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:
Php 1:6

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The Preservation and Perseverance
of the Saints

By Elder Zack Guess

Lesson Thirty-Six

Lesson Thirty-Seven

Lesson Thirty-Eight

Lesson Thirty-Nine

Lesson Forty

Appendix - Preservation and Perseverance as Sung by the Saints

Return to - Undeniable Doctrinal Truths Table of Contents


Lesson Thirty-Six

The Preservation and Perseverance of the Saints

We come now to the final point in our study of the doctrine of the salvation of God's people.  We have studied the truths of Total Depravity (Mankind Dead in Sins), Unconditional Election, Particular Redemption (Limited Atonement), and Irresistible Grace.  Now we conclude with the truth of the Preservation and Perseverance of all the saints unto eternal glory.

Briefly stated, this truth means that all the elect will be preserved and will persevere in grace and will finally be in glory forever with God.  None of them shall be lost.  These five points that we have studied really comprise one unified system of Biblical doctrine.  Each point necessarily follows the other.  They stand or fall together.  If the other four points are true, this fifth point has to be true.  For example, according to Eph. 1:4, election is sure.  If that is true, it necessarily follows that  there must be preservation of the saints.  Deny preservation, and election means nothing.  This is also true concerning particular redemption.  If those for whom Christ died could fall from grace, to that extent Christ would have died in vain.

From Two Perspectives

Why do we refer to this truth as both Preservation and Perseverance?  We do so because from God's perspective it is Preservation.   God's people persevere in grace only because they have been preserved in Christ Jesus.  From man's perspective it is Perseverance.  If a person is truly saved he will give evidence of his salvation.  He will not completely lose his faith and die in a finally impenitent state.  Only the wicked will die in his sins (John 8:21).  The combined truth of Preservation and Perseverance is clearly seen in Phil. 2:12,13:  "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."

The London Confession

To study this doctrine, let us examine the London Confession of Baptists of 1689.  We will include one of the articles on Perseverance in this study sheet and other articles later on:

1.        Those whom God hath accepted in the beloved, effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit, and given the precious faith of his elect unto, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved, seeing the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, whence he still begets and nourisheth in them faith, repentance, love, joy, hope,
and all the graces of the Spirit unto immortality (John 10:28,29; Phil. 1:6; II Tim. 2:19; I John 2:19) ; and though many storms and floods arise and beat against them, yet they shall never be able to take them off that foundation and rock which by faith they are fastened upon; notwithstanding, through unbelief and the temptations of Satan, the sensible sight of the light and love of God may for a time be clouded and obscured from them (Ps. 89:31, 32; I Cor. 11:32), yet He is still the same, and they shall be sure to be kept by the power of God unto salvation , where they shall enjoy their purchased possession, they being engraved upon the palm of his hands, and their names having been written in the book of life from all eternity." (Mal. 3:6; I Pet. 1:5).

Questions

  1. What relationship do the five points we have been studying bear to one another?

  2. Explain the relationship between Preservation and Perseverance.

  3. Who will die in their sins?

  4. Will the belief that we are Preserved in grace make us lazy?  Why or why not?

  5. Does this doctrine mean that a child of God will never fall into sin?

  6. Will every child of God be brought to repentance?

  7. Will every child of God be finally glorified and live with God forever?

Memory Verse:  Let us memorize Phil. 1:6 and John 10:27-30.


Lesson Thirty-Seven

The Preservation and Perseverance of the Saints

In the last study sheet we examined article one of the chapter "Of Perseverance of the Saints" from the London Confession of Faith of 1689.  In this study sheet we will consider the two remaining articles of this chapter:

2.         "This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree (Rom. 8:30; Rom. 9:11,16) of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of  Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:9,10; John 14:19) and union with Him, the (Heb. 6:17,18) oath of God, the abiding of His Spirit, and the (I John 3:9) seed of God within them, and the nature of the (Jer. 32:40) covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof."

3.         "And though they may, through the temptation of Satan and of the world, the prevalence of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous (Matt. 26:70,72,74) sins, and for a time continue therein, whereby they incur (Is. 64:5,9; Eph. 4:30) God's displeasure, and grieve His Holy Spirit, come to have their graces and (Ps. 51:10,12) comforts impaired, have their hearts hardened and their consciences wounded, (Ps. 32:3,4) hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments (II Sam. 12:14) upon themselves, yet they shall renew their (Luke 22:32,61,62) repentance and be preserved, through faith in Christ Jesus, to the end." 

