Therefore, brothers and sisters-since I want you to be effective and productive rather than nearsighted and blind - work that much harder to confirm that God has called/elected you and claimed you.[1]If you do this, then you will never fall into misery/become wretched or fall away from the faith;[2]  and a rich welcome with a lavish entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, will be added (epichorego) to you.  That is why I will keep reminding you of these things, even though I know that you believe them and have made these truths a part of your lives; as long as I draw breath, I know it is right for me to keep on stirring you up with these reminders. I know that soon I must die and lay down this old body that’s been my home—our Lord Jesus the Anointed has told me so.  But before my exodus from this life, I want to be certain you will be able to call these things to mind any time you need them even after I am gone.

What does it mean to make our ‘calling and election’ certain,with the hint that we could fall away and lose it? 

All Christians – Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Calvinist, Arminian - agree that God elects, God calls, God foreknows, God predestines. They also agree we have to confirm it. It’s not the words that cause controversy. It’s how to understand their usage and their implications. I think this is a subject we need to walk into even thought it is full of tension. However, Calvinists and Arminians will spend eternity together in the presence of Jesus, so if we let the tension break our Christian unity here, it’s bad practice for eternity J

 The Old and New Testament are written in different languages and in the context of different covenants (Old vs. New).[3]We need to understand how the original audience would have processed this message when they heard this kind of language. Since the book of 2 Peter was written to an audience that was largely influenced by Jewish thought, let’s talk about what had formed what John Walton calls the “cognitive environment” of the audience. 

I’m going to give you my best current understanding of what it means to be called/elect, and what it means to “make it sure.”  This has been a hot topic for thousands of years in the church, so I don’t expect 15 minutes to do justice to the topic or answer all your questions. I haven’t even answered all of my own yet. There’s a reason our Statement of Faith leaves room for differences of opinion here. Here’s where I’m at right now in my understanding. 

1)   In Hebrew, bahar, ahab  and yadaare the three main words that were eventually translated as “elect” in the Greek Septuagint (roughly 2ndand 3rdcentury BC).  The Hebrew words roughly mean “choose” or “appoint.” The Greek eklektoscould also mean “choice” or “excellent,” which meant a lot of other Hebrew words were translated as “elect” in a way that muddied the waters. (The fat cows in Joseph’s dream were eklektos; so was Abraham when God called him). It also means not every “elect” in the NT means the same thing.

2)   Objects of God’s choice/appontment include things,(Aaron’s rod) events(fasts), places (Shiloh),individuals(Abraham), and corporate entities(Israel). 

3)   Choice/appointment in the Old Testament could be merited (Noah, Phinehas, and the Levites all impressed God and he rewarded them by choosing them) or unmerited (Abraham, Israel were, uh, unimpressive, and God chose them anyway).

4)   The primary use of what we would call ‘salvific’ choice (“leading to salvation”) involved the Israelites. They were set aside (made “holy”) as a people group to fulfill God’s purpose in the world. This concept is called “corporate election.” 

5)   They were not just appointed; they were appointed tosomething. Both Abraham and Israel were chosen to bring God’s blessing through Abraham to all nations. 

6)   Choosing Israel or Abraham was not a sign that God was going to discard or had no use for the rest of the world. 

a.   “So the Lord will make Himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the Lord. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the Lord and keep them…They will turn to the Lord, and He will respond to their pleas and heal them. In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, "Blessed be Egypt My people, Assyria My handiwork, and Israel My inheritance."— Isaiah 19:19-25.

b.   "Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations. Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save. Declare what is to be, present it— let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no God apart from Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but Me. ‘Turn to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.’"— Isaiah 45:20-22.

 7)   Appointment was confirmed through faithfulness (what the OT calls a “remnant”). Being born into the elect corporate community did not automatically make a Jewish person a part of the covenant honoring remnant. It was those who called upon God (Joel 2:32)

8)   Numerous passages indicate that an offending Israelite could be “cut off from his people.” As Paul would eventually note, “not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel” (Rom. 9:6). [4]

9)   Paul noted in Romans 11, “because of the transgression [of the Jews], salvation has come to the Gentiles…their transgression means riches for the world… their rejection brought reconciliation [entrance into the elect community?] to the world…” (Romans 11). This would seem to line up with the OT prophets’ visions of the expansion of the elect community from nations not elected.


Here’s what stands out to me. Peter is speaking to an audience with a common understanding of God’s choosing of people, places and things; entrance into and exit from a covenant community of the elect; and what it takes to be part of the ‘faithful remnant’ as God revealed in the Old Testament. 

·  In the New Covenant initiated by Jesus, God has elected – chosen, appointed - a new kind of corporate community, the church. 

