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Perseverance of the Saints


The Perseverance of the Saints is an extension of what we have already seen. God’s purpose of election is consummated in the final salvation of the elect. The doctrine of The Perseverance of the Saints states that God will sustain the elect with the result that they will persevere in the faith to the end. There are two sources of objections to this doctrine.

1. An antinomian (lawless) approach to the Christian life. Some people claim Christ, yet they live “like the devil” and have no concern to the means of grace and feel secure toward eternity. They say, ‘I can’t lose my salvation and since I’m saved by grace I can live however 1 want to!’ They are deceiving themselves. This isn’t the doctrine of the Perseverance of Believers in Jesus Christ.

2. False profession – Some people say they knew someone who lost their salvation.

1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us. (NASB)

While they were with them you couldn’t tell them apart from the real believers.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ (NASB)

They went to church, prophesied, and cast our demons, yet God never knew them.

Matthew 13:18 “Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. 20 “And the one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word, and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 23 “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit, and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” (NASB)

There is one good soil that produces fruit; only one is truly saved. The other ones will leave (I John 2:19). The doctrine of The Perseverance of the Saints doesn’t mean that everyone who makes a profession of faith is eternally secure. The doctrine does affirm that those who are truly saved will persevere to the end and not lose their salvation.

There are four points to the Perseverance of the Saints:

1. The immutability of the decree of election;

Romans 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; 30 and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (NASB)

It is an unbreakable chain from foreknew to glorified.

Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. (NASB)

Everlasting is forever.

John 6:37 “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 “And 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. 40 “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” 41 The Jews therefore were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” 42 And they were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven ‘?” 43 Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. (NASB)

All the people that the Father gives to the Son come to Him and are raised to life on the last day.

John 6:47 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. (NASB)

Eternal is not eternal if you can lose it.

John 10:26 “But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep. 27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. 29 “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 “I and the Father are one.” (NASB)

John 17:2 even as Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind, that to all whom Thou hast given Him, He may give eternal life. (NASB)

As I said before eternal is not eternal if you can lose it.

2. Effectiveness of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 10:1 For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never by the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? 3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5 Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering Thou hast not desired, But a body Thou hast prepared for Me; 6 In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast taken no pleasure. 7 “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (In the roll of the book it is written of Me) To do Thy will, O God.'” 8 After saying above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast not desired, nor hast Thou taken pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the Law), 9 then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Thy will.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second. 10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. 15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them After those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws upon their heart, And upon their mind I will write them,” He then says, 17 “And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin. (NASB)

Christ accomplishes salvation for the elect.

Hebrews 7:25 Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (NASB)

He saves forever.

Hebrews 9:12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. (NASB)

Eternal inheritance for those who have been called.

John 17:12 “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. (NASB)

Jesus guarded them and kept them from perishing.

Romans 8:33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, “For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NASB)

Christ intercedes for His own and nothing can separate them from His love.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (NASB)

He is our propitiation; wrath has been taken away.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (NASB)

Future tense, shall be saved from the wrath of God.

3. Abiding of the Spirit and seed of God in us:

John 14:16 “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you. (NASB)

Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (NASB)

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (NASB)

Caused us to be born again, to obtain all inheritance which is imperishable and we are protected by the power of God.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. (NASB)

Colossians 1:21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach– 23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. (NASB)

Assumed to be true; first class conditional statement like when Satan asks Jesus if He was the Son of God; it’s assumed to be true.

4. The nature of the Covenant of Grace:

Jeremiah 32:40 “And I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me. (NASB)

Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, (NASB)

Check out the next series on The Doctrines of Salvation.

About the author

Buddy Woods

Buddy Woods is an elder in good standing at Covenant of Grace Church.