Questions

  1. Does God want His children to have the assurance of their salvation?  Prove your answer by the Scriptures.

  2. What are some of the things that make the preservation and perseverance of the saints an absolute certainty?

  3. Can a child of God commit a grievous sin?  Give a Scriptural example.  Will he remain in a particular sin, unrepented of, all his life?  Support your answer by the Scriptures.

  4. What are some of the factors that lead a child of God into sin?

Memory Verses:  Phil. 1:6, John 10:27-30, and Rom. 8:38,39.


Lesson Thirty-Eight

The Preservation and Perseverance of the Saints

In the previous two study sheets we have examined the London Confession of Faith as it dealt with "Of the Perseverance of the Saints."  In this study sheet we will examine the London Confession section entitled "Of Assurance of Grace and Salvation."  This subject of assurance of salvation is intimately connected with the truth of perseverance.  As a child of God perseveres in faith and holiness he becomes more and more assured of his salvation.

1.            Although temporary believers and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favor of God, and (in a) state of salvation (Job 8:13,14; Matt. 7:22,23), which hope of theirs shall perish; yet such as truly believe in the lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavoring to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured (I John 2:3; 3:14,18,19,21,24; 5:13) that they are in the state of grace; and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of god, which hope shall never make them (Rom. 5:2,5) ashamed.

2.         This certainty is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasion, grounded upon (Heb. 6:11,19) a fallible hope, but an infallible assurance of faith, founded on the blood and righteousness of Christ (Heb. 6:17,18) revealed in the gospel; and also upon the inward (2 Pet. 1:4,5,10,11) evidence of those graces of the Spirit unto which promises are made, and on the testimony of the (Rom. 8:15,16) Spirit of adoption, witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God; and as a fruit thereof, keeping the heart both (I John 3:1,2,3) humble and holy.

3.         This infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties, before he be (Ps. 88; Ps. 77:1-12) partaker of it; yet being enabled by the Spirit, to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may without extraordinary revelation in the right use of means (I John 4:13; Heb. 6:11,12) attain thereunto; and therefore it is the duty of everyone to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure, that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper (Rom. 5:1,2; Rom. 14,17; Ps. 119:32) fruits of this assurance; so far is it (Rom. 6:1,2; Tit. 2:11,12,14) from inclining men to looseness.

4.         True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as (Song of Sol. 5:2,3,6) by negligence in preserving of it, by (Ps. 51:8,12,14) falling into some special sin, which woundeth the conscience and grieveth the Spirit, by some sudden or (Ps. 116:11; 77:7,8; 31:22) vehement temptation, or by God's withdrawing the (Ps. 30:7) light of his countenance, and suffering even such as fear him to walk in darkness and to have no light; yet are they never destitute of the (I John 3:9) seed of God, and life (Luke 22:32) of faith, that love of Christ and the bretheren, that sincerity of heart and conscience of duty, out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may in due time be (Ps. 42:5,11) revived, and by the which in the mean time they are (Lam. 3:26-31) preserved from utter despair.

Questions

  1. Is it possible for a person to fully believe he is going to heaven when he dies and be wrong?

  2. Is it possible for a child of God to have full assurance of his salvation while in this life?

  3. On what grounds can a child of God base his assurance of salvation?  What are the evidences of  it?

  4. Is it possible for a believer to struggle long and to experience agony of soul about his assurance?

  5. Why is it important for a child of God to seek for the assurance of his salvation?

  6. If a man is truly assured of his salvation, will this incline him to live a loose life?

  7. What are some things that would temporarily shake the assurance of a true believer?

Memory Verses:  We have memorized Phil. 1:6; John 10:27-30; and Rom . 8:38,39.  Let us memorize I Pet. 1:5.


Lesson Thirty-Nine

The Preservation and Perseverance of the Saints

It is important to remember that the child of God will overcome the world by his God-given Faith: "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" (I John 5:4).  This does not mean that the saint will never commit sin.  It means that the Spirit of God in him will not suffer him to always live in sin but will work Godly sorrow in him and will bring him to repentance.  I John 3:9 means that the born-again person will not continually and habitually live in sin as a way of life.  The child of God may backslide temporarily and fall into much sin, but he will not live in it permanently in an unrepentant state.  See also Matt. 7:21-23; James 2:20; I John 2:4; I John 2:15; I John 3:3; I John 4:15.

One of the ways that God causes His people to turn from their sins and to persevere in holy living is chastisement.  See I Cor. 11:32; Heb. 12:6.

