“10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:10-11–ESV)
When I am trying to learn a new technique in computer programming I read, study, write the code and try it. I do it in a stepwise manner. I do it until I have a set of steps which are repeatable and predictable. Then I depend upon them and move to the next step. I do not move on to the next step until the foundation is in place. Why? Well, because I want a good outcome, a sturdy product, a computer tool which works for what it is intended to do. I want something trustworthy.
In life I am the same way. I want guarantees. In this passage a guarantee is given and it winds to its conclusion right here in verses 10 and 11. Peter says that by following this ladder to maturity you will “never fall” and that you will receive a “rich welcome” into the kingdom of God where the Happily Ever After is not merely a pipe dream.
In verse 10 Peter says I am to make my calling and election sure. This means something upon which you can build, rely or trust. Now a calling is God’s doing for who calls? Election is God’s doing for who elects? These do not depend upon man. So the calling and election are according to God’s promise. Surety of it is something that must be perceived. God is sure for he initiated these things, but I have to learn to be sure. I have to learn to perceive it. How is this perception developed? It is developed by the living out of it. Let me now phrase out this passage a bit according to this perspective. Participation in the divine nature (verse 4) by the ladder of maturity (features of verses 6 and 7) builds out in my mind a growing confidence, trust, etc. I can go farther when I am confident.
Perhaps it is like learning to dive. To dive well a person must not stop leaning over toward the water. The arms and head must go into the water first. Each of us has probably seen a child first learning to dive. The go in to the water with their feet and hands pointed toward the water and their body pointing toward the sky. To become a person who dives requires trust. One must trust that landing hands and head first on the water will not be harmful. A person can dive better when they are confident that the right approach to the water will turn out very well.
Now let met tell of another example. I long have made my kids school lunches. On a morning in November of 2012 I only had one lunch to make since not all kids were going to school. When it came time to make the peanut butter and jelly sandwich I took out the bread and set the clean knife down on the bread. Since I usually eat my own breakfast while making the sandwiches I then paused the lunch making and started getting my cereal ready. Cereal being best with milk I headed to the fridge and upon opening the door came across the leftover pizza that I had forgotten to put in the lunch yesterday. I was again forgetting it for I had the bread out and ready. This was good timing for once the peanut butter goes on the bread one is rather committed to that piece and bread with peanut butter does not go well 24 hours later, but bread without peanut butter on it can wait with little difficulty. Now for the question that rose then out of that event. Was the “pausing” before putting the peanut butter on the bread coincidence or providence? A few years before that breakfast making I would have fallen upon the coincidence versus providence situation with much less surety. So here we see that faith and trsut acted out as extended to a surety of faith. Faith and trust did not make the provider, God, worthy of faith or trust. My actions did not magically produce character in God or a god-concept or karma or whatever one would want to label it. God is faithful to his promises and the shortcomings are with our learning to trust them.
By living in the style of God surety in spiritual things grows and grows. This prevents a great fall. This sets the tone for a rich welcome into God’s kingdom, heaven, where the trust and dependence all interplay perfectly. The ecology of human interactions there will be as harmonious as one can see in a forest around a mountain stream.