If you have played any story-based game through to completion over the years, you know the feeling… it’s that strange mixture of anticipation and dread that you feel in the pit of your stomach as you realize that you are “in the endgame now”. This is what the entire game has been building towards from the moment you pressed start, and the tension has become so thick you could cut it with a Darksaber. The mood has shifted from playful exploration and monotonous level-grinding to a singular sense of purpose… to finish the game. There are no more side quests in our mission log to complete, our party members have nothing new to say, and even the ambient soundtrack that was melodically guiding us through every battle and interaction up to this point is now eerily subdued. The moment of truth is here, and once we walk through that final door, we know that this is it… all that we have been building towards, the skills that we gained, the items we gathered, the choices we made, and the questions we want answered have all reached their point of convergence. But if you are anything like me, you do one final thing before you press the action button that will set these final wheels in motion… you check one last time to make sure you are fully ready before you walk through those doors that represent the point of no return. I make sure I have the right armor equipped, my chosen weapons have been reloaded, my backup ammo and health kits are full, and I even save my game one last time for good measure. I didn’t come this far and work this hard to get this part wrong… because this moment is the one that matters the most.
In this glorious day and age of information accessibility that we live in, being successfully prepared for “the endgame” is easier than ever… a simple internet search can provide us with everything from recommendations on the best items to equip for our final battles to full video walkthroughs that demonstrate winning tactics that we simply need to mimic in order to ensure success. As a matter of fact, we can even remove all of the mystery from the “endgame” experience before we have even started the game if we desire, as there is no shortage of “spoiler content” generated by other players just like us that will show us every possible outcome based on the different choices we have made in our respective play-throughs. Making ourselves ready for “the endgame” has never been more user-friendly, allowing us the luxury of either starting our game with knowledge of the ending already in hand, looking for answers in the middle of the game, or simply stopping at the final save point to take a sneak peek ahead before we cross the event horizon of our game and head into the grand finale.
Now sure, it takes some of the surprise out of the adventure when we already know what is coming next… and I personally know many gamers who truly want a “spoiler-free” experience so they can experience the ending without any external input. But… what if we only had one try at the final boss fight? What if our lack of preparation for the ending made the game impossible to complete successfully, and this frustration could have been avoided by making ONE critical decision earlier in the game that would have completely altered this outcome? We would all probably feel much differently about having an “unspoiled” view of the endgame if we knew that the game would only let us try our hand at the last level one time, and we would have to live with that unchangeable result with finality. No extra lives, no continues, no save points to restore… just a closing cinematic that can never be altered once it has been unlocked. We would probably want to be 100% certain of our preparation and strategy for such an event, and in our real world lives we all have this option if we are willing to take advantage of it… a decision that the Apostle Peter eloquently describes as “making our calling and election sure”.
2 Peter 1:5-11 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Here is a personal challenge I have struggled with on many occasions… how can I KNOW that I am fully prepared for life’s endgame? Even as someone who has believed in Christ from a young age, I have struggled with this question on and off for YEARS. And throughout my life, I have failed the Lord more times than I can count, walked the path of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), and backslidden in my faith (Proverbs 14:14). And while I am many years removed from the episodes of my life that represent my greatest regrets, in my deepest moments of unfiltered honesty I still question the deepest motives of my heart at times. Am I following the Lord because of my love and commitment to Him, or is my faith and obedience to Him simply an act of self-preservation? Do I serve Him with my whole heart, or is my knowledge of the eternal outcomes of my decisions my true guiding force? In gamer terms, I have already spoiled the ending for myself, so I know how the “endgame” plays out. I know what I have to do in order to “win the game”… so now I have to question if I am actually being true to myself as I play this game, or am I simply copying someone else’s answers to the test? How can I truly make “my calling and election sure” when I am actively questioning my own motives at so many points during the day? Okay… enough questions. Time to find some answers… and the clock is ticking on our final date with a destiny that will not be denied.
We know that one way or another we will all face this moment… we all have an invitation to the endgame of life that cannot be avoided, delayed or denied. Regardless of one’s faith in Christ, there is one undisputable truth that every one of us must accept… we will all depart this plane of existence at some point in our finite human lives. While opinions differ on what occurs at this conclusion, reaching the ending is inevitable. That “Thanos snap” is coming for all of us, and while believers in Christ know that death has lost its’ sting (1 Cor. 15:55-57) like a gauntlet missing the infinity stones, the moment those fingers are snapped we also know that the endgame is truly upon us. It is time to proceed with our final selections to the registers because the store is closing. All we control is the decision on how we choose to prepare for it…
Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
Here is the truth about our “endgame” in life that has brought me peace even as I still engage in daily battles with my own sinful nature … as usual, the secret is right there in the verse. My “goal” is right there in verse 11… I want an entrance into His eternal kingdom. How do I accomplish that outcome? It looks like there are two things to do… “make my calling and election sure”, and to “do these things” that were referenced in verses 5-8. Let’s start with a phrase I misunderstood for decades, to “make our calling and election sure”.
