What exactly is the perseverance of the saints?
Those who truly know the Lord will never depart from the faith, will persevere until the end, because we have been preserved in Christ Jesus the Lord by His grace. Perseverance of the saints, therefore, declares that once God has redeemed the heart of a sinner through regeneration by the Holy Spirit; and that salvation has granted to that man or woman solely by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (Titus 3:4-7) by the Father's sovereign electing love (Eph. 1:3-6); that that genuine believer in the Lord will continue to show the evidence of that salvation with fruit in keeping with repentance.
Consider this profound statement from the Canons of Dordt, articles 6 and 7.
But God, who is rich in mercy, according to his unchangeable purpose of election, does not wholly withdraw the Holy Spirit from his own people, even in their melancholy falls; nor suffers them to proceed so far as to lose the grace of adoption, and forfeit the state of justification, or to commit the sin unto death; nor does he permit them to be totally deserted, and to plunge themselves into everlasting destruction.AND the testimony of Scripture:
For in the first place. in these falls he preserves in them the incorruptible seed of regeneration from perishing, or being totally lost; and again, by his Word and Spirit, certainly and effectually renews them to repentance, to a sincere and godly sorrow for their sins, that they may seek and obtain remission in the blood of the Mediator, may again experience the favor of a reconciled God, through faith adore his mercies, and henceforward more diligently work out their own salvation with fear and trembling.
2 Tim. 1:12 we read, "...for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day."This brings us to our text found in 1 John 2:18-27.
Romans 8:29-30, "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified."
Phil. 1:6, "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:"
1 Thess. 5:23-24, "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it."
2 Timothy 4:7-8, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."
1 John is one of my favorite books in the Bible for it addresses several essentials of the faith. For example:
- what is the evidence of true saving-faith,
- how to confront error,
- spiritual warfare,
- developing discernment,
- being unashamed at the Lord's return,
- daily sanctification,
- what is real joy,
- forgiveness of sin,
- fellowship within the local church,
- loving our brother,
- the worthy walk,
- unfolding the character of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
- and yes, John also deals with this great theme of the perseverance of the saints as well.
1. Full Joy (1:4) - "And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete."I hope the following outline containing just the text of Scripture below, will encourage you greatly this day to run the race that is before you with steadfastness, endurance, faithfulness, self-control, and keeping your eyes on the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2. Freedom from Sin (2:1) - "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."
3. Faith Unwavering (2:26) - "I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you."
4. Firm Assurance (5:13) - "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life."
With a view of the finish line...
By His grace,
2 Timothy 2:22
A. Exposing antichrists and their teaching
1) They depart from the fellowship (2:18-19)
18Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
2) They deny Jesus as the Christ (2:22-23)
22Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.
3) They deceive the Saints (2:26)
26I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.
B. Evidence that demands a Christian
1) Perseverance of the Saint (2:19)
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
2) Proclaiming the Son (2:23-25)
23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25And this is the promise that he made to us eternal life.
3) Preach the Scriptures (2:21,27)
21 write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 27But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
C. Equipping the Saints
1) Anointing (2:20,27)
20But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 27But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
2) Acknowledging (2:23)
23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.
3) Abiding (2:24,25)
24Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25And this is the promise that he made to us eternal life.