1. WHAT does the apostle Peter admonish us to do?
“Wherefore . . . brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure.” 2 Peter 1:10.
NOTE.- This text at once reveals the fact that our salvation, so far as our own individual cases are concerned, is dependent upon our own action. We are elected to be save; but we are to give diligence to make this election sure. If we do not, it will not meet its purpose in our case, and we shall be lost.
2. What admonition given by Christ teaches the same truth?
“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” Rev. 3:11.
NOTE.-Crowns have been prepared for each of the finally redeemed. Every soul is a candidate in the race for eternal life, and hence for a crown. Faith in Jesus, and perseverance to the end, will hold it fast.
3. Upon what condition is the crown of life promised?
“Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Rev. 2:10.
4. In whom, and from what time, have we been chosen unto holiness and salvation?
“According as He hath chosen us in Him [Christ] before the foundation of the world.” Eph. 1:4, first part.
5. What is the character of those thus chosen before the foundation of the world?
“That we should be holy and without blemish before Him in love.” Same verse, last part, R.V.
8. According to what have we been predestinated?
“Being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.” Eph. 1:11.
12. What scripture is sometimes cited as evidence that God is arbitrary in His dealings with men?
“Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.” Rom. 9:18.
13. But what other scripture shows with whom God wills to be merciful, and with whom otherwise?
“With the merciful Thou wilt show Thyself merciful; with an upright man Thou wilt show Thyself upright; with the pure Thou wilt show Thyself pure; and with the froward Thou wilt show Thyself froward.” Ps. 18:25,26. See also Isa. 55:7.
NOTE.- God wills that men shall be saved. He has foreordained the characters that will entitle men to salvation, but He does not compel anyone to receive Christ, possess this character, and be saved. This is a matter of individual choice. By His mighty acts and judgments in Egypt, God “hardened Pharaoh’s heart.” Ex. 7:3,13,22. But the same manifestations softened the hearts of others. The difference was in the hearts, and in the way God’s message and dealings were received; not in God. The same sun which melts the wax hardens the clay. Ex. 8:32 says that Pharaoh hardened his own heart.
14. What, on man’s part, is essential to salvation?
“Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.” Joshua 24:15. “If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know of the teaching.” John 7:17, R.V. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Acts 16:31. “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Rev. 22:17.
NOTE.- A man once wished to join a certain church, but said he could not do so on account of the views this church held on the subject of “election.” The minister to whom he was sent for help and enlightenment, failing to make the matter clear, an old colored man, a layman, came to the rescue, and said: “Brother, this is the very easiest thing in the church. You see, it is like this: The votin’ is goin’ on all the time; and God, He is votin’ for you; and the devil, he is votin’ agin you; and whichever way you vote, that is the way the election goes.” Commenting upon this incident, Rev. Wilbur Chapman, the noted evangelist, says: “I have studied theology some myself, and graduated at a theological seminary; but I never got anything quite so good as that.”
O, HAPPY day! that fixed my choice
On Thee, My Saviour and my God;
Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
And tell its raptures all abroad.
‘Tis done, the great transaction’s done;
I am my Lord’s and he is mine;
He drew me, and I followed on,
Charmed to confess the voice divine.
Now rest, my long-divided heart,
Fixed on this blissful center rest;
Nor ever from thy Lord depart,
With Him of every good possessed.