The Benefits Promised
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. (1:10–11)
Peter urges believers to select the positive option already stated in verse 8. Reiterating verse 5 (“applying all diligence”), the apostle commands believers to be all the more diligent spiritually, so as to know and enjoy the reality of their eternal salvation. Be … diligent (spoudasate) is the verb form of the noun spoudē (“diligence”) used in verse 5 and again conveys urgency and eagerness. To emphasize the right believers have to enjoy assurance, the apostle speaks not of their faith, but God’s sovereign choice. Believers are able to make certain—in Hebrews 9:17 the word for certain [ bebaios ] is used in the sense of a legal validity or confirmation—God’s calling and choosing of them. To make (poieisthai) is reflexive, indicating believers are to assure themselves. Calling and choosing are inseparable realities indicating God’s effectual call of believers to salvation (Rom. 11:29; 2 Thess. 2:14; 2 Tim. 1:9; cf. Matt. 4:17; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30) based on His sovereign election of them in eternity past (Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:4, 11; Titus 1:2; 1 Peter 2:9). Peter’s concern is that believers have confidence and assurance that they are included in the elect. God knows His elect (cf. 2 Tim. 1:9, and the discussion of 1 Peter 1:1–5 in John MacArthur, 1 Peter, MacArthur New Testament Commentary [Chicago: Moody, 2004], 13–38), and His elect should enjoy the knowledge that they are His.
As long as Christians practice these things—increasingly pursue the moral virtues essential to holy living—they give evidence to themselves and enjoy assurance that God has granted them eternal life (cf. Heb. 6:11). Practice refers to the pattern of daily conduct (cf. Rom. 12:9–13; Gal. 5:22–25; Eph. 5:15; Col. 3:12–17). If it is in keeping with the moral virtues Peter described, believers will never stumble into doubt, despair, or fear, which allows them to confidently enjoy an abundant and productive spiritual life (cf. Ps. 16:11; John 10:10; Eph. 1:18; 2:7; 1 Tim. 6:17).
In this way, again referring to the constant pursuit of holiness, the blessings of assurance and perseverance come to believers. As a result, the entrance into the eternal kingdom of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to them. Assurance of one’s having entered into the eternal kingdom is the experience of the Christian who practices what Peter has listed. That was great encouragement to the apostle’s weary readers. No believer needs to live with doubt regarding salvation, but he may have assurance abundantly supplied in the present. A rich heavenly reward in the future may also be implied (cf. 2 Tim. 4:8; Heb. 4:9; 12:28; 1 Peter 5:4; Rev. 2:10; 22:12).
The Lord will reward His children based on their faithful pursuit of righteousness (see again 1 Cor. 3:11–14; 2 Cor. 5:10). Assurance in this life and riches in heaven are the benefits of spiritual diligence and fruitfulness.
11 The final “promise” extended by the gracious Lord and Savior is to “lavishly provide” (NIV, “receive”; once more, epichorēgeō) entrance into his eternal kingdom. This reward awaits those who have confirmed their calling through a virtuous life worthy of the divine name. Entrance is not earned, lest the Petrine ethic be misconstrued; rather, it is predicated on grace, all grace, lavishly provided by the divine Benefactor.
A Christian’s rewards (v. 11)
The overwhelming generosity of God is shown in this verse and Peter encourages positive thinking regarding the life to come. Peter here urges his readers to strive for the best. Maybe the Roman Games were in Peter’s mind; there athletes would compete for the prize, and generally speaking it was the best prepared and most determined who would succeed in the contest.
The Bible clearly states that by personal effort none can save or sanctify him- or herself; it all has to be of God’s mercy. Added to that is a further great mystery: for God will reward the faithful servant of Jesus Christ.
A Christian’s great reward
John Bunyan takes up this theme and uses it to glorious effect in the second part of The Pilgrim’s Progress. He describes the passing-over of Mr Valiant-for-Truth:
It was noised abroad, that Mr. Valiant-for-Truth was taken with a summons, that his pitcher was broken at the fountain. When he understood it, he called for his friends, and told them of it. Then he said, ‘I am going to my Father’s; and though with great difficulty I am got hither, yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am. My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me, that I have fought his battles, who now will be my rewarder.’ When the day that he must go hence was come, many accompanied him to the river side, into which as he went, he said, ‘Death, where is thy sting?’ and as he went down deeper, he said, ‘Grave, where is thy victory?’ So he passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side.
How wonderful it must be to receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
1:11 / Furthermore, they will receive a rich welcome into the divine kingdom. The Greek is literally, “the entry for you will be richly abundantly supplied,” using epichorēgeoin, as in verse 5. The writer, well aware of the limitations of words to depict spiritual truths, piles on vocabulary to try to emphasize, underline, and stress the overflowing generosity of the divine action, and the splendor of the Christian prospect. Faithful pilgrims on earth will be astonished at the lavish provision God has prepared for them when they come to enter the next world.
