Perseverance Unto Salvation

Over the years, I’ve known many people who have professed faith in Christ.  I have grown with them, studied Scripture with them and discussed God’s plans with them.  I’ve worshiped with them and wept tears of joy at the salvation of others with them.  This is why I’m so shocked when I see some of them fall away . . . and fall away HARD.  Two of my childhood friends, both of whom put my faith to shame at one point, are now open homosexuals who seem to have adopted some wishy-washy spirituality that, at the very least, permits a lifestyle of unrepentant sin and, at the most, justifies it.  One person, who has written an expose online as to his fall from the faith, used to lead a bible study for Chi Alpha Christian Ministries.  Another pen pal simply posted on his blog one day that he wasn’t a Christian any longer.  Some others took a while to fall, first excusing skipping a church service here or there, not reading their Bible one day, etc..  They have all sorts of excuses as to what happened that convinced them that God wasn’t real or, at the very least, that the God of the Bible wasn’t real.  The problem was that I’ve been through many of the same things that they have been through and I came through it with my faith intact, if not stronger.  I’ve examined what has kept me focused during those times.

First of all, I understand that bad things happen to good people.  Throughout Scripture, we see normal people who suffer for God, realizing that their treasure is not on earth, but in Heaven.  Paul gave up a position of power, wealth and prestige as a “Pharisee of Pharisees” to walk the narrow road of suffering for Christ, finally reaching the end and his Crown of Glory.  When my first marriage ended, I contemplated suicide.  I was devastated.  But I had good, godly friends who walked with me through it and I am now married to a godly woman who challenges me to grow in my faith.

Second, I don’t let people who are supposed to be Christians color my view of what it means to be one of the Elect.  Especially pastors.  My ministry mentor once compared our relationship to that of Paul and Timothy’s.  After a bad situation, he broke off all contact with me.  I’ve attempted to e-mail him a number of times, but they always go unanswered.  He’s given up the ministry for another vocation, although he doesn’t seem to have given up his faith.  I’ve felt the loss keenly and it has hurt a great deal, especially during those times when I really needed spiritual advice from someone who knew me personally.  But I don’t blame God.  The minister is only human.

Third of all, I pray that I am Elect.  As a Calvinist, I truly believe that a person who is truly saved will never fall away.  1 John 2:19 says, “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.” (ESV)  A person who is not Elect may serve God’s purpose his entire life, but may fall away before the end.  It’s a sad fact.  But, on a higher note, it can also work the opposite way.  A person may live a life of the flesh and find Christ in their twilight years.  Or, like the thief on the cross, he may even find him just before his life ends.

That last one is the key.  The Doctrines of Grace stand or fall together.  If we believe that Salvation is an act of Christ, alone, then we cannot truly believe that anything can earn our Salvation . . . including our own will.  It’s Sola Christus, or “Christ alone” . . . not “Christ plus one.”

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “Perseverance Unto Salvation

  1. maybe they’re not genuine believers after all?

    i know a Christian who murdered his mistress. he wasn’t a simple Christian. he is part of the worship team, he is the music director. and he is now wanted by the local police.

    we often judge based on appearance that one must be Christian and the other not. of which i am guilty of judging by appearance too.

    you are right, it takes two to be saved. It takes us to receive the salvation by grace through faith. we can choose to reject or accept the gift.

    most of the problem is not on Christ finish work of salvation, but rather us trying to get save by our own works. no way, we must not mixed the work of Christ with our work. the genuinely saved will be saved.

    just as the righteous will do righteous work as he is righteous, so is the justified is justified by faith.

    so our part is to believe, we can bet all our blue chips to Christ finish work and will never be disappointed.
    good works follows, perseverance follows, patience follows. the branches bears fruit.
    the real question is, whether the person is connected to the tree or not. whether they really are Christ’ or not.

  2. Wow. Murdered his mistress? My mentor left the ministry to open a tae kwon do school. THAT’S a big difference.

    • everyone in the city was schocked. he was a pastors kid.
      i learned some practical stuff. not all in the church are genuine believers.

      it is indeed a big difference.

