Perseverance of the Saints

I. The Doctrine of Perseverance stated:

All who are chosen by God, redeemed by Christ and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved (from the very moment of faith). They are kept in faith by the power of God and persevere to the end.

II. The doctrine proved from various arguments:

1. The nature of the life imparted at regeneration, which is incorruptible and cannot die:

a. “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” (I John 3:9)

b. “For whoever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.” (I John 5:4)

2. The doctrine of election:

This doctrine does not teach that some may be saved, but that the entire number of the elect shall be saved finally. Through graciously bestowed influences of the Holy Spirit, the elect are led not only to trust Christ initially, but to persevere in faith and holiness unto the end and to be saved everlastingly.

3. The intercession of Christ:

“Christ makes intercession for His people, and we are told that the Father hears Him always. Hence the Arminian, holding that Christians may fall away, must deny either the passages which declare that Christ does make intercession for His people, or he must deny those which declare that His prayers are always heard. Let us consider here how well protected we are: Christ is at the right hand of God pleading for us, and in addition to that, the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered, Romans 8:26.” – Boettner

a. “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” (Romans 8:34)

b. “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 9:25)

4. The mystical union with Christ:

“This marvelous union is set forth by the figure of the head and the body: we are members of the body of Christ. Do the members of His body rot away? Is Christ amputated? Is He fitted with new limbs as old ones are lost? Nay, being members of this body, we shall not be divided from Him. ‘He that is joined unto the Lord,’ says the apostle, ‘is one spirit,’ and if we are made one spirit with Christ, that mysterious union does not allow of the supposition of a separation.” – Spurgeon

a. “Now you are the body of Christ and members individually.” (I Corinthians 12:27)

b. “He who is joined to the Lord is one Spirit with Him.” (I Corinthians 6:17)

5. The doctrine of particular redemption:

This doctrine does not teach that Christ died only to make possible the salvation of sinners, but that His death actually purchased pardon for particular sinners (the elect). If Christ actually redeemed certain sinners from the curse of the law through payment of His own blood, it is unthinkable that any of those included in the purchase should perish. Is Christ to be disappointed by an unsatisfactory purchase? Is not His blood of sufficient worth to purchase for His people everlasting life?

a. “With His own blood He entered the Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” (Hebrews 9:12)

b. “. . . Through the blood of the everlasting covenant.” (Hebrews 13:20)

6. The faithfulness of God:

“The faithfulness of God secures the final perseverance of the saints; God is faithful to His counsels, to His covenant, and to His promises concerning their salvation, and will never suffer His faithfulness to fail; which must fail if they perish. But God is faithful, who has called them by His grace, and will confirm them to the end; will not suffer them to be tempted above what they are able to bear; will establish them, and keep them from evil; and will preserve them blameless to the coming of Christ; faithful is He who has promised, who also will do it.” – John Gill

a. “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:29)

b. “Christ . . . will also confirm you to the end that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 1:8)

7. The attributes of God:

“The doctrine of the saints’ final perseverance is agreeable to, and become necessary by them [the attributes of God], and therefore must be true; but the contrary to it, that of the apostasy of real saints, so as to perish everlastingly, is repugnant to them, and reflects dishonour on them, and therefore must be false.” – John Gill

a. The immutability of God:

“The Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)

b. The wisdom of God:

God abounds “toward us in all wisdom and prudence” (Ephesians 1:8), but as John Gill writes, “Where would be His wisdom to appoint men to salvation (I Thess. 5:9), and not to save them at last?”

c. The power of God:

“Kept by the power of God through faith for salvation.” (I Peter 1:5)

d. The faithfulness of God:

(See #6 above.)

e. The veracity (truthfulness) of God:

“The doctrine of the saints falling from grace–a doctrine which is more dishonorable to Christ than I can tell you [sets] Him as a laughing-stock to the whole world, as one who begins to build and not able to finish, there is a blot upon His power; He loves and yet He loves not to the end, there is a blot upon His faithfulness; He says, ‘I give My sheep eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of My hand,’ yet they do perish, according to that doctrine, which is a stain upon His veracity. In fact, the doctrine of final falling, impugns the whole character of Christ so much, that it would render Him unworthy of our faith.” – Spurgeon

f. The goodness, grace and mercy of God:

“The Lord will complete that which concerns me.” (Psalm

138:8)

g. The justice of God:

“Where could be His justice, to punish those for whose sins Christ has made satisfaction? It is not consistent with the justice of God to punish sin twice; once in the surety, and again in those He has redeemed.” – John Gill

8. The Offices of Christ:

“What kind of Head would He be, if any of the members of His mystical body could be torn from Him? What kind of Shepherd would He be, if any patient under His hand were at length found incurable? What kind of Husband would He be, if He and any soul once united to Him by faith were ever put asunder?” – J. C. Ryle

9. The work of the Holy Spirit in the heart:

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)

a. “He who has prepared us for this thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” (II Corinthians 5:5)

b. “He who hears my word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment.” (John 5:24)

10. From the assurance of salvation:

Boettner writes, “A consistent Arminian, with his doctrine of free will and of falling from grace, can never in this life be certain of his eternal salvation. He may, indeed, have the assurance of his present salvation, but he can only have a hope of his final salvation.” The Arminian’s assurance is no more than a partial one, but the scriptures teach that believers, in this life, can attain to a “full assurance” of salvation.

a. “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life.” (John 3:36)

b. “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” (I John 3:13)

11. The Lamb’s book of life:

“This is a catalogue of the elect, determined by the unalterable counsel of God, and can neither be increased or diminished. The names of the righteous are found there; but the names of those who perish have never been written there from the foundation of the world. God does not make the mistake of writing in the book of life a name which He will later have to blot out. Hence none of the Lord’s own ever perish. Jesus told His disciples to find their chief joy in the fact that their were written in heaven; yet there would have been small grounds for joy in this respect if their names written in heaven one day could have been blotted out the next.” – Boettner

a. “Anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)

b. “There shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” (Revelation 21:27)

12. Salvation and justification are of grace and not of works:

“If, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, my going to heaven is contingent upon my continued faithfulness and obedience (instead of my faithfulness being rendered out of love and gratitude because Christ has saved me); if through my failure to remain faithful and obedient I am eternally lost, then my salvation is made to depend upon my works, which flatly contradicts Titus 3:5 – “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.” – A. W. Pink

a. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

b. “And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.” (Romans 11:6)

“The gospel preaching is this: ‘Thou art a lost sinner, and thou canst deserve nothing of God but His displeasure; if thou art to be saved, it must be by an act of sovereign grace. God must freely extend the silver sceptre of His love to thee, for thou art a guilty wretch who deserves to be sent to the lowest hell. Thy best works are so full of sin that they can in no degree save thee; to the free mercy of God thou must owe all things.’” – Spurgeon

Comments are closed.