December 01, 2006

Preservation of the Saints - Friday

Christians are kept in the faith by the power of God. This makes believers eternally secure in him. Nothing can separate them from the eternal and unchangeable love of God. Those who believe in Christ have been predestined to eternal glory and are therefore assured of heaven.

Not "once saved, always saved"

The typical evangelical church of today proclaims a doctrine that seems similar to this. It is called "eternal security," but it is not based upon the believer's perseverance in the faith nor upon God's preserving work in the life of that believer. It is closer to the concept of "been there, done that."

The typical view of eternal security says that if you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, you will go to heaven. No matter what you do for the rest of your life. Preachers will even stress the point by saying such things as, "you don't even have to come to church—going to church doesn't save you." And while that is certainly true, it is misleading and entirely misses the point of the "Perseverance and Preservation of the Saints."

According to the Westminster Confession of the Faith (one of the great creeds of Christendom):

They, whom God hath accepted in His beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nore finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.

One of the great Reformed theologians of recent days referred to this doctrine in this way:

This doctrine does not stand alone but is a necessary part of the Calvinistic system of theology. The doctrines of Election and Efficacious Grace logically imply the certain salvation of those who receive these blessings. If God has chosen men absolutely and unconditionally to eternal life, and if His Spirit effectively applies to them the benefits of redemption, the inescapable conclusion is that these persons shall be saved.

—Lorraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, p. 182.

God gives his people eternal life the moment they believe

Believers are kept by God's power through faith and nothing can separate them from His love. They have been sealed by the Holy Spirit, who was given as the guarantee of their salvation, and they are thus assured of eternal inheritance.

Perseverance of the Saints from the text of Scripture:

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you sahll not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."
Isaiah 43:1–3

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