  3. I believe that genuine believers can fall away from Christ and lose their salvation. I have met many people who were genuine believers in Christ. They loved the Lord, served in ministry, loved others, and then they decided to get involved in witchcraft and followed the devil. These people were genuine believers who lost their faith in Christ and became unbelievers. If you cannot lose your salvation, why is there so many warnings in scripture?The key according to the bible is abiding in Christ. This is what John 15 states. Abiding in Christ requires that we continually do so. The word “abiding” in the greek means to “continually abide”. Therefore, if one ceases to abide in Christ, that person is no longer a believer. Eternal life is promised only to the believer, not the former believer. I John 5:11-13 says that eternal life or “the life” is in the Son. This means that eternal life is found in the Son. Eternal life is not separate from Him, rather eternal life is in Him. He who has the Son has life, but he who does not have the Son does not have life. It sounds like the Bible teaches that genuine believers can fall when they cease to believe in Christ.

    • Because Scripture States that those who preservere to the end will be saved. I don’t deny that those people believed in Jesus. But they weren’t saved. Otherwise they would have finished the race.

      • indeed many believes in Jesus.
        but the proof of a genuine believer is that – are those who persevere in the end. nail them in the cross, burn them, torture them and they will speak out Jesus.

        by the way, i used to live in a city where missionaries are kidnapped, pastors are murdered, churches are bomb.

        so when someone says to me perseverance and persecution, i think of physical. life and death situation.

        this is a very good and harmonious discussion

      • I really am glad that we all can discuss this topic and provide our knowledge and understanding. What verse are you utilizing to support the idea that those who preserve to the end will be saved? Also, I take it that you believe that there is a difference between “being saved” and “believing”? I want to make sure I understand you correctly. The way I understand the scriptures is that believing in God means that you are saved. Believing in God means you have everlasting life. John 3:16 states that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. It does not say whosoever is saved or preserves to the end will have everlasting life. It only says “believes”. In John 5:24 it says “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes in Him who sent me has everlasting life and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life”. Yet again, the scriptures give a clear indication that “belief” in Him means you have everlasting life and that you’ve passed from death to life when you believe. It does not say “whoever is saved” or “preserves to the end” has everlasting life.

        If all those who fall away from belief in Jesus “were never really believers to begin with” or “saved” then apostasy is a word without meaning.

  4. Matthew 10:22: ” . . . and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

    Matthew 24:13: “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

    Mark 13:13: “And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

    The word “apostasy” simply means that the person who once was a believer is no longer a believer. It differentiates the type of unbeliever as someone who once followed the Christian religion, as opposed to someone who was never a professing Christian. But both are unsaved, as they are not going to make it to Heaven.

    • The person who “endures” is the one who will be saved. This is the same synomous idea of what I previously said where the person who “believes” is saved. Continuing to believe the gospel is required for continued salvation. Unbelief is the one thing that can separate a once-believing Christian from his Lord and his salvation. Obviously Jesus in all three of these scriptures that you are referring to is addressed to christians. When Jesus made this statement in the gospels He said it in such a way that leads me to believe that there may be some who would not endure to the end. Those who do not endure will not be saved. This proves that people can be genuine believers and then cease to be believers. This is taught all over the Bible.

      The Bible teaches that there are other ways in which we can be saved. Roman 10:9-10 says “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved”. The bible teaches us here in Romans that if you confess with your mouth and believe you will be saved. I quoted John 3:16 and John 15 which speak about believing in Christ and you shall have everlasting life, and abiding in the vine. Those words believes and abiding in the greek are in the present tense. This means that it requires continuous belief and continuous abiding. If one ceases to abide in the Vine, John 15 says they will be cut off.

      The bible gives strong assurance of present salvation for those who are “in Christ”, but the bible offers no guarantee that one who is presently believing will infallibly endure to the end in that faith.