·  Anyone from all the ends of the earth can join this ’family/people of God’ through the “new birth” of salvation.

·  The people in the church are to be the vehicle to represent him and carry his message to the world, going into the highways and byways and compelling them to come in. (Luke 14)[5]

·  This calling is confirmed by our committed and enduring life 

 If you are in the church through the “new birth” of salvation, you are one of those called into this group that God has elected (chosen) to get to know Him more thoroughly (epigenosis) and make him know to the world so that others can hear the message of salvation that draws them into the covenant of the elect, the family or people of God. 

 Maybe you are here but you are wondering, “I’m not sure if I’m actually saved. Am I part of the faithful remnant, or am I fooling myself?” Peter gives you the solution: confirm that you are part of the faithful remnant through your committed surrender as a duolos,ordering your life in service of God. 

“He who does not by good works confirm his calling and election, will soon have neither; and although no good works ever did purchase or ever can purchase the kingdom of God, yet no soul can ever scripturally expect to see God who has them not. I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat; thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: go, ye cursed. I was hungry, and ye gave me meat; etc., etc.; come, ye blessed.”  – Adam Clarke 

If you have committed your life to Jesus, live a life committed to Jesus. This is how you know. You do not give up or fall away. When you fall, you repent, take God’s hand, and get back up. You commit to “adding” all the things we talked about last week knowing that if God calls you, He will equip you. It will bring you peace of mind, glorify God, and benefit the world.

 “for as long as you practice these things, you will never fall into misery/become wretched or fall away…”

“These things” refers to moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and Christian love. If by faith we are progressing in these spiritual graces, if we have a lifestyle characterized by growth in these spiritual qualities, if we have a propensity or leaning towards deeper maturity and Christ-likeness, then we never have to worry about moral misery, wretchedness of character or falling away. 

 This makes sense, right? If we actually commit to growing in these areas - and we have God working in us already - this seems like an obvious outcome. 

·      Greed becomes generosity.

·      Lust becomes love.

·      Self-centeredness becomes other-centeredness.

·      Meanness becomes kindness. 

·      Hatred becomes compassion.

·      Impatience becomes patience.

·      Domination becomes servanthood.

·      Arrogance becomes humility.

 There are a lot of questions that swirl around how to properly understand the term “election” in the Bible, but this one is certain:a changed life is the mark of the calling and claiming of God.    

This is not a promise of perfection; this is a promise that followers of Jesus who commit to the life to which Jesus calls them become a new kind of person. Yes, we will fail at times, but we will not become wretched fools if we are consistently putting into practice the spiritual graces of moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly-kindness and Christian love by faith. God looks for progress, not perfection, in our lives. If we fail, then we must confess our sins, get up and keep moving on for Christ. 

“a rich welcome with a lavish entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, will be added (epichorego) to you.”

This metaphor of entering into the kingdom goes back to the Olympic Games.  A winning athlete’s home city would welcome him back not through the usual main gate of the city but through a part of the wall specially engineered to afford him a grand entrance. 

 Peter’s point isn’t that that one day, everybody will finally see how amazing we were. The point was that after all the “adding” that Peter encouraged them to do, God was going to add something for them that they could never add on their own:  a glorious entrance into life in the Kingdom. 

Are you called to follow Jesus?Yes. I think the Bible is abundantly clear that the message of the Gospel goes out to the ends of the earth. 

Are you elect?Well, are you a follower of Jesus? Have you experienced the “new birth”? Are you part of God’s covenant people and thus the church? 

Have you confirmed it?Have you given up? Or are you putting one foot in front of the other as you follow a God who is invested in making your calling sure?

[1]“Two aspects of the OT's development of election seem to support the conclusion that OT election is "primarily a corporate concept" and that "references to elect individuals find their significance" within the covenant community:32 (1) the shift in focus from individual to corporate election with the progress of revelation, and (2) both Deuteronomy and Isaiah, the primary books in which the nature and ramifications of election are expounded, focus on the corporate aspect of election. However, it should be noted that God's choice of individuals, whether singly or as heads of an elect family, runs throughout OT revelation.” A . Philip Brown,

[2]“b. to fall into misery, become wretched (often so in Greek writings): of the loss of salvation, 2 Peter 1:10. “ – Strong’s Concordance. 

[3]This article from Philip Brown has all the details of my overview.

[4]Some of what we call the deuterocanonicalbooks – books written between the OT and NT – equate the elect with the covenant- faithful remnant rather than simply all the members of the elect group.[4](I only cite this to note the background understanding of ‘elect’ that would have been in place for the Jewish New Testament audience.) 

[5]Check out “A Concise Summary of The Corporate View Of Election And Predestination.”