Calvary Road Baptist Church

“MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE”

Second Peter 1.10

 

There is much talk these days about the rapid infusion of socialism into our economy, what with the federal takeover of Wall Street and the banking industry, as well as the automobile industry. Who would have imagined a year ago the president of the United States directing General Motors to fire their president? Socialism is that form of government that controls the means of production, even if government does not always own the means of production. Under communism, the government owns the means of production, since communism does not recognize the right to own private property. Under socialism the right to own property is acknowledged, just not the right to enjoy the use of your property as you see fit.

As much as church going people typically object to the drift toward socialism in the economy and in our government, there has been no corresponding objection to the spiritual socialism practiced for so many years in the churches in our country. Think about it. People are so unwilling to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord that they are willing to send their kids to church where they will be spiritually raised by someone else, relying on the fact that the church has a good youth pastor. They will also send their kids to either public school or pay tuition at private and Christian schools, all the while permitting people they barely know to tend to the educating of their children.

If socialism is the economic and political willingness to allow the government to do for you what you should be responsible for doing yourself, what do you call it when that same lack of responsibility and initiative is found in the arena of spiritual concern for yourself, your spouse, and your children? Most unsaved people are what I would call spiritual anarchists, with little or no concern at all about either their own spiritual welfare or those they claim they love. Just let the wife and kids go to Hell for all they care. Just let the husband go to Hell for all she cares. At the other end of the spectrum, we have the same absence of concern and responsibility manifested in a different way, with those of Roman Catholic persuasion content to let the priest deal with it. “What about your sins?” “Let the priest take care of that.” “What about the sins of your children?” “The priest will deal with it.” Then there are evangelical and Baptist churches, where people do much the same thing, turning their kids over to a youth pastor.

Is either of those kinds of reactions the correct one? I submit to you that neither anarchy nor the spiritual counterpart to socialism reflects the approach God wants you to take about the welfare of your own soul. Neither teachers nor ministers are bad, but they are no excuse for you not doing your own due diligence.

Turn with me to Second Peter chapter one, where we will begin reading at verse 1:

 

1      Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

2      Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

3      According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

4      Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

5      And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

6      And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

7      And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

8      For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9      But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

10     Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

11     For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

 

From verse 3, we can see that no Christian lacks anything needed for both life and godliness. In other words, there is no excuse why any child of God should not be godly. To this end, verse 4, we are the recipients of exceeding great and precious promises, that by them we might be partakers of the divine nature. Imagine that! We who know Christ are partakers of the divine nature, actually sharing God’s life with Him through our faith in Jesus Christ and the new birth wrought by the Holy Spirit.

To be sure, salvation does not produce sinlessness in this lifetime. We are called upon to give all diligence to add to our faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity. These character traits come gradually over time as we apply ourselves and mature spiritually in Christ.

Peter tells us that this growth process in the Christian life is most necessary, because it results in fruitfulness for Christ and intimacy with Christ. “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” In other words, if you do not grow in your Christian life you will end up a spiritual cripple, blind to spiritual realities, and suffering spiritual dementia concerning your salvation from sins. So, what should you do to make sure that does not happen, Christian? How should you distinguish yourself from those who are lost and bound for Hell?

Second Peter 1.10: “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” Making your calling and election sure is the great business of your life, to get sound evidences of your effectual calling. Do not satisfy yourself with the outward privileges of church membership and attendance at the communion of the Lord’s Supper. Do not rest in baptism. What good is it to have the water, and miss the Spirit?

Do not be content that Christ is preached to you. Do not satisfy yourselves with an empty profession of faith. Remember the parable of the sower, in which one type received the Word with much joy, but turned out in the long run to be lost. Some so-called Christians are little more than blazing meteors in the night sky, shining very brightly for just a moment before falling to the ground a hard lump of useless junk. Our text calls for you to labor to show evidence in your soul that you are called and chosen of God. Do not be like the Athenians Paul preached to, who just liked to hear some new thing. What is the state of the economy? What changes are likely to happen next year? What does all this matter if you do not know Christ?

Think about your actions concerning other matters. If you discovered that the title to your car was not clear, would you not tend to it as soon as possible? If you received a notice from the mortgage company that you were behind on your house payments, would you just sit there and do nothing? Of course not. Everyone knows that paralysis produces nothing and does no one any good. Likewise with your soul’s salvation.

Look at our text once again: “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” Let us not lose sight of the force of the verse because we are bogged down in exegesis.

Three matters for you to think about as you consider your own calling and election:

 

First, BE MINDFUL THAT IN THIS VERSE RESPONSIBILITY IS ASSIGNED

 

Notice who responsibility is assigned to:

 

Responsibility for the certainty of your standing before God, whether or not you have been effectually called to salvation in Christ, the matter of you being the elect of God, chosen by God, is yours. “. . . give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.”

Excuse me, but responsibility for your soul has not been assigned to your spouse. To be sure, every human being has the duty to love your neighbor as yourself, and to that extent each husband and wife has duties toward their spouses that are greater than other’s duties toward them. However, this is a matter of your soul, not hers, your soul, not his.

As well, be mindful that responsibility for your own soul’s safety and deliverance from sins is not assigned to your mom and dad. Why do you think I urge boys and girls to sit away from their parents, but so you youngsters cannot emotionally hide behind your mom or your dad? If anything, you kids hide behind your moms almost as much as husbands hide behind their wives. I am convinced that part of assuming responsibility for your own soul will evidence itself by your willingness to emotionally detach from your mom or dad long enough to deal with gospel preaching on your own.