Arguments That Are Used Against This Truth

There are many Scriptures that people who believe that a child of God can fall from grace use to support their arguments.  Most of the arguments can be refuted by the principle taught in I John 2:19, "They went out from us but were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."  There are those who make a profession of faith, who seem to show some fruits of the Spirit temporarily, but who are not truly regenerated.  In time they show their true colors and manifest their true nature.  There is a possibility that some of these hypocrites never openly reveal their true nature in this life.  See Matt. 13:30.

These false professors, who have made a profession of religion, who may have outwardly reformed their lives, but who have no grace in their hearts, are described in such passages as Matt. 12:43; II Pet. 2:20-22.

Other Scriptures that the opponents of Preservation use to bolster their arguments, are not talking about falling out of relationship with God, but out of fellowship with Him.  When David sinned he did not lose his salvation; he lost the joy of salvation (Ps. 51:12).  It is possible for a child of God to so walk for a time that he may appear to have lost his salvation, but no one who has truly been saved can ever be lost.

The Comfort of This Doctrine

This is a very useful and comforting doctrine.  It helps the child of God to live close to the Lord.  It encourages him to repent when he falls into sin.  Satan tries to throw a child of God into despair when he falls into sin.  He tries to keep him down.  But the saint remembers that "he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6).  He knows the Lord is not through with him.  He does not depend on his own faithfulness, but on the faithfulness of God for and in him.

This truth gives hope to one who has fallen into sin.  He remembers that David committed some horrible sins: adultery, murder, numbering the people.  These are only some of the more prominent sins of David.  There was a time when David was overwhelmed because of the burden of his sins (Ps. 32:3,4).  For a time he lived in an unrepentant state until the prophet of God came to him.  God faithfully delivered David from his sin and granted him repentance.

All the saints in the Bible had their sins, sometimes grievous sins, but they were forgiven; and these saints are with the Lord.  Nothing can change that fact.  The one who truly believes this does not serve God from a sense of slavish fear--afraid that he can be saved today and lost tomorrow.  He serves God out of a heart filled with gratitude to God for His great faithfulness.

Questions

  1. What causes the child of God to persevere?

  2. What is one of the primary means that God uses to bring about obedience in His children?

  3. What is meant by a "false-professor", a "temporary believer", or a "hypocrite"?

  4. If a child of God cannot fall out of relationship with God, what happens when he sins?

  5. How is the truth of perseverance a useful doctrine?

  6. How is the truth of perseverance comforting?

Memory Verses:  We have memorized Phil. 1:6; John 10:27-30; Rom. 8:38,39 and I Pet. 1:5.  Let us do I John 5:4 and Jude 24, 25.


Lesson Forty

The Preservation and Perseverance of the Saints

In the last lesson in our little book I would like to further study the relationship between Preservation and Perseverance.  To state again the doctrine of Preservation, we say that this means that of all for whom Christ died, none shall finally fall away and be lost.  Nothing can pluck them out of the hands of God.  None of them can ever lose his salvation.  Some Scriptures which prove this are John 6:37-39, 44;  10:27-30;  Rom. 8:28-39;  Jude 24, I Peter 1:4,5, and Phil. 1:6.  This is a glorious truth which has been precious to the temptation-tossed saints all through the ages.

To restate the doctrine of Perseverance, we say that this means that all of the saints shall persevere in faith and holiness.  They will never permanently and fundamentally repudiate their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.  While troubled by their sinful natures, they will nevertheless show evidences of their being alive in Christ.  Grace in one's heart does not lead to a life of careless, licentious living.  We believers in grace have been accused of believing it is okay to "continue in sin, that grace may abound."  But we say, along with the Apostle Paul, "God forbid.  How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" (Rom. 6:2)

The truth of Preservation and Perseverance does not make robots of the saints of God.  This truth, properly understood, does not make the saints lazy.  In this wonderful truth we see the meshing of the doctrines of God's Sovereignty and Man's Responsibility.

Preservation and Perseverance really represent two sides of the same coin.  They inseparably go together.  To give a natural example that may shed some light the relationship between Preservation and Perseverance:  I have several very small children.  Sometimes I take a walk with one of them over some rough places.  As we go over the rough places the little hand in mine grips ever so tightly.  But what really provides safety to the child is the fact that my hand securely holds the small hand of the child.  The gripping power of the little hand is so weak that it would soon be jerked out of my hand unless I was doing some gripping also.  The child may think that his safety depends on his little grip, but not so.  Compare my big hand to God's Preservation, and the child's little hand to our Perseverance and you begin to see the relationship between the two.  But, remember, the little child doesn't cease to grip hard - he does so instinctively.  And the child of God doesn't stop trying to persevere - he does to instinctively because of the life of God which has been placed in his heart!

