Lesson 40 – Preservation and Perseverance of The Saints
In the last lesson in our little book I would like to further study the relationship between Preservation and Perseverance. To state again the doctrine of Preservation, we say that this means that of all for whom Christ died, none shall finally fall away and be lost. Nothing can pluck them out of the hands of God. None of them can ever lose his salvation. Some Scriptures which prove this are John 6:37-39, John 6:44, John 10:27-30, Romans 8:28-39, Jude 24, I Peter 1:4-5, and Philippians 1:6. This is a glorious truth which has been precious to the temptation-tossed saints all through the ages.
To restate the doctrine of Perseverance, we say that this means that all of the saints shall persevere in faith and holiness. They will never permanently and fundamentally repudiate their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. While troubled by their sinful natures, they will nevertheless show evidences of their being alive in Christ. Grace in one’s heart does not lead to a life of careless, licentious living. We believers in grace have been accused of believing it is okay to “continue in sin, that grace may abound.” But we say, along with the Apostle Paul, “God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:2)
The truth of Preservation and Perseverance does not make robots of the saints of God. This truth, properly understood, does not make the saints lazy. In this wonderful truth we see the meshing of the doctrines of God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Responsibility.
Preservation and Perseverance really represent two sides of the same coin. They inseparably go together. To give a natural example that may shed some light the relationship between Preservation and Perseverance: I have several very small children. Sometimes I take a walk with one of them over some rough places. As we go over the rough places the little hand in mine grips ever so tightly. But what really provides safety to the child is the fact that my hand securely holds the small hand of the child. The gripping power of the little hand is so weak that it would soon be jerked out of my hand unless I was doing some gripping also. The child may think that his safety depends on his little grip, but not so. Compare my big hand to God’s Preservation, and the child’s little hand to our Perseverance and you begin to see the relationship between the two. But, remember, the little child doesn’t cease to grip hard – he does so instinctively. And the child of God doesn’t stop trying to persevere – he does to instinctively because of the life of God which has been placed in his heart!
Many, many Scriptures teach the doctrine of Perseverance and show the relationship between Preservation and Perseverance. One of these is I Corinthians 15:10. There Paul says, “But by the grace of God I am what I am.” (Preservation). “And his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all.” (Perseverance). “Yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (Preservation). Notice that Perseverance is dependent on Preservation. Notice also that God gets full credit for it all. God’s children are responsible for doing good works, but when they are blessed to perform them, they must give all the glory to God for His enabling grace.
Another passage which shows the relationship of these doctrines is Philippians 2:12-13: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Perseverance). “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Preservation).
These truths are also found in I John 3:2-3. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (Preservation). “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” (Perseverance).
Every Bible believer who has much light knows that election took place before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4; II Timothy 1:9). Nothing can change the fact whether one is elect or not. Yet Peter in II Peter 1:10 says, “Brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure.”
This is Perseverance!
There was a song a few years back that said, “Love and Marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage.” This I tell you brother, you can’t have one without the other.
Well, that’s the way it is with Preservation and Perseverance. According to the Scriptures, you can’t have one without the other.
1. All the saints shall persevere in __________________and _______________.
2. Why is it that the truth of Preservation does not make the saints spiritually careless and lazy?
3. If a grown-up and a child are walking hand in hand over rough terrain, whose hand illustrates Preservation and whose hand illustrates Perseverance?
4. Who gets credit for the Preservation of the saints? Who gets credit for the Perseverance of the saints?
We have memorized Philippians 1:6; John 10:27-30; Romans 8:38-39; I Peter 1:5; I John 5:4 and Jude 24-25.
Let us memorize Hebrews 13:5.