Satan constantly tries to undermine the truth regarding the way of salvation. He often tries to convince sinners that they must make some contribution to their salvation, thus obscuring the truth that salvation is God’s sovereign work. At other times encourages the belief that a person can claim to be saved without his life being any different from those in the world around. Both errors are dealt with in 2 Peter 1:3-11 Calling and election.
1. An effectual call
Peter begins his comprehensive view of the Christian life by looking back to what God has done for believers: he ‘has given us everything we need for life and godliness’ (v3). The Lord has provided everything necessary for the fulness of life and growth in holiness. Salvation is described in rich terms: that ‘you may participate in the divine nature’ – not some mystical experience, but sharing in the perfections of God, such as holiness, truth and love. The work of forming these characteristics in believers has begun. The definitive change has taken place: ‘we ‘escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires’ (v4). Again knowledge is prominent (v3) – not mere head knowledge, but living knowledge that leads to trust and commitment. The emphasis is on God’s initiative – he #called us by his own glory and goodness’. This is an effectual call that imparts new life and makes sinners willing to come to Christ. It comes with ‘divine power’.
2. A transformed life
What God has done in the past is a stimulus to present activity – ‘For this very reason’ (v5). Maximum effort is required – ‘make every effort’, relying, of course, on the Lord’s strength. There is to be growth and progress in our spiritual life. Peter lists vital areas of concern – faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love (v5-7). All of these are to be cultivated together, not one at a time. We are to develop as full-orbed Christians, striving for maturity in Christ. The result – ‘they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive’ (v8). Instead there will be faithful service and increasing likeness to the Lord. The careless Christian becomes ‘blind’ (v9), losing capacity to appreciate truth, perhaps even closing his eyes to truth (‘short-sighted’?).
3. An urgent summons
The Lord commands, ‘make your calling and election sure’ (v10). It is not that God’s decree of salvation is uncertain – it is eternally fixed – but we cannot penetrate his counsels. How may we be assured of salvation? Growth and progress are tokens that we belong to him. We can have confidence – ‘if you do these things, you will never fall’ (v10). Obedience does not earn a secure interest in Christ, but proves we have it (see James 2:26). The future prospect for the believer is full enjoyment of the Kingdom of God – ‘the eternal kingdom’ (v11). The faithful believer will ‘receive a rich welcome’. The Lord provides lavishly without cost to us. We should always marvel at God’s grace and generosity. It is a glorious prospect for those who have experienced the new birth.