2Pe 1:5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,
2Pe 1:6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,
2Pe 1:7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
2Pe 1:8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2Pe 1:9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
2Pe 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;
2Pe 1:11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Bible teaches that WE can be diligent to make our call and election sure. This is plain counsel from a pastor to his flock, from a teacher to his congregation. We should take it seriously and do it. We do it by taking on that character of Christ, putting off the old man and putting on the new man through faith and obedience. But now how do we reconcile this with certain understandings of Romans 9:16?
Rom 9:16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.
Which is it? Can we be diligent to make our calling and election sure, or are all such efforts irrelevant, because it is God who does it all by his mercy, and all our own efforts are irrelevant are only “second causes” at best, or futile at worst?
If you look at the context of Romans 9:16 it is talking about God’s choices of nations, not about individual salvation. For although it was said in relation to Esau and Jacob that “the older will serve the younger” yet it is a matter of the historical record that Esau the man never served Jacob the man. This was a prophecy in relation to their descendants, the nations of Israel and Edom respectively. In the context, Romans 9:16 is not speaking of God’s choices to save or damn individuals.
Romans 9:16 is not saying that your efforts are irrelevant. It is saying that God’s purposes for nations are not determined by man’s schemings. Isaac willed to give the pre-eminence to Esau, and Esau RAN to get it, but that did not affect God’s purpose. Its something entirely different.
The passage from Peter is teaching us that WE can do something about making our calling and election sure. See, God has called us all for some higher purpose. It could be to plant a church, raise up some children to be chosen vessels of God, to reach the world through media, or to build a business to finance God’s kingdom purposes. But unless we prepare our hearts and characters as Peter teaches us to do, we will not be chosen by God to actually enter into that calling. If you are called to be a pastor, for example, you will not enter into that calling unless you not only study, but learn love, faithfulness, self-discipline and a number of other things. Make your calling and election sure by adding to your saving faith the various qualities that are required to be more than one who escapes as through fire. To have an ABUNDANT entrance into the Kingdom of God you need to do more than just trust in the saving blood of Jesus Christ. You need to develop character, love and fruit, through which also the works of faith and love according to your specific calling will be done.
I believe that Peter when talking about calling and election is speaking of God’s specific calling for us as individuals. A ministry purpose, if you will. I don’t believe he is speaking of personal salvation. Otherwise, we have to say that we work for our personal salvation, that we attain to it by careful character development. This would cut across the teaching of salvation by grace through faith, in my view.
There is a fine line here, and I don’t wish to imply that you can live any way you please and enter the Kingdom. But the real meaning of calling and election here has to do with fulfilling God’s high purpose for your life. This is something many Christians fail to do because they DO NOT give all diligence in these things. May God help us not to lose out on the eternal scale.