One of the most encouraging doctrines of the Scriptures to me is the perseverance of the saints (John 10:28-29; Phil. 1:6).
The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith states the fact of perseverance in the lives of true believers this way:
The saints are those whom God has accepted in Christ the Beloved, and effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit. To them He has given the precious faith that pertains to all His elect. The persons to whom such blessings have been imparted can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but they shall certainly persevere in grace to the end and be eternally saved, for God will never repent of having called them and made gifts to them (17:1).
The reason for my encouragement with this truth lies particularly in the grounds, the unshakable grounds, upon which it rests, namely the preserving power of God in the lives of those who persevere.
Again the Confession speaks to this:
It is on no free will of their own that the saints’ perseverance depends, but on the immutability of the decree of election, which in its turn depends upon the free and unchangeable love of God the Father, the efficacious merit and intercession of Jesus Christ and the saints’ union with Him, the oath of God, the abiding character of the Spirit’s indwelling of the saints, the divine nature of which they are partakers and, lastly, the terms of the covenant of grace. All these factors guarantee the certainty and infallibility of the saints’ perseverance (17:2).
That we persevere in grace does not depend upon our will but the will of God (Phil. 2:12-13; Rom. 9:16; John 6:37; John 6:44). We might more correctly refer to the doctrine as the preservation of the saints as opposed to the perseverance of the saints, though we must on our part employ means to this end as made plain in other texts of Scripture (Eph. 6:18; John 15:5-7; Heb. 10:24-27).
But the most encouraging thing to me is that the Confession goes on to unpack the terms of this grace of God that preserves us as pertaining to all three persons of the Trinity. The Father’s love in election (Rom. 8:30), the Son’s merit in intercession (Rom. 8:31-34), and the Spirit’s perpetuity in indwelling (1 John 3:9), not to say the oath of God (Heb. 6:16-20) ALL stand behind the promise of our, as some have called it, eternal security. Nothing less than all three persons of the Godhead ensure our perseverance as saints to the very end (Matt. 24:13).
Tomorrow evening at 5:30 PM at the church office we will have another tutorial in our Confession that focuses on this wonderful doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. Why not join us for the discussion and come to appreciate all the more the unshakable grounds upon which our confidence to stand firm in the faith to the very end ultimately rests?
Hallelujah, to have certainty-squared! The study Wed was great, glad to be there!
Glad to have you with us and thanks for the comment! I like “certainty on steroids.” 🙂