That entry, as Hebrews 10:19 points out, is made possible as a direct consequence of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. So Peter here describes the eternal kingdom as that of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, even though the kingdom is more often specified in the nt as God’s. But no distinction is intended. Peter gives a twofold description of the divine kingdom. It is eternal, and thus as different as can be from the transient powers and the hollow glamor of earthly realms. It is the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Entrance is gained only as a consequence of a living relationship with him. And once within that kingdom, believers discover that its sphere is one of harmonious life with him.
The eternal Christian (1:10–11)
Peter has already written in verse 5 that we are to ‘make every effort’ as Christians, but since then he has listed eight areas in which growth is required. Now he reinforces his argument: be all the more eager. He even echoes the same Greek word (spoudē, the noun, in verse 5; spoudazō, the verb, in verse 11), but he underlines it twice by adding therefore and be all the more. His serious concern is that we take the responsibility to continue to the end of our Christian lives more deeply grounded within the same hope with which we started.
Two words describe the content of our hope: calling and election. Both come with a long biblical pedigree. Our election is God’s sovereign choice of us in Christ from before time. Paul said that God ‘chose us in [Christ] before the creation of the world,’ and as Peter has said in verse 3, our calling is anchored in Jesus’ call to follow him. Peter is expressing himself with his usual care, for just as God’s sovereignty once more occupies centre stage (1:3–4), so does our responsibility. We are to be all the more eager to make our calling and election sure. Without contributing anything to our salvation, the acid test of the genuineness of our faith is that either we make costly life changes on the basis of it, or we treat sin and judgment as irrelevant to a Christian. The word make (poieisthai) is in a form which emphasizes our responsibility in this activity. It is as if Peter were saying, ‘you, for your part, make sure …’ The word sure (bebaios) has a legal flavour, suggesting ‘ratified’. So the wonderful truth that Christians have been eternally called and chosen is not an abstract matter of irrelevant theology which requires no response apart from an intellectual assent. Rather, the evidence that we have been called and chosen will be the energy that we put in to making our calling and election sure.
If we do ‘make every effort’, Peter assures us of blessings that will last for eternity. First, we will never fall. That does not mean that we will never sin, because the Bible never promises us that kind of perfection outside heaven. Nor is it a rigid guarantee of salvation that frees us from activity and responsibility. Instead, it means that we will never ‘suffer a reverse’,22 because God will never change his mind about how to get people into heaven, and will never send us back because we are not good enough. Specifically, it means that a Christian who is permanently devoted to following Jesus will never fall into the kind of error the false teachers had blundered into because of their blindness and short-sightedness. They had failed to take seriously their responsibility to live Christianly. The attitude that takes hold of Christ by faith and then lives a life of obedience to him is the one that proves that our salvation will last.
The second blessing that will last for an eternity is that Christians will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. You will receive is the passive form of the verb epichorēgeō, ‘provide’, translated ‘add to’ in verse 5. Here it means ‘you will be provided with’, and it is Jesus Christ who takes the responsibility for paying the price. Michael Green paints a picture of a victorious marathon runner being welcomed to the finishing-tape by a delighted home crowd. The welcome will be rich, not because God is repaying a price to the Christian, but because he is lavishly meeting our needs for an eternity of serving him as our King. Throughout the gospels, the idea of Christ’s kingdom has both a present and a future aspect, where what is true and available today is put alongside what is true and available only to those who believe the promise. When Christ returns as Lord and Saviour, though, it will all be present. As Lord he will rule his kingdom, visibly and eternally, and as Saviour he will be able both to condemn sin and to save sinners.
1:10–11. This section concludes with a word of challenge and encouragement. False teachers attacked the faith of the original readers of 2 Peter. Some of them were beginning to doubt their faith. Peter, particularly in verse 2 above, went out of his way to reassure them of the validity of their faith. Thus, the expression make your calling and election sure must not be construed to suggest that God has any doubts regarding their faith or calling. The problem of doubt or questioning is one the readers struggled with, not God.
As you begin to see changes and transformations occurring in your life, this should reassure you that God has called you to himself. These changes serve to “make your calling and election sure.” The opposite is also true. If your life shows no positive changes and this causes you no concern, then you should wonder and question whether you are a true believer in Jesus Christ.
If you respond positively to the challenge, you will find encouragement in the words, you will never fall. This does not mean that you will never have a problem or that you will never sin again. The picture is that of a march, and the point here is that the true believer will never fall out of the march to heaven. You will never be left behind, but you can be assured of a glorious welcome into your eternal home. God will never change his mind about you, nor will he alter the means by which you get to heaven. True believers can be assured that God will never send us away from heaven because we are not good enough.
11. And you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
A literal translation of the beginning of this text is, “for in this way” (NASB). That is, by personally affirming his calling and election, the believer enters Christ’s kingdom.
