2 Peter 1:10

If such a character as the preceding verses described is attained, three glorious results will follow.

I. SPIRITUAL VISION. Such a character leads "unto the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ." They that do the will shall know the doctrine. For what is promised here is:

1. "Full knowledge." That is the key-word of the apostle.

2. And full knowledge of the Supreme Object, the Lord Jesus Christ. Often we think if we knew more we should do better; here the teaching is, if we did better we should know more. Obedience is the organ of spiritual vision. "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." All else are "blind."

II. MORAL FOOTHOLD. "Give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure." Two aspects of the same fact - choice, and the result of choice. "Make sure," - warrant, prove. "Never stumble." Peter had stumbled. Hence the pathos of his counsel. The near-sighted stumble. The moral vision depends on moral character.

III. SATISFACTION OF SOUL. This is the culmination and crown of Christian character. A life of Christian earnestness tends to, and ends in, this. "Entrance into the eternal kingdom." We are encompassed completely with its order, its beauty, its safety. "Richly supplied unto you" - a word that throws us back on the earlier word of exhortation. "Richly supply" Christian graces in your character, and God will "richly supply" Christian glories in your destiny. Your virtues must go out in a kind of festal procession, then your true glories will come to you in a kind of festal procession also. - U.R.T.

Give diligence to make your calling and election sure.

1. An induction.(1) "Wherefore." This word infers a consequence on the premises, or is a reason of the precedent speech. The apostle had formerly shown the danger of such as forget their own purging. But there are many who forget not that they were purged by the redemption of Christ, but remember it too much; and from this derive encouragement of a licentious life, quitting themselves from all sins by His passion. He that thus spells Christ, hath but small literature of religion (Romans 6:1; John 5:14; 2 Timothy 2:19; 1 Peter 1:17). The end of our conversion is to amend our conversation.(2) "Brethren." (a) This word of relation declares in the apostle two virtues (i) His humility; he prefers not himself to the rest of God's saints, but calls them all brethren. (ii) His policy; he desires to win their souls, and therefore insinuates himself into their love. This title ascribes to the people some dignity; that by faith in Christ they become brethren to the very apostles, and have the fraternity of the heavenly saints. This term is not without some requirable duty. Is the minister thy brother? hear him (Acts 3:22). But take heed lest God's gentleness be abused by thy contempt; it is the word of thy Judge and Maker, though in the mouth of thy brother.(3) "Give diligence." Doth a man reap without sowing? You have not wealth from the clods without digging; and would you have blessing from the clouds without working? The labour of our bodies for this world was but a curse; the labour of our souls for heaven is a blessing. "Give diligence." This exhortation presupposes no proper strength of our own to do this, for it is God's work in us.(4) "Rather." Let not the goodness of God, which without your desert has chosen and called you to the profession of Christ, forgiving and purging your former sins, make you idle and careless. But rather strive to answer this mercy in your faithful conversation; lest you fall into that pit of destruction, from whence by His death He hath redeemed you. "The rather." He seems to encourage this endeavour, partly by the benefit, partly by the danger, and partly by the reward: the first whereof incites our gratitude, the next our fear, the last our hope.

2. An instruction. "Make your calling," etc.(1) The matter expressed.(a) For the order: the apostle puts vocation in the former place, which yet in propriety is the latter; for election is before all time, vocation in time. But this is a right form and method of speech, to set that last, which is worthiest and weightiest. Besides, we pass by things nearer to things more remote; first we must look to our calling, and by our calling come to assurance of our election.(b) For dependence: we must know that our calling depends upon our election. The determinate counsel of God doth not take away second means, but disposeth those passages into order. These two, election and vocation, are like Jacob's ladder, whereupon the saints ascend like angels to God: election is the top, vocation the foot.(2) The manner: how this may be assured. There are but two ways for a man to know it; either by going up into heaven, or by going down into himself. In the one there is presumption and danger, in the other security and peace. In Romans 8:16 we have two testimonies: not God's Spirit alone; there may be presumption: not our spirit alone; there may be illusion: both must witness together, concur to make up this certificate.


1. The qualification. "If ye do these things."(1) The condition — "if." We must first do, and then have. Among men he first serves that deserves: for God, we can merit nothing by doing, yet we shall have nothing without doing (Matthew 20:8; Matthew 25:21; Revelation 22:12).(2) The practice or fruitfulness in good works — "if ye do"; not think, or say, but do. Idleness never had the testimony of God's acceptance; it is a vice that damns itself. There must be hearty love, lively practice, kindly thanks, costly service.(3) The sincerity — "these things": not what gain prompts, or lust suggests, but what God commands. Such things as pertain to knowledge, virtue, godliness.

2. The ratification. "Ye shall never fall." Does the apostle here attribute something to our works, as if the merit of our doing should preserve us from falling? No, he speaks not concerning the cause of mercy, but the way of grace. Our own works do not uphold us, but assure us by a token that we are upheld by God; they are the inseparable effects of that grace, by which we are kept from falling.

(Thos. Adams.)

