2 Peter 1:10 “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;”
A calling was an important event in the life of a disciple in the ancient world. One did not simply join a teacher or rabbi; you had to be “called”. And once you had been called, it was important to live up to that calling; your teacher was going to have certain expectations of you as a student.
It could be compared in several ways to applying to a college. You know the reputation of the college, you apply to the college, and perhaps you might be accepted or “called”. You’re thrilled, and to make a long story short, you move into the dorm and get ready for college life. The first day of semester comes and you go to your classes—or your don’t. You read the required materials—or your don’t. You study for the tests—or you don’t. You do your projects—or you don’t. You pass the course—or you don’t. And you continue on to the following semesters until graduation—or you flunk out and they make you leave. The serious student knows what he or she is signing up for, has a goal in mind, and puts their proverbial nose to the grindstone until completion. Because getting accepted (called) is not the same as graduating.
So also is Jesus’ calling. Now, fortunately Jesus calling is open to all:
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:14-16)
But, like following a teacher or rabbi, or like going to college, following Jesus involves expectations; and unless you meet those expectations you won’t remain in His “school”, as it were. Jesus said, Matthew 22:14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Yes, there’s grace and forgiveness in the Lord, but that’s also why Peter urges early Christians (and us, of course) to be “diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing” them (us). It’s also why Paul wrote,
- “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,” (Ephesians 4:1) and …
- “so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” (1 Thessalonians 2:12) and…
- “To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power,” (2 Thessalonians 1:11)
Now, neither Peter nor Paul are teaching us to attempt to earn our salvation—salvation cannot be earned; but they are strongly urging and warning us to put our hearts, minds, souls, and strength into our new life in Jesus, making our calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10).
In the next few weeks I will talk a little about some of those things that we need to do to “make certain of His calling and choosing you.” In the meantime, let’s pay better attention to our spiritual lives, because getting called is not the same as hearing “Well done good and faithful servant” in the end.