Perseverance of the Saints - compiled by Dr. C. Matthew McMahonT.U.L.I.P. - The Doctrines of Grace
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Will the saints endure to the end? Can we know if we are going to endure?
Perseverance of the Saints does not mean “once saved always saved”. This corruption of the doctrine has been popular in recent years, but has never been a true representation of the of the teaching of the Bible. “Once saved always saved” is more likely called “Perseverance of the sinner” instead of “the saint”. For it teaches that man can be saved by Christ and then sin habitually, doing whatever he wants, and still “persevere to the end”. Perseverance of the saints does not teach this.
Perseverance of the saints teaches that once God has renewed the heart of a sinner through the application of the redemption wrought by Christ upon the cross, he will continue to be saved and show forth the fruits of that salvation. The sinner perseveres because of Christ, but he continually shows himself as one who has been changed by Christ. God has saved the individual and will sanctify him until the end when he is ultimately glorified, and in heaven. It does not mean man has a license to sin. Those who think they have a license to sin are not changed and saved by grace. They are still in sin. Those who are saved by grace and changed, desire to show forth the fruits of that salvation. God motions the heart to good work, and continues that good work to the end.
Christians may fall into grievous sins through the temptations of Satan and of the world. They fall into sins because of the corruption remaining in them, and they neglect the means of grace which aids them in their preservation. For a time they may even continue in such sin. By this they incur God’s displeasure, and grieve his Holy Spirit (“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption,” (Eph. 4:30). They become deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts. They have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded. They even sometimes hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporary judgments on themselves. (The 1647 Westminster Confession, 17:3. When we sin against God we displease Christ and hurt ourselves. Matt. 26:70, 72, 74; Psalm 51 title with verse 14; 2 Sam. 11:27; Isa. 64:5, 7, 9; Eph. 4:30; Psalm 51:8, 10, 12; Song of Songs 5:2-4, 6; Rev. 2:4; Isa. 63:17; Mark 6:52; 16:14; Psalm 32:3-4; 51:8; 2 Sam. 12:14; Psalm 89:31-32; 1 Cor. 11:32.)
A few verses on Perseverance of the Saints
John 6:37-39, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”
Phil. 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
1 Thess. 5:23-24, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”
2 Tim. 4:18, “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
1 Peter 1:23, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
Romans 8:29, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Consider God’s Preservation in Heb. 1:3; Col. 1:17; Neh. 9:6; 1 Cor. 8:6; Eph. 4:6; Isa. 41:10.
Puritan Quotations on Perseverance of the Saints:
“God’s decree is the very pillar and basis on which the saints’ perseverance depends. That decree ties the knot of adoption so fast, that neither sin, death, nor hell, can break it asunder.” Thomas Watson
“In our first paradise in Eden there was a way to go out but no way to go in again. But as for the heavenly paradise, there is a way to go in, but not a way to go out.” Richard Baxter
“”It may be that we are sinful; but God did not love us for our goodness, neither will he cast us off for our wickedness. Yet this is no encouragement to licentiousness, for God knows how to put us to anguishes and straits and crosses, and yet to reserve everlasting life for us. ” John Cotton
“Though Christians be not kept altogether from falling, yet they are kept from falling altogether.” William Secker.
“This truth is perceived [perseverance of the saints] and made certain in us in these ways: First, by a certain spiritual sense in which the grace of God now present becomes known and evident to the believer. Second, by the gift of discernment through which believers distinguish true grace from its shadow. Third, by the whisper and witness of conscience in which grace and salvation are made fast for believers, just as sin and death for unbelievers. Fourth, the Spirit of God so confirms to believers these ways of perceiving that they have the same certainty as faith itself…This certainty follows upon the perceiving of faith and repentance, where the free covenant of God is rightly understood.” William Ames