      The Calvinist view is that it is insisted that one must persevere in faith to attain final salvation. The problem I have with that is the rather obvious reality that many who put faith in Christ do not endure in that faith until the end. Many who ultimately fall away have impressive track records of loving, trusting, and serving Christ, and often have produced godly fruit.
      The Calvinist view then is forced to insist that such “apostates” were never true believers in the first place. They are forced to conclude that the faith, love, trusting and service to God are nothing but a ruse from beginning to end. The Calvinist is forced to question the integrity of those who abandon the faith and yet claim that they once trusted Christ with all their hearts andd loved God. They are forced to call them liars and hypocrites who mayy have thought they trusted in God and thought they loved God but werre deluded and never experience true faith and genuine love for God.

      I must wonder then how these true believers who stand in judgment of thesse apostates and boldly proclaim that their faith and love was not genuine can be certain that their present faith and love is real. The Calvinist view has no problem conceding that the apostate may have truly thought their faith was genuine despite the fact that it wasn’t. How then can the Calvinist be sure that they are not likewise deceived by their presennt faith and love for Christ? How can the Calvinist be sure that their faith and love for Christ will not someday fail, thereby proving that their faith was not genuine and were never saved to begin with. So the Calvinist cannot even have assurance of present salvation as he can never be sure that his faith will in fact endure to the end until it actually endures to the end. Therefore, they cannot possibly know “now” that their faith is real and that salvation is truly theirs. Their faith may be false since the only infallible test of genuine faith, is the test of ultimate and final endurance.

      • my gratitude to my saviour Jesus.

        thank you my Jesus for representing me before the righteous Judge.

        thank you my Jesus that I do not need to follow you, I cannot. but rather you live in me instead.

        thank you my Jesus that my assurance of salvation is not on my effort to keep it, but on your finish work.

        thank you my Jesus my substitute

        thank you my Jesus for giving me your righteousness, and taking my sins with you, bearing them at the cross

        thank you my Jesus, now I am a child of God, and I can call him ‘Daddy’. and He will never leave me nor forsake me

  5. Once again, I refer you to 1 John 2:19, which says, “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.” (ESV) This is why I said that I pray that I am of the elect. Jesus talked about casting seed everywhere, Of the four types places, only the one on good earth took hold and endured til the end. Two of them bloomed, but were choked or didn’t have roots. Those two seemed to be saved, but weren’t.

    • Well, let’s take a look at this verse that you believe to support the idea that one must endure to the end to be saved. If you believe that this one verse in I John 2:19 teaches that those of the elect endure to the end and those who do not never were genuinely saved, the burden of proof is on you. In terms of the context of the entire book of I John and this chapter, the passage is written about a specific set of people – “antichrists”. This is clearly shown in the previous verse (18). The text does not speak to the contidion of these antichrists before their departure, and the wider context of this epistle does not support that interpretation.

      The book of I John’s theme if you look at the context is centered on the encouragement and instruction of believers being harassed by false teachers. John states his purpose in I John 5:13 where he writes “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”. I John, then, is written to believers and intends to impart assurance of their salvation to the believers. John felt the need to write such a letter due to the large influence of false teachers that were asserting upon the church. Gnosticism was a false teaching that was waging war against the church in that day.

      In I John chapters 1 and 2 leading up to verse 18, John gives a description of what a true believer looks like. Namely, believers will lead lives that are characterized not by sin and worldliness, but holiness to the law of God, love of our fellow humanity, and deep love of God that forces out love of the world. When we arrive at verse 18, having told us how to recognize true faith, John turns his attention to the recognition of false faith and false doctrine.

      Folks of the Calvinist camp teach the doctrine that 100% of all truly regenerate persons will remain faithful and continue to abide in Christ for eterrnity 100% of the time, focus their attention on verse 19. But, that verse can only be understood within it’s context of verse 18-27 of chapter two. The context shows that there were false teachers in the church that had taught some form of false doctrine. We are not told how effective they had been in persuading other members of the fellowship into their heresy, but we do know that they eventually withdrew from the congregation. We can be sure based on I John 2:22, that these antichrists were denying that Jesus was the Christ thereby denying the Father as well. John makes clear that their doctrine was a lie and the lie was so serious that believing it made salvation impossible.

