Text: 2 Peter 1:10 (ESV) - Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.
Jesus ended the Parable of the Wedding Banquet with a warning in Matthew 22:14
For many are called, but few are chosen.
Peter took heed of that and wrote about it in his epistle.
2 Peter 1:10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
This passage exhorts believers to reassure their eternal life and rewards.
2 Peter 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
By practicing these qualities one will never fall and eternal life and rewards are secured. These are the multifaceted horizontal expressions of the vertical calling and signs of one being chosen.
There are many cases in the the NT of people being lost after accepting Jesus, other than the example quoted in 2 Peter 1:10 -
- 1 Cor 9:27 Paul says he disciplines his body to keep it under control so that after preaching to others he does not become a castaway/disqualified. That is, Paul believed that it was possible that he could lose his way and become lost.
- 1 Cor 10:12 also contains a stern warning from Paul, “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.”
- 1 Tim 6:10, For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
- Heb 2:1-3, We must pay closer attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every transgression and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?
- Similarly, Heb 6:4-6 also teaches that some “who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit…” can fall away.
- Heb 10:26: If we(!) deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left
- Heb 10:29: How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them and who has insulted the Spirit of grace. This verse clearly shows that it is possible to be sanctified and subsequently lost.
- Heb 10:35: Therefore, do not throw away your confidence which has a great reward.
- Heb 10:36: You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God you will receive what he has promised.
- Heb 13:9, “Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace …”
- 2 Peter 2:21, “It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.”
- 2 Peter 3:17 contains a very stern and sobering warning to be on guard that we do not fall from our secure position. Verse 14 contains a similar warning.
- Gal 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
- Jesus’ parable of the 10 virgins contains two classes of people called “wise” and “foolish”. All were invited to the wedding; All were virgins symbolising purity, see Rev 14:5; All had lamps, ie, lights symbolising Christ as the light of the world, John 1:4, 9, 8:12, 9:5, Matt 5:14-16; All, at least initially had oil - but this is the crux of the parable - five virgins had enough oil and five did not have enough because they complained that their lamps were going out. In the NT oil represents the gift of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:18, Acts 10:38, 2 Cor 1:21, 22, 1 John 2:20). Thus, Jesus teaches that some who are called and have been given the Holy Spirit (see also Heb 6:4-6) can still be excluded from the Kingdom of God.
- Jesus’ parable of the vine (John 15:1-8) says two interesting things: (a) that branches (connected to the vine of Jesus) that do not bear fruit are cut off (v2); and (b) the bearing of fruit is to prove that we are Jesus’ disciples.
- Jesus’ parable of the sower, or perhaps the parable of the soils (Matt 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, Luke 8:4-15) contains several classes of people (soils) who start out well in the Christian life but lose their way. The conclusion is also significant: “by their constancy bear fruit”. (Luke 8:15)
- Jesus’ parable of the banquet (Luke 14:16-24) contains a very good example of people rejecting the call (or “election”) of God as well as God having to ask some people more than once and begging them to the wedding banquet. Jesus’ conclusion is, again, significant, “not one of those men who have been invited shall taste of my banquet.” In the parallel passage of Matt 22:1-14, Jesus concludes by saying, "For many are called, but few are chosen."
Thus, it appears that it is possible to lose on'e salvation as Eze 18:21-28 also teaches - the wicked can reform and be saved, and the righteous can apostatize and be lost. Rom 11:17-21 discusses the warning that people who had been grafted into the “olive tree” of the Christian community could be broken off if they were unfaithful.
To make one's calling and election sure, we have much instruction in the NT:
- But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. 1 John 3:2, 3
- But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall. 2 Peter 1:9, 10.
Notice the developing pattern, the saved person continues to make the decision to be one of the elect or pure by keeping separate from the world:
- Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Phil 3:16. This text tells us to act in accordance with our decision to follow Jesus and to be one of the “saints”.
- But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith.
- Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Tim 6:11, 12.
- We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Rom 6:4.
- Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. Rom 12:1, 2.
- Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. 2 Cor 7:1.
- Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Eph 4:15, 16.
- But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phil 3:13, 14.
- So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Col 2:6, 7.
- Epaphras ... is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. Col 2:12
- His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1:3, 4.
- Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:17, 18
Note the consistent pattern in scripture – continue the decision made at conversion to be sanctified (set apart) for Christ.