2 Peter 1:10-11
Why the rather, brothers, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall:…
There are many things in life about which we all desire to feel "sure." For instance, the firmness of our health; the completeness of cure when we have been sick; the stability of the engagements by which you earn your daily bread; the fidelity of our kindred and friends; and the well-being and well-doing of loved ones who are absent. The marvel is that people who say they are "the called" and "the elect" are sometimes among the careless ones.
I. CERTAINTY AS TO HIS POSITION A MOST DESIRABLE OBJECT FOR THE CHRISTIAN — HE OUGHT TO BE "SURE." If he be not sure, one of two things must be true: either he doubts without cause, or he trusts with out cause. The latter, if it continue, will be fatal — he will be ruined by false confidence; and the former, if it abide, will be injurious. Look first at doubt without cause, which we say is injurious. Does it not cripple exertion? What can a man do who is ever questioning his chief responsibilities and capabilities, and who is not even sure as to his position? Doubt breaks up peace. There is no rest to the spirit that is unassured, and at the same time doubt must seriously lessen joy. Now peace and joy are not to be dealt with as religious luxuries, they are states of soul which are required for the most practical of uses. Peace is a holy keeper of the heart and mind, and joy is a Divine invigorator and refresher, for "the joy of the Lord is your strength." Ungrounded confidence, on the other hand, is most dangerous. Of the two, better doubt for ever, where there is eternal cause for confidence, than rely without cause. He who thinks he has found will not seek. But now what profit is there in being "sure"? To be "sure," prevents the waste of energy in groundless doubt and in useless inquiry; for you will find that, in cases of groundless doubt, there is an immense waste of energy in constant introspection, and fearfulness, and foreboding. Moreover, to be "sure" sets the man free fop works of faith and labours of love; he can give himself to intercession and to prayer for others, his own case being settled. To be "sure" places a man at liberty to leave the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, and to go on unto perfection.
II. THIS IS TO BE SECURED BY DILIGENT ATTENTION. "Give diligence to make your calling and election sure." The word used is very expressive — strive, use all activity, strain every nerve. Now the following things must be done before we can be sure.
1. There must be a strict inquiry into God's description of the "called" and the "elect." God does not lay much stress upon the emotions; He lays chief stress upon the state of the will towards Himself. "For ye were as sheep going astray, but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls."
2. We require a close examination of our inner and outer life. In all cases of regeneration the change is thorough. It is not perfected at once, but it affects the whole nature. And, in connection with this, there should be a narrow search for unfavourable signs which might counteract the favourable signs, and a search for special favourable signs which should confirm the rest. We require also the continued pursuit of those attainments which, as made, will involve cumulative evidence. This is a matter which Christians sadly neglect. I see them dwelling on their conversion, instead of acquiring confidence from what is now going on within their souls. Yet, if you be a Christian, there is a glorious work going on now; yesterday it was, and it is now. Then, in connection with all this, I need not say there must be not only an anxious desire to recover any ground which you may have lost, but there must be direct appeal to God on this subject.
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: