Make Your Election Sure
“Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall."
- 2 Peter 1:10–11
In his gospel, the apostle John makes it clear that Jesus alone perfectly knows the hearts and minds of all people (John 2:24–25). This does not surprise us. Being the incarnate God, His knowledge of men’s hearts is not limited like ours. Because He is the Lord, He alone perfectly knows all those who have true faith.
However, this is not true of us. We cannot know for certain the true state of anyone’s heart besides our own. Some profess faith and persevere until their deaths. Other professing believers later fall away, revealing that they never truly had faith to begin with (1 John 2:19). Until Jesus returns, the visible church is a mixed body; not all of those who profess faith actually possess it (Matt. 13:24–30).
Like those of us living today, the apostles could also not be absolutely sure that all those in their audiences had true faith. Therefore, we read many warnings about the need to grow in holiness so that we, along with the original recipients, might persevere in faith and not fall away. In today’s passage, Peter concludes his section on the necessity of possessing godly virtues by reminding us that if we practice the qualities listed in 2 Peter 1:5–7 we will not fall away but rather be welcomed into the kingdom (vv. 10–11).
Moreover, in practicing these qualities, we make our calling and election sure (v. 10). All of this is not to call the final salvation of God’s elect into doubt. Rather, it shows us that the elect have a role to play in their perseverance. God saves us from first to last through His sovereign grace alone, but one evidence that this sovereign grace is operative in our lives is that we persevere in faith by working to add the virtues described in verses 5–7.
Our efforts merit neither regeneration nor righteousness. God, however, is pleased to use them to keep us from falling away. The elect will not presume upon God’s grace and think that they can persist in sin. Rather they will exercise their God-given faith (Eph. 2:8), which in turn will move them to strive after holiness so that perseverance results. Those who profess faith without possessing it will not continually pursue godliness and thus will not persevere.
John Calvin reminds us that “purity of life is not improperly called the evidence and proof of election, by which the faithful may not only testify to others that they are the children of God, but also confirm themselves in this confidence.” Work at supplementing your faith with the virtues of 2 Peter 1:5–7 so that you may grow in assurance of your salvation, and be wary of those who confess Christ and yet show no desire for holiness.
Passages for Further Study
- Ps. 95:6–11
- Matt. 7:21–23
- John 15:1–17
- Heb. 3:12–14