Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

What is the Biblical Evidence for the Perseverance of the Saints?

As an advocate of Free Grace theology, I espouse the doctrine of Eternal Security, which is not the same as the Reformed doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints, as many in Reformed theologies also insist.

My survey of the various confessions and theologies of the Traditionalist faith has led me to this definition of the Traditionalist doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints:

1) All who have been justified by God's grace will never lose their justification.
2) Instead, they will persevere in a life of good works and holiness to the final hour.
3) This perseverance is the work of God in which man co-operates.
4) The amount of good works will vary, but the thrust and direction of the life will always be toward holiness.
5) When they fall into sin, their fall will only be temporary, and they will always (if they are truly regenerate) come to repentance. They will not fail to return from their backsliding in the end.

Those who adhere to the Reformed faith, please correct me if I am wrong.

What I am interested in are the key scriptures which supposedly teach this doctrine. If anyone would be so inclined, please give the most profound texts which are commonly understood as supporting this doctrine. You do not necessarily have to be Reformed or associated with Calvinism (the so-called doctrines of grace) to participate in this.

What I want is a major key passage or two and a brief explanation on how this verse supports the doctrine.

If I get a few takers, I plan on constructing posts that consider the primary texts given to support this doctrine.

Any takers?

16 Comments:

Blogger Bhedr said...

Antonio,

I am just curious and I mean no harm. Does Zane Hodges teach that tribulation saints must endure to the end and or not receive the mark of the beast in order to be saved?

July 22, 2006 7:04 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Antonio, that is such a good question.

Brian, in 'Grace in Eclipse' he says that tribulation saints who do not endure will die physically.

As a Post-Tribber, I agree with that view.

God Bless

Matthew

July 23, 2006 2:39 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

Thanks for responding Matthew.
What text does he use to support that view? I know days will be shortened for the elects sake and that they will be killed as marytrs, but suggesting they die so that they wont receive the mark or not endure...where is that found?

July 23, 2006 3:32 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

The only reason I mention this is because the book of Daniel mentions the tribulation to be a time of refining and seems to be for that purpose.

Perhaps he is taking the sin unto death and applying it to the tribulation...but is that applicable seeing that you must receive the mark in order to buy or sell and that one is forced to die by not obeying this? How can these saints NOT escape having to perservere?

July 23, 2006 3:36 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Brian,

Brian and Matthew, thank you for your inputs. What I really want to look at is the evidence for the perseverance of the saints. And in this, if you wish to give the major proofing passages, and an explanation on how they support the doctrine, that is what I am after. I wish to address the Scriptures that support the Perseverance doctrine.

As a side, it is obvious that there will be those in the tribulation period who will not persevere until the end:

Matt 24:12
12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
NKJV

Yet, I do not wish this to be taken on a rabbit trail. What I am looking for is the Biblical evidence for the Perseverance of the Saints.

Brian, Matthew, do you have a passage or two in mind that I can be discussed?

Antonio

July 23, 2006 4:17 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

I guess the one that always comes to my mind is the Apostle Paul saying in Philipians 1:6 "Being confident of this one thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of redemption."

I suspect you might say that this is for the philipians and not us...I don't know. That is fine, but can you possible see that from the perspective of God and his sovereign purpose that there is power behind the new birth and His Holy Spirit and that from the perspective of Paul we might can see God's perspective? How far God's purpose in each of our life extends we can only know...but I do believe as the Calvinists do here that there is power behind the indwelling Holy Spirit that isn't always seen illustrated in Free Grace theology. I know you believe in chastening; but it is just that isn't it? Chastening with a purpose?

July 23, 2006 6:07 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

No, Brian.

That is a perfectly good one to start with. That one probably is one of the greatest one's there is.

This verse will be a good one to start with. I am hoping that I will get the list of the most persuasive and compelling scriptures that are supposedly supportive of Perseverance theology.

The thing is, Brian, your remarks align themselves with the Reformed theology, but is that position biblically tenable? This is what I am after.

I am glad that you are on the blogosphere.

Antonio

July 23, 2006 9:48 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

Well I guess I'll sit back and see whatever else gets placed on the platter here. Thanks for your response.

July 24, 2006 4:43 PM  
Anonymous GlennW said...

I am sure there are many extensive defenses of the doctrine of the perserverance of the saints but the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Baptist Confession of Faith are probably still considered to be authoritative. I found the following excerpts on the web and have included the web addresses.

----------------------------------------------------
The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689

CHAPTER 17
OF THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS

Paragraph 1. Those whom God has accepted in the beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, and given the precious faith of his elect unto, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved, seeing the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, from which source he still begets and nourishes in them faith, repentance, love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the Spirit unto immortality;1 and though many storms and floods arise and beat against them, yet they shall never be able to take them off that foundation and rock which by faith they are fastened upon; notwithstanding, through unbelief and the temptations of Satan, the sensible sight of the light and love of God may for a time be clouded and obscured from them,2 yet he is still the same, and they shall be sure to be kept by the power of God unto salvation, where they shall enjoy their purchased possession, they being engraved upon the palm of his hands, and their names having been written in the book of life from all eternity.3

1 John 10:28,29; Phil. 1:6; 2 Tim. 2:19; 1 John 2:19
2 Ps. 89:31,32; 1 Cor. 11:32
3 Mal. 3:6

Paragraph 2. This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election,4 flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father, upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ and union with him,5 the oath of God,6 the abiding of his Spirit, and the seed of God within them,7 and the nature of the covenant of grace;8 from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.

