Lesson 39 – Preservation and Perseverance of The Saints
It is important to remember that the child of God will overcome the world by his God-given Faith: “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (I John 5:4).
This does not mean that the saint will never commit sin. It means that the Spirit of God in him will not suffer him to always live in sin but will work Godly sorrow in him and will bring him to repentance. I John 3:9 means that the born-again person will not continually and habitually live in sin as a way of life. The child of God may backslide temporarily and fall into much sin, but he will not live in it permanently in an unrepentant state. See also Matthew 7:21-23; James 2:20; I John 2:4; I John 2:15; I John 3:3; I John 4:15.
One of the ways that God causes His people to turn from their sins and to persevere in holy living is chastisement. See I Corinthians 11:32; Hebrews 12:6.
Arguments That Are Used Against This Truth
There are many Scriptures that people who believe that a child of God can fall from grace use to support their arguments. Most of the arguments can be refuted by the principle taught in I John 2:19, “They went out from us but were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” There are those who make a profession of faith, who seem to show some fruits of the Spirit temporarily, but who are not truly regenerated. In time they show their true colors and manifest their true nature. There is a possibility that some of these hypocrites never openly reveal their true nature in this life. See Matthew 13:30.
These false professors, who have made a profession of religion, who may have outwardly reformed their lives, but who have no grace in their hearts, are described in such passages as Matthew 12:43; II Peter 2:20-22.
Other Scriptures that the opponents of Preservation use to bolster their arguments, are not talking about falling out of relationship with God, but out of fellowship with Him. When David sinned he did not lose his salvation; he lost the joy of salvation (Psalm 51:12). It is possible for a child of God to so walk for a time that he may appear to have lost his salvation, but no one who has truly been saved can ever be lost.
The Comfort of This Doctrine
This is a very useful and comforting doctrine. It helps the child of God to live close to the Lord. It encourages him to repent when he falls into sin. Satan tries to throw a child of God into despair when he falls into sin. He tries to keep him down. But the saint remembers that “he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). He knows the Lord is not through with him. He does not depend on his own faithfulness, but on the faithfulness of God for and in him.
This truth gives hope to one who has fallen into sin. He remembers that David committed some horrible sins: adultery, murder, numbering the people. These are only some of the more prominent sins of David. There was a time when David was overwhelmed because of the burden of his sins (Psalm 32:3-4). For a time he lived in an unrepentant state until the prophet of God came to him. God faithfully delivered David from his sin and granted him repentance.
All the saints in the Bible had their sins, sometimes grievous sins, but they were forgiven; and these saints are with the Lord. Nothing can change that fact. The one who truly believes this does not serve God from a sense of slavish fear–afraid that he can be saved today and lost tomorrow. He serves God out of a heart filled with gratitude to God for His great faithfulness.
1. What causes the child of God to persevere?
2. What is one of the primary means that God uses to bring about obedience in His children?
3. What is meant by a “false-professor”, a “temporary believer”, or a “hypocrite”?
4. If a child of God cannot fall out of relationship with God, what happens when he sins?
5. How is the truth of perseverance a useful doctrine?
6. How is the truth of perseverance comforting?
We have memorized Philippians 1:6; John 10:27-30; Romans 8:38-39 and I Peter 1:5.
Let us do I John 5:4 and Jude 24-25.