Why the Church Loves the Biblical Doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints; and Why Everyone Else Hates It
Why would God save His elect people, whom He loved from before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4–5)? God does all things for His glory. His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus (Eph 3:11), resulting in the salvation of those for whom Christ died (Mt 1:21; Lk 1:68; Jn 10:11, 15; Acts 20:28; Eph 5:23, 25), transforms ungodly sinners into worshipers, who are ever praising God in Christ (Ps 150; Acts 3:9).
If our sovereign God, who in His sovereign decree, has willed the merciful salvation of a chosen people for His own possession (Rom 9:15–16; 1 Pet 2:9), then for Him to fail to complete the work He began in us (Phil 1:6), would mean He was an impotent imposter (Wizard of Oz). Almighty God is true (Rom 3:4), and His words of assurance, spoken and written to His church, are an inestimable treasure (Canons 5:15).
The church loves the doctrine of blessed assurance and must defend it in every generation, against: Satan; the world; the ignorant and hypocritical; along with the heretic. These hate the doctrine of God’s sovereign preservation, for a number of different reasons. Let’s consider a few.
First, Satan is reminded of Jesus Christ’s victory over him at the cross (Col 2:14–15). The strong man has been bound and his house is being plundered (Mt 5:27; 12:29; Rev 20:1–3). When Paul wrote to Titus, “He saved us (Titus 3:5),” He knew that whom God predestined, called, and justified…these would be glorified (Rom 8:30). His works were finished from the foundation of the world (Heb 4:3). In other words, all these benefits were granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity (2 Tim 1:9).
The world hates God (Rom 1:30), hates Christ (Jn 7:7; 15:18), and it hates Christians, too (Jn 15:18–25). Therefore, it mocks the Bible, whereby God has abundantly supplied His church with ample passages to support this sound doctrine (1 Tim 4:6; 6:3; 2 Tim 4:3; Titus 1:9).
The doctrine of perseverance of the saints is a gift of God to His beloved. In His love for the bride of Christ (Rom 5:5; Eph 5:25), He has sent His Holy Spirit into our hearts (Jn 14:26; 15:26), to shine truth in us (2 Cor 4:6), that is, to guide us into all truth (Jn 16:13). The Word (the Bible) is truth (Ps 119:160; Jn 17:17).
The world is the domain of darkness (Col 1:13), and the natural man dwells in the darkness, so that he cannot comprehend the light of God’s true revelation (Jn 1:5). Blinded by Satan (2 Cor 4:4), the darkened, carnal mind cannot grasp blessed assurance, nor the fountain of election from which it flows (1 Cor 2:14).
The world thinks the Christian is a fool, and yes, he is a fool for Christ’s sake (1 Cor 4:10). The born again knows whom He believes in, and he is convinced that God is able to keep him against that day (2 Tim 1:12), and for this reason the Christian does not waver, when Satan inspires the world to persecute the saints (Mt 5:11).
The ignorant hypocrites abuse the doctrine of perseverance by continuing in sin (Rom 6). This man has no grace for repentance granted him (Acts 5:31; 11:18), so he is disinterested in holiness and godliness.
The hypocrite has no ambition to please God (2 Cor 5:9), instead he set his mind on the pleasures of the world (Phil 3:19; Col 3:2), living his best life now, in a life of lascivious luxury and mindless materialism. His curse: having to manage all of his money, toys and sexually transmitted diseases.
Grace is utterly cheap, to the ignorant because they have heard much about grace, without actually having received it. Grace unto holiness is the litmus test, to expose the one who claims eternal security, lives like hell, then, falls away with criticisms toward God, Christ, the church, and the Spirit (Heb 6).
The heretic is the false teacher who loathes the doctrine of God’s preservation and the saint’s perseverance. God raises up heretical prophets to be a foil for men of God. Whenever there was a prophet in Israel, there were false prophets to counter and confuse the message of God to His chosen people. In this, God sends a delusional spirit upon those who do not belong to Christ (Jn 10:26), who do not have the Spirit because they are none of His (Rom 8:9). Their judgment is the lack of grace that alone can bring one near to Christ for sanctification.
The goats are persuaded to follow another gospel of another Jesus (2 Cor 11:3–4). In order to misrepresent Christ, the heretical teacher will subtly twist Scripture (even using a large number of Bible texts) to contradict the Word of God. These men and women pose as angels of light, often finding great riches, popularity, and success in their cults and in the world. If a man of God is respected and praised by the world, it is not likely he is or was a man of God. Warning: imposters abound!
Our Trinitarian God is greatly glorified in the salvation of His elect, redeemed, regenerate saints, whose names were written in the Lamb’s book of life, from before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8; 17:8; 21:27). That was then, but this is now and will be…“When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then, you also will be revealed with Him in glory (Col 3:4).” His promise to His own is sure.
A doxology should accompany so sure a salvation, revealed with a plethora of passages from both prophets and apostles. So dear is the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints that a fitting close, with a doxology that includes this very doctrine the church loves and defends, is in order…
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen (Jude 24–25).”
Friend, are you claiming Christ is your life? If this is your claim, why are you denying Him the wisdom and power that has your inheritance reserved for you in heaven? Examine yourself in this matter.
Christian, take time to understand the voluminous passages that reveal this glorious doctrine. If you deny it, you deny Him. Let this be your examination: knowing that God’s gifts and calling are irrevocable (Rom 11:29), and His promise to His beloved is that of all that the Father has given the Son, He will lose nothing (Jn 6:39), then you either believe that or you do not believe it. Sin keeps you not believing the doctrine of perseverance of the saints, but grace invigorates your love and zeal to proclaim it.
Spokane Valley, Washington
October 30. 2022