4 Rom. 8:30, 9:11,16
5 Rom. 5:9, 10; John 14:19
6 Heb. 6:17,18
7 1 John 3:9
8 Jer. 32:40

Paragraph 3. And though they may, through the temptation of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins, and for a time continue therein,9 whereby they incur God's displeasure and grieve his Holy Spirit,10 come to have their graces and comforts impaired,11 have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded,12 hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves,13 yet shall they renew their repentance and be preserved through faith in Christ Jesus to the end.14

9 Matt. 26:70,72,74
10 Isa. 64:5,9; Eph. 4:30
11 Ps. 51:10,12
12 Ps. 32:3,4
13 2 Sam. 12:14
14 Luke 22:32,61,62

http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html

-------------------------------------------------
Westminster Confession of Faith
Chapter XVII

Of the Perseverance of the Saints
I. They, whom God has accepted in His Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.[1]

II. This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father;[2] upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ,[3] the abiding of the Spirit, and of the seed of God within them,[4] and the nature of the covenant of grace:[5] from all which arises also the certainty and infallibility thereof.[6]

III. Nevertheless, they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins;[7] and, for a time, continue therein:[8] whereby they incur God's displeasure,[9] and grieve His Holy Spirit,[10] come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts,[11] have their hearts hardened,[12] and their consciences wounded;[13] hurt and scandalize others,[14] and bring temporal judgments upon themselves.[15]

[1] PHI 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. 2PE 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall. JOH 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 1JO 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 1PE 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

[I left out the remaining footnotes for brevity. The footnotes in their entirety at the following link.]

http://www.reformed.org/documents/wcf_with_proofs/

-------------------------------------------------

This should provide all that you need.

July 24, 2006 5:06 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

I would confess that creed; but for the sin unto death. That is the monkeywrench. The Bible clearly teaches this. My only inclination is that Free Grace theology underscores the power of the Holy Spirit while the Reformed camp seems to assume that God's Holy Spirit cannot be grieved to the point of taking the life of one of his children instead of continuing in that misearable state along with Him upon this earth.

July 24, 2006 6:10 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Brian, a Calvinist suggested to me recently that believers only fell asleep through God's judgment during the age of miracles. Now that the apostolic era is over, that would not happen.

God Bless

Matthew

July 25, 2006 1:01 AM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

That is why I don't like to ascribe to labels, because one is left to trying to make the theology fit the label. Scripture bears witness of the sin unto death, regardless of what we think. That is an extrabiblical assesment.

July 25, 2006 4:24 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

I was waiting for the others to share, but since they aren't, I will take a verse from a book that they often quote out of to support their position.

James 1:12
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.


Would this be a verse that would be used to support such a doctrine?

July 27, 2006 10:24 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Glennw, do you believe in the Perseverance of the Saints? If you do, why?

Rose, seems to me that "enduring temptation" would then be a requirement for "the crown of life".

If one would say the crown of life = eternal life, then we have works salvation.
I do not recollect those of the POS persuasion use that verse. It wouldn't surprise me though!

Antonio

July 27, 2006 7:53 PM  
Anonymous GlennW said...

Antonio,

Actually I don't believe in perseverance of the saints at least as taught by the Westminster Confession of Faith and The Baptist Confession of Faith. I am a dispensationalist and believe in free will as it applies to both our ability to choose to accept the gift of salvation and, once saved, whether or not we follow the path Christ laid out for us.

I tracked down the references in my previous post because I was interested in seeing your response. I became interested in the topic because a few years ago I flirted with joining a congregation which adhered to the Westminster Confession of Faith. Up until that time I had never learned the details of the TULIP anacrostic. While in many ways it paralleled what I had learned as a youth, I was uncomfortable with both limited atonement and perseverance of the saints because it eliminated free will. I believe free will is the focal point of the Christian way of life. When we stand before our maker at the judgment seat (bema seat) of Christ we will be held accountable for our decisions and will be rewarded accordingly (no, I do not believe salvation is in view at this point). This traditionalist approach to the word seems fatalistic to me and I can not reconcile that with what I read in the bible. I attended the new member class where we had discussed these doctrines. I do not know if our teacher had mentioned these discussions to the pastor, or if it was just divine providence, but the pastor made a major point of one of the last sermons I heard about limited atonement. He made it clear that there is no hope for many and that we cannot even be sure if young children who die go to heaven. He taught that young children who die will probably go to heaven if their parents are Christian but if the parents are not Christian there is no hope. He also mentioned that there is no biblical support for an age of accountability which is a doctrine I subscribe to. I decided at that point that I could not in good faith take an oath that I believed these doctrines so I decided not to join.

I am interested in reading your posts on perseverance of the saints and any other issues pertaining to free will.

Glenn W.

July 28, 2006 6:16 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hey Glen,

I am glad you are around. What an interesting story you share. I think that you and I share commonalities.

I believe in the free will also.

Sowing to the flesh reaps death
but sowing to the Spirit reaps a greater experience of eternal life.

There are many articles on my website that you can link to on the right bars. Click on them and enjoy, if you like.

Thanks for your input. I hope to continue on this course with Perseverance of the Saints.

Antonio

July 28, 2006 6:34 PM  

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