The Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time

2 Peter 1:8-11

Make Your Calling and Election Sure

Both of Peter’s epistles are about godly living.  He is speaking to Christians and so assumes their salvation; then again, maybe he doesn’t.  Peter wants us to know that a person saved by God will live a godly life.  He has no time for people who separate justification from sanctification, who think that regeneration is the end all and be all of the Christian life.  People who are regenerated live regenerated lives, people who have been set apart unto the Lord live holy lives.  To the extent that “once saved always saved” is a doctrine that provides the believer with comfort and joy, it is well-understood; to the extent that the doctrine makes one ho-hum about his sin, dismissive of discipleship, and indifferent to church and the things of God, to that extent is that doctrine, though good in itself, perverted by such people whom the Apostle would not recognize as true believers.

So in this passage, Peter issues a strong exhortation to “make [our] calling and election sure.”  And how do we do this?  By increasing in those qualities or virtues he just mentioned in the previous verses: faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love.  These all sound very reminiscent to Paul’s “fruit of the Spirit.”  And they are not optional to Christian living; in fact, these characteristics should be steadily growing and increasing—which then serve as sure signs of saving faith.  Furthermore, growing in these virtues makes us effective “in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” which I take to mean in the way of discerning and knowing God’s will in every occasion.  Indeed, Peter tells us that if one is not increasing in these qualities that he “is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed of his former sins,” which is to say, ungrateful. 

Christians are people who are either growing in the Lord or going backwards; there is no neutral.  This is what it means to make our calling and election sure.  The purpose is not to sow doubt in our minds about our salvation, nor to propose a salvation by works, but to examine ourselves to be certain that we are striving to walk in a holy manner before God and men (2 Corinthians 13:5).  And if we live as if we care not for these things, something is wrong.  Granted, faithful Christians will always make much of their shortcomings and be dissatisfied with their progress; this is from the Lord.  For these there is richly provided for them an entrance into the eternal kingdom.  But to the one who is dismissive of these matters (regardless what he may say), well, don’t cling to doctrines that don’t concern you.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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