Summary: God does not elect some so as not to elect others, but that He might have someone to reach the others.

One of the principle characters in the book Darkened Doors is

Adrian Mallard, who is a brilliant but skeptical lawyer and

sportsman. He learns that he is the victim of a serious heart disease.

His friend, Professor Boyd, a distinguished psychologist, was one

day singing the praises of the open mind. "Is that good enough?"

asked Mallard. "An open mind doesn't get you anywhere. I'm

beginning to want certainty!" Boyd is amused by this hopelessly

unscientific desire. "Certainty!" he replied. "Certainty! I am

surprised at you! What do you want to be certain about?" Mallard

answers in all seriousness: "About life-about death-about what

happens afterwards. What's the good of your scientists if you can't

tell us that?

Mallard speaks the mind of the modern man who wants to be

sure of something ultimate in a world in a whirl of constant change.

It is hard to have any security in a world characterized by change.

Dr. Samuel Miller of Harvard Divinity School describes the rapid

acceleration of change in our society. "Regardless of whether it is

good or not, and article must be constantly changed in order to sell.

Professions disappear overnight; complex techniques become useless

with the twist of a knob. And M.I.T. Professor complains that the

instruction he gives will be obsolete by the time his students get a

degree for learning it. Everywhere continuity is in the shambles, cut

and chewed by the incessant chopping of the jaws of progress."

The result is that very few people can stand with the prophets of

old and say, "Here am I." They stand instead as bewildered and

asking, "Where am I?" They are uncertain as to where they are

and where they are going, and so they tend to remain in a rut and go

nowhere. This can happen to Christians also, and that is one of

Peter's concerns for the Christians of his day. He wanted to get

them out of the rut of complacency and to catch a vision that would

lead them on to fruitfulness for the glory of Christ and their own


Certainty plays a major role in the success of this goal, and so

Peter urges them in verse 10 to make their calling an election sure.

Man does not have to certain about everything, but he has to be

certain about something. F. W. Boreham said, "There is no craving

in the human heart more persistent or more passionate than the

craving for certainty." Luther put it negatively when he said that

no more miserable state of mind existed than that of uncertainty.

Certainty concerning some value in what gives life meaning is

essential to happiness. Happiness can be measured by the number

and quality of a person's certainties. One of the most beautiful love

poems I ever read is that by Amelia Burr:

I am not sure the earth is round,

Nor that the sky is really blue.

The tale of why the apples fall

May or may not be true.

I do not know what makes the tides,

Nor what tomorrow's world may do,

But I have certainty enough,

For I am sure of you.

One solid certainty makes for many uncertainties. This is true

also in the spiritual realm. A know-so Christian is not a know it all

Christian, for Paul says that we only know in part, and any honest

Christian knows that he is ignorant and uncertain concerning many

of the mysteries of life. Luther wrote, "For although we may be

certain that we believe in Christ, nevertheless we are certain that we

believe in all the things that appertain to Him, and therefore what

we actually believe is uncertain."

Peter is not aiming for the goal of absolute certainty concerning

everything, for this would be, not to partake of the divine nature,

but to become God Himself. Peter's goal for Christians, and the goal

all of us are to aim for, is certainty concerning our election. In this

we can be sure and we say with Paul, "I know in whom I have

believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have

committed unto Him against that day." In other words, I can be

certain of Christ and be certain of His promise of eternal life. We

can be unsure of many things and yet have the security that brings

us God's best if we are sure of this.

John Newton, who wrote Amazing Grace, said in his declining

years, "When I was young I was sure of many things. There are

only two things of which I am now sure; one is that I am a miserable

sinner, and the other that Christ is an all-sufficient Savior." This is

the kind of certainty that all Christians should have, and it should be

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