Do we not in worldly and intellectual circles observe men who deplorably fail to fulfil their election? We see those who in the largeness of their mental gifts are evidently predestinated leaders and ornaments of their generation; but yielding to temptation, they surrender themselves to inferior pleasures and pursuits, the magnificent promise of their nature comes to naught, and their career closes in melancholy failure. Others are born into privileged families, they inherit titles and wealth, they are called by the fortune of birth to be social princes, they are indisputably elected to high position and influence; and yet not infrequently do these predestinated ones manage by ill conduct to tarnish their coronet and finish on the dunghill. As in the intellectual and social life, so is it in the spiritual; souls called to immortal distinction fail through sloth and sin to make their election sure. We must be diligent to cast out the evil things we find in ourselves. Many roots of bitterness springing up trouble us, and it is not easy to cast them out. The Canadian thistle is one of the direst plagues with which the husbandman has to contend. It seems impossible to extirpate it. It is well-nigh proof against the most desperate efforts to get rid of it; fire, poison, and the knife have no more than a temporary effect upon its vitality. Neither the scythe, the hoe, nor the plough can destroy it. Dug up, burnt up, strewn with salt, treated with aquafortis, covered with lime, it springs and blooms and seeds anew. Nothing remains but to blow it up with dynamite. Our faults are so deep and inveterate that we must bend our whole strength to the task of their destruction. We must give diligence to bring into our life all good and beautiful things. The apostle in this passage enjoins us to add one virtue to another until we possess and display them in all their completeness and beauty. It is not enough to cultivate isolated patches of life, to raise this grace or that; we must bring in every virtue, every grace, and cover the whole ground of character and action. Most gardeners are content when their grounds include only a few specimens of the growths of various types and climes; if they can produce a fair show with these, they are satisfied. It is quite different, however, with the national gardeners at Kew; there the grand aim is certainly not display, it is not even to possess a profusion of floral treasures, but to make the grounds and conservatories widely representative, to make them comprehend as far as possible every shrub and tree and flower that grows upon the face of the whole earth. The paradises of God bear all manner of precious fruit, and if our heart and life are to be the King's gardens we shall need to give all diligence. Having brought all good things into our life, it is only by diligence that we keep them there. "If ye do these things, ye shall never fall" — indicating the tendency and peril of our nature. Unless there is constant diligence and culture we cannot hold the heights we have scaled, the fields we have won, the ground we have re claimed. Neglect a beautiful garden for a while, and see how savage nature will avenge herself and spoil your paradise! As a French naturalist says: "There is in nature a terrible reaction against man; if we put our hand into our bosom, the garden is in revolt." It is much the same with human nature. Slowly, painfully do we subdue our life to orderliness, to purity, to beauty; but how it springs back if we relax our vigilance I We need all diligence to cast out of our breast the bitter root, the wild grape, the poisoned gourd. Then, having brought good things into our life, we need all diligence to convert them into perfect things. "If ye do these things, ye shall never fall." The original is very impressive and assuring: "Ye shall not fall by any means ever." A man may do his best in the worldly sphere and fail, but no saint can do his best and fail. "For so an entrance shall be administered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom." "Give all diligence." The character of life's ending is much in our own power; we are now determining our end. The measure of our diligence shall be the measure of our victory. Every well-spent hour is another flower for our dying pillow; every earnest effort to please God is so much sunshine for the dark valley; every mastered temp tation brings another angel to sing in the chamber where the good man meets his fate.

(W. L. Watkinson.)




1. The main fundamental reason why religion is so very difficult is because of that natural propensity we have to sin.

2. Besides this unhappy degeneracy against religion, there are inveterate sinful habits to be rooted out, and these do strangely increase the difficulty.

3. The last reason to evince the difficulty of being religious is the uneasiness of planting Dew and opposite habits, in the room of our former vicious ones.

(R. Warren, D. D.)

Four classes of motives are suggested by this passage urging the exhortation it contains.



III. A THIRD MOTIVE TO DILIGENCE SUGGESTED BY THIS EXHORTATION IS, THAT GOD DEALS WITH US ON A SYSTEM OF REWARD. "Give diligence," and you shall have these three things — assurance, stability, and an abundant entrance into heaven.


(Josiah Viney.)

But do not our calling and election proceed from God? How then can these be made sure by any action of ours? Can we confirm Jehovah Himself in His purpose, or bring confirmation to any of His promises? The sureness to be attained is the sureness of evidences which men themselves can bring out, take note of, and increase beyond the possibility of a question.

I. THE TEXT PRESENTS GOD'S CALLING AND ELECTION OF HIS PEOPLE AS A MOTIVE TO DILIGENCE ON THEIR PART IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. The Bible never represents the fact that all believers are called of God by His Spirit as superseding in the least the necessity of personal effort for the attainment of holiness, but makes this fact a ground of exhortation to diligence and perseverance. The reason why many regard the purposes of God, even in the application of His grace, as in some way a barrier to their own effort, is that they conceive of all God's purposes as being executed by physical and irresistible force. This objection is contradicted by our own consciousness. If God at any point comes in conflict with our free agency, it must be m carrying out His purpose, and not simply in having a purpose. "Except these abide in the ship ye cannot be saved." God's purpose was to be made sure by the agency of men accustomed to manage a ship.

II. THE VIRTUES AND GRACES OF THE CHRISTIAN CHARACTER IN A FULL AND SYMMETRICAL DEVELOPMENT, GIVE TO THEIR POSSESSOR THE ASSURANCE OF HIS PERSONAL CALL AND ELECTION. No amount of technical knowledge of religion can certify our personal interest in Christ. No rapture of occasional experience can certify our calling and election. Assurance grows with the fruits of grace, is inseparable from these, is dry branch without these.

III. THIS COMPLETE CHRISTIAN CHARACTER ATTAINED IS LIFE ASSURES PEACE AND TRIUMPH IN DEATH, AND A JOYFUL ENTRANCE INTO ETERNAL LIFE. As Dr. Doddridge interprets the text, carrying out the figure of a choir of graces, "if you will lead on the virtues and graces here enumerated in their beautiful order, those graces will attend you in a radiant train to the mansions of immortal glory and blessedness." He who matures these graces in life shall have victory over death.

(Joseph P. Thompson.)

Notice how very homely a virtue it is that takes all this motive to persuade lazy people to it — nothing more than hard work. Diligence is a very prosaic grace, extremely unlike the heated emotion and the idle sentimentality which some of us take to be religion, but it is the foundation of all excellence, and emphatically of all Christian excellence.

