Home > The Doctrines of Grace > Perseverance of the Saints, Part 2

Perseverance of the Saints, Part 2

Now we have arrived at the second installment of Perseverance of the Saints. You may read Part 1 of this point here.

To recap, I have arrived at a definition of this doctrine as: the active, determined, dogged continuation of the faith and trust of the believer in Christ; keeping that faith and trust safe from any danger including harm, decay, or other negative effects; keeping possession of that faith and trust; bolstering that faith and trust; and the refusal of the believer to give it up no matter what may come to hinder or stop that faith and trust in Christ.

Let us now turn to the biblical support for this doctrine.

Biblical Support
The biblical support for perseverance of the saints rests mainly on the following passages (emphasis in bold added by me):

John 6:37-40: “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

John 10:28-29: “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

Romans 8:38-39: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 11:29: “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”

Philippians 1:6: Assures the believer that the work of salvation will not end until Christ returns.

There are many other Scriptures which we could consult, but I feel this sampling is sufficient for our purposes.

What do these Scriptures imply to us about this doctrine?

First, the Scriptural witness implies to us that believers are held fast by none other than God Himself in the person of Jesus. We as believers are planted squarely in the palm of the Father, which in the John 10 passage is equated with the palm of Jesus. If we could truly lose our salvation, then that means there is a power greater than God that can remove us from His hand. Such a possibility is not only unthinkable, but blasphemous. The Romans 8 passage underscores this by making clear there are no powers physical or spiritual that could ever remove us from the hand of God. As such, when we experience doubt about our salvation, we must rest in the sweet refuge of the Lord’s preserving hand. Flee to Him! Cast your cares upon Him! Take up His yoke, and give Him yours!

Second, the Scriptural witness makes clear that those whom God has called to salvation cannot be recalled. “The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Remember, God’s plans do not change (Numbers 23:19; Psalm 33:11; etc.), nor can they be thwarted (Job 42:2). When God has planned for a person to be saved, that plan does not and cannot change, nor can anything prevent what God has purposed from happening. As such we are given great confidence in evangelism and discipleship, because we are witnessing and discipling with confidence that the Lord will perform in an individual exactly what He has purposed. We can be humbled that He has privileged us to be a part of a person’s salvation and discipleship.

Third, I think it can be safely said that salvation ends with Christ’s return. When Christ returns, there will be no further need for salvation. The sheep will be separated from the goats, to eternal life and eternal death. As long as Christ remains at the right hand of the Father, the sheep will remain His in trust until the Day of Judgment, when they will be given white robes and seated at the marriage supper. They will no longer need to be held in trust, but will be present with Him whom they have trusted. That is why Paul said that to be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-8).

My View
I do not think I can add much more to this discussion today. This doctrine has been a bulwark in doubting times. I have rarely doubted my salvation in the 15 years I have been a believer. When those times have come, they have been niggling and persistent, not depression-inducing like some of the accounts out there would have us believe. I have claimed the Romans 8 passage for my own, and taking full confidence in the promise of that Scripture has all but banished doubt from my mind.

The true test of perseverance has been, in my mind, whether we are trusting Scripture or our own experiences. Our experiences, seeing that we are sinners in this world, will always cause us to doubt. We will always slip and fall. But if we have truly trusted in Christ, the promises of Scripture become a lifeboat to us, calming and assuring. When we stray from the path of working out our salvation, we can take solace in that it is part of Christ’s ongoing work of redemption in our lives which will be complete in the day we stand before Him face to face. He is using these slips and falls to make us more secure.

Now we can conclude the final point of the TULIP having seen that perseverance is Scripturally promised. We have seen that salvation does not end until the believer is reunited with Christ at the Day of Judgment. I have shared that assurance comes from our trust of this promise rather than our sinful experience of life. We can be convinced that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God.

Tomorrow, I will bring us a conclusion to the series. Please pray as I meditate on a year’s worth of posts!

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