2 Peter 1:10-11, “10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, 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.”
In the Gospel of John, the Apostle John teaches that Christ alone perfectly knows the hearts and minds of all people (John 2:24-25). Being the incarnate God, Jesus’ knowledge of all men’s hearts is not limited like our finite minds. Since Jesus is Lord, He alone perfectly knows all those who have true saving faith. Since we are finite, we cannot know the genuine state of anyone’s heart besides our own. For example, some may profess faith and persevere until their deaths, while, other professing Christians later fall away, revealing that they never had genuine faith in Christ alone, to begin with (1 John 2:19). Until the Lord Jesus returns, the visible church is a mixed body; not all of those who profess faith genuinely possess it (Matthew 13:24-30).
The Apostles like today, could not be entirely sure that all those they addressed had genuine saving faith. We read many warnings in the New Testament about the need to grow in holiness so that we along with the original receipients might persevere in faith and not fall away. In 2 Peter 1:10-11, Peter concludes this section on the necessity of possessing godly virtues by teaching his readers that if they practice the qualited listed in 2 Peter 1:5-7, they and us today will not fall away but be welcomed into the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus (2 Peter 1:10-11).
As Christians practice these qualities, they make their calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10). It’s important also to explain that all of this is not to cast doubt on the final salvation of the elect of Christ into doubt. Instead, it shows readers that the elect have a role to play in their perseverance. The Lord Jesus saves His people from the first to the last through His sovereign grace alone. One evidence that this sovereign grace is operative in the life of God’s people is that they persevere in faith by working to add the virtiues describes in 2 Peter 1:5-7.
The Christian’s efforts neither merit regeneration nor righteousness. With that said, the Lord God is pleased to use these efforts to keep His people from falling away. The elect of God should never presume upon the grace of God and think they can persisting in living in habitual sin without incurring the discipline of the Lord who disciplines those who are His own. Instead, the people of God are to exercise their God-given faith to move them to strive after holiness so that perseverance results. After all, all those who profess genuine saving faith in the Lord Jesus without possessing it will not continue to pursue godliness resulting in not persevering in Christ.
John Calvin reminds us that “purity of life is not improperly called the evidence and proof of election, by which the faithful may not only testify to others that they are the children of God, but also confirm themselves in this confidence.” This is why 2 Peter 1:5-7 tells Christians that they are to supplement their faith with the virtues listed there so that they may grow in assurance of their salvation and be wary of those who confess Christ and yet demonstrate no desire for holiness.
Dave Jenkins is happily married to Sarah Jenkins. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021) and The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.