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Archive for December 28th, 2013

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Assurance of Salvation Seriesa. Introduction

i.      Our study of Christian assurance of salvation begins with an exposition of the doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints which is foundational and shapes how Christian ought to understand assurance of salvation.

ii.      Outline

1. Definition of Perseverance of the Saints and Eternal Security

2. Why is Perseverance of the Saints important for Christian assurance

3. Foundation: The Sovereignty of God

4. Passages demonstrating God’s elect will never be lost

5. Passages demonstrating God’s elect will persevere in their faith and works

b. Definition of Perseverance of the Saints and Eternal Security

i.      The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints “teaches very specifically that they who have once been regenerated and effectually called by God to a state of grace, can never completely fall from that state and thus fail to attain to eternal salvation, though they may sometimes be overcome by evil and fall in sin.  It is maintained that the life of regeneration and the habits that develop out of it in the way of sanctification can never entirely disappear.”[1]

ii.      “Eternal Security is the teaching that God shall with no uncertainty bring into their eternal inheritance those who are actually justified—delivered from the curse of the law and have the righteousness of Christ reckoned to their account—and who have been begotten by the Spirit of God. And further it is the teaching that God shall do this in a way glorifying to Himself, in harmony with His nature and consistent with the teaching of Scripture concerning the nature of those who are called saints.”[2]

iii.       “The perseverance of the saints means that all those who are truly born again will be kept by God’s power and will persevere as Christians until the end  of their lives, and that only those who persevere until the end have been truly born again.”[3]

c. Why is doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints important for Christian assurance

i.      Assurance must be based on a biblical view of eternal Security.

ii.      “Eternal Security is a doctrine that complements and completes other truths. It is the truth which establishes a Christian in assurance of salvation. The doctrine of election in itself cannot do this. Justification cannot do this. The doctrine of sanctification cannot do this. Not even the doctrine of glorification does so. Yet each of these is incomplete without Eternal Security. Election, Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification are all hypothetical—mere possibilities—until Eternal Security complements and completes them by showing how they are applied to specific individuals. And it is also practical because it brings believers to assurance of salvation, which according to many Scripture passages they are to have.”[4]

d. Foundation: Beginning with the Sovereignty of God

i.      Note: The fact that those born again will have eternal security of their salvation rests on the basis of God’s Sovereignty.

ii.      “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” (Psalm 115:3)

This verse indicates God has the capacity to fulfill what He pleases.

iii.      “Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.” (Psalm 135:6)

1. Note again, this verse indicates God has the capacity to fulfill what He pleases.

2. Note the second half of the verse emphasis of this truth everywhere: “heaven,” “earth,” “seas” “and in all deeps.

iv.      “Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;” (Isaiah 46:10)

1. One other way God expresses His Sovereignty is through omniscience (Isaiah 46:10a)

2. Note the second half of the verse stating His purpose will be accomplished.

v.      Isaiah 14:27—God’s purpose cannot be overthrown.

e. Passages demonstrating God’s elect will never be lost

i.      John 3:16—Contra Arminians, how can eternal life be eternal life if it’s not eternal life?

ii.      Eternal security because of Jesus’ promise: “and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:28)

1. Those who are given eternal life will not perish.

2. Nor will anyone snatch them away.

iii.      Eternal security because of Jesus’ prayer: “Therefore He is able also to save [a]forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)

1. Note that the subject is Jesus.

2. Jesus “is able also to save [a]forever

3. Whom can He save forever? “those who draw near to God through Him,

How?  “since He always lives to make intercession for them.

iv.      Eternal security because of God’s Power: “to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:4-5) 

1. Note verse 4’s language of eternal security: “inheritance,” “imperishable,” “will not fade away,” “reserved in heaven for you

2. Note the basis of this is in verse 5a: “protected by the power of God 

3. How do we access it?  “through faith for a salvation” (verse 5b)

v.      Other passages: Romans 8:38-39, 1 Thessalonians 5:9, 1 Corinthians 1:8, Hebrews 13:5,


[1] Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996), 546.

[2] Arthur W. Pink, “Preface” in Eternal Security.  <Accessed at http://www.pbministries.org/books/pink/Security/sec_foreword.htm>

[3] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing Houses, 1994), 788.

[4] Arthur W. Pink, “Preface” in Eternal Security.  <Accessed at http://www.pbministries.org/books/pink/Security/sec_foreword.htm>

 

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