PO Box 3425
September/October Issue 2008 - Volume 27 Number 5
Make Your Calling and Election Sure
Your Calling and Election Sure
“Therefore, brethren, be even
more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these
things you will never stumble.” 2
There are two things that reminded me of this
Scripture. First, I have just attended the lectureship at Carman, Manitoba,
and this statement was used as their theme. Yesterday I attended a political
rally for a short time.
There are three men running in this constituency. I
am told it is going to be a close race. All three candidates are working
hard to make their election sure, but two of them will not succeed. However,
in the election that Peter talks about in 2 Peter 1:10, all can be elected
and all can retain their seat for time and for eternity. God, by Jesus
Christ, is running the election and if we follow instructions we cannot
No one deserves to be elected. This election makes us
a child of God for time and for eternity. All have sinned and fall short of
the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Salvation is by grace (Titus 2:11). Grace
brings us to the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord (2 Peter 1:2). His
divine power has granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and
godliness. So it is of grace, for we have not earned it. We have not found
it by our human wisdom but God has granted it unto us. How does he grant
these things? Through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory
and virtue (2 Peter 1:3).
When a man seeks election to a human government, he
tells people what he will do for them if he is elected. God tells us what He
will do for us when we are elected and if we do not disqualify our position
of trust: “Whereby he hath granted unto us his precious and exceeding
great promises that through these ye may become partakers of the divine
nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world by lust”
(2 Peter 1:4). So if the great promises of God are to be ours, we must
escape from the corruption that is in the world that comes by lust.
God tells us how we are to escape the corruption of
the world. We are to add to our faith virtue. Without faith it is impossible
to please God (Hebrews 11:6). However, the devils believe and tremble (James
2:19). Faith, to be effective, must add virtue. It must enable us to escape
from the corruption that is in the world by lust. Faith, in order to be
effective, must cleanse the heart (Acts 15:9). Faith, to be effective, must
cause us to overcome the world (1 John 5:4). If we are living an ungodly
life, then our faith is not functioning properly. Our election is not sure.
To our virtue we are to add knowledge. In connection
with this lesson, the word “knowledge” is used five times. So knowledge
must be first. We are elected, and then we must make our calling and
election sure (2 Peter 1:10). Jeremiah told us: “O Jehovah, I know that
the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct
his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). What is faith? We learn what it is by divine
knowledge. What is virtue? We learn what it is by divine knowledge. Too many
people decide what is virtuous by the whims of modern society rather than by
the Word of God.
Knowledge leads us to self control. By the grace of
God we can escape the corruptions that are in the world by lust. We no
longer are hot and cold. For we add to self control, patience. The marginal
rendering says “steadfastness.” The promise of God is to Him who
overcomes (Revelation 2:10).
We are no longer tossed to and fro by every wind of
doctrine. We are no longer lured by the lusts of the flesh for now we are
able to add to our steadfastness, godliness. Knowledge has led us to think
like God, and then we act as God would have us act. The world will not
understand our actions but God does.
We are drawing closer to the point at which we are
making our calling and election sure. Now we add “love of the brethren.”
Surely this is one of the great blessings that comes to us. It can only be
ours when we give it. There is an axiom that says, “What I give I keep and
what I keep I lose.” This is so true of brotherly love. Who is loved the
most? The one who loves the most. Then we add to brotherly love, the highest
form of love. This is the love that is exemplified in 'God is love” (1
This is the love that so loved the world that God
gave (John 3:16). This love may be hard to divine but we can only acquire it
by the knowledge of God.
We are not only to have these eight things but in
these we must abound. When we have them then we are not idle or unfruitful.
Again the word knowledge is used. By these virtues we abound in the
knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:8).
“For he that lacketh these things is blind, seeing
only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sin” (2
Peter 1:9). He has failed all the way down the line. His faith is not right
for we have already learned that by faith we overcome the world (1 John
5:4). Unless our faith is right then none of the other virtues can follow.
Men will work long hours; they will do everything
they can in order to be elected. That election is for a few years but our
election is for eternity. But we can be disqualified. “Wherefore,
brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure:
for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble” (2 Peter 1:10). The
King James Version says that we will not fall.
“For thus (by zealously adding these eight
virtues), shall be richly supplied unto you the entrance into the eternal
kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11).