I. DILIGENCE IN THE CULTIVATION AND NURTURE OF THE CHRISTIAN CHARACTER IS THE SEAL OF OUR CHRISTIAN STANDING. Exercise it, says Peter, to "make your calling and election sure," to confirm your possession of these Divine, and, in themselves, unalterable facts. God does not choose men to a salvation, which consists of certain arbitrary privileges which they may possess whatever their character, but lie "calls us that we should be holy and without blame before Him." If we are not carrying out His design in that choice, are we not invalidating it? On our faithfulness and Christian diligence depends our continued possession of the privileges which God has given us. There is another side to this thought, viz., that this same diligence confirms our Christian standing to our own consciousness. The real sign to a man that he is Christ's is that he is growing like Christ.

II. THIS DILIGENCE IN THE CULTURE OF THE CHRISTIAN CHARACTER BECOMES A STAFF TO OUR ELSE TOTTERING STEPS. "For," says Peter, "if ye do these things ye shall never fall." So our Version has it; but the promise is even more emphatic — "Ye shall never stumble," which comes before falling. Does that mean that if a man will only set himself diligently to try and cultivate these Christian graces he will thereby become immaculate and free from sin? Not so. Observe the language — "If ye do these things." More literally and accurately we might read — "While ye do these things." As long as a man is diligently occupied with the stress of his effort in adding to his character the graces that are here enjoined, so long will he stand firm in righteousness. We have no such efficient prophylactic or shield against the assaults of evil as the pursuit of good. Again, the way to keep ourselves from becoming worse is resolutely to aim at getting better. Again, such diligence, though it may not be crowned with complete success, will certainly secure from utter failure.

III. THIS DILIGENCE IN CHRISTIAN CULTURE IS THE CONDITION OF THE ENTRANCE ABUNDANTLY MINISTERED. There is a "being scarcely saved," and there is an "entrance abundantly." And the principle that lies here is plain, that the degree of our possession of the perfect royalty of Heaven depends on our faithfulness here on earth.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Your calling and election sure
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.

(S. Martin.)

I. IS THE ATTAINMENT OF THIS MORAL CERTAINTY AS TO OUR CALLING AND ELECTION REALLY POSSIBLE? We hesitate not for a moment to answer the question in the affirmative. If the object to which this exhortation unquestionably points be altogether beyond our reach, how are we to account for the importance thus manifestly attached to it? The prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 32:17), speaking of the happy consequences of the outpouring of the Spirit, expressly declares that "the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever." St. John also (1 John 3:19) — "Hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him." St. Paul likewise (Hebrews 6:12) thus addresses the Jewish converts, "We desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end." Nor is the attainableness of this personal assurance, or moral certainty as to our calling and election, less clearly proved by the evidence of fact and experience.

II. DOES THE ATTAINMENT OF THIS MORAL CERTAINTY, AS TO OUR CALLING AND ELECTION, BELONG ESSENTIALLY TO A STATE OF GRACE? While on the one hand it has been confidently asserted that assurance as to our personal interest in the blessings of Christ's purchase bears presumption on its very face, not a few have confidently maintained that this assurance of salvation is of the very essence of faith, or, in other words, that without it we can have neither part nor lot in the redemption of the gospel. That this opinion is erroneous appears evident, we apprehend.

1. It is contrary to the nature of the Christian life. Still exposed to temptation, and not unfrequently overpowered for a time by its assaults, the progress of the genuine believer is ever chequered by the visitation of fear, of despondency, and of sorrow, as well as of the opposite emotions of hope, and confidence, and joy. Nay, indeed, such oppressive feelings are often necessary; they are subservient to his present advancement in his spiritual course and his final triumph over his spiritual foes.

2. While the doctrine, against which we are now contending, is thus in obvious contrariety to the nature of the Christian life, it is also, at the same time, very manifestly inconsistent with the general bearing of Scripture statement and exhortation. Nothing is more apparent in God's holy Word than the encouragement that is there given even to those whose state of ,mind and of heart is just the very opposite to everything like security or confidence. The broken heart, the poor in spirit, are blessed.

3. But not only does the contrariety of the doctrine, against which we are contending, to the nature of the Christian life, and its inconsistency also with the general hearing of Scripture statement and exhortation thus clearly demonstrate its fallacy: the consequences likewise to which it naturally leads are sufficient to convince every candid inquirer that it is at the same time most pernicious and dangerous.

III. How is THIS ASSURANCE OR MORAL CERTAINTY, IN REGARD TO OUR CALLING AND ELECTION, REALLY TO BE SECURED? The apostle, turning our attention to the virtues and graces of the Christian life, very distinctly points to the exercises of such virtues as the source of the assurance here more immediately referred to. Nor does this conclusion rest upon the language of the Apostle Peter alone. Our Lord Himself, exposing the false confidence of the Pharisees, expressly declares to them that the sincerity of the Christian's faith, and consequently his spiritual safety, is to be discovered by its effects. "Either," says He, "make the tree good, and his fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit."

(John Thomson.)

