Essential Reasons for Perseverance

The Bible teaches that salvation is of the Lord (Ps 3:8; Jon 2:9;Rev 19:1), from beginning to end (Phil 1:6). Therefore, it is a fallacy to claim it is by man’s will (Jn 1:13; Rom 9:16), ability (Rom 8:7), or works (Rom 4:5; 1 Cor 1:30) that anyone contributes anything, at any stage of the process. Deceitfully, Arminians teach this man-centered fallacy.

At the stage of sanctification, the Holy Spirit is the agent who works as the catalyst, for Christian growth to spiritual maturity. In the wisdom and power of God, according to His will and working, the saint is preserved through this life unto glory (Phil 2:13). In love, God planned, executed, and applied His eternal salvation to His chosen people (Jn 3:1–8; Rom 5:5, 8; Eph 1:4–5; 5:25).

Every person born into the human family, being sons of Adam, suffers the consequences of sin, which is death (Rom 5:12–21; 6:23). Following their appointment with death, they come to judgment (Heb 9:27), to receive the sentence of eternal wrath from God, in the conscious punishment of fiery hell (Mt 25:46; Jude 7). Therefore, if God had not extended His free mercy to His elect, they, too, would perish in this same way.

God has mercy, on whom He wills to have mercy (Rom 9:15–16). Mercy means some do not receive the just punishment we all deserve, as sinners by nature and practice (Rom 3:23; Eph 2:3). Jesus came to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21), by dying on the cross and shedding His blood (Heb 9:22), as an accepted act of substitutionary atonement (Jn 10:11, 15; 1 Cor 15:3; 1 Pet 2:24).

When the precious blood of Christ is applied (1 Pet 1:19), by the Holy Spirit, in the act of baptism (Acts 3:11; Acts 1:5; 11:16), the imperishable seed of God is implanted in the heart (Rom 5:5; Jas 1:21), opened by God (Acts 16:14) and made alive with His life (Jn 6:63; Gal 2:20; Eph 2:5; Col 2:13). The grace of adoption also comes with the gift of faith (Rom 8:15, 23; Eph 2:8–9; Phil 1:29). The question is whether grace, faith, and right standing can be lost or stolen? The Arminian affirms the possibility and reality, but the Reformed denies this because they all belong to God, who is unfailing.

If the Christian had a part to play in his salvation, he would inevitably fail because of his fallibility as a sinner. The Christian’s flesh is weak (Mt 26:41; Rom 6:19), and were it not for the almighty power of the One who is in him (1 Jn 4:4), he would inevitably fail and irretrievably fall away (Heb 6:4–6). But God, who cannot fail, being perfect in every attribute (Dt 32:4; Ps 50:2; Is 25:1), makes it utterly impossible for salvation to fail at any point.

Christians do sin, and they do backslide (a.k.a. melancholy fall; Canons 5:8). Sins can be heinous and numerous at times and seasons in the believer’s life. Nothing, however, can separate the saint from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:35–39). This is according to the eternal counsel of God, who alone makes a sure salvation, for His own glory. God is unchanging, as is His eternal purpose (Heb 6:17), carried out in Christ Jesus (Eph 3:11), whose works were finished from the foundation of the world (Heb 4:3).

The promise of God throughout Scripture is our blessed assurance. As the eternal Word, Jesus Christ became the incarnate Word (Jn 1:14), and made good on the covenant promises, being their very fulfillment. We trust in Him, not ourselves (Ps 118:8).

The irrevocable call of the Good Shepherd to His lost sheep also does not fail (Jn 10; Rom 11:20). In their distress and disorientation, His sheep hear the voice of Christ, who does not fail to come for, gather, and keep His beloved ones (Jn 6:37; 10:28–29). Christian, Jesus effectually prayed for you (Jn 17), lived and died for you (Jn 10:11, 15; Eph 5:25), sent His Spirit to indwell you (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11; 1 Cor 3:16; 2 Tim 1:14; Jas 4:5), with the promise to never leave nor forsake you (Heb 13:5). He has gone to prepare a place for you (Jn 14:2–3), where your eternal inheritance is reserved for you, in heaven (1 Pet 1:4).

The token of Christ’s love for His church is the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5; 2 Cor 1:22; 5:5). The Spirit’s presence within the regenerate is God’s pledge to finish the work He has begun (2 Cor 1:22; Phil 1:6). He has put His mark on His beloved. This is the sealing of the Holy Spirit, a stamp of ownership, acceptance, and approval (Eph 1:13; 4:30).

The Arminian heresy is a lie, from a deluding spirit that ruins all confidence in this sure salvation. It does this by claiming there is a failing grace and faith, leading to an irretrievable falling away. In truth, there is no perseverance at all, in the Arminian system of salvation. In this system, man is the responsible agent for persevering. The Arminian has a lot of work to do, in order to secure, and then, to maintain his right standing, before the God he denies is sovereign over all things and in every situation.

The Arminian god is ever-waiting on man — ready to help him — if the man wills to let Jesus save him. Their error is that man, totally depraved and left to his own sin nature and preferences, will never choose Christ (Gen 6:5; Jer 17:9; Jn 15:16; Rom 1:18–32; 3:10–12; 1 Cor 2:14; Eph 2:1–3, 12). Just as no dead man can decide to make himself alive, no sinner can atone for his own sins, nor can a true believer keep himself in the faith. He must be kept for Jesus (Jude 1:1).

God is most glorified when Christians serve Him in worship. For in this, we acknowledge our utter inability to accomplish anything, at any stage in the process of salvation. True worship acknowledges total depravity on our part. It ascribes all honor, praise, and glory to God — for the great things He has planned, promised, done, and will do to assure our glorious home-going.

In conclusion, God’s counsel does not change; His promises never fail; His call is not revoked; His works are finished; and His stamp of approval is living in you, Christian. There is absolutely no hope apart from Christ (Ps 146:5; Jn 15:5; Col 1:27; Titus 2:13; 1 Pet 1:3), but God’s Word and His Spirit are ever-working to increase your faith and assurance in Him, who loved you, and who gave Himself for you.

David Norczyk

Spokane Valley, Washington

October 9, 2022

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher

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David Norczyk

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher