Bible Doctrine Class
Chapter 24: The Perseverance of the Saints
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. - John 10: 27-28
Definition: The Perseverance of the Saints means that all those who are truly born again will be kept by God's power and will persevere as Christians until the end of their lives, and that only those who persevere until the end have been truly born again.
A. All who are truly born again will persevere until the end.
- "I should lose nothing of all that He has given me..." - John 6:39.
- "No one can snatch them out of the Father's hand." - John 10:28.
- "He who believes in the Son has eternal life" - John 3:36.
- "No condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" - Romans 8:1.
- "The guarantee of our inheritance" - Ephesians 1:14.
- "Who by God's power are guarded through faith" - 1 Peter 1:5.
B. Only those who persevere to the end have been truly born again.
- "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciple" - John 8:31.
- "Provided that you continue in the faith" - Colossians 1:23.
- "If we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm to the end" - Hebrews 3:14.
- "The purpose [of the above quotations] is never to make those who are presently trusting in Christ worry that sometime in the future they might fall away." "Rather, the purpose is always to warn those who are thinking of falling away, or have fallen away, that if they do this it is a strong indication that they were never saved in the first place." - Wayne Grudem
C. Those who finally fall away may give many external signs of conversion.
- Example of Judas and the other Disciples - Matt 26:22; Mark 14:19; Luke 22:23; John 13:22.
- The danger of false brethren - Gal 2:4; 2 Cor 11:26.
- "I never knew you" - Matthew 7:21-23.
- The Parable of the Seed and the Sower - Mark 4:1-17.
- The branches that do not bear fruit - John 15:1-7.
What about Hebrews 6:4-6?
- Arminians argue that this is true believers who fall away.
- "You will be known by your fruit."
- "Here is how far a person can come in experiencing temporary blessings and still not really be saved." - Grudem
- A true believer would never commit apostasy.
D. What can give a believer genuine assurance?
- Do I have a present trust in Christ alone for salvation?
Is there evidence of a regenerating work of the Holy Spirit in my heart and mind?
- Am I trusting in past actions or a present reality?
- Is there present spiritual fruit?
Do I see a long-term pattern of growth in my Christian life?
- Am I worldly?
- Do I love the things of God?
- Do I have an inner witness of the Spirit?
- Do I believe in, and love, sound doctrine?
The importance of this subject in pastoral care.
- Am I trusting myself less and Christ more?
- Are the things of earth growing more dim?
- How to counsel the backslider.
- b. "Eternal security" is not making a profession of faith and then living like the world for the rest of your life and then thinking you'll go to heaven because you "got saved" once, or got baptized.
1. List three Bible verses that support the idea that true Christians will continue in the faith until death.
2. Is continuing in the Christian life a necessary evidence of genuine faith? Explain.
3. How is it possible for a person to give external signs of conversion and later to fall away from the Christian faith?
4. From an Arminian perspective, can a believer ever really have any assurance of salvation? Explain.
5. List three evidences that give assurance to a true believer.
PERSONAL APPLICATION QUESTIONS
1. What is your assurance of salvation?
2. Do you ever have doubts about your salvation? Why?
3. Is it possible that people can agree with every Christian doctrine and still not be born again?
Assurance of salvation, eternal security, perseverance of the saints, temporary blessings.
Q36: What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?
A36: The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, are: assurance of God's love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.