What does Scripture teach concerning election? At the outset let me remark that wherever the Bible speaks of the elect it speaks, not of God's purpose to make men different, but of the fact that they do differ — a fact not only recognised by God, but determining His conduct towards us. And further, the view Scripture sets forth of the subject is intensely practical, whereas the view too commonly taken of the doctrine has made it one of pure speculation and of no practical value at all. Now, that a doctrine of election should be found in the Scriptures ought to present no difficulty, ought to surprise no one, for the simple reason that whatever the difficulties of the doctrine may be, it is confessedly founded on fact. Election in some shape or form meets us everywhere, wherever we observe the ways and doings of God. In the material world nothing can be clearer than that some objects have endowments which do not belong to others. Some attract us by their beauty of form, their fragrance, and so forth; while others repel us as being unsightly, offensive, noxious. Is not this of the will of God? Is not this His election, that some objects shall possess what is denied to others? In the heavens one star differs from another star in glory. Among the angels there are principalities and powers, elect angels. In fact, throughout the creation of God we nowhere find uniformity or equality of endowment; everywhere we find variety. And similarly amongst men: compare the poet with the ploughman. And similarly amongst races: compare the Anglo-Saxon with the Hottentot. What gifts are lavished on the one that are denied the other! And we find no difficulty in believing that these differences are of God. We ought not to be surprised, therefore, on opening the Bible, to find in it a doctrine of election. And, as a matter of fact, the whole substance of the Bible is a series of elections made by God Himself. Noah was elected of God to be the second father of the race; Abraham to be the father of the elect people; Moses to be their legislator; Samuel to be their prophet; David to be their king; Christ to be their hope; the apostles to be His witnesses. The fact therefore meets us wherever we turn. The only question is, as to the significance of the fact, as to how we are to interpret it. Have we the key? I believe we have, and in the history of Israel I conceive God would have us understand what the Divine election means. First of all, the election of Israel was an arbitrary act of God. The ground of it was not any foreseen excellence in the people, for, as a matter of fact, this they never possessed. A more troublesome, murmuring, rebellious, disobedient, faithless people the annals of history do not know. Then, again, as to the persons elected. The election was national, not personal; of the whole body, not of the individuals. The election, moreover, was not to a blessing absolutely — certainly as regards the individuals of the race — but to the offer of one conditionally. In other words, it was not an election to final salvation; not to the enjoyment of the promised land as a possession, but only to a condition of privilege, the result of which might be the ultimate possession, but only of individual choice. The evidence of this is the simple fact that entrance into Canaan was denied to all but two: a blessing was placed within the reach of the people; whether it should be theirs or not depended on themselves. As the vocation and privilege of Israel were higher than those of other nations, so, too, were they subjected to severer discipline. A high standard of national life was set before them, and they were trained to it by a stern and exceptional process. So that their election of God implied sharp discipline. There was, further, a deep purpose in their discipline which we must not overlook, or we shall misunderstand the whole. It was this: that the blessings they were to reap as the result of their fidelity were not for themselves alone.. They were to be the instruments of blessing to mankind. The face of God shone on Israel that His way might be known on earth, His saving health to all nations. Israel mistook its vocation, wrapt itself in the cloak of exclusive privilege, and affirmed, "The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we." If, then, we apply these principles, what shall we expect to find? We shall expect to find that the election will be of the sovereign will of God, unaffected by any foreseen conduct. The former part of this statement is denied by none: the latter part is implied in the Saviour's description of the day of judgment, in the universal declaration of the gospel that this life is a state of trial, and in such positive assertions as those of Paul, that God will render to every man according to his deeds, that God is no respecter of persons, and the like. We shall expect to find several other things. As to the persons elected, except as regards individuals called to some special work, Scripture tells us nothing. We are all sure that they are the elect of God who prove their election by the loftiness and excellence of their spiritual life, and that this is the only proof that can be given or that could be accepted as reasonable. And as to the election itself, if it is to eternal life at all, surely it is to eternal life as a present possession and experience, and not simply to something to be received in the future. But the analogy of Israel would lead us to say that the election is not to eternal life at all, but to a condition of privilege, the result of which may be the possession of a spiritual life, which links men on to the Eternal God, and is eternal life; but this only where there is choice; otherwise the election to privilege does not secure to men eternal life, as belonging to the Israelitish people did not secure entrance to the promised land. Again, if this fact be clearly apprehended, that the knowledge of God is eternal life, and that this is the life to which the elect are called — not a future so much as a present good, and this good a very lofty level of life, the privilege of aiming higher, working harder, sacrificing more, suffering more keenly than any others in the world — this will explain the fact which has often perplexed men, that the path of the noblest saints has been a path of sternest discipline. Their summons is to a nobler, loftier, more self-sacrificing life, a life of self-forgetting, absorbing, loving service to Christ, and it is as they live this life nobly and well that they make their calling and election sure.

(R. V. Pryce, M. A.)

When Mr. Whitfield was once applied to to use his influence at a general election, he returned answer to his lordship who requested him that he knew very little about general elections, but that if his lordship took his advice he would make his own particular "calling and election sure," which was a very proper remark.

I. First of all, then, there are the TWO IMPORTANT MATTERS IN RELIGION — secrets, both of them, to the world — only to be understood by those who have been quickened by Divine grace: "CALLING AND ELECTION." It will be asked, however, why is "calling" here put before "election," seeing election is eternal, and calling takes place in time? I reply, because calling is first to us. The first thing which you and I can know is our calling: we cannot tell whether we are elect until we feel that we are called. We must, first of all, prove our calling, and then our election is sure most certainly. And this is a matter about which you and I should be very anxious. For consider what an honourable thing it is to be elected. In this world it is thought a mighty thing to be elected to the House of Parliament; but how much more honourable to be elected to eternal life; to be elected to "the Church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven"! Election in this world is but a short-lived thing, but God's election is eternal. It is worth while to know ourselves elect, for nothing in this world can make a man more happy or more valiant than the knowledge of his election. "Nevertheless," said Christ to His apostles, "rejoice not in this, but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven" — that being the sweetest comfort. And this, too, makes a man valiant. When a man by diligence has attained to the assurance of his election you cannot make him a coward. "Was not I ordained by God to be the standard bearer of this truth? I must, I will stand by it, despite you all." He saith to every enemy, "Am I not a chosen king?"