2 Peter 1:10-11 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
When reading 2 Peter 1:10 and looking at the original Greek, we should carefully consider what the words “calling and election” truly mean…
klésin – a calling, invitation; in the NT, always of a divine call.
eklogén – a choosing out, selecting, choice (by God); properly, selection out of and to a given outcome
For many years I completely misinterpreted this verse, because I thought I understood what “calling and election” meant. I assumed what this meant was that the Lord is the one who called me, and I am the one who made the choice to follow Him. This was a mutually entered relationship… a contract that both sides have an equal role in fulfilling. And I could not have been more incorrect. Both the “calling” and the “election” referred to in this verse have NOTHING to do with me and everything to do with the Father and his calling and selection of me… because BOTH of these words that are being used in this verse are referring to the Lord, not to us. And here is the proof… the word “klésin” that is translated as “calling” in this verse is only used eleven times, and in each instance, it is referring to the Lord’s calling of us. So far so good. And as for the word “eklogén” that is translated as “election” in the verse? This specific word was used by Peter for a reason… it is a word that is only used SEVEN times (including this verse in 2 Peter) in the entire New Testament. And in EVERY instance of its’ usage, it is referring to the Lord’s choice of US, not the other way around. But don’t take my word for it… take His.
Acts 9:15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.
Romans 9:11 For the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls.
Romans 11:5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
Romans 11:7 What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
Romans 11:28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.
1 Thessalonians 1:4 Knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.
Seven times this word is used… seven times it is referring to the Lord’s selection of His chosen people, NOT of His people’s choice of Him. And now my confidence in approaching Him at the end of my days reaches a point of clarity… if I was planning to stand in front of Him based solely on my choices, my decisions, my works, and my selection of Him, I have missed the point entirely. My confidence in the endgame is not based on me choosing Him, but Him choosing ME. As these Scriptures and so many more successfully demonstrate, the Lord chose us FIRST… He loved us FIRST… and because of this my assurance in standing before Him is based on my faith that He has called, loved, and selected me.
John 15:16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
Ephesians 1:4-6 Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Now we aren’t done yet… before we rush off with an incomplete vision of our security in Christ, we must complete the gaming analogy. As I stand before the game’s final door to reveal its’ final secrets, there are two sides to this finale. I have confidence as I cross the threshold of the endgame because I know that I was destined for this moment… the developer of the game designed this game for me to win. If I need additional reassurance, I can watch online videos and read the accounts of others who have previously played the game to completion for tips. Many times, I can even find an online strategy guide from the publisher that prepares me for this final encounter, walking me through the entire game from start to finish. But my ability to “make my calling and election sure” includes a responsibility that is demonstrated in how I play the game, and THIS is the part that we cannot afford to miss. The developer of the game can do everything in their power to set us up for seeing the “mission complete” screen, but I still have to play the game within the parameters of their guidance if I want to see the final credits roll for myself. Let’s take one last look at the verses that immediately preceded this whole conversation…
2 Peter 1:5-9 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
With this entire concept placed together, we can now fully understand our ability to find security and confidence in standing before the Lord while still reconciling this with His expectations for His followers during our time here on earth. Our eternal security is firmly based on the Lord’s calling and election of us… that is Scripturally indisputable. And the proof of this calling and election is similarly confirmed… we can have confidence that we know Him and are following Him through our ever-growing obedience to Him. How do I know that my gaming avatar was destined to see the ending of this game? Because the developer already built that victorious cinematic into the game before I ever pressed start. But I only get to see that ending for myself if I choose to “play the game” the way the developer designed it, fulfilling a plan that was scripted before I ever possessed it… a finale that still requires my faithful participation if I want to see that “achievement unlocked” or “trophy awarded” screen.
1 John 2:3-6 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
As followers of Christ, it is imperative that we stand in full confidence that He who has begun a good work in us will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6). We are specifically told that we should have BOLDNESS and CONFIDENCE both in this life as well as when we face our endgame (1 John 4:17, Ephesians 3:12). Even though we have messed up, His gifts and callings are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). It is the whispering lies of our enemy that tries to convince us that we should be insecure in our faith or that Christ’s redemption of us was somehow insufficient (1 Peter 5:8, Romans 3:24, 1 Corinthians 1:30). Let us soberly but boldly approach His throne of grace, knowing that we are coming as invited guests to this joyous endgame celebration… not because of our works or deeds, but because of His. And because He has chosen us, we can walk in confidence on our path to the endgame… one step of obedience at a time.
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