Today’s Reading: 2 Peter 1-3
Today’s Reflection:2 Peter 1:10a
Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure.
As a believer in Christ, what does it mean to make your “calling and election sure”?
Most of us understand that the subject here is our salvation. Our calling is the mission or purpose God has given us to fulfill, and the ‘election of grace (Romans 11:5)’ determines who will be saved into God’s Kingdom for eternity. But there’s more going on here. The word “sure” tells us that at some point our “calling and election” are not sure. Why would that be?
It’s because of us.
2 Peter 1:4 gives us a choice: between the promise of being able to partake of God’s divine nature (and the eternal reward that comes with it), or of being condemned to suffer the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire (and the destruction that comes with it).
The issue isn’t that we don’t understand the choice. The issue is that we don’t make a choice.
So many of our lives are like the history of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Just as they went through cycles of being ruled by good Godly kings at one point in time, then by evil idol-worshiping kings at others, so too our lives are sometimes ruled by righteousness and obedience to God, then at other times ruled by worldly perversions and lusts.
This is what it means to be lukewarm.
Lukewarm isn’t a state. It is an attempt to combine two states. When you want lukewarm water, you don’t turn on one tap or the other. You turn on both of them at the same time, and the combination of the hot and cold streams create lukewarm water.
In our spiritual condition, lukewarmness comes about in exactly the same way. It’s an attempt to live both for God and for ourselves. Today we hear God’s voice and obey; tomorrow we choose our own way. Sometimes we pray; sometimes we’re too busy. Sometimes we read our Bibles; sometimes the Bible is boring. Sometimes we help the homeless and the hungry; sometimes we turn our noses up at them. Sometimes we resist temptation; sometimes it’s ‘too hard’ and we give in. Sometimes we’re loving and merciful; sometimes we’re bitter, resentful, unforgiving and hostile. Sometimes we exercise faith in God; sometimes we question if He hears us, loves us, or even exists.
We tell ourselves that if we do certain things for God we can let other things slide, even if they contradict His Word. We unwittingly make an alliance with the enemy, by allowing habitual sin to gain some territory in our lives, yet convince ourselves that ‘on balance’ we’re really living for God. The Word tells us these attempts are futile. And if we persist in them, they are fatal.
Matthew 6:24a – “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”
James 1:8 – He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Revelations 3:15-16 – “’I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.’”
Lukewarmness, or double-mindedness, is a dangerous state to be in because it’s always possible to look at something we’ve done for God or an act of obedience or exhibition of faith, even though it was only ‘sometimes’ (maybe only one time), and convince ourselves that we’re doing OK. That will be the plea of many when judgment comes.
Matthew 7:22-23 – On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
What’s interesting in Matthew 7:22-23 is that Jesus doesn’t dispute those who claimed to serve Him. Jesus simply points out that these people were lost because they never had a real relationship with Him.
Do you have any relationships with people that only love you ‘sometimes’? You would eventually come to the conclusion that they don’t really love you at all, and you would probably be right. The Word tells us that if we love God we will obey Him and keep His commandments (Exodus 20:6; John 14:15). But when we try to love God ‘sometimes’, He can only come to the conclusion that we don’t really love Him (or ‘know’ Him) at all. And He knows He’s right because He sees not only our actions, but also the state of our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7). Are we completely for Him? Or are we divided against Him?
Do you want your calling and election to be sure? 2 Peter 1:10 makes it clear that it’s up to you to stop being lukewarm and choose God’s side. Jesus died on the cross to give you victory over sin, but you still have to choose to accept the gift of salvation rather than the temporary pleasures of sin (Romans 6:23). You have to choose to accept the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23), and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you to put away the futile ways of non-believers for once and for all (Ephesians 4:17). As you allow the Holy Spirit to clear the clouds and confusion of double-mindedness, you will build a Christ-like character of faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love (2 Peter 1:5-7). You may not always be perfect (Philippians 3:12-16), but as you “practice these qualities, you will never fall (2 Peter 1:10b).”
Deuteronomy 30:19a – I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life.