II. Come, then, here is the second point — GOOD ADVICE. "Make your calling and election sure." "How, then," says one, "am I to make my calling and election sure? "Why, thus: If thou wouldst get out of a doubting state, get out of an idle state; if thou wouldst get out of a trembling state, get out of an indifferent, lukewarm state; for lukewarmness and doubting, and laziness and trembling, very naturally go hand in hand. Be diligent in your faith. Take care that your faith is of the right kind — that it is not a creed, but a credence. Take care that your faith results from necessity — that you believe in Christ because you have nothing else to believe in; and give diligence to thy courage. Labour to get virtue; plead with God that He would give thee the face of a lion, that thou mayest never be afraid of "my enemy. And having, by the help of the Holy Spirit, obtained that, study well the Scriptures and get knowledge, for a knowledge of doctrine will tend very much to confirm your faith. Try to understand God's Word; get a sensible, spiritual idea of it. And when thou hast done this, "Add to thy knowledge temperance." Take heed to thy body: be temperate there. Take heed to thy soul: be temperate there. Be not drunken with pride. Be not passionate: be not carried away by every wind of doctrine. Get temperance, and then add to it by God's Holy Spirit patience; ask Him to give thee that patience which endureth affliction, which, when it is tried, shall come forth as gold. And when you have that, get godliness.

III. THE APOSTLE'S REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE. I put in one of my own to begin with. It is because, as I have said, it will make you so happy. Men who doubt their calling and election cannot be full of joy; but the happiest saints are those who know and believe it. But now for Peter's reasons.

1. Because "if ye do these things ye shall never fall." "Perhaps," says one, "in attention to election we may forget our daily walk, and like the old philosopher who looked up to the stars we may walk on and tumble into the ditch! Nay, nay," says Peter, "if you take care of your calling and election, you shall not trip; but, with your eyes up there, looking for your calling and election, God will take care of your feet, and you shall never fall."

2. And now the other reason. "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." Just one thought more. It is said that the entrance is to be "ministered to us." That gives me a sweet hint. Christ will open the gates of heaven; but the heavenly train of virtues — the works which follow us — will go up with us and minister an entrance to us.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)


1. When we say a believer may and ought to be assured of his calling and election, we do not mean as if of his own self he could have this Divine persuasion. As it is with the colours that are the object of the sight, though they be never so good and visible, yet if there be no light the eye cannot see them. Thus it is here: though there be never such excellent graces, and though God hath wrought a wonderful change in thee, yet thou art not able to see it till the Spirit of God enable thee.

2. The soul of a man, being a rational and spiritual substance, hath two kinds of acts. There are, first, the direct acts of the soul, whereby it is carried out immediately and directly to some object. And there are, secondly, reflex acts, whereby the soul considers and takes notice of what acts it doth. It is as if the eye were turned inward to see itself (1 John 2:3). So that when we believe in God, that is a direct act of the soul; when we repent of sin, because God is dishonoured, that is a direct act; but when we know that we do believe, and that we do repent, this is a reflex act. Now, whether this certainty or assurance be a certainty of faith, or of sense, or rather mixed of both, I shall not dispute.

3. This assurance is a privilege which may be had, and it is our sin if we breathe not after it, or do anything that may justly fill our hearts with doubts and diffidence. Yet it is not of absolute necessity to salvation.

4. Neither yet is this assurance the apostle presses us unto such as admits of no doubts, no temptations or oppositions by Satan.

II. CONSIDER WHAT ARE THOSE EFFECTS OF GRACE WHICH, IF A MAN WALK IN, HE MAY BE PARTAKER OF THIS PRIVILEGE; not but that God by His absolute sovereignty, and for holy ends, may leave the most circumspect Christians in darkness, without any light, as it was in Job. And the prophet intimateth, "Who is among you that feareth God, and hath no light, walking in darkness?" (Isaiah 1.10.)

1. We must give all diligence and heed to the obtaining of this privilege. We must make it our business; it must be importunately begged for in prayer.

2. The way to obtain this assurance is a fruitful, fervent, and active walking in all the ways of holiness. "If these things be in you and abound," saith the apostle. The sparks that are ready to go out do hardly evidence there is any fire. We doubt of life when we feel scarce any breath. And thus it is here. The more negligent and lazy thou art in the ways of godliness, the less certainty must needs be in thee. And the reason is plain; for if graces exercised be the sign or seal, then the more these appear, the more thriving and flourishing they are, the surer testimonies there will be of thy calling and election.

3. Another way to preserve or obtain this assurance is humility and meekness, going out of ourselves, avoiding all presumption, all self-righteousness (Philippians 2:12).

4. This assurance is obtained and preserved by a tender watchfulness against all known sin. For it being sin only that separates between God and the soul, this only raiseth up the great gulf, there fore all witting and willing allowing of this is a direct destroyer of all assurance.

5. Another way to obtain this is to take heed of grieving the Spirit of God or quenching the motions of it. For seeing it is the Spirit of God that witnesseth, and it is the Spirit that feeleth, if we would have assurance, we are to nourish it, to do nothing that may resist and repel it.

6. If thou wouldst attain to this assurance, acquaint thyself well with the covenant of the gospel, with the precious promises revealed there, with the gracious condescensions of God's love in Christ. Many of the children of God are kept in a doubtful and perplexed estate because they consider not the riches of Christ's grace revealed in the gospel.

(Anthony Burgess.)

I. I now come to show THE GREAT ADVANTAGE OF THIS CERTAINTY. Where the godly heart hath this holy assurance and persuasion wrought by God's Spirit, there it hath many helps which the tempted soul wanteth.

1. Where there is certainty of this heavenly privilege, there the soul is more inflamed and enlarged to love God.

2. Certainty of our calling and election will breed much spiritual strength and heavenly ability to all graces and duties, to go through all relations with much holiness and lively vigour.

3. This certainty and assurance of grace would exceedingly keep up the heart under all afflictions and outward miseries.

4. This certainty of grace is a strong and mighty buckler against all those violent assaults and temptations that the devil useth to exercise the godly with.

