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Preaching from the Pulpit of Ephraim Church of the Bible

2 Peter 1:10-11; Certainty of Entrance

10/25 2 Peter 1:10-11 Certainty of Entrance

2Peter 1:1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: 2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self–control, and self–control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


Peter is combating the destructive heresies of false teachers who were attempting to lead the believers astray. So Peter begins by laying again for them (and for us) the foundation of God’s undeserved grace in salvation and the necessity of an appropriate response from us. He starts with the fact that we have received a faith of equal worth; that it comes to us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ; that grace and peace are multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. He continues that the divine power of Jesus has richly provided everything necessary for life and godliness. Out of the excellence and glory of Jesus we have been richly provided with promises – promises that secure our escape from corruption and make us partakers of the divine nature.

Then Peter takes us from the divine initiative to the human response; in light of all that God has done, we must respond. For this very reason make every effort. An understanding of God’s sovereign power at work in us and his divine provision supplied to us must not cause us to coast; rather, he says, because of this we are to make every effort. God has taken the initiative, given us the tools, supplied us with the strength, and promised us success. Now we must make every effort to supplement the faith that he has given us with virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, brotherly affection, and love. Many of these qualities that Peter tells us to bring in alongside our faith are qualities that Paul tells us are the fruit of the Spirit – something that the Spirit produces in our lives. So which is it? Do we make every effort to abound in these qualities, or are these qualities produced in our lives by the Spirit of God? For instance, self-control is something we are to bring in alongside our faith, and self-control is the fruit of the Spirit. Self-control indicates that there is a self that is out of control and needs to be reined in; that we have desires that we must not gratify. By our faith in God we must fight to replace sinful, treacherous desires with the superior pleasures of knowing God. That is work and it takes discipline and diligent effort on our part. Yet it stems from faith and we have been abundantly supplied with everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us. We have the divine promise that we will be ultimately successful in defeating the desires of the flesh, escaping corruption and participating in the characteristics of God. We fight the fight of faith not in our own strength, but ‘by the strength that God supplies, in order that in everything God may be glorified…’ [1Peter 4:11].

Augustine of Hippo, who lived from 354 – 430 said

‘…I can do all things in Him who strengthens me. Strengthen me, that I may be able, grant what Thou dost command and command what Thou wilt. …when what you command is done, it is You who give the power. [Augustine, Confessions, x. 31, cf.29, 37]

Spurgeon quotes the vicar of Everton, John Berridge:

‘Run, John, and work, the law commands, But finds me neither feet nor hands; But sweeter news the gospel brings, It bids me fly and lends me wings. [John Berridge 1716-1793, The Salt-Cellars, Being a Collection of Proverbs, Together with Homely Notes Theron p.200 by C.H.Spurgeon; (often attributed to John Bunyan)]

So are self-control and all these other characteristics fruit of the Spirit? Yes! But then why does Peter tell us to make every effort to see them abound in our life? Because we must! The gospel demands that we fly and gives us wings. God demands that we love and ‘God’s love is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us’ [Rom.5:5]! Paul helps us out here:

Colossians 1:29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

Peter even ties these characteristics to the concept of ‘fruit’ in verse 8 – they keep you from being unfruitful. And whoever lacks these qualities, Peter says, is blind has forgotten their own salvation. Peter is calling us to know and to remember, and warns against forgetting. A Christian by definition is one who has been forgiven. For a Christian to forget that – that I am a sinner saved from God’s wrath by God’s gracious provision of his own Son – is far worse than forgetting your own name, forgetting your own identity!

Peter continues in these verses to spur us on to sanctified diligence, and then he encourages us with the divine certainty of the hope set before us.

10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

He starts with the word ‘therefore’, and he calls us his brothers. In light of all this – in light of God’s grace in initiating faith, in giving us the tools, supplying us with the strength, and promising us success;

in light of the fact that God demands a transformed life and God gives what he commands, Peter says ‘be all the more diligent’. This speaks of conscientious activity to fulfill obligations and pursue something we deeply care about. We are to be eager, zealous, strive, make every effort, expend energy. ‘God’s grace should not lead to moral relaxation but intense effort’ [Schriener, p.304]

What are we to be all the more diligent to do? This is surprising! Peter tells us to make your calling and election sure. What is calling and what is election and how do we make them sure? First, lets look at the word ‘sure’ and see what the expected outcome is, then we will look at what it is that we are to make sure.

