2 Peter 1:8 – Conditional Salvation
It is remarkable that some, professing acquaintance with the New Testament, should argue that salvation is bestowed unconditionally. But such is the legacy of John Calvin.
One of the planks in his theological platform was “unconditional election.” By way of contrast, however, the Bible teaches that salvation is conditional.
In his second epistle, Peter introduces a number of spiritual qualities which must be incorporated into the Christian’s character if he finally is to obtain the heavenly reward. Included are such qualities as faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.
The apostle then introduces two conditional participles which demonstrate the necessity of developing these qualities in one’s life (see A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, VI, p. 151-153). He says “if these things are in you and abound” you will be active and fruitful (v. 8), and then later, “if you do these things, you shall never stumble” (v. 10).
The question now becomes: what if one does not do these things, and allow them to grow within himslef? Quite obviously he will be idle and unfruitful, and he will stumble, and his calling and election will not have been made sure (v. 10).
In your English Bible, circle the term “if” in verses 8 and 10, and in your margin comment: Salvation conditional.
About the Author
Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.