5. This certainty is a special means to breed contentment of mind, and a thankful, cheerful heart in every condition.

6. This certainty of grace is a sure and special antidote against death in all the fears of it. This makes the king of terrors a king of all consolations; for seeing that by grace we are the members of Christ, death hath no more sting on us than on Christ our Head. These are the advantages.


1. Holy certainty is kept up in all exercises of grace and constant tender avoiding of all known sin; but presumption will agree with the practice of all these.

2. Presumption is unwilling to be searched and tried. It flieth from the light, it cannot abide the touchstone; but this holy certainty loveth a deep search.

3. Presumption beareth up a man's heart till a man come to some great and extraordinary calamities, and then this bubble vanisheth away. Dross will melt in the fire, but gold will be the more refined. The wind makes chaff fly away, but leaveth the corn more purified.

4. Presumption is not opposed nor assaulted by the devil. Satan doth not tempt and labour to drive people out of it, but nourisheth them in it. But out of this holy certainty the devil's main scope is to drive them.

5. It is the sure character of presumption that it divideth the means and the end. It hopes for such privileges, though it never do the duties. Now this is not assurance, but a presumptuous delusion, whereas you see this text is, to give all diligence to make your calling sure.

6. Presumption is but a self-deceiving, false logic that a man deceiveth himself with. Whereas you heard this certainty is a knowledge wrought by God's Spirit in us.

7. The presumptuous man is full of haughty arrogance and proud preferring of himself, contemning and undervaluing others. Thus that Pharisee, "Lord, I thank Thee that I am not as other men," etc. Whereas true assurance is accompanied with deep humility and a pitiful respect to others.

III. In the next place it may be questioned WHAT THAT GODLY PERSON SHOULD DO WHO HATH NOT THIS ASSURANCE? Though grace be in him, he knoweth it not, yea, he thinketh the clean contrary. Now to such as one we say, let him walk in a faith of adherence and dependence when he hath none of these evidences. This the Scripture calls trusting, rolling, leaning, and staying of the soul upon God, And this dependence of faith is far more noble than the assurance of faith.

1. In assurance, there I go on in holy duties and love of God, because of the sensible sweetness and delight that I have; but in dependence, there I trust in God when I have no sense or feeling.

2. To depend and wait on God though darkness be in thy soul, argueth thy faith more firm and strong. It was an high expression in Job, "Though He kill me I will trust in Him." Do not then give over thy constancy in holy duties; be not discouraged in waiting on God for assurance, for He will at last cause the sun to arise, and the dark night to fly away.

(Anthony Burgess.)

One may be a believer in Christ and not have attained to a full assurance of salvation. Faith has a beginning and an end. It may be weak or strong, partial or complete. Believers are enjoined to make their calling and election sure. The distinction is an important one. "Many are called, but few chosen." The calling we regard as simply the Word of God, or the truth of God, as objectively put before the mind. To make that sure is to make perfectly certain to ourselves that the Bible is the Word of God. More particularly, that Word sets before us the whole true character of God, the whole true condition of man, and the whole truth as to the way of salvation. One must understand the message, or comprehend to some extent the terms of the invitation. He must be sure that it is really addressed to him, and that he is entitled to accept it as such. Having satisfied himself of that, he must give himself to the more complete understanding of it. How long, then, does it take one to know the truth of the call, objectively considered — the truth concerning God, one's self, and the way of salvation? It will take him to the end of time, neither more nor less. The holiest man that ever lived could not spare a single moment of the whole time given to him by God from the work of making his calling sure. The way of salvation is simply the life-long process of getting into the truth, and, ever as we realise that, the corresponding process of bringing it forth into the life again. It is here that the calling glides into the election. To make one's election sure is the additional matter of attaining to perfect certainty as to one's individual and personal acceptance with God. This is the subjective aspect. It brings into view the living and growing relation of one's own spirit and character to the truth. It is an axiom that the Word of God is true. It is also a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. But it is quite another question as to whether a given individual is among the elect or no. The elect are those whom God chooses as His own, and the only way by which we can either be among the elect or know that we are, is the way of choosing from day to day the will of God as our will or rule of life. The faith that saves and leads to assurance is declared in Scripture to have two aspects. It is "the substance "or fundamental condition of a great and manifold hope; the hope of the ultimate triumph of good over evil and of truth over error; the hope of the personal appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; and the hope of our individual acceptance in His sight. It is also "the evidence" in the present, that these hopes will be realised. As the substance, it is a life-long thought, and as the evidence, a life-long work. As both in one it is an ever-growing spiritual reality, identical with the lifelong duty of making our calling and election sure.

(F. Ferguson.)

An entrance shall be ministered

1. The sureness.(1) The reason — "for." As if to say: There are some blind, and forget the way of truth: what then? Therefore make your election sure. Why? For if ye do so ye shall never fall. How are we sure that we shall not fall? For so you have a full entrance to blessedness.(2) The means — "so." Make your election sure; and by living soberly and righteously endeavour the ascertaining to your own "hearts, that God hath decreed you to salvation; for so you shall have a free entrance into the kingdom of Christ.

2. The readiness — "an entrance," without trouble.(1) The entrance to grace and mercy is open, and ready to entertain all entering feet (Revelation 3:7).(2) The removal of such impediments as might hinder this passage.(a) The world is none of the least; and in this there is a double opposition; on the left hand indigence, on the right opulence.(b) The flesh steps in next to bar up our entrance. There is no man hath a worse friend than he brings from home.(c) The devil is a master antagonist, a watchful and wrathful enemy.(d) Death is the last enemy, but not the least. Yet to the faithful that fiend is a friend (Philippians 1:21; 1 Corinthians 15:54, 55).(3) The matter of this entrance. It consists in two things.

(a)Our union with Christ. If the Head be entered, the members cannot be denied.