      The important point concerning your view and this passage is that John was not speaking about church members in general, but a very specific sett of people – the “antichrists”. What John says about these antichrists cannot then be applied to be a universal principle. So, John’s purpose here is not to provide the church with a teaching such as the one you believe to be saying but to point out that these antichrists were not part of the true church.

      I have three points to make here. First, John is not laying down a universal pprinciple concerning what is means to be an apostate. John is specifically speaking of false teachers leaving the company of the true gospel teacherss and proving by their leaving that they are not in harmony with the true gospel. Had they continued in the truth they would have no reason to leave but since they had abandoned the truth they could no longer keep company with the true gospel teachers and went out from them to spread their heresies.

      Second, the passage says nothing of the false teachers’ prior spiritual condition. It only tells us that at the time of their going they were not “of” the true gospel teachers. They were comitted to false doctrine when they left and left for that reason, but we have no way of knowing whether or not they had at one time genuinely embraced the truth. The passage does not address their spiritual condition prior to their leaving, and this is exactly what the Calvinist needs the passage to support their doctrine. The Calvinist needs the passage to say “They went out from us, but they were not [ever] of us, for if they had [ever] been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be manifest that none of them were [ever at any time] of us”. The word “ever’ must be read into the text. The fact is, it is simply not there and this passage fails as a proof text for Calvinistic apostasy.

      Now, for us to believe that the anti-christs who left the company of the true ggospel teachers were never true believers would suggest that John and the true gospel teachers were not able to detect their hypocrisy while they kept their company. This runs contrary to one of John’s main concerns in this epistle, that one can discern the difference between true followers and uubelievers by character and behavior. To believe that John was incapable of detecting their hypocrisy prior to their actual defection is out off harmony with one of the most prominent themes of the entire letter.

      Lastly, throughout all of I John as well as other epistles, John uses conditional language when speaking of the church. Look at I John 2:17 “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever”. The word “does” in the greek means a contiinuous action. In I John 2:24 and 27 also are in the continuous acton tense when you consult the greek text of the New Testament.

      Now that I have shown you my interpretaton of I John 2:19, I’d like to read yours. The burden of proof once again is on you to prove that this single verse teaches your view of eternal security and enduring to the end.

      • I truly believe that Calvinism is the most God-honoring system of theology. My mentor, John Sneed, truly described the basis for why a Calvinist believes the way that he does in his post here:

        http://semperdeogloria.blogspot.com/2012/01/soli-deo-gloria-those-words-are-latin.html

        Bare in mind what Christ, Himself said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

        On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’

        And then will I declare to them, ‘I NEVER KNEW YOU; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matt. 7:21-23, ESV, emphasis mine). These were people who obviously thought that they were saved, but never were.

      • My brother,

        I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with you that Calvinism is the most God-honoring system. You mentioned the scripture in Matthew 7:21-23 where Jesus said “Not everyone who says to me Lord Lord will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter”. “Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them “I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness”.

        Once again as I did in my previous post let’s look at these verses a little more closer in terms of context. This is why I don’t believe that Calvinism is the most God-honoring system. It’s because Calvinists use proof texts and ingore context which includes the historical, grammatical, and geographical contexts. You cannot just use one or two verses and teach a doctrine on it without looking at the context. As I just showed you in my last post in regards to I John 2:19, I will show you what Jesus is really saying by looking at the context of Matthew 7. I asked for your thoughts on I John 2:19 and have not received a response. I’d like to still hear your thoughts on the context and the them of the epistle of I John.

        The verses in Matthew 7:21-23 is not teaching that people who don’t endure unto the end were never saved to begin with. I’d like to point out to you who Jesus is talking about in these verses. These people that Jesus “never knew” were continuous tense “evildoers or “you who practice lawlessness”. This means they were always doing wicked things even though they were prophesying in Jesus name, driving out demons and peforming many miracles. The context clearly shows the religious ones referred to there were never saved but were continuous evildoers. These evildoers never had evidence of saving grace. You might think that this is impossible for a person never saved to do these kinds of things. But there are other scriptures that would prove that it is possible.

