We begin 2015 by continuing our series on the order of salvation (ordo salutis). So far we have looked at effectual calling, regeneration, faith, repentance, justification, adoption, and sanctification. This month we look at perseverance. Immediately we hear the word perseverance and we think that sounds like I’m in for a difficult time of it, I’m going to have to reach down deep to make it through. Well put that thought out of your mind for a moment and read on. The Shorter Catechism asks for following question (#36), “What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?” The answer to the question is: “The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, are, assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.”
What a great comfort it is read these theological truths that come from the Scriptures and point us back to the Scriptures. We have these amazing benefits in Christ and I want to look at the last one listed, “perseverance therein to the end.” Where does this perseverance come from, well it is part and parcel of being united to Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit as we have pointed out throughout this series. Soak up a couple of passages used to support this truth from Scripture.
Paul says in Philippians 1:6, And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. What a great comfort to know that God doesn’t invest without a return. He will see His every work through to completion. If you are in Christ, then that verse is talking about you. He has saved you, He is saving you, and He will save you, there is no other alternative. This is the gospel! Now listen to what Peter says as he summarizes the gospel in a couple of verses with emphasis on perseverance in v.5. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:3-5). By God’s power we are being preserved, we will persevere. This is Good News! No matter what happens, the one in Christ will be brought safely to the end. That is not to say that nothing bad will ever happen to you. Godly people get killed in horrible ways, godly people contract and die of cancer, godly people are afflicted with all kinds of trials and tribulations. Every godly person, every person in Christ will be brought at the end to their inheritance in the presence of the Lord, nothing can stop that, God has promised and so it will be.
We’ll close with one last quote, it is the first paragraph of chapter 17 of the Westminster Confession: “They, whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.” Armed with such good news, let us face 2015 together with joy in Jesus.