THE BIBLICAL DOCTRINE OF PERSEVERANCE
By Curtis Pugh
By Curtis Pugh
Much is said today about God preserving His children. Often presented in terms of once saved always saved,” it is a one sided view. Obviously if a person once saved can be lost then that was not true salvation. It was something temporary. Such a “salvation” certainly was not the implantation “everlasting life” which was promised if it does not last forever.
Jesus said, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me...” (John 6:37). This statement teaches much about salvation. Some people were given by the Father to Christ. All these shall come to Him. These He keeps and about them He said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand,” (John 10:27-28). These “sheep” “hear,” “follow,” are given “eternal life,” “shall never perish,” and are kept in His “hand.” It is this “they follow me” of those preserved that constitutes their perseverance.
By perseverance or the continued following of Christ we mean “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition,” (Merriam Webster Dictionary). Hebrews 12:14 exhorts the sheep to: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Perseverance, then, is the continued following after holiness. It is not the achievement of some state or status or degree of holiness. It is the following of or following after holiness. And it is this following after which is perseverance.
Paul wrote to the congregation in Rome: “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness,” (Romans 6:17-19). Infirm in his flesh, nevertheless the child of God struggles against sin in an continued effort to yield his body parts as “servants to righteousness unto holiness.”
Perseverance is not that the child of God is always victorious over sin. It is rather that he does not give up the struggle against that awful nature that yet abides within himself. He is grieved by his own wickedness even though his life has been forever changed from his former practice of living in sin.
Jesus said, “...to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed,” (John 8:31). It is not the continuing that makes one a true disciple. Rather it is that the true disciple continues! He perseveres! That continuing, that following after holiness, that persevering attachment to Christ – it is this that marks the true child of God: the true disciple: the true believer.
Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726