Perseverance of Saints is the usual name for the fifth of the so-called "Five Points of Calvinism." This is unusual in that it emphasizes our calling and responsibility rather than the power of grace. The rest of the "Points" emphasize God and His grace. For that reason some prefer the name "Preservation of Saints." That name does stress God's sovereign grace.
That we speak of "perseverance" instead of "preservation" does not mean, however, that we deny that our continuing in the way of salvation is "by grace alone." There is no other way we could persevere.
Like the name "preservation" this name teaches the wonderful truth that God's people once saved cannot and do not lose their salvation. They "persevere" in the way of salvation all the way to the end.
It also implies, however, that the way of salvation is full of difficulties and trials. It is not an easy way, but the way of cross-bearing, of suffering for Christ's sake, of fighting against the devil, the world and the flesh, and of enduring affliction. Yet God's people come safely through all these troubles and enter glory with Christ.
We use the name, "perseverance" however, because it is always the complaint of those who believe that God's people can lose their salvation. They say that this doctrine encourages worldliness and carelessness and destroys every motive for godliness.
Both the word "perseverance" and the word "saints" show that this is not so. God's people are made SAINTS - holy ones - by the power of grace and in that way of holiness they continue to the end - not in the way of unholinesss (Heb. 12:14).
We should emphasize this. The way of salvation is the way of holiness and there is no other way to glory than that. It is impossible that one who is purchased by the blood of Christ, renewed and regenerated by the Spirit of God, and in whom the Spirit dwells, should continue in his old sinful ways (Rom. 6:1-2).
There are those, though, who deny this. They suggest that one can be saved and never show any change of life, but continue to live in the same sinful way he did before he was saved. This is the teaching, for example, of those who say that one can have Jesus as Savior without having Him as Lord, i.e., without having his whole life claimed by Christ and brought under His Lordship.
For this reason we do not like the name "Eternal Security." The name itself is not bad, but those who use the name are very often those who teach: "once saved, always saved, and it really doesn't matter how you live." It does matter and matters very much.
The perseverance of saints is a great comfort. It not only assures that God's people will all be in glory with Christ in the life to come, but that they will be holy in this life! And no believer can love and want to keep his sins. He ought to hate them and desire to be fully delivered from them. That doctrine of perseverance of saints guarantees that he shall be and IS delivered!
- Volume: 5
- Issue: 19
Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)
Ordained: November 1979
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/
Address317 North Park St.
State or ProvinceWA