My wife and I were invited to the political rally. I
was busy. We went late. We could not get a seat. We did not stay very long
for we had to stand up. I could not but think that if we had the same zeal
to be elected and to make sure we were not disqualified, how we would act.
Some months ago, I was invited to attend another
political meeting. There were plenty of seats. There was little enthusiasm.
You see they were not seeking election in that meeting. When I attended the
meeting at the church last night, we acted more like the second group than
the first one. Why?
J. C. Bailey, 1979, Weyburn,
(Ed. Note: I met J. C. Bailey years ago in Edmond, Oklahoma at a meeting on missions in India. He was an honorable and well respected man and very humble. J.C. was born in Canada on September 13, 1903 and preached and lived mainly in Canada. However, when he was a young man he made one of his first preaching ventures into Montana and North Dakota in the United States. In April 1963, at the age of 60 when many are thinking of retiring, J. C. made his first trip to India. This work became a passion for him and he traveled there over 20 times. His last trip to India was made in 1990 when J. C. was 87. He died on July 2, 2001 in Canada.)
Clothed By Him
Lord never hesitated to condemn the scribes and Pharisees for acting as
religious counterfeits (Read Matt. 23).
Christ used a unique word to describe these counterfeits; they were
“hypocrites.” The word
“hypocrite” is transliterated from the Greek word “hypokrites.”
It means “an actor, a stage-player, or a pretender” (Thayer’s
Lexicon). When the curtain was open and men’s eyes were watching,
these scribes and Pharisees were quick to act out their religious role.
But when the curtain fell, the religious role-playing ceased; it was
all for show (Matt. 6:2, 5, 16). Unlike
the hypocrite who plays the part of his half-hearted religious character,
the Christian plays the part of a genuine character.
That character is Christ! To
play the part of Christ, we must first put on the costume of our character. This costume consists of what Paul referred to as, in several
places, the “new man.”
this new man, Colossians 3:1 states, “If ye then be risen with Christ,
seek those things which are above.” Being
“risen with Christ” alludes to our baptism into Christ, at which point
we died with Christ (Rom. 6:6, 8), were buried with Christ (Rom. 6:4), and
were raised with Christ (Rom. 6:5). If
we have been raised with Christ in this manner, we have a unique opportunity
and obligation to “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).
Rather than setting our minds on earthly and temporal things, we
should set our affections on heavenly things, which are eternal (Col.
3:1-2). Having received pardon, we should mortify, or put to death,
our old sinful ways of fornication, uncleanness, evil desires, and
covetousness (Col. 3:5). Rather
than surrendering to “anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy
communication” and the like, we should “put off the old man with his
deeds” (Col. 3:8-9).
off the old man is an interesting concept.
Paul implies that we have power in Christ Jesus over this old man,
power to take control and do away with the old man!
But if we put off the old man, what man shall we put on in his place?
In Galatians 3:27 Paul answers the question with these words: “For
as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
When we were baptized into Christ, we took the first step in the
direction of clothing ourselves with a new man which is created in the image
of Christ (Col. 3:10). This new
man will not grow and prosper if we linger with the old man.
As the old man is put off and mortified, the new man is able to
mature. This new man is renewed
as we gain a better understanding about the image, or model, from which this
new man is created (Col. 3:10), that being Jesus Christ.
As we gain knowledge of Christ, we are able to grow into a new man
that looks more like Christ with every passing day.
we have been raised with Christ to live a new life, we have become part of
something special. Peter said
that we are a “chosen generation” and a “peculiar people” (special
Because God “hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous
light” (I Pet. 2:9). We are
called, or willingly delivered, out of darkness unto salvation by the
gospel, the saving power of God (See II Thess.2:13-14 and Rom. 1:16).
Because we are special and holy, we should diligently strive to cloth
ourselves with the new man whose heart is full of tender mercies and whose
mind is humble. Peter said that
we should give all diligence to add these virtues to our beginning faith (II
Pet. 1:5). The new man is kind,
meek, and patient (Col. 3:12). Peter
encourages us to add temperance and patience to our ever-growing faith (II
Pet. 1:6). Because Christ
was forgiving (Luke 23:34), the new man, created in the image of Christ,
must be forgiving as well (Col. 3:13). Forgiveness is essential when adding
brotherly kindness to our faith (II Pet. 1:7 and Matt.18:21-22).
