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Believers Will Persevere Part 1

Perseverance of the Saints is a great doctrine, full of grace, joy, and hope. It is a fruit of sanctification, a perseverance in grace. And Christ's grace Paul says will be sufficient for us. (2Cor.12:9) English Puritan John Flavel states, "Did Christ finish His work for us? Then there can be no doubt but He will finish also His work in us." Romans 13:11 encourages us to keep fighting the good fight, to run the race and finish the course when it states, "For now salvation is nearer to us then when we first believed." We have not much further to go now, by faith in Him, by keep putting one foot in front of the other, and by Him not letting go of our hand, "we may fall, but not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand."(Psalm 37;24) Perseverance is the elect of God being kept by the power of God, for the glory of God, and that we will persist in faith and in the pursuit of holiness all the days of our lives.

Can there be a certainty of our perseverance in the faith? God's purposes do not fail. Those who are called by Him, redeemed by the Son, and regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit, being delivered from the power of sin, not by our own merits and strength, but by His free mercy and grace in Christ, will never be severed from Him. Flavel states, "It is a steady and constant continuance of Christians in the ways of duty and obedience, amidst all temptations and discouragements to the contrary." The Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF), chapter 17 states, "They whom God has accepted in His Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved." Jude 1 states, "To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ." Jesus's first petition in His high priestly prayer in John 17:11 states, "Holy Father, keep them in your name." And the Father never says no to the Son.

So, the Christian will indeed stumble on his way to the place Christ has gone to prepare for him, they may at times temporarily fall away into grievous sin, but they cannot finally fall away. "For the believer knows that God is at work in him, both to will and to work according to His good pleasure." (Phil.2:13), " And He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Phil.1:6) Grace may be shaken and fears abound, but if you have salvation, you can never lose salvation. Christians are preserved by the infinite, eternal, and unchangeable omnipotence of God, and what great assurance we have that we do not have to make sure we have enough merit, strength, and fortitude to make it on our own, we have One who is more than capable to seeing us safely home. The Shorter Catechism (Q.36) says, "The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, are, assurance of God's love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end."

To finish part one of Perseverance of the Saints today, I would like to share a comment from theologian D.A. Carson on John 6:37-39,"All that the Father gives Me, Jesus says, will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day." Carson comments, "It is no more possible for someone whom the Father has given to the Son, to fall away, than it is for the Son to fail to obey His Father. Indeed, that is exactly what it would take. For Jesus to lose someone whom the Father has given to the Son, Jesus would either have to refuse to obey His Father, or prove unable to obey His Father, both of which are unthinkable."                                                                

Next time Lord willing, part 2 of Believers will Persevere.

Elder Randy Slak