To make sure has a legal sense of being ratified or confirmed; guaranteed. We are to confirm or make certain our calling and election. Let’s start with a dictionary definition:

CALLING, n. 1. A naming, or inviting; a reading over or reciting in order, or a call of names with a view to obtain an answer, as in legislative bodies. 2. Vocation; profession; trade; usual occupation, or employment. 3. Class of persons engaged in any profession or employment. 4. Divine summons, vocation, or invitation. Give all diligence to make your calling and election sure. 2 Pet. 1. [1828 Webster’s Dictionary;

Jesus described his calling this way:

John 10:3 …The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. …27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

Calling is clearly to eternal life. Paul says to Timothy:

1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

2 Timothy 1:9 …God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

In 1 Corinthians, Paul says that he was sent to preach the gospel; the word of the cross of Christ which is powerful. Notice how he describes us as ‘who are being saved’ in contrast to ‘those who are perishing’ in verse 18; ‘those who believe’ in verse 21; and ‘those who are called’ in verse 24. He goes on:

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.

This call is the call of a God who:

Romans 4:17 …who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

Peter has described this calling as

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

This call is what overcomes the satanic darkness and blindness of our hearts.

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Peter tells us to ratify or make firm our calling.

What about election? Election is something that freaks a lot of people out. Peter here tells us to be diligent to make our election sure. Here’s what Webster’s dictionary says about election:

ELEC’TION, n. [L. electio.] The act of choosing; choice; the act of selecting one or more from others. Hence appropriately, 1. The act of choosing a person to fill an office or employment, by any manifestation of preference, as by ballot, uplifted hands or viva voce; as the election of a king, of a president, or a mayor. 2. Choice; voluntary preference; free will; liberty to act or not. 3. Power of choosing or selecting. 4. Discernment; discrimination; distinction. [1828 Webster’s Dictionary;

The teaching of the bible on election is meant to encourage and comfort us, to lead us to worship and thanksgiving. Jesus said:

Matthew 24:24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.

I think he means to encourage us by this verse – that it is not possible to lead astray the elect. Paul points us to some of our most comprehensive and precious promises that come in connection with our election:

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?

All things work together for our good! He will complete his saving work justifying us and glorifying us. We will be conformed to the image of his Son! If God is for us who can be against us! He did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all – how will he not with him graciously give us all things! We are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Sweet and precious promises!

Paul saw election as a motive and encouragement for evangelism:

Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.

Acts 18:9 And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”

2 Timothy 2:10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Paul thanks God because of the election of the believers in Thessalonika

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

He sees their faith and growth as evidence of their election, and he thanks God for it.

1 Thessalonians 1:2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, …4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction…6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit,

Election and calling are things that God does [or did in eternity past]. Peter commands us to be diligent to confirm or make them certain. How can we be expected to be diligent to make them sure? Paul said we were predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. So we take up the wings of grace that God supplies and make every effort to soar with excellent character that reflects his glory. If we are being conformed to the image of Jesus; if these qualities are ours and are abounding in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, that displays that our calling and election were genuine and not imagined. Calling and election are known only by their fruit – so if we show the fruit, we can be sure that the hidden root is there.

10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Peter gives us a great promise here. If you practice these qualities you will never fall. If we are diligent to supplement faith with virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love, if we are growing in our Christ-likeness, then we will never completely and permanently fall. We may stumble on the way, but he will pick us up. This is what Jude says:

Jude 1:24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Peter now, having laid out our responsibility to respond to God’s initiation and utilize the resources that he puts at our disposal, now returns to where he began – God’s rich provision of everything we need. Through us taking up the tools and fighting the good fight of faith, God is richly providing entrance into the eternal kingdom. Our entrance is a lavishly generous gift. God gives us everything we need. God grants us promises that he is obligated to fulfill. And God lavishly provides for us entrance into the eternal kingdom. God does this ‘in this way’; by ensuring that we make every effort; ensuring that the fruit of the Spirit is increasing in our lives; by ensuring that we are all the more diligent to practice these qualities. Notice that Peter doesn’t say anything about rewards here. He is simply talking about entrance. The false teachers would say that you are saved by grace, so you can relax. You are safe. You don’t have to live any certain way. Peter says that entrance comes through God securing our holiness. And it is entrance into the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is not talking about some happy heavenly place. He is talking about a Person! The Kingdom is the reign of the King! There is no such thing as heaven without Jesus. Jesus is heaven! He richly provides for our entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It’s all about Jesus! It will be all about Jesus forever!

Jesus is absolutely central. In verse 1, Peter calls himself a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. He calls Jesus ‘our God and Savior’ and refers to his righteousness. In verse 2, he says that grace and peace come in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. In verse 3, he refers to the divine power of Jesus; Jesus is the one who called us; we are called to the glory and excellence of Jesus. In verse 4, Jesus gives us precious and very great promises. We participate in the divine nature of Jesus, which is described in verses 5-7. In verse 8 we are to be fruitful and useful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 9 refers to the cleansing from sin, which comes through the cross of Jesus. Verse 11 points us to the gift of entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is truly all about Jesus forever.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~

October 25, 2009 Posted by | 2 Peter, podcast | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment