Thursday, April 21, 2011

Make Your Election Sure

2 Peter 1:1-15 is a section of Scripture that stands in stark contrast to the concept that 'saving faith' is a faith that works, or a faith that perseveres, or a faith that DOES. Most specifically 2 Peter 1:5-9 indicates that works must be added to our faith, it is not our faith that works.
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
I've written about this passage before, and made no small point of verse 9. That a person who has faith, but does not add these things to it can forget that they were saved. This is a shocking revelation for anyone who believes in the TULIP concept of "Perseverance of the Saints." However, today I want to talk about the one part of 2nd Peter chapter 1 that gets used to support the idea that "true saving faith works." 

2Pet 1:10 
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;
A proponent of the view I'm opposing might say: 
If you're really saved you'll do all the things that Peter wrote about; so make sure you're really saved.
On the surface this statement and conclusion has an appearance of some validity; if the point is that one can have assurance of salvation by seeing these things happening in their life. The person might note that the one who forgets that their sins were purged (Verse 9) would have no assurance of salvation.

On the surface perhaps... but it's convoluted isn't it? This is taking all of what Peter wrote and twisting it two different ways. One that really saved people do these so if you're really saved then you'll do them. The other that this is about assurance.

Now I've had multitudes of conversations with people who hold to Lordship Salvation, and Perseverance of the Saints about these tests of salvation. I have consistently found that their arguments jump back and forth between testing the validity of one's salvation and offering assurance to those who are saved.  When the one is shown to be false they simply move to the other; wash rinse repeat ad nausuem.

Instead of continuing the cycle let's see what Peter says his point is.

2Pet 1:10-11 is the whole point, not just verse 10 by itself.
10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
For so an entrance!!! The NIV renders this as a "rich welcome" into the eternal Kingdom. This whole passage is about ensuring fruitfulness and experiencing the nature of Christ in your own life while we are here - so that when we go to Heaven we will be greatly rewarded for bringing glory to the Name of Christ.

But instead of just reading a short snippet and hoping we have the context correct, let's look at the whole passage.

He begins the section with these precious verses 2Pet 1:1-4
1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
We may be partakers of His divine nature - according to His promises! Then of course we read how we can partake by adding the various things of His nature to our faith in 2Pet 1:5-9. (see above). Peter then finishes the passage with these encouraging words 2Pet 1:12-15
12 For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. 13 Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, 14 knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. 15 Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.
It is because of our promise of being able to partake, and the great rewards that await those who do that Peter will not be negligent to remind us always of these things - even though he knew those he was writing to were established. He is so passionate about this that he wants to make sure that his reminders continue even after he is deceased.

He's not concerned that these people may not really be saved. He's not concerned that they might not know if they are saved or not. He is concerned with the fruitfulness of their walk, and the richness of their entrance into Heaven.

So Brethren, add to your faith all the things of Christ's nature and you will have a rich entrance into Heaven.

1 comment:

Kevl said...

Making your calling and election sure - is establishing it in your life, not ensuring it's real.