Rev. Heys is a minister emeritus in the Protestant Reformed Churches.
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
What we are here commanded to do is that which by God’s grace we can do, because of what He does. We are not here commanded to make our calling and election sure in God’s mind and will. In fact, the word here translated as “sure” means sure in the sense of firm and steadfast. We are not called here to make our calling and election firm and steadfast in God’s mind and will, but in our own hearts and minds. Since our God is Jehovah, who is the I AM, our calling and election are firm and everlastingly steadfast in His mind and will. But because we very often behave as those who do not heed God’s command to us, we need to be called day-by-day to make our calling and election sure, that is, firm and steadfast in our hearts and minds. For we walk so often as those whom He has not called as His elect.
Let us bear in mind that Peter, who wrote this command, had quite an experience in his own life before he wrote this epistle. Of that experience we read in Matthew 26:57-74. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, was brought before Caiaphas, the high priest, so that the unbelieving Jews could have Him crucified. In this passage we read what Peter experienced that day. He had followed those unbelieving Jews and was where Christ was being charged as worthy of death. There Peter was confronted by women who said, “Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech betrayeth thee.” And rather than to reveal his calling and election, Peter swore, saying, “I know not the man.” In so doing, Peter was by no means making his calling and election firm and steadfast. But in His grace God made him give diligence to make his calling and election sure. For Peter remembered what Jesus had said to him, namely, that he would deny Him. And he went out, weeping bitterly. He, with heart and mind, went back to his calling and election.
We do well, therefore, to hold on tightly to the truth that our constant calling, every day and everywhere, is to make our calling and election firm and steadfast in our spiritual hearts and minds. Just look up what our God says to us through David in Psalm 139:14. There we read this awesome truth: “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” We sing that truth, as we find it correctly and beautifully expressed in the Psalter, number 383, the first stanza, where we read this comforting truth:
All that I am I owe to Thee;
Thy wisdom, Lord, hath fashioned me;
I give my Maker thankful praise,
Whose wondrous works my soul amaze.
Let it then be borne in mind that the Almighty God gives us every bit of our salvation, as a free gift, including the desire for it. He calls us because He, before the foundation of the world, elected us in His Son to be His covenant seed. And in time He Himself fulfills all that is necessary to realize that salvation in us. In fact, the very day that the human race, represented by Adam and Eve, turned away from God, and in hatred went against Him, God came and promised His elect people that He would bring them back to a spiritual life that would manifest love of Him and unto Him.
Now believing parents do not and cannot give their children the desire and ability to walk in love toward God, and serve Him with heart and mind and soul and strength. No matter how much they desire to do so, not one parent is able to implant that love of God in his children. As we sing it in that song presented a moment ago, we owe God thanks for every bit of our salvation which He gave us, and will give to our children.
Parents cannot give their children spiritual life, or make them thankful for the salvation which God began in them. Parents can teach their children to thank God for the salvation which He began in them. But every elect, born-again child of God, from the oldest to the youngest depends upon God for love of God, and strength, as well as desire, to praise and thank God for the salvation which He began in them.
As God Himself said it to Satan, the day he caused Adam and Eve to die spiritually, He will put enmity between Satan and His own elect. He did not say to Satan that He would ask Adam and Eve to have enmity against Satan. He promised to do so Himself; and we must always look at salvation in every child of God as His gift and due to His work. We must, therefore, sing that blessed truth, “All that I am I owe to Thee.” What God declares, and we find in Genesis 3:15, begins all of God’s testimony to His elect about the salvation He planned and promises to realize in every detail of that salvation. Promising enmity of Satan He promises His love coming in His elect. What is more, we have in John 6:44 the awesome truth which we must accept and not throw away. There we find God saying that, “No man can come unto me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him.”
We should hold on tightly to that truth. For we live in a world wherein the Arminian lie is that God offers us salvation, and will give it to us if we first have the desire for it. But that we desire it is possible only after God has already begun it in us. We do not ever receive any part of salvation until God has already given us a new spiritual life that salvation brings us. One who calls a dead person to do something will find that the person does not even desire to do it. “No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.”
We do well then to take hold of this command that we make our calling and election sure, that is, firm and steadfast in our hearts and minds. We should do so in light of what Peter wrote in preceding verses. For in verse one of this first chapter he calls us to be people “that have obtained like precious faith.” And this, because “divine power hath given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.”
This stands clearly and significantly against the false doctrine which is in the church-world today. There is so much claim that God “invited us” to become those whom God will save. God’s call then is presented as a request rather than a divine command. God pleads with us to make our calling and election firm and everlasting.
But let us once again go back to what God declared the day that Satan got us to be spiritually dead. He here stated, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed.” There is much opposition to that truth in many churches today. The false claim is that God offers and desires to give salvation to all who hear His word preached. And then it is simply a salvation from the punishment for which sin calls. In many churches today the main part of salvation, namely, salvation from that hatred of God which is in our flesh by nature, is not presented. Salvation is presented merely as deliverance from punishment and as God’s holy work of visiting in His wrath. But we must hold on tightly to God’s declaration to Satan that He will put enmity in the hearts of His elect against Satan and sin. That means that God promises to make His elect hate Satan, and love Him as their God. If we merely want salvation from punishment, we are still acting in hatred against God. We hate punishment, but do not hate sin. In that statement of our God to Satan, then, we are promised the gift of love of God, which means salvation from our sinful hearts and minds. If we do not get that gift we cannot and will not receive the gift of salvation from punishment. Working out our own salvation is not a work rooted in love of God, but is a manifestation of love of our own flesh.
We must therefore bear in mind that the Almighty God predicted what He is going to do, namely, cause His elect to hate Satan and sin, and to love Him as their God, and in that love make their calling and election firm and steadfast. We reveal that in our hearts by God’s grace. In His grace God makes us walk as those who love Him. Our fleshly desire often is merely to seek escape from the punishment which we deserve. But God manifests His love of those He eternally chose in Christ. Our salvation is not merely deliverance from punishment. Basically it is our deliverance from our hatred of God. It causes us to love God, and to desire to serve Him with heart, mind, soul, and strength.
In that light we have that command that we make our calling and election firm and steadfast. Incidents like that which happened in Peter’s life happen all around us every day. We should therefore hold on tightly to this command of our God through Peter. The question is how often we, by our acts, say that we do not know Christ as our Savior.
Enjoying the world and its entertainment, especially today by radio and television, is so appealing to our flesh. Satan surely has realized a tremendous development of sin. Even in the church-world the Sabbath is growing in sinfulness, churches allowing and happily committing much desecration of the Lord’s day.
The question is whether we, when in God’s house on the Sabbath day, sing because we enjoy the music, rather than the truth in that song. We can quickly fall away from the truth in God’s Word, and find delight in what man has composed. It is so tempting to sing a song wherein lies are presented, because we enjoy the music and are not bothered by that lie which is sung.
We are not then making our calling and election sure. We are brushing that calling and election aside.
Let us then heed God’s Word through Peter. Let us make our calling and election firm and steadfast. Let us walk in love toward God, not in the love of Satan, and what he strives furiously to make us do. Make your calling and election shine forth every hour of every day.