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“Perseverance of the Saints”

“Once Saved Always Saved” echoes in the halls of many churches, and while the statement has ‘some’ truth, the language and meaning behind words dictate a false sense of security surrounding so many ‘actions’ or ‘beliefs’ regarding salvation. Scripture does teach a guarantee of hope and a sealing by God the Holy Spirit, but the contemporary doctrine of “eternal security” is far from the biblical doctrine of perseverance. The security of the believer rests fully in the work of Christ which affords a sure grasp of the faithfulness of God. God’s faithfulness, not man’s, is the objective and subjective adherence to the Lord’s grace. God purposes and prepares a people for His glory in a certain and definite way.

Recent history has relegated salvation to an experience or response rather than a work of God’s mercy and grace and eternal security has become a “pointing” to those actions or experiences. In like manner, the hope of salvation is found in what man does, rather than God’s divine actions, which of course, is a grave mistake. Proclaiming a man saved from the wrath of God while he clearly has not believed in the work of God is no less than a Demonic. It has always been the activity of the Devil to distort the truth toward the natural palate of humanity in order that God is robbed of Glory. Man’s greatest god is himself and one’s self-love gives any false gospels teeth for the unregenerate, who find solace in perpetuating humanistic theology. Man can find salvation only in Jesus Christ who is the good news of God by faith alone.

Security, then, must be found in the right place, or Person; Jesus Christ the Righteous. Because one’s eternal sealing is the work of God, not the work of man, a few quick thoughts should be secured. Faith Alone is the operative platform on which the believer stands, security, likewise, in the mind of the Christian, must proceed from faith in Christ. That is, believing that Christ has secured the believer is surely secure. Security is not found in the works of obedience, works of love, or works that proceed from grace. Yes, God works mightily in His people good works, but many lost people can also illustrate right living and yet have no security. So many think security is found in the following of the command to “put to death” the flesh and its members. While this is rightly found and grounded in the ability of the Christian because of Christ, it is never going to be perfected and it cannot be the blanket of hope in which the doubting believer wraps himself for warmth. The attitude of hope lies in the essence of God’s regenerative power through the Spirit whereby one cries “Have mercy on me, a sinner…” not, “Thank you God for my goodness.”  Salvation doesn’t make one good in person, it imputes the goodness of the only true Good Son, Jesus, to the believer.

Likewise, a disciplined man with all the moral compass of a saint cannot guide the seal of his salvation by his route of discipline. He would be utterly lost, even walking in the right way, if he places security in the path of goodness. Jesus Christ walked the path of Goodness. He secured the hope of the believer because He obeyed in His humanity to the fullest particle of glory: holiness! While the point is not to carry on this Unchained glory by defining terms, consider the teaching of our present day regarding “justification”, “sanctification”, obedience, holiness, progression, etc. The terms themselves according to Scripture are bound to the finished work of Jesus Christ, His ministry, His cross, and His resurrection. The atonement provided the certain salvation of a people and it is by the decree of God that this came to pass a certain and true expiation and propitiation. There is security beloved. No man in Christ is getting more and more holy or becoming more “like” Jesus. While we as believers do mature and are called to follow a pattern of life, as is all the population of the world, that growth can be undone in a minute and even then, it is not counted as righteousness just because we begin to fall in line.

There is no being MORE HOLY or MORE SANCTIFIED because Scripture teaches that our security in holiness relies on the grace of God, not our works. (I am not being antinomian, and if that’s what you read in hearing what Scripture clearly teaches, then just move on. Thanks.)

It is a matter of MATURING and GROWING in Love which produces all sorts of growth indicators. But these are not sufficient as evidence of eternal life for even the pagan can consume himself with right living. In like manner, the soul that is afire with the Spirit of God and sure of the redemption that is in Jesus Christ has a central divine affection for the Lord Jesus and love purposes its good works. (Gal 2:20, Romans 12:1-2) We must look carefully at these points and recognize that the law (works) and grace (faith alone), are mutually exclusive means to redemption. If the works of Jesus’ life were not sufficient to warrant our righteousness, then why did He die and to what end? If all He had to do was die it would have been sufficient for Herrod to have found and beheaded the Christ child early on. No, it was Christ’s obedience in His humanity that satisfied God’s command and expectation of perfection. It was this righteousness that enabled the God Man to take on the penalty of sin for sinners. It was His divine essence that empowered Him to live again and rescue His people from deserved death.

Sometime later we can visit the ideas of apostasy. But for today, let’s focus on the security of our beloved faith that is rooted and affixed forever in Jesus Christ!

Rest well,

Pastor James Tippins

 

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