Finally, and most importantly, to put on the new man is to “put on
charity,” or love (Col. 3:14). According
to Peter the process of spiritual growth culminates when charity, or love,
is finally added to our faith (II Pet. 1:7).
often wondered about love being listed as the capstone of our spiritual
growth. Was not love required
from the very beginning of our faith? The
world, without Christ, can rarely comprehend the meaning of true love. The
world’s idea of love can often be traced back to some root of sensuality.
The Christian love is not rooted in sensuality, but spirituality.
Perhaps a new-born Christian, fresh in his or her faith, has a few
things to learn about the meaning of true love.
That true love, just like the new man, “vaunteth not itself, is not
puffed up,” but is humble (I Cor. 13:4).
That true love, just like the new man, “suffereth long, and is
kind” (I Cor. 13:4). That
true love, just like the new man, “thinketh no evil” (keeps no accounts
of evil), but is forgiving (I Cor. 13:5).
True love is the seal of completeness, the “the bond of
perfection” (Col. 3:14). Having
done all these things, putting on the new man in his totality, we can live
in peace with our Heavenly Father (Col. 3:15).
clothed ourselves with the costume of Christ, we must then learn the lines
of our character. Paul said,
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom…” (Col.
3:16). These words are for
“teaching and admonishing one another” (Col. 3:16). By clothing ourselves with the costume of Christ, a costume
which we need never put off, and learning the lines of Christ, we don’t
simply act out Christ. We live
out Christ. So that whatsoever
we find ourselves doing or saying, we do and say all things in the name of
the Lord Jesus, giving the thanks, the praise, and the glory to God through
Him (Col. 3:17).
Actual Confessions and the Coda
Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and
idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge---by
professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you.
Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:20-21
is an email that has been circulating through cyber space for the past three
years. I don’t know how many times I have received it, but I have saved
two versions of it. I decided to go to snopes.com to see what these internet
detectives have discovered about these emails. I found that a portion of the
email is actually the confessions that Ben Stein made on CBS Sunday Morning
on December 18, 2005. The coda was added sometime in mid-2006 and this
version has been circulating since then. Ben Stein is a lawyer by training
and also served as a speechwriter for President Richard M. Nixon. His most
recent exploit is the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.
According to the expelled web site this movie is about the freedom to
legitimately challenge “Big Science’s” orthodoxy…without
section between the asterisks below is the actual confessions Ben Stein made
on CBS Sunday Morning entitled, “Confessions for the Holidays.” The
section after the last set of asterisks explains what snopes says about the
coda and contains the coda. Here is the preface in the version of the email
that I received followed by Stein’s confessions and then the coda:
they know of him at all, many folks think Ben Stein is just a quirky
actor/comedian who talks in a monotone. He's also a very intelligent
attorney who knows how to put ideas and words together in such a way as to
sway juries and make people think clearly.
at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart: I have
no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the cover of People
and Us constantly when I am buying my dog biscuits and kitty litter. I often
ask the checkers at the grocery stores. They never know who Nick and Jessica
are either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and
why they have broken up? Why are they so important?
don't know who Lindsay Lohan is either, and I do not care at all about Tom
I going to be called before a Senate committee and asked if I am a
subversive? Maybe, but I just have no clue who Nick and Jessica are.
this is what it means to be no longer young. It's not so bad.
am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not
bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up,
bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel
discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.
doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me.
I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto.
In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters
celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there
is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in
Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the
Menorah a few hundred yards away.
don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think
Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people
who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I
have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly
atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution, and I don't like it
being shoved down my throat.
maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should
worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we
guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too.
there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and
where the America we knew went to.
to snopes.com, in mid-2006 someone added the following coda, not written by
Ben Stein, to this piece. It
combines older items about a TV appearance that Anne Graham Lotz, the
daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, made just after the September 11
terrorist attacks and the false claim that the son of child care expert Dr.
Benjamin Spock committed suicide:
light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little
different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended
to get you thinking.
Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked
her "How could God let something like this Happen?" (regarding
Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, "I
believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've
been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and
to get out of our lives.
being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we
expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave
light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think
it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found
recently) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.
someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou
shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself.
And we said OK.
Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave
because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their
self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should
know what he's talking about and we said OK.
we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't
know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers,
their classmates, and themselves.
if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it
has a great deal to do with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW."
how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's
going to hell.
how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.
how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but
when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about
how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace,
but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.
how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your
address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will
think of you for sending it.
how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God
thinks of us.
…Email received in October 2006