(Article for publication week of 12-22-2010 AD)
“Wherefore, the rather brethren give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (II Peter 1:10).
Quite frequently when we have preached the doctrine of election, we have had those who have inquired, “How may I know if I am among the elect of God?” This is a good question, and our text tells us something of how we may have the answer. Our text tells us that assurance is attainable, and that we must give diligence to obtain it. We may have assurance of our election, by making sure of our effectual calling.
Effectual calling is that inward, special and irresistible calling of the Holy Spirit whereby an elect sinner is called out of the darkness of this world into the glorious kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostles spoke of this calling in Acts 2:39 saying, “for the promise is to you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even to as many as the Lord thy God shall call.” Paul spoke of this calling in Romans 8:28 when he wrote, “them who are the called according to His purpose.” Also in I Corinthians 1:26, “not many mighty, not many noble are called.” Again, in II Timothy 1:9, “Who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His Own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” The Lord spoke of this calling in John 6:37 when he said, “all that the Father giveth me, shall come to me.”
When the Holy Spirit effectually calls one that was given to Christ in the everlasting covenant, that sinner quits the hateful ways of sin and comes by faith to the Saviour for salvation. Coming to Christ is the same as believing in Christ (John 6:35), so we may safely say to you that if you have repented of your sins and come to Christ as a lost sinner to be saved by His grace alone, you have been effectually called by the Lord. You could not have come to the Saviour except the Lord had drawn you (John 6:44). So if you have come to Christ for salvation it was because He drew you to Himself.
Now if you have been effectually called, be sure you are among the elect of God, for God will certainly call all of His elect to faith in His Son. This is what our Lord is talking about when he says, “all that the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.” Every elect child of God will be brought to faith and will be saved. And so Peter puts it in our text, ‘make your calling and election sure. Calling is first in the text, not because it precedes election in the order of salvation, but because it is first in our experience and is that which we can make sure of. We are not permitted to look on the Lamb’s Book of Life (the book of God’s eternal decrees) to see if our name was recorded there before the foundation of the world (which it was if we are saved), but we can look by faith on the Lamb who saves His people from their sins.
In a nutshell, we may have assurance through faith. If you believe in Christ for salvation, you are certainly saved and you were chosen in Christ from before the foundation of the world. Make your election sure by believing in Christ.