There is no doubt from verse 1 and 9, Peter is writing to true, Holy Spirit filled Christians. He wrote four verses instructing these believers in how to grow in the fruit of the Spirit. And Peter addresses those who have “forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins”. In verse 10, Peter admonishes his readers to make every effort to develop the spiritual fruit in order to “confirm your calling and election”. The word “confirm here is bebaios which means “to make firm; steadfast”. Notice the burden is placed upon us to spiritually grow in order to make our calling and election sure. This is quite understandable when we realize in this passage, all the spiritual growth mentioned stems from and branches out from our faith in Christ (verse 5) – the same faith that reached out to touch God’s outstretched hand in order to accept His Son as our savior. That faith in God’s grace that made us initially children of God is the same faith we must maintain in order to remain obedient children of God.
Here’s the really tricky part – the mystery: The word “calling” in verse 10 is klesis which means “an invitation”, while election is ekloge, “(divine) selection; chosen”. In scripture, the calling comes before the election. They are two phases of the salvation process. God invites humankind to believe in Him (and His Son). In His omniscience, He sees whether or not each person will accept or reject His Son. Then He has “elected” or divinely selected His chosen based upon His foreknowledge. This is very clearly stated in Romans 8:28,29. The dilemma we have here is, how can God predestine a person to election status, when it says in this passage there is a possibility of the person not making that election firm or sure through the utter lack of spiritual growth and “knowledge (thorough acquaintance with: true experiential knowledge) of our Lord Jesus Christ”? What complicates matters even more is the word “fall” in verse 10, ptaio which is “to stumble; sin”. However it also means ”offend: fail (of salvation)”.
The question that begs to be asked is: “Is God’s predestination the same as His election?” 1st Peter 1:1,2 answers this clearly, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you“. These Christians were elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. Those who believe in the doctrine of eternal security state that the passage in 2nd Peter cannot be referring to the possibility of the chosen and elect falling away and losing their salvation. The more likely message Peter was trying to get across was, “Hey! Grow in the fruit of the Spirit, so you can be assured that you will not wander off the path “For if these (good spiritual) qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” But others interpret this as a true falling away from the grace of the cross and gospel, never able to return again. More on that in a later blog.
Once again, notice the emphasis placed upon what we need to do in order to “confirm” our calling and election- that is, to know from day to day, minute to minute we are living a life that will help us grow into the likeness of Christ. The Holy Spirit can convict and guide us onto the correct path. God can manipulate circumstances in our lives that are designed to keep us on that path (just like the Prodigal’s son). But they cannot force us to obey Them. Christ surrendered His will on the cross for us. Now it is our turn to surrender our will to God. It is time to realize that we must have a proactive relationship with the Trinity, not a passive one just being satisfied that no matter what type of life we live, we’re making it to the New Jerusalem. Jesus told His disciples, “Those who endure to the end shall be saved”. Endure in what? Faith in the gospel and obedience to the Word. Thus is the perseverance of the saints.
Ephesians 2:8,9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. ESV There is a school of thought that the “faith” spoken of here is a divinely implanted faith that God provides for us to believe in the gospel. Although I agree that God implants a consciousness to seek Him out to everyone, I agree with many verses in the Bible that state we are saved by grace through our faith in the gospel. However, that is a minute contribution we make to our salvation, even if it can be called a contribution, because all we are basically doing is saying “yes” to His power of influence. All glory of our salvation goes to Christ!
I write this in Christ’s love and guidance, without judgment. For Almighty God is the only true judge. Amen.