To make his calling and election sure is as much the duty of the Christian as is obedience to any other command which God has given him. (See 2 Peter 1:10).
But how, the reader may ask, can I call or elect myself? Is that not God’s sole prerogative? Is it not He who alone can either call or elect any one? How, then, can it be done by me?
Notice, however, the wording of this most important command. It is: “Make sure your calling and election.” These are to be certified and made good experimentally. It is assuredly God who alone can elect and call; because in this act, as in all else, He is Sovereign; and it is impossible for the sinner to do that which the sovereign grace of God alone can do.
It is, however, incumbent on the believer to make his calling and election sure; to produce in his own soul the certitude of this blessed act of God; to be clear, distinct, fearless, and sure that he has been both elected and called of God. Let me beg of you, dear reader, not to fear the word “election.” It need cause no fear.
Well, but if some are elected to salvation it follows that others must be elected to damnation. No; that is not a consequence at all. It does not follow. It is a conclusion of the mind that has no warrant in Scripture. There is not, so far as I know, a single passage in Scripture which goes to show that God chose any for eternal damnation. One exception may be found in the case of Judas Iscariot the traitor, but his case stands alone. He was “the son of perdition,” and was “a devil.”
What has, for very long, been a help to my own mind in this matter is the fact of the complete ruin of the entire race of man, and its alienation from God, by wicked works. Once that truth is accepted, in humility and shame, then whatever God may be pleased to do, whether in judgment or in grace, whether in the condemnation of the rejecter of mercy, or the punishment of the sinner—and all have sinned over the face of the world—or else in the exercise of saving power to any, all is in His hand. He is righteous in judging the sinner; He is also righteous, by virtue of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in justifying “him that believes in Jesus.”
This is divinely helpful.
I am aware that no truth is more distasteful than that man is insolvent, ruined, corrupt to the core, and in revolt against God; but, assuredly, proof is not needed by any whose eyes are not blinded.
Nature is beautiful; human nature being fallen (that is, sinful) is loathsome. A religion of humanity can only be labelled “rank poison,” sweet though it may appear. It will not do for God.
Can you tell me of a single system of religion except Christianity that does not propose, as its goal, the reformation of man as he is?
Methods may differ but the idea is the same in all, and the result is absolute disappointment. The spots of the leopard remain. Sin is bred in the bone and cannot be extracted. The flesh is essentially and unimprovably corrupt, incapable of amelioration even under the very law of God, or by His visible presence.
If so, where is there any hope? Only in God Himself. Had He seen fit to say of the race what He said of Ephraim: “Let him alone”; had he never interposed in mercy, or in the love that gave His Son to the death, then we should simply have sunk into the doom that our sins deserved, and that for ever. But God has deigned to bless; and had He elected but one of Adam’s teeming posterity for the smallest favour at His hands, such an one would have been an absolute debtor to His mercy, nor could any make the least objection; but He has been pleased to act in grace with countless myriads and call them to participate in blessing, both earthly and heavenly. No credit to them! All glory to Him! And no trace of partiality anywhere. If it be sin which alone alienates man from God, clearly it cannot be election that does so. This shuts in the penitent, but shuts out none.
The universal command is that all men should repent. The repentance of but one of them thrills the courts of heaven; he is kissed, clothed, fed, welcomed, amid strains of divine rejoicing; and what then becomes of such an one?
He should simply endeavour to take it all in—the kindly welcome, the exquisite clothing, the tender kiss, the circumstances of Home, the Father’s boundless love—to make sure in his heart of hearts that he, the quondam prodigal, is the unexpected recipient of favour so divine. He would surely make the blessing an actuality; he would trace it back to the Father, whose exceeding and abounding grace would nigh overwhelm his soul, but he would take good care to certify to himself that all was his. He would respond in life and conduct to a call of which he had been so absolutely unworthy.
And mark: “If you do these things ye shall never fall.” How wholesome a word for today, when “falling” is alas, so deplorably common, and when the grace of God is lightly esteemed. Thank God, “He is able to keep us from falling;” but while that is sweetly true, we are, at the same time, commanded to “make our calling and election sure.”