The Scriptures abound with references concerning the certainty of our salvation which God has given us in His sovereign grace. This should not surprise us since the Bible is unified in its message that man’s salvation is totally in the power of God and is the work of His grace in us.
Our God is a merciful God who continually comforts us in our faith by assuring believers of their security. The God who has chosen us, redeemed us and freed us from all bondage, also sees us through the journey of this life unto our eternal and glorious liberty.
To even suggest that man might, through his own rebelliousness, or weakness, thwart the eternal plan of God is to debase and deny God’s power and simultaneously to elevate man to a position of having power which exceeds God’s. If this latter error enters the faith of man (and becomes part and parcel of the doctrine of man’s salvation, as Arminianism teaches), the natural consequence is the destruction of “faith” as God has created and defined it.
True faith involves knowledge of the Word of God, holding it to be true, and a hearty trust that what God has revealed is ours (Heidelberg Catechism Q. 21). Faith in something that is uncertain as to its result is not true faith at all. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). “Hope,” as the Bible uses that word, is not an uncertain wish, desire, or dream which might fade away. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (I Pet. 1:3-5).
Hope is inseparably connected with true faith. It is God’s guarantee that what we have believed will be fulfilled by God. “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, then we eagerly wait for it with perseverance” (Rom. 8:24-25).
It is also reasonable that we should find this major emphasis in the Holy Scriptures, since God is not only revealing His great salvation to us, but, in performing this, He is revealing Himself as the author and finisher of our faith. The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints is essentially a doctrine which ascribes to Almighty God the authority and the ability to see His plan of salvation through to the ultimate purpose which He has intended – namely, the eternal salvation of His people. In revealing His salvation, God reveals Himself – His sovereign will, love, and grace which are the eternal attributes of God.
Let us now see what the Bible says concerning this doctrine of the perseverance of the saints.
Outline and Proofs from the Bible
1. Salvation is wholly from and by God who is able to perform all His holy will.
- Job 23:14 “For He performs what is appointed for me, and many such things are with Him.”
- Psalm 57:1-2 “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by. I will cry out to God Most High, To God who performs all things for me.”
- Isaiah 44:23-26 “Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it! Shout, you lower parts of the earth; break forth into singing, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! for the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel. Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and He who formed you from the womb: I am the LORD, who makes all things, Who stretches out the heavens all alone, Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself; Who frustrates the signs of the babblers, and drives diviners mad; Who turns wise men backward, and makes their knowledge foolishness; Who confirms the word of His servant, and performs the counsel of His messengers; Who says to Jerusalem, You shall be inhabited, to the cities of Judah, You shall be built, and I will raise up her waste places.”
- Romans 4:20-21 “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.”
- Philippians 1:6 “… being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
2. God is the Creator of all, has power over all, and is the author and finisher of our faith. He is willing and able to perform all His holy will.
- Isaiah 43:1 “But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.”
- Isaiah 54:16-17 “‘Behold, I have created the blacksmith who blows the coals in the fire, who brings forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the spoiler to destroy. No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,’ says the LORD.”
- Isaiah 55:11 “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
- Romans 8:29-31 “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
- Ephesians 1:11 “… in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.”
- Colossians 3:3-4 “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
- Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them.”
- James 1:17-18 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.”
3. When we read the Bible we must read it for what it says. When God promises us everlasting life, that means that our life is not left in doubt, but will last forever, by the power of God.
- John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
- John 6:47 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.”
- John 17:2 “… as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.”
- Hebrews 9:12, 15 “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”
- I John 5:11-13 “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”
4. At times there are those who very much appear as though they are Christians, when in fact, they are not and never were.
- Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”
- Matthew 15:8-9 “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
- II Timothy 3:5 “… having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
- I John 2:19 “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.”
Blog post content is taken from Rev. Paul Treick’s book, Faith of Our Fathers, Living Still: A Study of the Five Points of Calvinism, available for purchase. It is posted with the gracious permission of the author.
If you’d like to read the blog series from the beginning, start here.