Finally, be mindful that responsibility for your soul’s safety is assigned to me, but not in the way many people think. Turn to Hebrews 13.17 and read with me: “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” Three things here: First, it is very clear from this verse that the relationship between the Christian and his pastor is well defined. That is in the first portion of the verse. Next, it is very clear from this verse that I not only watch for your soul, but that I will be held accountable for your soul. Please find anywhere in the Bible where so explicit a responsibility is true of parents for their children or spouses for their mates. Thirdly, notice how my joy and your benefit are joined together at the end of the verse: “ . . . that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” What are we to make of this verse? Your pastor has a role to play with respect to your salvation and the welfare of your soul, but that role does not include mediating between you and God (only Christ does that), and that role does not absolve you of the responsibility you have for your own soul.

Therefore, you are assigned an awesome responsibility with respect to your own eternal and undying soul. You will exist forever and ever, either in bliss with Christ in the resurrection from the dead, or in the torments of the damned in the lake of fire. Does it not, therefore, make sense to you to discharge your responsibility for your own soul in a judicious and conscientious manner? Should you not take care of this properly?

 

Next, BE MINDFUL THAT IN THIS VERSE REASON IS REQUIRED

 

How do we know reason is required? We know reason is required here because reason is always required with God. God never wants people who are out of control, emotionally off the deep end, or loose, reckless, and irresponsible. Isaiah 1.18 speaks to those who are not saved, calling for reasonable thought: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Then, there is Romans 12.2, which shows the importance of thinking once a person becomes a Christian: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Having established that God wants us to think, and to make use of solid logic when dealing with Him, which creates no conflict with faith when logic and faith are rightly understood, let me set forth four reasons built upon reason with respect to you exercising diligence in this matter of making sure you are genuinely saved:

First, these are your sins that you need to make sure you have been saved from, not someone else’s sins. Numbers 32.23 reads, “. . . be sure your sin will find you out.” Fathers are not responsible for the sins of their children, and children are not responsible for any sins but their own. Therefore, since they are your sins that you have committed and are responsible for, it must be you and can only be you who addresses the matter of making sure you are saved from them.

Next, this is your soul, and not someone else’s. Ezekiel 18.4 and 20 both declare, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” You have sinned. The weight of your sins weighs heavily on your soul and no one else’s. Therefore, it is your responsibility alone to ensure that your soul has a Savior, that you actually know Jesus in a saving way. To leave this matter alone is folly. To leave this matter to anyone other than Jesus is also folly.

Third, this is your eternity. Forever is a long, long time. How long after you die will the uniform you wear be important to you? How long after you die will the flag you salute be important to you? How long after you die will your present concern for your friend’s opinions matter to you? How long after you die will you suffer the torment of the damned because you did not conscientiously see to the salvation of your own soul by giving diligence to make your calling and election sure?

Finally, this is your business. To be sure, the Bible shows that I am my brother’s keeper. However, being his keeper is not making his decisions for him, is not preparing his future for him, is not exercising wisdom on behalf of a fool. If someone has witnessed to you, has given you a helping hand when you needed it, has prayed for you, and has encouraged you to come to Christ, your brothers have kept you. Now, it is time for you to take care of your own business. I speak not of your business of supporting yourself only, rather than being a drag on society. I speak also of your business of tending to the safety of your own soul. These are your sins, your soul, your eternity, and it is your business. How can you with good reason expect to live your own life apart from being responsible for that same life?

 

Third, BE MINDFUL THAT IN THIS VERSE A RESPONSE IT DEMANDED

 

You are commanded by his verse to diligently make your calling and election sure. There are three reasons why your response is demanded:

First, your response is demanded by the stakes. My friend, the stakes are too high for you to let this matter of whether or not you are really born again slide. You would not, in good conscience, allow any other matter than this to pass unattanded. However, with this, the single most important matter that you will ever face, you have not to this point responded. How do you explain it?

Next, your response is demanded by the Savior. Do not for a moment think the Lord Jesus Christ came to this earth, lived a sinless life, died in your place on Calvary’s cross, rose from the grave after three days, and then ascended to His Father’s right hand on high, to let you approach this matter of your calling and election in a nonchalant manner. Do not think He urged men to strive to enter the strait gate, so that they could take a lackadaisical approach to their own soul’s safety later on. I don’t for a moment believe that.

Finally, the Scriptures demand your response. Our text demands as much from you. Keep in mind that the Word of God speaks to two different kinds of assurance of salvation, completely beside the false assurance of salvation so many cling to so they can comfort themselves in their lost condition. On one hand, there is the secret assurance a believer has in his own bosom that he is saved, according to the present issues of his life such as service and obedience. On the other hand, there is the public assurance of salvation that others have about a Christian, such as Paul’s assurance in First Thessalonians 1.4, when he wrote of them, “Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.” Excuse me, but you have no right to cling to a false assurance of salvation that allows you to openly live in either sin or spiritual disinterest, while claiming a salvation experience long ago. As well, you have no right to satisfy yourself with a secret assurance of salvation, while depriving those around you of the public assurance the Bible shows us we have a right to expect. Thus, while we have no business trying to either live your life for you or ignoring our duties toward the eternal state of our fellow man, we do have an interest in your assurance of salvation, and you have no right to deny us. To deny us is to either tempt us to ignore your spiritual welfare, which we should not do, or provoke us in a way that is healthy for none of us.

 

I will grant that I have not touched on precisely how you should go about diligently making sure your calling and election, but have only worked to persuade you to do just that. The reason I have limited my sermon to encouraging you to make your calling and election sure is so you will purpose to obey God, purpose of obey Scripture, and purpose to deal with stakes that are obviously very high.

As to the how to of this whole matter, I urge you to consider that since you are an individual, since your life’s experiences are different from others’, you would be well advised to visit the pastor, so he can watch for your soul. Just be mindful that the salvation of your eternal and undying soul is too important a matter not to attend to right now, and to follow up on with all the diligence you can muster. The stakes are too high not to.



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org