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Believers Will Persevere Part 2

Last time we talked about the certainty of a Christian persevering in the faith until the end, not making ship-wreck of the faith, not overcoming all life's obstacles that came in his day, not being totally forsaken by God. Verses such as Jude 1, 1Pet.1:3-5, Phil.1:3-6, John 10:27-29, along with quotes from the Westminster Confession of Faith and the great English Puritans beliefs from those Scriptures, one could easily see that God's calling grace assures us of His confirming grace. God does not abandon those He called, justified, or glorified. Some though will put doubt into the Christian's mind that he can't be guaranteed that he will persevere to the end in the faith. Though it is not easy to persevere, Paul refers to it as a "fight of faith" in 1Tim.6:12, though nothing is too difficult for God, (Jer.32:17), "and with God all things are possible."(Math 19:26)

The great English Puritan John Owen points out three potent forces in declaring that the perseverance in the faith of a believer is possible to the very end. Owen mentions first, the immutable nature of God as well as His promises and eternal purposes. Rom.11:29 states, "For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. "Irrevocable is used if something cannot be undone or taken back. The Greek word here used only twice in the New Testament, elsewhere in 2 Cor.7:10, translated," without regret. Owen says secondly about the nature of grace itself. The Holy Spirit dwells within the believer, and we see in John 14:26, He will be with us forever. We are justified as a gift by His grace. Grace will not fail, once a person is justified by God, he cannot be unjustified, he cannot ultimately fail, he cannot ultimately fall away, he cannot ultimately drop out. And thirdly, Owen states that the integral unity of the plan of salvation. Owen says, "If the Holy Spirit does not keep believers in grace, neither can He call, regenerate, sanctify, and assure them, for all of these are indissolubly linked."

But one may ask, is this then a let go and let God lifestyle the believer should count on and follow? Do we have any responsibility to persevere in the faith? Is it all of God and none of us? There is much to do for the believer, to persevere. In Luke 13:24,"STRIVE to enter by the narrow gate." In 1Cor.15:2,"HOLD FAST the word which I preached to you." In 2Peter 1:10,"Be all the more DILIGENT to make certain His calling and choosing you." And in Phil.2:12,'WORK OUT your salvation with fear and trembling." As you can see, it is not a let go and let God mentality that will help us persevere, but a trust God and get going mentality that will get us to the finish line. God's power mightily works within us, (Col.1:29) states. Our responsibility to persevere, works hand in hand with the covenant promises of God for us to persevere, and it depends on it. John 15:5,"Without Me, you can do nothing."

As we remember the Apostle Peter, as Christ tells him that Satan has demanded permission to sift him as wheat. Jesus states, "But I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail." Peter did fall, as we all will do in this life, but there is One who prayed for him as He does for us right now, the One who does not leave us or forsake us, the One whom no one can snatch out of His hand, the One who will see us through to overcome by faith, we who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Christ effectually prays for us that our faith does not fail, that we do persevere to the end, that we do not make shipwreck of the faith, and the Father never says no to the Son. There is no one that can pluck us out of the Kingdom of God. The rhetorical question is still there for us to answer, "Who can bring a charge against God's elect?"(NO ONE). Why? Because God is the One who justifies. Who is the one who condemns? (NO ONE) Why? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather Who was raised, Who is at the right hand of God, Who also intercedes for us. (ROM.8:33-34) Next time in part 3, Lord willing we will look at the grounds of perseverance.

Elder Randy Slak