but also for Gentiles in 1 Thessalonians 1:4. It signifies being selected out of, and to, a given outcome. The calling and the election are like two sides of the same coin. The call is made, and those who respond are elected. Thus, when it is accomplished, one can speak of the calling and the election in the same sense – one leads to the next. Here, it is evident that both Jews and Gentiles are called with the same calling, and both are elected out of their respective people groups by the one gospel.
In saying to make the call and election “sure,” he uses a word which signifies solidity, and thus that which is fully dependable. This does not mean that a believer must do something to retain his calling and election. The context of his words in verse 9 speaks of a person who “has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” The surety, then, is not to keep the call and election, but to remember it so that there is no waffling in the certainty of the calling and election. In other words, it is surety of mind in position, not surety of position before the Lord.
Peter then says, “for if you do these things.” This is referring to each point that he mentioned in verses 5-7 where the virtues are named and are instructed to be supplied, one to another, from faith through to love. If the believer follows Peter’s words of instruction there, he says “you will never stumble.” The Greek is more emphatic, saying something like, “never not shall you stumble at any time.”
The word translated as “stumble” is used just five times, by Paul once, James three times, and finally this last time by Peter. It does not signify a loss of salvation, and such an idea cannot even be hinted at. James says that “we all stumble in many things” in James 3:2. But even more, Paul asks whether Israel had “stumbled that they should fall” in Romans 11:11. His answer in that verse is “Certainly not!”
Peter’s words are given to show that by following his exhortation, the walk of the believer will be sound and sure to him because he is already secured in his salvation by the Lord. To fail to do as he has recommended will cause anxiety in the believer who has forgotten the very calling and election by which he was saved. Peter desires that they not stumble in such a manner.
Life application: As there is no change in God, we can know with all certainty that our calling and election for salvation are guaranteed and certain from God’s perspective. His decrees, of which our election is one, are unconditional in nature.
However, if we have called on the name of Jesus, and if we are truly saved by His work, then we should have the internal desire to reflect what occurred by our fruitful deeds. If we fail to act this way then it is we, not God, who are actually unsure if we are saved or not. The unfaithful but saved Christian goes through life ever questioning the salvation he was granted.
Every time something bad happens, he will wonder, “What did I do to deserve this? Maybe God doesn’t really love me.” Every time he does something inappropriate, he will also mentally ask himself, “I wonder if God will be able to forgive me?” Such an individual is like a small boat tossed about on a raging sea. He has no sense of direction and no sense of security in his own life.
If we are diligent in reading and understanding the Bible, we will have every surety of our call and our election. We will understand the nature of God, and that what occurred is complete and eternal. When the flock fails to dig deeply and often into Scripture…they must be bombarded by a continuous stream of self-doubt! It is the individuals, and in turn the congregation, who know and trust their Bibles that understand the great nature of the salvation given by Jesus.
Lord God, thank You for Your eternal and unchanging nature. By understanding who You are, we can understand our position in You – eternally saved and free from condemnation. Give us wisdom to diligently evaluate and understand difficult verses that can be easily twisted or misconstrued. Thank You for our eternal salvation; thank You for Jesus! Amen.