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Perseverance Means Persistence
Let it first be said that in declaring the eternal security of
God’s people it is clearer to speak of their preservation than, as is commonly
done, of their perseverance. Perseverance means persistence under
discouragement and contrary pressure.
The assertion that believers persevere in faith and obedience
despite everything is true, but the reason is that Jesus Christ through
the Spirit persists in preserving them. Scripture emphasizes this. John tells
us that Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, is under promise to his Father John
6:37-40 and to his sheep directly John 10:28-29 to keep them so that
they never perish.
In his high-priestly prayer before his passion Jesus asked that
those whom the Father had given him John 17:2, 6, 9,
24 would be preserved to glory, and it is inconceivable that his prayer,
which still continues Rom. 8:34 Heb. 7:25, will go unanswered.
Paul sees the sovereign plan of God for the salvation of his elect as a unitary
whole, of which the glorifying of the justified is part Rom.
On this basis he builds the triumphant peroration of Romans 8:31-39, in
which he celebrates the present and future security of the saints in the
almighty love of God. Elsewhere he rejoices in the certainty that God will
complete the “good work” that he began in the lives of
those Paul addresses Phil. 1:6 1 Cor. 1:8-9 1 Thess.
5:23-24 2 Thess. 3:3 2 Tim. 1:12; 4:18.
Reformed theology echoes this emphasis. The Westminster Confession declares,
They, whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified
by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace,
but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.
The doctrine declares that the regenerate are saved through persevering in
faith and Christian living to the end Heb. 3:6 6:11; 10:35-39,
and that it is God who keeps them persevering.
That does not mean that all who ever professed conversion will be saved.
False professions are made; short-term
enthusiasts fall away Matt. 13:20-22; many who say to Jesus,
“Lord, Lord,” will not be acknowledged Matt.
7:21-23. Only those who show themselves to be regenerate by pursuing
heart-holiness and true neighbor-love as they pass through this world are
entitled to believe themselves secure in Christ.
Persevering in faith and penitence, not just in Christian formalism, is
the path to glory. To suppose that believing in perseverance leads to careless
living and arrogant presumption is a total misconception. Sometimes the
regenerate backslide and fall into gross sin.
But in this they act out of character, do violence to their own new nature, and
make themselves deeply miserable, so that eventually they seek and find
restoration to righteousness. In retrospect, their lapse seems to them to have
When regenerate believers act in character, they manifest a humble, grateful
desire to please the God who saved them; and the knowledge that he is pledged
to keep them safe forever simply increases this desire.
We are to "STRIVE" to be "PERFECT" work hard to
not to conform to the things of this world and the sin in it.