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“Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 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).

AS CHRISTIANS, IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT FOR US TO GROW IN THE CHARACTER TRAITS OF GODLINESS. Just prior to the text above, Peter had encouraged his readers to work hard at growing in virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love (vv.5–7). God will help us, obviously, but the process of renovating our character cannot take place without our active engagement and obedience. We must not only be willing to have our imperfections removed; we must exert ourselves in that direction. As Paul encouraged his young friend Timothy, “Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all” (1 Timothy 4:15 NKJV).

In the text in 2 Peter 1:10,11, Peter says, “Be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election.” God’s “chosen” and His “elect” are those who accept the terms upon which He has made salvation conditional. The invitation of God is open to all, but we must choose to be among the chosen. In Romans 1:5, Paul uses the expression “the obedience of faith” to summarize what is necessary on our part. And Peter urges us to be “diligent” in this matter. Not taking our salvation for granted, we must be people who grow.

If we give ourselves wholeheartedly and lovingly to the strengthening of our character, we need not doubt our salvation. Peter said, “If you do these things you will never stumble” (NKJV). Having obeyed the gospel of Christ, we are in the kingdom which He established, but heaven is not yet our home. We await the eternal kingdom — and we wait for it with eager anticipation (Philippians 3:12–14; 2 Peter 3:11–13; 1 John 3:2,3; etc.).

It is helpful to think of our lives in Christ right now as a remedial process. We have been saved from our past sins, but we still have habits that need to be broken, ways of thinking that need to be changed, and attitudes that need to be adjusted. So God is disciplining us, teaching us, and helping us to grow in His direction. If we don’t drop out, one day we’ll graduate from this school.

“Heaven is a place prepared for those who are prepared for it” (Old Saying).

Gary Henry — +

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