Tuesday, December 16, 2008

perseverance of the saints

P. stands for Perseverance of the saints! Another way to say this is to say; REAL saints persevere. Another way to say it; The only salvation God offers is a COMPLETE salvation, no jumpstarts, no boosts, but a FINISHED work.

1st. Who gets FULL credit for our salvation? God alone! When we stand before God on that final day, not one Christian will approach the throne saying 'I finally did it!', rather 'By the grace of God I am what I am and His grace in me was not in vain".

First let me say that this one i never liked before, i had problems with the implications of this doctrine. It wasn't that I myself was fearfully worried about losing my salvation (funny how convenient that was) but i was concerned about the 'compromised' Christians (professing Christians). It wasn't until later that i even thought of the biblical concept of 'true' and false believers. It never dawned on me, because i never really thought through the gospel, like most people i believed a lot of popular teaching about a lot of things and like a lot of Christians, if i only thought through these things i would see how contradicting my thoughts were.

I heard that Baptists taught 'once saved, always saved' and my immediate thoughts had nothing to do with what happens when God saves somebody or with His promises of working in us until the end (Phil 1:6), rather I thought "wait a minute, you're teaching that you can live any old way and still get to heaven, THAT'S WRONG!". Well i was partly right, i had the 'practical living' aspect right, but i DID NOT have the doctrine right. I rationalized with my own mind what one thing would lead to, and so i rejected it because of what i thought it would lead to.

On the contrary, the real truth is that if God has truly saved you, then you ARE a NEW CREATION and you WILL change. Your tree WILL bear GOOD fruit, you WILL have a desire to live for GOD, you will have a LIFE of REPENTANCE, If your faith is REAL then it will produce GOOD WORKS!

Because: Salvation is a MIRACULOUS work of God in YOU. (mt 10:27)

GOD gives you a desire to follow HIM. (Phil 2:13)

God gives you the ability to FOLLOW HIM. (Phil 2:13)

God Disciplines you when you sin. (Heb 12:7-11)

TRUE BELIEVERS LAST! I JOHN 2:19 This is guaranteed, You must see even in this verse that when you see a 'professing' Christian depart from the faith, regardless of what you may have thought before, it only shows that they were NEVER saved in the FIRST place. It's NOT that they have LOST there salvation (you can't LOSE it, because no one 'FINDS' it), time will eventually (for the most part) show the real from the false (MK 4:16,17).

Roms 8:28-30 is a remarkable passage which shows the purpose of God working itself out in the life of the believer. God sets His special love, His effective grace upon those who He saves, and in all they experience He is using and controlling to CONFORM them to the image of Christ (sanctification). Yet in those HE elected (predestined), He draws (called), Justifies them (clears them from the penalty of sin and declares them righteous on account of Christ), and finally HE glorifies them (where we finally experience the reality of our FULL and COMPLETE salvation from the effects, struggles, influences, and presence of SIN. Notice in these verses (especially 8:30) that there are no BREAKS in the chain, it continues as a FACT, an absolute, and notice also who is DOING it all, GOD!

Yet God, knowing the heart of man, and that it is indeed 'deceitful above all things and desperately wicked' (Jer 17:9), knowing that there is 'a way that seems right to a man but it ends in death' (Prov 16:25), knowing that men are prone to convince themselves of what is false, gives us many warnings in scripture about a life of sin. The Bible is clear to do away with the notion that salvation and holy living are optional, an unsanctified man is a unjustified man! Although it's the only way to excuse the continued use of all the evangelistic methods that produce 'wicked' converts, men who bring SHAME to the gospel of grace.

In fact the Book of Jude in essence (or ROM 6)is one big defence against the thought that you can USE grace as a license to sin, as a hustle on God. Forgiveness of sins you say? And when I'm saved, i'm guaranteed heaven? Sweet! So i just get this 'God insurance' plan and then i can still live as though God didn't exist but I get to go to heaven in the end, right?

WRONG!!!!!

Let it be absolutely clear that to think like that is EVIDENCE of an unregenerate heart ( a wicked scheming heart like Cain), habitual sin, without repentance is only PROOF of FALSE CONVERSION.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 states clearly the condition we too often see before us, wicked men who profess Christ. Look especially at verse 5 'appearance of godliness, but denying it's power'. What's that mean? Well they have a 'FORM', they try to "act" a certain way, they try to "mimic" some Christian things. From what is said earlier, they might ONLY be going to church, MAYBE they might try to 'talk the talk', but they DENY the power. Whether this is only by their lives or also verbally i don't know, but I have certainly seen this; and this is what they are saying; "Yes, I'm a Christian, I love the Lord, I believe in JESUS, BUT, BUT, BUT I'm not like 'THOSE' Christians, I mean I'm still me, I still do some of the same things, I mean I 'try' i just "Can't", I AM THE EXCEPTION, I AM THE CHRISTIAN THAT THE BIBLE DOESN'T TALK ABOUT'. Another way to put it is this: The CHRISTIAN who doesn't bear fruit, is the CHRISTIAN who is PROOF that God doesn't EXIST. To them we say with Paul 'they profess to know Christ but they deny Him by their works.....' Titus 1:16

We endure, we last to the end, because God doesn't give half salvations, he delivers us completely and He so changes us that we can now be called 'born-again', 'born from above'.

This is our Hope, this is our certain expectation, and this hope is a purifying hope. I Jn 3:3

The hypocrite hears the gospel and responds "Sin's no big deal since i'll be forgiven anyways"

The true believer hears the gospel and responds 'Woe is me, against you and you only have i sinned, have mercy on me a sinner, create in me a clean heart, my soul pants after you..." Only the true believer Hungers and thirsts after righteousness, and the promise to all is 'you will be filled'. To the hypocrite God would say 'be NOT deceived GOD is NOT mocked, whatever you sow you WILL reap' (Gal 6:7) To the believer God would say; 10He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.11For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;12as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.13As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.14For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. 15As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field;16for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.17But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children,18to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.19The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. Psalm 103:10-19

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