Monday, February 3, 2014

Make Your Calling and Election Sure

by Unknown

"Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge; and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness; and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 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; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you." —2 Peter 1:5-11

Picking up on this theme, A.W. Pink gives seven points of reflection that I would also urge you to use as a thermometer to take the temperature of your spiritual health.

First, by the Word of God having come in divine power to the soul so that my self-complacency is shattered and my self-righteousness is renounced.

Second, by the Holy Spirit convicting me of my woeful, guilty and lost condition.

Third, by having had revealed to me the suitability and sufficiency of Christ to meet my desperate case and by divinely given faith causing me to lay hold of and rest upon Him as my only hope.

Fourth, by the marks of the new nature within me—a love for God; an appetite for spiritual things; a longing for holiness; a seeking after conformity to Christ.

Fifth, by the resistance the new nature makes to the old, causing me to hate sin and loathe myself for it.

Sixth, by avoiding everything which is condemned by God's Word and by sincerely repenting of and humbly confessing every transgression. Failure at this point will surely bring a dark cloud over our assurance causing the Spirit to withhold His witness.

Seventh, by giving all diligence to cultivate the Christian graces, and using all diligence to this end. Scripture encourages healthy self-scrutiny.
"Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you" (2 Peter 1:10a). No where more important should this examination occur than when approaching the table of grace—holy communion (1 Corinthians 11:28). John MacArthur reminds us, "Self-examination is as important today as ever. When statistics tells that more than a billion people in the world are Christians, one must wonder who established the criteria. Such figures certainly do not square with what Jesus said about many on the broad road and few on the narrow." (Matthew 7:13-14).

Even those who belong to the right church can be deceived and utterly devoid of the righteousness of God through Christ... The Bible teaches clearly that the evidence of God's work in a life is the inevitable fruit of transformed behavior (1 John 3:10). Faith that does not result in righteous living is dead and cannot save (James 2:14-17). Professing Christians utterly lacking the fruit of true righteousness will find no biblical basis for assurance they are saved (1 John 2:4). These words are not meant to spark feelings of doubt about your salvation if you are genuinely saved. However, they are meant to prick the hearts of those who have a false security in themselves, based on good works absent of true faith. I would implore you to turn the penetrating laser of the Word of God upon your life. Is it "wood, hay and stubble", that will ultimately burn, or will your life stand the test and be proved to be "gold, silver and precious stones" (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)? Is there enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian?

  • The Almost Christian Discovered by Matthew Mead
  • The True Christian Love For the Unseen Christ by Thomas Vincent
  1. Think of one example from the past week in which you rationalized or made excuses for some sinful action or attitude on your part.
  2. Why is the Word of God the only sure and absolute standard by which we are to examine ourselves, as opposed to our own moral preference or presupposed religious/social expectations?
  3. Ponder the following Scriptures: 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 2 Corinthians 6:11; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Timothy 2:19; Ephesians 4:15. Do you think sanctification (growth in holiness and conformity to Christ) is in any way optional for the believer?
  4. What is the evidence of a true believer? Is this evidence characteristic of your won life in light of 2 Corinthians 13:5?
  5. What areas in your life would cast doubt in the minds of those around you that you are indeed a Christian? Will you commit these areas to the Lord?