        Furthermore, the “never saved” proponents focus in on the one and only passsage which has the word “never” but overlook other passages in the bible which show others were also not known by Jesus but not told they were “never” saved. Look at Matthew 25:12 “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you”. Look at Luke 13:27 “But he will reply, I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!” Jesus did not tell them “I never knew you” like in Matthew 7:23.

        Would you say then that King David in the Old Testament was never saved to begin with because he committed the sins of adultery and murder? In I Corinthians 6:9-10 Paul lists several types of sin that will not enter the kingdom of God. Paul himself lists sexual immorality and murderers will not enter unless they repent. Obviously, some of the Corinthians were some of these as Paul states but had been washed.

        In James 4:4 it says “Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God”. Notice how James declares that one can become an enemy of God. For someone to become an “enemy of God” clearly implies just before that spiritual condition that he is a child of God. You are either a child of God or an enemy, period. There is no other spiritual condition to be in.

        You mentioned during our string of posts that Jesus talked about casting seed everywhere and the four different places. This is found in the gospels, but I’d like to look at Luke’s version. In Luke 8:13 and following we have the Parable of the Sower. This parable declares four different types of people who hear the word of God. The second type “believe for a while but in time of testing fall away”. This type of person does not continue to live spiritually though there was once life produced by the Word of God and faith as the context shows. Also, the scriptural meaning of “fall away” in context is die as evidenced by the “withered” plants.

        Once again, I’d like to hear your thoughts on Matthew 7:21-23 by reading the context of it. If you believe that these verses support your teachings, the burden of proof is on you to prove it to be so.

      • You and I will simply never agree on this matter, my brother. Jesus was talking about recognizing someone by their fruits. I’m not taking the chapter out of context, I’m just getting a different interpretation of it. In my mind, if a person dies reprobate then he obviously didn’t have the right kind of fruit. Also, in my mind, the most God-honoring system of Theology is the one that shows that Salvation is a work of Christ, alone. When we start saying that a person has to accept Christ, then we are saying that the person has to do something (even if it is accepting a gift) the receive his salvation.

      • I know that we will probably never agree. But one thing I do agree with you on is what you mentioned about Matthew 7 that the context has to do with fruits and false prophets. But the thing that I do disagree with you on is whether these false prophets or evildoers were people who were never really saved because it was not genuine faith or if these were people who never embraced God at all in their life. The context and the consulting of the new testament greek mauscripts imply that these evildoers were always evildoers. These were people who never even attempted to embrace God. Therefore, I do not believe these are people who’s faith is in question as being “genuine”. That is what I disagree with you on.

        I do agree with you that salvation and the fact that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world as the bible says is Christ’s work alone. But, in order to receive this salvation, man must choose to believe and have faith in order for one to be called a “believer”. Many people think that the gift of salvation or eternal life is something that is separate from Christ. People have this idea that eternal life is a gift such as me giving a christmas gift to someone. If I give a christmas or birthday gift to someone they have the choice to do whatever they want with that gift. The gift then becomes separate from me as soon as I give the gift away. This is not the same idea as eternal life or salvation. The bible teaches in I John 5:11 which says “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son”. Now, where did God say eternal life is? God says eternal life is found in the Son, Jesus Christ. Eternal life is found in no other than Jesus. Therefore, if you have Jesus, you have eternal life. Eternal life is not something that is separate from Jesus.

        People do have to accept Christ. God gives us the will to love or reject Him. If this is not true, then God is responsible for causing us to love or reject Him. This makes God responsible for our destiny and man without any responsibility for their destiny. If we did not have free will, then why does the bible over and over again use words like “repent” or “believe”. If we have no free will then repent and believe have no meaning at all.

      • And I believe that repenting and believing are fruits in keeping with Salvation.