It’s all of Him!
I will be writing on the doctrines of grace as much as possible in coming days and months. This brief word will deal with the Perseverance of the Saints, as it is known in Reformed theology. It is simply one facet of this glorious doctrine, I am not trying here to speak comprehensively of all the Bible says about it.
Salvation is of Yahweh (Jonah 2:9)
If salvation is something you can attain or earn, then it is definitely something you can lose and fall away from.
But if it is not your salvation in the first place, then it is an entirely different situation. Consider the Christian doctrine of the Preservation of the saints, seen through the eyes of an Old Testament sinner.
Sung to the Key of Grace
King David raped Uriah’s wife and then had him murdered to cover it up when she was pregnant. After being confronted by the prophet Nathan, David was broken for his terrible sins, and sought repentance. Among other wonderful lines in Psalm 51, he prayed like this:
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. (NKJV)
Whose salvation did David have? The salvation of the God of Israel. Elsewhere, David praises God like this:
3 Iniquities prevail against me;
As for our transgressions,
You will provide atonement for them.
4 Blessed is the man You choose,
And cause to approach You,
That he may dwell in Your courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house,
Of Your holy temple.
Here we see a prophecy of the cross-work of Jesus (v. 3), a vocalization given to divine election (v. 4a), and the resultant preservation of the saints in fellowship with God (v. 4b).
And in another place, David rejoices in the nature of God’s forgiveness when he sings
1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man to whom Yahweh does not impute iniquity…
Notice the “Blessed”s like in Psalm 65 above? Connect the dots of grace here. Blessed people are chosen, atoned for, transgressions forgiven, sin covered, and their iniquity is not counted (imputed) to them! God removes all of the enmity between Him and us in order to bring us to Himself.
Do you really think He would then leave the perseverance up to us after all He has done to make us His children?
He Keeps us SO THAT We Remain in Him
God’s work in saving people from the penalty of their sins is God’s work. The worker in salvation gets the glory, and the preserver in salvation gets the glory. It’s all of Him!
Often the question from Christians is “can I lose my salvation,” or, “can those who are truly born again fall away and end up in hell?” I’ve asked the question, and so have you if you are a believer.
My Lutheran brothers and sisters maintain that a truly regenerated believer in Christ can lose his salvation if he stops believing in Christ.
Similarly (but not the same doctrine as the Lutherans), many Arminians of all denominations teach that a Christian can lose their salvation, but with the added pressure of having to make the decision to be born again in the first place.
Not So, Friends
For the sake of brevity, I just want to say this: the eternal covenant of God to save His elect, the atoning work of Christ to purchase those the Father had given Him, and the sealing of the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption are bonds of love and power that only one Being is strong enough to break, and you ain’t Him.
I’ll leave off today with the reassuring words of Jesus concerning us, His people.
37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means 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 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
I praise You, Jesus my Lord!
Comment on this article at Justin’s blog.
Used with permission.
Justin is a Bible teacher at Grace Life Church of Avon, NY, and is currently a student at Northeastern Seminary in the Master of Theology program. His goal is to attain a PhD in Biblical Theology so he can teach for his career at the seminary level, and ultimately hopes to work in the international mission field equipping pastors for their local ministries. Justin is happily married to Danielle since July 2011, and they love to travel, hike, and experience as much of the outdoors as possible. He lives in New York state and has traveled to almost all of the United States (currently 46 out of 50). At the present time he publishes at least two blogs. Both are worthy of your attention. Interpreting the Cosmos and Citizen of New Jerusalem.