Perseverance of the Saints Glenn Harrell 1-17
Defining “Saint” and determining how one becomes a Saint is critical and preliminary to perseverance. This verse in Hebrews reminds us that, while all people are God’s loving creation, not all are his children. Not everyone belongs. Not everyone is a Saint (child of God) by biblical definition.
“Don’t all parents correct their children?
God corrects all of his children, and if he doesn’t correct you,
then you don’t really belong to him.” (Hebrews 12:8)
If by “Perseverance of the Saints” we mean PEOPLE SAVED BY AND KEPT BY GODS UNLIMITED POWER, then I am on board. But if this little phrase implies in any form or fashion that any man may save or keep himself by moral behaviors, human fleshly endeavors, and good works, I must heartily deny such as entirely un-biblical. Such is the religion of man and such religious people make for the obnoxious, modern Pharisee. Let’s look closer at a true, persevering Saint for definition towards the security it implies.
“You have faith in God. It is his power that will protect you until the last day.
Then he will save you, just as he has always planned to do.” (I Peter 1:5)
God’s Role: To save and keep (preserve) his children by his own just desire.
Our Role: The role of the Saint is “Faith in God” and in “His power”.
The Saint was saved by God’s preservation power (past tense)
The Saint is being kept by God’s preservation power (present tense)
The Saint will be saved by God’s preservation power (future tense)
The Saint (noun) did not become a Saint because of his own power, strength to endure or promises of holy behavior. If he could do these things of his own volition to the satisfaction of God’s holiness, then Jesus Christ became of non-necessity. We would all look to this individual for our hope and security. Quite the contrary, the Saint shall remain sinful until his last breath on this earth. The Saint must experience sin in order to learn about Christ-likeness, discipline, family and belonging. He will sin less as he matures in faith, but he will never become sinless apart from the status attributed to him through the atonement of Christ on the cross. Christ becomes thus personal through the new birth experience.
The Saint learns about his being freed from the obligation to sin. The Saint learns about a Fathers loving correction.
The Saint is never told that he must preserve himself, for to do so would be both unjust and unlike the God who protects and preserves his own. Every person who believes that a man can muster up a perseverance and sinless state for any length of time deemed acceptable to God will be:
1-Unwilling to become a Saint under Gods terms. Anyone working to earn God’s favor and mercy will have no patience for a salvation by grace, through faith. Such provision from God that eliminates my self-ambition is utterly devastating to the ego and pride of life. “But God showed how much he loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful.” (Romans 5:8)
2-Hiding in secrecy and covering his sins as though God and his fellow man don’t know.
This is revealing of “the Insecurity of the Saints”.
Perseverance is about living out a faith that has been established within. (Philippians 12b-13)
Our work: “So work with fear and trembling to discover what it really means to be saved.” (Not work to be saved)
Gods work: “God is working in in you to make you willing and able to obey him.”
Perseverance: Man cannot produce it for God and God does not need it for himself.
Preservation: God is doing this as we speak for all his children, whether in a state of obedience or willful rebellion.
THE LAST WORD ON THIS SUBJECT: Jesus spoke to the many who rejected him while in Jerusalem for the Temple Festival. As he walked along Solomon’s Porch, he answered their question as to whether he was the Messiah or not. He said, “But since you are not my sheep, you don’t believe me. My sheep know my voice, and I know them. They follow me, and I give them eternal life, so that they will never be lost. (preserved) No one can snatch them out of my hand. (protected) My Father gave them to me, and he is greater than all others. No one can snatch them from his hands, and I am one with the Father.” (John 10:26-30)
The unbeliever, or the religious person attempting his own version of redemption, needs but confess his total inability to save, persevere or preserve himself by himself. Better that he places trust and faith in a God who says of his own character and self:
“The Lord isn’t slow about keeping his promises, as some people think he is. In fact, God is patient, because he wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost.” (II Peter 3:9)