(b)Our communion with the Holy Ghost.

3. The fitness, or preparation. We are not beholden to ourselves for this entrance: it is "ministered" to us.(1) The means, is ministered, therefore it is called the ministry of the Word, the ministration of the sacraments.(2) The apprehension of this means is ministered, for it is given to us to believe (Philippians 1:29).(3) The object of this apprehension is ministered, eternal life is the gift of God through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23).

4. The easiness — "abundantly." The gate is not narrow in itself, but only in respect of unqualified enterers. It is too low for lofty and aspiring ambition, too narrow for pride, too straight for covetousness; but to faith it is broad. If the worldling would untwist his riches by charity, and the sinner untwist his sins by repentance, they may abundantly enter.


1. Its royalty. It is the Lord's own "kingdom."

2. Its immutability. The honour of earthly princes is often laid in the dust; but this is an eternal kingdom. The royalty of Christ is absolute, independent, universal, and everlasting (Luke 1:33). It is fit that He should be so honoured who was so humbled. Our sin brought Him exceeding low, let His own righteousness exalt Him exceeding high.(1) The supremacy of the King. By comparing earthly things with heavenly, we may observe the excellency of that regiment in which we stand: it is a kingdom; and the dignity of the Governor: He is an eternal King (1 Timothy 1:17). All inferior kingdoms are derived from Him, and subordinate to Him (1 Timothy 6:15).(2) The security of the subjects. We have a King to rule us; a King of majesty, a King of mercy; one who can protect us from all evil, and supply us with all good.(3) The felicity of this kingdom, whose law is truth, whose King is the Trinity, and whose bounds are eternity.

(Thos. Adams.)

I. The first thing the apostle would have them keep in remembrance is THE GLORIOUS STATE OF A CHRISTIAN IN ETERNITY.

1. One reason why the glorious state of a Christian, either in time or eternity — in one case the kingdom of grace, and in the other the kingdom of glory — is called "the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ," is that it is the purchase of His blood; it is a purchased possession.

2. Then this kingdom may very properly be called "the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ," because it is the work of His hands.

3. We shall see then what we do not understand now — the nature, the office, the order, and the actions of angels.

4. We see the glory of "the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" in the act of His own exaltation.

5. But there are other peculiarities in this kingdom. There are peculiar privileges, which the inhabitants, and kings, and priests, and subjects of this kingdom enjoy. One of these privileges is this: whatever we see increases our happiness; not only from its own excellency, but it increases our happiness because it is mine. "He that overcometh shall inherit all things." There is another thing which will finish heaven's happiness, and that is that every object is mine for ever. It is not only "the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ," but it is "the everlasting kingdom."

II. We come now to THE GRAND WORK OF A CHRISTIAN IS TIME. What is that?

1. To make sure work for heaven, we must get a clear title to heaven.

2. Again, in order that we may make our calling and election sure, we must get a personal meetness for heaven, not merely a title.


1. Here is the grand work; all you are to do is to enter into that work with all your hearts — "Give diligence." Exercise your given power and improve your given opportunity in removing impediments.

2. Again, exercise your given power, and improve your given opportunity, in an immediate application to the blood of the Lamb.

3. And then we must yield to the influence of the Holy Spirit; for without that we can do nothing.


1. The all-important ground of this duty, and the all-important argument to engage us in this duty, is eternity.

2. Another argument is, the inestimable privileges in life. What are the inestimable privileges in life? Absolute security from apostacy. Give diligence, and you shall "never fall."

3. Then there is present happiness in making our calling and election sure.

4. There are, therefore, inestimable privileges in life; and there are inestimable advantages in death. "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

(W. Dawson.)



1. The most perfect freedom.

2. The most exalted fellowships.

3. The most blessed progress. In knowledge, power, dignity, usefulness.



There is land ahead, and the spiritual mariner knows that when that land is reached his toils will cease for ever. The picture which Peter here had before his mind's eye was purely nautical. His idea was that of a ship which, after a prosperous voyage, was entering with full sail into her destined haven. All on board are hopeful and joyous. Nothing has happened to maim either the vessel or the crew. The crowds on the beach seem to be almost within hail.


1. It is gloriously governed. It is a "kingdom"; and it is "the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ"; that is, He reigns and rules in it.(1) He reigns by right of Divine authority.(2) He reigns by right of irresistible conquest. What a glorious victor is our King!(a) He conquered for us. Sin, death, and hell, allied against Him for our hurt, were completely routed by His almighty arm.(b) He conquered in us. The old rebel heart resisted Him to the utmost, but He ultimately overcame. The day of our subjugation was one of the happiest we ever knew.(3) He reigns by right of universal suffrage. Loyalty to the King is, in the kingdom of Christ, a rule that knows not a single exception.

2. It is permanently established. It is a "kingdom" in which there are no republicans, and it is an "everlasting kingdom," in which there are no revolutions.

3. It is unspeakably blessed. The King is "our Saviour"! The term is very comprehensive. In every conceivable sense King Jesus is the Saviour of His people.


1. We may expect an entrance. Apart from the common contingencies of ordinary navigation, there are two sources of danger sometimes experienced on the sea. The first is that, in sailing to the port, enemies may be met with on the voyage; and secondly, in attempting to get to the shore, enemies may oppose the landing.

2. We may expect an entrance ministered. And as ships cannot pass unchallenged into our national harbours, so there is no getting into heaven by stealth. Each entrance is "ministered." Out here, on the ocean, you may feel that you are so mixed up with all the rest, that by and by there will be a chance of sailing in with the crowd. But it is a fearful mistake. Do not be deceived! Ships do not enter that harbour thus. The narrow entrance, which you are so fast approaching, will only admit "one by one." Each soul must encounter the Divine scrutiny.