Many, many Scriptures teach the doctrine of Perseverance and show the relationship between Preservation and Perseverance.  One of these is I Cor. 15:10.  There Paul says, "But by the grace of God I am what I am." (Preservation).  "And his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all." (Perseverance).  "Yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." (Preservation).  Notice that Perseverance is dependent on Preservation.  Notice also that God gets full credit for it all. God's children are responsible for doing good works, but when they are blessed to perform them, they must give all the glory to God for His enabling grace.

Another passage which shows the relationship of these doctrines is Phil 2:12,13: "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." (Perseverance).  "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Preservation).

These truths are also found in I John 3:2,3.  "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:  but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." (Preservation).  "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." (Perseverance).

Every Bible believer who has much light knows that election took place before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4;  II Tim. 1:9).  Nothing can change the fact whether one is elect or not.  Yet Peter in II Pet. 1:10 says, "Brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure."  This is Perseverance!

There was a song a few years back that said, "Love and Marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage."  This I tell you brother, you can't have one without the other.

Well, that's the way it is with Preservation and Perseverance.  According to the Scriptures, you can't have one without the other.

Questions

  1. All the saints shall persevere in __________________and _______________.

  2. Why is it that the truth of Preservation does not make the saints spiritually careless and lazy?

  3. If a grown-up and a child are walking hand in hand over rough terrain, whose hand illustrates Preservation and whose hand illustrates Perseverance?

  4. Who gets credit for the Preservation of the saints?  Who gets credit for the Perseverance of the saints?

Memory Verses:  We have memorized Phil 1:6;  John 10:27-30;  Rom. 8:38,39;  I Pet. 1:5;  I John 5:4 and Jude 24, 25.  Let us memorize Heb. 13:5.


Appendix

Preservation and Perseverance as Sung by the Saints 

Introductory note:  it is a very interesting phenomenon that in religion the songs that people sing usually reflect their beliefs.  This is as it should be.  To believe one thing and to sing another would be inconsistent.  The Baptist forefathers believed, taught and sang the truths contained in the doctrine of Preservation/Perseverance.  Following are a few examples from several standard, widely-used hymnals:

"Lone Pilgrim," #150 in Old School Hymnal

Ye pilgrims of Zion, and chosen of God,

Whose spirits are filled with dismay,

Since ye have eternal redemption thru blood,

Ye cannot but hold on your way.

 

As Jesus, in covenant love did engage,

A fullness of grace to display,

The powers of darkness n malice may rage,

The righteous shall hold on his way.

 

This truth, like its Author, eternal shall stand,

Tho' all things in nature decay;

Upheld by Jehovah's omnipotent hand,

The righteous shall hold on his way.

 

They may on the main of temptation be tossed,

their sorrows may swell as the sea;

But none of the ransomed shall ever be lost;

The righteous shall hold on his way.

 

Surrounded with sorrows, temptations and cares,

This truth with delight we survey,

And sing as we pass thru this valley of tears,

The righteous shall hold on his way.

 

"Adoration," verse five, #33 in Old School Hymnal

Twas all of grace we were bro't to obey,

While others were suffered to go

The road which by nature we choose as our way,

Which leads to the regions of woe.

 

"Grace 'Tis a Charming Sound," verses four and five, #184 in Old School Hymnal

Grace led my roving feet to tread the heavenly road;

And new supplies each hour I meet, while pressing on to God.

Grace taught my heart to pray, and made mine eyes o'erflow;

Twas grace that kept me to this day, and will not let me go.

 

"Broad Is The Road," #235 in the Good Old Songs; also found in the Old School Hymnal and in the Primitive Baptist Hymnal.

Broad is the road that leads to death, and thousands walk together there;

But wisdom shows a narrow path, with here and there a traveler.

Deny thyself and take thy cross, is the redeemer's great command;

Nature must count her gold but dross, if she would gain this heavenly land.

Lord, let not all my hopes be vain; create my heart entirely new,

Which hypocrites could ne'er attain, which false apostates never knew.

 

#157, verse three, in Good Old Songs.

If e'er I go astray,

He doth my soul reclaim

And guides me in His own right way,

For His most holy name

 

"Palms of Victory," #232 in Old School Hymnal is an entire song describing the perseverance of a child of God.

"Never Alone," #201 in Old School Hymnal is a song of Perseverance and Preservation.

This is only a very small sampling of the songs in our hymnals which describe the Preservation and Perseverance of the children of God.  Brethren, our faithful fathers sang these truths.  They believed them. They preached them. They lived them.  Let us do the same, by the grace of God!

 
 

10/1/2006

 

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