(Article for publication week of 12-15-2010 AD)
“Wherefore the rather brethren, give all diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fail” (II Peter 1:10).
The first thing we note about our text is that we can have assurance of our salvation. Many false teachers actually advocate against believers being able to have assurance in grace. The Council of Trent pronounces anathema upon those who preach that a person may have assurance of his personal salvation. On the other end of the spectrum, I actually heard a hyper Calvinist preacher once preach publicly that no one can know if they are elect and thus encouraged his hearers to not worry about it one way or the other. Both of these are wrong according to our text this week. We can make our calling and election sure. Eternity is too long, and our peace of mind too important not to give the proper diligence to being sure that we are saved.
The second thing we note in our text is that diligence is required to obtain assurance. It is widely taught in these parts that if you have ever made a profession of faith, then you need never doubt your salvation. This is also patently false according to our text; diligence must be employed, to enjoy a full assurance of salvation. Besides, the scriptures are clear in places like Matthew 7:21-23 that multitudes are deceived and have never been genuinely converted, though they have a great profession. There are multitudes who joined the church that have never been joined to Christ savingly. There are multitudes who have a profession of Christ, who do not possess Christ and are not possessed of Him. There are multitudes who have been baptized in water by a preacher who have not been baptized into Christ by the Holy Spirit. Friends, if you value your never dying souls, give DILIGENCE to make your calling and election sure.
Thirdly, we note the peculiar terms used for salvation. I say peculiar because they are peculiar to most churchgoers today, not because they are absent from the Bible. Even though the doctrines of calling and election are all through the Bible, the majority of preachers have never preached these Bible truths and the majority of church members are completely ignorant that they are in the Bible. Make your calling and election sure is a way of saying, “be sure you are saved.” Salvation is by the electing purpose of God who chose a people for salvation before the foundation of the world. Salvation is by the effectual call of the Holy Spirit, and not just by the general call of the gospel.
Fourthly, we see the method we are to employ. Calling is stated first, for it is by making our calling sure, we thereby make our election sure. No one may look into the Lamb’s Book of Life and see if his name is recorded there, that is one of the secret things of the Lord. But if we have faith in Christ, we may be sure we have been effectually called. The general call of the gospel did not give us the faith that it called us to, but the effectual call of the Holy Spirit working powerfully in regeneration gave us the gift of faith to look to Christ Alone for salvation. I will have more to say on this subject next week (DV), and until then, may He bless all of you.