3. We may expect an entrance ministered abundantly. Some months ago a large ship was observed, under full sail, making for Kingstown harbour. Her crew had discovered a fire in her hold, and after exhausting themselves in attempts to get it under, they managed, as a last resource, to run the vessel straight for the port. To the amazement of the people on the shore, she came on, without slackening sail, until she had reached the mouth of the harbour, and then, the sailors being, through exhaustion, unable to control her course, she came dashing right through all the shies that were lying at anchor, and running burning on the beach, she became a total wreck. She reached the port, but none could say she had "an abundant entrance." If he could possibly avoid it, no sailor would care to finish a voyage like that. But I fear that many people content themselves with a prospect of thus getting into heaven. Of course, the poor fellows on board the burning vessel were glad to escape even though they were "saved so as by fire"; but they would have been far happier had they succeeded in bringing safely home their vessel and her cargo. The ship that receives the most abundant entrance is not the one that runs away from every foe, lest she should receive a scratch or lose a little gilt from her figure-head; but the vessel that receives abundant honour is she which, having carried the thunders of her country's guns into the very strongholds of the foe, returns amid the plaudits of the nation — like Nelson's immortal Victory — covered with glory. Think of the other shore! What welcomes await the voyager within the harbour! How "abundantly" will he be received by those who have gone before!


1. Faith in Christ.

2. Life for Christ. The apostle says, "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue," etc.

3. Glory with Christ. This is the fruit of which faith is the root, and of which life for Christ is as the tree. The sailor often meets with the heaviest gales just before he reaches the port; and the Christian sometimes finds the tribulation keener as he approaches the kingdom. But the weather is not always stormy. It is sometimes sweetly calm, and at such times many get into port. Their entrance is equally blessed, for they have passed through all their dangers and fears during the early portion of the voyage.

(W. H. Burton.)

The apostle urges the manner of our dying — he would have us die not only in a state of salvation, but of peace — and triumph.

I. THE STATE TO WHICH THE CHRISTIAN LOOKS FORWARD — "the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

1. Christians, we know very little of "the hope which is laid up for us in heaven": it is "the glory which shall be revealed in us."Two things are spoken of this kingdom which deserve remark.

1. The first concerns its permanency and duration — it is "the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour." "The fashion of this world passeth away." The Assyrian, Persian, Grecian, Roman Empires arose, astonished mankind for a season, and disappeared.

2. It is "the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." And what means this relation? It is surely designed to distinguish Him from a mere possessor, and to intimate peculiar prerogative, residence, administration. It is His by claim. As the Son of God He is "Heir of all things." He acquired it as the reward of His obedience and sufferings. He has now the disposal of the offices and privileges of the empire among His faithful followers. This was surely the idea of the dying thief when he prayed, "Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom." He is the Sovereign; and there He rules — not, as here, "in the midst of His enemies" — no treason, no sedition, no disaffection there. There He reigns immediately, always in view, and accessible to all.

II. THE DESIRABLE MODE OF ADMISSION. And here we read of an ENTRANCE — MINISTERED — ABUNDANTLY. What is this entrance? Unquestionably — Death. But you should remember that your entrance into the invisible world is administered. Not only is the will of God concerned in the general sentence of mortality pronounced upon us, but death always receives a particular commission from Him. The circumstance of time is fixed by Him: "the number of our months is with Him." The place is determined by His purpose. The means and the manner of our removal are disposed by His pleasure. The death of some is distinguished by honours not vouchsafed to all: and this is what the apostle means by an entrance ministered unto us abundantly. For all do not enter alike. Some, shipwrecked, are washed by the surge half-dead on the shore, or reach it clinging terrified to a plank; others, with crowded sails and with a preserved cargo of spices and perfumes, beautifully, gallantly enter the desired haven. A triumph was not decreed to every Roman general upon his return to the capital. We may observe a remarkable diversity even in the deaths of common believers. Some die only safe; while their state is unknown to themselves, and suspected by others. In some, hope and fear alternately prevail. Some feel a peace which passeth all under-standing — while some exult with a joy unspeakable and full of glory. And in these is fulfilled the language of the promise, "With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the King's palace." They will need it themselves. It is a new, a trying, and an awful thing to die. They will find dying to be work enough, without having doubts and fears to encounter. You should long for this also on the behalf of others. This is the last time you can do anything in serving God in your generation; but by this you may be rendered peculiarly useful. Your dying looks and your dying words may make impressions which shall never be erased.

III. TO EXAMINE THE CONDITION UPON WHICH THIS PRIVILEGE IS SUSPENDED, AND WHICH IS OBVIOUSLY HERE IMPLIED — "For so an entrance," etc. This course requires — That you should habituate yourselves to familiar thoughts of death. This will dissipate the terrors which arise from distance and imagination. This will break the force of surprise. And the less powerfully you are attached to earthly things, the more easy will be your separation from them. It requires that you should obtain and preserve the evidences of pardon; without these you cannot be fearless and tranquil in the near views of eternity, since "after death is the judgment?" Is he in a condition to die who has lived in the practice of some known sin, and in the omission of some known duty? It requires an attention to religion in your families. I pity that father who will be surrounded when he dies with children whose minds he never informed, whose dispositions he never curbed, whose manners he never guarded. In a word, it requires you to live in the strenuous cultivation of practical and progressive religion. "And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue," etc. If there be such differences among Christians in dying, we may be assured that there will be inequalities in heaven. What preparation have you made for a dying hour?

(W. Jay.)

He had prayed for a triumphant death. One day, when speaking about heaven, some one said, "I'll be satisfied if I manage somehow to get in." "What!" said Robert, pointing to a sunken vessel that had just been dragged up the Tay, "would you like to be pulled into heaven by two tugs, like the London yonder? I tell you I would like to go in with all my sails set and colours flying."

(Life of Robert Annan.)

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