God responds to man’s faithfulness and richly provides for him an entrance into the kingdom. Note that Peter employs the word rich to describe not the manner but the event of the believer’s entrance into heaven. When God welcomes the believer to his heavenly abode, he considers the believer his child. Therefore, God lavishes gifts upon him to make him a rich person who enters heaven as a victor. John Albert Bengel writes, “You may be able to enter, not as having escaped from a shipwreck, or from fire, but as it were in triumph.” (Incidentally, contrast the text “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” [1 Peter 4:18] with this text. Obviously, the contexts of these two verses call for a difference in expression.)
Peter uses the personal pronoun you and tells the readers, “You will receive a rich welcome.” The meaning of the verb to receive, which is the same Greek verb translated “to add” in verse 5, implies that God will bless abundantly all those who cultivate spiritual virtues.
Only in this verse the adjective eternal is used to describe the kingdom (compare Ps. 145:13; and see 2 Tim. 4:18, “heavenly kingdom”). Christ’s kingdom is eternal because he himself is eternal. In other words, the kingdom of Jesus is not subject to limitations of cosmic time; it exists forever. In this kingdom, Christ is king. As Jesus clearly teaches, God rules through his Son, Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:18).
Peter is fond of calling Jesus Christ “our Lord and Savior” (see 2:20; 3:2, 18). In verse 1 he calls Jesus “God and Savior” to emphasize his divinity.
Because the recipients of this epistle know the Lord as their Savior, Peter is not teaching that they will enter either the church or the kingdom of Christ here on earth. The future tense causes us to look expectantly to the coming of Christ’s eternal kingdom. We do not simply identify the kingdom with heaven, even though believers when they die enter this kingdom. The broader perspective, in Peter’s own words, is that “we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (3:13).
Doctrinal Considerations in 1:10–11
How do I know that I am a child of God? When I search my spiritual life, I know that the certainty of salvation does not come to me through dreams, visions, and revelations. I have assurance of salvation because God has given me his Word, has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, and has worked and continues to work in my heart through the Holy Spirit. God has created faith in my soul so that I put my complete confidence and trust in him.
I know not how this saving faith
To me he did impart,
Nor how believing in his Word
Wrought peace within my heart.
But “I know whom I have believed,
and am persuaded that he is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto him against that day.” [2 Tim. 1:12, KJV]
—Daniel W. Whittle
What is the effect of this gift of faith? When I obediently listen to God’s call and do his will, when I experience God’s nearness in my soul, then I begin to understand that God’s calling and election are an unspeakable source of comfort to me. I realize that as long as I reflect God’s virtues in my life, I shall never fall. I know that God is able to keep me from falling and to present me faultless before him in love and with great joy (Jude 24).
1:11 Not only is there safety in constant spiritual progress, there is also the promise of a richly-provided entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Peter refers here not to the fact of our entry but to the manner of it. The only basis of admission to the heavenly kingdom is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But some will have a more abundant entrance than others. There will be degrees of reward. And the rewards are here said to depend on the degree of one’s conformity to the Savior.
1:10–11 The ultimate goal is full and final salvation
This leads Peter to urge his fellow-Christians to demonstrate the reality of their own standing with God (by following the first path outlined above). In this way they will be kept from failure in this life and be welcomed enthusiastically into the Lord’s eternal kingdom (see Mt. 25:21–23). Peter is not here teaching that our salvation is to be earned by good works, nor that we can forfeit our relationship to Christ once we have genuinely responded to his call. Rather, he is reminding us that the development of a genuinely Christlike character is the only proof (to ourselves as well as to others) of our Christian status even though at times we sadly fail. This is consistent with the teaching of Jesus (Mt. 7:16–21), James (Jas. 3:2), John (1 Jn. 1:7–10; 3:10) and Paul (Gal. 5:16–25).
Notes. 10 Eager is the same root as make every effort in v 5 and may be a deliberate reference back. Make your calling and election sure is the tension which runs right through the first letter (see 1 Pet. 1:2, 17; cf. Phil. 2:12–13). Here too Peter stresses that we who have received a faith as precious (1:1) have yet to avoid being ineffective and unproductive in Christ’s service. Further, he hints that one can even fall from grace (Jude 24 uses the verb in the same sense). It does not here refer to sinning (as in Jas. 3:2) so there is no teaching of sinless perfection here. 11 Instead of this gloomy prospect, the Christian should look forward to a welcome into Christ’s eternal kingdom. The last phrase must refer to its full inauguration when Jesus returns. Receive a rich welcome translates the verb used for ‘add’ in v 5 above (see the note there). God’s lavish reward is a spur to lavish living for him.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2005). 2 Peter and Jude (pp. 44–45). Chicago: Moody Publishers.
 Charles, D. J. (2006). 2 Peter. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 391). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
 Anderson, C. (2007). Opening up 2 Peter (pp. 34–36). Leominster: Day One Publications.
 Hillyer, N. (2011). 1 and 2 Peter, Jude (pp. 169–170). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
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