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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mormon Theology no. 24 - Calling and Election Sure

The question is put that saith, "What is it to make the calling and election sure?"  That is a fair question, often asked by the student of the Bible, and misinterpreted by Popes and Pastors, Saints and sinners alike.  So, what does it mean, according to revelation to the prophets and apostles (both ancient and modern) to have one's calling and election made sure?  Elder Bruce R. McConkie, speaking of the writings of 2 Peter chapter 1, said, "Nowhere else in ancient writ do we find the door so frankly opened to a knowledge of the course men must pursue to have their calling and election made sure. (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 3:323)"  So, let us open wide the door and let some light in, shall we?

 The Apostle Peter, as President of The Church of Jesus Christ, said, 

"And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither bebarren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . . Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-8, 10-11)" 

Peter here lists key attributes of God Himself - attributes of which, if we do not eventually posses, cannot save us.  Therefore it is evident from scripture that knowing about God and knowing God are two completely different things.  The Prophet Joseph Smith explains it this way.  "The principle of knowledge is the principle of salvation.  This principle can be comprehended by the faithful and diligent; and every one that does not obtain knowledge sufficient to be saved will be condemned.  The principle of salvation is given us through the knowledge of Jesus Christ. (TPJS, p. 297)"   He also taught, "Take away apostles, and so forth, take away knowledge, and you will find yourselves worthy of the damnation of hell.  Knowledge is revelation.  Hear, all ye bretheren, this grand key: knowledge is the power of God unto salvation. . . . There are two keys: one key, knowledge; the other, make you calling and election sure. (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 206)"  President Smith is specifically speaking about spiritual knowledge; the knowledge that saves; specifically the knowledge of certain ordinances (baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost by those duly ordained, and the Endowment of the Holy Priesthood).

Moving on, President Joseph Smith, Junior taught what it means to make one's calling and election sure.  Said he,  

"After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost (by the laying on of hands), . . . then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 150)"

Elder McConkie further states,  

"To have one’s calling and election made sure is to be sealed up unto eternal life; it is to have the unconditional guarantee of exaltation in the highest heaven of the celestial world; it is to receive the assurance of godhood; it is, in effect, to have the day of judgment advanced, so that an inheritance of all the glory and honor of the Father’s kingdom is assured prior to the day when the faithful actually enter into the divine presence. (DNTC 3:330-331)"

 Commenting on the above statement, President Smith also said, "Though the thunders might roll and lightnings flash, and earthquakes bellow, and war gather thick around, yet this hope and knowledge would support the soul in every hour of trial, trouble and tribulation. Then knowledge through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. (TPJS, p. 298)"

This ordinance of having one's calling and election made sure cannot be given to one who is not married.  Elder Bruce R. McConkie stated, "Making one’s calling and election sure comes after and grows out of celestial marriage [or marriage for time and all eternity].  Eternal life does not and cannot exist for a man or a woman alone, because in its very nature it consists of the continuation of the family unit in eternity. (McConkie, DNTC, 3:343)"

This, my friends, is what it means to have one's calling and election made sure.  May we all, as children of God, and brothers and sisters of the Lord Jesus Christ, press onward in the faith of Jesus, trying ever-so diligently to employ His attributes in our own lives.  This I know is possible, in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen!

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