To put it another way, we may have been invited and we may have accepted the invitation we were given, in faith, but we still have to confirm our desire to enter the Kingdom of God – somewhat in the same manner that we can purchase an airplane ticket, tell the ticket agent that we definitely want to go and believe totally that the flight will occur – but we still have to confirm our booking prior to taking the flight.
The apostle Peter makes this clear in his second epistle: “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10-11). But how exactly do we “confirm our calling and election”? What are the things we must “do”? Peter explains exactly that in the preceding verses:
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us …For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (2 Peter 1:3-8)
So Peter clearly tells us that we confirm our spiritual calling and election by adding to our faith the qualities he lists. The faith we demonstrate at the acceptance is only the beginning, and the “transformation” that occurs as we grow beyond that point is itself the confirmation God wants to see.
We can understand this process of confirming our calling and election another way – God confirms important promises (Exodus 3:12, Isaiah 38:6-8, etc.) and expects us to confirm ours also. We even see this principle in action as He worked through the first disciples: “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it” (Mark 16:20). Here we see that just as God issued the promise of eternal life through the disciples’ teaching, He confirmed it through His actions – in exactly the same manner that we too must confirm our promise of commitment through the “signs” of our growth, as Peter explained.
So, accepting God’s invitation to travel toward Him in our life is the perfect beginning; it’s the ultimate ticket purchase (and we don’t even have to pay the price). But once we have accepted, we do need to confirm.